Wandering Through Terran–Chapter 11

January 13, 2010

Revised

Links…

Chapter Eleven: The Rescue

Where Rescue Comes

From Unexpected Sources…

Patracolus collapsed from exhaustion as they struck down the last of the Shadowlings. Zev pulled his brother back as he and Merf realigned into a new defensive formation. Getting Patracolus back against the base of a tree, they formed up before him. With their defenses realigned, Merf and Zev reevaluated their situation.

We’re in a considerable amount of trouble,” Merf replied. He fired a blast at an oncoming Shadowling as Zev decapitated the last one. “I’ve used too much power. Our enemies will know our location by now. And this battle exhausted us. I will be of little use if we enter another prolonged battle.”

Same here,” Zev replied. “We need to regroup and get ourselves back together. Let’s get to the Ruins and set up there.”

I’m not sure we can trust that area,” Merf replied. “There are dark energies lying dormant there. We might risk too much, going there for refuge.”

Doesn’t matter,” Patracolus interjected. “We can’t wait here. It’s dawn and the Knights of Duramar will be on the way. Like you said, they know where we are now. Not too long now.”

We need to rest first,” Zev added. “You’re no good to us half dead.”

Yeah. Guess I’m not as fit as I thought I was.”

Come along then,” Merf advised. “Once we get to the Ruins I will work a healing charm over you and we’ll prepare.”

puup

The group hunting the two fugitives were Knights of Duramar led personally by the general Cyrus, his voice echoing through the trees. The dogs had the fugitives’ scent, barking and howling as they trounced through the trees ahead of the party. Most of the knights there were on edge after seeing their leader in a heated council with the wizard Urza, walking away from it grumbling and unhappy. Whatever had happened in the exchange left the whole of the party wondering what they were chasing after.

Galic marched beside his nephew Viktor as the group slowly moved through the forest. Both were uneasy about the last day and their current task did little to alleviate their anxieties. They once considered Patracolus among the best in the Knights of Duramar. They also, until yesterday, considered him to be their closest friend.

Are we really going to have to kill Patracolus?” Viktor asked.

There seems to be too many of us here for that,” Galic replied, his tone heavy with suspicion. “Patracolus is good with a sword, but he’s nowhere near this good. Even a Ranger wouldn’t warrant a force this size to take him down. The wizard might, if he decies to do battle.”

What was Patracolus doing in helping him?” Viktor asked.

It was his brother,” Galic said. “Or at least that is what I have been told. He couldn’t kill him as I could never have killed your father. A bond between brothers is nigh unbreakable. Despite the other circumstances, Patracolus seems to have maintained that honor. Which makes me even more uncertain about all this.”

The dogs stopped running and were barking as they neared the ruins. The knights came to a halt on the outskirts of the former city and reoriented themselves. Beyond a heavy coat of overgrowth over the crumbling stone, few trees and little vegetation grew over the area. Almost all of the knights had grown up with the ghost stories of how this place was haunted, most never even going up there unless the child’s honor of a dare was at stake. The dogs ran in odd circles, the scent too scattered for them to track. As a breeze rose up, Galic noticed a scent on the air.

They’ve muddled their scent,” he reported. “Keep on your guard!”

Spread out!” Cyrus shouted. “Prepare for combat. Cover all possible locations.” The soldier moved quickly, the archers taking forward and rear positions, allowing them to better cover the group between them.

puup

Zev and Merf listened as the soldiers moved around nearby, searching the area around them. They had gone into one of the lowest remaining chambers and set themselves up there, out of sight from anyone above them and concealing their presence there. Patracolus was asleep, stricken with a wound they had failed to notice when their focus was devoted to the struggles of their battle. With the various balms and elixirs in Zev’s possession, Merf worked furiously to treat the young knight.

He’ll need time to rest and recuperate,” Merf replied. “A couple of hours at least. He could die if he doesn’t get that time to heal.”

One of us should parlay then,” Zev said. “Try to buy us that time. You stay here and make sure he’s alright. I’ll try to buy us that time.”

What are you going to do?”

Probably make it up as I go along. Just stay here and keep quiet. I’ll see what I can do.”

puup

Galic and Viktor spun as they heard Zev’s voice echoing through the trees. All the knights stopped, surprised by the sudden break in the silence around them. Cyrus frantically grabbed his nearest aide and started harshly whispering orders.

Knights of Duramar!” Zev shouted. “Hear my words. I am Zev Tenwar of Aven, Ranger. Hear my words. I am not the enemy you should pursue. I wish to engage in a parlay with you leader. If he is open to it, I wish to alert him to a plot against the High King’s life. If you would permit to do so, I will discuss it with your chosen representative.”

