Friday, September 28, 2012

Twin Desires Pt 7

Today is the conclusion of Part 1 of Twin Desires.  Katrinna and her twin's story will continue.  Stay tuned for  updates.  Meanwhile, we left off with Justin shaken from Katrinna's close brush with death. 

Chapter Seven
Macie Snow


                Justin pulls me to my feet as we look across the river, to see the gypsies rushing across downstream at a shallow bend in the river. I gulp thinking of how close I had been to being slammed against the rocks at high speed.

                Conroy was clutching his arm to his chest as the group ran to us, away from the Death raptor. The giant bird launches itself up, and begins to circle above us, screeching and waiting for an opening.

                “Bloody bird got me,” Conroy pants as the group stops in front of us. He quickly shows us his arm before holding it against his chest again. I wince upon seeing a huge, bloody gash across his forearm.

                “We need to bandage that,” I say, looking around for Zypher, and my saddlebags.

                “I’ve been through worse miss, but I appreciate the concern,” Conroy smiles, nodding to me. “Right now our biggest concern is that bird.”
                Justin turns to me and stares intently into my eyes. “Are you okay Katrinna?”

                I nod and smile. “I’m fine Justin.”

                “Good,” he gently brushes my wet hair back from my face before turning to the gypsies. “I have a plan.”

                The gypsies huddle around Justin while he tells them his plan, and I stare across the river, trying to think of a way to Zypher without exposing myself to the Death raptor.

                “Does everyone understand?” Justin asks, drawing my attention to the group.

                The gypsies nod, grim looks on their faces.

                “Okay then, let’s go,” Justin says, standing. He produces a shrill whistle, while the gypsies produce similar sounds, and the horses all come trotting up. Justin grabs Flinn’s reins and checks her saddle while the gypsies mount their horses. I run over to Justin and grab his arm.

                “What are you doing?” I ask as panic slowly working its way to my heart.

                “We are going to kill the Death raptor. Stay here,” Justin demands, mounting Flinn.

                “We shall dispatch of it quickly, do not fret,” Raldyn says softly, smiling at me. I frown and look to Justin.

                “Promise?” I whisper, grasping his leg. “Promise you won’t go and die on me?”

                Justin chuckles. “I won’t,” he looks up at the gypsies. “Everyone clear on their roles?”

                The gypsies all nod solemnly.

                “Good. Then let’s go,” Justin says.

                They all flick their reins quickly, causing the horses to leap forward. I watch numbly, uselessly as the Death raptor screeches and dives toward Ajax, who ducks and swings his sword at the giant bird’s foot. The bird cries out angrily and swoops up, circling before it dived again, this time aimed toward Justin.  The group scatters, each rider rushing in a different direction. The bird pauses, confused, before it continues to Justin.

                I open my mouth to scream out a warning, but no sound escapes my throat as terror grips me.

                The bird reaches its bloody toward Justin, and at the last minute Justin leaps from Flinn’s back and rolls before finding his footing in the shallow water. I blink slowly, watching as he draws his broadsword, specially ordered by Father specifically for Justin’s talents, and braces himself for the coming onslaught. Volos whistles loudly, drawing the bird’s attention, as Raldyn pulls out a bow and shoots an arrow directly into the bird’s right eye. The bird screeches, flailing to remove the foreign object from its eye as it quickly looses altitude.

                Ajax, Volos, and Conroy all lead their horses close to Justin before they in turn leap off, finding purchase in the shallow water. The Death raptor crashes loudly into the river, splashing water everywhere. Raldyn continues to shoot arrows at the massive bird as Justin, Volos, Ajax, and Conroy shout as they rush the bird. They all converge on it at once and immediately begin hacking away at it. The bird cries out and flails desperately for escape, but its feathers are drenched and it cannot take flight.

                I lift my fist to my mouth, stifling a plea for them to spare the bird as I watch it brutally murdered. After what seems like eons, the bird utters a soft, desperate cry before it collapses in the river. Blood and black ooze flow down the river as Justin and the gypsies stand still, panting to catch their breath.

                Ralydn lets out a joyous laugh. “We did it!”

                Conroy releases a sigh of relief and Ajax smiles hesitantly.

                “We must burn the corpse,” Volos states flatly.

                I frown, but Justin nods and gestures for everyone to drag the bird out of the river. They drag it to the opposite bank and I nervously look for a way across, hesitant to get back into the water that nearly stole my life. I watch as Raldyn starts building a fire around the massive corpse. Justin walks to Flinn and pulls flint out of her saddle. He walks over to the carcass and lights the dry wood. The fire quickly flares to life, slowly engulfing the bird. Justin looks around, and upon spotting me on the opposite bank, gestures me over.

                I shake my head as tears of frustration well up in my eyes. I couldn’t make myself do it. I couldn’t get back in the river. A look of realization crosses Justin’s face and he walks toward Zypher. Grabbing the black stallion’s reins he leads the horse across the river and stops in front of me.

                “Are you okay Katrinna?” he asks letting go of Zypher’s reins. The stallion walks to the edge of the forest and starts grazing.

                I shake my head furiously, a knot in my throat preventing speech as my tears overflow.

                A look of shock appears on Justin’s face and he reaches toward me but lowers his hand before actually touching me.

                “What am I going to do Justin? How could I ever save Katrinna when I can’t even cross a river? I’m beyond useless, and I’d just as soon save Katrinna as I would shove you off a cliff. I don’t deserve to be a princess, I could never be queen, could never rule. What am I supposed to do?” I wail, launching myself at Justin.

                Justin wraps his arms around me, gently embracing me. “Oh Katrinna, you’ll do just great. You ran after her without any regard for yourself. You put her safety above your own and you’re following your heart. You’ll be a fantastic queen.” He murmurs, gently kissing the top of my head.

                I shake my head, breathing in his scent. “No I won’t. Adrinna would. She will. I won’t ever be a queen. I’m not good enough. I’m too reckless. And I don’t follow my heart, I deny it because it wants to break the rules. A queen wouldn’t want to break the rules! I’m not a queen! I can never be, because I love you!” I sob into his chest.

                Justin hesitates before gently lifting my chin, forcing my to look into his eyes. “I love you too Katrinna, and I will help you be a good queen, because you will be. You’ll be the best queen this land has ever had.”

                My heart leaps to my throat. “You love me?”

                Justin nods, his lime green eyes sparkling. “And I won’t ever leave you.”

                I laugh and clutch him closer. “I’ll hold you to that.”

                “Good, now let’s go. We have to save your sister,” Justin says, lifting me onto Zypher’s saddle.

                I chuckle and clutch the saddle horn as Justin leads Zypher back across the river. We rejoin the gypsies, who had heard none of our conversation, but who looked at my tear stained face questioningly, and watch the Death raptor burn, trailing light purple smoke into the dusk sky.

No comments:

Post a Comment