The horseman - part 5
I wandered for so long in those mountains, I began to forget why I was there. Then one morning I came to a high windswept pasture. It had been the site of some pointless, long-forgotten battle and the spirits of the soldiers were drifting, shapeless and still bewildered, in between the threadbare, skeletal trees. Tethered outside a ruined barn were three horses – white, russet and black. As I approached, I could hear their owners talking.
‘So what happens now?’ asked the first voice (like distant rumbling cannon-fire).
‘He has to fall,’ demanded the second (like clashing steel).
‘But it cannot be from us,’ warned the third (parched and empty).
‘The human must accomplish it,’ said Conquest.
‘We could provide the weapon,’ said War. ‘But will he find it if we leave it for him?’
‘Yes, he will,’ said Famine. ‘He’s outside, listening.’
I rushed over but found no one there; the horses had also disappeared. Lying on the floor was a long, sheathed knife. I knew it, even before I drew the notched blade and saw its blue flame flickering.
In an instant, the enormity of my task lay stark before me. I hid the knife deep beneath my coat.