Fresh Meat, Part 5

Ergin’s ax swung in wide arcing loops. Once the momentum was there, it functioned almost as well as having a shield so long as he didn’t find himself surrounded. His arms grew tired with the effort of maintaining the momentum. Two of the savages attempted to circle around him. They dodged back every time the heavy head of the ax loped near them. He placed his steps with care bringing him closer to the more brazen young warrior. A wet thunk sounded as the sharpened blade made contact with the man’s wrist, severing the hand that held the the short knives the natives all favored.

Ergin ignored the man as soon as he fell to his knees gripping the bloody stump. He focused his attention on the other young warrior who seemed stunned by the vicious strike his fellow soldier had received. Ergin seized the presented opportunity. He knew hesitation would make him dead. The ax bit into the other warriors chest cracking the ribs. Ergin swung his foot up and pushed off the dead body. He scanned the fracas before him. He kept his ax ready but took the respite to catch his breath.

He cursed himself for coming back to the battle he knew was coming. He could have been sleeping restlessly well away from the bloodshed he was now a part of. He spotted one of the larger warriors, older by the look, lashing out at two of the young soldiers of the King’s army with the razor sharp knife. Ergin appraised him as the ring leader. “Cut off the head…” he muttered to himself. Hefting his ax, he started a slow trot to the apparent leader of this band of skirmishers.

He covered half the ground before the world rushed up to greet him. Ergin’s head throbbed. His vision blurred. He blinked and fought through the fuzz and pain in his head. He realized there was one of the young warriors sitting astride him repeatedly slashing a knife at his chest. His chain shirt absorbed the brunt of the damage. He wagered there’d be some nasty bruising. He came to his sense and swung the haft of the ax to knock the young man off his chest. They both rose to their feet. Ergin respected the young man. He hadn’t backed off in fear of the blade of the weapon. He shifted his grip higher up the weapon. He knew it would not be as effective in close combat but it was better than nothing.

The young man charged again. Ergin sidestepped and smacked him with the butt of the ax. The warrior wheeled around immediately and lashed out with his blade. The edge caught Ergin’s forearm. The blood soaked into his shirtsleeve. Exhaustion from his earlier exertions weighed Ergin down. He struck at the warrior with his blade. The man dodged, opening some distance between them. Ergin adjusted his grip on the ax once more. He began to swing it in its butterfly arcs. The young warrior realized his mistake a moment too late. Ergin moved forward, intent on ending the encounter.  He felt a blade pierce through the back of his chain. It slid between his ribs. He gasped raggedly as it punctured his lung. The ax fell from his grip.

He looked around. Panic lit his eyes as he saw the rest of the segment of the king’s army falling around him. The warrior who had sneaked up behind him released him and he dropped to the ground. His breathing grew shallower. Ergin closed his eyes and pictured the noodle shop.

Apropos of: Arathania


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