Argoth tore out of the woods towards the carriage, the band ridin’ on his tail. Dust from the road clouded his vision, but his eyes was shite anyhow. His bones creaked, cataracts clouded his eyes, and each breath came ragged, but he still cracked skulls with the best of ‘em. If he weren’t tough as leather, his men would have eaten him alive. Only the strongest deserved the title Chief, and Argoth’d hold the chiefdom till he couldn’t rise from bed no more.
The carriage sped up as the band flanked them and Argoth surged, Rodent buckin’ and gallopin’ good. They were after a trunk full of gold inside the cabin. Enough loot to feed and water the band for a month.
“Let’s go boys,” Argoth said. He held his hand steady on his pistol, hanging off his hip, and clicked his heels on Rodent’s sides. The horse sped up and the band held even with him, grinnin’ like goblins. They swarmed the carriage and fired muskets upwise to startle the team horses.
Argoth aimed his musket and fired, hittin’ one of the carriage horses in the leg. The animal fell, tangled up in the reins, and the carriage bounced over the felled beast before slamming onto a side, all cracked and broken down the corners.
Freein’ himself from the saddle, Argoth leapt off Rodent and fell to one knee. His legs weren’t as sturdy as they once was. Damned hips flared with pain, but he healed hisself by takin’ a swill from his flask – nothin’ like a hit of whiskey medicine to make a man young again.
The carriage was stuck an inch deep in the mud, and the horses squealed, workin’ them legs tryin’ to get free. A knight in gleamin’ armour climbed out the shambled door, waving a sword and a sawed-off. Argoth struck the man’s gun out his hand with a musket ball, he could still hit a target like a bastard, even with fingers like gnarled twigs. Didn’t do no bother to fight with his hands cause his back all cricked, but he’d kill the dog-fucked bastard with his musket. He were chief, after all.
The knight lunged at Argoth, swinging a broadsword. Argoth stumbled back, almost felled as his boots slipped. The band’s horses circled the carriage.
“Give up yur sword, and we’ll take ya alive,” Argoth said.
The knight spoke no word in response, advancin’ stolid as a fuckin’ rollin’ stone. Argoth brought up his pistol and fired, but the heavy ball deflected off the knight’s armour, which dented but didn’t break. “Only a coward wears armour,” Argoth said.
The knight leapt forward, blade hungerin’ for Argoth’s belly, when the metal shaft of a war hammer blocked the blow. Dallyion, Argoth’s son, stood before him, like a hero savin’ a mewlin’ child from wolves. Argoth’s upper lip curled, and a fire kindled in his belly. His son were six inches taller than he and wore no armour save for the leather straps clingin’ to his bulgin’ chest. The child of a concubine whore.
Dallyion blocked an overhand swing from the sword with the haft of his hammer, then shoved, and the knight fell in the mud on his rear. The boy’s hammer rose like a falcon and fell like a stone. The enormous head flattened the knight’s helmet and blood burst from between ruined folds of metal.
The band cheered, but Argoth stayed silent. The men loved Dallyion; the lad was as big as a bull and twice as head-strong. He fought like a lion and spoke like a starling. He’d make a fine chief one day, but that day had no yet arrived, and the fool boy acted outside his place. Argoth never did need no help, he could’ve finished the knight on his own, but the boy made him a damned coward to the band.
Argoth raised his pistol and pulled the trigger. The boy fell with a thump, and lay still, head a mess of blood and shattered bone. The cheers died on the men’s throats.
“I’m chief,” Argoth screamed.
“You right killed our future,” spat Yangle. “Chief.”
The other men muttered and turned their horses.
“I’m still chief,” Argoth called. A spider writhed his belly, eight legs squeezin’ his innards and twistin’ ‘em up.
None of the band did meet his eye as they rode away down the dirt road, leavin’ him behind with two corpses and a trunk full of treasure.
Image Credit: Saturn Devouring his Son – Francisco Goya