ZILLAH — Royal Rose inn, Lhangessa
Outside, the distinct trample of the city watch. Squirrel twitches to his feet. Alix throws an apprehensive glance. I’m on my feet too, not quite knowing why, but I’ve drawn my swords.
The door opens and six armed guards storm in, brandishing weapons.
We’ve had a fair few ales, Vaantus, Abra and I. Waiting. Waiting all day for the other three to return from the city of Tel Elenor. They’re a day later than expected and in the middle of telling us why… I can tell from the looks on their faces they haven’t yet got to the important part.
The guards advance. They’re here to arrest us, they say. For harbouring a murderous Vahdrim mage. Squirrel’s fingers twitch again and there’s no denying at least part of that statement as the captain reels back from a magic strike.
Just what the hell happened in Tel Elenor?
The guards continue to advance. The ale is making me brave (perhaps foolish) and I’m advancing too. Abra flings a spell and now he’s also revealed himself as Vahdrim. Brilliant.
Vaantus is yelling at us to stand down, but I’m committed now. I do not want to be dragged before Testerris lawbringers. They don’t seem the type to be reasonable.
I execute a perfect tumble roll onto a table and ram my sword through one of the guards as I come to my feet. Then I take down two more.
Five out of six guards are down (three at my hand) before we realise just what we’ve done. If we weren’t fugitives before, we sure are now. The captain drops his weapon; we drag him with us and flee.
How we got here
It’s almost two weeks since we left the island of Mycross. Alix and I managed to convince the others that getting the box of documents to Abhorran was more important than chasing after Xolra, and the mage kept his end of the bargain. He paid us more or less what was agreed, including passage off the island and several maps of the south and some documents that may help with our quest to find the Right Eye.
For a cut of the documents — and equal share henceforth — Squirrel, Vaantus and Blizzard have agreed to assist us in our quest. We also have a new companion, Abra, a mage who was on Mycross with Blizzard. He seems young and very inexperienced, and very tight with Blizzard. We have all sailed south — past Port Rabat (thankfully) to Lhangessa — to figure out how best to proceed with our mission. But right now we obviously have other problems…
At our insistence, the guard captain takes us to a stableyard, where we appropriate a carriage with two horses harnessed to it. I find myself the designated driver and as we hurtle along the road finally hear the details of what happened in Tel Elenor.
Squirrel, Alix and Blizzard had gone there to sell the dozen books we salvaged from the crater. We figured the Temple of Elloran was our best option, particularly since Alix still had the token of Elloran, guaranteeing aid and good will. The rest of us headed directly to wait in Lhangessa.
All went well, it seems, with the trade. They received almost half as much for the books as we did for the mage documents. But then Squirrel apparently asked for some particular ingredients that alerted the Elloran clerics to his true nature. Since Tel Elenor is completely in the control of the Testerris priests, who are spearheading the persecution of all mages…
Hearing them tell it, I still can’t quite believe they survived. The three of them fought off eight clerics, before fleeing the city. It cost them gold to hide in the back of a farmer’s cart, but they managed to get out. But it seems their descriptions have been widely circulated, which is how we find ourselves in our current predicament.
I’m getting the hang of driving this carriage, but it’s not long before we hear the inevitable pursuit. I keep going. Not sure there’s much else we can do.
Six riders catch us swiftly, but they don’t appear to have missile weapons, which is a relief. They pull alongside us. I’m concentrating on the road, so I’m not sure what happens, but they seem to be dropping off, one by one, thanks to my companions.
Then I hear we’ve lost Squirrel off the back, so I start to pull up. One of the riders, however, is trying to grab the reins of one of the horses and almost hauls us off the road. It’s touch and go for a few moments, but I manage to keep the carriage under control. Then the rider somehow falls under the same horse’s hooves (over-reaching?) and I almost lose control again.
Almost, but not quite.
Amazingly, we’re still upright and we’ve lost all our pursuers, although I’m pretty sure some of them high-tailed back to the town. It’s definitely not over yet. We are still probably screwed.
After another half-hour, I judge the horses spent and we vacate the carriage. I turn them round and send them back home with my heartfelt thanks. We’ve reached the Broken Forest — a refuge for criminals we’ve been told. Which is what we are now, I suppose. They will expect us to head there. Perhaps they will not follow.
We head across soggy terrain into the trees, just as night is falling.
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