The sun loomed high overhead. The shadows had wasted away to thin slivers of cool respite. Sabit tracked her quarry to a rough trail of hard-packed earth, which she followed, dashing from boulder to boulder, relishing the cool shade.
A large boulder ahead offered a shadow broad enough to stretch out in, even at midday. Sabit was nearly within its cool embrace before she saw the sentry stationed there, sword poised to strike.
Sabit ducked. The sword whistled.
Sabit rolled. The sentry kicked.
Sabit tripped the sentry with her spear. The sentry fell.
Sabit kicked at the sword hand. Missed.
The sword arced high, slicing Sabit’s robe. Twisting, Sabit plunged her spear into the sentry’s throat.
The sentry twitched and moved no more.
Sabit leaned back against the cool rock face, gulping deep lungfuls of air. Examining the sentry, she found it to be a woman, perhaps twenty years old. Her head wrap had concealed a strange, greenish rash around her mouth and nose. The whites of her lifeless eyes showed a greenish cast as well.
Sabit exchanged her ruined robe for that of the sentry, sun-bleached to the same shade as the surrounding hills. There was no sign of her necklace, nor any other bauble. A packet of twigs intricately lashed together hung on a cord about the sentry’s neck. Her waterskin was half-full, but she carried no food. Their camp must be close.
Sabit waited in the shade, replenishing her strength. When the shadows began to fatten, she knew it was time to move closer.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Blossom of Ruin is copyright (c) 2016 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters post every weekday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller