|Objects in Motion
Author: Moondance K'Treva PM
Lyssa Bohrihim was a normal girl living a somewhat less-than-normal life in the town of Bluegrace, three day's ride from the capital city of Haven. One day her less-than-normal life became decidedly abnormal...Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,024 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 02-09-05 - Published: 01-21-05 - id: 2228575
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
disclaimer: what you don't recognize is mine. what you do recognize belongs to mercedes lackey (misty).
please read and review. and i hope you enjoy what i've written as much as i enjoyed writing it.
They circled each other for a moment, then she launched herself forward, slashing first with her rapier in a downward motion. She quickly followed the move almost in the instant that it connected with his blade, bringing her dagger up under his guard. But he was fast, much too fast for someone his size, disengaging from their locked blades and dancing away from her, an arrogant smirk on his face.
Wasting no time, she pressed forward, quickly switching her hold on her dagger in preparation of an overhand strike. He saw the motion with a quick flicker of his eyes and moved forward to meet her. As she brought her dagger up in preparation for the strike, he disarmed her rapier hand in one swift motion, kicking her to the ground and stepping lightly on her dagger hand. With one quick move, he killed her.
She smiled up at her father and used her free hand to wipe the sweat from her eyes. Justus reached down to help his daughter up, smiling at her.
"You did well. But you're still telegraphing your moves too much. We'll work on that." He promised, his eyes glimmering, "Now, walk a little and stretch so you don't stiffen up."
Lys pulled off her practice armor and tossed it in a heap to be put away later, "Yes, sir." she said, then began a series of stretches in preparation for her walk. Tired as she was, she knew better than to just stop after that kind of sustained exercise. The last time she had disobeyed her father, he had said nothing, but had forced her stiff limbs into vigorous motion the next morning. She had no desire to repeat the experience.
Her father walked next to her and they talked, as was their custom when he was at home. He had just come back from six months on the border and they had much to catch up on.
At eighteen, Lys was his oldest child and only daughter. Crysia, her mother, had never had an easy time with childbearing, so all the children were fairly spaced out. Their second child was just turning sixteen now and bore his father's name. The third and fourth were the twins, Lendel and Symon at seven years old. And last but not least was little Arilam who was two.
He talked of his time out on the border and she filled him in on the latest news of the family and herself. Justus' namesake was progressing in his studies with the same proficiency that he progressed in the arts of war. The twins had just recently started taking the classes required for all children by Valdemaran law and were very enthusiastic about it. They called their tutors "tooters" and regaled the house with stories about what letters go where in the alphabet at nightly meals. The baby was the baby, and was already toddling around the house and bumping into trouble at every turn.
After they were sure that their muscles were sufficiently stretched and their bodies cooled down from the workout, they set about cleaning up the practice armor and weapons from the yard then headed off to bathe before the evening meal.
Lys made her way back towards the bath house with a towel and a clean split skirt and shirt over her arm, one hand freeing her long hair from the knot that it had been confined to for the whole of her training session. She shook it out with a sigh and went about firing the kiln that warmed the water for her bath. That done, she disrobed and filled the tub, luxuriating in the warm steam that filled the bitter cold room as the tub slowly filled up.
After her bath, she left the kiln on for her father, dressed and walked back up to the house, shivering as her still-wet hair chilled in the winter evening air.
Entering the house, the smells of cooking dinner washed over her and she smiled and poked her head into the family room. Her father had the baby on his knees and was bouncing him while the toddler shrieked gleefully.
She smiled to herself, drinking in the scene for a moment, "Bath's free, da. I left the water hot for you."
He looked up from the baby's face and smiled warmly at her, "Thanks, kitten. Take him?" he stood, then, his large muscular frame obscuring the light from the fireplace for a moment. She crossed the room and took the baby from him, cooing and tickling his feet. Justus kissed her on the forehead and then headed out the door towards the bath.
