The Prisoner of Three Armies, Part 1

3 min

Vinessa was a patient, cold, and extremely angry young woman. You couldn’t tell from giving her a look in her cell of the dry, hot dungeon, with her plain clothes and mostly unmarred skin minus the bruise on her left arm, a bruise whose donator she could recite a disturbingly great deal about. This meant that the guard in charge of disposing of her and the other prisoners when the castle fell under attack only got as far as her. The guard grunted and approached the docilely sitting prisoner woman, his sword bloody from the prisoners he’d cut down on his way to her.

He brought up his blade, and in a blur of speed, she stood up and brought it down for him. “You’re welcome,” she whispered in his ear as blood spewed from his mouth.

            When Vinessa tossed aside the body and took his sword and boot knife for herself, she ignored every voice that begged her for freedom as she strode out of the prison as if she were the warden, despite her drab apparel. They hadn’t cared about her before she’d killed the guard, and they wouldn’t care about her after she set them free.

            They can rot.

For Vinessa, it was time to use the chaos whoever was attacking the castle had created.

            Vinessa exited the prison into the courtyard and took a deep breath of the fresh air, deeper than any she’d taken in a long time; she’d either been wearing a helmet or been stuck in that stupid cell. All around her were soldiers running to and fro, trying to man several positions that would likely already be taken by whoever was attacking.

            Looking slightly out of place because of her outfit but perfectly fitting in with the way she walked and held herself, Vinessa pushed her way through soldiers too busy to stop and question her, assuming she was just some very poor soldier who hadn’t had time to put on proper armor. There were a few actual soldiers like that scattered on the walls; this castle did not belong to a wealthy warlord.

            All thanks to me, Vinessa thought with satisfaction as she reached the top of one of the walls facing the enemy.

            Vinessa rolled her eyes when she saw that Vikings had come for this castle, switching her grip on the blades she held before she jumped off the short wall to the attackers’ left into the forest behind and around the castle.

            Idiots. What do they hope to pillage? Can they not tell from the tattered banners, the poorly equipped garrison, and the deserted village that this is a waste of time?

            Of course, as she rolled to break her fall onto the grassy forest floor, she came to her feet grateful that the Vikings’ poor choice of targets had provided her the chaos necessary to escape.

            That gratitude vanished, however, when she heard movement around her, movement that belonged to people who thought being sneaky meant bending their knees and tiptoeing, no matter how massive they were.

            A strike team, come to bite at the garrison’s back? Vinessa thought as she went silent and pressed herself against a tree, lowering her weapons to the ground without a sound. They wouldn’t do anything but tell the Vikings that she was dangerous, and she knew she wasn’t winning any fights if they caught her, not in this armor and not with these weapons.

            Why do they need a strike team? Vinessa frowned as she heard one of the castle walls collapse in the forest. That warlord is pathetic. He only caught me because-

            Vinessa’s train of questioning was brought to a halt when someone almost smaller than her pounced on her back, bringing her facedown in the dirt.

            “Wait! Please!” she screamed, in her most pathetic voice. She raised her arms without trying to turn and look at who had pinned her down. The voice that responded was female, raspy, and in some of the worst Icelandic Vinessa had ever heard, talking about hunger, voices, meat and other irrelevant things. However, Vinessa heard a chuckle and a knife being drawn, so maybe those things wouldn’t stay so irrelevant for long.

            “Hey, Greta!” came a booming male voice, and Vinessa saw large, booted feet walk up in front of her. “Hands off the knife! We get to keep our own prisoners this time!”

Apparently being sneaky didn’t matter anymore to these undisciplined fools, now that they’d caught one helpless peasant woman.

“Idiots.” she muttered, before the pommel of an axe struck her head.

The story continues here

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Elijah Jeffery
Independent game writer.