Helping Hands

3436 Words
  Drathis woke to the thunderous sound of hooves, he looked up best he could, flopped over the back of a horse on his stomach. They were in an open field and all twelve horses were perfectly in line cantering full speed ahead. If any of them tried to kick him, or knock him out again, he was going to start ripping out throats for a living! He closed his eyes trying to keep his thumping headache under control, there was nothing he could do for the moment, he was chained up, outnumbered and they had his sword. After a while they came to a small village buzzing with life, wagons being pulled by donkeys overloaded with fruit and vegetable of every kind, smiths were busy fixing and others were going about their own business. As the group entered the village everyone got out their way, bowing to them as if they were kings, gods among men, but when they looking at him, he was the pig apparently receiving dirty looks and traitorous comments. Suddenly grateful he hadn’t cut his hair, he hung his head back down hiding behind it, it helped him feel alone again, he laughed at the irony of it all. They finally stopped alongside a huge building, the hooded men jumped off in unison, one took the bag with the sword in it and another two, picked Drathis up placing him on the ground. Untying the chains around his ankles but making the ones around his arms and wrists a lot thicker and tighter. Drathis shook his head furiously as they said something kicking him like a stray, his hands had gone numb a long time ago from the chains. One yanked the chains and Drathis got up, two were behind him one with one end of the chain and the other with the other end of the chain, pushing him forward to follow the rest inside. He would obey for now keeping his head low watching the other boots in front of him walking in the same tempo. It was aggravating him he couldn’t grasp the idea! how could you follow orders and be like everyone else? It made you lose your individuality, your uniqueness of who you are. The pale stone soon changed into red carpet and the air heated up nicely, he looked up to see where they were as a hand pushed the back of his head back down. Any normal person with common sense would have kept on walking. but Drathis had reached his limit he looked over his shoulder through his dark hair, right into the hooded guy’s face. The one shouted a command and slapped Drathis head to the front shoving him forward again, that was it. “ENOUGH!” He stopped in his tracks, a stubborn mule, turning around pulling the chains with all his force towards him, jerking the two guys forward, jumping into the air kicking the one smack in the jaw, landing then quickly up into a second kick for the seconds face, they both fell knocked out cold.  Adrenaline high he spun around to one of the village guards at the door stunned in place. Drathis didn’t recall seeing him there a moment ago but decided to use him to his advantage, he grabbed the chains and walked up to the guard. “Com, come any closer I'll, I’ll kill you!” the guard warned Drathis trying to mold into the door behind him terrified stupid. “And if you don’t untie my hands you will end up as their new doormat!” Drathis snarled at him. Did he just speak my language? thank the gods one of them at least did. The guard shut his eyes whispering his prayers, Drathis rolled his eyes shoving the guard against the door. “I said if you don’t you halfwit, not either way!” Drathis shoved his bound hands in front of him the guard quickly undid Drathis hands, shivering head to toe as the chains fell. They stared at each other for an awkward moment, till he heard voices, looked around then back at the guard. Drathis grabbed the guard's arm and ran out, pushed him up to get on a horse. “Stay here! If you are gone when I come back, then you can start your praying!” At that Drathis turned back and ran into the building up a flight of stairs randomly choosing a corridor and skidded to a halt. Two of the hooded soldiers were speaking to a short old guy holding the bag with his sword just sticking out the top. He would have recognized his sword anywhere, the hilt was wrapped with thick leather and twisted downwards in a sterling silver binding. He got down into a crawl edging closer to hear what the fuss was about. He sighed, so much for eavesdropping, the language was not his own, so it was useless listening in, the three were deep in conversation as he stepped out from the shadows head held high, he was going to claim what was his. “I won’t waste our time, you wouldn’t understand a dam thing I’m saying anyway.” They turned in dumbfounded unison. Drathis jumped up kicking one hooded guy in the neck sending him flying, the others finally registered and grabbed the old human turning to run, Drathis drew back hit the other hooded guy in the face with a chain that had still been wrapped around his fist, connecting he felt the crunch of chicken like bones, watching him fall to his knees screaming. Turning to run after the short s**t, his eyes caught blood on the hooded soldier's gloves, he stared at the soldier holding his face still screaming. Drathis mouth twitched, he couldn’t help it and burst out laughing. The blood on the glove was not the soldiers it was his own, dry and crusted from when they first caught him. “Aw revenge! You had it coming, my knuckles are still sore!” Drathis smirked and ran off after his sword. Catching him was so easy he could have done circles around him all day, short people were like that he guessed. Ever noticed how a shot and a tall person walking together can never have the same passe? The taller ones stroll is the shorter ones jog along. Drathis crashed into him around a corner pushed him over, falling tangled in papers, bag, and sword. He reached for it, taking the sword he got up to one knee and turned sharply sparking blades with the hooded soldier whose