General Sid - Cover

General Sid

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 12

For three months, Sid’s forces harassed the enemy army with lightning raids. Each individual raid was not all that effective in whittling down the enemy, but the cumulative effect was devastating. The slavers sent out re-enforcements who occupied fixed emplacements. Sid responded by resuming raids on individual farms and liberating slaves. The slavers would send troops to investigate each raid. Sid made sure that they were cut down in ambushes staged by the spearmen with their bows.

Looking over the farm that they had just liberated, Sid noticed a face that he recognized amongst the slaves. Turning to his ever present shadow, Sid said, “Fred, let’s go down there. I see a friend of mine.”

“Masterson said that you were not to expose yourself,” Fred said looking over at Sid. Since pledging his service, Fred had not been sorry once. Sandra Lawyer had been correct in describing the character of a Hero.

“And just how often do I listen to Masterson when it comes to what I should or should not do?” Sid asked with a grin.

“Not often enough,” the man answered with a corresponding grin.

“Let’s get down there.”

The two men rode side by side to the farmhouse. Pulling up on the reins so that the horse stopped beside the man he had recognized, Sid said, “Fancy meeting you here.”

“I heard that you were in the area so I thought I would become a slave for a while and wait for you,” the man said holding up his arms and showing Sid the chains on them.

“That’s a novel way to arrange a meeting,” Sid said with a grin. He took in the red raw marks around the man’s wrists as a result of the chains. It would leave scars that would last the rest of his life. He noticed that there were no scars on his back.

“I’m glad to see you, Sid. For a while there I was beginning to get worried,” the man said without sounding as if he had been worried at all.

“Gregor, it is good to see you. I have need for a man of your talents,” Sid said while dismounting. Turning to Fred, he said,

“Fred, I need someone who can remove these chains.”

“Yes, Sir,” Fred said with a smile. He turned his horse and rode off.

“Who is he?” Gregor asked.

“That’s Fred,” Sid answered. He looked around and tried to recall the name of the man who worked for Gregor. It took a few seconds of searching his memory, but he was able to recall it. He asked,

“Where is your man, Derek? I don’t see him around here.”

“He was sold elsewhere,” Gregor answered with anger. The greatest degradation had been when the slavers had separated the two of them. Not only was Derek to watch out for him, he was to watch out for Derek. They both had failed in their duties and that made Gregor very angry.

“Do you know if he’s in the area?” Sid asked understanding the source of the man’s anger. He would be angry if he were separated from a travel companion in the same manner.

“Should be,” Gregor answered while shaking the chains that bound his wrists. “We were auctioned off about a day’s march from here.

I’d say that he’s within a two days march of here.”

“Do you know who bought him?” Sid asked feeling that he could help Gregor free his man.

“I don’t know his name, but I can describe him,” Gregor answered with a curt nod of his head. He was pleased that the first thing Sid thought of was helping him find Derek. It spoke highly of the young man’s character.

“I suggest that we have a little talk with your former owner. He just might be able to give us the information we need,” Sid said.

Fred returned and waited to be recognized. He hadn’t been there for more than five seconds when Sid asked, “What is it Fred?”

“If the gentleman will come with me, I’ll have those chains off of him. The blacksmith won’t carry his anvil out here,” Fred said.

Curious, Gregor asked, “Did you ask him to do that?”

“Yes, Sir. He laughed at me,” Fred said without embarrassment.

“I’ll come along with you. If you can’t bring the anvil to the man, then bring the man to the anvil,” Gregor said with a grin.

“Thank you for understanding, Sir,” Fred said.

Chuckling at the ironic tone in Fred’s voice, Sid and Gregor walked towards the shed where the blacksmith equipment was located. Gregor held up his wrists and said, “I shall remember this day for the rest of my life.”

“How long were you enslaved?”

“Six weeks,” Gregor answered.

“Why the chains?” Sid asked.

