A False Allegation
Rork slams the gate to the prisoner's carriage and steps away. He tosses the key to the supporting guard command. "Now off you go! Get her out of my sight." Rork turns away and spits out a stem from something he was chewing on.
His over bearing stature brings fear into the surrounding guards. They respond in quick haste to his words. The commander of the guards places the key in his satchel and says, "Alright men, you heard him, lets get a move on. It is going to be three days till we reach the top. Lets waste no time."
The commander then reaches back into his satchel and removes a flower. A dark red flower with specks of black on the petals. He takes the flower and begins to chew on it for a moment before spitting out the stem.
"Don't forget your Wizards Bloom, it'll help you stay awake." The commander says as he wipes his lips of any residue from the flower.
The rest of the men heed his command and they too chew on the flower and spit out the stem. The men then gather up their equipment and guide the carriage up the hill. As they start their journey the woman in the locked cage wakes up.
She comes to with confusion but is not startled. Her hair is long, black, and unkempt. Her face is covered in grime and her teeth are tinted yellow from forced lack of care. Her eyes, hazel, jolt with intention to take in her surroundings.
She then slowly gets up from her belly but quickly finds her arrangement only allows her to rest upon her knees. She remains silent as she looks around.
One of the guards walking beside the cage see's she is awake. He looks at her with a gentle appearance of caution. He grips the handle of his sword that lays rested in its sheath and says,
"She's awake, the witch is awake!"
The rest of the guards look upon the cage hearing his voice. The guards all respond the same, they hold to their swords and eye with caution. The guard guiding the horses turns from his seat and looks behind him. The woman looks to him with a piercing gaze dipped in a haunting grin. He quickly shifts his weight away from her as much as he can and returns to guiding the horses.
The rest of the men, except the one that saw her wake first, remains steadied to their approach of the mountain path. The guard that saw her wake up, approaches the cage and says,
"What you gonna do now witch lady, we've got you locked up. Can't cast a spell behind these led bars."
It has been said that led hinders the passing of magic.
The woman then lunges forward at the guard and grips the bars of the cage and replies, "Of course I can't cast a spell, I'm not a damn witch." She then sits back down to the corner furthest from the guard. The guard rocks back from the woman and stumbles for a moment. The guard behind him laughs and mocks his reaction.
The guard scoffs off the woman and the guard behind him and focuses back on the path ahead. The woman closes her eyes and begins to pray. The guard at the rear of the cage sees her praying and becomes frightened. He pulls his sword from his sheath and says,
"She's trying to cast a spell!"
The surrounding guards look, the one the woman scared earlier rushes up to the cage, pulls out a dulled edged metal rod from his side and jabs it into the woman's ribs. The woman reacts with pain and instantly covers her ribs.
The guard puts back the rod, "That's what you get for trying to pull a fast one, you filthy witch."
The woman postures with rage and yells out, " I am not a witch, damn it!" She falls back into the cage and huddles herself by pulling her legs up to her chest.
The guards laugh and one says, "We've seen what you can do, you had two of our men kill each other last night."
The woman remains silent and stares off into the far distance, watching the view slowly fade. The air starts to become colder the further they climb up the path. The woman begins to shiver, everyone's breath becomes a constant cloud.
After a day of climbing they set camp just as the sun sets. The woman still shivering, asks the guard that guides the horse if she can have something to keep her warm. The guard, standing alone guarding the woman as the rest of the men set up camp and relieve themselves of their feet, turns and looks to her.
"I can't, even if I could I wouldn't, you're a witch."
The woman looks to him with sad eyes, "But I am no witch and even if I was, what harm is there in giving something to cover my cold body?"
The guard becomes somewhat sympathetic to the woman, "Alright, I'll see what I can find."
The guard walks to the front of the carriage and looks into a trunk that is tied down just under the guides seat. He opens it and finds a small tattered blanket. He removes it, walks up to the cage and presses it between the bars.
The woman quickly grabs it and covers herself. The guard then looks at her with stern eyes and says, "If anyone comes by, you sit on that and cover it up. If they find I gave that to you, they will surely make me regret it."
The woman nods with a slight smile. Shivering she begins to pray to herself. The guard looks the other way, he watches the rest of the guards sitting around the fire eating more of the Wizards Bloom. After some time another guard switches out with him.
