Escape, part four

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Watching Harbend running into the horrible, collapsing castle almost unhinged Nakora, but she managed to find enough courage to go in after the fool trader.

Now she led him to where the others were. The window had been pure good luck. Without it she'd never have known how close to the main entrance they had found Arthur. Climbing down the wall had been easy, and to her relief Neritan had the brains to lead Arthur and the girl out.

Gring had been there as well. Then the surge of power from inside the castle and Neritan demanding that Gring help her climbing the very walls Nakora had come down. They came back with Escha, and they had done something to him.

Now they were all gathered close to the orchard.

Escha spoke, no it was Neritan who spoke through Escha. Nakora looked at him, her. It was unnerving to recognize the golden mage in the body of the dark skinned Transport Mage, and Nakora missed part of what Neritan said.

"...so strong. Can't promise I can hold him. We should jump approximately to where the caravan is, but they will know." With the last words Escha, Neritan in Escha's body, looked at Gring who nodded in response.

"What is it?" Nakora asked.

"We were brought here by jump mages. They'll come after us," Gring said.

In a flurry of wind the world became nothingness. It was different from when Escha had jumped them earlier, but Nakora knew they were indeed jumping. Away from the nightmare.

The world was white again. The whiteness of snow and open plains. She could never have guessed that the sight should fill her with such relief. It was almost like coming home, almost.

She turned, looking for the relative safety of the caravan, but it was nowhere to be seen. Approximately, how close was approximately? The rest of the day? Another days walk? One full day away and the caravan could as well be back home in Ri Khi, at least if Gring was right about pursuers jumping to catch them.

Harbend stood at her side. Stupid, loving Harbend who'd come to her rescue never knowing she needed none. He'd risked his life for her, not at her orders. No one had done that before.

He did have a noble face, a very dirty noble face, but it was hers to admire. The gaze he gave her sent a wave of pleasant warmth through her body. Tonight, maybe, if they were still alive by then.

"They are here." Neritan's tired voice broke Nakora's thoughts about lovemaking.

"Who?" Nakora asked already knowing.

"I don't know exactly, but I felt them jumping here. They are close."

Nakora groaned. What could they do now? Trai dead and Escha in stupor. She met Gring's eyes. No, not her as well! There was something defeated in those large eyes, and the Khraga looked less like a death bringing nightmare and more like a child who was afraid of getting slapped for being naughty.

Gods! I don't need this. We don't need this. Where is the warrior?

"Gring, we fight and then we die. No dying without fighting."

Nakora looked in despair at the Khraga turned child. Then the sound of soldiers closed in on them.

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