Image: Luis Royo
and the Crows Followed
Lucie stopped, vibrating slightly until her breath slowed. She heard the moans, fewer now. She saw the crows descending, anxious for the feast. She knelt on the ground facing the west where the sun was setting in a blaze of reds and oranges. She laid her sword down and slowly removed her helmet. There was no danger now. The few who had escaped the village were mere children. If they managed to find the next town, it would be hours before anyone would come view this carnage. She would be long gone by then; she always was.
She licked the blood from her fingers and leaned forward, her forehead touching the cool grass. I had no choice. It had become her mantra, her reason for living.
Lucie remembered the day clearly. She recalled the rough texture of the noose as it tightened around Ruan’s neck,the glaze that came over his eyes when his spirit had passed over. Lucie knew the moment her heart became stone, when retribution was her only thought. In her pain, she had called out to Fiona, begged the goddess to give her justice. And Fiona had. Now all of his accusers were dead, including the governor who had sentenced him.
But the goddess was not content, the goddess called out for more bloodshed. She had given Lucie the strength, speed and skill she needed, even the armor and sword were rom the goddess, but Lucie should have known that the gods and goddesses never provide gifts out of the goodness of their hearts. They each had their motives.
Now, Fiona would not let Lucie rest. She could hear the voice even when she was asleep. Fiona demanded more deaths, wanted every Trupine village destroyed, even the children hunted down. She swore that if Lucie would never be with her husband in paradise without this payment, that she would be cursed with eternal punishment if she couldn’t fulfill her debt.
Lucie was so tired, so lonely, so cold, but she picked up her armor and her sword, moving on, searching for a place to rest for the night. And the crows followed.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.