An Ancient Enemy by Thorensen Olan

An Ancient Enemy by Thorensen Olan

Author:Thorensen, Olan
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 2020-09-04T16:00:00+00:00


The cacophony overwhelmed his ears. Cries of pain and shouts of Jakapar defiance came from both sides and behind him. Utterances of pain and unintelligible howls washed over him from his front. Shields banging against shields, metal against metal, metal against shield, the stamping of feet. Above it all, incongruous though it was, his pulse reverberated in his ears.

He staggered as an axe bit through his shield, the top edge missing by inches his arm holding the weight. He felt Gimon to his left thrust at something, and the axe blade jerked away, tugging on his shield and threatening to take him with it before someone grabbed his belt from behind.

When they’d taken their positions, Joso thought he recognized the men behind them in the second and third lines. The hand released his belt, and it dawned on him that Gimon had surrounded them with Lacharmad retainers. It was comforting and daunting at the same time. The men had orders to protect him if possible, but they would tell tales of his behavior if he and they survived.

A sword blade searched for human flesh and slipped past the edge of his shield. It failed to find its objective. Because of the thrust’s force and the press of bodies behind the owner, a hand and a hilt were momentarily caught between the shields of Joso and the man to his right.

Joso instinctively rotated his shield a few inches away from the hand and thrust his short sword at where the creature’s stomach should be. He felt an impact on something not metal or a shield, and the enemy sword jerked back. Something fell against the bottom of his shield. A body?

A sword stabbed forward over his shoulder from behind. When it pulled back, Joso caught a glimpse of blood on the blade.

So, Dakamash blood is the same color as ours, passed through his mind. One of the myths was their blood was blue, proof of their origin in the deeps of the underworld. Did the color of their blood mean the legends were wrong about the creatures’ origins? If wrong about that, what else might they be wrong about? The questions could wait for another time, as the man to his right took a spear point to his throat. Before he fell, the man behind him pulled him back and took his place. Joso didn’t need to look to know the wounded or dead man would be passed to stretcher-bearers.

A blow to his shield pushed it back against his helmet, tilting it over his eyes. A hand, maybe the same one that had saved him earlier, jerked it back down. He kept thrusting as trained—over and over, seldom with a known target in front of him. The importance was not to stop. Most of the time, his sword met only air or something hard—a shield, a weapon, or armor. Twice, his blade met something less firm—and one of those times a scream followed.

He became fixated on not stopping. Hold his footing. Keep thrusting.


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