There was a chill in the air of the moonless night in the Kaiba forest.  The musty smell of dried leaves and moss wafted through the trees with the cool but gentle northern wind.  Soon, the smell of death would replace the putrid natural smells, and the Karn General took great joy in that.

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The Karn army silently made their way towards the Blackhorn village.  This was no wolfpack. Not this time.  Their goal was to not only rob the Blackhorn of their breeders, but to decimate the entire tribe… to wipe them off the map completely.

Word had gotten to the Karn that the Blackhorns had three breeders; their Queen Mother, who was far beyond her prime, and two Princess Mothers who were ripe for breeding.  The Karn were only after the young ones.

As they approached the village, General Tutower brought them to a halt just outside the line of sight of any of the sentries that might be standing watch.

The General and two of his finest archers crept through the woods until they came within sight of the wall.  There was only one sentry watching the main gate.

General Tutower nudged one of the archers and pointed to the sentry.  Without a word, the archer readied an arrow and sighted in on the sentry.

“Fire!” the General whispered.  Without hesitation the arrow flew, and the sentry fell backwards behind the wall.

 

“Charge!” the General yelled, and suddenly the forest erupted into a frenzy of war whoops and the sound of a hundred Karn advancing through the woods.

The ladder bearers were first to the wall, and almost as quickly, the rest of the Karn behind them began to scale the walls.  They met no resistance as they crossed over the top and onto the walkway below.

From above, a Karn archer saw one of the Blackhorn villagers tending to the fallen sentry, confused by what had happened.  Before the villager realized that they were under attack, she was silenced by an arrow through her heart.

Several Karn dropped down from the wall and quickly unbolted the gate, allowing easy access to the waiting army outside.  The villagers awoke to the sound of screaming and charging Karn.  The warriors in the village scrambled to make ready, but as soon as they stepped outside of their huts they were cut down with a sword through their heart, or a windpipe sliced from behind.

The village went into chaos.  The only females that were killed were the ones carrying arms; treated as any other warrior, they were cut down and drained of their blood in the streets.

 

Queen Dachraolene, the Queen Mother of the Blackhorn Tribe, heard from her temple the commotion going on towards the heart of the village.  Fearing a wolfpack raid, her first instinct was to hide; she knew that the Princess Mothers needed to be protected.  She darted outside and north down a back street to the hut of Princess Abril and Princess Nepra.

“Come, we have to get you to safety!” she yelled.

“We must take our babies!” Princess Nepra cried.  “What will become of our babies?”

“They are not after the babies, only you, now come!” the Queen Mother commanded.  “Come now!”

Quickly, the Queen led the two out the door and towards the back of the camp.  There she took them into a small run-down hut.  She lifted a rug off the floor revealing a small trap door, just large enough for one person to squeeze through.  She opened the door and motioned for the two to climb through into a tiny chamber below.  Barely enough room for the two to squeeze into, Queen Dachraolene let the door down and covered it back up to hide the location.

“Now stay there and keep quiet until I come and get you,” the Queen said as she turned and ran back towards her temple.

 

The Karn had gathered up the remaining villagers, most of which were older males and females, and some young, adolescent children.  The warriors, having been eliminated first, left the remaining townsfolk helpless against the strength and blades of the Karn warriors.

“Where are the breederrrrs?” The Karn General asked a frail town elder he had pinned by the neck against the wall of a hut.  “Tell me or die, Blackhorrrrrn!”

The elder struggled in the grip of the massive General Tutower.

“I will ask only once morrrre,” the General hissed.  “Where are the breederrrrrs?”

“I… I do not know. I swear!” the hapless villager insisted.

“Then I have no use for you,” the Karn General said as he plunged his sword into the elder’s abdomen.  The frail villager let out a short cry of pain, then went limp in the General’s hand.  The General let the old man fall to the ground and went on get his information elsewhere.

From behind one of the huts, two Karn warriors appeared, dragging the Queen Mother by her arms as she kicked and struggled against them.

