Alexandros: Ch. 31byJoeBarnosky©
Alexandros Manuscript Page 120
By the time we reached Khaldun, he and his army was in disarray. We stood on a higher level of ground overlooking the battlefield. Most of what I could tell had been his men were torn in pieces and strewn all over. The remainder were fighting for their lives and not doing a very good job of doing so. Khaldun was in the same predicament as his men but seemed to be doing the better job. I could see, however, his stamina was wearing low. It was subtle in his movements and strikes.
"Damn, I wish I had kept my bow," Rashida said drawing my attention to her.
"There is no need for it," I said. See looked at me and shrugged. Feeling compelled to explain I continued. "We create an escape for the soldiers, followed by Khaldun, then ourselves."
"Sound simple enough," she commented almost dripping with sarcasm.
I ignored the sarcasm and said, "Just focus on getting them out and I'll make sure you can escape."
"And why should I or we trust a stranger?"
She had a point and I could think of a handful of reasons why. So I settled on two. "Because I saved your life and," I said holding up a finger stopping her from interrupting with a remark I was already prepared for. "I could have killed you at anytime."
"You're sure of that?" she asked with a coy smile. I had to give it to her. Even in dire times she could find something good to say that would bring out a smile in a complete stranger.
"We'll go with your plan," she said interrupting me. "Just make sure we can get away and these things not follow us."
"Get the general to retreat and not ask why and I can," I replied.
"Don't worry; he'll be more surprised to see me than to worry about anything else."
I cast a confused look at her at which she smiled and said, "You'll find out soon enough. Now just don't get yourself killed."
With that she leapt down into the fray. I admired her courage. It was something I have only seen in Spartan women. I shoved my thoughts aside and followed after her.
The look of shock of Khaldun's face was priceless and could have been devastating had I not been there. The shock stopped him completely leaving him open to attack. I swiftly moved in gutting a creature that managed to sneak up behind him. The moved broke him from his initial shock. He gave me a nod then turned his attention to Rashida.
"We'll discuss this later," he said.
Rashida scowled at him then looked at me and smiled. I was lost in what had transpired and really I didn't care at that moment. These creatures were getting fiercer by the minute and the longer we stayed and fought the less of a chance we had to escape. Even I wouldn't be able to withstand the attacks much longer.
"We need to retreat. I'll hold them off while you and your men make your escape," I said to the general.
"I've got no argument then," he simply said and then he announced a retreat.
As they retreated more of Khaldun's men fell beneath the ravages of the creatures and only a handful made it out. Rashida and Khaldun brought up the rear ensure those that were left made it out alive. I on the other hand served my purpose as a distraction and once the small group was far enough away and the creatures gave up chase, I became their focus.
I did not have time to look for an escape route so I had one already ready. The creatures slowly stalked me, obviously more aware of danger than I would have figured. I let them stalk and I pretended to be scared by slowly backing away to the edge of the wall. If luck was on my side my horse would come when called.
The creatures snarled and growled. Many lunged forward before stopping and backing up. Claws were thrown as feints attempting to push me into something rash. I had no interest in a fight. If I had rest I would have pushed and gone until each and every beast lay dead at my feet.
I felt air under my right heel telling me I had reached the edge. The growls and snarls seemed to take on a happier tone. The creatures I'm sure were certain they had me now. I whistled loudly over the howling wind. Without looking away I leapt.
Luck was with me. I landed with my horse beneath me. Not wasting time in celebration I kicked the horse causing it to get moving. Creatures dropped down easily, just as I suspected would happen. I sped off leaving the beasts trailing far behind and headed in the direction of Rashida and the general.