Elektra, Part 3

Previously, we were introduced to Uzziah and Tilliam, two of Elektra’s brothers.  Elektra woke to hear them talking about her father, Kratos, and her third brother, Rubeus.  They began to plan the rescue of Elektra’s son, Rory, who had been kidnapped by Rurik, Rory’s father.

 

I finished eating the pheasant, licking my fingers, and then took a long draw on the water bladder. The food was warming my body, and I could already feel my strength returning. The back of my head was still throbbing, but the headache behind my eyes was beginning to dim. Tilliam brought me a warm tea of crushed columbine seeds, chamomile, and purple coneflower.

“This will ease your head and swollen joints. We will talk more tomorrow. For tonight, get some rest. We will wake up early and head for Ryszard’s Kingdom. We will stop by Father and Mother’s house. Father knows influential men within the Ryszard Kingdom who may be able to help us.”

I looked at him in disbelief and pain. Facing Kratos was not something I wanted to deal with. He was my father, but I had very little feeling for the man. The last colloquy I had with him before leaving the household resulted in him asking me, “Why should you waste your time becoming a warrior like a man? You will only end up barefoot and pregnant, anyway.” I left that house and never looked back. Kratos had never understood my nature or the passions I held dear. Now, I would have to tell him of my child, and that his words were true. As strong as I had become, that man could tear me to shreds with a glance. I was determined not to let him break me, again.

I lay down in the lean-to. Though the blanket of feathers was soft, it did little to ease the discomfort of my body or mind. I closed my eyes, and all I could see was the smiling face of my Rory. As I drifted off between sleep and pain, moments with Rory raced through my mind. He was only four years old. His sweet face came running toward me, his tender voice so excited as he proclaimed, “Mamma, Mamma! Look what I found.” It was a fine piece of limestone, with nodules of flint and chert embedded in the rock. He already knew it held great promise for the arrowheads I could make from the flint. I hadn’t taken any time to think about his comfort, having been taken from his home by Rurik and his men. I knew Rurik would look out for his welfare and provide what he needed to make him comfortable, but would he console him when he cried? Would he hold him when he missed his mother? It made me sob for my own mother, Necia. Tomorrow I would see her. Then I saw Rory’s face red and puffy with tears, and fear overcoming him. We had to find him soon.

 


I woke up to the smell of a warm broth simmering on the fire. Tilliam and Uzziah had saddled the horses and were packing our gear. They had laid out the weapons and were deciding which might be the most effective in our quest. I saw my cherished longbow! I had left it back at the house when I had gone out hunting.

“While we were at the house we grabbed the weapons we could find. I knew you would want this bow,” said Uzziah.

I picked it up, sliding my hand across the smooth polished hickory. Kratos had helped me make it. Father’s craftsmanship could not be outdone, and warriors and hunters would come hundreds of miles to acquire a piece from him. Even though he disapproved of my hunting, and my plans to join and train with the Ryszard Kingdom warriors, he crafted this fine bow for me. He taught me what kind of wood would be best for different kinds of uses, how the length of the bow was important for the most powerful flights, and how hunting bows required less of a draw, but quickness and accuracy was essential. This longbow was made for battle. It wasn’t meant to be used on horseback, but on foot when hidden in the forest. Its heavy draw was deadly.

Uzziah had taught me how to hunt. I was only allowed to use a small bow and a slingshot, as child. He and I would scour the forest for squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and small birds. We would gut and skin the animals, then bring them home to Mother who would roll them in flour and season the meat with herbs and coarse salt.

“We found your quivers of arrows and brought them, too, along with a satchel of arrowheads and your tools” said Tilliam. “A warrior must have the weapons they cherish.”

“You have really thought this journey out,” I said. “Planning for everything.”

“When we found Freya dying and Rory gone, we knew the consequences would be great. Our biggest fear was not being able to find you, and if we did, would we find you alive,” said Tilliam. “Here’s some bread and dried beef to eat on the way. We need to head out if we want to make it to Mother and Father’s house by evening.”

Lilka was waiting, her deep brown eyes looking me up and down, and she whinnied softly as I strode toward her. I struggled to lift my packs over her backside, as my aching joints flamed. Lilka nuzzled my neck, fluttering my long black hair with a snort. I had pulled my hair back in a long braid, much like Uzziah wore his, and Lilka liked to mess up the top and pull out a few strands. We had been together five years. I had trained her myself, and the bond between us was a rare one. She watched my every move, liked to throw me around a bit in play, but when we were focused on a hunt or task she was disciplined and intense, following every command with power and grace.

“Be nice to me, today, girl. No rough stuff, I can barely move.”

I looked deep into her eyes, taking her soft muzzle in my hands, and felt her spirit fill me with peace. She harbored a ‘knowingness’, an ancient soul that often guided my way. I could see my Creator in the depths of her eyes and I prayed He would hear me now.

Oh Great Power, guide us on our journey. Be my words and ears today as I speak to my father. Make the path clear to save my son. Fill me with wisdom for the coming work that must be done.

There appeared a glint of light in Lilka’s gaze, and I saw vast mountains and rolling clouds fill the great expanse of a western sky. Rurik had often spoken of witches and spells, and a secret sect of the family clan that lived in the mountains a fortnight’s distance from here, further west along a coast of shining seas and thick forests. Would he have taken Rory there?

