Road of Woe: Six

With Sabit at their head, the Ghabari troops charged downhill into their foes, like an avalanche of sharpened spear points. Battle was joined.

Behind the wall of tall Ghabari shields, Sabit thrust her spear into the belly of one soldier, the chest of another. They fell at her feet and she spared no time for their bodies. There were more foes to join them.

Sabit plunged her spear into the next foeman, but he did not fall. He wore the circlet of command upon his brow. Even as her iron spear tip sank deeper into his breast, the soldier turned to glare hatefully, his too-white eyes flickering with reflected flame. With both hands, he clutched the shaft of Sabit’s spear with an unnatural grip. Thrusting the spear deeper into his own chest, he dragged himself closer to Sabit, hand over hand.

As he drew closer, Sabit could see his face in detail. His eyes were not orbs that shone too bright in the firelight. They were not eyes at all. Two large white flowers stared hatefully at her, bright green stamens boring into her soul from where their pupils ought to be. The man’s skin was not slick with sweat. Waxy, dark leaves covered his cheeks and brow, leaving nothing truly human below the uncanny floral facade.

Putting up her shield, Sabit pushed against the fundamental wrongness of his vegetative mass. The thing in the shape of a man curled the fingers of one hand-like stalk around the edge of Sabit’s shield. Tender, pale roots bore into the laminated mesquite strips of the shield, changing their dark, polished sheen to the lighter shade of living wood. In turn, rootlings sprouted from the shield itself, grasping hungrily for the tender flesh of Sabit’s arm.

Lurching away from this new onslaught, Sabit’s heel caught on one of the enemies she had slain. As she fell backward under the assault, she heard the screams of her troops. From the corner of her eye, she could see up and down the line, these plant-beasts cutting through her troops like a scythe through ripe wheat.

Then, she hit the ground and there was only blackness.

— — —

Wayfarings of Sabit: Road of Woe is copyright © 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon: https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller or http://ipressgames.com/fiction/

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