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Thursday, August 4, 2011

From "A Kingdom's Cost" by J. R. Tomlin

A Kingdom's CostYoung James Douglas has accompanied the newly crowned king of the Scots, Robert de Bruce, and they rest in the woods, expecting battle the next day:

James closed his eyes and felt under his hauberk where Isabella's favor was tucked. He'd tie it around his arm for battle. He had kissed her. Just that once, her lips soft against his. He'd stroked her yellow hair, silky under his calloused hand. She moved against him, fingers caressing his face. Her breath was sweet when she murmured against his mouth. He pulled her against him.

James jerked awake. He leapt to his feet, heart hammering, not sure what that sound had been. Someone shrieked. Gulping in a breath, he strained to see through the murk. In the darkness somewhere, steel screamed on steel. James spun trying to tell where it came from.

"To arms! Attack." A voice came out of the darkness.  

"Blow the alarm." The king's voice came from his left.

The trumpet sounded--two long blasts, the call to arms.

Another horn answered. Someone darted across the clearing, James couldn't tell whom in the dark, just a figure running. Cursing, he grabbed the reins of his horse and ran towards where Bruce had rested. Where was everyone? The clouds cut off all light from the moon.

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