He reeked of bad meat and spoiled milk.
And he fought like a son of a bitch.
The bullets from my Colts were useless, striking home without causing the bastard to suffer any ill effects.
I, on the other hand, had to watch out for that damned sword.
He wielded it with the fury of a demon and the grace of a dancer. I had no doubt that healing from a wound by that blade would be difficult.
He had ambushed me on my own drive, and neither myself nor any of those upon my farm had been wise to his presence.
The earth shook with every blow that landed on the ground, and trees planted by my father two hundred years earlier were hewn in half with wild blows.
I tried to slip past the man to reach my house, but he kept me from it. High, hollow laughter escaped his mouth and hung in the trees, grating on my nerves and causing me to grind my teeth. Reversing my grip on the Colts, I prepared to use the butts of the pistols to beat him to death if such a thing could be accomplished.
Before I could strike, a whistling filled the air.
For a heartbeat, it was a solitary noise, but then it was joined by others, each followed by a hard and heavy thunk.
The man before me seemed to sprout arrows.
Long, well-fletched shafts that caused him to stumble to a halt. Black smoke drifted out around the arrows, dissipating before it reached the tops of the trees.
In a moment, the man vanished, and the armor collapsed with a clatter.
From the shadows along the sides of the drive, the wild strangers from the day before appeared. In their hands, they held longbows, quivers slung at their waists. They moved in silence to the pile of armor, and one of the men produced a bag.
With quiet efficiency, they picked up each piece of armor and then sealed the bag closed.
They left as quietly as they had arrived, and I reloaded my pistols.
It was time for coffee and a drop of whiskey.