For the A to Z Challenge, I'm having twenty-six flash fiction pieces from my Foxwick Kingdom and its surrounding neighbors. Soon A to Z Flashes of Foxwick will be available in e-book format. You can add this to your Goodreads list here.
Ivander lost sight of his father.
The battle against Lochhollow raged around him. Swords clashed with metallic shrieks, and the stench of death coated his tongue. Ivander pressed through the bodies. What had happened to Foxwick’s king? Fear and anger wormed into his heart. If something happened to his father, he didn’t know what he would do.
Ivander wasn’t ready to be king.
He spun slowly, his tip of his sword glistening with fresh blood. Through the chaos, he spotted his father’s white horse. Mud caked its fur as it stomped the ground, but his father wasn’t there.
“Father!” He raced toward the horse and grabbed hold its reins. “Shh.”
The horse settled at his touch.
Five paces away, Ivander finally saw the gleam of his father’s crown.
King Brum fought two soldiers. One bore no mark of ranking, but the other’s crown shone in the noonday light. Lochhollow’s prince had arrived at the battlefield, and urgency surged in Ivander’s veins. If Ivander could wound or even kill him, then they’d have to end the war.
His father shoved his sword through the other soldier while the prince sliced into Brum’s arm.
King Brum cried out in pain and staggered back.
Ivander lifted his sword and struck out at the prince.
“Ivander!” Brum reached for his son, but Ivander didn’t stop fighting.
Rage boiled in Ivander’s blood. How dare the Lochhollowans war against Foxwick? His own grandmother had been a Lochhollowan royalty and this prince was his blood kin, but they turned on Foxwick after she left with Lady Death and entered the Shadowlands.
Today, he would send this man to her frightening realm.
Their swords locked in a fierce battle. Each strike settled through his body, but Ivander wouldn’t give up. His pace remained steady, despite his desire to kill Lochhollow’s prince.
“Give up,” Ivander said, nearly spitting the words at his opponent.
“Argh!” Ivander struck the prince’s sword, and it flew from his hands. When the prince tumbled to the ground, Ivander thrust his weapon at the prince’s throat. Before Prince Ivander could slice off the man’s head, another blade granted Ivander pause.
“Stop, my son.” King Brum held him at bay.
“But we can stop this war if we kill him.” Ivander’s eyes narrowed as he focused on the prince. The prince couldn’t be much older than he was, but it didn’t stay his hand. Certainly the Lochhollowan would’ve tried to kill them, if he could.
Brum stepped closer to Ivander. Although the battle continued around them, it seemed like they were the only two on the field. “Kindness can travel a longer way than wrath. I will let you choose, but remember my words.”
When his father stepped back, Ivander’s warmth left him. He had to decide whether to grant life or death. His body shook with his warring emotions. Ivander wanted this man’s death, an end to war for his people, but the power of familial blood sang to him. They were cousins, despite the war. Ivander breathed in and slowly lowered his sword. “Remember this day that Ivander, son of King Brum, spared your life. Now go.”
The man fled.
What would become of their kingdoms, Ivander didn’t know, but his madness drained from him. Perhaps his father’s words were right, and perhaps their battles would soon come to an end.