Lysandra climbed the steep hill, pounding her feet into the dirt. Determination and anger gripped her visage, a countenance of holy wrath.
She could see the summit now, a circular tower made of gray stone, cushioned on a large red hill poking out of a yellow plain of grass, a huge stack of wood beside the structure. As the sun set, the tower caught rays of the fleeing sun, turning the tower and the dead bodies strewn around its base blood red. Lighting the timber was her goal, a signal fire ready to ignite and warn allies of her god, Morgis.
Scaly watchers protecting the signal tower spotted her black helm and midnight cloak marching up the hill like an oncoming black storm. The Four guards, salamander warriors, dressed in scout leathers, guarded the strategic point from anyone who would dare light the fire. The watching enemy moved to intercept her.
Lysandra, anointed champion of Morgis came to harvest them, for they were weeds choking life in her god’s realm.
Near the top of the hill, she jumped, over thirty feet into the air, short spear cocked back, body coiled, snarling in fury, ready to throw.
They stared at her, calmly with meat cleaving swords raised, shields at their side. One cocked an arrow into a shiny, red metal crossbow.
Mankind had warred with the Salamanders since the first human stepped foot on the known world. Salamanders are descendants of fire spirits, two legged lizard-men, who worship dragon gods and believe in their manifest destiny to rule the world.
Air split, creating a small thunderclap behind the cast of her spear. Birds flew from nearby brush; red dust kicked up in the air. Lysandra finished her throw pointing her hand right at the dead scout whose forehead was pierced and nailed to the ground. Quickly she cocked back another spear as she landed on her feet. Battle lust entered Lysandra’s body in waves of pleasure, consuming her will, heightening instincts.
The Salamander archer fired her barbed, red tip arrow. She dropped down on scaly haunches to reload.
The black cloaked champion dodged to the left, spinning to gain momentum for the spear throw. The arrow hit her fore-arm; blood welled up like water in the desert from the wound. Thunder roared again as her spear flew to its target another warrior charging with shield and sword. Red dust blew across the top of the hill; pieces of wood from the signal pile fell down. Her spear pushed the enemy back to the tower, impaling it on the outer wall, through the right eye socket.
A wicked grin split Lysandra’s face. She pulled her sword, an enchanted short blade made by her god. Runes carved in the sword pulsed with power, her lord named this weapon, Morgis’ Paw for it could swipe down a herd of cattle in a single blow. Lysandra’s eyes blazed yellow under eyebrows furrowed in concentration, ready for the next move. Moving forward quickly she struck from the right side at the third guard.
The lizard warrior met her blade with a snarling hiss. “You will die here flesh slave” he yelled “And I will make sure to eat your corpse!”
She pushed him back with a kick. He lost his footing and threw up his shield. Lysandra followed the stumbling movement with an overhand chop, shining bright with her sword. On his back the warrior dropped the sword and braced for the blow.
A bright light filled the area, blinding everyone, except Lysandra. Thunder followed immediately and the red hill vibrated, sending ripples into the grassy plains.
From chest to groin the salamander warrior was cut, shield shattered, exposing steaming guts and cauterized flesh. He looked at her one final time and expired.
Lysandra looked up to see the last Salamander scout kneeling with a kill shot.
They locked eyes for a second, looking into each other’s soul. Death brings men closer than life ever will.
Lysandra saw courage in her eyes, an unflinching iron will ready to do whatever her god and commander wanted. She could identify with this as she was dedicated, body and soul, to Morgis’ will. Respect came to Lysandra for the creature’s dedication to duty.
She noted the salamander’s wide grin, bigger than her cohorts. Was that contempt? Or the sheer joy of killing? The grin turned to a sneer. Contempt washed over Lysandra from the lizard woman, in waves of pure disregard for other life. Humans were merely cattle to her. Hate boiled up inside. How dare she put her race above everyone? Time for this bitch to die.
She moved, quick as lightning, launching into the air. The scout was just as quick, letting off her shot.
The arrow met Lysandra midway, punching her armor into the meat of the shoulder. This did not stop her. With both hands she held her sword close to her right side by her hip. Near the warrior she let the blow fall, a power thrust straight to the throat.
Light pierced the sky, thunder shook the air and earth. Half of the wooden pile fell to the ground. A few pieces of brick crashed off the tower.
The last salamander’s head rolled down the hill, gathering dust. Her corpse dropped to the ground on the hill, twitching in death throws.
Lysandra landed behind the decapitated remains, shoulder intact, throbbing. She still felt the heat of battle lust coursing through her veins. The anointed champion made a quick hand gesture. Flames came forth quickly, engulfing the remaining wood pile. She ripped the head of the arrow off the shaft sticking in her back. Agonizing pain ripped through her body. She pushed the arrow back through the wound. More pain. In a haze of numbness, she took a wooden log, hot with embers from the fire and cauterized the wound. Sleep took her finally as the sun set in the yellow fields.
In the twilight of the evening, Morgis, King of Man, Lion-Headed Savior of all Humanity, Conqueror of the twelve tribes of Raanon incarnated on earth and picked up his anointed one. She smiled and fell into a deeper sleep, cradled in the arms of a god.
Written by Richard Leon