The sun it’s starting to show its light when he decides it’s time to leave.
It’s been a long night and he is stiff from being in the same position for the last two hours. He had chosen to hide on a high place on the slope from where he could see the road below. He was not sure if he would be successful, but from the tracks he found at his doorstep he assumed they were heading this way.
Returning home from hunting in the woods, he found his home empty. As soon as he saw the house from a distance, he could tell something was wrong. She always knew when he was arriving, had a hot meal ready and waited for him with a smile on the porch. But not yesterday. Yesterday everything was still, there was no smoke coming out of the chimney and no one was waiting for him on the porch. He had dismounted, tied his horse to a tree and made his way home by foot. If someone was there, he didn’t want to warn them about his approach.
The tracks on his front door were fresh. He could tell by the marks on the ground that two horses had been tied to the porch rail for a while. But other marks showed they had already left.
The footprints of the horses’ riders were big and heavy, she was small and light, she could have been carried away easily.
The chairs in the main room were on the floor, she was light and small, yes, but not easy to catch.
The tracks outside showed him they were headed south but he knew the road turned slightly east and then north some miles ahead.
With a plan already set on his head he ran to his horse and rode as fast as the horse could and the woods allowed.
When he got here, the highest place on the slope, he left his horse and went quickly to the road looking for tracks and found none. He was still on time, they had not passed here yet. But the time had passed and still the two riders carrying his wife didn’t show up.
Now he was wondering where they could have gone, if they had not followed the main road, when the sound of hooves caught his attention.
He gets ready with an arrow set on his bow, and as soon as he sees them, aims for the rider who has his wife. The arrow goes through the rider’s chest and a second later another arrow is flying directly to the second rider’s chest.
He gets up on his horse and goes down the slope.
The horses don’t stop, on the contrary, feeling the threat, they speed up.
He reaches for the reins on the horse carrying his wife, and a dead rider who had fallen over her, and pulls while at the same time makes soothing noises to calm the horse.
It works. The horse slows down and ends up stopping. The other horse, coming behind them, follows their lead and stops too.
He dismounts from his horse and takes the rider off from above of his wife.
He takes her from the horse and grabs her in his arms.
For a moment they forget where they are, with the horses around them, shielding them.
She is safe now. They are safe now.
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