Back again with more. More fantasy? More football? Well, no, not really. More awesome writing from Revis and your favorite jester? Absolutely. Enjoy!
There were too many to attack outright, it would be suicide. While his sister was one of the shortlist of people he would give up his life to save, it didn’t make sense to rush the guards without knowing if it would in fact save Gilania.
Plex swore again. He needed to think fast. He needed to do something more than sit there and watch his sister’s team get captured or slaughtered.
It didn’t make sense. Her team had won. Lavalandinarial would want them to play in the next round of her games. Something else was going on here. It couldn’t be that the honor guard was going to take them all into custody. Perhaps they were just there to intimidate, to ferret out the few bad apples they suspected and scare the rest back into obedience.
And to set a trap for me, Plex realized. If I go dashing in guards will come out of hiding from behind me and grab me before I can do anything.
Now that he’d had the thought, Plex could hear and smell the guards in hiding that he should have noticed before. They were very well concealed but he could her them shuffling in place and smell the sweat on their brows. Plex moved further into the shadow he was crouched in just as the first of the swordsmen reached the entrance to the practice field.
There was nothing Plex could do but watch as the guards began their task of searching the field and the facility and turning everything inside out. He needed to get out of there. Vinyard had been right. But he wasn’t sure he could leave without being spotted. Plex needed the hidden guards to make the first move.
He fervently hoped that Baclem wouldn’t hear the commotion and come bumbling in. If they moved to intercept the troll, Plex would have to intercede. Baclem was there to help. It wasn’t help that Plex had asked for but that didn’t matter. Often that was the kind of help that needed to be honored the most. So far, though, Baclem had either learned to be much quieter or had listened and was staying where Plex had left him.
A small gust of breeze suddenly shifted through the alley and the smell of the guards became much stronger. They’d snuck up behind him. Plex rolled backwards, towards the source of the smell, hoping to catch them off-guard, and swung out with his sword at the same time.
A spear smashed into the ground where h’d been crouched and his sword sliced the arm off of the elf who had wielded the spear, even as Plex collided with the guard. Then all became a jumbled mess of flailing limbs and screaming for a moment. Plex tried to silence the injuried elf as quickly as possible but it took longer than he would have liked before he could steady himself and plunge his sword through the wounded guardsman’s neck, cutting the cry instantly.
Back on his feet again, Plex could hear steps running towards him from the direction of Gilania’s training facility. The rest of the guards were coming. He needed to flee or he would surely be captured and taken before the dragon. Sprinting back towards where he’d left Baclem, he came up short, as two more guards stepped in front of him. One was an orc, the other an ogre. Individually, he had no doubt that he could best either of them quickly. Together, he might triumph, but not quickly enough to avoid the rest of the guards coming his way.
Before Plex could make a move against either of them, the orc went flying away. Baclem turned and grabbed onto the ogre’s sword before it had a chance to bring the weapon against him. Plex leapt forward to help the troll out. While the two larger creatures wrestled over the ogre’s sword, Plex shoved his blade up underneath the ogre’s armpit, where the armor didn’t cover. The ogre howled in pain and dropped to the ground.
Baclem moved in to finish it off, but Plex grabbed his wrist and shouted, “No time!”
Plex hated having to do it but he ran away from Gilania and her team. There were a lot of Lavalandinarial’s guards around. Too many for him to get to the practice facility. At least, not from the direction that he was going at the moment. He was going to have to circle the area and see if he could find an opening.
After a few twists and turns, Baclem began to realize what they were doing. “It’s too dangerous,” the troll whispered. “We stay, we die.”
“Damn it, man,” Plex whispered back harshly. “My sister is in there! I can’t just leave her to the dragon’s minions. I have to help.”
“Us being killed is helpful to her?”
Plex resisted the urge to punch the troll. He knew Baclem was right. If they stayed and tried to find a way into the practice facility, they would almost certainly be captured or killed. But, he also knew that if he ran away and left Gilania to her fate, he’d never be able to live with himself. He’d spend the rest of his days wallowing in guilt and shame. When your race lives for hundreds of years, that’s a daunting penance to look forward to.
He also bit back the scathing retort that almost flew from his lips. Instead, he said, “I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me, Baclem, but I can’t run away from my sister when she needs me. If you don’t want to do this, you’re free to leave now. I need to do this, though.”
Baclem shook his head. “I don’t know how your race got so high in the dragon’s hierarchy when you make such dumb decisions.”
“I wish you luck, Baclem.”
“I didn’t say I was leaving. I’m still going with you. That doesn’t make it less of a stupid decision. It just means I’m dumb too.”
Plex smiled. He wasn’t sure what he had ever done to deserve this loyalty, but he vowed right then to make sure that he earned the honor Baclem was giving him. With a clap on the troll’s shoulder, he said, “At least we’re stupid together. Now, let’s find a way into the facility.”
Sprinting through the streets, Plex kept his speed in check to ensure that Baclem would be able to keep up with him. The elf was pleasantly surprised that the troll wasn’t slowing them down all that much but still mortified by the sounds that emanated from Baclem. The troll heaved in heavy, rasping breaths, and his feet thundered on the ground. They were going to have a hard time losing their pursuers if they couldn’t get some distance from them but the sound of pursuit never seemed to grow any further off.
It made sense, of course. Lavalandinarial’s guards would be fit enough to trail them for days on end. While they were weighed down by their armor, some of them would be as fleet-footed as Plex himself. If he could go his top speed, he might be able to lose them. With his speed checked, however, Plex realized that they were never going to be able to slip away simply by hoofing it.
Plex wracked his brain for a solution, something the guards wouldn’t be expecting, something that would let them slip away while still staying close enough to the facility so he could get in and find his sister or rescue her should she and her team be taken captive by the guards like his own team had been. Nothing came to him immediately. A hint of panic crept up the back of his spine.
They couldn’t run forever. His sister didn’t have forever, anyway. The guards had already begun to enter the training facility. Even though it felt forever ago, Plex knew that not that much time had yet elapsed. Still, the longer it took him to come up with something the more likely it seemed this fool’s errand would end in capture or death.
An image of the alleyway his team had briefly hidden in while being led away from danger by Vinyard flashed in Plex’s mind. While that particular hiding spot had been magically enhanced, Plex was sure of that, the idea of hiding to let their pursuers pass them was a good one. It was risky, yes. If they were discovered they would have to fight against extreme odds. However, if they weren’t discovered it would buy them some time to scope out the facility without as many guards standing in their way.
Plex changed direction, needing it to seem like he and Baclem were trying to leave the area rather than circle the facility. He wanted the pursuers to think they had decided to flee. Then his eyes began to sweep left to right. He was looking for guards still, yes. He was also looking for an opportunity to hide.
An open door, an expecially dark alleyway, a roof they could climb onto quickly. They passed each of this in quick succession and each may have worked but they were still too close to the facility. The timing wasn’t right yet.
They went another two blocks and then Plex saw another low roof they could easily scramble onto. He nudged Baclem and indicated the troll should follow his lead and then, with a tall leap, Plex grabbed the edge of the roof and pulled himself up. A second later Baclem was beside him. They moved backwards out of sight, and waited.
The sound of their pursuers got louder and louder. Plex hoped that they hadn’t been seen and that they hadn’t made so much noise scrambling up that whoever was within the building came out to see what was going on. Then again, the guards were making so much noise on their own, whoever was inside might stay inside just to not have to deal with them. One way or another, Plex and Baclem would know soon enough.