You may or may not find the word different in this chapter, I’m not sure. I didn’t look. I decided I wanted to share something completely different today, just because. This is chapter twelve of “Evelyn of Kaymbria”. There are a lot of issues with the actions and psychology of this chapter. Very young warrior going into battle for the first time, doesn’t even pause when she kills her first enemy…
If I do publish this in the future (and I very much hope to) I believe I know how to change it so it doesn’t seem as odd, at least to me, that no one pauses after their first kill.
I hope you enjoy the chapter, regardless of the issues.
Evelyn of Kaymbria, Chapter Twelve:
The next day was tense with waiting. Evelyn tried to calm her friends and her men down by singing, but not may people took the bait. No one wanted to talk let alone sing. After a few tries, Evelyn still sang, but mostly to herself. It lifted her spirits somewhat, but also kept her thoughts at bay. She was still thinking of Prince Kadin’s scar and why he may have allowed the cut to scar instead of using the healing salve. If singing old war songs out of tune stopped these thoughts, then she would continue to sing, even if no one else did.
Knowing that this day might prove to be the last for a lot of the men, all the cooks and their helpers were engaged in making dinner. Many cows and pigs were roasted. Bread in abundance was baked and many vegetables were cooked. Instead of having the men line up for food, the cooks, the nurses and anyone not needed somewhere else took plates to the men in the field. It took a long time, but the men were grateful for the fresh food.
The soldiers slept fitfully that night, and very few were placed on guard. There were scouts watching for the Thastin army. The Prince and the Generals didn’t think anyone else should lose sleep.
Morning was even more nerve-racking. The army packed up what they could and moved forward, each soldier with a look of grim determination on their face. Two hours after setting out, the Kaymbrian army met with the Thastin army.
Neither army had archers and most of both armies were on foot. When soldier met soldier, it was sword-to-sword, man-to-man. Each soldier had as much of a chance of winning as the man he was facing.
Evelyn wanted to be further up, closer to the Thastin army, but as her training camp was the furthest away from Barsaw Plateau, they were nowhere near the front. Evelyn tried to keep her men together, but as time wore on and they came closer and closer to the front, it was each man for himself. Evelyn used all her skills, all her training to ensure that each man she met died. She used her gauntlet to block any blow that came her way, then stepped closer to the enemy soldier and slipped her sword into his belly or across his throat.
She lost count of the men she killed. There were too many, and they kept coming. It was fairly obvious though, that the Thastin army wasn’t as well trained as the Kaymbrian army. Evelyn didn’t understand this until a chilling voice rang out.
The cry was repeated over and over. Evelyn looked into the sky and for the first time in her life, was terrified by the sight of dragons flying in the air. She took her fear and threw it aside. It was useless. She needed to keep her head about her as the dragons were blowing fire onto the battlefield. Evelyn tried hard to keep her eyes on the men around her, but her eyes were drawn over and over to the dragons above. Her eyes kept going to one in particular.
The dragon was a deep green with shades of dark blue on his limbs, wings, tail and neck. He was gorgeous and didn’t deserve to be under someone’s enchantment. There was a helmet wrapped around his head and leather straps holding a chair in place on his back. He was trying to fight his master but wasn’t quite strong enough. Evelyn didn’t know how she knew what he was thinking, but she did, and listened.
Not only did she listen, Evelyn called out. She aimed her thoughts at that dragon in particular and screamed as loud as she could in her mind. I CAN HELP YOU! COME TO ME AND I WILL RELEASE HIS HOLD ON YOU!
The dragon had been heading away from her. After her words, it turned sharply and headed back her way. Evelyn looked around her to make sure she was safe and realized that no one was paying attention to her. Good. She turned her attention back to the skies and watched her dragon as it swooped down. She saw an interesting image in her mind and followed it. She held her sword in both her hands above her head. Her right hand gripped the hilt and the protected left gripped the blade. The dragon blew fire near her, then grabbed her sword with his claws. Evelyn held on for dear life as the dragon flew higher into the air.
In the air, Evelyn looked at the bottom of the dragon to see what she could do next. The leather strap for the chair was within her reach, but she was afraid to let go. She didn’t think she would be able to hold on to her sword with one hand. She took a good look at the dragon and realized that she might be able to use her gauntlet to grip the dragon’s sides. Its scales looked just the right size for the curved spikes.
