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Heros (Crows) Part 8
“Go! Save those you can! I will meet you!” I slapped the horse’s flank and it took off. Maximus flew by me as well and I scrambled to get out of the way as I threw my cloak off. Once I saw them move on, I ran to father’s home, finding my sword and dagger easily. Turning back, ready to charge out into the thick of it, I turned into a man’s face, getting knocked to the floor in the process. He had hit me so hard in the face, I saw white, and pain burst in my nose. Forcing the pain to the back of my mind, I swung wide with my dagger, hoping to ward him off long enough to gain my feet. Instead I felt the blade dig into soft yielding flesh. Gaining my eyesight back, I gazed upon the dying man. He had not even made an attempt to block the dagger that was stuck half in his throat. Pushing him away to die, I stood, wiped the blood from my nose, and ran out the door. The entire village was chaos, there was fighting everywhere. Even those who were not bred fighters took to arms with whatever they could to defend their homes. I aided those I could, and found myself working my way through the village. Those who had some training followed me as we secured homes and shops, driving the enemy toward the center of town. Poe kept my senses on fire, keeping me aware of all the enemies near us. A hawk with blue eyes fell to an enemy’s sword only for me to cut him down in the next second. I felt the swing of a blade at the back of my neck before I knew it was there, yet it never made contact. Spinning quickly around, I watched Raith smash a rod against the woman’s face. Raith stood over her flailing enemy, heaving for air, glaring at me.
“Well, are you going to kill her, or will I have too?” With no mercy, I jammed my sword into the woman’s chest.
“Thank you, now find a safe house and stay there. It will not do for you to lose your child or your life.” I gave her a slight shove back toward the safer part of the village, but she seemed hesitant with fear tainting her eyes.
“My mate, is he…have you…” I nodded to her and gave her as reassuring a look as I could.
“I was with him, he arrived with me, but moved on further ahead. He was in one piece last I saw him.” I didn’t bother waiting for her answer; the enemy had pushed against my side, trying to push us back. I threw myself back into the thick of battle.
“Be safe Amelia!”
Swiping the sweat and blood off my brow, I surveyed the area. I could not quite be calm yet, there were still enemies lurking. Images from Poe flashed through my mind as fast as he saw them. I was able to arch my dirtied sword up at the last second when I was attacked from behind. Two women behind me gave startled yelps at the painful ‘clang’ of metal as our two weapons met. Each hit, each contact of sword on sword jarred my already aching shoulder and pained wrist, making me grit my teeth. This was a big man; I could not let him get too close. He would easily overpower me using his size alone. I parried and leapt away, side stepping his next swing. I needed to devise a plan, I needed to conserve energy. If I kept away and avoided his powerful blows, I would save my arms the strain, but I risked him getting the upper hand. We circled one another while he made some more attempts to take my head off. Each was narrowly missed. I was faster, that was for sure, but he definitely had two, maybe three, times my strength. My elbows, wrists and shoulders ached each time I absorbed the shock of a blow. At this rate, I would be too tired to even lift my own weapon let alone defend myself! Think of something! Poe did what he could to give me images of what I could not see, but it all was gibberish to my tired, over worked mind. We had been fighting for hours when this bloke decided he wanted a piece of me as well. Rage swelled within my veins and I made the irrational move of locking swords. He bore down on me with all of his strength. I felt my knee pop and give way under all the tension, and with a cry I dropped to the ground, my sword thrown high over my head. Without thought, I yanked my filthy dagger from my waist and slammed into the man’s side, hoping to fatally wound him. He fell to his knees, sweat pouring into his eyes. I pulled my dagger back and moved in for the kill, his throat and chest wide open. He saw it coming, a seasoned warrior, and gripped me tightly by the throat, letting his sword go in favor of trying to hold back the blade aimed at his heart. Wheezing and seeing black edge my vision, I knew there was no way to win this battle. Still I had to hold on, perhaps, with his reddening face, he too was tiring. I closed my eyes to blink, one second, two seconds, and found it a battle in itself to keep them open. I was running out of air! Once more my eyes closed in a long lasting blink, and in the midst of that blink, I was knocked sideways, my air passage opening up once more. Forcing myself to my feet, I limped painfully as far as I could in those few steps and sucked in lungfuls of air, coughing and wheezing. My throat felt horribly raw, my eyes sore and my knee definitely had seen better days. Leaning on a fence for strength, I peered into the lifeless eyes of my would-be killer.
Dark hands with ash colored nails gripped my arms painfully.
“Amelia, are you alright?” Dazedly, I found the face of Maximus, and Everett not too far off, and the Dove with the white and green robes, he was standing over the dead man.
I waved haphazardly.
“I’m fine, I’m fine, just a bit sore.” I croaked, my throat not feeling any better, but coming back to full consciousness.
“What is the casualty count?” I asked to get the attention off of me. Everett handed me my fallen sword which I leaned on to take the weight off of my knee.
