A Threat in Black

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"Then you won't be giving yourself up," Jaeda said, already starting for the road leading back into the town. "By Avdul's words, he's condemned the entire town to their fate. You've got a much greater destiny before you than worrying about the people of this place. Fear not, Patrik; their sacrifice won't be in vain."

"A rather draconian view, but pragmatic," Inureah stated then looked over at Patrik. "Good thing she's on your side."

"That, it is," Patrik agreed and together they hurried after the striding young desert princess, the Ben'havid close after.

Now possessing an idea of where they needed to go, the small company swiftly made their way down from the Sa'nae'reid plateau and back into the town. Intent on their assigned locations and duties, the citizens and defenders of the sanctuary ignored the small company passing through their midst so, by the time Inureah and her paladin split from Jaeda and Patrik, they had already reached the market where they had confronted Avdul.

"We'll meet you in five turns of the small glass by the side gate," Inureah said with a nod then she and her Ben'havid disappeared into the swirling crowd as the market emptied.

"Five turns to retrieve the rest of your people?" Patrik asked as he turned back to Jaeda even as they hurried back to the building she and her company had been kept.

"More than enough," Jaeda reassured the frowning kevan with a smile and a nod. "My people should be ready to move."

Indeed they were; the knot of sun-darkened southerners with gear and weapons in hand, were standing at the building's entrance when they reached it some two turn's of the small glass later.

"We heard the alarm bells and knew we would shortly be leaving," one of them explained at Patrik's querulous look even as they turned and swiftly began making their way to the gate they had gained entrance in the night before.

"As an inhabitant of the Scattered Kingdoms, kevan, you learn to recognize when and how to leave a place." Jaeda added, her comrades nodding in quick agreement.

"I think I'm starting to understand that," Patrik wryly pointed out as they slipped between two buildings to bring the side gate into view. Just in time to watch it shatter into a thousand pieces as a battering ram of magical force struck it boldly from the other side. The explosive penetration sent unprepared defenders scattering like thistle down on a strong wind.

"By the Great Sea!" Patrik barked, eyes wide as their small company staggered to a stunned halt. "That wasn't fifteen turns of the glass!"

"They probably knew you'd make a break for it," Inureah tautly noted as she and twenty Ben'havid jogged into view around a near corner, each of them heavily laden with backpacks filled with supplies and water. Several of them carried chests and trunks in addition to their bags, the elves obviously prepared to leave Kala'finae for good.

"They couldn't take the risk you'd slip between their fingers for a second time," The elven cleric continued as she came to a halt beside him, greeting Patrik and Jaeda with a nod. Then together they turned to watch a flood of black uniformed soldiers pour in through the now useless portal, knocking to the ground with rough but non-lethal blows any druidic defender that attempted to resist them. It didn't take long before their numbers were far in excess to the twenty paladin the Var Ethisdil cleric had with her, and the dozen in Jaeda's company. It didn't stop them from drawing their weapons, newly recovered from the sanctuary's armory, though.

"If we're going to fight our way through that," Patrik began to growl as the soldiers were joined by no less than six magic users, identifiable by their heavy, mystically marked robes of purple and crimson. Each was quickly surrounded by a knot of soldiers to serve as a personal guard of sorts, as the rest began to fan out, rectangular metal shields lifted high to deflect the odd, almost desultory arrow or stone hurled in their direction from nearby towers.

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