The bruised, bloodied and dejected army, or the handful that remained, stood on each side as she walked. Some stepped further back, others bowed in defeat, but all knew luck smiled upon them. They were the spared.
Their fallen commander, a man who knew only victory throughout his military life, now knew only his supine fate as the gray sky above looked down upon him. He quivered from both air and snow as he moaned in pain pressing the white flag of surrender to where his eye formerly rested. His remaining arm mustering enough strength to keep the bleeding at bay but only in vain. Closer was the sound of her armored boots until both feet were to either side of his torso. Looking past the hot red liquid blinding his good eye and shaking off the sudden eclipse, he saw only a silhouette to where a face should have been. The sun’s appearance didn’t matter; this land was as cold as death no matter the time of day or year.
She dug her sword into the ground sharply as she took a knee over the fallen and startled soldier in silence. She looked over his state as he spat bloodied defiance onto her chest plate. It flowed throughout the outline of the armor’s crest before dripping off and onto his obsolete chainmail. The dissatisfaction of the large snow leopard beast made apparent by its sudden growl and breath upon his face. The beast pulled back as she stood gripping her sword. She pulled it from the earth and placed the tip over the commander’s jugular; pressing enough to cause discomfort but not enough to draw any further blood. Before he could finish his cursing of the wretched witch, the blade’s entry forced him to gurgle his last words as the blood shot upwards until he fell silent.
Slowly removed and stained, she commanded one of the spared men to take and clean her sword. A shaken volunteer took the weapon to do so without hesitation.
She called to Seith and the beast snow leopard followed. The men bowed after her proclamation that S’Erun was still hers. As she walked away, she flicked her hand in the air and the men behind her cried and screamed as the snow leopard beast ripped them apart. They weren’t loyal to their commander and would not be loyal to her.
Copyright © Ric Santos 2019.
Published in 2019 by Tablo Publishing.
All rights reserved.
This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.