It was a damned hard fight.
I don’t know where my mother found the men, but they sure as hell knew their business.
I recognized neither the weapons nor the uniforms of the men laid out along the road, but I knew them for what they were.
Soldiers, just as the messenger had said.
And, not surprisingly, the Deus Canum had spoken true.
These were fighters brought in by my mother.
Part of me wanted to see if they would parley, and perhaps we could come to some sort of truce. One look at the men, however, told me that was an impossible goal.
They were soldiers tasked with my destruction. Nothing save death would turn them away from it.
I’d left my rifle at home. Instead, I was wearing the Colts slung low and loose in their holsters. Hanging from the belt were two weapons I’d not used in a long time. An old hatchet, the blade of which had tasted French blood in upstate New Hampshire first, and a warclub gifted to me by an Abenaki woman who was sweet on me. She’d given me the weapon with the polished and ball-shaped killing head despite my having killed her husband in battle.
Had I looked older than twelve, she might have tried to give me a little more.
When we stepped out of the woods, my mother’s soldiers saw us and began to fire.
The dogs dashed out, racing hellbent for leather. Some of them fell, cut down by the accurate fire of the men, but many more made it to the first line. As they did, troops from behind the hedge poured out, their voices raised to battle, and the fight began in earnest.
I don’t know how many times I fired and reloaded the Colts, but soon enough, they were back in their holsters. In my hands, I held the hatchet and the warclub, and I waded into the fight.
Bullets and blades bit deep into my flesh, but the fight continued.
Soon, my shirt was soaked with blood – mine and the soldiers – and the men began to run from me. The dogs hounded them back into the Hollow, where they would face my mother’s wrath for their failure.
The wounded lay upon the road, begging for mercy, and I gave them the mercy they deserved.
By night’s end, my hatchet was dull, and my arms were sore.