King Stephen, the Silver man and Greta the Witch

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Chapter 14 - Spear

Greta was mystified. She was about to throw the spear at the Silver man when there was large flash, in fact two flashes in quick succession, and instead she had just killed a dog. She couldn’t help herself. She had been poised to kill the Silver man, but he had disappeared, and instead the arrow had impaled the body of the brown and white dog. There was also a strange tall man sitting where the silver object had been, dressed in strange clothes who immediately ran to nurse the bleeding dog. The forest had also changed. The trees were not as tall, and seemed a lot less densely packed. There were wide open spaces where there had been none before. There was also a strange burnt smoky smell to the air.

King Stephen was equally mystified. He struggled to keep his horse under control after the two flashes. His mounted companions were having equal difficulty. The King’s horse threw him, and he landed badly on his side.

Suddenly two more horses and riders appeared, just as the King lay prostrate and vulnerable on the ground. In fact, they were just a mother and daughter out for a Saturday morning ride on the common. But disorientated after the flashes, and thinking they were under attack, both Henry and Eustace acted instinctively to protect the King. Henry felled the first rider with an arrow to the chest and Eustace decapitated the second. The beheading stroke was the same he had used to kill the bandit leader in France. When the severed head rolled to the ground, it was apparent that the rider was a woman. Compared to the 12th century, these two riders were dressed in strange tight fitting clothes. The riding outfits were very similar. With tight fitting black knee length riding points, matching black jackets and black riding hats, their clothes could well be mistaken for military uniforms. Both women had ridden fine horses, who came to halt as their riders’ bodies fell to the ground. Instinctively Eustace went to round up the stray horses, including the King’s mount, and check the perimeter in case there were more attackers.

Keith sat on the ground, cradling the dying Patch. He had tears rolling down his cheeks, and his shoulders were heaving with his sobs. With the rage of battle still in him, Henry was about to send an arrow through Keith’s body when the King recovered from his prone position and put a hand on his cross bow to stop him. Keith pulled the spear from Patch’s body and tried to stop the blood with his bare hands. He watched helpless as Patch closed her brown eyes for the last time, and Keith let his head drop onto her soft body and was beside himself with grief.

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