Garlic Boi

Aruba

Message to Readers

Any kind of critique is fine, this is one of my first writings I've published.

Focus.

November 17, 2020

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

His master told him these three things incessantly. Under his teachings, his arrows flew true, never missed. Now, they ran through his mind, like the rivers below, next to the camp. He spied his target, a man clad in heavy armor, adorned in dragon’s visage, his fire laden helm too thick for a normal arrow. He reached behind his waist, thumbing a single arrow with a larger-than-normal feathering. Still there. He watched silently as his target retreated into an equally-ornate tent. Around him, snow fell, its gentleness contrasted with the harsh cold of its touch.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

The camp was small, from the tents and supplies visible, he guessed around twenty men. A good thing he had brought thirty arrows. Four archers stood atop platforms four meters high on either side of the camp’s entrance, eyes keen for attackers. Occasionally, they threw glances into the camp, scanning for any intruders somehow within. Flakes of white littered their hair, disappearing moments later. They would have to go.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

Clusters of ragged men, unshaved and filthy, garbed in light brigandine armor and robes of blue and white stained yellow, gathered around small fires. They drank deep from small flasks, working to stave away the cold. Those who walked shuffled around clumsily --  their speech, crude and crass, was slurred. They did not matter to him. Their leader, heavily armored, sat in his tent sipping from his own drinking flask, overlooking documents at the table.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

At the base of the West archer towers, dogs had been tied to posts. Thick fur, ink-black and mangy, so dense he could not see their eyes, but he knew their noses were what mattered. Their barking would be loud. They would need to be
silenced. He nocked his first arrow.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

He drew back the string. Breathing in, a rush of frigid air filled his lungs. His fingertips felt the power in the tension -- a tiger waiting to strike.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

He breathed out. And loosed.
A thwack was heard and an arrow appeared in one of the archers' necks. Heads turned, and he drew a second time, frost filling his lungs again.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

Power waited to be unleashed within the string. He loosed.
A second archer fell, the arrow through his head. The west tower was clear. Below, next to the camp’s left entrance, bushes shifted. The drunkards below took no heed.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

The dogs, smelling blood, began to stir. Growls were soon to be howls. He nocked another.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’ 

Like hunting deer, he thought to himself. He loosed.
Dogs let out soft whimpers, arrows sticking out their sides. A second, and a third, and they all fell silent.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

Another arrow he nocked and he drew. His sensei had told him stories of the thunder god, His bow calling lightning from the sky, striking his enemies with thunderous wrath. Is this what it felt like?
An archer fell from the east tower, and the other, hearing his death, turned. He opened his mouth to shout.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

His sensei taught him how to draw and fire with speed, not just with accuracy. He did not let that lesson go to waste. An arrow loosed -- the last archer silenced. Vegetation to the right of the camp, ripe for an ambush, began to shake. One more target now.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’ 

He nocked one more arrow. This one, with a head thicker and heavier than the rest, feathering longer and wider. It weighed twice as much as his other arrows. He drew back his bowstring. Breathing in a final time, the ice in his lungs numbed his chest.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’

He watched the camp leader drink deep from his flask, emptying it. He waited.
‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’
He watched him trudge outside, looking for more drink. His bow called him to loose, begging him to release the power within. His hand shook. His mind was still. He waited.

‘Patience. Breathing. Focus.’ 

The leader turned to his left, saw the blood on the ground, the archers fallen. His eyes widened.

Now.

A thwack rang out, the sound of steel shattering tore through the camp as broken armor beheld the thick arrow shaft buried in the general’s chest. He coughed, choking on blood, and fell to the ground, hands grasping at his wound. The
commotion alerted his drunken underlings, rousing them to attention.

At once, from the fringes of the camp, men swarmed the entrances, brandishing blades and arrows. Drunken men, unarmed, stood no chance.

Yomi rose to his feet, dusting the dust off his tabi. He turned on his heel, making for his horse waiting aways down the path. He turned his head up to look at the trees overhead, the sparrows springing from tree to tree. They mirrored his thoughts, he wondered how he would tell Mako what he had done.

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  • November 17, 2020 - 1:27am (Now Viewing)

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