Balancing the baby on her hip, she headed towards the enticing smells emanating from the kitchen. Walking in, she took in the welcome of her sight of her mother in earth green robes stirring something undoubtedly delicious in a large pot on the stove. In that kitchen, surrounded by the herbs and flowers that were part of her craft as a Healer, her mother looked like nothing so much as a Goddess brought down to earth. The baby squealed and reached out to her and her mother raised her eyes at the sound.
"Need some help, mama?" she asked, moving across the space between them so that her mother could take the baby. Crysia took the baby from her and planted a soft kiss on her daughter's forehead. Lys took advantage of having her hands free to pull her long hair into a tight bun at the back of her neck, pulling it up off her face.
"If you would go and get your brother for supper. He's still over at the bookbinders. I swear, that boy would live in a book, if given the chance."
Lys laughed, "You're probably right. I'll go and fetch our little errant bookworm." With that, she spun and left the room, snatching her cloak and boots in the hallway and slipping all three on as she walked out the door.
The night air was cold and clear. She looked up and could pick out the individual constellations like pinpricks in black velvet, hovering over her head.
As she walked down the street, passing the local businesses as they closed for the day, she nodded at the people on the street. They all knew her here, the daughter of Justus Bohrihim. Her family was very well respected because of the work that he had done to keep this town safe over the years. When they had arrived here Lys had been a babe in arms, but she had heard the stories. Not from her father, of course, he wasn't that sort of man. But the townsfolk told her enough.
When the Bohrihim family had arrived here, her father had already been an officer in King Sendar's army. The town of Bluegrace had been without militia, without any way to properly defend themselves. Her father took the people of the town and formed them into a solid fighting force. He trained the men and women alike in the use of at least the most rudimentary of weapons.
Since that day, any bandit party thinking to find Bluegrace a town of soft pickings and gentle women had been sorely mistaken.
They had successfully fought off 3 bandit raids in the past two years alone, when the King's militia had been too slow arriving to give them proper aide. All the surrounding towns knew that the walls of Bluegrace were thick and strong, and they were quickly becoming a power to whom the locals turned when they had need of protection.
They still had problems, yes. There were thieves and other lowlifes who still sought to make Bluegrace a home for their type of villainy. But when the entire honest populace is armed and knows the use of those arms, the typical villain doesn't stand much of a chance. Not for any length of time, at any rate.
Reaching the center of town, she turned down a small side street towards the bookbinder's shop. The warm light and smell of tooled leather and paper as she entered was as welcoming to her as her mother's kitchen.
She smiled warmly at the old man who greeted her. A bent, aged, white haired old man, Bookbinder Thomas was one of Lys' favorite people.
"Good evening, Thomas." She said cheerfully, bowing slightly as was appropriate when one entered the presence of a wise one or an elder, and Thomas was both.
"Good evening, Lys." He smiled, "Time for supper?"
"That it is. Mother says that she has some extra stew if you'd be interested in supping with us."
The old man's eyes lit up, "Far be it for me to deny a Healer, I'll get my coat. Your brother is in the back." He bustled off and she made her way alone to the back of the shop.
Her brother had his long nose buried in a tome bigger than Lys' head. He didn't raise his head as she approached, but said, "Hi, Lys." It was always that way with them, they could tell when one another was about. Justus often said that it was like she was a presence inside his head that never went away and, whenever she was near him, the part of his mind that was aware of her would let him know.
"Hey, kid." She said, plopping herself on the edge of the table, her long legs dangling, "Supper's ready. Thomas is going to eat with us. And father's home." At the last, her brother's head snapped up, his eyes glimmering.
"Really? When?" he asked, closing the book and standing. He began to gather his things from the corner where he had stowed them, tossing everything into his carry-bag and throwing his cloak over his shoulders.
"A few hours ago. He's looking forward to seeing you. I told him you're still weak on your left side."
He looked at her, sarcasm dripping from his eyes, "Thanks. You're so loving."
