Short Story: A Message for the King

Hi, everyone!

This short story isn’t super meaningful or anything. It’s more an exciting action story that I just had fun writing.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time editing it as well, so it’s a little rough, but I hope you enjoy! 🙂

I don’t know how it happened. I was peacefully petting my horse, humming to myself, and smiling softly. I heard the pounding of feet coming suddenly from behind me, and I turned, wondering who it may be. I took in a young man, barely older than sixteen, face red and hot from running, and a look of pure horror on his face. I stood, setting one hand on my sword that hung at my side.

“Whoa there, lad!” I called, my mind racing furiously, trying to imagine why this boy was running toward me so quickly.

Then I heard the twang of a bow string being released, the boy fell with a cry, and I ran over to him. He was gasping, the arrow lodged deep into his back. I’m a seasoned warrior, and I knew immediately that he was dying.

“P-please!” the boy moaned, using his last reserves of strength to say it and reaching up, grip my arm. “Take…th-this to th-the k-king!”

I was stunned. “What to the king? Who are you?”

The boy’s eyes rolled toward the back of his head. His whole body tightened with pain, but he dug deep into one of his pockets and jammed a small scroll into my open hand. “P-please!”

Then he died. I rolled him carefully over and stared at the arrow. My mind was working fast. This boy had been carrying a message to the king. Someone had shot him. That person must still be around, assuming they wanted the message. And I was holding it.

I stood, looking around frantically. I saw something dart into an alley just yards away. I knew what I had to do. This boy was the messenger, and he had died carrying this most-important message to the king. Now I had it. The boy had given it to me. I was now the messenger.

I kicked the toe of my worn hunting boot into one stirrup on my horse’s saddle and swung my other leg over. I dug my heels into my horse’s flanks and we were off.

I heard a shout of surprise from the alley way and then an arrow whistled past my ear. I ducked my head and kept going. Another arrow streaked toward me but it fell short by several feet. I was losing my pursuer.

Then the dragon came. Aagh, if I had known it was going to be this difficult, I may have reconsidered, but here I was, running, and I had a message for the king.

The dragon swooped down, roaring, and passed just above me, shooting a column of flame straight toward my horse. My steed was also a seasoned warrior, and knew just what to do. He leaped aside just before the flame turned him into ash. I whooped and drew my great sword. It was heavy, holding it in one hand, but like I said, I’m a seasoned warrior, and I could carry it fine. The dragon came down for another pass, and this time I swung my sword up straight toward the dragon’s belly. The dragon was several feet above me, but my sword just managed to reach its belly and slice through the soft skin. The dragon shrieked in pain and wheeled away. Now he knew I could bite.

I loved the feeling of adrenaline pumping through me, and I laughed out loud. I was carrying a message to the king!

The dragon fired a ball of flame at us again, but this time my horse wasn’t able to get away in time. The fire scorched his leg and he whinnied in pain and fell. I was tossed from his back and landed in a roll. I stood, unharmed, and ran back to my horse. He was writhing, his back leg smoldering. The dragon bellowed in triumph above us, and I hissed. Then I noticed there was someone riding the dragon. He was small, hunched, and had pale, purple colored skin. A Triperrin! They were the race that lived in the country just next to ours. I knew that could only mean one thing: invasion!

I gulped and, saying a few comforting words to my loyal horse, left him and began to run. Only when I couldn’t draw another breath would I stop racing for the castle on the mountain above me. I had to get this message to the king.

The dragon stopped pursing me after ten more minutes of running and dodging fire blasts. I cut it in the lip when it tried to eat my head, and in the tail when it tried to lash me. Black blood was oozing out of its wounds, and it couldn’t keep going, but I knew it was only a matter of time before more Triperrin would be after me. I was right.

They struck fast. I had started running into a forest, the one that separated me with the mountain leading to the castle. They had hunkered down there, hiding in bushes and behind trees to await my coming. As soon as I rushed into the forest, they leaped out at me, hissing and baring their teeth. I yelled and drew my great sword once again, already stained with dragon blood.

I swung at one Triperrin that got too close and gave him a blow that sliced from his neck down to his waist. He was flung back, his rough tunic completely shredded and bright red blood showing from his wound.

A heavy weight fell upon my back and turning, I slammed my back into a tree. Or should I say, I slammed what was on my back into a tree. The Triperrin who had jumped on me was unconscious from the body slam and I shook him off. Then they circled around me, drawing their curved short swords and hissing menacingly.

I hissed right back, then they closed in. I spun in a wide circle, great sword outstretched, slicing through the first wave with ease. They fell back, but the next wave came at me. I did the same thing, but three ducked under the swinging sword and tackled me around the legs. I fell, and they leaped on top of me, shrieking with glee. I growled and using my fists, knocked them off. I struggled to my feet and using my sword once again, hacked the last few attackers still on me. The Triperrin knew that I was too strong to take down while I was on my feet, with my trusty great sword in my gloved hands, so they backed off and disappeared into the forest. I continued my run.