“Look what we found, General,” said one of the Karn warriors.  “We found the Queen Mother trying to escape.”

“Queen Motherrrrr,” General Tutower said with a sneer.  “Where are your breederrrrs?”

“I am right here,” the Queen said boldly.  “Take me away, you have what you want.  Leave these helpless people alone!’

“You have more breederrrrs, Blackhorrrrn Queeeeen,” he hissed in his guttural, Karn way.  “Tell me where they are and I will spare their lives”.

“I do not know what you are talking about,” the Queen pleaded, “Just take me…”

Her words were cut short as the General suddenly grabbed a villager and cut the Blackhorn’s throat.

“Nooo!” the Queen Mother screamed!

“How many more must die, Blackhorrrrrrn bitch?” the General asked angrily.  “Give us what we want and we will let you all live.

“I don’t know where they are!” she insisted.  “They have gone into hiding.  Please believe me!”

“I believe they are hidinnnng,” General Tutower answered, “But I think you know where they are.”

“No, I don’t know where they are!” she begged.  “Please take me and leave these poor people alone.  They have done nothing.”

Without warning, the General balled up a fist and hit her squarely in the jaw.  Several teeth went flying as blood streamed from her face, running down her chin and neck.  She screamed in pain.

“Why would I want an old mule like you when I can have the fresh, young breeders you are hiding?  I’d rather lie down with a rock-goat than a used-up kreb maker like you.

Again he hit her, this time in the stomach, doubling her over.  With blood dripping from her mouth and nose, the Queen desperately tried to regain her breath.

“Now, let me ask again, but keep in mind I am losing my patience, Blackhorrrrn,” The Karn growled.  “Where are the breeders?”

Queen Dachraolene looked up, tears running down her face and mixing with the blood around her mouth.  Two missing teeth were evident in the front of her mouth.  She wanted to spit in his face, but knew that would not make the situation any easier.

Then again, without warning, General Tutower grabbed one of the Blackhorn and ran the hapless villager through with his sword.

“Where are the breeders?” the General said, turning to look back at the queen.

“Don’t tell him, Queen Mother,” one of the villagers yelled out.  He was quickly silenced by a Karn warrior cutting his throat.  He fell to the ground, adding to the pool of blood-soaked earth beneath him.

“General Tutowerrrrr,” a Karn voice came from behind.  “We found thissssss..”

The Queen turned to see several Karn warriors dragging two small children by their arms towards the General, and another Karn carrying two tiny, crying babies.

“What do we have here?” the general asked.  “Babies?  Not yours, I am certain,” he said, looking at the Queen Mother.  “Where there are babies, there are breeders.  Let’s see where your loyalties are now.  To the breeders?  Or to the babies?”

The General took one of the babies in his arms and looked at its face.

“Blackhorn babies are so ugly, don’t you think?” the General asked.  The Karn warriors laughed in agreement.  “Does this beast cub have a name?”

“Her name is Anje,” the Queen Mother struggled to say the words through her pain and broken mouth.  “Please don’t hurt her!” she begged.

“A female?” the General asked.  “I would have never guessed a female.  I’d cry too if I was that ugly.  I think it is time to put this ugly Blackhorrrrn female out of her misery.”

“No!  No, please don’t…” the Queen Mother begged.  “Please, I will tell you where they are, just don’t hurt the babies!”

“Now we are getting somewherrrre,” the General sneered, leaning down closer and closer to her face.  “Was that so hard?  Was that worth letting your poor villagers die for?”

“Please, just let my people go and don’t hurt the babies,” Dachraolene asked, crying uncontrollably.

“Now, Queen Motherrrr,” the General hissed, just inches from her face, “for the last time, where are those damn breeders?”

 

Thank you for reading Chapter 1 of kDira’s World.  You’ve taken your first step into a whole new world.  You can see what happens next by purchasing the book from Amazon.com HERE.