Chapter Thirty-Two - A Truce With the Wild Hunt

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HOLT NOTED THE ANGRY GLANCE JESSICA GAVE HIM as she watched the Night Witch step from the portal. Like him, she no doubt hoped they had left the Witch and her Wild Hunt back on the slopes of the Aldilth Hills. But it seemed accounts of the groups tracking abilities were correct.

'That's Mallt Rhakan, the Witch who held us prisoner,' Jessica whispered to George who was watching the newcomers closely. Her brother nodded joining his sisters in readying their weapons in case of trouble.

The Night Witch noted the actions and smiled. 'Bredock, are we allowing the children to fight your battle for you now?' she asked.

Holt kept his eyes locked on Mallt Rhakan but motioned for them not to make any foolish moves. 'Two of them already bested you once. I am sure they are more than capable of doing it again,' he replied, although there was a hint of trepidation in his voice.

'Luck! I underestimated the young one's power. I will not do so again,' the Witch warned. 'Now, you all look like you have little fight left in you. So, if you will just hand over this artifact. I will take it and leave you all alive.'

The Gnome fought against the pain that racked his body and laughed softly.

'What do you find so amusing, Bredock dear?' Mallt inquired.

'You are too late, Witch.' Holt told her. 'That what you seek, is gone. Snatched from us by the very creatures we sought to lock away.' He motioned towards the wall.

He noticed her dark eyes flicker momentarily with disappointment. 'You are quite at liberty to go and retrieve it, if you so wish,' he continued. 'I am sure whoever was paying you to steal it away from us will be happy if you did so.'

'So the Daemons now have it?' Mallt snapped, glancing around the cavern.

Holt nodded and continued. 'Well, they have Malin who was possessed by the very artifacts you seek. He was taken while working with the magic. Unfortunately, we do not know if he was successful. But, no matter, the Daemons now have access to it and should they succeed in gaining the knowledge to wield it, they will be able to break free from the confines of the barrier.'

'You warned me of the danger should they escape.' Mallt recalled.

The Gnome thought for a moment. 'There is no change, Witch. Should they escape I fear all with be destroyed. Whatever you were promised, will not be enough to save you.'

The Witch studied the group of faces before her. 'What do you propose to do about it?' she asked.

Holt looked uncertain for a moment. 'I am not sure. Look for a way in I suppose. Try to rescue Malin and the magic.'

Mallt shook her head of dark hair, it was her turn to laugh. 'Bredock, do you think you would be able to carry that out?' I sense no doorways and would the magic of your bauble even allow you to enter the city. Even if it will, could the five of you carry out such a rescue.'

'Possibly not, Mallt,' he fixed his eyes on her pale face. 'But with your help, I think we would stand a chance of success.'

Mallt stared back, a cold smile crossed her features. 'Why do you think I would even entertain such an idea, Bredock dear?'

The Gnome reflected a moment. 'Because, Mallt, I believe you will not want to go back to your employer without the artifact. To do so, will do your reputation no good.' He hoped an appeal to her vanity would change any misgivings she may hold. She believed that the Wild Hunt under her leadership was the best at what they did. Failure was not an option open for discussion.

'You know me too well Gnome, I will give you that,' the Witch snorted. 'What do you propose?'

'I propose a truce. A joining of our forces. Neither of us wins if we do not retrieve Malin and the magic he now commands. A careful merging of the Amulet's magic and your ability to manipulate the darkness should enable us to breach these walls. Once inside we locate Malin and make our escape.'

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