Runners on the Loose
Date Posted: 29th April 2019
"You shaffing dockbrats get down from there! Leave them runners alone,
blast ye!" The old, gnarled man shook a stick at the laughing
adolescents, chasing them off once again. The three young runners in
the pen lurched, flaring back ears and stamping hooves. They were
getting more agitated each time the children approached, experiencing
pokes and prods from sticks and a few cruelly flung stones. The old
wooden pen creaked against the weight of the runners and the old man
winced at the sound. The skinflint of a beastcrafter had yet to repair
it or replace it and the old groom knew that the pen was on it's last
round of runners it would ever hold. He'd told the man, but had been
Fuming at the laughing boys, he stomped back to the runners, trying to
calm them. "Easy there. Easy." His gravelly voice attempted to soothe
fractious tempers. He didn't see the boys approach again on the other
side and didn't see one lad pick up a stone. But he did hear the boy's
sudden whoop, and sight waving arms before the stone was thrown with
surprising accuracy to strike a runner's flank. The runners surged
forward, and with horror, the old groom heard and felt the wood snap
and release. As the frightened runners ran him down and tore towards
the market, he wasn't able to think of anything else.
"It was good of you to take Yavin for the day. He's such a sweet
little boy." Torinya chucked the child under the chin, making him
"I don't usually mind." Humari settled Tumaril on her hip. "It gives
them both someone to play with, but it does keep me busy."
"Oh, I know." Her sister smiled ruefully. She had four children of her
own."How's the pregnancy coming along? Taril was thrilled, wasn't he."
Humari beamed. "It's going well. I've only been a little sick in the
morning. Mostly, I'm just tired." She remembered Taril's reaction to
her announcement. "He was. He's very excited. I don't know if he wants
a boy or a girl yet."
"A boy." Torinya replied promptly. "All men want boys." They moved to
walk down the center of the market, passing by the cloth until the
return trip. "You said you wanted fingerroots, right?"
"Hmhmm." Humari nodded, adjusting Tumaril again. "For the roast
tonight. I didn't know we were out until this morning."
"They're over there." Torinya nodded towards a stall farther down the lane.
"I might pick up some redfruit too. Taril likes them as a desert." She
frowned and rubbed her lower back. "Could you take him for just a
minute? He's getting heavy."
"Sure. I'm used to carrying two." Torinya smiled and took her nephew
in her other arm. "Ooof. What are you feeding him? He's getting huge!"
Humari stretched and rubbed her back. "Just the..."
The cry came up and both women spun to see and hear thundering hooves
and wild-eyed, panicked runners barreling right towards them. Both
initially froze at the sight, terrified and unable to move. It only
took a moment before Humari realized that her child was in the path as
well. "No!" She had just enough time to shove her sister and the two
children in her arms away with all of her strength. Torinya stumbled
and fell, falling away from the direct path of the runners. She
rolled, instinctively holding the two little boys close to shelter
them from serious injury.
But Humari couldn't get out of the way in time. The runners barreled
over her and she fell beneath their hooves, instinctively curling up
into a ball, arms over her head. She felt the painful heavy blows and
felt a sharp bolt of pain, then blackness swelled over her.
Stunned, Torinya tried to gather the frightened babes to her, the
scrapes and bruises on their arms and cheeks filling her vision. Yavin
wailed in terror as Tumaril clunch to her and gave hoarse cries of
fright. Trying to soothe them, she looked up, saw Humari crumpled in
the middle of the market lane, and screamed.
Last updated on the May 3rd 2019