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P. 1
One Night

One Night

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Published by Selivia
In dreams, we can do anything
In dreams, we can do anything

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Published by: Selivia on Apr 08, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/05/2010

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One NightHe sat bolt upright in the bed. He had woken too quickly. Ari felt disoriented fora moment.The room was dark. Clothing and fabric could be seen dimly in the gloom drapingover furniture . Odd shapes could only just be discerned scattered about the room.He could hear sounds. Voices. Heavy steps.He stumbled from the bed, half tripping over unseen objects on the floor. Cursingsoftly he managed to find the door and haul it open.The sounds were echoing down a long stone corridor. Fabric hung on the wallsbarely visible as dark shapes on a darker background.There was a torch in a wall sconce spilling a pool of yellow light into thesurrounding darkness. It was in the direction of the sound of voices. He walkedtowards it uncertainly, his steps echoing eerily. A little further on was anothertorch, and yet another beyond that. He kept walking.The passage gave way to a long hall. Here large shapes moved noisily around anarrow fire pit that ran almost the length of the hall. Coals glowed and in spitsand spurts sent out a ruddy glimmer. Long shadows ran fitfully along the wallsadding to the confusion of ghostly shapes.He peered into the smoky darkness. They were mostly tall men and broad of shoulderand girth. One towards the centre was little shorter. Though his back was all thatcame into view, this man appeared older than most of the others but not stoopedinto dotage. Everyone seemed to defer to him. There was something familiar aboutthis central man. Ari called out to him."Brian! What are you…." He looked around at all the others,"…doing…" All the others looked around at him,"…here…" his voice trailed off. The older man turned slowly, surprise registeringon a face etched in high relief by the dim glow from the fire."Would you be addressing me?" a rich voice resonated with regal undertones.Ari blinked hard. The other man was wearing a circlet about his brow of finelyengraved bronze and adorned by a rounded green-coloured stone. A longish, greybeard matched the grey-streaked hair, both neatly trimmed ."I am sorry… my Lord," Ari fought for the appropriate words, "I mistook you foranother." He bowed his head waiting nervously for a response.He could feel the man move closer to him. All other sound had ceased immediatelythe other had spoken. He could feel every eye upon him."I do not know your face," the voice boomed over his head, "What is your name?""Ari Jorgensen," he answered firmly, occasioning to look the man in the face."Hmmmm," the man stroked his beard thoughtfully, "I know no Jorgensen either. ButAri is a good strong name and you appear a stalwart fellow. I would be grateful ifyou should fight at my back this night."
 
"Tonight?" Ari asked, thinking sarcastically how wonderful it would be to fightthrough the dark hours."Yes," another man answered from beside the first, "We leave at moonrise andshould be back before the sun. This is when the raiders are active."The new man gave Ari an appraising look from behind pale eyes, darkly set andgrim. He was dressed much as the others in the hall, dark coloured linen tunicover baggy wool-woven pants pushed into the tops of fur lined boots that werecross-strapped to foot and leg. His long blonde hair was braided with beads andleather cording.Ari looked down his own body to discover that he was similarly attired."You’ll need a sword," the other man said sternly."Here," cried a voice from the gloom as something was tossed into the air."But I don’t know how…" Ari began to say before he found that he had snatched thespinning sliver of metal from the air, "…apparently I do," he finished, admiringhis evident skill with a sword.With the village at their backs, the men moved out into the surrounding forest."These raiders," He began to ask in a hushed voice addressing the men near him."Romans," the unfinished question was answered."We would beat them in a straight fight," another informed him, "so now they comein the night to steal our women and children to make them slaves."Ari had little time to take in the information before the darkness was split byblazing balls spewing light and flame. The approaching objects proved to be arrowswith burning swatches of tar-soaked fabric. Before their eyes could adjust to thelight, they were assaulted by the clamour of men bursting from cover, redfirelight glinting off their weapons.Battle was joined.Instinctively, he raised his sword to intercept a blade flashing towards him. Withease he deflected it, and with a simple flick of the wrist directed his own keenedge to his opponent’s neck. He felt it slice through flesh before shatteringbone. The sickening reverberation jarred his shoulder. He had no time to beappalled as strikes rained down upon him.In no time it seemed, he was streaked with blood and weary to the bone."You fight well," the thain saluted Ari, "Stay a few nights as my guest.""To your beds now. Tomorrow we celebrate," the order sounded out.No sooner had he rested his head than Ari felt a hand on his shoulder. He wassitting upright instantly and reaching for his sword.Something landed on the floor with a dull thud. Muscles protested their stiffness."You really shouldn’t sleep on the couch," a familiar voice remonstrated as his

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