Icilma

Drawing by Luis Royo

We’ve been tracking her for three long days
Across the desert and up into the highlands
Bright sunshine, pouring rain, ghostly haze
She’s out there, somewhere
From time to time we can hear her laugh
Eerie, blood-curling, defiant
Note on an arrow, pinned to a half-dead tree
If it’s flesh you’re hunting boys
You’re going to have to earn every ounce
Night rolling in on angry steel-gray clouds
Tonight there will be no stars in the sky
Fathers, brothers, sons and husbands
Tonight some of us may just die

Rode into town last week last week
Regal on a magnificent stallion

Big, wild and strong
Arrogant and coal-black
A woman the likes of which none of us had ever seen
Scantily clad, fearless and brazen
More beautiful than even our beloved Queen
Six feet tall
At least
Unruly red hair
Cascading wildly down to her waist
Large, emerald-green, almond-shaped eyes
Long sword on her back
Not a hint of smile in those hand-carved lips
A woman dressed to kill
Bow, arrows and a bejeweled daggers on one hip

She checked into a room at Ye Olde Inn
Paid Seth the owner in gold
High quality at least that’s the story he told
It was only a matter of time
Kill the witchy woman and take every dime
Nobody saw her ride on
By sunrise she was long gone
Seth was missing
So we broke into the her still locked room
Carnage
The Innkeeper and nine others.
Beheaded and disemboweled carcasses
Strewn all over the bed and the floor.
A message in blood on the northern wall
Filthy Animals!
Keep coming and you will all fall

Yet here we are
Camped and settled in for the night.
Tired and nervous
We’ll pick up the pursuit at first light
Could’ve opted out but I took the first watch
Long silent shadows one mysterious woman
Two dozen armed, battle-hardened soldiers
The odds are on our side – damn her

Quiet enough to hear yourself breathe
Even the trees seem to be waiting
Listening
The fire blows out – the silence got louder

Movement
Two hundred yards away
Repeated instantly
Sixty yards closer
Cannot believe my eyes
Surely they jest
Moments later…
Ten inches of ice-cold steel
Resting deep inside my chest
Kneeling, bewildered, legs suddenly weak
She answered my unspoken question
Soft, warm breath, caressing my cheek
Icilma baby – Icilma is my name

Slipping away
Surprisingly
There is no pain

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