Prophecy Story Index
In the Midst of Battle
Alissa swung her sword at her opponent again, grunting at the force behind the man's stroke. It was getting dark and the chaos in and around Brightstar was only worsening by the minute. Randal's troops had fought valiantly for the past several months, trying to push back Seth's army. But Seth had more men and more weapons and Randal's were simply outnumbered and overwhelmed, no matter what they did. And so they had finally invaded the Rillandan capital city of Brightstar.
Her opponent dropped his guard for a moment and Alissa took advantage. She shoved him aside and melted into the shadows for a moment to catch her breath. I'm a Jourdainian horsebreeder, nearing the 50-year mark. Why am I here, involved in this war? She rubbed one hand across her face, wiping away the sweat, as she took in the pillaging and burning in the capital city. Because Seth is an evil man and needs to be stopped. You know that. And that's why you're here.
She sighed, muttering to herself, "Have to get to the palace and I'm gonna need a horse to do that." Spotting a loose horse a few buildings down, she pushed away from the wall and fought her way through soldiers to get to the horse. She'd lost her own horse an hour ago, cut from beneath her by a hulk of a man whom she'd killed two seconds after she hit the ground.
After a few tense minutes, she pulled herself onto the abandoned horse and kneed it into an immediate hard gallop toward the palace. At that point, they should be clearing out anyone still living there and they would need all the help they could get. She tore through the street, then headed off down an alleyway, knowing it would be clear of any fighting. She rode low on the horse's back, urging it to a faster pace.
Out of nowhere, a figure suddenly appeared in front of her at one of the crossways. A small figure. She nearly fell off the horse as she veered out of the way. She intended to flash past, not even slowing much. But her eyes went automatically down the cross alleyway as she rode by.
Soldiers. Seth's soldiers. And definitely after the person she'd nearly run over.
Muttering under her breath, she yanked the horse to a skidding halt and turned around, yelling, "Come on. I can help you."
The figure, a young slight teenage girl she realized, looked at her for a moment, then ran toward her. Alissa grabbed the hands that reached up to her and hauled the girl behind her, saying only, "Hold on."
As she kicked the horse into a fast gallop again, hands gripped her waist tightly and a body was pressed against her back, head low and down. Obviously knows something about horseback riding.
Several minutes of hard-paced riding later, Alissa came to a stop at the rear of the palace where there was very little light, but also no fighting. She turned slightly to the girl, whispering, "We're at the palace, at the back, near the wooded areas. You should be safe here."
The girl nodded, not saying anything for several moments. The sounds of battle could still be heard from around the edges of the large structure. Then the girl finally spoke, her eyes large in the darkness. "Thank you. For helping me. And thank you for bringing me here. Needed to be here, to help others escape palace."
Alissa frowned. "How do you know I'm not an enemy? This is one of Seth's horses."
The girl smiled mischievously. "You are Alissa. You are a friend, not an enemy."
Alissa stiffened. "And who are you, to know who I am?"
The girl slid off the horse smoothly. "I am Camella. I know many things. Must go now."
Alissa dismounted and grabbed Camella's arm before she got away. "Wait. If you going in there to help people get out, you must hurry. Randal's troops will not be able to hold back Seth's army much longer."
Camella nodded. "I know. Will hurry." Without another word, she slipped easily out of Alissa's grasp and disappeared into the shadows, heading for the palace walls.
Alissa's hand tingled for a moment and a flash of prophecy or insight or something glimmered across her mind. Camella would live beyond the war, beyond the terrible years that would follow, and would see the end of the struggle, would see the royalty restored to their thrones. She felt oddly relieved. She had known months ago that she would not be victorious in today's battle, in this war, that there was the possibility that she wouldn't even see the next day. But now she knew something else. Seth would win today, but his victory would be incomplete and he would someday be overthrown by the one 'for whom destiny awaits', as had been prophesied.
Alissa smiled and hefted her sword in her hand, then remounted the unnamed horse and charged back into battle, giving Camella and those she was aiding to leave the palace -- and unknowingly, the remaining members of the royal family -- the time necessary to escape, to live, and to return to fight another day.
- The End -
Prophecy Story Index