The forest took me a good two hours to get through, and the sun was beginning to set as I cleared it. Then they attacked again. Two dragon riders swooped down from the sky, their steeds blasting fire at me. I ducked and rolled underneath a tree. Instead of me catching fire, the tree did. I came out from under it with a spring and started to sprint toward the mountain just up ahead. If I could start my climb up it, I would have multiple boulders and chinks in the ground to hide myself under. The dragons wouldn’t have nearly as good a chance to get at me. I made it and ducked under a boulder just before a fire ball smashed into it. The dragon riders seemed to realize what I was doing. Shrieking at me, they landed their dragons and started to climb the mountain up after me. Grinning, I led them on a chase up the mountain, close enough for them to keep wanting to go after me instead of climb back down to their dragons, but far enough behind I didn’t have to worry about them trying to kill me while I climbed. If I could keep them from their dragons and keep them from me, I was safe. For the time being. Then, in the last rush to the top, the Triperrin pursuing me called in help. They yelled, in a language I didn’t know, an order to their dragons, and the beasts flew up and winged off, definitely going for reinforcements. I gulped and kept climbing. The top was only yards away. I struggled up. My boot slipped on a loose pile of rocks and I fell to my knees. I grunted, but scrambling back up, kept going.

Then the dragons came back. They shrieked and diving down, let the things they were carrying slide off their backs. Two massive, stinky trolls landed at the top of the mountain, right in my path.

Fear burst through me but I knew I was too close to the top to go back now. I kept going, straight toward the two trolls. Then I was at the top.

As I drew my great sword, the little scroll in my cloak pocket bumped against my side, urging me to get it to the king.

I grunted and hefted my huge sword up. The first troll came toward me, grinning and stinking. He swung his club the size of my entire body straight for my head. I ducked it, felt the wind whistled as it went by, then came in close, stabbing my great sword up into the troll’s chest. It cut through his leather armor and pierced his heart.

The troll bellowed in rage and dropped to the ground, his life draining from him. I began to withdraw my sword, but as I did so a crashing blow hit my shoulder and I was flung far away from my weapon. I saw the second trolling laughing, heaving the club he had used to hit me back onto his shoulder. As I landed ten feet from where I had stood only moments before, I knew by the numb feeling in my shoulder that it was broken.

I scrambled to my feet, knowing I had only a minute or so before my shoulder began to hurt, and I knew as soon as that happened I would be unable to keep fighting. So, running straight toward the astonished troll, I bellowed my war challenge and leaped again for my sword.

The troll tried to knock me again with his club, but I ducked this one and gave him a kick in the shins to think about while I recovered my sword. I slowly drew it out of the dead body of the first troll and then turned to face my enemy.

The giant troll had recovered from the stinging kick and was rushing straight for me. I sidestepped his charge and threw my sword. It whirled end over end straight toward the troll and cut through his neck. The troll screamed and fell hard on his back. He tossed his club at me in one last futile effort to stop me but it dropped harmlessly at my feet.

I turned, gasping in relief, but there was no rest for me. The Triperrin that had been pursuing me all the way up the mountain had finally arrived. They roared and ran straight toward me. I groaned, already starting to feel a throbbing in my shoulder, but I picked up my great sword and started to fight again.

I swung my sword, deflected the first cut from a Triperrin, and then I counterattacked with a thrust. It skewered the Triperrin through the belly and yelling, he fell to the rocky ground. The second Triperrin hissed and swung his sword. I tried to deflect it, but I was too late. It smashed into my ribs. I moaned and felt blood slide down my tunic and down my thighs. I deflected his second cut, aimed for my neck and then jumping forward, cut through his head with a sudden blow.

I turned toward the castle, struggling to move toward it, when an arrow sank into my shoulder. I screamed and turned, and another Triperrin appeared, climbing up the mountain, a bow in hand. My hand began to go numb as the arrow’s strike ran through my whole body, but using it before it could become completely useless, I threw my great sword one last time and it sliced through the Tripperin’s neck.

I slowly, carefully stumbled toward the castle, gasping in pain every time I moved. I kicked the portcullis with my foot and two guards looked down from above.

“What do you want?” one yelled down.

“I have a message…for the king!”

The guards gasped and withdrew. Minutes later the king himself opened the portcullis and rushed outside.

There he stood, surveying me. He clearly saw a grizzled old man with gray hair and beard, one shoulder broken and the other sporting the feathered end of an arrow, and blood running down the side of my tunic and all over my pants, not to mention the sweat, dirt, and blood of my attackers all over me. Behind me were three dragons wheeling in the sky, two dead trolls, and three dead Triperrin sprawled out on the rocky ground.

“King, I have a message for you…a boy began to deliver it, but he was killed by an arrow from a pursuing Triperrin. He gave it to me…just before he died! It’s in m-my cloak…pocket. I’m afraid I c-can’t give it to you…my arms aren’t…working properly.”

The king ordered the two guards with him to go get healers to see to my wounds, then withdrew the small scroll from my cloak pocket. He quickly read it, then looked up at me.

“Thank you. You have done your work well. We will always remember you as the one who—”

Then I went unconscious and collapsed.

The End

Copyright © 2019 Caleb E. King

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