She cried in a loud voice. “Do you not see me? This is my faith in
you!” OFG tried to loosen the grip of Baldric but could only move a
bit, her body and unhelmted head still in the line of fire.
not look at her. The big man seemed to shake his head slightly and
quietly said, “Don't.” As if he was pleading with her. But she
would not relent.
you not see that your strength is my courage?” She urged across
alone in the middle of the field. Her army was behind him and the
enemy line stretched out before him. He looked up, the arrow still
nocked but not pulled.
this.” She said, “Now.”
man pulled the bow to the point of breaking, the muscles in his arms
were like thick cords, his shoulders hulking... and then the arrow
him in the battle line Col Ti, grabbed the Princess Kai and spun her
around, burying her head in his huge chest. There was nothing he
could do for his liege now... but he could do this. No daughter
should she her mother fall.
long days afterward and even onto their deathbeds the archers in the
front line, the very eye witnesses, swore that OFG did not flinch nor
did she even close her eyes when the great arrow struck.
Princess Kai was
struggling to free herself when all heard the sickening thunk of the
arrow hitting it's mark. Col Ti held Kai tight to his chest but over
her head he watched Baldric the Bull, still holding OFG's body,
thrown back from the force of the arrow... and fall.
could see the shaft of the arrow buried up to it's fletch in OFG's
chest. She lay unmoving on her foe.
had been an ounce of courage among any of them, the Cow Herds could
have taken that chance to mount their battle charge, that small
window of opportunity when the entire army of The Good Land watched
in horror as their liege fell. But in that moment of silence, and as
if in slow motion, Commander Zander, The Black Death, his dark face a
mix of anger, vengeance, and death snorted his rage. He took a step
toward the enemy line. The earth shook. He swung his enormous head
and bellowed his fury.
strength the Cowherd line may have had, whatever opportunity they saw
when OFG fell, whatever chance of victory they may have felt was
crushed in that one horrible footfall. They broke and ran in fear and
Princess had broken free of Col Ti and had taken a step or two toward
the fallen body of her mother. Her face looked as if to scream but no
sound came out and...
way! Make way! I said get out of the way!” A small figure pushed
past the Princess and Commander Zander half dragging, half carrying
one of the Healers - a surgeon of some renown. “Get out of the
way!” Cried Little Mo as he moved as fast as he could thru the
stunned throng that was OFG's battle line. He hurried the Healer
across the field toward OFG.
first, just a chuckle and then a full-throated laugh erupted.
the Heavens! Unpin me from this wretched creature lest I die from
it's stench!” It was OFG. She lived!
Cried Princess Kai.
They all ran.
Healer was there yelling for them to stand back! Stand back so I can
work! He was already preparing his tools to cut the shaft of the
arrow. OFG was issuing orders while still pinned to Baldric's corpse
by the arrow.
My axe...” She gestured to where it lay on the ground. “Their
utter ruin. Send them to their utter ruin. Leave none alive. Kai take
the flank. Col Ti be sure... be...sure...to.” And then OFG passed
astounding!” Said the Healer to no one in particular. “Just
astounding! The arrow has passed just under the collar bone, missing
all of the vital organs, but has hit Baldric directly in the heart
and smited him.” The Healer was busily working to staunch the
blood from the wound. OFG had gone pale but was quiet alive. “That
shot was one in a million!”
was intended.” Said Col Ti. He nodded gruffly seeing that OFG was
being cared for then turned and began barking orders at the line.
and Third regiments on me! Second with Zander! Fourth follow the
Princess on the flank and the rest of you form a perimeter. And
someone had better bring me that Healers Cart in less than ten
heartbeats or you will all pay for it with your hides!” Satisfied
the troops had sprung to action he walked off as the war hens
scattered in his wake.
man picked OFG up and off the wretched Baldric and laid her where the
Healers, now three or four in number, were furiously working. He then
turned and with his blade ripped open the chest of the slain Baldric
and pulled out the still warm heart. He turned to Little Mo, slopped
the bloody mess in his hand, pulled Little Mo close, and thru
clenched teeth said, “She will need strength for her healing. See
that she gets this.”
released Little Mo. Then the big man turned and stalked off pausing
only to bend down and retrieve his bow, Harbinger. Little Mo watched
as he disappeared into the fray.
Commander Zander had taken his regiment and was in pursuit of
the Cow Herds. He was closing in on them fast. He held his mother's axe
over his head and roared his battle cry. His men were eager for
vengeance and were easily running down the scattering enemy.
somewhere up on the ridge Princess Kai and her forces spilled down
the hillside like a storm. She shouted courage into her men and dared
any to show naught but fierceness and valor. Her battle line hit the
Cow Herds like a hammer and rent them to pieces. As they had done
many times before Commander Zander and the Princess Kai fought like
furies toward each other cutting the panicked herd in two. It was a
slaughter. Gradually the enemy's cries diminished as they were sent
to their utter ruin. None of the Cow Herds were left alive.
Zander himself walked the field and used OFG's axe to cleave the
heads from each of the slain Cow Herd soldiers. He strung them
together with a rope like a horrible necklace and drug them all back
to the Great Hall where he piled him high before OFG's seat. Then he
sat there on the steps of her dais in a silent rage.
anger was so intense that none dared get close to him and all avoided
eye contact until a full two days later. Only then did they send the
bravest of them all to speak with the Commander.
Said Little Mo firmly. “Your mother lives. Go to her. See for yourself that she
is well. The Princess is with her and sorely misses your presence. Go now.
Rise and wash yourself, then go in and comfort them both.”
looked at the troubadour turned wise counselor, snorted, and then got
up and walked away. Little Mo looked at the dread pile of severed
bull heads and wondered what, if anything, he should do with them. He
stood there a long while.