Ambushed by Toby Skerratt

Ambushed by Toby Skerratt

Runner Up (Children Category)

“Stay calm,” I told myself, “don’t show fear.” Frozen in panic I thought about how I had been in almost every dangerous situation imaginable, but never had I been this truly stuck. I, Amelia Cahill, could not find a way out of this nor could I figure out how they had trapped me. One second I was deftly jumping from branches into shadows of the ancient tree, guiding myself only using the dim silvery light from the moon hovering above me. The next second I was on my back circled by men in purple tunics emblazoned with the vesper crest.

I remembered Luke (both my brother and the king) reassuring me that nothing would go wrong. “It’s just a short scout of the forests of Gorllan,” he had said, “besides, you’re like the best fighter in the whole kingdom.”

“But these are the vespers we’re talking about!” I had argued. The vespers are a secret society that aim to overthrow the gods, but to do this they first need to possess all the gifts from the gods. They may have succeeded in stealing each magical object carefully protected by the rulers from every kingdom but they had not yet been able to steal ours, the most powerful of all: the scepter of Nefartari.

Against my will I was sucked back into reality when one of them snarled, “tell me where that idiot you call king keeps the scepter!” A long flowing purple cape trailed behind him. I guessed he was the leader of this cohort - he was that kind of guy, you could tell he had an ego larger than a mountain with just a glance. “Tell me or I shall stab you until you no longer draw breath!” he threatened.

Throwing caution to the wind, I laughed, “Ha - you think ten idiotic men will be able to beat me?” What choice did I have but to try and bluff my way out of this? His only answer was a smug smile.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move up in the trees. Oh no. Up till now I hadn’t noticed archers sneakily concealed in the leaves. There was at least twenty of them all with the same smug smile. They thought they had won. I gulped and wiped off the beads of sweat forming on my forehead despite the cold. Of course, how could I be so foolish, this ambush was obviously masterminded by Damien Vesper, the leader and founder of the vespers. He was the reason they already had the most powerful objects in all the lands apart from one.

Trembling I reached for my sword. It felt like it weighed a million tons in my hand. I noticed someone’s smile falter. This wasn’t going to be my last day . . . it was going to be theirs.

More Winning Stories

The Girl in the Mango Tree by Suzy Gilmour – Winner – Adult Category

Arm’s Reach by Courtney Thomson – Runner Up – Adult Category

The Sound of Memory by Emily Price – Winner – Young Adult Category

The Midsummer Night’s Dread by Mikayla Dickinson – Runner Up – Young Adult Category

Broken by Anais Lazaredes – Winner – Children Category