Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Ravine

Sweat poured down the boy's face.  He slashed with his sword wildly.  He had thought he'd been in control up to this point in the battle.  The dim shape lunged at him again.  Quickly, he sliced downwards with the blade, and the onslaught against him halted for the moment.  Where is my shield?  Oh where is my shield?!  If only he could see!  He looked around, panicked.  The archers would soon begin shooting again, and if he didn't have his shield...  It's time to retreat, the voice inside him urged.
Stealthily, (or so he hoped) he dropped to the ground and crawled along to a nearby gully in the hilly landscape.  He dropped down into the little ravine, and leaned up against the dirt wall, trying to catch his breath.  I'm not even sure who I was fighting against up there.  Wearily, he sheathed his sword.  He knew it wasn't wise, but he was too tired to go on.  For all he knew, he was doing more harm than good.  He may have even been fighting against the King's servants.  If only he could tell where the King was, he could make out what side of the battlefield he was on.  But in the darkness, it was too confusing.  And the King was out of sight.  The boy closed his eyes tightly, then pounded the wall of the ravine in frustration.  Of course, it was foolish to stay down here.  Then he certainly wouldn't be able to see the King.  But how could he jump back up into the midst of the battle when he wasn't sure where he should even attack?  His family was up there somewhere, and he didn't want to endanger them anymore than he had already by fighting in the wrong part of the battlefield, against the wrong people.
A movement overhead suddenly caught his eye.  He pressed against the side of the ravine, trying to hide himself from view.  A shape even blacker than the night sky glided overhead, a glint of light from an unseen source reflecting off its body.  The boy cringed.  He knew the shape well.  That horrendous, long wingspan.  The thin, scaly neck.  The razor-sharp claws and teeth.  His oldest enemy.  The dragon.  Had he seen him?
Abruptly the beast turned and swooped down lower.  Ah yes, of course, and don't forget those evil, gleaming eyes.  The boy knew he'd been spotted.  A cackle rose into the air.  Hideous.  Wicked.
At that moment, dark shapes poured over the edges of the ravine.  The dragon's minions.  Now the boy had no doubt about who he was fighting.  The hunched, demented creatures grew closer, their scimitars raised high, grunting in  exertion.  The boy looked down at his battered breastplate and belt with hopelessness rising in his heart...and screamed the name of the King.