Part 3 – Blood Soaked Dirt

 

I was familiar with the scent of blood, living out in the wilds we would often come across a wolf kill or boar hunting tracks… But nothing compared to the stench which halted our journey. Venturing cautiously into a sheltered clearing the scent was unbearable, large flies buzzed around our faces angry at being stirred and yet the carrion crows continued to feast undisturbed by our arrival.

Soldiers, farmers, men, women, children, babes, dogs, livestock (a few chickens, a hansom cock and goats) along with even their mounts… The whole caravan of at least two score of people and their beasts were slain.

Hara cried devastated by the carnage before her, she fell to her knees in the blood soaked dirt and wept. Our own dogs bent low on their hunches growling and snarling, alert and cautious. The soldier and I ventured forth, just a few steps, concerned that there might be the hint of a survivor or two, yet the decay was overwhelming, even with my nose and mouth covered, I gagged and withdrew back to Hara to comfort her wails, trying to hush her distress, for danger might still be lingering…

We withdrew into the thicker trees with our dogs as the soldier alone continued his search, I kept him in sight as we withdrew into the undergrowth as silent as wood sprites themselves. Concealing ourselves and watching nervously as he picked his way through bodies, seeking any life or any supplies with might aid our own flight…

I gasped, slapped my own hand over my mouth, eyes wide as I witness him alert swing into action. Sure footed and agile he turned and in one swift action drew his sword deflecting not one but two arrows which rained down upon him from behind. Blinking I watched stunned as he acted without hesitation, two throwing knives finding their targets and tumbling both archers from the tree boughs to the earth with a grunt and a moan…

He dashed over to the fallen, out of my line of sight, yet I was too afraid to break cover and clung even tighter to Hara as she trembled against me. I heard swearing, pain filled cries. Then one male voice rang clearly over the scene.

“Please stop! No! We did not do this! We’re Survivors here!”

 

 

Anne Harrison 29.09.16

 

 

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