Wisdom From The Ashes
Part Seven – They Know We Are Here
The sound of crashing blades rang out through the hills as men and women struggled in mortal contest. Horses kicked up dust and shouts echoed. There were dozens involved in the grim exchange, a heavy patrol of Harmur’s men, both on foot and horse, locked in battle with Zethar’s growing band of rebels and outlaws.
Word had spread of his return and the whisper of the name of the Yahalat Tamar had started to get around. A trickle of desperate men and women had sought them out, fleeing the oppression of Harmur, searching for Zethar and the Yahalat Tamar to join the fight.
Zethar ducked beneath a wildly slashing blade swung by a bulky soldier with a dark moustache. It was not a face he knew, but one he was familiar with, being hard and cruel and not local. A mercenary, just one of many in Harmur’s employ.
With a snarl, Zethar gripped his sword hilt tight and swept it around in a terrible, glittering arc. The blade hacked deep into the mercenary’s side, bringing forth a deep gush of dark blood. Zethar wrenched the blade free and the man screamed as he fell. A quick stab down at the fallen man silenced the screams.
Zethar looked around at the fight spread out across the hills, fighters locked together in small clusters. It was the third time in as many days that they had ambushed Harmur’s patrols. The response had been larger patrols each time, pushing deeper into the hills to seek them out.
Nearby, one of his men went down, the victim of an axe blow. Zethar charged at the mercenary who was trying to free his axe from the man he had struck down. Zethar’s sword descended like a thunderbolt and buried deep into the man’s neck.
A shout of warning came from Katako nearby. A half dozen of the mercenaries were galloping away from the fight, hunched down low over the necks of their horses so as to minimise the chances of them being targeted. Arrows and quarrels sung out in reply, falling among the fleeing horsemen. One rider went down as an arrow took him in the back and then a second stumbled from his saddle. A horse fell, throwing its rider to the ground before rolling over him it its death agonies, but then the remaining three were gone, disappearing in a cloud of dust into a dry wash that ran down from the hills.
Zethar shook his head, an anger pulsing through him. He paused to wipe his blade clean on the body of the dead mercenary at his feet. “They know we are here,” he growled.
“They already knew we were here,” Katako pointed out. “Our activities have been rather hard to miss.”
“But now they know out strength and numbers. We must move on before they return.”
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