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Once upon Taurus's shore

The east wind had been dragging our sail backward. "Man your oars", I would hear Marcus yell from time to time. The tired men kept our ship sailing despite their famished frames, we had exhausted our stock of food. The only thing keeping us hopeful and optimistic was the thought of getting to Taurus mountain. We had to show these senseless beings who had abducted our people that we were no weaklings. We were going to save our mothers, brothers, sisters, wives and children no matter the situation.

 Linus sat uprightly at the stern of the ship inhaling and exhaling the fresh Mediterranean breeze as he ate something with a jagged knife. He masticated like a goat. Other crew members on board had rumored that he often caught birds in the air, plucked out their eyes and munched on it. Was I surprised? Never! After all his mother was a Barbarian.

Evaristus was also on board. A wanted bandit and convicted man. The escaped one who ought to have been beheaded for treason in Rome. He could be a Roman enemy but since he joined to fight for our cause, the criminal became our brother. He would sink his teeth into a roasted animal's heart at dinner like a beast, he would often say "One needs extra hearts to survive in life". Weird fellow!

The most amazing sight was Barthena. An orphaned greek little girl who became the pretty amazon that my heart had been longing for. All the men on sail wanted a taste of her but lay a finger on her and she 'd shove a dagger down your throat. Dangerous beauty! Her strength was likened to that of five men.

The sooty tern crowed over my raffia hat. "Shuuu shuuu!", I chased away the crazy noisy creature. I needed to catch a nap. I had been planning our attack strategy for five straight nights. My eyes wandered to Linus as he counted some coins which was probably from a booty. The coins were more of gold than silver. Good money! His love for money could supersede that of the biblical Judas.

I felt a pebble hit me. The defaulter cast his gaze away to avoid being caught. It was Aquila who had killed a wild boar the night before our sail with a single shot from his bow.

 "Allow a tired man sleep", I pleaded.

He chuckled, "Every man on this ship needs sleep but you won't have it before me".

I left that side of the deck to another corner where I hoped to sleep in peace away from the disturbance of Aquila and the probable blessings of flying birds droppings.

Catching a nap sometimes leaves you with a longing for it. You long for it like you would yearn and thirst for wine. I could feel my consciousness drift and my eyelids close but the duration was short-lived. The good part was that it was for a wholesome reason.

"Dry land! Dry land, brothers!", Marcus yelled in his hoarse voice. My eyes fluttered and stared at the beautiful and long anticipated sight.

"The heavens be praised", I muttered.

One step had been achieved. The next was to set our abducted people free, then teach those vile men the lesson of their lives. We had planned to enter the island through the Mediterranean so as to attack them from the rear and take them unawares. The sight of dry land had stirred up zeal in the men and sent energy trickling down their veins. Every man arranged and gathered his weapon as we waited in anxiety for our ship to hit the shores.

"Sink the anchor", yelled Marcus. Our feet touched the sands on Taurus's shores and we matched in unison to execute judgment upon them.

It was a moment for angels to fall, demons to rise and legends to be made. A war to be burned to the memories of our people forever. If we loosed, they would remain a people left to wallow in sorrow in a foreign land. Our victory determined the freedom and reputation of our next generation.

The men assembled themselves at the shore as I looked straight into their eyes. It was a moment of truth, bravery and sacrifice.

"Choose you this day to be weaklings and be cursed forever by the woes of our children and wailing of our women or be valiant and remain a legend forever", I charged them. "Let it be said that once upon a time, Sanctus crumbled the heads that made us a reproach!", I shouted.

"Aye! Aye!" The voices thundered in their chants as their feet stamped on the ground in unison.

"Attack!", I yelled as we all advanced.

We heard a cow horn blow and turned back. It was Linus. Soon, the enemies emerged. Never trust a Barbarian, he had sold us out. I stared at him with blood-shot eyes and disgust. Our enemies relished their moment of holding us spell-bound as they launched their counter-attack on us.

At that moment I shared the same spirit and soul with Marcus as I watched him sweep Linus's head with a wave of his sword. I would have done worse than that. They outnumbered us but we were not women to retreat.

We cursed and sliced flesh amidst the smell of sweat and fresh blood. Sounds of clanging swords filled the air as lifeless bodies dropped in their numbers. The grunting and battle cries of the men on the battle field drew the hope of victory closer. I finally thrusted my sword into the heart of my last opponent and dropped on the ground panting. The war was over. I turned around and saw my men smiling through their blood splattered faces. We ran up the hill and set our violated women, children and old ones free.

Our repraoch had been taken away. The men sang songs of victory. I was a victorious warlord drunk with happiness and looking forward to drown in a barrel of wine when the celebration would commence at night. I sprinted to join the others as they boarded the ship and felt an arrow hit me on my thigh.

"Arrrrrggghhhhh", I writhed in pain and sprawled on the ground.

It was Barca, captain of the Taurus army. He rushed to me like a hunter that had just shot down a gazelle. His height towered above me. I saw him drop dead at the battlefield. That means he didn't die. He sat on my abdomen and barraged my face with bouts of punches and a head butt.

"Victory is sweet, I have tasted it but you will only taste it when am dead, young warlord", he taunted me in his deep voice. I wriggled to set myself free amidst painful grunts.

The men were busy guiding the people into the ship. He had a dagger held to my throat.

"Speak a word and have your throat severed", he warned.

I gulped my saliva as I kept thinking of how to escape from my impending death.

"Goodbye, Sanctus! The victorious warlord who never got to celebrate his feat", his malicious voice snarled. I closed my eyes and felt blood splash on my face.

Was this how to die? I waited for my soul to drift as I had heard in folklores. Stubborn thing! It never did.

I opened my eyes and saw his headless body kneeling on me and blood dripping on his lifeless chest.

"A good day for a woman to save a man", Barthena teased and helped me up. I was dazed.

"Our people await you", she cocked her head forward.

"A good day for us to have a conjugal union too..... I owe you my gratitude", I told her.

She looked at me and feigned less interest at my hint but her smile indicated otherwise. I shook my head.
Women will always be women, Amazons or not.

Comments

  1. I always say your diction is mesmerising. Lovely as always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reminds me of spartacus!. You're simply amazing

    ReplyDelete

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