Lesson 8

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The pirates charged immediately, and Grielle took the first one that came at them

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The pirates charged immediately, and Grielle took the first one that came at them. She disarmed the still-drunk pirate with ease and kept the sword for herself. She felt Benedikt take up the position at her back, and steadily they worked their way to the center of the fracas.

By the time they reached the other Liberators, Ludvig had sustained a deep gash to the head and Reyn guarded his fallen body with terrifying ferocity. Berne had picked up a smaller pirate and was swinging him around like a ragdoll, knocking him into anyone that came within arm's reach. Even in battle, Moose looked like a perfect king of Stalvart. Though no one could get past his blade, not a drop of blood had been spilled on his fine attire. Yorick knelt next to Ludvig, muttering unintelligibly, as his eyes unfocused.

"Yorick!" Grielle yelled, breaking him from his trance. "We're safe. Can you clear us a path to the exit?" He would have plenty of time to tend to Ludvig's injury when they were free of the pirate scourge.

The wizard gave her a nod and moved to stand in the center of the fray, the picture of calm under fire. He rubbed his hands together, one flat against the other as if trying to warm them against the cold. He shouted something in a dialect of elvish used only for magic spells, then raised an open palm towards the doorway leading to the docks. Nothing happened for a moment, the air pregnant with anticipation.

Grielle had no inclination for magic, but she knew by now to trust Yorick's ability. Then, all at once, a gale-force wind whipped through the cavern, knocking their adversaries to the ground and clearing a solid path to the door.

Benedikt's jaw fell open in shock. She closed it for him with a gentle touch under his chin.

Yorick's hand lowered, his head fell back, and if Moose hadn't caught him, he would have crumpled to the ground.

"Whoa there, little wizard," Moose said as he shifted Yorick's slender frame onto his shoulder.

"Let's go!" Grielle grabbed Benedikt by the fabric of his shirt and pulled him toward the dark opening.

Reyn followed close behind with Ludvig across her shoulders, his limp head dripping blood onto the sleeve of her doublet. Moose jogged behind them with Yorick, and Berne brought up the rear with the rest of the Stalvart sailors who had come along with the rescue party.

Grielle led the way through the correct tunnel and they soon arrived at the docks where the Stalvart schooner waited.

"Make ready!" Grielle yelled to the crew still aboard as they hurried onto the ship.

She watched the sailors spring into action, willing them to move faster as the sounds of angry pirates charging out of the cave grew louder. Once the last sailor was on board, they hauled up the gangplank and shoved off from the mooring.

The ship floated out from the bay and into the open ocean as pirates poured from the tunnel's opening like a river of stench and inebriation.

"Make taut all sheets," Grielle called out.

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