Into the ForestMature

" Now!" Seymour commanded them, bundling his disguise under one arm and taking each of his charges by the wrist.  "Run!"

They did their best, but neither of the humans had his legs quite about him.  They stumbled with every step, only kept on their feet by Seymour's strong grip.  It was clear that this method was not going to be as effective as he had hoped, so he abandoned his disguise on the ground and lifted Seoc, who was the smaller of the two, off of his feet and threw him across his shoulders.  Then, conscious of the gate-guards' shouted alarms, he seized Simon by the back of his belt and hauled him forward, running with all of his considerable Aechyed might.

He hazarded a brief backward glance.  From the mouth of the prison, a river of guards had begun to clatter forth, weapons held at the ready.  Seymour figured that they probably had a three-minutes' head start on the pikemen, but the archers could cause problems in the near-term.  This consideration gave him a second wind, and he surged forward despite the extra weight.  As he ran, arrows thudded into the ground around him, passing so close to his legs that he felt them fly by.  Jumping and dodging, he sprinted the final stretch of field and crashed through the underbrush of the forest.

Once they had gained temporary cover, he let go of Simon and leaned against a tree to catch his breath.  He would have put Seoc back down as well, but the young man had lost consciousness and lay limp, draped like a peculiar garment across the back of Seymour's neck.

After a moment's rest, Seymour took hold of Simon's wrist once more and set off at a brisk, wordless trot in the direction of the river.  They couldn't afford to waste any more time. 

Simon groaned, staggered a step, and collapsed on the forest floor, exhausted.

"Come.  We're nearly there."

"I don't feel well," Simon complained, looking up at him and pouting.

Seymour didn't have enough energy to be remotely sympathetic.  "You'll be feeling quite a bit worse if we let them catch up to us.  Move, dammit!"

With great effort, Simon picked himself off of the ground and plodded forward once more.  Seymour tugged at his arm to quicken his pace, judging by the sound of approaching footfalls and shouts that their pursuers had reached the forest.

"Come on, come on, come ON!" he urged his charge, yanking his arm nearly out of its socket.  "They're nearly here!"

Simon's only reply was to retch, spitting out the meager contents of his stomach over his shoulder.  Seymour didn't allow him to slow down, instead tightening his grip on his forearm and pressing the pace to a flat out dash.

Abruptly, the river came into view, and there was the mare Wyrinther awaiting them, fully saddled.  Seymour had expected her to be tied to a tree, but she stood there without a rope, apparently there by her own free will.  She let Seymour lift Simon astride her without complaint, and did not even seem to mind when the Aechyed joined the human, still with Seoc hanging about his shoulders, and nudged her into a gallop.

The End

19 comments about this story Feed