The woman quickly places the blanket under her. The darkness of the night hides the blanket well in the shadows. The new guard looks to her with arrogance, "Ha, look at the poor old witch, she's so cold." He then smacks the cage with the handle of his sword. The woman leaps slightly with fright and the guard laughs and then attends to his over-watch.
The guard he replaced, goes to rest while the rest continue around the fire, laughing, and eating. After about two hours the woman falls asleep. A few hours later, she wakes up, she see's there is no guard by the cage and decides to cover herself with the blanket again.
After she covers herself she hears what sounds like arguing over by the fire. It is, the guards are fighting among each other, except the one that had watched the woman on the first shift. They were shoving each other as the only calm one tries to break it up.
But one of the infuriated guards hits him across the jaw and knocks him out. Now five guards are fighting among each other. The flames of the fire become fanned by the wild commotion of the guards. A few step into the fire, kicking hot coals into the brush near by.
After a few moments the flames catch to dry the brush, but the guards ignore it and remain angered among each other. The woman then leans toward the side of the cage closest to the flames. She has the blanket draped over like a cloak.
One guard looks over and sees the woman, but does not see her clearly. The flames in the brush are out of control. The light from the flames cause shadows to dance around like wild ghosts.
The guard that is looking over at the woman becomes hysterical toward her. He sees her as if she is dancing in the matter of a witch would in casting a spell. He sees her shifting like a creature of the dead. He calls out toward her in his frantic matter.
"The witch, shes casting a spell, she's....she's trying to kill us! Damn you witch, I shall slit your throat so you may speak no more!"
He starts to stumble toward the woman like a drunken fool. He tries to pull his sword out,
"I'm going...I'm...I'm going to kill her."
He suddenly stops, his eyes become frozen, his body stiff, blood rushes from his mouth. He drops to the ground against the crackling air of fire. As his body hits, a guard appears from the darkness from behind the now dead guard. He bears a short blade in hand, blood dripping from it.
Another guard sees what happened, he becomes maniacal as well. He charges the guard that just killed one of their own. He leaps onto him from behind. They collapse into a mad match with death. Each Lunging with strikes and jabs at each other.
The frenzy among the guards becomes more wild, a few begin to fight near the edge of their encampment. In their stupid folly of madness they cause each other to fall from the near by cliff. Instantly they crash against the rocks and die.
Only one remains silent, the guard with a broken jaw, still knocked out. The other two, still fighting on the ground end up rolling into the flames. They catch fire, screams of horrific murder spill from their throats. They become human chunks of charcoal.
The woman, still watching, watches with shear fear and surprise. But is oddly overcome with relief. As maybe, she will have a chance to escape. The sun starts to rise, as it does, the guard that survived from pure luck, wakes up.
He shakes himself from his haze dosed in a headache and massive pain from his jaw. He stands up and looks around. He's startled and confused. Bodies of his friends and fellow guards lay dead. He is unsure what has happened.
All he remembers is being hit in the face. He looks over and sees the woman is till in the cage. His chest fills with relief as well. He then starts to walk over to her with his hands gently feeling his jaw line. He then trips over something. He falls and hits the ground and grunts in agony.
He looks and there at his feet, is the handle of satchel wrapped around his foot. His leans up and frees himself of it. As he does he see's a bushel of Wizards Bloom hanging out from the satchel. He grabs it and looks it over. He then gets up from the ground, walks over to his quarters and looks into his satchel.
All his Wizards Bloom is gone. He finds that extremely odd, as he had yet to have any of his. He then turns back toward the woman and walks over to her. As he does he reaches down and grabs the bushel of Wizards Bloom and tosses it into the slowly dying flames. It starts to rain, thunder roars in the distance.
He reaches the cage, jams his sword in between the lock and bars of the cage and rips the door open. The woman falls back in the cage with worry. The guard drops his sword and lends out his hand.
"I'm not going to hurt you."
The woman hesitates at first. Still shivering from the cold she keeps herself wrapped in the blanket. The guard waves his hand to her to come out. She builds up the courage and approaches the guard. She takes his hand and he helps her down.
He then removes his wolf fur from his back and places it on the woman. "Here, take this, you'll need it for the ride home."
Sometimes we judge too quickly.
When have you judged someone before knowing them?
More awesome stories to be read in, A Man's Traveled Heart
Coming soon, The Bleeding of Words
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