Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the HISTORICAL genre (05/03/07)
By Lindsey Conrad
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“Oh God help me. I need your guidance. Show me the way to the Msaad.” She had no idea what her plan was, but she knew that God had provided this information for a reason. She breathed in a deep breath, and then pushed onto the mare. Turning its head to the entrance, she left the stable and slowly made her way to the city gate. Two guards stood watch. She gripped the royal decree she had made just moments before. It was an order for fresh fish from a nearby town. “Please let them believe me,” she prayed as she pulled along side the guards.
“What purpose have you?” the sentry asked.
“Orders from the queen. She sent out a messenger earlier for provisions, but she forgot a few things. I am to catch up and give them the additions.”
The sentry eyed her for a moment, looked down at the royal seal, then waved her on. She breathed easier when she had placed a distance between herself and the guards. “Just lead me, Lord. Lead me.”
“How could I ever doubt you?” Jwahir asked. He had once again provided for her. The Msaad encampment was stretched out before her; slightly illuminated by the earliest glints of light from the rising sun. “Now if I could ask another favor Lord. Provide a way in…”
Jwahir froze. The word was a common warning. Her glance shifted from the camp to the soldier who appeared from under the sand. If fear hadn’t taken so deep a hold on her she would have admired the soldier’s tactics. “Get down!”
Jwahir complied, and then slowly turned to face the soldier, “I have a message for your leader,” Jwahir finally said.
“I cannot say.”
That was obviously not the right answer. The man visibly stiffened. His eyes never left her as he called out, “Fahd.” After a moment, the man Jwahir assumed to be Fahd appeared over the crest. The soldier walked backward to join Fahd. The two conversed before Fahd left. The other soldier didn’t make a move, just kept his sword pointing toward her. Jwahir silently held the soldier’s gaze.
After what seemed like forever, a group of riders appeared. Jwahir stared up at them. The leading rider reigned in his horse then slid down, “My lady. I hear that you apparently have a message for me?” The man smiled. Jwahir studied him. He masked his feelings well. If he was weary of her there was no sign of it.
“Well?” he inquired.
Jwahir glanced at the other men in the group. Menacing stares greeted her. She had no choice. “I have a message from my mistress,” she began.
“Uh huh, and who might that be?”
“I…I cannot say my Lord…but this is most important.”
The rest of the men drew their swords.
“How about you tell us and we shall decide.” He glanced back at his comrades. She took a deep breath, ‘give me the right words Lord.’
“The king’s army, my Lord, is planning an attack on Jaffa. He found out they were supplying your army.”
Silence greeted her statement. Then one of the soldiers pounced on her, his sword on the back of her neck.
“It appears my men don’t believe you.”
Jwahir could feel the steel biting into her skin. “My Lord,” she craned her neck so she could meet his eyes, “I cannot make you believe me. But what I do ask is that you send scouts. The King’s army is near the sea, just a few days short of Jaffa. If your men don’t find them, then kill me. If they do, I pray I will have gained your trust for my mistress.”
Silence stretched. Jwahir felt blood trickle down her neck. Finally he spoke “Agreed.”
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