Shrieking with effort, Sabit kicked with all her might. Braced against the bandit king’s chest, her powerful legs shoved him backwards, lifting him off the bridge. Sabit rolled aside as the bandit king toppled over the edge. The rope around his neck went taut. Pulled by the rope, the leather sack of adze-heads slid along the flat bed of the cart. The bandit king disappeared beneath the churning, brown river. The sack of bronze tools toppled off the cart, striking the edge of the bridge forcefully as it fell. The river swallowed it, too.
Sabit watched the water until her breathing began to slow. The river showed not so much as a ripple to mark the bandit king’s presence.
Wrapping her aching hands around the spokes of the cartwheel, Sabit pulled herself upright. Every muscle trembled with fatigue and pain. The bridge seemed to wobble beneath her feet. Through force of will alone, Sabit raised herself to her full height.
Surveying the bridge head, Sabit saw a number of figures. Verdandi stood at the center, a proud smile on her face. A few steps onto bridge stood the three young bandits she had disarmed earlier. They and half a dozen other youths stared slack-jawed at the river’s brown surface. Although each one held a weapon in their hands, Sabit saw the newborn fear in the bandits’ eyes.
She spoke in loud voice, “Your unbeatable king attends the court of the river goddess in her muddy palace. Any who would join him, step forward. I am keen to send you on your way.”
Despite the pull of exhaustion and the angry throb of her injuries, Sabit did not allow her gaze to falter as she looked at each of the young bandits in turn. The next move was theirs.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.