The Seekers – A Time to Act (Part 8)

The Real Question (cont’d)

“That settles it then,” Lisette said. “Now we wait and hope those footsteps are friendly.” Although she suspected the difference of her words, she wanted to offer some degree of optimism, however small.

“But if they are not, we will need a plan of attack.” Roy noted by way of response.

It was now impossible to ignore the footsteps’ rhythmic thud, growing louder with each passing minute. It had also become obvious the footsteps belonged to something much larger than any creature known to Wrunwicks.

“I believe it wisest for everyone to stay out of harm’s way and to take shelter in the woods. For if it is as I fear, the cyclops will be here sooner than any of us would like,” Mhutig remarked. “The camouflage should conceal your presence long enough for me to destroy both cyclops without anyone needing to risk their safety.”

“And you, Mhutig?” Roy asked. “What of your safety?”

“Two cyclops against one centaur is never a fair fight, I must admit. But my camouflage will help even the odds,” he answered.

“Could you not use your bow and arrow in place of your sword, Mhutig?” Calder asked.

“The thick, rubbery skin of a cyclops is exceptionally tough. I cannot risk merely wounding them, and in the process, make them even more dangerous than they already are,” Mhutig explained. “I will need to strike with precision.”

“By the sound of it, you will not have long to wait,” Lisette observed.

As the footsteps closed in, the horses raised their heads and began to flick their ears in alarm. Soothing their equine companions, the seekers followed Mhutig’s advice.

In Defense of Wrunwicks

While the seekers retreated into the woods, Mhutig waited in the middle of the clearing. He needed to be in the direct path of the cyclops to complete his mission. And after piercing the heart of the first cyclops, he knew it would not be easy to destroy the second cyclops.

Moments later, the two cyclops emerged from the woods and onto the clearing. Mhutig was ready. With the precision of a skilled hunter and sword fighter, he placed himself in front of the cyclops and raised his sword in anticipation.

Upon contact, his sword sliced through the layers of rubber to quickly find the heart. Why do they always carry that stench? he wondered, withdrawing his sword. Next, Mhutig felt a blow to his back. After the first cyclops grasped his chest in surprise, the second cyclops had lashed out instinctively. And while the first cyclops careened to his death, his mate’s foot found the point of Mhutig’s hip.

Mhutig reeled in pain, his legs buckling from the impact. He eyed the flaring of her nostrils. She might not be able to see him, but she could definitely smell him. For although a female cyclops lacked the size and strength of a male cyclops, their sense of smell was sharper – meaning it was only a matter of time before she detected the seekers.

Watching the surreal scene in front of them, the seekers looked on in horror as the cyclops struck Mhutig for a second time. Mhutig looked small in comparison to the towering cyclops.

A Time to Act

“We cannot just stand here while he is being attacked,” Roy said, frustrated with doing nothing.

“I say we help him,” Calder replied, just as eager to get out there.

“Then what are we waiting for?” Roy asked.

The seekers did not wait for an answer, racing to help their friend. Florette held onto Lisette’s hood as all six broke through the woods and charged onto the clearing, swords raised to strike.

The cyclops, intent on avenging the death of her mate, thrashed the air in search of the invisible enemy. Her left arm met Mhutig in the stomach as he tried to straighten his legs. The blow sent him to his knees while his hind legs wobbled.

Still regaining his breath, Mhutig saw the seekers charging onto the clearing. “I told them to remain in the woods,” he muttered to himself.

Calder was the first to arrive and thrust his sword into the cyclops’ thigh. He managed another strike before the cyclops flung him from his horse.

“Humans!” the cyclops cried in hatred, thrashing the air again.

Roy thrust his sword in the opposite thigh and ducked beneath the cyclops’ flailing arm. He struck again, wishing he could reach higher.

His breath regained, Mhutig straightened his legs. And taking advantage of the cyclops’ preoccupation with the human nipping at her thigh, he leaped forward and plunged his sword into her heart.

The cyclops cried out once more, scanned the clearing for her killer, before joining her mate on the ground.

When the Battle Ends

Aspen ran to Calder, praying to Mother Nature for his life. She had always hoped he would see her as more than a friend some day. Next to his side, she fell to her knees and wept from the place of shattered dreams. The rock beneath Calder’s head was stained a dark red. Oblivious to the blood and tears, Calder lay quiet beneath the afternoon sun.

The others joined Aspen. There was no need to check for either sign of life. Calder’s vacant expression told them he was gone. Aspen’s weeping was the only sound to be heard. Lisette knelt down and cradled her friend.

Calder’s death struck them harder than a cyclops ever could. Seeing him lying there, punched each of them in the gut and knocked the air from their lungs, replacing it with a grief so profound that it could not be translated into words. Just minutes ago, Calder had sat on his horse with the rest of them. Nothing could have prepared them for this.

A green fairy

Witness to their anguish, Florette put hers aside and flew over to Calder, placed a gentle kiss on his forehead, then closed his eyes. Not knowing what else to do, she returned to Lisette’s hood and rested her head on the seeker’s shoulder.

It was Mhutig who finally spoke. “Calder was a man of great courage. I have never seen a man charge a cyclops so fearlessly before, ” he began. “And without his help, I would not have been able to destroy the cyclops. I will forever be in his debt. And yours, Roy,” he finished.

Lisette looked up at Mhutig. Her eyes widened when she noticed two birds flying around the cyclops. The birds’ bald red heads reminded Lisette of a story that took place in New Found Land. But they were the creation of the author’s imagination. I must be hallucinating, she thought and rubbed her eyes. She looked again. The birds continued to circle the cyclops.

~~~TO BE CONTINUED~~~

Thank you for reading this week’s post! I hope that you’re having a great weekend. If you would like, you can read parts 1 – 7 of this story by clicking on the link below. Until next time, be kind to yourself. You’re worth it.✨

The Seekers

 

A woman holding a feather pen while writing at her desk.

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