Authors: Monica Luke


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Monica Luke
Copyright ©
by Monica Luke 2013
All Right reserved, including the right to reproduce
this book or portions thereof in any way.
This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and events are purely the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or groups is entirely coincidental.
To my husband for his love,
and to my children, and friends for
believing in me.
Just as assuredly
As the sun and the moon
Grace the earth,
So do men rise and fall
Yet, as they live
From one day to the other,
May they be happy…
Monica Luke
Chapter 1


heir clash was unexpectedly brutal, as men fought in the middle of a desolate field just before the dark forest. The clang of swords echoed high. The ominous sound matched only by the death shrieks that spilled passionately out of the mouths of those who received a deadly blow.

From the high
ground, the men looked like scampering insects as no one could tell who had the upper hand because many fell on both sides, yet their midday battle now broaching the settling of the sun still waged.

The battle hard fought and
a long one, although exhausted, no one yielded as all resolved to fight until he, or all lay dead.

Theeee hooorn!” a relenting Lord Baric finally bellowed while slicing into the neck of his foe. “Bloooow the hooorrrnnn!”

Frantically, the men turned and fled into the dark forest after they heard the long peal of the horn, and believing Lord Baric was behind them,
they didn’t look back.

Wait!” Ogorec, first in command, as well as Lord Baric’s guard shouted when he looked to his right and left, then behind him noticing he was not with them as he promised. “Lord Baric?

He was just with us when we got close to the trees!” one shouted.

All at once,
their heads turned. Their eyes keenly looking for him in the thick of standing and fallen men, yet the dire of the moment made it impossible to return to the battleground for him.

My brother!” Lord Bayl cried out to Belon, who was his first in command and guard and was riding beside him as, even though Baric ordered him ahead, a deep regret seized him for doing it. “I cannot forsake him.”

His distressed avow felt
also, Belon still held true to his oath, which was to keep his lord alive. “We are overcome. Shall we all perish?”

Refusing to flee far
ther, Lord Bayl’s heart sank at the possibility of his brother slain; then of the wail he knew would come from their father when word reached him of it.

We must flee!” Belon urged, as he turned and raced back towards Bayl when he stopped, his sword drawn to defend him if others had followed them.

Bariiiic!” Lord Bayl’s anguished call into the darkness for his brother, “Barrriiiccc!”

If he has been slain, God forbid,” Belon vowed. His grip on Bayl’s shoulder tight once he reached him, before he released it and pulled the rein of his horse to make it follow him, “I swear on my very life his body returned to your father to rest in its rightful place.”




Baric lay silent and still. The wound inflicted on him before he slay his attacker deep, unable to follow his brother and men, or even call out to them, he helplessly fell from his horse to the ground among the thick of injured and slain men. Those who fought around him believing he fell dead. His wound badly bleeding and his clothes soaked with the blood of others, as well as his own, they left him undisturbed.

As darkness now draped the field, the dead and wounded littered it. The wails of those still alive and suffering
still echoing high. One by one mercilessly, the victors walked the field silencing them while making sure all laying dead were actually dead before stripping their enemy’s bodies.

Close to the forest
’s edge, as Lord Baric lay quiet he stared at the watching stars above him deep in tranquil thought. Far from his homeland, as he stared above his father and brother came to mind, then no stranger to battle, although his first time possibly fatally wounded, he braced himself for the deadly blow that would end his life once the men reached him.

I shall fight to my dying breath,” he groaned his readying vow when he heard footsteps coming towards him, before he brandished his knife blindly hoping to slice into whoever approached.

I fear that was meant for you,” Alden commented to Ecia, who had quickly stepped back to avoid a slice to her leg.

Alden put his foot on Baric
’s arm forcing the knife from his grip.

It seems,” Ecia said, as she stared down at Baric, immediately awestruck with the face of the strange wounded man. 

Taking the knife for himself, Alden put it in his belt; then removed Baric
’s outer leather vest, before relieving him of most of his clothing.

Look!” Alden excitedly said, noticing the gold crest medallion around his neck when he stripped him down, “A high born!”

Although, he knew he was slowly dying
. Pride gave strength to his blood-drained hand when Alden tried to take his crest medallion, and he grabbed and held it with a vice grip.

Free it,” Alden hissed his command set to kill him with the knife he took from him.

Not while there is still life within me.” Baric’s grit, refusing to let it go.

Then, I shall send you on your way,” Alden spewed; then put his foot on the wound in Baric’s upper chest.

His face held it
s strong front. It was obvious Alden’s torture was excruciating, yet no fear showed in his eyes or pleas for mercy came out of his mouth causing Ecia not to turn from his gaze.

Green, deep, mysterious were those eyes that rested under strong smooth brows
that looked at her, and although he did not ask for mercy, his suffering weakened her.

Take him,” she blurted quickly. Those who would end his life close.

And risk my own life,” Alden protested. “You know it is forbidden.”

Take him,” again, she blurted.




After they withdrew by way of the clearest path through the forest, the men turned; then drew their swords and lined. They waited for anyone to spring out of the thick foliage after them, but when they heard only silence realized no one had.