He waited as the group whispered to one another, discussing the turn of events. From his place at the top of the last tower standing, he watched them move and adjust their search pattern. Studying their movements, he carefully formulated his plan.

This does not look like it will end well, he thought. I’m outnumbered and don’t have nearly enough tricks to turn things around. Patracolus is still hours away from recovery while Merf is probably too weakened by the powers he expended last night. Doesn’t leave many options for me to work with. We chose a good place to fight though. Plenty of places to duck in and out of.

Glancing over the bricks of the tower, he watched as Cyrus shouted out the order for the knights to fan out and search the area—ordering them to kill. He smiled as they split, seeing them form up in pairs or threes. Moving with silent but rapid steps, he started down from the tower. He reached the door as two of the knights moved past. Seeing his opening, he worked quickly and without hesitation.

With a series of carefully placed strikes, he rendered the two soldiers unconscious. He checked for breathing before moving on to the next group of soldiers. Tripping one with a sweeping kick, he dodged the second soldier’s sword and sent him sprawling with a kick before ducking back among the ruins. He ran into the next set right away, pushing them over a short ledge into a mess of vines and brush. Not dead, but definitely entangled for the time being. Without warning, Zev heard the sound of arrows passing through the air. One passed his face rapidly. Looking over to the knights, he saw the were being rained on by a volley.

He took over, nearly running into Viktor’s sword. Galic stood behind the younger knight, looking sternly at the Ranger. The older man softened as he regarded Zev.

I knew your father,” he said. “You look just like him. Never got to know you that well though. You were gone to join the Rangers before I had a chance.”

Patracolus spoke well of you both,” Zev replied. “I promise I am not your enemy. I am quite lost as to where these arrows are coming from though.”

Aye,” Galic agreed. His eyes shifted to Viktor. “Put your sword down, Viktor. Out of respect for his father, I’ll listen to what he has to say.” He looked back to Zev. “I would still have proof before I declare such as you an enemy.”

Zev nodded. Turning slowly, he looked out into the open. The sudden barrage of arrows had ceased as quickly as it had started and many of the other knights had fled or been killed. They walked slowly into the open, unsure of their surroundings. The three looked around in a dazed confusion as they surveyed the area around them. Their feet brushed against arrows with every step, giving a variety of noises in response to the contact.

Seeming like ghosts, a series of tall figures entered the area of the ruins. They each notched an arrow as they drew closer, all seven moving with a silent and precise grace towards Zev and his companions. With pale eyes and almost luminescent faces, they coldly regarded the three. Each wore emerald armor over black mail, the whole of it looking impossibly thin. The armor had an elaborate system of leaf-work carved into its edges that played off the sunlight. With pointed ears and long hair, they formed up around the three.

One directly in front of them spoke rapidly in a language they did not understand. Their voices were cool and sweet, seeming devoid of earthly concern as they regard their prisoners. Zev gave an equally rapid but considerably shorter reply. The group lowered their weapons.

Identify yourselves,” their leader said.

I am Zev Tenwar of Aven,” Zev said. “A Marshall of the Rangers.”

And your friends?”

I am Galic Morsse of Aven,” Galic answered. “Captain in the Knights of Duramar.”

I am Viktor Repkor of Aven,” Viktor answered. “Captain in the Knights of Duramar.”

Satisfied that their prisoners had answered the questions, the group bowed slightly to them. Their leader stepped forward, dropping to a knee.

Greetings,” he said. “I am called Marzian. These are my comrades, the team of Elvish assassins known as the—”

Wait,” Zev interrupted. “Elves?”

The elves are returning?” Galic added.

A crisis unlike any other is coming to a head in the land of Terran,” Marzian answered. He stood up, regarding them with a somber look on his face. “My people left this world to the rule of man, preferring to explore the wild lands beyond the sea and the Endless Mountains. When we left Terran, we heard a warning in the darkness. A voice that weighed on our minds constantly. The warning has grown louder and we have returned to stand with the men of Terran once again. The forest whispered of a great many things happening here and we came to aid the righteous.”

I see,” Zev said. “I suppose we should discuss this further. Come, Marzian. My brother and wizard who is is aiding us are nearby. Let’s consult with them now.”

puup

You have failed miserably,” Urza said.

His regard for Cyrus was frigid and uncaring. The failure in the forest left no other option for him. He burned the general to cinders, listening to the screams as the general struggled and spasmed.

Failure will not be tolerated,” he said. He left the skeletal mountain of ash, letting crumble as he went the horse waiting outside. He rode out, preparing to meet the goblin army.

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