More Guards

  September 2008 »

David was woken two hours before dawn by several men in dark cloaks walking under the tree he was in. They spoke in hushed voices and found their way through the brush and trees with the aid of two darkened lanterns.

David slipped quietly down from the tree after they were past. He was sure these men were up to no good, but they had to know where they were going and he was still lost. At worst, he figured, they would be stopping near a major road eventually and he had nowhere better to go just yet.

He was glad that his body was aching less and he did his best to walk quietly. The games he and Mark had played in the woods back home had paid off.

The night was darkened by various clouds scattered across the sky. The stars and occasional glimpses from the only moon still visible offered enough light to walk by.

To keep himself from being tangled up in spider webbing, David held his walkingstick out as he wove through the trees. Not only were they good for self-defense, but they proved to be useful for a whole range of other things as well.

The men were quiet and moved quickly. They didn't seem to notice that David was following. David noted they were traveling west.

He was just beginning to get bored of the game when the voices in front of him became louder. It caused David to pause for a moment in case they had realized he was behind them. Their tone hadn't changed, they were just speaking more loudly. He wished that he could understand what was said, but he continued following them anyway.

After a few minutes they went back to conversing quietly. David had to speed up or risk losing them. Suddenly he realized there was a giant standing directly in his way. This was the first time he had seen someone this large. He glanced up and saw that he had been seen.

David stood for a moment, frozen like a deer that was still trying to make sure it has been spotted. It was bad enough that the man's thighs were at his eye level, but the giant was leaning on a sword that was, needless to say, very large also. His clothes looked common for the area, but opposite the side with the sword's sheath was a very menacing club. Between the two weapons, David really was not sure what to think.

As the thoughts flew through David's mind, his whole body was on high alert. If this was a sentry for some meeting the men were attending then what they had said must have included a password. He drew a blank.

"You wouldn't happen to speak English, would you? I'm afraid I'm lost."

He hoped the fading darkness hid how stiffly he was holding himself.

The giant rumbled, "Wikchuy tuqnu," and pointed at the David's new walkingstick. It wouldn't do much good against that sword, but he had agility on his side. Something that big had to move slowly. He briefly considered running as he had heard somewhere that bugs could only grow to a certain size because of breathing problems. Maybe the same was true of giants? This one would not be a sentry if he couldn't fight though.

David had never been through three walkingsticks in a week, but he sighed heavily and tossed it into a nearby bush. If worse got to worst, he could still fight with his hands, but the next thing he knew, his hands had been grabbed from behind and somebody ran a rope around them. He twisted to see who it was and realized two men had crept up behind him.

"¡Hinay!" one of them exclaimed as he wrenched David back around to finish tying the knot.

He was marched along the same general direction the other men had been traveling in, but this time he was followed closely by the two guards. This was also getting to be a habit.

After a few minutes they came to a clearing with a dozen men standing in it. The one speaking was the man from the road two days earlier that had attacked Raymi and Wallpa. David went stiff for the second time that morning. He was pressed forward.

As the men turned to see the newcomer, David recognized another one of them. It was Huksonjo.

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