We were wrong,” said Ogorec, as he rode in front of Belon, “They will sacrifice all for this land of trees.”

So it seems,” Belon agreed; then remembered his vow to Lord Bayl.

Quickly seeking out Tohlor,
Belon stripped his clothing down to his tunic; then removed anything that would reveal Tohlar was from Worrlgen from his horse.

Make your way back,” he ordered, “It is their custom to gather them and remove pieces from bodies as tokens before they burn the dead. Watch for Lord Baric among the living and the dead.”

No words from Bayl, troubled he sat on his horse and stared into the calm darkness listening to the wind rustle the leaves on the trees. It was a deafening contrast to the clash of steel, neighing hor
ses, and groans of men, that rang in his ears not long before.

Lord Bayl,” Belon said, when he rode close, “We must get word of this back to your father with haste.”

In due time, but first,” Bayl said and sighed, “Find my brother.”

We are still deep in their land,” he cautioned, “And at their mercy.”

No,” Bayl responded. His mind now set. “They will drink and gloat for awhile.”

Beside himself, his love for his older brother great and only second to his father, Bayl rode away from his men to be alone in
his grief.

Be still alive brother,” he whispered to himself before making himself a vow, “If not, I shall swear my life over to making this land a wasteland until not one living thing is left.”

The threat of another attack minor, still wary the men rested
by rotting trees, and no fire for the night used the forest’s branches, their blankets, and furs off their horses to cover their bodies to stay warm.

Tohlor has been away some time,” Belon whispered to Ogorec as they rested.

You worry?”

I vowed with my life to bring Baric’s body back if he is not alive,” Belon answered certain Bayl would hold him to that vow.

I will go in your place and look for him,” Ogorec offered, “I am under him. I should have stayed with him.”

He ordered you ahead just as he did us all,” Belon countered.

It was I who made the oath to protect him.”

to obey as well,” Belon again countered.

Brushing leaves off him, Belon stood.

Where are you going?”

I made a vow to Lord Bayl,” Belon answered. “And will never be forgiven should I not carry it out,”

Quickly, Belon made his way back towards
the open field through the forest, cautiously leaving his horse behind and running the rest of the way until he got close.

Belon,” Tohlor called; then signaled with a whistle from a tree to get his attention.

What word?”

I have not set eyes on him,” Tohlor answered, as he climbed down.

The field filled with smoke from fires, both men quietly crawled upon the trampled grass where they fled into the forest.

“When Lord Baric ordered us all ahead, he was with us until we passed a fallen tree, which is just ahead of us. I remember us all jumping it,” Belon recalled their escape.

Baric and Bayl
’s war clothing fitted to that of the other men, except for their underclothes and war bands, they looked for any signs.

If Lord Baric was dead,” Tohlor suspected shrewdly. “They would make sure to show him to all.”

True,” Belon agreed, “And his gold crest held high for all to see.”

Quickly, both turned to go back into the forest, but Belon
’s eyes still on the ground, when he noticed torn clothing resembling that of Baric’s under-clothes, searched further and found pooled blood on the ground.

Someone wounded badly lay here long enough for their blood to gather well under him,” Belon whispered; then noticed the tell tale trail of blood and footprints that led away, “And was carried away.”

Lord Baric?” Tohlor questioned.




Alden carried Baric on his shoulders. His grunts certain to bring attention to them as he did, he cursed all the while.  

Hold your tongue you high born swine.” He hissed, and looked at Ecia, “He is heavy. We should leave him for dead.”

Put him across my horse,” Ecia ordered unwavering.

Alden haphazardly flung Baric over her horse causing him to groan loudly.

“Careful,” she cautioned, then mounted it behind him.

We rode together now I must walk.” Alden huffed in disbelief when she did, but Ecia ignored him.

The walk will clear your head,” she yelled back while galloping away.

Quickly, she rode with him straddled in front of
her, until she reached her village and no easy task to do it; she struggled to get him off her horse, but somehow managed.

What have you done?” her younger brother Ecer, who had injured his leg and stayed behind questioned warily when he saw her ride in from the backside of the forest with a wounded man across her horse.

I fear he is close to death.” She fretted. “Help me bring him inside.”

Inside your hut?” questioned Ecer in disbelief, until he saw the seriousness of her face, as she tried to drag him, “An enemy of our land.”

Everyone is an enemy of our land, now help me.”

Ecia,” Ecer warned, “Should someone else…”

Then move with haste,” she blurted annoyed with him.

Ecia and her brother got him inside her hut, Baric’s tall frame taking up her entire bed and overlapping, she tore her apron to soak up his blood.

You must get Tela,” she instructed, as she began to tend to him, “With haste.”

She will not help him.” He doubted.

For me, I know she will.”

If he dies here,” he reminded, “Death will come to us both.”

Then why are you still here speaking with me and not gone?”

Ecer hobbled away for Tela, who came right away.

Twice I have been called for the dying,” she revealed, as she came closer to him; then looked at his wound.

Ecia looked at Tela puzzled.“

The crest medallion around his neck obvious that he was far more important that the first and higher in whatever status was their kingdom, she hesitated.

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