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Kendra (flash fiction), p.1
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       Kendra (Flash Fiction), p.1

           Stephen Jennison-Smith
 
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Kendra (Flash Fiction)
Dark he was and olive eyed. Fierce as the sun and white as the moon. He led an army of 10,000 men all trained in the arts of war. He lived in the Bosom of Abraham with his wife and children, but warred upon the earth to satiate his battle lust and need for adventure. A half angel saved from the flood and, because of his home, an immortal. This is the story of Kendra the Nephilim.

  He could feel his heart thumping as he tried to remain quiet in ambush. Hidden in the bushes the Nephilim fingered his sword. His men, hand picked warriors, also hid in silence waiting for the group of King Parem’s men to pass by. Kendra knew that he and his men would be outnumbered but surprise and swiftness would more than make up for it. A scout rode through the copse, his eyes peeled. The mount he was riding was a bit jittery, the rider patted its neck and looked into the thickest part of the bush cover. After a few seconds he patted the horse’s neck again and rode through to the other end of the wooded area. “Good,” thought the ambusher then waited some more. Within a few minutes King Parem and twenty mounted men began to pass through, but the half angel still waited until the infantry started to pass. There were over one hundred of them and Kendra knew that his twenty men would be hard pressed. He stood up and yelled a battle cry at the top of his mighty voice then charged slashing from right to left cutting the first man completely in half.

  His men also yelled and charged. There were twenty of the King’s men less before they even drew their weapons. A man with a spear brought it to face Kendra, who kicked the spear and broke it then cleaved the man’s head in two. Turning and slashing to the left he killed another. Four men then surrounded him and each tried to hit him but to no avail. He parried one thrust, dodged another struck the side of one with his left foot and barged the fourth. With two slashes he killed the first two. One of the men tried to attack again and thrusted into Kendra’s heavy robe catching only coarse cloth. The half angel grabbed the man’s arm and brought his pommel down onto the man’s head which cracked like an egg. The last man thought twice before he tried to turn away, but too late because the Nephilim also thrust his sword into the man’s chest, straight through his leather armour. Each of his men took down four others. The rest fled. King Parem thought twice about charging into the copse before he too rode away towards the hill country.

  “See that the king does not arrive at his destination,” said Kendra to his second in command. All of his men got on their horses and rode after Parem. Looking on the ground he picked up a spear head and put it in his cloak as a memento. He then concentrated and appeared back in the court of his liege. He spoke to the king who did not appear to be startled by the sudden appearance of one of his captains , “Lord, Parem’s army has been decimated. He is in flight being pursued by your men.”

  The king looked up from the map he had been studying and into the Nephilim’s eyes, “Well done Kendra, his constant raids on our border were worrying. Have you worked up enough of an appetite yet? Did you kill enough to do so?”

  “Barely ten men my Lord. I may have a snack.”

  The King walked into his dining room followed by the half angel. They sat either side of a table filled with fruit and roast meats. A servant girl poured them both some wine. Kendra nodded to her.

  “Tell me what was it like seeing Parem’s men die?”

  “The first ten were dead before even they knew we were there. We ambushed them at the copse on the way to Parem’s city. Then killed another four who had tried to surround me. I split one’s head down the middle and cracked another’s with my pommel. Once Parem is dead you can take over his lands.”

  After the meal Kendra excused himself and went to the officer’s quarters in the barracks. Lima was there and greeted him, “My Lord, good day. how did the battle go?”

  Mendez took delight in telling Lima the details, “Parem was running away the last I saw of him, being pursued by Dilane and the others.” He looked at the desk and the things on it, “I have come to check up on you. Is there anything that needs my attention?”

  Lima looked a little concerned, “There was an incident at the Palm Door yesterday. Colman and Fech stopped a drunk entering the palace. He turned out to be the king’s cousin in a disguise. He wore different clothes so that he could go carousing and wenching in the cities flesh pots.”

  This perturbed Kendra, “So what was done about it?”

  “Tarendon made a complaint to me because one of the men had struck him, knowing full well who he was. I was going to see them both in a few minutes.”

