A Backwater Rebellion: Part Fourteen

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.

THE END

A Backwater Rebellion: Part Thirteen

On Saturdays I post my prose, whether essays or fiction, including at present, in small pieces, a rather short story I wrote several years ago. If you haven’t already, please start at the beginning or read Part Twelve, or this isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so. This story will conclude in the next part.

At last there was an end. The horizon was clear. By some miracle the knights, down at most ten, and the cavalry, with twice that number fallen, had broken through the entire enemy army and were clearing the field of the enemy archers. When they were dealt with, Aaron ordered the pikes out again. He saw no enemy officers on the field, but the enemy foot soldiers still fought on.

At a lull in the noise in the battle, he looked up. The dragon and his mistress were too high to see, but the sky was a mess of dark and light.

A trumpet rang out on the field below. It took Aaron a moment to realize what the call was, and then he saw it. The line of infantry broke. “Sound ‘retreat,'” he ordered, and the soldiers ran for the horses and galloped back into the city. The pikes followed, again in order, and took up a position in the recess before the gate. The enemy army boiled up against the walls, leaning ladders that seemed to appear from nowhere up against the vertical faces. The sheer weight of bodies kept the infantrymen on the walls from pushing the ladders back, and their foes crawled up the ladders.

The battle was moving much too quickly; this hadn’t been in any of his classes on tactics! Aaron’s emotions ripped out of his control for a moment, and then he fought them down and buckled them under his reason. The enemies on the ladders reached the top, took strokes from Aaron’s men, and fell backward, but there were too many. His men began to be pushed back, and soon they were on the defensive.

A bright light surged from the sky.

To be concluded …

A Backwater Rebellion: Part Twelve

On Saturdays I post my prose, whether essays or fiction, including at present, in small pieces, a rather short story I wrote several years ago. If you haven’t already, please start at the beginning or [read Part Eleven](https://shinecycle.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/a-backwater-rebellion-part-eleven/, orthis isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so. This is probably the third-to-last part of this story.

It was several tense minutes before the lines finally met. Aaron’s army, only five ranks thick, buckled, held for what must have been a minute, then buckled again. A sudden volley of arrows from the walls drove the enemies back, and Aaron said, “Have them regroup.” The bugler blew his orders, and the ragtag army formed back up. “Shield wall.” The men locked their shields and stood waiting. Continue reading

A Backwater Rebellion: Part Eleven

On Saturdays I post my prose, whether essays or fiction, including at present, in small pieces, a rather short story I wrote several years ago. If you haven’t already, please start at the beginning or read Part Ten, or this isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so.

Aaron watched his mistress and her companion rise out of sight. Beside him stood his own companion Rattelan, the chief mage Thomas, and a bugler, as well as a standard-bearer. Continue reading

A Backwater Rebellion: Part Nine

For anyone just joining me: On Saturdays I post prose, whether essays or fiction. At present I’m posting, in rather small pieces, a rather short story I wrote several years ago. If you haven’t already, I recommend starting from the beginning or reading Part Eight, or this isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so.

How much can I do? Rhinseth asked as she pumped her wings to gain altitude.

“Anything. I can’t do much Power from the saddle, but I’ve been trained to fight in the air,” Portia replied.

I’ll handle the Power, but it would be better if you aim it, Rhinseth said, leveling off.

A spurt of flame raced through where they had been scarce moments ago. Rhinseth turned as tightly as she could in the air to face this new threat. Portia pulled a javelin free from her saddle and hefted it.

“Shielding, then minor offense,” she said. She saw what seemed like two parts of a wheel come together in the back of her mind.

Something’s missing, Rhinseth said. A third piece of the wheel was not there.

“Can you still shield us?”

Yes. The wheel, incomplete as it was, turned once, and Portia breathed a sigh of relief and looked to see what her enemy was.

It was a black dragon, much larger than Tadic, with its ebony scales gleaming. Portia threw the javelin, which bounced harmlessly off the dragon’s burnished hide and fell.

You’ll have to find the missing piece, Rhinseth said.

There was a painful wrench in the back of her mind, and she seemed to split. She saw one half of her mind calmly order bursts of icy wind at the dragon, while she looked on.

The task at hand, Rhinseth reminded her.

To be continued ..

A Backwater Rebellion: Part Eight

For anyone just joining me, on Saturdays I post prose, whether essays or fiction. At present I’m posting a rather short story I wrote several years ago in small pieces; if you haven’t already, I recommend you start at the beginning or read Part Seven, or this isn’t likely to make much sense. This is my second experiment in serialization; the story I serialized here before this one was already divided into chapters, while here I’m breaking wherever it seems sensible to do so.

Two hours later, the sun was nearing the horizon. The towers were up, everything was in place, and the only thing left for Portia to do was wait. Continue reading