Category Archives for "Sword and Science"

Brotherly Envy

Vestanji thirsted for revenge. All he could see was Teb’s smirk, his unbroken stride when Vestanji fell and got the bloody gash on his knee. He ignored the pain in his knee and flew after Teb, chasing him through shady parks and across streets bustling with cart drivers and pedestrians. Vestanji’s nose had stopped bleeding, but not before staining his muslin tunic.

I’ll never forgive him, he thought. Why does he torment me?

Teb was a year younger, but almost as tall as Vestanji and slightly heavier. Vestanji narrowly avoided being trampled by a cantering horse as Teb veered onto the portico of a white marble structure.

Good! I’ll trap him inside that classroom!

Teb changed course in mid-stride and leapt onto the grassy lawn surrounding the white building. Vestanji saw the maneuver and forced one more burst of speed. Concentrating on closing the gap, arm extended to grab Teb from behind, Vestanji didn’t see the men, deep in conversation, coming out of the building until it was too late. The best he could do was slow down and lurch sideways.

Teb darted around the building and headed for a row of bushes full of red blossoms. Vestanji slammed into a tall man wearing colorful, expensive robes and a matching turban.

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A Ruby For Dyree

After weeks of walking, only a few stale crusts of bread remained. Rel yawned and crawled out from the rocky overhang. He slung the nearly empty sack over his shoulder and headed toward bushes near the river looking for anything edible. Dyree had stuffed as much food as she could into the sack, almost more than the village could spare. They both thought it would be enough for Rel until he found a caravan willing to take him on. But the terrain he crossed had been too barren for foraging, and his stomach complained day and night. His love for Dyree was the nourishment that pushed him on.

This morning he was lucky. He frightened away a few birds and hastily stripped berries from the bushes where they had feasted. For each greedy handful he stuffed into his mouth, he poured another handful into his sack. He licked his lips, savoring the sweet tangy juice that dribbled down his chin. His hunger sated, he turned toward the narrow river for a drink.

On his knees, Rel plunged his head under the cold water, relishing its crisp, refreshing taste. He sat up and was about to shake the wet hair out of his face when he heard voices. He was in the open, no hiding place near enough to disappear into. Rel reached into the pouch belted around his waist and brought out the short knife that was his only weapon. He backed slowly away from the river, listening.

Three children carrying small baskets meandered into view, sprinting forward when they spotted the berry bushes. The oldest, a girl, saw right away that the bushes had been picked over. Shading her eyes with one hand, she looked around, searching. She found Rel.

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