  “I will stay to see how you handle the situation,” said Kendra as he placed a chair near the wall and sat on it, arms crossed.

  Lima shuffled a few clay tablets then opened the door, “Colman, Fech,” he shouted, “come here now.”

  Lima sat looking at a cuniformed clay tablet as first Colman and then Fech entered.

  “I have had a report that one of you hit Tarendon yesterday. Which one of you was it?”

  Fech looked uneasy, “It was me Sire.”

  “What possible reason could you have had to hit the king’s brother?”

  “He was drunk Sire, in disguise and he drew a blade on me.”

  “Is this true Colman?”

  “Aye Sire.”

  Fech continued, “We had no idea that he was the king’s brother. He is fortunate that I did not kill him.”

  Lima spoke again, “This was not told to me yesterday when Tarendon reported you to me. This puts a different light on the situation. You may go now.”

  When Fech and Colman had left Lima spoke to Kendra. “Why did Tarendon lie?”

  “He might have only been deceitful.”

  “Surely he would know that he would be found out?”

  “Tarendon is not like his brother, the king is honest and honourable where as Tarendon is his opposite. Maybe he was too drunk to care or maybe he wants to start a fight with you, being my man.”

  “But ultimately that would lead to a fight with you. Brave is the man who would pick a fight with you. Brave and foolhardy.”

  Kendra stood up and stretched a little, “I shall see him to see if there is anything deeper behind this incident. You are doing a good job Lima. Farewell. He lifted open the curtain and left the guards office and made his way to the palace’s private quarters.

  There were two guards outside the gate to the private quarters. They both smartened up as Kendra appeared. “Is Tarenden in?” he asked.

  The guard nearest the door answered him, “Yes my lord, but he is sleeping and has left orders that he should not be disturbed.”

  Kendra looked displeased. “Call me when he wakes up, I will be in the East garden.” He nodded slightly and turned back on himself. Along a long corridor and through some gates he made his way into the East garden. He sat near some fruit trees and picked an apple. A young man saw him and went over.

  “Hail Kendra.”

  “Good morn Prince Lethian, what brings you into the East garden?”

  “There is a girl who picks fruit for the King’s table and I was hoping to see her.”

  “But surely you are too young for love?”

  “I have 16 years may you know.”

  “You are still a babe. You should be concerning yourself with learning how the kingdom works so that you can be a good king like your father.” Kendra chomped on another apple. He picked another and offered it to Lethian.

  Lethian refused, “I shall accept one from Denara’s fair hand.”

  Kendra laughed, “I suppose when one is in love it is difficult to keep one’s eye on the kingdom.”

  Lethian smiled and as he saw Denara enter the garden he went to see her.

  The sky blackened and there was an ill wind. Kendra looked up, “A storm.” He pulled up his hood to cover his neck
and stood. A weaselly looking man had entered the garden without Kendra seeing. An angel appeared before Kendra. “Behind you Kendra,” motioned the angel.

  Kendra looked behind him and saw the man starting to draw a dagger. The Nephilim picked up a fallen apple and threw it at the man’s hand with such force that the man dropped the dagger. Stunned he tried to flee, but Kendra was upon him. As he landed on the man Kendra drove the wind from him, “One of Cephrasi’s avengers eh.”

  The man who found it difficult to speak just nodded. Picking him up by his robes Kendra escorted him to the cells. The jailer greeted his commander. “Hail Kendra, what do you have in your grasp?”

  “An assassin, or would be. See if you can put him up for a while, and find out where he comes from and if there are any others in his group.”

  “Were you on duty yesterday, did you hear of the attack on Tarendon?””

  “The day after the attack I was ill, another took my place of guard duty.”

   “Who was it?” asked Kendra.

   “I do not know, I shall ask my partner.” He called to the other guard. “Kuss, who was on duty with you when I was ill?”

   Shouting from the hallway Kuss replied, “I was on duty on my own that day, and I saw none enter or leave.”

