She did as told. God’s one true warrior. Steel swinging bitch of the word. Chuckling darkly a fresh wave of pain rolls up her side. She grips the crossbow bolt protruding from her belly as if that could prevent more anguish.
It does not.
She is covered in sweat and blood, the mud alone weighs three stone, her gear, double that. For the moment she might as well be paralyzed.
Her carolingian blade lays by her side. The suction of the wet mud pulled her hand with the blade under. She does not have the strength to lift it out of the muck again let alone put it home in its sheath.
Oh well, it’s better to be ready.
She thinks of her father as she grips the leather-wrapped hilt, “don’t swing harder Polly, swing smarter.”
Polly was ten, and she did swing smarter lopping of his sword hand at the wrist.
She looks out on the battlefield deciding she did the old man a favor. No way he’d survive this. Bodies rolled into the horizon and beyond. Kill squads wandered here and there. The air vibrated with the buzz of flies. The black shape of buzzards circled above.
Just a lord past his prime. He would not have belonged here anymore then probably any of them belonged here. Yet, here they all were trusting the word of a girl who says she talks to gods.
And the god lied.
A sudden scream of surprise jars her out of feeling bad for her self.
Through the branches of a small copse of trees, she spies a squirmish thirty feet away.
A kill party of five Burgundian infantry find a soldier pretending to be dead.
A swift spear to the throat ends his acting career as he chokes to death on freely flowing blood. The kill squad is giddy congratulating themselves on the kill.
She hears one yell excited, “found another,” just as the clouds move and the sun glints hard into her eyes. The kill squad goes black, and the only thing left is to pray to a god that has already failed her once today.
She hears tin sabatons splashing through the mud.
As the splashes get closer, she presses herself against the abbey wall deciding to offer a small prayer anyway, just in case.
When she opens her eyes again, she is looking into a set of beady blues rimmed in red and scabs. The face under them is young or stupid or both. The breath leaking from the putrid mouth could kill.
‘It’s a girl!”
The stupid asshole leans in, and she leans her blade up out of the mud at the perfect time cutting through the man’s quilted armor and into his chest with ease.
His death grunt satisfies Polly, but his weight pulls the sword from her grasp as he keels over onto the ground. She tries to pull the weapon free but fails, only proving how injured she is with the effort.
The steel-toe boot kicking her hand away is unnecessary. The man attached to the boot studies her like he has found something he does not want to share and she realizes, that’s twice the god of arse-rutting failed her today.
Art: Joan of Arc
by: MIchael C. Hayes