“Hey, Sis, stop communing with Yahweh, and climb up on that nag and let’s go” said Uzziah.

“Yahweh is your god, I’m not so sure he’s mine. The Universe shares a mighty Creator for all of us,” I mumbled under my breath.

Tilliam came over and offered his hands to boost me up. I grudgingly accepted the offer, realizing my pride was not worth the pain of lifting my bruised leg up any higher than I had to. I stepped one foot into his hands and swung the other leg over Lilka’s broad back, then dropped gingerly into the lightweight leather saddle. As worn and soft as it was, the side straps scraped my bruised calves and thighs. I was thankful for the breeches Tilliam had given me. I lightly squeezed my knees into Lilka’s barrel and reined her westward.


Author Notes

The third segment to the novel I wrote for the 3-Day Novel event last year.

17 Comments for “Elektra, Part 3”

Karen Holt

says:

Hey Rebecca, I just decided to dive in and read this piece… it has great atmosphere, lots of delicious details and the character comes alive.

My advise would be to try and eliminate some ‘was’ and ‘had’ moments… the passive voice seems quite strong in places.

for example, in the very first paragraph —
I finished eating the pheasant, licking my fingers, and then took a long draw on the water bladder. GOOD
But then – The food was warming my body, and I could already feel my strength returning. The back of my head was still throbbing, but the headache behind my eyes was beginning to dim. — you have two sentences with very similar structure here and it leapt out.

How about… The food warmED my body, and I FELT my strength returning. ALTHOUGH he back of my head still throbbED, the headache behind my eyes HAD BEGUN to dim. ??

Tilliam brought me a warm tea of crushed columbine seeds, chamomile, and purple coneflower. GOOD

Great story in the making and that it was the three day novel output is inspiring. A really great job ~ Karen

Lisa Doesburg

says:

Great continuation of a fantastic story. To help argue the point about coffee, i can help. Chicory root was used as a ‘coffee’ drink back in the day, or at least a coffee substitute. Cornstarch was invented in the 1850’s, but powder itself has been around forever, made from rice flour. So maybe you could make a slight change and use the word ‘powder’ instead of cornstarch. Hope this helped!

Raymond Tobaygo

says:

Good afternoon, Becky

Again another great continuation. As with part two, great flow, continuity. Dialogue and characters quite believable for this world you’ve created. I can see that you’ve taken great pains to draw the reader into your character’s world including glimpses into Elektra’s culture and mindset.

Just some observations only:

Columbine seeds, Chamomile, and Purple Cone Flower. (Capitalized?)
“This will ease your headache, soothe your swollen joints, and ward off infection. Unless this is a magical elixir, normally a concoction will treat one aliment )

of my body or (my) mind.

cornstarch and bubbling coffee seem out of place in the world you’ve created

communing with Yahweh, (the Hebrew name for God) Elektra said Gods. Is Yahweh one of the Gods Elektra worships?

Enjoyed!

Take care and stay safe,

Ray’

says:

Thank you for the edit suggestions, I think I have fixed most of the spots you pointed out.

I want there to be a spiritual/magical aspect through out the story. Maybe Yahweh isn’t the best name for God to use in this context? I want to bring attention to the fact that Elektra and Uzziah differ in their views of God or gods. I will need to rework this section bit.

Check out the edits when you have time, and let me know if they sound and flow better. Thank you for following the story!

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Hi Becky,

This was a very pleasant, engrossing read. I loved the details you’ve woven throughout this piece. The campsite, meal, etc. I quite enjoyed Elektra’s trepidation and meeting her father again, and loved that even though he disapproved of her joining the hunters, he still thought enough to make Elektra her longbow.

I have a couple things that one might call a nit. Admittedly, I had to dig really deep for them. One is an edit, the other to do with details.

The edit: A warrior must have the weapons that they cherish. remove ‘that’. Seems to read a bit smoother that way.

Details: I can see the scene you’ve set here very clearly, however, two things jarred me a bit while reading. The use of coffee and cornstarch.
In my admittedly limited experience with fantasy, most tales refrain from using New World foods- of which coffee and corn both belong.
Am I being nit-picky? Maybe. LOL- your edits on my stuff are really appreciated, so I wanted to try and do something to return the favor. If you like them, by all means leave the details, as they draw nothing away from the story.

Tim

says:

This is exactly the kind of editing I need and appreciate, Tim. I kind of felt cornstarch was not a food they would have then, but, dang it, what kind of world would not have coffee???? lol You are exactly correct in your nits. I can just delete the cornstarch part. Stick with teas and no coffee? What kind of warm beverage would they drink in the morning? Do you have a resource dealing with food lists to stay away from in Medieval times? I will need to research this more for food.

Thank you!

Tim Hillebrant

says:

Most fantasy tales have characters drinking either tea, water, or maybe a weak ale, beer, or wine if they’re upper class.
The alcoholic beverages have a legitmate point- it would be a way to drink and make use of grains/fruit that might have otherwise rotted.

There’s a good reference book on just writing fantasy, but I have an in, in that this was something my mom got way into in her lifetime, and I got schooled on this as the mood struck her, when she was reading my stories or helping me with school assignments. We used to even eat salad (sallet) medieval style. It was interesting, and had no lettuce or tomatoes. Instead it had dandelion greens, wild onions, nettles, and other wild foraged things.

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