face he’d crunched. He wasn’t the best swordsman he only knew how to defend. Attack? No, he never really did, it was Gareth his brother that always attacked him and Drathis would just defend, that’s how it always was when they were kids. It bothered him, he wanted to get rid of this hoody not defend his way out of the building having them follow him. What did they want from him anyways it was their fault, they shot at him not him at them! He pushed all his weight up against the other sword, dropping the chain from his other hand, standing slowly muscles rippled with strain as the hoody skidded back. Hoody pulled his sword away and up to come down on Drathis, but he lifted his sword up to block the blow, the clinging of swords bounced off the empty corridors sending shivers down his spine, blocking each blow. Drathis nearly lost his head looking down at his sword it was vibrating, not from anything or anyone, it was vibrating from its core, as if excited, on a high, as if it had life and enjoyed hitting other swords. The fighting and defending went on for a while. There was no way they could be just human, their skill, speed, and accuracy were too heightened. They worked their way clashing every time into a big hall, Drathis facing his back to it as they broke through the big doors, jumped back up onto a very long table avoiding, his legs being sliced by the dam hoody. Hoody, yeah at least I can call them something now. Screaming came from behind him, he turned to see crowds of people at the other end of the table, grabbing papers and each other running out the hall through the doors at the other end. Adrenaline high he turned back to his opponent who had now joined him on top of the table. Swords met again and Drathis knew he had to end it, reinforcements were bound to be on their way. They worked their way down the table in deaths dance, Hoody hadn’t touched Drathis once with his blade, amazingly, especially since all he could read of him was kill! Whereas Drathis had left a huge gash on top of Hoddies shoulder, only one frustratingly. “You… aggravating… leather… handed… s**t!” Drathis shouted between each blow he sent the guy. And arrow he heard from behind came flying towards him, Drathis slipped on the marble table trying to duck it. He missed it by a close inch and landed on his back as the arrow went right through the other guy's stomach, Drathis watched him freeze, look down at the arrow then fall sideways off the table. He jumped up to look for who shot the arrow but saw no one, just a shadow on the floor behind the door disappearing. The hall was enormous with carved out golden walls, windows the size of great oak trees and royal blue curtains hanging with them, a golden roof higher than ten of himself standing on top of one another was above him, the table was the length of a thirteen queen size beds and each sound he made in it echoed. This had to be an important place, a court, or a place where kings and queens gathered, the kind of stuff that bored the living daylights out of him. His first instinct was to jump off the table ready to run after the disappearing shadow, he made his way forward, but then remembered the guard that helped him, and ran out the way he came in. the guard was still there to Drathis surprise and he stopped dead in his tracks looking at him panting, amazed the boy listened. “Well come on! Unless you wanna stay for another fight?” The guard stated sarcastically. Drathis slipped his sword back into his belt, and jumped onto a white horse next to him. Angry voices from inside, they looked at each other gave a half nod in agreement, and raced off forward into the other part of the village, leaving everything behind them, then out into the open land, it was late afternoon and mountains were everywhere. “What, the hell?” Drathis said under his breath shaking his head in disbelief, following the guard as he led them out of curious eyes. He replayed what had just happened to him in the last two hours and was still left confused. I? Agreed with a human?! I didn’t even have to say a word and our plan was set with a nod? I can’t believe this. His thoughts were cut short as the guard turned right cutting into a cornfield. “Hey! Where are you going?” Drathis shouted, maybe the plan thing wasn’t the same. “Home, come my mom will give you food and clothes.” I don’t get it first he’s terrified of me white as a ghost now we on our way to his home? He didn’t really have an option except but to follow for the moment, he was hungry, in pain, and needed a long rest, too much adrenaline for one day. He turned into the cornfield and followed the guard to the house. It was the same as every other he had seen, except this one was hidden away from the village, covered with creepers of three different colors, changing with the season. An orange cat laying under one huge leaf. Drathis hated them, their eyes always seemed to follow him as if knowing what he was, he just had to say boo and they would lose their nine lives. They opened the front door to a lovely smell of roasted meat, and another cat licking its paws watching them mid-stroke on the kitchen table. Drathis observed the house, it was small and cramped, a pot plant, chair or bookshelf filled a corner. It was still welcoming, everything seemed wooden even the floors which creaked with every step taken. The guard took off his jacket looking at Drathis sword then at him. “You might wanna try hiding that for now” Drathis nodded sliding it under the guard’s jacket. “Ma?” Taking his hat off, finding a place to hang it on the overcrowded hat rack filled with his mother’s sun hats, hats colorful enough to put a rainbow to shame. He ran his hand through his light brown hair. Drathis suddenly felt like a street rat with his wild hair which he wouldn’t remember brushing last. Feet came shuffling from somewhere inside and then as if jumping in from nowhere an