"C'mon." Gar rumbled as he quickly led the small group out of Heg's rooms and back down the broad hallway. It was already filled with shouting warriors, hurriedly buckling on armor as they readied themselves.
Making their way through the sudden throng, Gar got them out a side door. Then it was a quick trip through the dark back to his home where their belongings waited for them.
Once the packs were retrieved and van Joss said goodbye to Dessa, Gar led them to a small sally port in the city's northern wall. As Captain Alinar slipped out last, Gar stuck his head out behind him to softly whisper:
"Good luck my friend. I hope to see you soon. Let us not make it five years this time though, hey?"
"I'll do my best, Gar," van Joss whispered back from the front of the tiny column. "Good luck to you and yours in defending Jekan Grim."
"Thanks." Gar grimaced. "We'll need every last bit!" Then the sally port was closed with a loud 'thud' and locked from within. It would take a battering ram to push past it and the main gates. Unfortunately for the Tigris of Jekan Grim, the elves had plenty of those.
"Stealth mode," van Joss tautly instructed in a whisper, speaking first Tranalo then Primiad before leading the small party into the snow-covered forest.
Walking as silently as they could, the small party picked their way through the dense underbrush for several long minutes before van Joss abruptly called a halt with a wave of his hand. He had seen something move just beyond the field of his vision. Despite that, he had somehow managed to catch it out of the corner of his eye as if a sixth sense was in play.
As the lean operative swung his full attention onto scanning the darkness around them, he became aware of several shapes, low to the ground and virtually silent as they moved towards the small company. There was only one thing that could move so quickly and in total silence.
"Elves," he rasped before shouting over his shoulder. "They've got us surrounded. Draw your weapons! We cannot afford to be captured."
With a rush the shadowy forms were upon them, taking Alinar and Salina virtually without a struggle. Longspear, however, was another matter. Poniards flashing in the dim light cast by the moon, she twisted and slashed, keeping the shadowy figures at bay for several seconds before a lightning attack cut through her defenses to knock her blades spinning away into the darkness. The shadows swarmed over her a heartbeat later, pinning her to the ground.
"Van Joss!" she croaked as she felt a cold blade pressed against her throat.
But the lean operative, already surrounded by three dark and unmoving masses on the ground, was too busy trying to save his own life to pay attention to Longspear's plight. He moved as smoothly as a south wind, attack and counterattack in a blurring series of moves that stunned any mortal eye that tried to keep up with it.
However the battle was taking its toll on the dark-cloaked man. With only a month to build up his strength and stamina, van Joss was in no condition for a long, drawn-out fight. Even as a fourth elf was added to the pile at his feet, the lean operative knew he didn't have much left in the tank. Especially at the speed they were fighting.
It was as he paused slightly to catch his breath and reset his footing, that van Joss heard Longspear's third croaked call. He glanced in her direction. And felt a wave of dismay at seeing a rivulet of blood now oozing from the point on her throat where an elf was holding the tip of its dagger. Any more pressure and her carotid would be severed.
Van Joss felt his expression tighten in disappointment. Then he was straightening up, hands over his head. Instantly he too was swarmed and born roughly to the ground. 'I can only hope they hold us for questioning before executing us,' he mused darkly as he felt his hands being securely trussed up in the small of his back.
'Easier to break out of a holding cell than from a hangman's noose, or a headsman's axe!'
YOU ARE READING
Hand Over FistScience Fiction
Like a phoenix, they arose. From the ashes of a world burnt by massive nuclear holocaust and frozen by a millennia of nuclear winter. They are the Fisted Races and they struggle against the tattered remnant of Humanity for what little resources ar...