   Kendra walked into the hallway to look squarely at Kuss. “Did you have any breaks?”

   “I went for food in the noon, and relieved myself about two hours after.” 

  “Did anyone take your place?”

  “No my lord, they did not.”

  “Did you see Tarendon leave the palace?”

  Kuss looked up, trying to remember, “Not Tarendon, but he was in disguise when he returned so maybe he was when he left.”

  Kendra knew it would be difficult to reprimand the king’s brother and that his own men were getting into trouble for something that was not their fault. In such circumstances, to touch the king or his family, warranted the death penalty. “Tell me what you get out of this one.” Kendra nodded towards the prisoner before he left. “I shall be in my quarters.”

  His quarters housed his earthly belongings, such as they were. Trophies of battles lying around waiting to be collected by his son. Closing the door gently he began to think. The king would listen to him surely. He could intercede for the men. Tarendon being in disguise proved his deceit. Maybe he should speak to the king now to put his mind at rest. Turning he went out of the door and towards the king’s private quarters.

  Kaleen was the guard on duty outside the king’s quarters. Nodding at the guard Kendra asked, “Is the king in, I need to see him?”

  Kaleen became surly for he was one of the king’s private guards and resented Kendra. “He is with his brother. He doesn’t want to be disturbed.”

  This set Kendra aback. His plan to head off Tarendon’s attack on the guards had failed. Ne’er mind, he would repair the damage later. For now he would seek out his second to find out what his own company had been doing since he had been away.

  Lacan was his chosen second, a friend to both Chelnuk and Nima. He was young but, as with all seconds, he would seem to grow old in an instant. In a single dwelling by the stream, just beyond the boundary of the city, stood the dwelling of Lacan. As Kendra was walking towards it Lacan’s wife saw him and waved. She had no idea of the special relationship they had, of the secret Lacan kept even from the king.

  “My lord, it is good to see you,” greeted Loi, Lacan’s wife.

  “Hello Loi, I have come to see Lacan,” the big man rested slightly on the garden wall and looked at the garden.

  “I shall get him for you,” she went inside and was only a moment. Lacan exited with her.

  Lacan was a tall and surly man, he was dressed in robes and not his usual leather armour that Kendra so frequently saw him in. “My captain, why are you here?” asked Lacan.

  “I need you to walk with me,” starting to walk beside the river Kendra expected Lacan to catch him up.

  Running a little Lacan asked, “What is it?” as he caught Kendra up.

  “Tarendon was in disguise yesterday and tried to enter the palace that way. Colman and Fech stopped him and Colman laid hands on him. Tarendon was drunk and drew a blade on him. Fech did not know it was the king’s brother. He is to be put to death, and if Tarendon has anything to do with it, so will Colman.”

  “I have been away from the court for a few days, I am not up on the gossip.”

  “I tried to see the king but Tarendon was already there and Kaleen would not let me in. I just wanted your advice. You know how intractable the king can be, especially concerning his family.”

  "Tarendon is a problem, he does not have the morals of his brother. He may even demand that they be killed straight away."

  Thinking for a second Kendra replied, "I do not think the king would be pushed into it so easily."

  "I would go back and wait. If it comes to the worst smuggle both Colman and Fech away, use your father's gift to take them to Egypt."

  "That would cause a mystery, how they both escaped from a locked room." Kendra smiled then soured a little, "Or it might get the jail keeper in trouble. If it was up to Tarendon all of the guards would be put to death."

  "Leaving the way open for him to take the throne for himself."

  "Do you think he would do that?"

  "Nothing is too unbelieveable where Tarendon is concerned."

  Clapping his friend on the back Kendra disappeared back to the palace.

  Appearing in the king’s wardrobe Kendra listened to the conversation between Tarendon and the king. Others may find it unusual that Kendra knew how to travel by his father’s gift to the king’s wardrobe. As long as he has seen the place he is to travel to then he can travel there. He needed to search the king’s quarters for a thief and so searched the king’s wardrobe.

  He could hear Tarendon demanding the death of the two guards.

