2- The Village Festival, Part 5

“There is... something... interesting about you”. He sniffed the air. “What... are you?” Nanor appeared beside Markus.

“Don’t you think you’ve taken enough people already?” The cloaked man turned his stare on Nanor.

“Stay out of this old man”. He turned back to Markus, ready to tap him on the shoulder, then his head snapped back to Nanor. He hissed and pulled out his sword. “Kill them all. They have been hiding this fugitive”.

The villagers recoiled. Markus took a step back.

Nanor drew a sword from within his own cloak. “I am afraid I cannot allow you to harm anyone here, Miro”.

“What can you do, Ronan? You are one man”.

He swung his sword and Nanor’s blade met it mid swing. Sparks flew from the meeting point of the two blades. The villagers scattered. Markus watched the battle unfold before him. Nanor was outnumbered. The soldiers were moving to help Miro. The wolf stabbed its horn through a villager, and went on to savage his body. Markus made a split second decision. He ran home, Salla close on his heels. He burst through the door, grabbed his knife, sword, bow and spear. He returned downstairs to find Salla waiting.

“Salla, wait here, I have to go fight. Wait for me to come back”.

“No, Markus. I don’t want to wait while you and everyone else is out there. I couldn’t bear not knowing”.

“Please stay Salla”, he kissed her and ran out the door. He returned to the square. The soldiers were fighting the villagers. They obviously had the same idea as him. Sed ran into the square on the opposite side, his bow at the ready, a knife strapped to his side. Sed loosed and arrow, as Markus launched his spear at a nearby soldier. Both found their targets, and instantly killed them. Markus launched himself into the fray.

He fought off one soldier, and then found himself face to face with the horned wolf. It snarled, blood dripping off its rows of sharp teeth. He blocked out his sudden fear. He took out his sword, and readied himself. The wolf lunged at him. He sidestepped and slashed at its side. He didn’t do much damage, only making a small cut. Another villager tried to hit the wolf, but the beast just tore his leg off with one bite and turned back to Markus. The beast came toward him again. It leapt through the air, and clawed at his left arm. He felt the claws dig into his flesh. Blood sprouted from the wound. He cried out in pain. The wolf knocked him over and pinned him to the ground with one paw.  His sword lay a few feet away. It snarled in his face, saliva dripping all over him. The wolf leaned down to bite out his throat. Markus grabbed his knife from his side, and stabbed it into the creature’s neck. The wolf recoiled. Markus got to his feet, grabbed his sword and brought it crashing down on the wolf’s neck. The sword bit into the skin. He brought it crashing down again, severing the head. He panted, and then checked his bleeding arm. The cut wasn’t as deep as he originally thought, but he was losing a lot of blood. A blade whipped in from Markus’ peripheral vision and he ducked low to avoid it. The sword edge shaved a few strands of hair from the top of his head as it passed. He lunged forward with his own blade, sinking it into the soldier’s stomach. Looking about, Markus saw some of his fellow villagers engaged in brawls with the soldiers. Master Amathorn was beating one of them over the head with a large club. Markus ran over to him.

“Are all of the men out here fighting?”                                                          

“All except that cowardly butcher; he has locked himself away in his shop rather than defend his village”.

“We must drive them out, and soon, before they destroy everything”.

“Indeed we must”. They both looked up at that moment, to see the roofs surrounding the square go up in flames. The soldiers had torched them. The houses were beginning to burn.

The End

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