Howdy! I’m taking a quick break from studying for finals to work up the post for this week’s #BlogBattle hosted by Rachael Ritchey. The rules are simple. Every week she posts a word and you write a short story themed around the word or at least mentioning it. So, here’s my go at this week’s word; Madness.
The dusty plateau echoed with the sounds of restless men and horses. Feet shifted away from tendrils of dust and horses nickered nervously as the hot breath of the wind teased their manes. Chariots creaked as drivers strove to calm the animals and their own pounding hearts. Every eye was trained across the expanse to where the Mage’s army waited. Thin sand dervishes swirled slowly in front of the enemy lines, each one containing a lesser mage.
A young cavalry rider brushed grit from his sable skin. He’d never known that those innocent grains could cause so much fear inside a man.
“This is madness,” he whispered as he stared at the display of power. An older warrior heard him.
“Madness it might be, but what Akramen orders, we obey,” the man said, but the younger could see the same fear inside him. He turned to look at their army. Ranks of spear wielding foot soldiers waited behind the lines of cavalry, their bronze cuirasses glinting in the sun. His sabre hung heavy on his hip as he took in the long line of chariots before them. The driver of the center chariot waited calmly, the red horse tail on his helmet tossing in the breeze; Akramen’s brother and faithful general. He tried to take some courage from the figure, knowing it would not be long now.
A cheer was forced from the army as Akramen himself galloped up with his guard. He reigned in and his black horse reared in a display of power and agility. They turned and Akramen looked upon his enemy. The man with no name. The man called they called the Mage. He had brought his destruction upon the land, choking the very life from it with his dust storms and the army that came behind. And here Akramen was. Leader of the last army of the last little kingdom in a vast continent that had fallen to the Mage. He could hear the whispers behind him. Madness, they said. Was it madness to stay and fight? Perhaps. But he had never really been sane since his wife was murdered at the hands of the Mage. Here they were. Alone. Betrayed by allies and abandoned to their fate. They could become heroes or join the nameless who had fallen before the Mage. Sweat beaded his dark skin as he drew his sabre. His brother nodded and gathered up the lines, teasing the bit in his stallion’s mouth. The chariots would go first and perhaps in their charge could take out some of the lesser magicians, clearing the way for the cavalry and then the foot soldiers.
Akramen had no words to say. The searing wind would have carried them away anyway. He simply let his sabre rise and fall. The chariots rolled forward and gained speed, their armored wheels flashing in the sun. Akramen raised his sword again. A few dervishes had fallen and crumbled to dust but his gaze was set to the massive funnel cloud swirling beyond. There was the Mage. He hid behind his power in the slowly rotating column of dust. That was Akramen’s mission. His sword flashed down again. The wind buffeted him mercilessly as he charged across the plateau. The black horse tail on his helmet floated in his speed and he could hear the drumming of hooves and feet behind him. A cry of anger and hatred ripped from his throat as he charged forward into the storm.
Hope you enjoyed! It’s one of those pieces where I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I just hope Akramen wins and the young rider finds his courage. And his brother seems pretty cool. I’ll stop rambling now. Hope everyone has a good Tuesday! I’ll just be over here taking a Cardiopulmonary Practice Patterns final and studying for my Neuroscience final tomorrow. On the bright side 3/6 finals completed today! Halfway done…*sobs quietly*