The word was a breeze in her mind. He was communicating with her. Evelyn nodded, pulled herself up closer to the dragon, let the sword go with her left hand and quickly jammed the back of her gauntlet into the dragon’s side, closer to the back leather strap. He didn’t even flinch. Once sure the gauntlet would hold, Evelyn let go of her sword and swung over to the strap.
Evelyn missed on the first try but didn’t worry. She swung again and this time, she was able to grab the strap with her right hand. Once she felt secure, Evelyn pulled her gauntlet out of the dragon’s side. She stared for a moment, then nodded when she saw there was no blood. The gauntlet didn’t harm the dragon.
Carefully climbing hand over hand, Evelyn pulled herself onto the dragon’s back. She was facing the back of the chair. It was made of stiff leather and was fastened in front and in back to the dragon under its legs. The rider didn’t seem to notice it was no longer alone. Evelyn slipped her dagger out of her boot and approached the chair, crouched low. The dragon was silent in her head, but she felt that a quick slice across the throat would take out the rider. When she was right behind the chair, Evelyn took a few shallow breaths and assessed the situation. The man was leaning back in the chair, looking forward. His hands were held out in front of him, toward the dragon’s head. He wasn’t wearing any protective armor.
Once Evelyn realized his neck was very nicely exposed, she grabbed his head with her left hand, stopping his voice and slit his throat with the knife in her right hand. When his throat was cut from ear to ear, she grabbed him and threw him off the dragon.
The helmet. Please remove the helmet. It restricts my thoughts.
Evelyn walked carefully around the chair, looking around a little as she did. They were in the clouds, hidden from the other dragons and Enchanters. She nodded to herself as she straddled the dragon’s neck. When she was seated at the base of his neck, she lay down on his neck and scooted forward until her outreached hand could slip her dagger under the helmet’s strap. One quick tug and the knife cut through the leather strap. The helmet fell off the dragon, but before it could be lost in the clouds, the dragon threw fire at it and destroyed it.
Talk to me in your mind. I can hear you.
I can remove the chair if you want.
She nodded, turned to the chair and made quick work of the straps. Once the chair was flying of the dragon, she put her dagger in her belt. I’m Evelyn.
Though she felt this wasn’t his real name, she accepted it, remembering what Graedon told her some time ago. Dragons had their true name, and the name they gave humans to keep themselves protected. What’s next, Draigone?
We free the others.
A smile of intense pleasure graced her lips as she situated herself on his shoulders. She sat on his back and smiled as he dove through the clouds and headed toward the next dragon.
I’m not able to move against the Enchanters.
Are you able to get me close enough so that I can kill them?
She could feel his smile and looked forward to the day she would see it with her eyes. I can get you close enough.
That’s all I need.
Their thoughts stilled as Draigone approached another dragon. This one was deep crimson. He looked larger than Draigone and more fierce, if only for his color.
Quintar is rather timid. Once you land on him, tell him I sent you. It will make him feel better.
Will the Enchanter hear me?
Yes, but I am quite certain you can kill him quickly.
Draigone was above Quintar, a little behind him. Evelyn pulled her feet onto Draigone’s back and readied herself to jump. She reached her thoughts out to Quintar on a hunch. She could feel his thoughts. He didn’t want to be under the Enchanter’s spell. Evelyn took her dagger out of her belt and held onto it tightly as she closed her eyes.
Stay steady, friend. I’m here to help.
Evelyn opened her eyes and jumped. She landed right behind the chair and didn’t hesitate. The Enchanter was getting up, but she didn’t give him a chance. She grabbed his head in her left hand and slit his throat with the dagger in her right hand. As before she threw the Enchanter off the dragon. Once the man was well away from Quintar, she crouched down, reached out to the strap at his back and sliced through it. She turned and cut through the front strap of the chair and held on to Quintar as the wind took the chair and pulled it off the dragon’s back. Evelyn smiled as it flew in the air and started on its long way back to the ground. She then turned and made her way to the dragon’s neck.
His thoughts were laced with terror. She sent the same message as before as she straddled his neck. Stay steady, friend. I’m here to help.