  “They beat me. I only drew the blade to defend myself. I demand they be killed for harming one with royal blood,” said the younger brother of the king.

  “Their story is different, they say you were drunk and drew the blade on them when they would not let you in,” replied the king.

  “Brother, they are commoners and liars, our mother would rebuke thee sorely if she were still alive.”

  “I must speak to Kendra first, he will know what to do.”

  “Hah, he is the worst. I bet it was he who put them up to the task of harming me.” Picking up a clay tablet from the king’s work table he smashed it against the wall.

  Looking a little shocked the king rebuked him, “Tarendon, if you destroy all the records like that then the kingdom will fall because of finances, we will not know who has paid taxes and who has not.”

  “The kingdom will fall because you are weak brother, if I were king I would tax them twice!” Tarendon stormed out and slammed the door behind him.

  Appearing back a little further down the passageway Kendra made his way to the king’s door, which was still open. Kaleen was still there and raised his hand and placed it on Kendra’s chest as he tried to enter the king’s quarters, “You still may not go in.”

  Feeling his blood begin to boil Kendra prepared for action.

  Just then though the king saw Kendra and bade him enter, “Kaleen!” he nodded to let Kaleen know to let his champion in.

  Bowing slightly as he entered Kendra then closed the door behind him. “My king, I hear that you want to discuss what you should do with Colman and Fech?”

  Looking a little relieved the king smiled. “I know what must be done I just wanted you to confirm it.”

  “You cannot kill Colman and Fech just to pander to the whim of your power hungry brother.”

  Looking at his work table the king thought carefully about his words both feeling insulted by Kendra’s honesty but also respecting it. “I know you do not like my brother Kendra, you have told me before. I believe that it was he who drew the blade first when the guards were only doing their duty
. Tarendon is a liability to this kingdom but he has enough followers and influence to do me real harm. He is of royal blood. I will judge in the guard’s favour but it could set Tarendon against me. I see no other way out.”

  “What if Colman and Fech were to escape?”

  “Those guarding them would then be put to death.”

  Pursing his lips Kendra suggested, “Put Kaleen to guard them. I shall see they escape. Tarendon will plead for Kaleen’s life. If I speak for Kaleen then we may win him over to our camp and weaken Tarendon.”

  “Your plan seems good Kendra, but how will you help them to escape?”

  “I shall think about it.”

  That night, when Kaleen was groggy with sleep and both Colman and Fech were in the land of nod, Kendra appeared in their cell. They slept apart and Kendra had to decide who to take first, he chose Colman and disappeared.

  Near the great river the Nephilim appeared and laid Colman on the ground still snoring. Again the giant man had gone.

  It was Fech’s turn and as Kendra got close enough to transport him he started to wake. Quickly Kendra concentrated and vanished again.

  On the bank Fech awoke suddenly to find Kendra leaning over him and Colman laying near a river bank. “Wha!” he began.

  “I have freed you,” explained Kendra, “for it was sure that Tarendon wanted your life whether you were guilty or not. I think he would have had Kaleen kill you in your sleep if the king ruled for you.”

  Sombrely Fech started to understand his captain’s words, “But what are we to do, I have family in the city?”

  Throwing the guard a bag of coin Kendra replied, “I shall see that they are kept safe. When Tarendon is no longer a threat to you I shall call for you.”

  Nodding as he got up Fech went over to kick Colman awake, for he was still snoring, “I am glad you rescued us, I was thinking of killing him because of the noise he makes at night.”

  Kendra smiled and then walked away down the river bank to give himself enough distance to return unnoticed to the king’s palace.

  In the cool dark of the night the figure glided past the columns and then through a doorway. His dual parentage brought him many abilities that no mortal could compare with. It was also a curse, if ever he should depart this life then there would be no resurrection for him. He could not stop though; he ached for the thrills of combat, living on the edge between life and oblivion. Tomorrow he would tell the guards to be more observant in their duties, but now he had got through two checkpoints and could see Kaleen nodding as he sat guarding Colman and Fech, or so he thought.

 
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