Chapter 16.2: Attempt to Escape

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"Sir Ahnalli," came a low, nasally voice

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"Sir Ahnalli," came a low, nasally voice. The round-bellied knight with rusty armor who'd been guarding the gate earlier stood behind him.

"I am no knight, but I am Hagar Ahnalli, Sir Gorda."

"There are six men of the Lord's Company at the gate. They are here looking for you."

That was fast. Hagar had not expected Lord Montesso to remember him so keenly and react so quickly. He took quick inventory of what he had: his rapier tucked into its scabbard on his right hip, a dagger tucked underneath his belt, and his satchel with Dehnish and Pike money. He also had a dark-grey doublet with a small chestplate of boiled leather. Not enough to stop even a smallsword.

"Do you have a backdoor, sir? Or perhaps one on the side?"

The large man looked tired, like one forced into work he had neither the energy nor the motivation for. "You know I can't help you escape. It would be open defiance of Lord Montesso." He took a step forward.

"Sir, I came to the stronghold of the Lord of Fornes in peace and meant no violence on him or any of his folk. But if you mean to deliver me into the hands of that corrupt Lord Montesso's personal guard, I will be forced to defend myself."

The corpulent knight weighed his options. 

"At the very least," Hagar continued, "perhaps you could turn your back while I attempt my own foolish escape?"

The knight's eyes went to Hagar's maimed leg doubtfully. "Is it wise to run, captain?"

"I'm surprisingly nimble for a gimp. And besides, you know Gildar Montesso better than I. Running is my only option."

Reluctantly, the knight raised the tip of his sword. "I fear the Sword Squads of House Montesso more than I fear a smuggler from the north."

That word again. Tahjadoli. Only this time in American. "You must do what you think is right." He drew his own sword, which was smaller but much lighter than the knight's. The two postured themselves three paces apart, readying for a duel neither wished to endure.

"You stole the Princess's honor. You disrespect the Lord of the manor with your bastard child and now you have brought the eye of the House Montesso. There is no question about what I think."

"So the doubt in your eyes is over your skills alone?" Hagar said stepping forward. He tapped out a tentative offense to gauge his opponent's style. The overweight knight shuffled clumsily backwards, parrying with un-graceful, semi-panicked swipes of his broad sword. He is edgy and untested. Maybe he has never faced an actual blade, Hagar noted. I could slice him in two and be done with it. There was no time to dawdle. If the sword squad was at the gate they could be inside any moment. He had to buy himself as much time as he could. The longer he bickered with this "knight," the less time he had to escape.

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