Quintar’s thoughts calmed down, but he was still uncertain of her actions. He liked that the chair was gone. He hated the chair and preferred to feel the human on his back. It made the connection stronger. Evelyn smiled at the dragon’s thoughts and removed her gauntlet. She clipped it to her belt and ran her hand along his neck as she scooted closer to his head. He sighed at her touch. When she was close enough to the helmet, she cut the strap, pulled the leather off and grabbed hold of Quintar’s neck as the dragon shot up into the clouds and through them.
Evelyn burst out laughing when she realized there was nothing but pleasure in the dragon’s mind. He was free, or close enough to it. She let him fly through the clouds and higher, then held on even tighter as he dove back down. Knowing the dragon would never listen to her, Evelyn reached out with her mind to try and find the other dragons. Draigone was hiding as he didn’t want to be seen by the other Enchanters. Evelyn didn’t blame him. She left him alone and found another willing mind. By a stroke of luck, or perhaps Quintar was listening and didn’t want to let anyone know, he was approaching the willing dragon.
Evelyn watched as they approached the dragon and saw that it was dark blue with shades of green. Its coloring was the opposite of Draigone and Evelyn wondered if he was related to Draigone. She shook her head and let the thought go. When all the dragons were free, she would ask them many questions. Now, she would free her mind of such clutter.
Quintar slowed down and leveled out when he was out of the clouds. Evelyn was able to steady herself and prepare herself for the next jump. She was no longer holding Quintar’s helmet, had lost it in his show of exuberance, but she still held her dagger. The flight had also caused her to slide back down his neck until she was at the base of his neck, sitting on his shoulders. The dragon was parallel with the ground, which meant Evelyn could sit on his shoulder. She took her gauntlet off her belt, pulled it onto her hand and made sure it was very secure. Evelyn then sheathed her dagger back into its place in her boot and moved her right leg over the dragon’s neck to position herself to jump.
When they were over the willing dragon, Evelyn jumped. The Enchanter must have seen her coming though and the dragon moved to the left, away from Evelyn. She was going to miss the middle of the dragon’s back, but she still had her gauntlet.
As she passed the dragon’s side, Evelyn held her left arm out and held on to the gauntlet with her right hand. The gauntlet caught on the dragon’s scales and threatened to rip off Evelyn’s arm. She was making a fist with her left hand and was holding on tight to the strap with her right. She could feel the dragon’s pained thoughts and knew it could feel hers as well. She ignored her own pain and grabbed the leather strap of the chair to keep herself from falling. Needing a better grip, Evelyn slipped her arm through the strap, trying to loop it around her arm. Once she was holding on very well, she lifted her left hand away from the dragon, and realized she had to use more force. She tried again and knew without a doubt that she was going to harm this dragon.
Pull free child. I’ll heal.
It wasn’t the words that surprised Evelyn, but the fact that the voice in her head was feminine. This dragon was female. The shock wore off and Evelyn did as told. She held on tightly with her right hand, lifting herself up as much as she could and yanked her left hand up and out of the dragon. Though blood didn’t pour out of her scales, the dragon was bleeding. Evelyn felt remorse but shoved it aside to concentrate on getting onto the dragon’s back.
He knows you’re coming.
Evelyn nodded but didn’t respond in any other way. She was starting to feel sleepy. Evelyn closed her eyes and listened to the voices surrounding her. The dragon was encouraging her, pleading with her to be careful. Then there were other dragons: Draigone and Quintar, joyous and exuberant. She heard her own thoughts as well, plotting what to do next. Then there was an unknown voice, a hard but quiet voice, telling her it was time to sleep. Evelyn opened her eyes but didn’t see anything. She was focusing her attention on that voice. It was not wanted. Her eyes closed again, and she narrowed all her attention to that one voice. When she was completely centered on the voice, she shoved hard, with all her thoughts, throwing the voice out of her head. Above her, the Enchanter grunted in pain.
She didn’t waste any time but pulled herself up with the leather strap and threw herself onto the dragon’s back. The Enchanter was standing by the chair, hand held out towards her, lips moving. He was starting another spell. Evelyn stood as quickly as she could, facing down the Enchanter. His lips were moving faster, but she couldn’t hear his voice. Evelyn curled her left hand towards her body and swung up, spikes facing him. The spikes on the back of her hand caught under his chin. She continued to pull, using every ounce of strength she had. When his bottom jaw pulled off, blood gushed and splattered against Evelyn.