“It will take some time until we can get a total, but we should start to bury them before animals get to them. Nodding, still trying to catch my breath, I mentally tallied all that hurt. My nose was broken, “Again…” I growled under my breath. My wrist and shoulder ached something fierce and my knee would not take any weight. I had a cut across my forehead that stung and my left middle finger was jammed. I felt fingers on my chin, forcing me to look up. Maximus gazed into my face, obviously looking at my broken nose and cut. He ‘tsked’.
“Twice in less than a month, you are going to get a bump.” Wincing as he rubbed a finger over it, I pulled away as Everett pushed Maximus away. I stumbled and collapsed when my sword slide out from under me.
It felt as if someone had set fire to my leg. The burning nerves raced up and down it obviously ignoring the fact the the only damage done was to the knee. I fisted the dirt beneath me in an attempt not to grab my knee and cursed loudly, gritting my teeth all the more.
“For all that is holy!” I could only help but mutter. Cold fingers brushed against my ankle and I instantly jerked my leg away, the action forcing a screaming from my already raw throat.
“I swear to anyone who is here that if you lay one damn finger on me I’ll rip your throat out and feed it to the lowest kind of swine!” My sword lay awkwardly across my lap and sweat dripped from my face as I forced deep slow breathes through my frame. When I felt calm enough, I looked into the slightly shock and worried and was that…
“It isn’t funny you two!” I spat. Both Everett and Maximus had semi-amused looks upon their faces which only seemed to grow with my words.
“One of you help me up!” Everett backed away and held his hands up.
“You need medical help, I’m not moving you anywhere.” There was a low whistle and Everett’s attention was immediately drawn to the south. His uneasy gaze settled on me with a guilty smile.
“We’ve been called. Wait here, once the meeting is through, I’ll return with a horse for you.” He eyed Maximus over suspiciously.
“I suppose the Dove will keep him in line for now. If you need my assitance just give a whistle and I will come.” Rolling my eyes and trying to ignore the burning pain in my leg, I waved him off, shooing him to the meeting.
“And find your damn mate, I’m not your babysitter, she was looking for you!” I yelled at his retreating back.
“Your knee is moved.” The slow heavy voice drew me away from my musings. I looked to the old Dove and Maximus. The Dove was crouched at my feet and Maximus stood over me. I eyed them wearily.
“Tell him that if he touches me again, I’m going to shove me foot so far up his-” Maximus smacked my leg with the flat of his sword.
“Crude words don’t become you.” I was forced into silence by the sickening pain caused by said smack. Biting my tongue was the only way I could stop myself from screaming once more. I watched in agony as the Dove and Maximus conversed in Dove.
“What did they sentence you?” I bite out, trying to take my mind off my pain. A chill raced down my spine when Maximus’s dark gaze settled on me.
“I am not allowed to move anywhere within the village without…” His eyes darted to the Dove then back to mine. “…a chaperone.” Sifting through the loose dirt at my fingertips, I dutifully avoided his dark stare.
“That is what you deserve; you should have never led them to believe that there was anything between us. Haven’t you ever heard the saying ‘watched like a hawk’? Not one pair of eyes will be off you, not of man child or women’s.” He shrugged like it did not bother him and turned to look away down the road.
“And what about this morning anyway, you were quite by yourself unless…” I motioned in the direction of the Dove. “…he can turn invisible.” He never even turned my way when he spoke again, stating that he was not on tribe grounds at the time, he hadn’t even been in the village when I was thought stolen. The three of us were cast in silence for some minutes. I was starting to lose feeling in my leg and I welcomed the feeling as the pain died down ever so slightly.
The Dove at my feet shifted and settled his soft eyes on me. I was a bit perturbed but interested as well. It was an odd mix of emotions.
“You Crow warrior, no?” I nodded, trying to understand all of his words.
“And, you live with Hawks?” Again, I nodded and he seemed to think for a moment. A smile darted across his face and his gaze shot to a distracted Maximus. It slowly returned to me and I got the feeling this man was planning something.
“How you say his name in hawk?” I pursed my lips and eyed him but I could find no malicious intent in his genial face.
“Maximus.” The man frowned slightly, testing the word in his mouth before speaking.
“Maxemis?” I leaned back against the fence.
“Faster, more clipped. Hawk is direct and sharp, like this, Max-Miz.” Again he tried the words and they seemed close enough, his accent slowed them a bit but I nodded in approval. He smiled brightly at this.
“And Crow?” I had to think about that. I tapped my fingers on the ground while I ran the word through my mind. It was my native tongue and I hardly ever thought about how I spoke it, just that I did.
“Um. It would be Maximus. Maxemus.” This time he stumbled and I had to correct him. He couldn’t seem to grasp it and I couldn’t decide what exactly he was doing wrong when someone interrupted us.
“Eh. Eh. Short ‘e’.” Maximus murmured in Crow. I jumped then flushed in pain, grabbing my knee. All the pain came rushing back. I was panting with the effort to overcome it, struggling to keep my voice within. I needed a distraction.
“How do…you say it…” My clenched teeth prohibited any other words. The man seemed to understand both my halted words and my need for a distraction from the pain.
“Maximus. Long vowels. All of Dove is long vowels.” I could only stare at him blankly having no clue as to what he had just said.