Icy Cloak and Silvery Lantern ~VII~

Fiction By Elizabeth // 3/4/2011

 

     Shattering the sable horizon, the sun started its approach to the sky’s roof. Morning had begun. The horses round Adelaide were snorting and pawing the ground with a fury that terrified her. She was never uneasy round horses. What terror or anger had come over the horses was unknown to her. Some were kicking; others were swerving from side to side and knocking into other riders. The two riders on either side of Lawrence and Adelaide seemed to have no control over their horses. The one to the right was tossing his head and throwing himself upward. The other would stop in its pace at intervals and then continue with haste. Lawrence kept the warmblood at the pace that all the company seemed to be moving at and guided him through the infuriated kicks and buffets.
     “Aye, the village is rested. Yet slumbering still will it be when we approach its walls,” said one of the company behind them.
     “Captain Delano made his maps well and his plans cleverly,” said another in response.
     “His pen was nervous on touch with the paper, however,” said a throbbing voice nearby. “I advised him otherwise; and he does not lightly throw aside my words. Shakily did he conclude his final scheme.”
      “Speak not of the Captain in that manner, Marschal,” said the first man. “Or you may find yourself in those prisons to which we send those who rebel. Accept and respect the captain, or you can side yourself with the poor fools who we are attacking this morn.”
       The men within hearing grunted their approval of what was said and glared at Marschal.
     “Aye, Marschal, keep thy words to thy own self or thy will find hostile tents round yours in days to come,” the second man snarled.
      Lawrence was growing uneasy. A few men were glaring at him from beneath their helmets and were whispering. The horses were calming down almost systematically; and as if on a signal, the movement of the horses was held and orderly. As the breathing of the horses quieted, the company began to move closer round Lawrence and Adelaide. Soon, the heavy breathing of the men could be heard, and the stirrups between riders were beginning to touch. They were pressed up against one another. The great plain was before them, unsullied and empty in the dawn. The company heaved forward at a faster pace and the pressure grew not less between the riders. Lawrence could feel a spur lightly pricking him on the leg. Adelaide cowered deeper into Lawrence’s cloak as the sunlight seeped into the company’s formation and the eyes of the riders were turned towards them. There was no fleeing now. To close did the riders ride.
     Adelaide bit her lip; the clicking sound of rifles reached her ears. She breathed a prayer inside her heart. Madness it was for countrymen to draw arms against countrymen. Lawrence tried to urge his horse further up, but forward he could not slip. Rifles were glinting in the new sunrise, pointing directly at Lawrence. Lawrence glanced swiftly behind him, and as the fingers were pulling back on the triggers, he pulled on the reigns forcefully and stopped the warmblood.
       “Lay low, now!” he hissed to Adelaide. Adelaide dropped forward and heard the rifles shoot with one powerful voice and felt the horse heave right and swerve from behind the rider they had been pressed against. Numerous gunshots were firing after them as they borrowed through the bewildered company. All the riders lay low to miss the bullets being fired against the cloaked figure. Adelaide could feel Lawrence struggling to guide the warmblood from the crouched position in which he lay. Bullets were screeching as they passed by the horse’s heaving sides. Before them, at the company’s edge, the riders pressed nearer together. Lawrence kicked the warmblood’s sides. Through the riders they burst. Lawrence saw the horses fall with their riders. He lurched forward further so as to give the wind a passage over him as the horse took up speed in the same direction the company had been riding in. The company also sped up their pace and headed at an alarming pace toward the drowsy town.
     Faster did the warmblood race. Lawrence flung his hood aside and Adelaide lifted her head up as the walls came in view.
      “Sleepers wake! O you that slumber! Behold the dark-rise that approaches. Heed the voice that cries!” Lawrence shouted to the town’s watchmen. Before them the eastern gate opened and they were ushered in by the gate-wardens. Nodding to the wardens, Lawrence hurried the warmblood forward down the cobblestone road. It was an old medieval-structured town, and Lawrence hurried the horse down all the side streets shouting the same warning.
       Click, click, click briskly the horse sped up the olden road. Windows were opening and doors were swinging open on their hinges. Voices began to swell in number and soon many men started to flood into the streets. Women were, meanwhile, barring their windows and bolting their doors behind them. Adelaide saw some of the men head for the city walls. Others were running down small alleyways or saddling their horses. All the while the company grew. Soon they entered the center of the city. There Lawrence turned around his snorting steed. Before him lay men of all ages and rank. He sat erect and was breathing deeply.
      “The revolutionaries are coming and with them death. Defend now the dying embers of our country!” Lawrence cried. “To near they are already upon us, haste!”
      Now the newly gathered company dispersed. All were armed and wary. Lawrence turned the worn warmblood down a south-road: toward the threatened gate. As they rode briskly up the silent road, Lawrence fumbled furiously at the straps fastening his gun to the horse’s saddle. After loosening the buckles, Lawrence pulled out the long, polished rifle as they approached the silhouette of the gate. Pink and amber the sunrise glowed as the gate was secured; lazily the breeze blew while the rifles were checked; sleepily the shadows withdrew as the men rushed hither and thither.
      Lawrence leapt off of the horse and looked up.                                          
      “Adelaide, ride to the chapel; and may God hear your prayers,” he said.
      “God will not forget His loved ones,” she said as he took her in a firm embrace. “Nor will He abandon them,” she whispered as a tear fell. She closed her eyes as Lawrence tore himself away and threw her the reigns. Opening her eyes again, she looked up; he was gone.
 

Comments

you had....

you had to end right when it was getting exciting!

Bernadette | Sat, 03/05/2011

I still love this story. Your

I still love this story. Your writing style is so old and, for lack of a better word, romantic (but not in a romance sense if you know what I mean).

Anna | Fri, 03/11/2011

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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