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Old 07-09-2006, 06:09 PM   #53
Nogrod
Flame of the Ainulindalë
 
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Hadith

Hadith was walking as an advanced guard as the plains transformed suddenly to a sparse thicket and then a forest appeared from nowhere. He took his long-knife and continued, hacking the vegetation down as he proceeded, even as others were calling him to come back in fear. Someone would have to do this and I will surely show them that I can brave it! The wood thickened with every step and the air grew damper. He was sweating. It was getting darker too, even though it was still daylight hours. But then in a flash, he was in the middle of the night, armed with just his self-made knife that was no good at all. He heard his heart bumbing ever faster. There was a howl of the wolves, loud and clear! They were coming towards him from a wide sector from before him. He didn’t know where to focus his attention as they seemed to come from both left and right and from straight ahead...

“Beloan!” he called the older man to his help in his sleep with all his might, just to realise that a great hound leapt over him and that he had become entangled with his blanket. He was more than awake now. The dogs were rushing over them, one was gripping a young girl from her side with its teeth just a few yards away from him. The girl yelled in pain. He managed to free himself from the sweaty blanket and tried to disentangle the cords of his long-knife, but as it was dark and he was nervous, it took its time. Meanwhile he heard the girl’s initial yell dying into a merely quiet moaning with occasional shrieks. How frustrated can you get!? Everything seemed to be on the move around him: shouts, cries, rushing footsteps...

And then came the riders. He could hear the earth responding to the hooves of the horses, shaking it under his butt. Blasted cords!

In the end he managed to release his blade and to stand up. A rider was just coming towards him with his sword ready for any target of opportunity. Without thinking, by pure instinct, Hadith docked down and evaded the rider unharmed. A long-knife against a swordsman on a horse. He had done well to yield. Now where is the girl who yelled? he thought to himself as he crawled up. He immediately noticed where. Her body lied motionless just three feet from him and the great easterling hound was looking at him, it’s muzzle smeared in blood. It gazed him with its ears and tail put back. In a fraction of a second it was on him.

Hadith had had time to just lift the blade towards it to defend himself as the dog came over him with all it’s mass. Hadith felt a strike of claws on his left shoulder and right forehead but managed to control the pain. The dog’s fangs missed him. It howled in anguish. Something warm spluttered over him as the dog’s weight overpowered him and sent him falling to his back. He got some bruises to his thighs from the claws of the dying dog that tackled him and his back ached from the fall. Hadith fastly pushed the still trembling body of the hound away and ran over to see the girl. She was dead. Or so it seemed.

Dratted cords! He was breathing heavily and full of excitement, smeared in the dog’s blood, dripping his own to mix with it from his forehead and shoulder. But he was quite ready to go on, his wounds were not bad enough. It was just that there were no targets for him to reach at sight. The riders were creating havoc too far away and even the dogs had disappeared to the darkness of the night – even though their sudden barks made an indication where they were. They were too far away from Hadith. All was chaos, and blood kept dripping from his forehead into his eye. He tried to sweep it away but it always came back.

Then he heard the riders thundering back, the dogs coming in front of them with their heavy panting. The rumble of the hooves were as scary this time, but now Hadith had time to prepare himself for it. The dogs emerged first from the darkness to his field of vision. Not one coming straight to him but passing him by a couple of yards. But then he saw the rider. Fully clad in armour, a real soldier to Hadith’s eyes, and he was just coming towards him, noticing him. He's got a lance! A drop of blood blinded his right eye. Happily the easterling also noticed Hadith at the last possible moment.

Hadith just dived again, escaping just narrowly the tip of the lance. After he had rolled around on the ground to evade the spear, he got a whim he didn’t exactly know where it came. Hadith threw his blade to the easterling’s back as he passed him and the Easterling fell to the ground. Before he could come to his feet he saw other slaves coming from all around, from nowhere where they had been hiding, hacking the fallen Easterling with anything they got: clubs, pans, sticks...

One of them, Fewerth, claimed Hadith’s blade to himself as the Easterling was killed, but Hadith had been strong enough to rise up and meet the ring of slaves around the mutilated body of the Easterling. His shoulder and forehead were still running with blood, even more than before. Seeing his wounds, most of the other slaves withdrew, leaving Hadith and Fewerth looking each other in the eye over the body of the Easterling that had been clubbed into a cruel death. Hadith knew Fewerth well enough. He was a thirty something, some fifteen years older than he was; one of those who never took risks but were always ready to take advantages from the risks others had taken.

“Hadith, you little brat! What are you doing here? This is my blade! Get off here! I gave this foul mongrel the initial blow!” Fewerth called with a loud voice, trying to assure the others of his claim. Hadith tried to argue back but was losing blood too rapidly to counter his argument with any strengtht.

“No! That blade is mine, given to me by Khamir himself!” Hadith managed to answer before he fell down to his knees. Fewerth grasped the long-knife from the body and took it with him. Many of the other slaves rushed to help Hadith who was tumbling down, while a few others stood by trying not to involve themselves with the case at hand.

“You see! Who would give a weapon to a kid like that who can’t even stand blood? I killed this guy!” Fewerth bellowed before disappearing to the shadows of the overall disarray.

“That’s mine! He failed the tests! He’s lying!” Hadith managed to call before he almost passed out. Happily Khala and Cuáran were near enough. They helped the couple of other slaves to bind his wounds and managed to put Hadith in to an upright position, waking him up with some water to come conscious of the familiar voices. “Khala? Cuáran?” he came to his senses gradually again. “Fewerth took the blade that was given to me! I tried my best!”

“Cool down child, everything’s going to be put right” Khala said, not herself believing a part of what she said in the middle of the havoc they were into, trying to soothe the young boy. But the voices of the horses and the cries were getting more distant with every minute.

Last edited by Nogrod; 07-09-2006 at 10:23 PM.
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