On Saturdays I post my prose, including fiction and essays. For the past several weeks I’ve been serializing my story “A Backwater Rebellion”; this is its last segment. If you haven’t already, please start at the beginning or read Part Thirteen.
There! Rhinseth said. She placed the final stroke in the working, and the wheel in Portia’s mind stopped turning. An almost physical force snapped past her into the dragon, and it stumbled, if that were possible in the air, and plummeted a few yards before it regained clumsy flight. It tried to breathe at her again, but only flickers came out. The dragon turned back the way it came and awkwardly, almost painfully, limped back toward the far horizon.
Portia let herself relax in the saddle, and Rhinseth dove for the ground almost lazily.
An explosion rocked the ground, and something threw the enemy soldiers down. The bugler began ‘Taps,’ and when they could regain their footing the enemy soldiers began hoisting their helmets on sword-hilts in token of surrender.
Out of the bright sky, on her companion’s back, came Portia, and the city’s armies cheered at her triumph.
“This won’t last, you know,” Portia said to Thomas. “He’ll be back. In another form, probably, since I showed I could beat him here, but he’ll be back.”
“What are you going to do?” Aaron asked.
“I’ve already asked for Imperial troops, and I’ll get them,” she replied. “This universe has lain under subjugation for too long. We will—or rather you will, with our help—reduce Evil’s stranglehold here and restore order.”
“Or die in the attempt?” Thomas said, voicing what he must have thought she meant.
“It’s been tried. His Majesty has been doing this for centuries, and he hasn’t lost yet, even though his odds in the first war were considered nearly impossible,” Aaron put in.
“When do we march?” Thomas said eagerly, leaning across the table.