Of Siege and Sword – Tyner Gillies

Keld tensed as he heard the clinking footsteps and huffing breath of the enemy. It wasn’t the anticipation of the coming fight that made him tense, it was the bloody hallway. A hallway was a terrible place to try and swing a sword, and any idiot who thought otherwise should be kicked in his fruits.

            “Are you ready?” he asked the shorter man beside him.

            Danner looked down at his own lean body, which was clad only in his small clothes, then back up at Keld in an exaggerated fashion. “No.”

            The palace, their home, was crawling with the dirty boots and fetid breath of the outlaw rebels; Keld supposed he could ask them if they’d mind stalling their invasion while he found his pants, but didn’t think they would be accommodating.

“Well, we’re bloody well going anyway.” He understood Danner’s trepidation as he looked down at his similarly clad body. The only thing worse than fighting in a hallway was fighting nearly naked.

            “Aye, I know.”

            “Good. Then go.”

            Danner raised his slender sword in one hand and his dagger in the other, then charged around the corner and down the hallway. Keld ran after him, his broadsword gripped in both hands.

            The knot of five enemy soldiers stared at them, faces frozen in mute surprise. Danner, screeching out a battle cry, flitted among them before they even had a chance to raise their weapons, his slender blade dropping two men as he went. Keld slammed into the remainder, chopping them down with his heavy sword while they were still staring at Danner. The acrid tang of blood and shit filled the air.

read the entire story in Pulp Literature Issue No. 1, Winter 2014.