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Heros (Crows) Part 4
The villagers surrounded us, and I had not even moved from my horse.
“We will meet them in battle!” That was the general atmosphere. Of course, most of the people jeering for war were not the warriors that were currently dressing themselves for battle. A fight was imminent; the army sheltered in the forest just beyond the valley was roused and preparing just the same. The Dove warriors paced on their horses, switching between looking worriedly at the village and glaring hard at the concealed enemies.
“They are true snakes, hiding among the brush, waiting for a moment to strike.” Maximus’s horse stood close to mine, bumping flanks every now and then. Mine seemed dead on its feet; sweat foamed on its shoulders and mouth. I myself was having trouble keeping myself wake and alert. A great cheer went up when the first of the warriors arrived dressed in leather and war paint. The gold color was pale and thick all at once.
Idik looked to me on my horse, keeping a hand on its bridle.
“Are you well enough to aid us?” I nodded.
“I think you’d had-" I backed my horse into Maximus’s to stop him from talking.
“I will fight.” I glared at him as he did the same to me. When Idik nodded I pulled the horse around and moved toward the valley. Maximus came right up on my side.
“You are foolish sister. I know for a fact that you have not slept in at least two days, and have not eaten in such or longer.” I raised my chin.
“So, I am still capable of fighting.” He pulled his horse in front of mine to stop me.
“You are in no shape for fighting. You are covered in a rash, your wrist is broken as is your nose, and you are covered from head to toe in dirt.” He hissed. I shrugged and tried to move on.
“Very well, you force me to take measures into my own hands.” I shifted around to see what he was talking about, but found myself unable. A pressure was placed on my shoulder and I couldn’t stop my muscles from relaxing. Vaguely I could see myself slipping from the saddle only to be pulled back.
There was a clamor and then all faded to black.
The sun peeked through the curtains of my windows. I groaned and rolled over.
“Hush child, you are sure to be sore.” And sore I was. My face and head throbbed horribly like I had drank too much, and my wrist screamed in pain.
“Did I get drunk again?” There was a bitter chuckle.
“No child, though that might ease the pain. You are merely over wrought with hurts and tiredness. You spent many days asleep. Your body had most likely decided it is more hungry than tired at this point.” And indeed my stomach growled. I forced myself to sit, my arms groaning at their use.
“What happened? Was I thrown?” I grabbed to steady my head with my good hand.
“Heavens no child. That Crow fighter brought you back from your horse; you had fainted dead in the saddle.” There was a sort of hilarity to her tone. Maximus. I groaned and flopped back down.
“That traitor, he put me to sleep.” And just as suddenly as I said that, I remembered why we had been fighting. I jumped from the bed, taking the sheets with me, and nearly fell. I stumbled to the ground and then back to my feet, all the while moving toward the door. Small soft hands gripped at my shoulders but I just pushed out of them. The door opened and I nearly collided with someone’s chest.
“Hello Sister.” I looked up and glared. In my absence of fight, the woman pulled me back to the bed. I looked to her face for the first time.
“Raith.” What on heaven was she doing here? My head swam. I turned my anger on Maximus.
“What was that for?! I was fine!” My blood seemed to boil in my very veins. He quirked an eyebrow and shifted his weight.
“Your control on your anger is easily lost for a Crow.” He chuckled. Raith stepped between the two of us before I could lurch up to strangle him.
“That is enough. Crow man, leave before you get me angry. And Amelia, I thought Junine had taught you better than spitting at people in another tongue.” I cowered under her words. I didn’t want to give father a bad name. In my shame I huddled down on the bed and hunched my shoulders. Maximus touched my hair then turned away, striding through the door. Raith pressed me back into the bed, sitting a bowl of broth on my lap. I toyed with the spoon for a while, staring into the soup.
“Who is he?” I looked up startled as she sat on the end of the bed. The door was closed and the light turned up. She was quiet in movement. She would have made a good warrior.
“Who? Maximus?” I let the spoon go and folded my hands on my lap despite my growing hunger. She smoothed her hand over the quilt, not making eye contact.
“Is he anything special…to you?” She murmured, eyeing me through her lashes. I flushed.
“Maximus?! Heaven’s no. I’ve only just met him…” I suddenly was very interested in my broth. I heard the smile in her voice long before she spoke.
“You don’t have to know someone to begin courting them. Perhaps you would feel more at home if you mated one of your own kind and returned to some village of the like.” I gaped and stared at her, shocked to say the least at her words.
“I mean, he looks like a nice Crow-man.” She stumbled to cover her words. I couldn’t help but laugh at her words, in a startled sense.
“I was given to the Hawks to mate a hawk. I will fulfill my duty no matter the circumstances. Besides, I am not yet of mating age, when that time comes, only those that are willingly looking for a mate will make an attempt to court a person.” It stung a bit to know I may never find a mate, but it was a fate I was to face head on. She clucked her tongue and continued to smooth out the quilt.
“I think he is anxiously waiting that time. I have never seen a man hover over someone who was not his mate as much as he did you.” Once more a blush crept up my neck.
“That is all well; he was concerned for me, but overstepped his bounds. I was perfectly fine to fight.” I spat, glaring heatedly into my broth. Once more she clucked her tongue, but stood and moved to the door.
“You were unfit to sweep the floor. He did you a favor, saved you from getting yourself killed out of carelessness. Now get some rest, Junine will be in soon once he gets back. I will just be in the other room.” The battle was brought to the forefront of my mind.
“How is Everett? Is he well?” I leaned over myself, a self- supplied move to push myself closer to the knowledge. She smiled softly and her eyes left for another place.
“He is well, receiving only a small shoulder wound in the heat of battle.” I breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. Her eyes rose to mine but I saw she was not with me. She smiled prettily and meandered off, closing the door behind her. The room instantly seemed larger and less like the place I had grown to know. There were the loose boards in front of the drawers, the weathered window and the bowing rafters above my head. It all was familiar and yet not my own. I lay back, toying once more with my broth. A feeling of unease rested in the pit of my lungs, tainting my every breath. There was nothing I could do now for the battle, and Raith had said all went well, but this foreboding haze had settled on my shoulders. Depression pressed into every breath I took, wanting to get in as much as that unease wanted to get out. If I let it, it would consume me.