Thune Runner XIII

Many dead littered the little valley, but the Thune still greatly outnumbered all the infantry in sight. Once out of the valley, in the slowly growing daylight, and with range to properly use their bows, it would be easy hunting. With primal screams of rage and anguish, now that they could see them retreating to a nearby hillock with the horses to make a last stand, they charged again, screaming curses and vows to make the survivors wish they hadn’t. Continue reading Thune Runner XIII

Thune Runner VIII

“I am the only one for a hundred leagues. But that way,” he pointed, “are a thousand Thune raiders, and another thousand families. They know you are coming. They have roasting pits ready for you.” His words fell across the silent Argentain straining to listed to them, or any orders that were issued, and raised an audible intake of breath. They’d been marching a long way following the hundred Thune who’d captured Jispin. “And I’ve been here for hours, but your scouts are blind and poorly trained.” Continue reading Thune Runner VIII

Thune Runner VII

Once he was over a hill and out of sight of the encampment, he headed south. He still moved cautiously and stuck to shadows, padding silently along, senses bare to the raw elements, anticipating the Thune pickets posted at intervals around the camp. As expected, he smelled the horse before he saw the man, sitting with his back toward the camp and eyes outward looking for intruders rather than escapees. There wasn’t any obvious way past the picket. Jispin didn’t want to leave easily-followed hoof tracks, so he left nothing but the Thune’s body and an unteathered pony. Continue reading Thune Runner VII

Thune Runner VI

The Thune lashed at them with a whip and ordered them more loudly, in heavily accented and hardly understandable Crimean. It wasn’t clear if the old couple spoke that language or not. Jispin eyed the huddled mass of humanity and gritted his teeth, then stood. He motioned to a large man nearby, one from a string that had come in with him, to help him with the bodies. The Thune yelled even more inarticulately and shook his whip at all four of them. With a shrug, few words, and a brief bit of pantomime, Jispin communicated the older pair didn’t have the strength, and that he and his friend would bury the dead if they were given a shovel, so the dogs wouldn’t eat them. Continue reading Thune Runner VI

Thune Runner V

The Thune were dragging the third man to death when one on Jispin’s string, an older man whom had started the morning with a barely perceptible limp which had gotten steadily worse, was slowing down. It was causing a struggle by others in the string trying to help him along. He was the patriarch of a family, he guessed, with family on his slave-string. He’d also get them all killed if they didn’t cut him off soon. They were not able to get ahead to gain time to drink at streams. No water would mean certain death on a run of this distance. He guided the string near one of the guards riding nearest. Continue reading Thune Runner V