She laughed at the look on his face and threw an arm over his shoulders, "Come on, little brother. Let's go home."
Stepping out onto the street Lys felt a dropping in her stomach. She turned to her brother with worry in her eyes just as a flash of white overwhelmed her vision.
Bandits, hiding in the hills. Hundreds of them! More than the town could ever fend against. And the nearest detachment of the King's army was miles away, at best.
She flashed out of the vision just long enough to gasp orders to her brother to get home and warn everyone, then her mind was engulfed in white again.
They descended on the town, slaughtering men and women alike, killing the children. Burning everything to the ground.
She had had these visions before. With the last few bandit attacks, they had begun to get progressively worse. They had started to last longer, the feelings and emotions in them becoming more intense. Now she found that she couldn't even break out of it as she had the last one.
Her father standing in front of their house, sword in hand. It took seven of the bandits to do it, but eventually he fell and they flooded into the house with a fury born from his resistance.
Lys watched helplessly as they slaughtered her brothers and mother and burned her home to the ground. The vision held her in a vice grip, forcing her to see things that she would have rather died then witness.
Then, suddenly, she felt the vision ripped away as if by a strong hand. She was lying in the street, Thomas kneeling over her, presumably trying to make her come around. But someone else was there as well.
She turned slightly to the side and looked straight into the eyes of the most beautiful horse she had ever seen. His long white mane and tail glimmered in the clear moonlight. She looked into his blue eyes and heard a deep, strong voice in her mind.
:Lyssa. I am Aimery and I Choose you. I will never leave your side.: her mind was flooded with blue, love and acceptance riding the wave of that light into the deepest corners of her heart. As the light receded, the feeling remained behind, and she found that she was on her feet with her arms wrapped tight around his silky neck.
Then she remembered, "The bandits!" she exclaimed. She launched herself into the saddle quicker than thought and turned quickly, holding her hand out to Thomas, "Can you ride?" she asked urgently.
"I suppose. If I have to." He answered reluctantly, taking her hand.
"You have to." She answered, and pulled him up into the saddle in front of her. Aimery wheeled beneath her and turned towards home.
Riding up to the house, she saw that her father had already gotten the local men into a group in front of the house, and he was giving them instructions to evacuate the town. One look at their grim, hard-lined faces, and Lys knew that her father had chosen rightly when he had put these men in charge.
She vaulted from the saddle as the crowd parted in front of Aimery, rushing up to her father. He put his arm around her shoulder and hugged her for a moment, then turned back to the men he had assembled. Thomas slid slowly off of the saddle behind her and joined the ranks of the men. Old though he might be, he knew his duty to the people of this town and would not shirk it.
"Get the women and children out. Tell them to leave their valuables. Anything that it will take the bandits a while to loot will give us extra time to get our families as far from here as possible. Take all the horses in the town and get them out. I've sent a messenger bird to the local militia, they'll get here as soon as they can."
The men all nodded affirmation and moved quickly to dispense their tasks quickly and efficiently. Justus looked down at his daughter, then up at the horse she'd ridden in on. His eyes suddenly widened in shock and he took both of her shoulders in his two hands and looked her in the eye.
"A Companion? You've been Chosen?" he asked, smiling gleefully. She nodded, smiling as deliriously as him. He quickly collected himself, "Go inside and help your mother. I have things that I have to do."
"Yes, sir." She nodded and looked back at Aimery, "Can you carry my father for a while? I don't want anything to happen to him…" Justus looked at her in shock, then met the Companion's deep blue eyes.
:I will keep him safe for you, Chosen. If you need me, I'll be here.:
"Aimery says he'll carry you, da. He'll keep you safe."
Her father looked slightly shocked but his military training took over in a flash. He mounted quickly, reaching down to squeeze Lys' hand, then Aimery rushed off, following the crowd of dispersing men towards the other end of town.
