The White Raven
A Storm Story
"That was an accident!" Ben protested. His vicious whispers came from behind clenched teeth. "You know javelin roulette is unjust. I've been falsely accused; you know that." His shackled wrists and arms stretched with all their might to seize Deidrick's elbow.
Deidrick ripped his arm away.
Deidrick faced him, glowering. "Knew?" Then he leaned in with a whisper of his own. "I orchestrated the whole thing."
A shadow raced across the raised platform. The crowd hushed, but when they looked, there was nothing in the sky. Deidrick flushed. Robust, purple arteries filled his sanguine cheeks. "Your raven must be quicker than the roulette wheel if you think there's still hope."
Ben relaxed his arms. "You're sweating, old friend. Why so nervous?"
Deidrick's loose tunic flourished when he spun away. "Hurry," he yelled to the team of arena slaves surrounding a horizontal wooden wheel.
The slaves inserted javelins into slots around the outside of the wheel, skipping every other hole. With each one, they turned the wheel one notch. Notch after notch, they continued until nine javelins were protruding around it.
Ben knew one of them was meant for him. And that wheel was wound tightly. If he was lucky, the firing string would snap against an empty slot.
Deidrick jumped from the platform. Before his feet hit the ground, the wooden wheel spun backward one notch with a violent clack.
Ben winced, then opened his eyes to see the first javelin still in its place. He breathed deeply. Another clack quickly followed. That hole was empty. Ben wished he heard a twang on that one. Another clack. Ben flinched again. The javelin stayed.
Clack. Javelin. Twang. Loose.
Ben saw the javelin abandon its seat and launch toward him. It went slower than he thought it would. The gap it had to close was only forty paces. Then, suddenly, a giant white raven made a gliding rush in front of the oncoming javelin. The point erupted from its side, passed clear through and went clanging to his feet. The massive white, bloody bird skidded across the dirt, lifeless.
Deidrick was just as shocked.
"That javelin left its place and found its mark. You have to let me go," Ben said, furious.
"So it is," said Deidrick, "but it's not over."
A slave unfastened Ben's shackles. He darted to the big white raven laying in the dirt and repositioned its wings to a more natural position. There was the bloody hole, still seeping from underneath a wing. Before Ben could do anything else, the raven twitched, jumped, then flew.
"Now it's over," Ben said under his breath as he watched Deidrick run.
Storm Stories are short, brainstormed stories that either are or will be put to audio. I incorporate them into my blog feed, so be sure to pay attention if you are following along with The Ternary Code or another story on the blog feed. If you want more Storm Stories, just click on their category.