This week is Part Two of the Rule Of Three Blogfest. Each Wednesday in October, I, and the other participants, will post a portion of a story set in a shared world called Renaissance. Other than the shared world, there are only a couple of other rules: there must be 3 characters, there is a 600 word limit for each part, each week’s entry must be based on one of several writing prompts from the organizers, and the entries go up each Wednesday or Thursday.
If you haven’t already, check out my Part One. I’ve finally settled on a title for my story, which is nearly impossible for me to do before the piece is finished. Telling myself that I’m conserving creativity, I decided to call it “The Storm”. 😉
The prompts participants were given to choose from this week are:
Someone is killed or almost killed.
One of the characters is revealed to be not who he or she is.
A relationship becomes complicated.
A character lies to another on an important matter.
I selected “Someone is killed, or almost killed.”
“The Storm” Part Two”:
Despite his fatigue and the bone-chilling wind, Teguere wiped the sweat from his horse’s back while it munched grain from the packs. The nanny goat tethered to one side of the shed bleated pitifully, and he gave her a small measure as her kid butted at her udders.
After a half-second’s debate, he hoisted his saddle to his shoulder, and headed toward the shack. Probably wouldn’t be much drier than the shed, but the goat kid would wreak havoc on the leather.
Low light flickered in the gaps between the plank walls. The door blew open just before he reached it, and he quickly ducked inside, pulling it closed. The low roof forced him to remain stooped, but he ignored the discomfort. Depositing his saddle and packs on the dirt floor next to the door, he removed his hat.
Silhouetted against the fire in the hearth, Eriahne smiled over her shoulder at him, and went back to filling bowls. “There’s a bench here by the fire if you’d like to sit.”
Teguere crossed the little shack in three strides and lowered himself to the low bench. His belly growled as she removed the spitted rabbits from the fire. “It smells wonderful.” Should he say something else? It seemed like he should. Lack of experience in female company left him at a loss.
“I hope it isn’t too plain for you. Or too little.”
They ate quickly, the shack shuddering around them. Would it withstand the coming storm? Teguere had his doubts. Windblown objects struck the wall with growing frequency, each harder than the last. Perhaps he should have continued on the Villein into the heart of Renaissance, or even halted earlier in the Kastanes caverns. He’d have been warmer, at least. Which reminded him of Eriahne’s thin dress. She had to be freezing.
As soon as the remnants of the meal were stored in the cook pot, Teguere crossed to his gear and unrolled his bedroll to take out his spare coat. “Here, put this on.”
Eriahne shook her head, pride sparking in her eyes. “I’m fine, thank you.” Cold-hardened nipples clearly apparent despite the shapelessness of her dress proved she lied.
Before Teguere could insist, the end of the shack quaked, then screeched as the planks parted from one another. The roof sagged sharply, then peeled back, and the remaining walls gave way.
Eriahne stood, guttering firelight from the still-standing hearth illuminating her horror.
Teguere dove to shield her, but a missile knocked her to the dirt floor first, and he dropped on top of her. Trying to protect her, he ran his hands over her, searching for the source of the blood he smelled. Finally, he found it. A long gash over her right ear bled too freely.
She would bleed to death if he didn’t do something. Reaching inside his shirt, he tugged out the cotton square he tied over his mouth and nose when he met strangers on the trail. It had saved him from recognition, maybe it would save Eriahne’s life. He bound it over the wound and wished he could do more. Stretching out his hand, he found the corner of his bedroll, and pulled it partly over them.
A cold rain joined the wind, plummeting the temperature to near freezing. The cold was brutal, but pooling water posed more danger. Cursing, he half-carried, half-dragged Eriahne and the bedroll a few yards from the low floor.
The storm continued to rage as Teguere struggled to roll them both inside the protection of the tarp. Before it stopped, exhaustion claimed him.