This has been a strange week. I've mostly done everything else but write, and it shows. I'm tired. I'm trying to gear up for the holidays and feeling kind of out of step with the whole concept. Hopefully, I'll get over that attitude.
Continuation of last week's post. Mueli has swung her sword at Shaelin's head. The end of this snippet is not a natural break point, but this is pretty much all I've written in a week. *sigh*
Please do not quote or repost anywhere. Thanks.
Mueli found herself flying through the air. She landed hard and lay still, staring up at the sky. Her sword arm felt as if someone had stood on it for a good long while. Her rage cooled to gray ashes.
She slowly pushed herself into a sitting position with her good arm. She checked to make sure her other arm was still with her and peered blearily around until she located her sword.
Moving like an old woman, Mueli stood and retrieved her sword from the dirt. Feeling the cool metal of the grip in her hand gave her the courage to look Shaelin in the face once more.
Shaelin hadn’t moved. She met Mueli’s hard stare with a direct gaze.
“Why? Why did you leave them to die?” Mueli asked in a hoarse voice.
Shaelin tilted her head. “A better question would be why you did not remain behind.”
Mueli refused to ask.
“As you wish,” Shaelin said.
She removed the scabbard from her shoulder and slid the Godsword inside. As soon as the blade disappeared, Shaelin dropped the sheathed Godsword and put her hands over her face.
Mueli turned away from her, and wondered what to do next. She had the girl and the Godsword, and both were safe for the time being. The thing to do would be to make their way back to the relative safety of the Shield Temple from here. Wherever here was. No use in asking Shaelin. She would have no more idea where the Godsword had brought them than Mueli did.
She looked at Shaelin. “Pick it up. Never drop it like that again.”
Shaelin leaned over and picked up the sword. “Where are we going?” she asked in a timid voice.
“We’re going to make our way back to the temple,” Mueli said. She carefully did not say that they were going to make their way back to the Shield Temple through potentially hostile territory with only one warrior to guard one of the most famous swords in history.
With no supplies.
Mueli pointed at an outcropping that rose above the treeline a good two hour’s walk from their present position. “We’re going to that rise. I can orient us from there.”
“Does that mean we’re lost?” Shaelin asked.
“We’re lost when I say we’re lost,” Mueli said, her anxiety making her short tempered.
They made for the outcropping. The terrain rose and fell, full of deadfall and underbrush. Mueli hadn’t counted on the roughness of the terrain and Shaelin tiring so quickly. Darkness found them before they reached their destination.
“We’ll have to climb in the dark,” Mueli said.
“I’m tired. Can’t I just stay here until you return?” Shaelin said.
“No. We’ll be spending the night up there. Safer. Unless you want to sleep down here by yourself?”
Mueli saw the pale glimmer that was Shaelin draw closer. “I’ll go with you,” she said.
They were lucky enough to find a path. Both women were breathing hard by the time they reached the top. Nothing but a few scrawny bushes grew on the outcropping.
Mueli found a good-sized boulder. She sat down and propped her shoulders against it, feeling every ache, cut, and bruise.
“Aren’t we going to have a fire?” Shaelin asked.
“No. Attracts attention. Besides, there’s not enough firewood up here to keep a fire burning for long. Relax while you can. We might have a long walk back to the temple.”
Shaelin sat beside her, propping the Godsword against the boulder. After a moment, she spoke. “Are they really dead? Tima, Dorwir, Canin, all the others?”
The night air felt harsh in Mueli’s throat when she answered, “All.”
“Why?” Shaelin asked in an anguished voice. “Why would the Godsword lead us into an ambush?”
Mueli shook her head. “I don’t suppose it led us into an ambush,” she said bitterly. “It just didn’t warn us not to take that road.”