Taisie pointed ahead and to the left. “There is a narrow bridge we must cross. It should not dangerous at this time but when the storms cycle through the river rages and often flows violently over the bridge. I will cross first to be certain it is safe and stable. Then you and Minerva cross together.”
“Okay,” Stanton said and wondered if anyone native to the ring world used that word. He grinned and shook his head.
Several minutes later they reached to bridge. It looked like an oldtime earth covered bridge like he seen during ancient history classes and on old time vids.
The warrior crossed with no problems. Stanton rode alongside his girl and they too crossed trouble free.
It was the first arrow that glanced off Taisie’s armor that alerted them to problems. Taisie quickly donned her helmet, swung off her horse, tied its reins to a post just into the covered bridge where Stanton had guided his daughter to keep her out of the line of fire.
He too dismounted, but was without a weapon again.
Have to change this,” he thought angrily.
Taisie slid her sword out and handed it hilt first to Stanton. “Stay with Minerva. You and she are gifted and neither of you can be lost if Attrea is to succeed.”
He frowned as he head tilted slightly wondering how he was gifted then asked, “You know Attrea?”
“Everyone knows her.” Taisie waved him off and strode to the end of the bridge. Arrows flew in waves, but none penetrated her armor. However, Stanton was certain that would change. He worked his way as close to her as possible and saw three huge men walking in her direction.
He passed her the sword when her last arrow did nothing to slow them down. When she glanced at him he saw in her eyes a look of violent determination and a touch of serious concern.
Her hand wrapped the hilt and she stepped out to confront these new enemies.
Stanton desperate to help saw a pyramid shaped mound of rocks all larger than his fist. He grabbed two, stood and took careful aim, threw one a hard as possible and felt a stab of satisfaction when the rock crashed into the head of the man on the left. Blood sprayed the air and he dropped as if dead.
Taisie engaged the leader who had drawn his own sword. Hers was a bit longer but he had weight advantage. Each blow shook her, but she countered swiftly. They were so seriously engaged in personal battle so the last of the three men was momentarily forgotten by Taisie, but not Stanton.
He grabbed two sharp edge rocks, and stepped into the open where the last of the three might see him. The first rock hit the man square on the chin, staggering him but not ending the fight.
Now he ran at Stanton with a short sword raised overhead. Stanton shifted mentally into assassin, waited, allowing his enemy to think he was frightened and incapable of moving. As the adversary raised his sword even higher, Stanton dove at him, using the rock as a club, striking the man’s head several times. Blood coated his hands and arms before he succeeded. As the man fell to his knees he swung the short sword. It whistled past Stanton’s head, glanced off his shoulder and dropped to the ground with a metallic clang.
Fortunately for Stanton there was little strength in the blow. If not he knew he would’ve lost his arm. Instead he felt his own blood flowing down his arm, but knew that would need to wait.
Taisie was fighting for her life, and Stanton knew she was weakening. He scooped up the short sword and when she looked to see what moved, he tossed it to her hilt first. She caught it and with one last powerful thrust, drove the blade under her enemy’s ribs. She jammed it hard and twisted it ferociously letting her rage and possibly fear get needed release as she ended the battle.
Her enemy was dead before he began to fall. She stepped back and kicked him hard enough to drive him off the narrow dirt roadway and into the river.
Stanton saw her swaying and quickly helped her sit. Then he recalled Minerva. She was not on her horse. In the distance he head footsteps running across the bridge. He ran and quickly saw her heading back the Druids.
“Minerva,” he shouted. She slowed enough for him to catch up to her. “Stop please, everything is fine now. You’re safe.”
She stopped and turned to him. The fear on her face staggered him emotionally. He dropped to his knees and held out his arms. It took her a second or two, but the she ran to him and he wrapped her in the safety he could offer then.