A Threat in Black

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"The Chain Islanders!" Jaeda hissed, snapping an alarmed look at Patrik. "Somehow they've managed to trace you through the wizard's portal to the sanctuary!"

"Or knew we were coming here after he told them," Patrik grimly retorted, struggling to fight off a fatalistic feeling that they had been thwarted before they could even begin this final leg of their journey. He had to physically shake himself to dispel the greater part of the black feeling that nearly overwhelmed him. Time to act!

"Regardless of why the Chain Islanders are here, we can't let their sudden arrival stand in our way." He took a handful of quick steps to the edge of the hill to stare hard into the town. It was a-boil with activity, the town's denizens moving purposefully towards central shelters even as druidic forces gathered to the defenses.

"We need a plan here, and quick. Any ideas, Lady Inureah? After all, with paladin in your company, I would think some martial experience is to be had amongst your number."

"Some experience indeed, Master Patrik," Inureah quickly responded with a nod of acknowledgment towards the squad's commander. "While we haven't attempted an escape from a fortress coming under siege from an opposing force, that is certainly something I suggest we now attempt with the training and forces we have at hand."

"I wouldn't disagree with you," Patrik didn't hesitate to say before looking over at Jaeda. "You with us on this one, Jaeda? We'll need your skill and ability, as well as those of your comrades, to pull this one off." The desert princess' reply was as fiery as it was immediate:

"I've come this far to share your destiny, Patrik of Gorgon's Port; I cannot abandon you now. I am with you to the very end! Just give me the chance to retrieve my people and we'll make our way from this place."

Patrik nodded quickly in satisfaction. He had expected nothing less from the determined young woman.

"Then this is what we'll do: Inureah, gather your people and what supplies you can manage and make for the side gate we entered last night. It shouldn't be under the same amount of pressure the main gates are. I'll go with Jaeda and get her people and meet you there. Hopefully the druids will be kind enough to let us out so we can make our way south, to Earthforge."

"As long as they aren't of the same mind as Avdul, we may have a chance," Jaeda said grimly, spinning her daggers with nimble fingers before making them disappear into their hidden sheaths, the deadly weapons reappearing a heartbeat later to spin once again. "If not, we'll just have to fight our way free."

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that." Patrik grimaced. "While they've been inhospitable, the druids of Kala'finae don't deserve our ire."

If there existed any doubt as to why the Chain Islanders were there, at the remote druidic sanctuary, they were dispelled in the slight pause that followed Patrik's flat statement.

"Kevan!" a magically enhanced voice boomed over the sanctuary, the force of it making the dust dance and hands clap to ears to stop the force of it from hurting them further. "Kevan, we know you're in the sanctuary. We have come to take you into our custody. Surrender yourself and no-one in this place will come to harm. Resist, or flee and we'll destroy Kala'finae as we destroyed Beth Kabahla. You have fifteen turns of the small glass to comply." And with that, the voice fell silent.

"Well," Inureah said dryly, turning her eyes. "It would appear they're here for you, after all, Master Patrik."

"And full of useful choices as well, it would seem." Patrik frowned. "Unfortunately they're no choices at all. I cannot say what'll happen to me if I fall into their hands. But I highly doubt they'll support a trip to Earthforge in the near future."

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