28th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Amberdale, Kenzrenad, 7:43am, The Battle of the Burn
Dewey English stood with the crossbowmen on their line. He held a heavy crossbow and shuttered to think he would have to use one again. During the Goblin wars, his daddy had ridden with the old king, still that night haunted him when the goblins had broken into the town and attacked his Ma and sister, he had grabbed the crossbow and done what he needed to do, but the bolt had killed the creature and his sister… he hadn’t ever wanted to fire a weapon again. Now here he was, twenty seven years later hefting the weapon he hated most. He had apparently had the most skill with the weapon, Digger had called him “a Natural” during training. So now he was leading a small squadron holding the death machines that had stolen Katlyn’s life. He gazed ahead and watched in horror at the sheer amount of horses that road over the ridge and into the valley after Subaru. He waved to his “men”, children and women mostly, to load their bows, they did with practiced skill, Digger had been relentless over the last six days and most could now load a crossbow with their eyes closed. The horses rampaged with masters of death astride, hurtling towards carnage. When they were about two hundred feet away he raised his weapon and sighted in a rider, he noted in his peripheral that the others did the same. He didn’t call any commands he just squeezed the trigger and let his squad do the same as they were ready, rushing wasn’t going to help matters. His heart lurched as a rider fell from his horse but he quickly looked down and focused on reloading. Digger had been clear on that, ‘FIRE, RELOAD then run… do not run until you a ready to shoot’. So he diligently reloaded his weapon and looked to see if his team had done the same, when the finished up he waved his arm, they wanted to run he didn’t need to encourage them as they quickly ran past the musketeers and sighted again. He shot twice more until he heard the bang from the musket line and saw them break
“ONE MORE!” he called to his team and loaded another quarrel, he sighted a horsemen charging for Ms. Aurelia and fired, he didn’t kill him, but had caused the horse to veer. He reloaded… had to remember that you weren’t allowed to run until you reloaded; he looked to his line, they had already scattered towards the town. He finished his task and started running to, holding his weapon tightly as he ran towards the Hooper house; that was his next waypoint. He was two thirds of the way there when he saw Addie. She was bleeding badly, lying in the dirt to the left side of the road, it looked like a musket ball had taken out her calf and she seemed to be crawling towards her waypoint. He bent to helped her up.
“RUN DEWEY, THEY”RE COMING!” she gurgled, she must have been hit somewhere else two as blood escaped with her words. Dewey turned, he could see some scattered spearmen running along with the last of the Sailors and a host of horsemen hot on their heels, he looked to the Hooper House, and knew that there was no way he was going to make it there. He hefted his bow and shot at an oncoming horsemen then slung the weapon and grabbed Addie under her arms. He wasn’t a big man, and hadn’t the strength to properly carry her so he dragged her towards one of the nearby houses. “What are you doing Dewey, these are rigged to blow!” Addie nagged, he recalled why several people in town referred to her a Nan.
“That’s another three houses down, I think we’ll be ok in here” he said softly as he opened the door and dragged her in. It was Fred’s old house, a nice two bedroom place with a shared kitchen and common room in the front. Dewey pulled Addie to the back room and placed her on the bed before running forward and closing the door, as an afterthought he locked it. Then remembering Digger’s training he stopped and reloaded his crossbow. Once that was completed he placed his loaded crossbow on the small kitchen table outside the room and entered to look at Addie. She was white as a ghost and fumbling with her Blunderbuss trying to load it.
“Put that down Addie, and let me take a look at you” she fought and refused until he assured her that the weapon was ready to fire, he placed it beside her bed and started at the leg, but things were worse than that, she’d be shot by an ally not an enemy, there were pellets all through her midsection and down her right leg, the limp was the least of her worries. Dewy didn’t know much first aid but he ripped apart the sheets on the bed and started bandaging as best he could.
That would be the collapse of the buildings, there was a little more musket fire and then things got quiet. Dewey focused on his task but quickly decided he needed water, and maybe some herbs, he raced from the room and entered the little kitchen fumbling around in the cupboards trying to remember what herbs, if any, helped gunshot wounds.
