XII - Roberto Macia 'A Spy Abroad'

XII - Roberto Macia 'A Spy Abroad'

A Chapter by Leigh

'A long time ago a wise man once said 'we gotta live together' and ever since that time he has been completely ignored'

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In the kingdom of Arun unknown riders had been seen South of the great fort. They had been sited on top of hills far away and in the lowlands as distant dots. They weren't in any great numbers, just in ones and twos, here and there. One of these riders was Roberto Macia and he was lucky enough to ride a fast chestnut mare. She was agile and strong, the perfect vehicle to get him close to his target and out of danger.

When he arrived in Briton he rode for three days unseen by anyone, all the way from the chalky south coast to the outer ramparts of Alfos' defences. On his way he saw them though, the natives, living in the fields and glens in animal skin hovels. There wasn't much to invade he thought, why did they want to come here? Even when he got to the centre of it all, to the city and fort it was a while before anyone saw him. He was eventually found and chased off by some guards, but their horses were no match for his. To him the Britons seemed, as he had heard, a smaller and primitive island of societies that were behind the continent in the ways of war as well as everything else in comparison to the empire of Italia. The Britons seemed badly prepared and wouldn't take much beating he thought, but having been a Forward Scout for many years he would use all his given time to make his report. He had another three days.

In the shelter of a copse he rested, eating a small part of his rations, while his horse drank eagerly from a small stream. In a small wooden cage attached to his saddle he attended to his messenger Falcon, Buddy. He fed the bird slivers of raw meat. Buddy bit eagerly, almost taking his fingers off, he snapped and pecked as though it was his last meal. When released Buddy would fly home with a small canister tied to his feet carrying a message of information regarding the enemies numbers and movements.

'Easy boy, there's plenty more, I don't want you too fat or you won't be able to fly home' the bird looked at him momentarily and then carried on gulping 'I will set you free soon, very soon, it won't be long' he said pushing in the last sliver of raw chicken. Again the bird hacked at it mercilessly, it's black eyes wide with delight. 'We'd better find somewhere to set down for the night my lad' Roberto said realising they were semi exposed. He had drifted far enough away from the fortifications to be safe, but now found he was lost in a woodland.

Checking for danger as he went, he edged back towards the fort and found the shelter of another copse to spy from. There in the peace and tranquility of the shaded and soft grounded microcosm of the larger woods themselves he settled down for the evening. This was what he liked about his job, being outside, being his own boss and having no one to bother him and the pay was good too. Up until now he had encountered no problems, no hostility, but he was ever aware and ever alert, sleeping lightly and trusting no one and always staying away from built up areas. Over the next two days he made his report, writing bullet point notes in the adopted language of abbreviations on the small scrolls especially provided.

: Day 1
: Activity centred around huge fort - C (100) miles north of white coast & Island.
: Patterns sporadic at first, but organised movements appeared over time
: Estimated force five thousand armed men
: No special siege equipment required, traditional structure.

Day 2
: Moved position to East of fort, further north
: Greater influx of civilians and army
: Weather is extremely cold
: Horse is lame, will retire on foot
: Coast line is unprotected, where a fort can be stationed.

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Notes to self - not for publication

Am feeling very ill, the nights are freezing cold and I have a fever, breath is heavy, chest is full of mucus and head is throbbing. I am running out of food and do not feel of a sane mind. Fear capture. I have seen none of my countrymen or any spies abroad already here. The terrain is ever more open due to de-foresting. Will need to track back south shortly. Have been spotted by one farm worker at least and have had to change position several times. Eyesight is blurred due to illness. Will continue on foot

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There was a rustling from somewhere behind him, just briefly for a few seconds, then it stopped. He ignored it and carried on counting the numbers of soldiers going in through the gates and the numbers coming out again, as trained. In the valley in front of the fort, farm workers tended large green leafed crops in the thick brown earth. They mechanically pulled them up, sliced their thick juicy white stalks and carefully cut off the main leaves, putting them into large wicker baskets. His horse neighed quietly, his ears twitching, he was docile and bleary eyed and in pain from his injury. Then there was a sharper noise in front of him and realised with a sudden shock that he was being watched. Slowly he he scanned his immediate surroundings, to the shrubs around him, to the bush in front, where a fleck of bright colour flashed briefly. The net was closing in, he was getting the feeling of being surrounded.

