Kara lost track of the wind, the scents she used to track it overwhelmed by blood, sweat, and fear. A cacophony of sound syncopated through the forest. She was no longer certain who was fighting where. Eerie silence punctuated pockets as wisps of fog devoured all sounds, indiscriminately killing the smallest insects, animals, and her kin. Kara fought her own panic as she stepped over and around the dead and dying, focusing on finding her family. She finally heard a familiar drum cadence and ran towards it, no longer as cautious about the Jormuna.
Kara slowed as she approached the edge of a clearing. She saw a Jormuna banner. Preparing her bow, she surveyed the scene. Mona and two drummers were slowly backing away from Gwyion and his squad. The waves of sound washing off the drums crashed harmlessly the Jormuna. At least they couldn’t release the fog with their shield up. She watched for her chance to attack, perhaps distract them so Mona could escape.
Then she heard a sharp report and the shield shattered, momentarily knocking the Jormuna back. She scanned the far tree line for Ada; it had to be her. The drummers pressed their advantage and drove the Jormuna back another few steps. Kara’s bow danced across the strings and the jar shattered, fog exploding into the bearer’s face. He gasped for air as he fell to his knees. Gwyion and his remaining squad members pursued Ada into the woods. Kara moved quickly to Mona, making sure the jar bearer was dead as she passed him.
“Come on, Ada will need help.”
Mona fell into step with her, the drummers taking up flanking positions and watching for more attacks. “She looked injured.”
“A Jormuna net caught her arm. Her fiddle is damaged too; that attack should have shattered more than the shield. Hurry.”
Tracking the Jormuna through the forest proved harder than she expected. The familiar paths were lost to her in the confusion of sound and smell. There were a few patches of fog still hanging among the trees; they avoided them. Dreezians and Jormuna alike were lost and the battle often degraded to fist fights between exhausted combatants. The battle seemed over but she was uncertain who had won.
Mona said, “Look! I think I see her!” She ran off, her long legs allowing her to quickly leave the others behind as she leapt over fallen trees and dodged a Jormuna straggler.
Kara ran after her, speeding up when she heard a resounding boom. Rounding a thicket, she came across Gwyion’s body under an avalanche of rocks. Mona stood at the top of the cliff where it had been sheared. She waved then ran off again. Kara picked up Gwyion’s torn banner.
“I think we won,” she said wearily then sounded the victory call on her horn.
It was answered here and there by other Dreezians while Jormuna horns sounded the retreat.
copyright 2014, Kimberley Long-Ewing, all rights reserved