Day 47

Prompt: Write an entry about something that you can’t throw away.

 

I test the ash from the firepit between my fingers; they had about half a day on me. If we make good time, we could catch them by nightfall. I nod to Uriel, and he smiles grimly. There will be blood tonight.

I pat Brege on the neck before climbing into his saddle, nudging him into an easy canter. The raiders’ horses have heavy tracks as we race down the path; they’re getting tired. Not like Brege and Aimar. Elven horses are made for long journeys, just like their warrior riders. We ride hard, gaining on them, their tracks growing fresher with each passing hour. Dusk falls, turning slowly to night, and we stop the horses near a creek.

“Dar,” I whisper to the horses, patting them.

Brege shakes his head and drinks from the stream, content to wait here for our return. Uriel and I fade into the forest, lithe shadows slipping from tree to tree, working out way toward the fire ahead. We avoid the lookout easily, his clumsy eyes sliding right past the magical shadows we’re enveloped in. Uriel takes him down with an arrow to the throat, a wet gurgle his last sign.

The raiders sit around a crackling fire, strips of meat roasting as they drink and laugh. There are 6 of them, plus the lookout, enough that I’m sure raiding our small town was no problem. Unfortunately for them, Uriel and I live there. Elven outcasts can be found all over the country. Elven warrior outcasts are a rarer breed.

Uriel nods once, holding up his index and middle finger on his left hand. He’ll take the three raiders on the left. I slip into the shadows, silently readying my bow and three arrows. The earring in my right ear burns for a moment, indicating that Uriel is ready. Three, two, one.

My first arrow hits the man to the right of the leader, burying in his throat. Before the raiders can react, my second arrow buries itself in the heart of the man to the leader’s left. I pause, letting the leader panic, letting Uriel take down his last man, savoring the fear I see in his eyes. My third arrow buries itself in his chest, leaving him alive long enough to grip the shaft weakly as we step into the light of the campfire.

We stand side by side, watching the light fade from his eyes, silent and swift in our judgment. Uriel busies himself with retrieving what arrows he can. I begin collecting the items stolen from our fellow villagers. Outcasts we may be, but home is home, and we protect our own. When we’ve finished loading the raiders’ horses with the valuables stolen, Uriel retrieves the lookout’s body.

Before we stack the raiders’ corpses, I kneel over the leader, sliding my father’s signet ring off his hand. For a brief moment, I pity him. How was he to know this was the signet of an elven lord that lives thousands of miles west of this backwater town? I light the bodies, the magical flames ensuring the forest will not be harmed.

We string the raiders’ horses together, walking back to Brege and Aimar. It takes us the rest of the night and the better part of the next day to make it back to the town. The villagers greet us with cheers, a far different greeting than the one we got on our first arrival. The horses are divvied up amongst the villagers, each family grateful for another set of hooves to work the fields. A small feast is prepared, the celebrations lasting long after Uriel and I beg off.

I send Uriel to bed, smiling as he kisses my head. 350 years together and his affection has never waivered. I stare into the fire, twirling my father’s signet ring and remembering. Maybe it’s time we talked again.

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