elderly woman half their size appeared shining a plate with a cloth, her frown turned into a smile as she saw them making Drathis all warm inside. Amazing! She doesn’t even know who I am, how could she trust so easily? Yet he had done just the same with this fool had he not? “Aww, Paul you should of told me you were bringing a friend home. I would of…” She stopped frowning looking at Drathis more closely now, she raised her eyebrows. “What in the world's name happened to you?” she said raising her voice waddling up to Drathis. He tensed, being touched again was not a gesture he liked and it was really getting to him, his mind started racing for an answer, anything to say. “I got…” Drathis looked at the guard wondering what his mother would think. “He got beaten up by the metalheads for, um walking on the wrong side of the road, uh outside the court,” Paul said lying through his teeth. “Oh my, well come along come along, let’s get you washed up and fed.” She said happily pulling him along to the bathroom; Drathis turned his head looking back at Paul mouthing metalheads in a sarcastic way. Paul just stood there grinning ear to ear proud of himself as if he had just won a prize. Metalheads? Hmm, it was better than hoody. “Well come on takeoff them rags, and let’s get you clean.” Paul’s mom said taking a brush. Drathis just stood there looking at her with his eyebrow raised. you got another thing coming if you think I’m going to get uncovered in front of you. She laughed at his expression. “Shy are we?” she asked turning the taps off not expecting an answer. “It's ok I'll turn around until you in the bath okays? There more than enough bubbles in there to hide under.” She turned around with her back to him fiddling with something as she giggled. He felt sorry for Paul, this was the type of mother that shouted I love you after her child in school trying to fit in, the type that would pop by while you were on a date and grab both your cheeks letting you know how cute you were. Then again he didn’t feel sorry for him, finding that kind of unconditional love and care these days was as easy as growing another head. he slipped out of his ripped and exhausted clothes realizing she was not going to leave him to clean alone and climbed into the water. Goosebumps everywhere, the water was a perfect temperature, just what he wanted, he hissed at the water entering his many cuts as he lowered in closing eyes memorizing the moment. forgetting the mother was even there, she gasped slapping her hand over her mouth, Drathis opened his one eye unwillingly looking up at her shocked big eyes, she put down the brush and rushed over to the side of the bath looking at his body, Drathis shifted slightly covering himself with his arms muscles bulking up around his chest. “What, my word child what happened to your arms?” She asked. Child? Did he look like a bloody child? Why was everyone labeling him as a child? He hadn’t had time to examine himself since the fight in the forest with the queen's flying soldiers, he looked down at his olive smooth skin, and on both, his wrists were huge scars as if both his hands had been chopped and sewn back on in an awful rush. he got flashbacks as to how it happened then his body trembled, he looked up at her at a loss for words. He hadn’t really had time to sit and examine his wounds, high on adrenaline, guess that’s what had kept him going so far. “What’s your name?” she asked, ice in her voice. “Drathis.” “Drathis, tomorrow after you have rested, I will…” her voice trailed off as she went to scrub his back. “My lord!” She shrieked scattering back terrified. Drathis felt his cheeks going bright red; he sat up straight afraid she had seen his tattoos and knew what they were. “Who the hell would do something like that to another?! Look at that!” she said to Paul as he came bursting into the bathroom. His expressionless face turned into a deep frown. “Who did that to you? Did they do this?” Paul asked Drathis rolled his shoulders uncomfortably. He had forgotten about the pain his body was in, it had all blended into one big headache after he had that moment in the church with his sword. It had done something to him, what, he wasn’t sure yet. “Drathis tomorrow as a gift from me for saving my son I’ll take you to healers I trust. Then we will talk,” she spoke slowly, boldly as if her word was the only word. What had happened to bouncing, bubbly betty? He looked at Paul wondering what story he had come up with now. Paul just gave a half-smile that faded into a concerned look, almost as if he felt sympathy for Drathis pain. “don’t pity me I didn’t ask you to.” Drathis hated that as well, never pity him he didn't need that in his life, had no room for it and sure as hell didn't feel it for anyone else. That night after a more awkward but very filling dinner Drathis heard bits of conversation while he tried to sleep. the bath and food had been like heaven to him, prison never offered such luxuries, they were given buckets to bathe out of, small buckets that prevented prisoners from trying to drown themselves and escape their lives. A quick death was not the Black Maser way. Laying on a soft bed sighing with pleasure he wondered again as to why a small family like this would so selflessly help a stranger like him. he had offered them no gold, no promises, yet they had taken him in, as if he was a friend. “I don’t understand how a youngster can go through so much torture and still live without going insane. The blood he lost from his wrists should have killed him, if not that then, then his ripped back should of…” he heard them talking about him in the kitchen, he needed to go in an explain, he hadn't told them a thing except his name. He tried to sit up but his aching body refused, he just didn’t have the energy to defend himself anymore, he needed to rest first.  
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