(For the full chapter go here.)
The carriage shook but the bandit kept his eyes on his remaining captive and the box.
“Open the fucking box, or I’ll rip your guts for shoelaces.” The bandit snarled.
No sobs, no curses, Jessy pressed down on some hidden buttons and there was the snap of some dead bolts sliding back.
A crack appeared, enough of one that bandit pushed the foreigner away and forced open the box. The man frowned as he examined the contents.
Instead of gold, tubes filled with red and yellow viscous fluids were being pumped into a third tube.
The bandit’s eyes tried to grasp at the odd pneumatic and hydraulic systems but were unable to fathom the devices importance, the whole assembly was as alien to the man as a distant star.
His face contorted in confusion the bandit turned his head to Jessy “What trickery…” his eyes lowered to the cut he made across the boy’s throat.
Instead of blood, it was like the bandit was staring at a rag doll. Golden straw fell from the cut and fluttered to the ground. Jessy’s face was just as blank and unemotional.
The bandit’s face fell, “That bitch.”
In the distance fire spewed upwards. At first both women had thought on guard had thrown a fireball at the carriage, but that was before the shockwave came.
It was as if a heathen god had tossed down a hurricane in the middle of the forest, a great wave of heated air that backhanded the entire area, setting the trees closest to the initial blast on fire and sending any man close enough to either the ground or his maker.
The sound of the explosion caused Bancroft’s horse to buck violently, the beast screamed and stood on two legs. Bancroft, skilled enough on a horse to know where the shit came out of was flung to the ground.
“Morgan’s tits.” The witch cried as her back hit the muddy grass.
Bandcroft’s ears rang and her mind rattled with white noise, her brain felt like goo and she grit teeth. She opened her eyes and for a second wished she hadn’t as the stupid animal got ready to bring its hoof down her head.
Not caring how the mud solid her dress the witch screamed and rolled to the side, narrowly missing having her brains turned to pulp.
As the forest grew silent as every living thing in it had either had a stroke or shit its trousers, Sorie battled the thorn bush and succeeded in getting onto her feet. “Bastard bandits. Do they know how expensive a rag doll is?”
The horse wasn’t in a position to answer this, the spooked creature seemed to have had enough of Bancroft’s companionship and bolted for freedom. Sorie really couldn’t blame him.
“Stop.” Bancroft’s word were coated in a mesmeric power, her voice coated with her will to dominate.
The horse felt the word drilled mercilessly into his skull.
It wasn’t easy trying to dominate a horse, the things were as mad as hatters sipping mercury during the full moon. But just like men the trick with taming a horse was not by whipping it till it cooperated but by causing the animal to think that it was their idea that their rider was a cool accessory and that they suddenly wanted to go forward.
The horse, had this idea in its head that it wanted to stop. It’s fear turned into a sudden compulsion to seize all movement, another thought came into head and it returned to the elven woman. It didn’t much like the woman, but decided that if all the cool horses had such imperfect creatures on their back, it was not going to be left out.
“What was that.” Bancroft said, trying to keep her mental hold of the animal. She had no plans on walking back to the caravan train.
Sorie felt that she had left a vital organ or two back on the carriage. She could hear something pop as she stood straight, “You remember your granny telling you to don’t look in the box or there wasn’t going to be enough of you left fill a chamber pot?”
“Yeah.” Bancroft said uneasily.
“Now you know why.”