CHAPTER 9: TRUST
“Yah!” they both yelled, calling their mounts to a faster pace. Three riders were fast on their tails, including Brenian, Yorn, and one another rider, whose name Freya did not know.
Freya dug a hand into her saddlebag, hoping to find another crossbow arrow. She found two. She stuck one in her mouth to free her hands, and tried to fit the other in the crossbow. She guided her horse with her thighs, but concentrating on two different things at the same time was quite difficult, especially considering there were three people behind them wanting to kill her. She finally fit the arrow to the weapon, and was about to turn around and fire another shot when Wyl unsheathed a knife.
“Cover for me,” he urged as he gave her one last look before hurriedly turning his mount and charging their enemies.
“Wyl don’t!” she cried, taking the extra arrow from her mouth, but his mind had already been made up. He was charging the three men, knife in one hand and a sword resting across his lap and covered by a cautioned hand.
Without a second’s hesitation, Freya turned her horse around and followed, hoping to keep their focus divided between the two of them. With a flick of his wrist, Wyl threw his knife, but Brenian was quick. He dipped his body to one side, effectively allowing the knife to pass by him.
Freya held her breath as she focused in on the closest rider: Yorn. She lifted her crossbow, aimed, and loosed the arrow. Instead of killing Yorn, she decided to make a last minute choice and shot his horse instead. The midnight black horse reared on its hind legs, throwing Yorn from the saddle to the ground. That caused the two riders left to look at her. They were still a number of yards away, but their attention was directed solely on her, which is exactly what she wanted.
Freya’s blood truly started pumping then. She was placing herself as their main target.
While they set their sights on her, Wyl took another knife from his belt and threw it at the man to the far left. The knife lodged itself in his neck. The man’s eyes grew to twice their size in fear, and then he dropped to the ground, blood pouring from his neck and his horse galloping away from the fray.
They were scant yards apart now, and Freya knew Wyl would go after Yorn, while she took care of Brenian. She had tossed her crossbow in her pack after she had shot it, so that now, she held a steel sword in her hand, ready for any and all action.
Brenian’s eyes narrowed in anger, and he lifted his own sword. Freya was quite nervous. She had never actually fought with steel on horseback. It had always been with wooden swords and with her father’s own men —the ones who didn’t mind teaching her about the various types of swordplay. Their reason for teaching her was so they would also have someone to practice with. She normally learned very fast.
Now, she was actually having to put what she learned with wooden swords into practice with real ones —ones that could easily cause the death of either or both of them. Freya saw the position, Brenian took with his body —it was offensive. With thundering hooves, their swords clashed together —he in the offensive; she in the defensive. He was only able to get one strike in before she thundered past him, out of reach.
She turned her horse around, back to face Brenian. He was closer this time, and when they came close, Brenian struck once again. Freya blocked high and used her elbow to jam into his unprotected rib cage.
“Oooff!” let out the man. Despite the air being knocked out of his lungs, he held his weapon firm. With the strength of both her arms, she forced his sword down, the metal resounding with a dangerous, metallic ring. Her arms began to burn at the strength she exerted. Brenian was quite strong.
She urged her horse back away from him as she allowed Brenian to force her sword the opposite way. Without Brenian realizing she was giving him the idea that he was over powering her, she grappled at her belt for her dagger. He was so preoccupied with trying to out-best her, he didn’t even see the glimmer of the blade she held in her other hand. She brought the pommel up to the man’s head and rammed it against him as hard as she could. He went stiff for a second, all strength draining from his sword arm and slumped in his saddle, sliding to the ground in a heap. He was out cold. He would wake up with quite a few bruises once he came to his senses.