This weeks prompt for Wicked Wednesday was hidden. I am pleased that the continuation of the story has a little of that in it. So without out further delay I give you part 3 of the Shade line.
The patrol found the scene, even they were taken back by the unbelievable sight. Armor and weapons were strewn across the ground and in the trees. Bones stripped to a bleach white color all that remained of the men who had once rode this way. A standard broken and muddied, the red splatters the only remnants of the brave blood that flowed in the hearts of the men.
Near a big tree skulls lines the base. Some intact others broken, but each peering back at the patrol riders as if death was hiding behind the tree waiting for them. The horses pawed the ground and stomped restlessly, setting the men on edge. As a rider dismounted the youth appeared before them. His sudden appearance game them all a start. One of the horses reared and upending its rider who landed in a bush. His scream of pain sent a chill amongst the rest. He staggered out of the bush; a sword shimmered in the light as it protruded from his shoulder.
The youth walked up to the wounded man and without a word pulled the blade from him. The rider fell to his knees holding his bleeding shoulder as the youth held the now crimson stained blade.
“Tell your Lord we appreciate his gift that he sent yesterday. We were beginning to worry that man had forgotten their promise to us.”
The men now pulled their horses back from the youth. Watching him with a wary eye as they companion staggered toward his horse.
“Who are you?” asked the leader of the patrol as the rest of the men murmured
“I am but a simple messenger from my master, the Lord of the dark woods. As I said before my Lord offers his gratitude for the gift of flesh and blood that was sent to us yesterday. I especially had a fondness for the fire haired one. She has a lot of spirit. If you would be so kind as to ride back and thank your lord for us, we will be willing to spare you lives.”
The men looked at one another as the leader pondered for a moment. He was perplexed by the words he was hearing and the quandary before him now. Who would dare bring news to the king that his daughter and her entourage had been taken with no proof.
“Little sir, might I have proof that what you say is true? Our lord is not as understanding as you might think, he will need to know for sure it is as you say it is.”
A smile crossed the youth’s face as he moved his hand in the air. A moment later a tattered piece of the dress the princess had been wearing appeared. Lifting it, a breath then carried it to the mounted rider, it floated and danced till it reached him. The rider knew what he was faced against and bowed best he could from his horse. He had heard tales of powerful beings in the woods, ones that expected payment for allowing man to live in peace.
“I will tell him and I thank you for your generous offer.”
As they turned the leader kicked his horse in the flanks riding like all the evils of the world were chasing him till the castle was in view. The gate keeps yelled out for them to identify themselves, they were all winded from the hard ride and an answer came too late as the arrows from the keep wall took them from their horses and pinned them to the ground.
The gate keepers came out and found the shred of the princess garment still clutched in the dead man’s hand. Another nearby gurgling in death as the only words they could understand were shade’s payment. Of course they had no idea and instead told the king that the men had been attacked by the same force that took his daughter in hopes to spare their own lives from their error.
Moments later an order for war was declared on whoever had taken his daughter. He swore that the fiends that had her would pay with their lives. The great hall now alive with men suiting up for battle as the last piece of truth that could have saved them had expired in the courtyard.
That evening the army came to the edge of the woods. Setting camp at the wood line they readied themselves for the battle that would happen tomorrow. Horses pranced on at the edge of the camp as men sat around fires and boasted of their great strength and fearlessness. They didn’t notice that the shadows seemed to multiply around them in the fading light.
For now the Shades stayed hidden, waiting till the moon rose so that the men would know that all their boasts we in vein. They would know fear before morning, they would feel the strength run from their flesh. The worms went to task and churned the earth at the edge of camp, soon it would be time and the forced of men would pay for their insolence.
Come and see more of who is being evil for