Lys watched them go and turned to the house, rushing inside she took the stairs two at a time and dove into her room. Opening the chest at the foot of her bed, she pulled out three throwing daggers, placing two in her boots and one in her belt. She fixed her twin daggers to her belt on one side and her rapier to the other. On her way out the door, she snatched up a quiver of arrows and her deer hunting bow.
Stopping in the hallway, she opened the large closet there and pulled out a small, cloth-wrapped package, tucking it under her shirt, she rushed to her mother's room.
Her mother was in the bedroom making quick work of packing a small bag with things for the baby, soft cloth and the like. She looked up at her daughter's entrance.
"Lys, your brother is making a pack of food. I already have my Healer's bag full. Will you saddle the horses?" Lys nodded grimly and left as quickly as she had come.
Outside the townsfolk had already begun leaving slowly, in twos and threes, small packs over their shoulders. She felt immensely proud of them. The fewer that left at a time, the less suspicious the bandits would get and the more paths there would be for them to follow. They already had a rendezvous point set up a few miles from the town, but every townsperson knew better than to follow any path that had already been walked. They would lead these bandits on a merry chase, should they decide to try and follow them.
She circled the house and entered the stables. The horses inside all raised their heads at the sound of her footsteps. Her father's warhorse, Bane, was first on her list to be saddled, since he was the most difficult. She pulled him out of his stall and made quick work of saddling him. He moved to bite her only once, but one good punch in the shoulder silenced him. Next was Rose, her mother's gentle palfrey, who merely stood still and nuzzled her as she threw saddle and bridle on her. Her brother's long-legged gelding Ironheart was next, then the patient and aptly named mare Willow that she had gotten last year after her old pony had died of old age.
She pulled them one at a time to the front of the house with surprisingly little incident. Justus was already outside and began loading the food and other essentials on Lys' horse at her instruction. Her mother was loading her healing herbs and kits onto Rose's back as Lys rounded the bend with Ironheart saddled and ready.
"Mama, I want you to take Justus and the other boys and go to the rendezvous point. I'll take Bane, get da, and we'll meet you there."
Crysia looked at the horses and her eyes widened a little in alarm, "Lys, why are the packs all on Willow? You know Ironheart can't carry-"
Lys swung up into Bane's saddle and looked down at her mother, "You needed one of them to carry the packs. I'll be fine. I'll explain later. Go."
Her mother ran to Bane's stirrup and grabbed her daughter's hand, kissing it, "Be careful, kitten. I love you."
"I love you too, mama. Take care of yourself and the boys." At that moment, Justus emerged from the house, his short sword slung over his back, daggers at his side and crossbow in his hand. Lys smiled and nodded to him, he nodded back. They had both been trained by their father, they would be all right.
Putting her heels to Bane's sides, she pointed his head in the direction Aimery and her father had gone and didn't look back.
She tried to remember what it was like when Aimery had spoken in her mind and imitate it. :Aimery. Where are you?:
There was surprise and a little pride in his mindvoice as he answered, :By the temple, Lys. Your father is organizing the next batch to leave. Your mother has gone?:
:She was just leaving as I called you. How's da?:
:He is worried, but hiding it well. A good leader.: she smiled his affirmation of what she had always known about her father.
A few moments later, she turned the corner and saw her father, no longer mounted on Aimery, giving directions to a group of women and children. They were packed and ready to go. As she rode up, they all dispersed to head to the rendezvous. Justus smiled as he saw her approach and moved to meet her. She slid off Bane's back as they approached him, striding forward to take hold of his arms.
"Mama's left. She took the boys and the other horses and some bare essentials. I made sure I grabbed this for you." She took the small package from under her shirt and offered it to him. His smile seemed almost to break his face into two pieces as he accepted it.
"Thank you, kitten." He whispered, grabbing hold of her hand.
She smiled back at him, then her eyes hardened, "We should go now." She insisted.
His demeanor became hard as well, "Yes. Mount up. It's time to go."
Aimery turned to the side to allow her to mount and the two headed side by side out into the night.