Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 04

When Carmela was stripped of her armor and got into her night clothes, she laid on the side of the side of the mattress away from the opening of the tent. Her wife settled on the other side to block the view of anyone who happened to stray into the tent from Carmela. Exhausted from that day’s work, unaware of how much further from the last their next assignment was really going to take them, the knight and the sorceress slept.

Isabella was the first to leave the tent the next morning. She grabbed a pail of water to bring back to the tent so that she and Carmela could wash themselves in peace. When all was said and done, and Carmela had scrubbed her armor down and put all on once more, they went back to Alberto’s tent to get the directions to the great knight of Valladolid’s new prison. The former prisoners were crowded around the tent, too, ready to be escorted to the nearest village so that they could return home.

Alberto only marked their maps unceremoniously, wished them luck, and sent the two on their way. On their two horses and on their way they did go. When Isabella double checked their map, she noticed that they would be going on the same road where they had encountered the two guards. Carmela expressed hope that they would not have any problems as they did before, which meant that they, of course, would.

In fact, when Carmela and Isabella arrived at those very same crossroads, they saw not only the remaining guard that Isabella had casted her jolting spell on, not only one new guard, but in total four sentries at the intersection, each looking down a different road. The one that Isabella had shocked with her cane was looking down the very same road that the two were approaching on.

When he spotted them, they were still a good distance away, almost mere specks, but while drawing out his sword, he gave a yell. “You, there! Come here this instant so you may pay reparations for what you did yesterday!”

The other three guards in black were quick to run to his side and pull out their own swords as Isabella shouted back, “We’ll just go some other way, then! Unless you would like me to make a pun about lightning striking twice?”

Three yelled, “No!” The other said, “It is two of you against four of us today, and you will not catch us by surprise this time. We will allow you to give yourselves your own deathbed and funeral prayers before we take off your heads in the name of our evil king of Segovia Avila!”

“How did they get reinforcements so quickly?” Isabella asked. “Oh well, what can we do. Let’s just find another way around to get to the prison.”

“Some put a higher value on their medium of exchange than all else, “replied Carmela, “but what does it take to get their almighty coin? Time is of underappreciated importance to everything, and time is something that we, nor any man living or dead, can spare. Let us instead go through our obstacles with high egos, and show them that in time, they will be trumped by that which they desire to fell!”

Carmela lightly kicked the sides of her horse, and it walked on. Isabella followed, taking out her cane. The two travelled on, heads held high, as if they were not about to face four armed men ready to behead them. When they were about ten yards away, Carmela dug her heels into the sides of her horse, and it broke into a run, aiming straight for the four guards. They held their swords at the ready as Carmela reached behind her back not for her own sword, but for her flanged mace. The guards were ready to intercept her, two on each side, but right before Carmela reached them, she swiftly veered her horse to one side and knocked one of the guards over his head with the mace, which flung him to the ground. He struggled to get back on his feet as Carmela’s horse slowed down and turned back around, then stopped.

“That’s unfair, using a mace in a swordfight,” protested a guard.

“Very dishonorable,” agreed another.

“You’re evil. What do you care how we fight?” Isabella, who had caught up with them, asked. “It’s four against two, anyway.”

“Just because we’re evil doesn’t mean that we don’t have rules or standards to abide by,” said a third. “Besides, you’re both attacking us on a horse, so that about evens it out, wouldn’t you agree?”

The other three nodded and made general noises to show that they did indeed agree.

“Alright, how about this,” said Isabella. “Carmelo will take you all on one by one with his sword, and without his horse or mace. If you all win, you can, I don’t know, kill Carmelo and make me an evil servant. Is that good with you, Carmelo?”

Carmela nodded, and the four sentries huddled together to speak with one another. After a few seconds, they split up and also said that they agreed to Isabella’s terms. Carmela put away her mace and jumped off of her horse as the four lined up, with the guard from the previous day third in line. Isabella kissed her wife’s helmet, wishing her good luck.

The first, the one that had been hit over the head with the mace, stepped forward, and he and Carmela engaged in thrilling combat, steel hitting steel, until Carmela sidestepped the guard and hit him once more on the back of his head. Once more, the guard fell to the ground, though this time, blood poured from his helmet, painting the ground red. Carmela moved away from the body to make room for the next challenger.

The second was the one who was beside the guard who had received a blow to the head with the mace, and had skillfully dodged it. When he stepped up, he swung his sword around as if he were ready to bat at something flying his way. Carmela flicked her sword downward, ridding it of the blood from her first opponent. The guard approached, and again, swords clashed.

As the two were engaged, Isabella slipped behind the halved line of guards. She raised her cane to the neck of the one in the back and said a few hushed words. The cane gave him a shock much stronger, and much louder, than the one she had given to the guard that was third in line from the day before, who incidentally heard the spell, spun around, and delivered a punch square in Isabella’s face.

The punch made her fall straight on her back by the guard she had stunned just a few seconds before. She reached for her cane, but it had flown a few feet away. The honorable knight grabbed her by the collar of her dress and hoisted her over his shoulders. This prompted a kick to the stomach from Isabella, but her foot only hit metal, causing her to yell out in pain. Still, she shouted and struggled, pummeling the guard as much as she could without hurting herself again. The armored guard just walked over to Isabella’s horse, got on, and took off down the road to Cuellar with her.

This scene did not go unnoticed by Carmela, who had to watch as she dueled with the second guard. When the Isabella’s captor went for the horse, she tried to break away from the fight, but the guard blocked her from escaping. Carmela fought as hard as she could, knowing that every minute she spent with the remaining guard was a minute advantage the guard on horseback had on her. And several minutes did pass, until Carmela was able to knock the sword from the sentry’s hand. As soon as Carmela clocked him one with her mace, she grabbed Isabella’s cane, hopped on her own horse, and rode off after her wife.

For miles Carmela rode as quickly as she could, the wind screaming in her ears, the helmet’s visor providing almost no protection against its cold sting. Every time she thought she saw the figure of two people riding a horse in the distance, they would disappear.

This went on for at least an hour, until Carmela spotted a village ahead. Heart racing, she pushed her horse further, only slowing down when she saw the first person at a house on the edge of the town. She pulled back on her horse’s reigns until it stopped by the villager, a tall and lanky man sitting on a tree stump, sharpening a knife with a piece of leather.

“Ho, good fellow!” said Carmela to the man. “Have you perchance observed a particularly rancorous being who had absconded through this hamlet with a gentlewoman donned in green?”

The man stared at her with plate-sized eyes. “What?”

“Have you perchance peeked at a particularly pernicious personality who progressed through this parish with a personage primped in green?” Carmela impatiently repeated.

The man responded by further gawking at her.

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