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The Revenant, Part 4

The Revenant is a 5-part tale of vengeance: a veteran knight, robbed and left for dead, is driven to seek answers and, ultimately, revenge.

By Lonnie ColsonPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
"The Robber" woodcut 46 from Hans Holbein the Younger's Dance of Death.


The sound of a twig snapping startled Henrie awake. How long was I out? He dared not move. He heard a faint moan off to his left followed by the sound of water trickling onto the ground. Slowly turning his head, Henrie could make out the silhouette of a man pissing against a tree.

“Ballocks!” the man grumbled as he shook one side of his cloak before adjusting his hose and stumbling back to the nearest log and plopping down. He picked up a spear and jabbed it at the embers, stirring them around with the blade. The brigand reached behind him to grab a log from a pile and tossed it on top of the flickering flames.

Henrie slowly rose to a low crouch and slunk forward. He eased each foot down with a gentle twisting motion to avoid making any noise, ignoring the sting of rocks and nettles on his bare feet. The brigand’s head bobbed with sleepiness as Henrie eased his hand down to pick up a spare log. Squaring off behind his opponent, the knight raised the log high over one shoulder like a heavy wooden mace before bringing it down on the base of the man’s neck with every ounce of hate and contempt he could muster.

The impact crackled like thunder. Henrie gritted his teeth and raised the club again, ready to deliver a second blow, but the brigand crashed forward, sending the spear clattering across the ground. Henrie sprang over the log where his opponent had been seated and began searching his body under the cloak. He ran his hands around the belt line until he felt what he was looking for.

A dagger. He tugged it free and held it close to the fire to get a better look at it. The blade was cheaply made, but it was long and sharp.

“Craig?” a voice called from inside the nearest hut.

Henrie froze.

“Craig?” The second call was followed by sounds of movement.

Henrie scampered back into the shadows as the blanket was pulled back and a figure emerged from the hut. The brigand looked right and left before slowly easing himself back inside. A moment later he emerged with a sword in his hand.

Fie! Henrie glanced down at his dagger. He turned it around and assumed an underhand grip before pulling it back to his hip.

“Craig?” The brigand had assumed a low voice. He moved slowly towards the camp fire, continuing to scan the woods around him. Suddenly, he lowered the tip of his blade and stood straight up. “Wake up, you bloody idiot!” He strode forward. “Rabbie’ll cut your cods off if he catches you sleeping.” The swordsman kicked his companion hard in the ribs.

“What the—?”

Henrie sidled around a tree and rushed forward. Slipping his free hand over the brigand’s mouth, Henrie plunged the dagger into the small of his back, piercing his diaphragm.

“Nnnngh!” the villein groaned in agony but could not cry out. He dropped his sword and tried to reach for the source of the pain, but Henrie wrenched the hilt of the dagger in a circular pattern as he pulled him backwards. As the brigand’s knees buckled, Henrie yanked the blade free and plunged it under his victim’s armpit, this time searching for heart or lungs. Thick blood pulsed over his hand making the dagger hard to grip.

Easing the body to the ground, Henrie pulled the dagger free and stood triumphantly over his victim. He recognized the man’s face. It’s the spearman. The brigand’s eyes bulged with momentary terror before life faded from them. Henrie’s mouth twisted into a sideways smile as he realized the villein had recognized him as well.

“Brrn in Ell,” Henrie said in a garbled voice. Satisfied with his victory, the knight wiped the dagger clean using his victim’s clothes and tucked it into his waistband. He then dragged the corpse to the edge of the grove where he propped it against at tree. Returning to the campfire, Henrie hefted the unconscious guard who he placed next to the body of his dead companion, using his belt to bind his arms around the trunk.

After several moments, the guard moaned with pain. Henrie watched in the moonlight as the man’s eyelids fluttered. The brigand wrinkled his brow in confusion as he struggled to regain consciousness. Slowly, he opened his eyes and focused on the grotesque face leering back at him.

Henrie placed his hand firmly over the villein’s mouth to muffle the scream that followed. The man struggled against his binds, so Henrie laid the dagger across his throat.

“Wherz m’sun,” the knight tried to articulate, but the brigand only shook his head, trembling with fear. Henrie pressed the dagger harder against his neck and removed his hand. “Muh sonne.”

“What are you?!” The villein’s eyes were filled with horror.

Henrie leaned closer. “Muh. Son.”

The man’s mouth fell open, and his eyes welled up with tears. Henrie knew he finally understood. “We—.” He swallowed hard. “They dumped him in the bog with all the others.” He began to sob. “You have to believe me. I didn’t want to. I had no choice but to go along. They would’ve killed me if I hadn’t.” His tears ended as quickly as they had begun once he realized there was someone seated next to him. He turned to behold corpse of his companion.

Henrie shoved his hand over the killer’s mouth to muffle the scream once more. With a nod, the brigand motioned he wanted to speak. When the knight removed his hand, his captive curled up his lip in an angry sneer.

“How are you even here? We killed you. We killed you all.”

Henrie sliced his blade across the brigand’s throat. Black blood sprayed across the knight’s face and hands, glistening in the moonlight. Henrie could only stare malevolently as the brigand gurgled and coughed. He sat for several moments in silence; there were no sounds apart from those of his breath and the dripping of blood onto the fallen leaves.

“No,” Henrie whimpered, looking down at his hands. “No. No. No.” His chest convulsed with deep, painful, choking sobs. He fell back and collapsed on the ground. The tears burned like fire as they ran down his disfigured face.

In that moment he wanted nothing more than to curl up and die, but death refused to come. He was left without hope. He was left without mercy.

All that remained was agony.

And hate. Vengeful hate.

After being ambushed by outlaws and left for dead, Sir Henrie, alone, unarmed, and seriously wounded, searches them out in hopes of finding his son, Stephain, still alive. When one of the killers confesses that Stephain's body has been left in a watery grave, Sir Henrie is consumed with a hateful desire for vengeance. Will he prevail against them, or will he meet the same fate as his son?

The story concludes with The Revenant, Part 5: The Revenant.


About the Creator

Lonnie Colson

I'm a weekend novelist & backyard daredevil. A lifelong medieval history buff, I enjoy the knightly pursuits of jousting, hunting & sword fighting.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VBwajE

Apple: http://apple.co/1ViMq9z

Website: http://lonniecolson.com

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