Mean Volley

trebuchet-890637_1920.pixabay PD

Photo credit: juliacasado1 (public domain)



Taen Ajin watched the enemy roll the trebuchet toward the castle walls.  Arrows pierced their tall shields, pin-cushioned the monstrous device.  As one soldier fell, another took their place.  Too soon, it was within range.

The siege was engaged in earnest.   At least his family was safe.

The trebuchet swung its fearsome arc, hurling something over the walls.  Ajin ran across the tower to see it hit.  It disintegrated in midair, spilling colorful fabric across the courtyard.

“Don’t let anyone touch whatever that is.”

An aesor ran up the steps, arms filled with ripped silks.

Ajin recognized them, swallowed hard.  “She has my wife.”

Demands followed, then debates.  The people were loyal to the taenar.  They argued for compromise.

The taen motioned for silence.  “Is there anyone more willing to suffer for our cause than the taenar?”

The ranking aesor winced.  “Perhaps you, your highness?”

“Yes, ‘perhaps’ indeed.”  Ajin shook his head.  “No concessions.”

“But–”

“If I weakened our position because of her, she would never forgive me.  I may not see her until the afterlife, but she’ll not despise me then.”

He raised his fist.

“We fight.  For the taenar!”

The echoing shouts drowned out Ajin’s fervent prayer.

 



Word count: 200.  Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction challenge.  Big thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting and for providing such wonderful photos every week!  Click here to read the other stories.

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Photo © Al Forbes


 



 

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30 thoughts on “Mean Volley

    • Thanks for commenting Mandi! Yes, a very difficult decision, I can only imagine. But I think Ajin was making the choice his wife would want him to make, and not necessarily the one he wanted to make. Maybe he can find a way to rescue her without giving into his enemy’s demands; while there’s life, there’s hope.

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  1. Hey Joy! I haven’t seen an update from you in a couple weeks. Was beginning to wonder how Eneana was doing 🙂 This was a thrilling glimpse into Eneana and I can’t imagine making that kind of decision. Great job, Joy!

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    • Thanks Jade, it’s nice to be missed! I’ve been so busy, mostly at work, and completely lost track of how long it had been since I’d posted a flash fiction piece on my blog. I mean, it’s on my To Do list, but whew, my To Do list is too crazy to even look at. Glad you liked the story, thanks for commenting!

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      • LOL, then apparently I’m doing it right. My Todoist app just told me: “You have 7 tasks due today and 71 tasks overdue.” I don’t even want to look to see what’s due for the rest of the week, whew!

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      • Yep, that’s exactly how I ended up with 71 things overdue. Luckily I actually did do several of them and can mark them off, and a lot of others were low priority, so I’m reassigning them to future weekends. When, of course, I’m expecting that Future Me will be much more productive and energetic, not to mention better organized!

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  2. As soon as I saw Eneana in my link list, I knew it was going to be good and you didn’t disappoint. Poor guy. Losing his wife and then having to choose. I think he chose right though. “Better to die a hero than live a coward” ~ Folami Morris

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    • Thanks, Lou! And yes, if he didn’t know his wife so well, he’d be tempted to just go rescue her. I’d like to think that she is busy planning her own escape anyway, and will take down a few of the enemy’s defenses on her way out.

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  3. You’ve woven an exciting story from the prompt picture, and chosen to have the machine as a trebuchet. And why not – it worked really well (although I’m sure you could have written a great story about a dunking stool, too). I see the decision as the crux of the story, and one to pull at our heartstrings and make us decide for ourselves whether he made the right one. Certainly not an easy decision for anyone to make.
    We went to a joust at Warwick Castle last year, but the trebuchet wasn’t in action that day. It’s an awesome-looking machine. They had a mangonel as well. I’ll write up my post about our visit at some stage!

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    • Thanks Millie! As I said to Al, it doesn’t take much incentive for me to write about a trebuchet — I have a real soft spot for medieval siege weapons, for some reason! (Defenses, also; I don’t take sides.) To me, it was obviously a trebuchet, so my first instinct was to think of something they would do with the trebuchet that was unexpected — no stones, no fire, no diseased bodies, no heads of their messengers. This was the best other thing I could think of. 😉

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      • It was a great story, and I can imagine trebuchets could fit well into your style of novel. Hope you get lots of writing and/or editing done over the next few weeks if you’re participating in the JulNoWriMo (if that’s what it’s called). 🙂

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      • Thanks Millie, I do hope to get a fair amount written, but I’m not doing Camp NaNo again this month. I had a great time doing it in April, but after that we extended our “cabin” into a private blog, so I’m already getting a lot of the same support there. Plus we started the Project 10K challenge, so I’ve been trying to do that every month.

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      • You obviously find these group writing activities spur you on, Joy – which is what they’re intended to do, of course. Having constant support can be so helpful, I know. You do so well anyway, considering how hard you work in your ‘day job’! Do you ever manage to sleep, I wonder? Have a great week, whatever you get up to.

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