Note: I will be posting a chapter from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle each day until the book has been fully posted. I am doing this as a way to entertain those who have been coping with the new life of social distancing, social isolation, and quarantine in the world right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once complete, I will hold the book on in full on my site until 1/1/2021. On that day, it’ll no longer be accessible for free.
I ask people to share links freely while the book is available, but please do not copy or do anything else without expressed permission from me, the copyright holder.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook. Enjoy and I hope that you and your family are doing well!
The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle
by Jeremy C Kester
(c) Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved
There was an explosion from the Sentry’s mouth as the edge of Safiya’s axe swung down and through the man’s foot. Bone crunched followed by the sound of the weapon piercing the wooden hull of the ship. Using the brief moment of surprise she swung her other blade around hooking Armando’s leg and then pulling it forward and his balance with it. He howled with rage as his body hit the deck.
Safiya turned her attention back to the impaled foot and she punched the man in his face before throwing another swing of her other axe directly into the man’s knee. Bone cracked as the man squealed in agony, his kneecap shattering at the impact forcing his leg to bend in the wrong direction.
Blades sounded harmoniously as the momentary shock of the situation had worn off. Those Sentries who were not armed swiftly changed that. Only them advanced. Behind where she stood, Armando put himself back onto his feet but backed himself away from the fight. “Do not kill her!” he yelled. His face was flushed red with wrath.
The other large male, an older African woman, and the Scandinavian woman were the first to try and strike. Taking full advantage of their leader’s direction, Safiya attacked spinning her axes forcing the three to constantly counter and parry her moves.
The African woman was the first to make a mistake. Safiya swept the woman’s feet from her. Losing her footing, her blade hit the large man. To guard himself he had to watch for his friend’s blade rather than Safiya. She hacked the man’s throat across the jugular then used the momentum of the swing to leap over him and into one of the Sentries waiting to fight.
Her plan was to keep as many of them equally engaged at the same time. She didn’t know where the strategy was coming from as she was wanted to just kill as many as she could. Single combat would force the fight to end quickly. She’d risk grappling with her opponent, or she would have to face a foe with greater skill then her own.
And she needed her gladius.
Although she was brutally efficient with the pair of axes, Safiya felt that the gladius would win her the fight.
Four were now fighting directly against her. Only two had been fallen. Each of her opponents were being extra guarded as though the sensed what she had tried to do. But though they tried to keep the fight to a one-on-one, Safiya’s random, speedy attacks kept others in the fight. Each tried desperately not to make a maneuver that could be taken advantage of.
And then she took a risk. She began to subtly open up her own defenses. The thinking was that one of them would try to strike at the opening. It was a risk that would likely only work once. Too many of who she fought were better skilled than she was and certainly more experienced. She thought of Agnes. Whatever they wanted with the young girl, she was not going to be a part of it. Safiya vowed again to either die or escape. There was no in-between.
Her fortune worked as the African woman, who had earlier rebounded from her fall lurched forward trying to thrust her blade. Safiya hooked the blade with her axe and used the momentum of the woman to send her at Safiya’s intended target: the man holding Safiya’s gladius.
Immediately the man tried to swing his own blade up while he dropped the gladius. It was too late and the African woman’s blade ran through the man’s stomach.
Viciously, Safiya rammed the blade of one of her axes into the woman’s head as she deftly placed the other into its sheath, rolled over the back of the woman with the axe still lodged and then she reached down to grasp the hilt of her sword. In the same motion, she focused as much of her strength as she could to swing the woman over her using the axe and into the faces of a pair of surprised Sentries. One of them fell overboard as the other slammed their head onto the deck and was rendered unconscious.
“Back away! She is using you fools against yourselves!” Armando screamed. She looked for him. He had placed himself behind several Sentries and three armed sailors. His face was flushed with anger, but he didn’t join the fight.
She needed him to. She knew that out of all of them, he would easily best her in a fight. Her only way was to force him to have to concentrate on fighting her and keeping track of the others in the fight.
As each fighter tried to pull themselves away from the fight, Safiya tried again to tempt them into engaging and staying cloistered. But the effort had begun to wear her out. Her muscles were fatiguing. Swings were becoming more erratic as she struggled to keep control. She thought of all of those who had died while trying to keep her safe. She could not fail them now; she could not fail Agnes or Brandt.
Sweat dripped steadily from her face. Her clothes were sticking to her adding weight and discomfort to every motion. Her hair flew haphazardly about with random strands adhering to her face. Visibly she was showing signs of her tiredness.
“Why are you still fighting this?” Armando called out.
“I will not submit to you!” a defiant Safiya yelled while turning to keep her eyes on each of those she was fighting. She tried slashing at one of her adversaries with the gladius. They parried the strike but did not return the attack. They were letting her wear herself out.
But in that moment, during the brief instant that the blades met, Safiya felt her sword siphon energy away from the other weapon.
“Dear, child,” Armando chided. “You won’t have much of a choice. I will not let them kill you. I will allow them to bloody you until near death, but your value is in your life.”
Could the weapon transfer its energy to her? She had never thought to do such a thing before. It was funny how desperation fostered the simplest of questions. She ignored Armando.
“Look at yourself. You are a mess. You can barely stand. Why don’t you make it easy on yourself and surrender like your good friends did?”
“What do you want with Agnes?! Why do this?!” the questions were a stall tactic. She wasn’t concerned with the answers. In fact she was only listening inasmuch to recognize that he was talking.
“Brandt is still too strong to take on directly, dear child. And though you’ve cost me lives, it is a bargain compared to the alternative. You are aware he recently vested an ammit? An ammit! On his own!” Armando sounded in awe. He laughed. “We were so sure that would have done him in! I would be even more impressed if I didn’t want him dead!”
Safiya’s grip tightened on her blade. She focused on the energy of the blade trying to will the energy toward her. She knew the infinite power the blade held within it with centuries of use. Too her surprise it flowed freely into her. It was cooling to all of her senses. All of her muscles became soothed, relaxed. She smiled. There would be no stopping her.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook.