Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chapter 5: Highway Robbery (Mark I)

Caden rode Starlight for a while, then dismounted. "Would you like to rest for a while?" asked Caden.

"No thanks," Rilyn said. "I'm fine just walking."
"Come on." Caden handed him the reigns. "Your training routine this morning put us behind schedule. I don't want to stop for another break."
Rilyn stared at the horse.
"What are you waiting for?"
Rilyn grabbed the horse's mane and the saddle. He tried to pull himself up. The horse cried out and bit Rilyn on the arm. "Ow, you stupid beast!" He let go of Starlight and she trotted ahead 20 paces.
Caden fetched Starlight and walked her back. "What was that?" He looked at Rilyn rubbing his arm. "You would think you've never seen a horse."
"Actually, I haven't," Rilyn said. "We don't have them where I come from."
"Where are you from?"
"Doesn't matter. I can't return."
Caden stared at Rilyn rubbing his arm. "That's going to bruise, but it's better then if she had kicked you." Caden tied Starlight to a low tree branch. "Come here, I'll teach you some basics so you can play nice with the old girl."

Rilyn rode on Starlight, but didn't feel comfortable with the commands. So he just sat on her back while Caden led the horse on foot. Caden saw something dark moving in the woods. "You know," he said. "We need to be careful. If someone saw me leading your horse, they might think your royalty."
"Why? Nobles don't know how to ride either?"
Caden watched the dark movement. "I'm sure they do," he said. "But Sir Eric says that actual riding is considered below them. So they either ride in Carriages or have some one lead the horse on foot."
"In that case," said Rilyn. "I think I'll get off for now."
Caden stopped the horse. "That's a good idea." The dark shape in the forest stopped too. Caden helped Rilyn climb down. The horse snorted and stamped it's foot. "In fact, why don't we resume our training from earlier?"
"I thought you wanted keep moving?"
"I did." Caden looked Rilyn in the eyes. "But you can never be too careful."
Rilyn looked out the corner of his eyes. He nodded and moved his arms under his cloak. Caden untied the stone sword and let it drop. He bent over to pick it up.
Clink, clink! Rilyn had a curved sword out and deflected two daggers. The landed at Caden's feet. Caden knelt on the ground and rested the stone sword on his shoulder. He never saw a sword like Rilyn's before. It was six hands long and curved to form a half circle. It had a single edge on the inside curve. The outside was etched to resemble a ring of flames.
Caden watched the black shape move again. Laughter came from the woods, and three men came out. The each held up a black steel brush axe.
"I'm impressed you saw them," Rilyn said.
"I didn't." Caden watched the black shape. "I saw him."
Rilyn looked at where Caden was looking, but didn't see anyone.
"Looks like we have quite the pair here," said one of the men.
"They got lucky with the knives," said another. "But what are they planning on doing with a bent sword and stone log."
"This is a half sun blade," Rilyn said. "Pray the full sun never rises." He raised the blade over his head, and held it to the side. It looked like a sun rising over the horizon.
Caden looked at Rilyn, he stood up, keeping the stone sword propped on his shoulder. "I'll have you know," he said, "this sword is a Sacred Artifact of the Five Sages."
The three men rushed forward. Caden flipped his sword over his shoulder and crashed it into the lead man's sword arm. His arm shattered, bone splitting and protruding from the skin. Rilyn sidestepped the second man's attack and hit him in the throat with the inner curve of her blade. She pulled him off his feet and dropped him to the ground. He hit the ground dead. Blood gushed from the deep cut in his neck. Caden turned and spun the sword in a circle. He hit the third man in the knee. The man's knee gave out with a crunch. He fell to the ground, his leg bent in the wrong direction.
Caden lifted the stone sword in one hand, and pointed it into the woods. "Why don't you come out too."
The men with shattered bones screamed, vomited, and passed out.
Rilyn stared at Caden holding the massive sword so easily. He followed the sword's blade to where it pointed into the woods. He saw a man there, young, and extremely strong. But his eyes were sunken. The skin around his eyes were black, and had more wrinkles then anyone Rilyn had ever seen before. He smiled, his gums were black and purple, his tongue was swollen and gray.
"Impressive," he said. "I'll be looking forward to meeting you again." He backed away into the woods. Caden saw the darkness vanish like smoke.
"We should go after him," Rilyn said.
Caden turned his sword and grabbed the blade in his free hand. "I don't think we'll be able to catch him."
"I guess you weren't lying." Rilyn looked at the sword. "But a Sacred Artifact?"
"Well." Caden laughed. He let go of the blade and rubbed his head. "I did find it in the crypt of a temple."
Rilyn giggled. Caden looked at Rilyn, his laugh sounded very girly.
Caden dropped the stone sword and grabbed his arm. "Ow!"
"What's wrong?"
"I don't know," Caden said. "The sword just got too heavy." Caden lifted his arm. "Ow, I think I pulled my shoulder."