Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 107: Strangers in the Woods

This is the 107th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Strangers in the Woods, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 18th March 2013

Word count: 686

The story:

“Fortune came down and slapped him in the face,” Ryan said laughing by the fire.

“Oi!” Harold said from across the fire.

“Oh you know it’s true,” Ryan said, raising up his glass. “The Gods had to smile upon you, a gifted soldier, a scholar, a hero prince in all but name.”

Harold held his silence, he knew full well his squad would just keep needling him, but they were loyal, and that’s what counted in the heat of the fight.

“Is he really a prince?” he heard Eric ask, incredulously. Eric was the newest member of the squad, barely old enough to shave, some rich merchants son. He had been foisted on Howard, but he earned his keep.

“Oh yeah,” Thomas said sarcastically, “Grew up with a silver spoon up his arse, and a golden sword just for practice.” Thomas the Huntsman lived up to his name, an expert tracker, and a marksman with a bow, but his solitary nature gave him a generally foul temper, and strange humour. The boy Eric looked up to him more than any of the others.

Suddenly a bird cry rang out through the air.

“On your feet,” Harold said, his men knowing this was the call to arms gathered themselves.

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