The Chief Pt. 02 Ch. 17byamicus©
Scouts were out all around as Sahjeed's men and the People from the high ground moved quickly and quietly along a trail marked by Lobolaaht. They made only one stop to rest and drink and still under damp misty clouds stopped again as a scout returned saying the village was in sight.
Five armed guards and the injured men stayed with the high ground People as they followed another scout that led them away from the village. The rest of Sahjeed's men moved toward the village, splitting again, an equal number going with the First Guard to place themselves on the trail to the river. The Chief and the rest of the men, all with the high ground warriors shields hung on their backs, moved to the edge of the woods adjacent the open field that fronted Suulumaag's village.
Lobolaaht appeared from the wooded brushy area as Sahjeed kept out of sight in the tree line. "It is done, Sahjeed, the boy signaled that they had made contact with the villagers. We should have some of our guards close by where they come out to help those who are slow."
"Yes, I agree, but I cannot spare many, we are fewer in numbers than I would like," said the Chief, "Stay unseen, there is a least one guard on the village barricade. Signal when you are in place and hope for the best my friend."
Sahjeed chose the same small group of men who had approached the barricaded village several days before. They left the shields of the high ground warriors behind and slowly approached the tall wooden gate. A guard pointed at the top of the barricade as a figure appeared briefly and then went out of sight.
The gate did not open but a figure stood at the top of the wall just to the right of the entrance, "Suulumaag does not wish to be disturbed, what news have you?"
"We found nothing," said Sahjeed in a loud voice, "The men from your village ran off. Did they return here?"
"Men from this village? I know nothing of that."
Sahjeed hesitated and paced back and forth and then looked up again, "We would speak with Suulumaag and the people of your village."
The man at the top of the barricade flung his hand outward in a gesture, "He will see no one and no one is to enter the village, there is sickness here."
"We have traveled far and..." Sahjeed was interrupted by the sounds of shouting inside the walls, the figure at the top disappeared as more loud sounds arose.
"They know!" said the Chief, "Back into the tall grass!"
They were still within range as a shower of arrows flew from the top of the barricade but no one was hit, "Towards the river trail!" shouted Sahjeed. He glanced back as they ran through the tall grass toward the tree line and saw the tall gate swing outward and a large group of armed men pour out.
Sahjeed paced his men, keeping just out of range but drawing the pursuers closer as they moved nearer the wooded area. They jogged down a small dip and across a shallow creek and were for the moment out of sight. Sahjeed glanced quickly to each side and slowed, waiting for the men from the village to appear.
They screamed and shouted and plunged into the shallow ravine when they caught sight of Sahjeed and his small group of men. The Chief continued on a few paces more until his men were halfway up the far side of the dip. They turned and strung their bows as Suulumaag's men surged down and across the slow moving creek.
It was quickly over as Duulaat's forces attacked from each side and Sahjeed's men turned and rushed down upon the men from the village. Sahjeed did not stop his men until the battle subsided into silence, "To the village!"
When Suulumaag's forces rushed after Sahjeed and his small band of men, the gate was left open. The men the Chief left behind swarmed through the opening and into the village. When Sahjeed and Duulaat and their combined forces arrived, there was nothing left to do, the village had fallen. Just inside the gate, the huge body of Suulumaag, the fat Chief, lay prostrate on his back, tongue grossly swollen, eyes bulging, he died without a wound being inflicted.
Surrounded by guards, Sahjeed toured the village as bodies of men and women alike were being moved outside the walls.
"The women took arms against us," said a guard to an unasked question.
They made their way to Suulumaag's opulent living quarters and a huddle of crying women. "See to them," said Sahjeed.
First Guard Duulaat left and returned a moment later, "We lost no one my Chief! Only a few are wounded."
"Good, good," said Sahjeed, "Wolf? The boy?"
"They are bringing the people back to the village."
"Set a perimeter watch, Duulaat, rest the others but keep them alert."
Duulaat nodded and smiled, "Guards are out, my Chief."
Sahjeed smiled and offered his right arm; Duulaat grasped it and looked into the Chief's eyes. "It went well, First Guard, very well."