Child of Darkness Chapter 8
“Oof!” I am suddenly without the support of Korin's shoulder as some unseen force knocks him to the ground. I did not see the dagger at Danielle’s waist until it is in her hand and she faces the form that already has Korin pinned to the ground. I can't see his face but he is dressed in the clothing of a man of Batnekor. How do I know that? There is no time to think much as I would like to. I store the thought away for later deliberation. Perhaps I will ask my memory about it. It seems to be all knowing. Korin is now grappling with the man who tackled him as Danielle tries finding a place to stick her dagger that won't hurt our friend. A sword falls to the dirt knocked out of someone's hands. Korin's or the stranger's I do not know. I have to do something. But the dizziness in my head and the throbbing all over me clouds my mind. Korin could get hurt. What can I do? But now, my pain doesn't matter. I forget about it even as I run and grab the sword. Everything is a blur I don't know what I am doing until I find myself holding the sword to the man's throat.
I am breathing hard as I say in a deadly whisper that surprises myself, “Release the guard now.” Slowly the tangle of Korin and my prisoner becomes just my prisoner and Korin takes his own sword which never left his sheath and sticks the point lightly on the man's gut. I release him but he can't move without being stuck like a pig. Danielle and I move to stand next to Korin so that each of us is staring into the man's frightened eyes. His face is mostly covered by a scarf and he wears a hat so that only his light blue eyes that go from face to face to face seeing our hard stares.
“First things first,” Danielle is the first to speak, “What is your name and why did you attack us?” He doesn't answer immediately.
“M’name’s Isaias . I saw ye carryin' sacks.” his voice is muffled by the scarf, “I ain't eaten for a while and I'm guessin' I just went crazy thinkin' that ye might be carryin' food and how I be needin it more than ya do and then...” he trails off shrugs. Danielle crosses her arms in front of her chest. I try to see if by looking at him, I can see whether there is truth in his simple words.
“Let's tie him up so Korin doesn't have to keep holding the sword to him.” I suggest and my companions nod in agreement. In a minute, Isaias is tied to a tree, his arms tight behind him and his feet stuck together. On an impulse, I reach out and pull off his hat revealing curly brown hair and pull down his scarf showing a scruff of hair resembling the kind of beard one might get from traveling for a week without seeing to that sort of thing. Those small movements seem to somehow take the strength I had for a few short minutes along with all that I've been storing up and I collapse against a tree. Even so, I feel like I'm in control more now that I can see our attacker's face and I think Danielle and Korin do to. “Why were you traveling without food?” I continue the interrogation trying not to let my companions see my struggle for breath.
“Because me’n me sister et up all we brought with us. We weren't thinkin' that we'd be travelin' so far when were leavin' our old home.” In an instant, Danielle and Korin are each are holding up their blades and looking around warily. If he has a sister, she could be just waiting to jump us exactly as her brother did.
“Sister?” I ask trying not to let Isaias see or hear the trepidation I feel.
“Annie! Come on out! They be seemin' like decent folks.”
I hear a female voice from somewhere above my head say, “They tied you to a tree and pointed swords at ye and now e be sayin’ that ‘they be seemin' like decent folks’ have ye gone mad I-Isaias?” I look in the direction her sarcastic tones came from but I see nothing.
“Annie, it was me that went about attackin’ them. So of course t’was only wise of them to point swords at me and tie me to a tree. Don’t ye think?”
“Alright fine, I’ll come out but if we both get killed, ye'll never hear the end of it.” I try to pinpoint her location by listening to her but I can't. She seems to be somewhere above us. Without warning, and from above our heads, a sad looking pack falls to the snow followed by a girl who lands lightly on top of it. Rising from a crouch, she takes a defiant stance facing Korin, her arms are crossed and her chin thrust forward. I cannot see her face. So I do not know what she looks like. Other than that she has very blond hair in one long braid down her back as apposed to her brother's dark brown curls. “Well now that ye be knowin' where I am, I suppose that ye'll be clampin' me in the figurative irons.”
“Not as long a ye-uh you promise to be good.” I say. She turns to glare at me and I am face to face with the most beautiful face I could ever imagine. She has snapping green eyes and lovely pink cheeks. She has long wonerful lashes and her red lips are perfect. Despite the fact that she is saying:
“Well ye're a nice mess. What gives ye the right to even promise me anythin'? I was doing just fine talkin' to the only authoritative lookin' figure in this whole group.” Danielle steps in front of Annie arms crossed just as defiantly.
“I'll have you know that you are talking to Prince Nathaniel Heir Apparent to the throne of Vangaardewen.”
“I'll have ye know that I don't care. Besides, I was thinkin' that there already was a ruler on the throne of Vangaardewen and that Vangaardewen is bein' called Gnalasa now.”
“From your accent and way of dressing I supposed you were part of the Batnekor citizenry and now I'm sure of it by the fact that you don't care who you're talking to. What are you doing in this country anyway?”
“Ask me brother.” Annie rolls her eyes and we all, including his sister, look to Isaias.