The door burst open, and in HE staggered. The man was tall and well built, covered in dust from head to toe. His clothes had little blood nor tears in them, but did show some signs of recent battle, his hair line was receding but what hair that was still their held the black of its youth. The Man had dark eyes mixed with his pointed nose it gave him a hawkish look; his face with spattered with a salt and pepper scruff and his lips held a smile that did not reach his eyes. Dewey looked over to the table maybe three steps away that held the Crossbow, the man just smiled and nodded to his left hand that held a pistol in it. Dewey let out a sigh and raised his hands.
“Ya’ Hidin’ Boy?” the man said taking the moment to enter the room and push the door closed with his foot. It took all Dewey had not to look over towards the open bedroom door he didn’t trust himself to speak so he just nodded “So thar be at least one clever fella in this po-dung town… HER HA!” his laugh at the end seemed forced and though that smile held their seemed to be seething menace emanating from the creature of a man. The fellow stepped into the room further and approached the table, keeping his eyes on Dewey all the while. “Name’s No-Fluke Bradley…” he said as his right hand pulled an oversized knife from his belt and cut the string of the crossbow “What’s yer name… boy?”
Dewey swallowed and took a tentative step forward. He was halted by No-Fluke making a tsk tsk noise and rattling his pistol
“umm.. Dewey… Dewey English” he stammered
“Ha… Dewey English, don’t reckon I ever heard a more sly name if all my years… folks must of hated you from the start” Dewey said nothing to this not knowing how to reply, he watched as the man put down his knife and picked up his water skin and moved to drink.. Dewey knew it was now or never and rushed forward to tackle the brute. No-Fluke lived up to his name easily side stepping the clumsy attempt and smashing Dewey in the nose with the butt of his pistol. Dewey staggered back a step or two as No-Fluke punched him in the stomach allowing Dewey to slump to the ground wheezing. “Now that was just genuinely unfriendly Dewey” the brute said as he kicked the smaller man in the ribs once more before returning to his water skin. “Now, I’m not gonna lie to ya Dewey, I would have honestly preferred if you was a women, but I have been in the saddle for some time now, and this battle has got be all stirred up… since you and I need to while away the time until the Count has the rest of yer ilk rounded up… well I do believe we should get better acquainted” as he said the final words he grabbed Dewey by the scruff of the neck and bent him over the kitchen table. Dewey began to turn and struggle to try and kick, but quickly felt the pistol to the back of his head, tears began to well up in his eyes as he heard the man speak again “Now I don’t mind some fight, that makes it all the more fun, but you best keep them legs spread and yer boots on the ground, else this is gonna be a hell of a lot messier” Dewey didn’t move, he stared as the table in front of him as he felt the man’s knife cut through the belt at the small of his back. He felt the cold iron of the pistol muzzle pushing against the back of his head. In his mind he told himself to wriggle, to fight or dive or move or bite him, but he faced the facts, he couldn’t, he was too scared to move. The knife finished its job and Dewey heard the rustle of a buckle and saw a grubby dirty hand reach around him and take a handful of butter before retreating behind him once more. Dewey sniffled and let out a whimper as a greasy hand touched his hip and drop his pants. Dewey bit his lip hard, so hard it began to bleed. “Now remember Dewey, the more ya clench the more I’m a gonna enjoy it, so feel free to do as you need”
“and you feel free to Die Asshole!” Both men looked up and saw a ghostly Addie leaning in the door frame of the bedroom; her Blunderbuss was loaded and pointed at No-Fluke. No-Fluke pulled Dewey into a standing position hunching behind his victim.
“HOO-WEE! You were holdin’ out on me Dewey, look at that pretty little thing, death becomes her” No-Fluke cackled at his terrible joke
“You Sick Drokk! You’re gonna die slow” Addie said her voice was weak but her will was iron.
“Oh, come on now girly, you ain’t gonna do that… ya see yer hold’in a Blunderbuss, that thing has a good old spray, that will mangle me something fierce, but yer dear boy here, he gonna look a lot worse taking that in the face… how bout you lower the weapon and we figure something on out” If No-Fluke was nervous he wasn’t showing it, he genuinely seemed to be having a good time. Dewey looked at Addie, she was dripping blood and looked like she might fall any minute, all No-Fluke had to do was stall, he looked her hard in the eye and nodded
“fine with me” Addie said pulling the trigger