Haidley LXXII – LXXV

Heart be strong, lie not alone.
For strength and honour cannot delay,
but fill and shine where love’s divinity
heralds and heals all broken wounds.
[Original poem that later formed the nursery rhyme that Haidley recited in his cell]


Tuniss struggled against her

bonds but had to

acknowledge she was trussed

up good. Her captors

were packing, making their

escape. Klax came over

to chat with her

once but she was

done with him though

she found him oddly

appealing, in a friendly

way. But she refused

to return his friendliness.

“Let me go, thief.

I promise I will

not mention this to

anyone,” she said hoping

to find appeal in

his somehow warped sense

of humanity. But Klax only

laughed his wordless reply

and return to his

charges noisily packing their

meagre belongings. Tyla seemed

to lurk outside awhile

but did not enter.

It was like she

was almost wanting to

ask or obtain something

from her. What more

do you want? She

saw that the young

girl now had possession

of some of her

things – pair of blades

that she wore as

swords tied around her

waist by string. She

also wore the brooch.

At least it wasn’t

gone, Tuniss thought. “Ma’am?”

Tuniss looked up. Tyla

stood before her with

little Bolab, clutching her

side like a sponge.

Tiny eyes regarded Tuniss

calmly with a silent

emptiness that seemed to

penetrate the young warrior’s

being unexpectedly. Then

Bolab untangled her grip

of Tyla’s hand and

returned to her sibling.

“What do you want?”

Tyla knelt down. “How

did you get to

be a Juniss? I

never seen one up

close, you know. And

not someone like you

whose got where you

been, who’s…” “A woman?”

Tuniss finished. Tyla nodded

quickly as if embarrassed

that she had asked.

“Set me free and

I’ll tell you.” Tyla

rose silently and turned

to leave. “Wait! Wait!

I’m sorry. I won’t

ask again. You have

my word as a

Juniss.” Tyla stopped and

turned about. “I don’t

know you, ma’am. But

I was going to

give back your brooch

if Klax and Hason

hadn’t returned. Honest. Cos

we ain’t like them

Rabbits. Or the Crows.

Klax makes sure we

stay true to who

we are. It’s the

least we can do.”

She said those words

with passion, something that

startled Tuniss. “What do

you mean, Tyla. Who

are these Rabbits?” Tyla’s

face carried a sense

of pain that Tuniss

automatically felt. “They’re bad.

Very bad. Had to

kill a couple because…”

She paused then. Tuniss

saw the open pain.

“They just bad. They

will kill you just

for fun.” Tuniss was

curious now. She looked

over and saw again

the young faces. Something

twanged inside of her.

“And you are the

Ravens. What is that?”

Tyla’s face seemed to

change. “We’re the Ravens

well, all that’s left

of the clan. After

our Mother …….. passed

on, Klax and me

have been looking after

what’s left. But there’s

so few of us left

now. All the others

are gone. Either killed

off or rotting away

in some dungeon somewhere.

No thanks to Boss

Thormo. Pig! I hate

that man.” Her passion

died off as she

somehow got lost in

some private memory. Tuniss

waitied for a while.

“So you want to

know about the Juniss,

and how I got

into that exclusive male

domain?” Tyla’s eyes were

now quizzical. “What’s ex…”

“Exclusive? It means no

women allowed.” Tuniss smiled.

Tyla mirrored that smile,

albeit shyly at first.

“Now, let me see.

I got into the…”



Lyll looked about him.

“Anyone seen Valvyra Tuniss?”

he asked of those

nearest. One of them,

a hulk of a

soldier, rose to his

feet. He towered above

Lyll who was quite

tall himself. “Sir, she

went into the City.

Said she wanted to

check some details about

the robbery. Said she

wanted go alone cos

didn’t want to bring

undue attention to herself.”

“Did she say anything

else to you, soldier?”

“She wanted to go

in unobserved so she

went in disguise, sir!”

“That’s decent of her.

Do you happen to

know what her disguise

was, by any chance?”

The soldier nodded gravely.

“Yes sir, She chose

to wear the costume

of your Guards, sir.”

This seemed to cast

smiles upon the faces

of many there. Even

Lyll saw the joke

but didn’t mind. Joking

aside, Lyll was surprised.

Were all Juniss as

well informed and well mannered

as this great oaf?

Without any formal acknowledgement

he smiled his thanks

and raced to the stables.

Within moments he was

racing along the King’s

road, escorted by the

day watch – all twenty

of them. He felt

like dismissing them. But

then he remembered Calem

and just spurred his

horse on faster. Behind

him, twenty riders followed

as best they could.

The “big oaf” watched

the sudden departure and

then turned back to

his comrades. “Looks like

he’s going to need

our help. You two,

follow him and make

sure he doesn’t interfere

in ma’am’s mission. You

know how she hates

meddlesome fools. And how

we always end up

suffering for it. Not

fancying another night ride,

all bloody night just

cos some gorm cocked

up. Go on, get!”



The Ravens always had

another way out. Always.

It was something Mother

Senna had instilled in

them. And Klax had passed

that knowledge onto his

young charges. “Always have

an option. Never plan

anything outside of a

way in and then

a way out. Make

sure there’s two.”  Hason

had to admit he

was enjoying his new

friends, even if they

were much younger than

he. They were cheeky

for sure, but they

looked after each other,

and they seemed to

have taken to him

with ease. Even Tyla,

who had been wary

at first, relented enough

to acknowledge him when

she felt so. Must

be my natural charm.


© 2017 L. Tafa


Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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