“The fight for our destiny will be waged in that pass,” Sabit said to her gathered warriors. The group stood on a small rise at the forest’s edge. Below them, a valley of rolling fields stretched its golden expanse from horizon to horizon—ripe grain and bountiful crops gathered into fat sheaves by the toiling farmers. A single stream snaked through the valley, feeding the thirsty rice paddies before venturing into the forest to join with the mighty river hidden behind its branches. At the far end of the valley, two long, rocky hills served as walls, shielding the farmers from the sight of the mighty city of Junjai perched in the mountains to the north. The small gap between the hills held the only road out of the valley.
“It is a long way from the forest. We will be exposed, without trees or rocks for cover,” said Regida, fingering the long, hooked serpent’s tooth that hung from a thong around her neck. The fingers of her left—and only—hand toyed with the the tooth’s sharp tip.
Sabit smiled. “You are astute, Regida. A fight in the open is far different than the ambushes you have laid in the past. But it is a battle that we can win,” the bandit queen pointed toward the gap between the hills with her long, iron-tipped spear. “The enemy will come to us. We shall wield the land against them like a sword. Where there is no cover, we shall bring our shields of serpent hide. Where there is no concealment, we shall build blinds. Where there is only open field, we shall shape the road so the army will march where we choose. The bounty that is found in this land offers us only good things!”
A cheer arose from the bandits. They had seen their queen vanquish foes that could only be termed “undefeatable.” What weapon could the king of Junjai possibly deploy that Sabit could not best?
From the forest came the young hunter Nerit, his companions close behind. Among the knot of young men was a figure bound in thick ropes. Like a captive bear, he loomed over the boys, taller even than Sabit. The ropes struggled to contain his broad shoulders and bulging thews.
Nerit bowed low before his queen. “This traveler claims to know you, my queen. He says his name is Kehnan.”
Wayfarings of Sabit: Betrayal 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/.