Under a new sky – chapter 22

Note: this is a work of fiction, with all the usual stuff about copyright and permission. It’s also a work in progress and a way to develop my knowledge of the english language. So feel free to correct, debate, laugh, ask about it in the comments. Help appreciated.

You may find the index here.

Chapter twenty-two.

At dawn I was a few yards from the river, Keller sent ten of his best warriors with me for cover. Moving at night was a sort of a LSD trip, with Omniplan holograms that popped up here and there for a few seconds. I noticed that its expressions were still of great pain but there was less alternation between male and female figures. Maybe it was already integrating its personalities.

After my transformation I leapt over the river, landing ten yards from a guarding post of the King’s troops. Then I run like the Devil, circling the northern part of the capital before sprinting to the west direction. My hope was to avoid detection from Halkan observers and to get his cavalry in the open, before they could start an organized attack to the town or in the direction of the refugees. I had no clue about the whereabouts of that regiment, nor I had any information about their organization. Once again, it was all about hope. In our plan if I didn’t find them by noon I had to jump as fast as I could in the north direction in order to avoid a confrontation after sunset.

The problem was about my old way of thinking. In my mind I still saw a one man attack against a force of eight hundred riders as a suicide. Still there was something more inside my mind, a barbaric force that cannot wait more for a fight. I was running at top speed, about one hundred miles for hour, when I spotted a tell-tale sign of a battle. In the west-south-west direction there a number of black birds in the air, the local version of Earth’s crows. I changed direction, the need for a fight so strong in my mind to funnel my vision. After a few minutes the situation was clear. A patrol of loyalist has been destroyed by Halkan’s riders, they were ransacking their bodies when I reached them.

I still remember the first warriors, their wide-eyed expressions and their frantic try to set up any form of defense before my impact on them. It was a feast of blood and mayhem. I killed horses with my bare fist, I decapitated troopers and officers with their own weapons, I threw dead bodies at their comrades when they try to regroup. And again, with every move I did there I killed at least one of them or one of their horses, spraying their blood and their entrails for many yards all around. It took me less than five minutes to take down a fifth of their forces, including the commander. It was easy and terrifyng at the same time, their actions were so slow for me that many of them got killed before understanding what was going on.

cavalry

Some of the raiders escaped, no more than a dozen. The bulk of the regiment tried to regroup, no matter the shock and the odds they had to face. Brave soldiers for sure, even in their last stand. I picked up from the ground lances and swords, throwing the weapons of the fallen against the living at high speed. That was like a rain of bronze blades on them, enough to open more and more holes in their formation. Then I was on them again at close range, using their horses and their bodies to create more and more mayhem. Blood was everywhere, it was like Hell on Earth with me in the role of the Devil himself. By then madness conquered me fully, I only want to spread more death all around. I didn’t know how much time it took me to massacre a regiment but it didn’t take long. At the end I could still saw the few raiders who run away at first contact and my blood hunger was so strong that I run after them, leaving a trail of blood and dust.

My superior speed gave me the opportunity to get them, one at the time, killing horse and rider with fast blows. A blink of lucidity saved the last one, I slowed my run to let him run away. I’ve remembered a lesson from history, better leave somebody to spread the word about what happened to a full regiment in a matter of minutes. Fear was always a great ally to have at your side and that poor kid for sure was scared to death. It took me a lot to catch my breath. I slowly walked back to the place of the battle, still half-covered in clotted blood. When I reached again the area it was past noon, what I found there was more than obscene. I puked until there was nothing left in my bladder, a lifetime in the US Army was not enough to prepare me for such a massacre. I found the two regiment flags, Keller told me that it will be the best way to prove that this menace was destroyed. Then I got a number of wineskin from the battlefield, using as many water as I could to wash away from me the main part of blood. After a while I started my way back to the capital, jumping as high as I could to be seen from the king’s soldiers and the population.

An hour later I reached the long column of refugees. Without slowing down my jumping pace I tossed both flags away while passing over them. A couple of minutes later I jumped straight in the river, with the vain hope to wash away from me all traces of the slaughter I did before. When I finally reach my cave I was really worried, acting as a superhuman killer was nothing short of pure joy for me when in the middle of that carnage. Was I mad? Was it still possible to put things under control? That night I really thought about suicide. I’ve seen the abyss in my own mind and it was so dark to scare me for good.

I wasn’t the only one worried that night. The king send an embassy to the republicans, asking for a truce and offering as much as he could to rent my services for the battle against his own son. Halkan did the same an hour or so later, his servants brought us about a gallon of godblood as an initial bonus for me. Keller and his fellows disputed a lot that night about what to do the day after. When dawn came they come to tell me what was their decision, a pity I wasn’t there to listen.

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