Black Moon Draw (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 7)

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The two armies clash like a scene from Braveheart. Until this moment, I thought those movies were exaggerating. What sense does it make to run into one another like this?

A sword flashes before my face. I squeeze my eyes closed and start praying. The knight at my back is slashing and hacking, his buff muscles jostling me around. The horse whinnies loudly and rears, and I open my eyes. We pitch forward as it then kicks back at someone.

The melee before me is utterly insane. Horses, men, and weapons race, swirl, and clash around us in a dizzying, fast-paced display of brutal power. The Shadow Knight has dropped the reins to the horse to use both arms, and the creature is deftly maneuvering, smacking men on foot who get too close with his front hooves and occasionally shooting off kicks with its back legs.

The jolting ride is anything but smooth, and I cling to its mane for dear life, all too aware of the steel slashing near me. If anyone takes off my head, it's going to be the Shadow Knight, whose weapons come close enough to graze my skirts.

A blur of black streaks through my peripheral. It slams into our horse, and suddenly, I'm flying through the air. The belt connecting me to the Shadow Knight snaps. Landing hard on my back a short distance, I stare at the fog above.

"Owwwwww," I groan at last. If my ass hurt before . . . I don't know what I landed on, but it's lumpy as hell.

An axe wider than my thigh splits the ground beside my ear. I yelp and scramble to my feet. One look at the Green Dawn Cave warrior and I whirl to run, only to find another four behind me.

I can't die here. The fleeting thought is accompanied by raw fear. I have no idea how to use the sword I'm wearing and don't even bother to draw it. They'll just laugh at me before dicing me in half.

An idea hits me. Gripping the medallion, I raise it.

"I'll use this!" I cry.

The men back away.

"Now . . . get the hell away from me!"

"Witch!" It's the squire. I can't see him in the battle around me.

Creeping in the direction of his voice, I raise the medallion a little higher when one of the men around me takes a step to follow.

"Witch!" This bellow comes from the Shadow Knight.

"Here!" I cry.

He's large enough to see above the crowd and he's plowing his way through the throng of warriors separating us, chopping down everyone in his path. At the sight of him, the five around me melt into the battle.

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