The second knife struck a Mongol in the eye. With one pull he removed the blade, tossed it aside and aimed a vicious sword stroke at Mikhail. Mikhail ducked just barely avoiding decapitation. Dawson moved quickly, stepping right and burying his spear deep into the wounded Mongol’s ribs. With a vicious twist he pulled his spear out and spun around to engage a third warrior bearing down on him fast.
Logan stood his ground until the last possible second and then ducked left while slashing his sword across the rider’s right leg. Even the famous Mongol horsemen of the steppes would have difficulty controlling his mount with only one leg. Blood spurted in all directions as the leg dangled loosely, only a few tendons preventing the appendage from dropping to the ground.
The fifth Mongol rider swung wide to Logan’s left before turning in to attack. Logan sheathed his sword and stepped back to where he’d thrust his spear into the ground. He needed a little distance to finish these two. Logan backed up some more until he was in the notch created by the draw’s steep walls and the brush the time warriors had piled up. The legless Mongol had regained his composure and was attempting to use whip as a tourniquet. He was losing blood fast and it was a race to see if his fingers could move fast enough to get the tourniquet in position.
Logan ignored the legless warrior and focused all his attention on the fifth man. The Mongol was slowing down, wary of the narrow gap and perplexed by Logan’s lack of fear. Mongols were not used to losing. These men were not acting like the Rus they’d encountered over the last few months.
Dawson and Mikhail shifted toward Logan and that distracted the fifth Mongol just enough for Logan to seize the moment. His spear flashed through the air and hit the fifth Mongol so hard he flew out off the horse and landed with a thump on the ground. Dawson didn’t see or didn’t care about the spear sticking halfway through the Mongol. He wasn’t dead until Dawson said so. With a loud bellowing war cry Dawson jammed his spear into the man’s lower jaw and pushed until it entered the brain. The Mongols was officially dead.
Atul watched in amusement as his men attacked the Rus, that is until he saw the first man fall. It only lasted sixty seconds but the three Rus had killed all five of his warriors without being scratched themselves. These men were not Rus. The Rus fought poorly and died like cattle. Who were these men? Mercenaries raised by the Rus to help fight the Mongols? An elite unit held back until now to fight the Mongol army?
Atul saw the three strangers reassemble and stand in the opening to the draw. Relaxed, not even breathing heavy after the exertion of killing his men. Atul considered his options. He could lead a second attack and he might even win, but at what cost? Or he could return to the army and participate in the sack of Kiev. Atul was young but he possessed wisdom beyond his years and held a pragmatic view of the world. With a sharp command he turned his horse round and trotted away, his four remaining men following close behind.
Logan and his friends watched in puzzlement as the Mongols turned and rode away. “A trick, you think?” Mikhail pondered.
“Must be a trick, Dawson chimed in. Pushing his long brown hair out of his eyes. “Mongols don’t run away.” Dawson was an imposing warrior, tall and heavily muscled with wide shoulders and a deep powerful chest. He had about thirty pounds on Logan but he was still quick with a blade and even more deadly with a thrusting spar. A seasoned time traveler, he and Logan had been shield mates for over five years.
Logan watched and made his own assessment. “Well, I don’t care if they’re leaving or attacking with a different game plan. I say we get the hell out of here and put some distance between us and those greasy midgets!”
Dawson grunted in agreement as he turned back toward the draw. Mikhail joined him tossing a suggestion over his shoulder at Logan. “Maybe it’s time we steal some fucking horses. This jogging shit is getting old!”
Logan laughed as he took one last look at the Mongols disappearing in the distance. Horses would be nice he agreed, but maybe it was time to head home instead. They’d risked capture and near death too many times these last few days. He was all for a good time but eventually the odds were going to catch up with them.
“Time to go home.” Logan said.
Dawson stopped and turned back in protest to Logan’s decision but realized his childhood friend and longtime shield mate was right. Mikhail looked back over his shoulder and saw the other two men were not following him into the draw.
“Hey, what’s up?” He asked.
“Logan’s had enough!” Dawson responded.
“We’ve been here long enough, Mikhail.” Logan answered. “Let’s find a clearing and punch out of this place.”
Mikhail was happy either way. The younger of the three, he was a former time technician befriended by Logan and Dawson after he helped them with one of their early exploits. He’d risked his job and maybe jail time but he was good and hadn’t been caught. In return for his help Logan had promised to train him to become a time warrior. That was a few years back now. Mikhail was a proven fighter and a veteran of over twelve time trips. While slight of build, he was deadly fast and with Logan and Dawson’s tutoring had become a top warrior in the guild.
“Whatever you say boss! Just happy to be along for the ride.” Mikhail started scanning the terrain for an area open enough to facilitate their departure. The trio were well aware that the Mongols would win this fight. They’d sack Kiev and the Rus would mark this year, 1240, as the beginning of a great nation, forged in defeat the Rus, proud descendants of the Vikings, would go on to create a Russian nation while the Mongols would fade into history. Mikhail knew the history because he, like the other two time warriors, had received the data download through a portal just behind his right ear.
“How about that spot?” Dawson was pointing north. Logan and Mikhail stopped looking and evaluated Dawson’s find.
“That’ll do.” Logan said.
“Plenty of room to bounce out.” Mikhail added.
The three men jogged toward the small glen and upon reaching the open spot each gave the surrounding woods a good look. “All clear!” Dawson said.
Logan nodded and Mikhail moved closer to his companions. The three warriors stood three feet apart from each other. A comfortable distance but not so far as to cause problems when they arrived home in the year 2147.
They synchronized pushing the time chips embedded in their wrists by nodding three times in unison. They didn’t hear the loud blast or feel the powerful wave of air that emanated in all directions from where they had stood only a second before. They also didn’t see the bright flash of light. The three warriors were gone.
A Mongol scout sent by Atul to watch three Rus warriors watched in awe as the glen seemed to explode. He dove off his horse and crawled toward a clump of bushes. The event was over in less than three seconds. As he stood up and looked at where the three men had just been standing he realized they were no longer there.
The Mongol warrior remounted and trotted over to the center of the glen. There was a dark patch of ground, still smoldering as if a great heat had been applied to only this small area. He rode in a circle looking for tracks leading away but found only the tracks of the three men leading to the middle of the clearing. He scratched his head and decided this wasn’t a story he would repeat. To Atul or anyone. The warrior turned his horse and started off at a gallop. He didn’t want to miss the fun when the great Rus city was sacked.