Roberto buried himself into an opening in the bush in front of him, hiding in its thick green foliage, he lay close to the gnarled and twisted trunk and quickly he muddied his face, but somehow knew it was too late; he had been seen. Around him it had gone quiet, his horse had stopped chewing and was looking up, her ears twitching in confusion at an unusual noise. The bird's loud chorus of chirping had suddenly come to an end and all that could be heard was the low sound of the trees creaking in the slow westerly wind. He looked around in panic trying to trace any sound, following the sporadic movement of the restless breeze. With his vision blocked by leaves he heard the sound of approaching footsteps and short whispers. Suddenly a figure stood up in front of him, it was an armed man in a bright red tunic and he didn't look away, then another stood up by him. Instinctively he broke his cover and went for his horse to make his escape and release Buddy. In one swift movement he took the lid off the falcon's cage and Buddy shot out. Then he went to mount the horse, but looking at her realised she was in no fit state to go anywhere. So he began to run, turning towards the field away from the men and as he did Buddy flew above in a flutter, briefly circling to find his direction, then finally gaining height headed south. Roberto looked up at him and shouted 'Go Buddy, go' as he ran. In the open the the two men were chasing him. He realised he had to get back to the cover of the forest, but when a third man appeared blocking his way there he knew he was surrounded.

'Give yourself up' one of the chasing men shouted in perfect Italian, but Roberto kept going, further and further into the open through the freshly cut juicy stalks of crops, towards the fort. Buddy was away and was small in the sky, and in that moment he thought with some satisfaction, that the purpose of his mission had been achieved, he had got his information back to Rome. He kept running not knowing where he was going, but when he saw the chariot pull up in front of him, he slowed to a stop, holding his hands in the air. An archer on board pointed an arrow straight at his chest. 'STOP' the man repeated and Roberto stood still watching the tip of the unwavering arrow pointing straight at him. The three men stood around him in a triangular formation as the archers bow rose up in a slow arc so it was sixty degrees high. Everyone's eyes followed as it released the arrow, which at first was a whirring whistle in the air and then quickly became a short black line against the cloudy white sky. It seemed to disappear and then as it reached its downward trajectory, reappeared. Somehow it had got to Buddy. Roberto stood in horror, holding his hands to his face as the arrow, now a faint, hardly noticeable blur came down on the bird.

'No-oo, no, NO' Roberta screamed as the impossible seemed to be happening in front of his eyes, like some horrific dream sequence. The men of Arun stood around smiling, watching the arrow strike. It hit Buddy and he tumbled out of the sky.



© 2018 Leigh


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Reviews

A great tale. I will return and read the rest of the story. Thank you for sharing the excellent story.
Coyote

Posted 4 Years Ago


I really like how you're able to take on these very epic worlds and stories. Enjoyable reading, thank you.

Posted 4 Years Ago


Leigh

4 Years Ago

You are welcome - thanks again
Great description of the escape, capturing and shooting the falcon. I like the story so far, B. You really are a good narrator. :) Rudi

Posted 4 Years Ago


Leigh

4 Years Ago

Thanks again
you know I love your stories

Posted 4 Years Ago


Leigh

4 Years Ago

That's great to hear - thank you, there's more to come

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Added on February 26, 2015
Last Updated on December 4, 2018
Tags: romance, kingdom, war, memory, dust, spy, battle, empire, fantasy, adventure, peace, luck, fear, hope, power, army, fiction, mystery


Author

Leigh
Leigh

Bristol, United Kingdom



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