“They figured that I was a little too proud to stay a slave,” Gregor answered. Throughout his ordeal, he had never begged or compromised his honor.

“Why didn’t they whip you?”

“I did everything they told me to do,” Gregor answered. With a feral grin, he added, “I was just waiting for the day when they took these chains off. That was the day they were all going to die.”

“I’m impressed,” Sid said. It spoke of a kind of pride that wasn’t the flashy type, but the subtle type. He could take anything so long as it was part of his long term plan. He grinned and said, “You may have been a slave in circumstance, but you were never their slave.

“Not even for a single day,” Sid added.

“That’s right,” Gregor said glad that Sid understood what he had done.

They reached the blacksmith shed. It took the blacksmith two minutes to remove the chain’s cuffs from around Gregor’s wrists.

Bending down, Gregor picked up the chain and the cuffs and said, “I’m going to keep this, if you don’t mind.”

“Why?” the blacksmith asked. Although there was a fortune in metal in the chain, none of the other chained slaves ever wanted to see the chain again.

“I’m going to have a sword made of it,” Gregor said. Holding up the chain, he said, “Enough of my blood has run over this metal that I have a claim over it. It shall be a good strong sword and I will use it to kill men who would do to others what they tried to do to me.”

Smiling at the use to which Gregor would put his chains, Sid slapped Gregor on the back and said, “Well said. Will you accept a sword to use until that weapon gets forged? You have a friend to rescue.”

“Yes, my friend. I will accept a sword from you,” Gregor said with a smile.

“Fred, will you arrange for a horse and weapons for Gregor. Let him choose his sword from our stock,” Sid said knowing without looking that Fred was standing behind him.

“Yes, Sir. What of his wounds?”

Looking over at Gregor and seeing his irritation at the possible delay that treating his wounds would mean, Sid said, “I believe that he is anxious to save a friend.”

“You know me too well,” Gregor said as he hung the chains around his neck. Turning to Fred, he said, “Lead on, my good man. There is blood to spill and we are wasting time gossiping like women around the town well.”

Fred didn’t bother to answer. He didn’t take orders from Gregor, he served Sid. After receiving a gesture from Sid, he headed off to find Peterson and to relay Sid’s orders. Gregor walked beside him.

After a few steps, he asked, “How long have you been a member of Sid’s army?”

“I’m not in his army,” Fred answered looking over at Gregor.

Seeing the puzzled expression, he said, “I swore an oath of service to him.”

“Ah, you are both lucky men,” Gregor said with a knowing nod.

“Both?” Fred asked in surprise. No one had said that to him before this.

“You couldn’t have found a better man to give such an oath. He will care you for you as if you were family; and, from what I’ve seen, I think you will serve him well,” Gregor said.

“Thank you,” Fred said knowing that he had been complimented.

“I’m impressed by this troop. They moved in, took control, and had us organized in short order,” Gregor said.

“I’ll be sure to let Sid know that you approve of his army,” Fred said.

“You mean this troop?” Gregor asked.

“No, this is his army. He’s the leader of all the forces between the Black and Green Rivers.”

Shaking his head, Gregor laughed aloud. Seeing the puzzled expression on Fred’s face, he said, “I met Sid a year ago and he only had a stick for a weapon. A year later, he has an army. He’s definitely a most impressive young man.”

Three hours after his rescue, Gregor was seated on a horse at the edge of a field. He eyes sought out Derek. Beside him, Sid was talking with the man who would lead the raid on the farm. The discussion was short and to the point. The man rode off once a plan was established. Sid looked over at Gregor and said, “Five minutes.”

“It is hard waiting here,” Gregor said understanding why he wasn’t incorporated into the raiding party. One didn’t insert someone into such an operation a few minutes before it began.

“I know.”

After five minutes passed, four groups of riders entered the field rushing at a full gallop. Each group was composed of pairs of riders, one following the other. The first rider would knock an overseer down by kicking out as his horse raced past the overseer.

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