The Keeper of My Soul--Always 6
by: Alex P.
Gabrielle's eyes fluttered open, she lay there on her pallet getting her bearings, and trying to figure out what had woke her up. She could see Rapa looking out the window towards the forest in the dim predawn light.
"Rapa," the still sleepy bard whispered. "What's wrong? What do you see?"
"I'm not sure your Highness," the dark thin warrior answered, "it looks like a large group of soldiers has just come out of the tree line, and they're heading this way, but they're coming in very quietly, and I can't
see why. They have no banners, or anything to announce who they are."
"Oh no," the now wide awake queen groaned. "We're too late, this is what Braxis was saying last night, but when he said in the morning, I thought we had more time."
She quickly swallowed back the panic she felt rising from her stomach, looking up at the lookout, trying to formulate her next course of action, when that decision was taken out of her hands.
"My Queen!" The scout at the window hissed loudly, "that army has cut us off from the Forest, and it looks like a huge fire over at the docks."
"Wake your sisters, NOW!" Gabrielle ordered as she leapt from her bedding, began dressing, and hunting for her weapons. "Move it Amazons, we're under attack, and we need to reach the city gates before they close
us out here."
The other Amazons were up, dressed, and were soon following their queen down the back stairs of the inn.
"Mallika, you take Tauria and Kala and release the horses, no sense making it easy for them." The three warriors followed her orders without comment as she continued, "Rapa, you and I must go back and at least try to warn the other guests and the innkeeper before we leave."
"My Queen" the tall thin Amazon called out as she followed her queen into the still unaware inn. "You should hurry and get behind the walls, we will follow as soon as we have carried out your orders. Please, your Highness, the regent would expect us to insist."
"Rapa," Gabrielle said over her shoulder without stopping. "what kind of queen would I be if every time there was danger I ran and hid, while my people stayed and fought. No, we'll do this together, and then we will all make a run for the city walls."
With a look of total adoration, the dark woman followed her Queen into the inn, knowing in her heart, she would gladly follow the short blonde in to Tartarus itself, without question. Before this only her friend Mallika had that distinction, now there was another she would gladly lay down her life for.
The two of them ran into the main room yelling at the top of their lungs.
"Everybody up!" they yelled in unison "there is an attack!" After the third yell the innkeeper came running out of the kitchen, his face and clothing covered in flour.
"What's all this noise woman!" the stocky man demanded of the two obviously demented women "Why are you trying to do? Ruin me by waking up all
my other guests!"
"We're trying to save their lives." Gabrielle yelled into the man's face "There's an unknown, unannounced army sneaking up on the city from the forest, and there's smoke coming from the docks, you figure it out! Come on, Rapa, let's get the others and get into the city. Maybe those people would appreciate our help."
"As you wish, my Queen," her escort returned with a bow, and an amused smirk at her feisty Queen's wit.
"What in Hades name does she mean "Queen?" the innkeeper asked in surprise.
But the woman in question was already out the door. Then it hit him, unannounced army, docks on fire, Queen!
"Everybody up!" the man began yelling as he ran through his inn pounding on the doors and walls "we're under attack!"
A sly smile crept across Rapa's lips when she heard the man's calls of alarm as she and her queen returned to the courtyard for the other three in their party.
Gabrielle cocked her head and listened for a moment.
<>Where's the alarm?<> she wondered <>I can already hear them, why isn't there an alarm?<>
"I don't like this," Gabrielle muttered then turned to her companions "Get into the city and look for the city guard or the alarm bell. Something's not right here and our best defense is inside those city walls. Now, move it ladies we're no longer just travelers now, we're Amazon warriors, so act like it, my scouts!"
When the five women entered, they split up. Kala, ran directly to where she had seen a guard post and alarm bell the day before. When she got there the question of no alarm was answered, both guards were dead, their throats slit.
There was blood everywhere and for a second Kala froze, she had seen dead before on the field of battle, but she'd never seen anyone murdered before and it bothered her.
She stared at the bodies for a few minutes, then remembered her Queen's instructions. The young warrior knew she must ruin the surprise of the attack, so as her Queen wanted, Kala found the rope leading to the large alarm bell and pulled it with everything she had.
All Tartarus broke loose as the huge bell rang out the warning in a loud clear voice. The young scout stayed at her post until the sounds of battle grew close, then she hurried out to join the fight and find her Queen.
She took off at a run to where she'd last seen Gabrielle, and her mate. When she turned a corner she found herself in the middle of about fifteen men; all armed, and not the city guard. Knowing from the smoke stained skin and clothes and the smell of burning wood that surrounded them, that this was part of the enemy force that had set fire to the docks.
Kala pulled her sword and dagger and fell back into a defensive stance. It was obvious that she was facing insurmountable odds, but determined to take as many of the enemy with her as she could, the young Amazon scout whispered a prayer to Artemis for strength, and to watch over her beloved, then charged the men that had her surrounded.
The young woman's ferocious attack took the men by surprise and before they could react, three of their number were on the dusty street dead or dying.
The well-trained warrior was a whirlwind of kicks, razor sharp steel, and death, as she continued to assault the soldiers. She was eventually forced by fatigue and several serious wounds to stop for a moment.
It was then that a huge man, his skin blackened by smoke, with streaks of
blood, that ran from several minor, but painful, wounds inflicted by the small, fierce woman, stepped up. Using his superior bulk and strength to batter down the exhausted woman's defenses. The two warriors looked at each other for a heartbeat, connecting on a level that only truly respected opponents knew, acknowledging their roles as victor and defeated.
The huge warrior looked deep into the Amazon's clear brown eyes and saw no fear there, he raised his sword slightly in a salute to a fellow warrior, then ran his massive broadsword all the way through her small body.
The wound was mortal but death was not immediate, and as the rest of the jackals that dared to call themselves warriors closed to take her down like a wounded animal, Kala heard a familiar voice screaming, "NO!"
She turned toward the sound and the last thing the young Amazon scout saw as she went down for the last time was the face of her lover frozen in horror.
With her last breath she called out to her mate.
"Good-bye love," the dying woman gasped. "I will wait for you on the other
With that, Kala fell to the ground. What happened to her now no longer mattered...Kala was gone.
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