The snow continued to fall. The six young warriors knew that their time had come and that none of them would survive this battle. Up the trail escaped the entire village, their trail rapidly vanishing in the winter storm. All would have time to get through the pass and vanish into the secret trails. The price of this time was the lives of the chosen six.
Their fear was mixed with pride. Songs of death and creation were chanted under breath. Faces were painted. Each was now ready, no words were exchanged. As one, they slipped silently into positions of ambush. Weapons were ready for use. All that was left to do was wait, and it wouldn’t be long. Noise could already be heard from down the trail. The grunts of the enemy could be heard working their way up the steep path.
The pursuit of the People had been relentless. A foe who wanted what they had and would kill them all to to get it. An enemy who would take to the mountain paths in winter to try and surprise the village. A strong, savage enemy. They would be an unsuccessful enemy because of the six in hiding, ready to fight to the death so the People could live.
A location had been chosen by the leaders of the village. It was a narrow spot and difficult to climb but it could be defended from above. With a surprise attack, the bodies of the enemies would block the movement of those coming up from the rear. Many of the pursuers would die before they would overrun the hidden six.
The first enemy appeared around the corner, breathing heavily but eyes alert. He was followed by a procession of comrades, armed and fierce and working hard in pursuit. They were unprepared for the ambush. With no warning, the chosen six young warriors released arrows from their bows into the chests of the first six enemy. A momentary silence was broken by screams and war cry’s. Six more arrows were released and found their target. A shocked, surprised opponent had been caught off guard, but now pressed forward with skill and anger. They gained ground up the trail through the snow, around the bodies of their own. One by one they were able to reach the ambush sites of the six warriors. War cries became death songs became silence. There were no more arrows, a quick bloody battle was over.
At the site of the ambush, the leader of the enemy gathered his surviving warriors. They had been the victors in this fight, they had been defeated in their quest. Their losses had been heavy. Winter will be hard after this failure in the mountains. They quickly honoured and buried the dead, then turned and retraced their steps down the trail and back into the storm.
Up in the mountain pass, the retreating village now knew the results of the six young warriors sacrifice. The People were free from pursuit and danger again. Slowly songs were heard. Quiet mournful songs of recognition, of understanding and of appreciation of what had transpired that day back down the trail. The joy of survival was balanced by the pain of loss. The village would survive the winter, but the cost of their freedom was dear.