The Enchanter made a noise that was trying to be a scream but failed as his lower jaw was now attached to Evelyn’s gauntlet. She smiled wickedly, grabbed his shirt with her right hand and swung him around to throw him off the dragon. He continued to make that odd noise all the way down. When the noise stopped, Evelyn looked at her gauntlet. The man’s jaw was still attached to her gauntlet. She snorted, then pulled the flesh and bone off with her right hand, letting it drop over the dragon’s side.
Evelyn crouched down and started to the dragon’s head.
Leave the helmet. The spell around it is not as strong. You have killed enough of them. The other enchanters are trying to weave a spell against you. We must stop them.
Get me close enough and I will.
Evelyn. Thank you.
Thank me when this is done, madam dragon.
Evelyn nodded at the name but didn’t say anything else. She was watching the two dragons that were left. They were getting close to the pale yellow one with a pale orange stripe that seemed to run from the top of his snout all the way to the tip of his tail. He was a sunrise barely touching the horizon. Eisian fed her the dragon’s name and some information on him. Shahar was the youngest of the five and the most likely to try and get free of his hold. The Enchanter riding him was the strongest of the five. He might be able to throw a spell at Evelyn to stop her before she was able to kill him.
Evelyn smiled a wicked smile as a thought slipped into her mind.
Can you fly beyond them?
Yes, but why?
Let me keep my thoughts to myself. If they’re still connected to you, they may be able to hear you and I. Just fly past them, get ahead of them.
As you wish.
Eisian flapped her wings and they climbed into the skies, toward the clouds. When they were just above Shahar, Eisian tucked in her wings and soared down to stop about two of her body lengths before him. Evelyn jumped into action, grabbed her dagger and sliced through the front leather strap of the chair. She then scurried to the back strap and waited. The chair was threatening to fly off the dragon’s back; all it needed was release. Evelyn waited as she looked behind her to Shahar and the Enchanter. Knowing she was doing something exceedingly stupid and not caring, Evelyn took a deep breath, grabbed the leather strap, and wrapped it around her left arm before cutting through it with her dagger.
The wind tore the chair off Eisian’s back and hurled it and her into the air, right to Shahar. The dragon ducked at the last moment, allowing the flying chair to catch on the Enchanter and his chair. Evelyn grabbed the Enchanter’s shirt, the only thing she could find that wasn’t hidden under the flying chair. She found her footing, let go of the leather strap and grabbed on to the Enchanter’s chair. She was on his right side. Once the errant chair had flown off him, he stared hard at Evelyn. His lips weren’t moving, but Evelyn knew he was casting a spell. His crystal clear blue eyes showed nothing but death. He was planning on killing her.
Evelyn smiled and the look in his eyes changed. She grabbed him around the neck with her right hand and hit him hard with her closed left hand. When her fist was past his face, she brought it back and felt an incredible glee as the spikes ripped his flesh from his face. He was still alive and let the spell he was trying to cast go.
The spell hit her, and she could taste it. There was a metallic tinge to the spell, bloody and cloying. Her eyes grew wide as she felt the spell trying to grab her heart to still it. Evelyn closed her eyes and shoved the spell away as violently as she could. She was able to cast it aside only because it wasn’t fully formed. Evelyn knew if she had come a moment or two later, the spell would have been finished and she would be dead. The thought stopped her, but only for a very short time. Once the spell went past her harmlessly, she focused on the Enchanter and gave him a wicked, terrible smile. The hard look in his eyes broke and she saw fear. Glee enveloped her, and she hit him again with her closed left fist. Every time she pulled away, she ripped more and more flesh. When his nose and part of his face pulled away, she knew he was dead.
Evelyn picked up the body and unceremoniously threw him over Shahar’s side. She then crouched and went to the back strap, unsheathing her dagger as she went. The back strap and front strap of the chair were cut, and the chair was off the dragon in mere seconds. With that done, she turned her attention to the dragon’s head.
Do I cut that helmet off now or after your last friend is free?
Now. I want the satisfaction of killing the last Enchanter myself.
The heat of his words surprised Evelyn, but she didn’t let it stop her. She crawled to the base of his neck then scooted up his neck as she had done with two of the other dragons. She cut through the helmet’s strap quickly and pulled it off his head. She tossed it out in front of him and like Draigone, Shahar lit the helmet on fire.