The battle raged around Sabit like an inferno. The troops of Junjai clawed up the rampart in waves like locusts, bronze blades hungry for the blood of their foes. Sabit’s arms burned from endless spear thrusts—driving her speartip toward the enemy again and again. Each thrust sent the iron spear point glancing off bronze or cutting through leather or, more often, sinking deep into the flesh of her foes.
Even as the pile of her vanquished enemies grew at the foot of the rampart, those bodies gave the Junjai troops higher standing for their frenzied climb to her perch—every one of them burning with greed to be the one who felled the infamous Sabit.
From the left, a scream. Sabit jerked her head to face it. Htet has fallen from the rampart, a long curve of crimson blood welling up from the sword cut to her belly. Verdandi was at the head-woman’s side in an instant, pulling the screaming farmer from the battlefield.
Sabit turned back to the battle before her. Below, three soldiers climbed the rampart as one. The veteran who had trained the green out of these three would have been proud of the identical step they used to top the wall and seize Htet’s lost spot for Junjai. Three moved as one.
With the speed of a mongoose, Sabit thrust her spear at the troops to her side, piercing three throats with a single thrust. Three died as one.
The weight of three corpses yanked the spear shaft from her grasp, but her bandits cheered their queen’s blow. Without delay, Sabit drew the long knife from her belt and turned forward, to face what foes that would dare come next.
No one menaced her. The Junjai troops, still greater in number than Sabit’s forces, staggered backward to regroup. Their armored captain beckoned them away from the rampart.
Now was the moment! They had lost momentum and were off-balance on the field of battle. Now was the time to bring down the hammer.
Sabit brought her silver horn to her lips to sound the signal to Nerit’s charge. The jade inlaid on the horn’s surface was cool to the touch of her hot and sweaty hands. Her chest heaving like a furnace, Sabit let blew on the horn, but the sound was soft, easily overwhelmed by the clatter of withdrawing boots and moaning wounded.
Regida was at Sabit’s side, a small drinking skin proffered in her only hand. Sheathing her knife, Sabit grabbed the skin and drank deeply, barely tasting the melange of strange herbs that infused the watery brew.
When the skin was dry, Sabit tried the horn again. The note sounded clear and true—echoing from the two low hills, it rang through the valley and beyond. Sabit could almost see the waves of sound dancing through the sky—like winged spirits of blue and red—delivering her call for aid to the highest heavens. Would anyone hear her cry for help?
— — —
Photo by Fancycrave from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/brown-ancient-ruins-678638/
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/.