The last wisps of morning dew still clung to the bare stalks of the harvested fields when the sound of boots on packed earth rose in the valley. Four score of armed men bearing the standard of the King of Junjai made their way up the road, a captain on horseback at their head. Sabit studied the captain’s movements from her perch at the top of the rampart. The captain’s armor of polished leather and shining bronze slumped in the saddle, as if he could not rouse himself to face the day. The helmet boasted a great plume of horse hair dyed the color of the rising sun. The plume bobbed with the horse’s gait, but did not twitch from side to side to survey the battlefield. At first glance, the captain of Junai’s troops seemed the perfect fool.
When the troops had rounded the hill and the rampart plainly blocked the road before them, the captain brought his troops to a stop with a wave of his hand. Alone, the captain rode forward, his bronze helmet gleaming like gold in the early morning sunlight. Drawing his horse to a stop a dozen paces from the rampart, the captain spoke–harsh words in the clear voice of a woman. “Farmers! You have built a rampart to give me pause, but it will serve only as a place to hang your skeletons. Tomorrow the sun will shine on the crows pecking your bones clean. Throw down your weapons and I will only kill your leaders.”
Before fear could rise and spread among her troops, Sabit replied, “Go back to the king of Junjai while you still draw breath. This village is under the protection of Sabit, Queen of the forest, conqueror of the serpent.”
The captain looked up sharply, her whole body suddenly alive with anticipation. “So my spy spoke the truth! Sabit herself faces me here. Your head will make me a rich woman! The rest of you will fatten the rats.” She turned her horse and prepared to her line of troops, issuing orders to prepare them for the charge.
There was only a few moments for Sabit to steel the spines of her own troops. There was only the briefest instant for her to wonder, What spy?
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Wayfarings of Sabit: Betrayal is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.