The last resort

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The small group had succeed in escaping. Now they had reached Metel.
Their strategy of fleeing heading perpendicularly to the goal and then rectifying the route had been a success.

They were safe and vision of this old stone piles at the edge of collapse brought them an huge solace.

Always on the alert, they traveled the last hundreds meters while remaining a maximum under cover. Night and rain were their allies.

Arrived at the foot of the door, they screamed:

"The convoy was attacked! You have to go to help them, quickly!"

Hearing them, the guards panicked. Then a small door was opened and they were put under guard in a tiny fortified room where, from an opening in the ceiling, archers stood ready.

It was more what they had lived that made them tremble less than the soldiers of the fortress.
Exhausted, they couldn't help themselves laughing nervously at their unexpected salvation before, for some, begin to cry.

After checking their identities, the chief of the door invited them to rest in the warm.
At the same time, a rider had gone to the command post of the city to give the alarm.

Quickly, Mayek arrived only a few minutes later.

"What happened?"
"First, there was this strange mist ... then they attacked us ... the massacre ... " A soldier replied, shivering in spite of the blankets which were given to him."
"The massacre?" The general asked.
"They shot us like animals. In a few minutes, half of us collapsed on a real rain of arrows!" A second soldier explained.
"And the scouts didn't launch the alarm?"
"Slaughtered too ... apparently all at the same time ..." The first clarified.

Mayek continued his interrogatory. The brutality of the assault was exceptional. Throughout his career, he had never heard of an organization so well made and fearsomely effective.
Now, he had to make a decision.

The enemies had already had ample time to recover their loot and disappear.
Also, it was possible that elsewhere in the forest, there remain scattered survivors to rescue.

Unfortunately, darkness and climatic conditions forced us to wait until the next day before could start the search.

Pensive, the graying general wondered what Yiris had done and where her protege was.

If someone had been able to come back to Metel, it should have been her ...


A cave, a chimney dug in the rock sheltered a fire that warmedthe room while a thin curtain of coarse cloth closed the window,protecting asmuch as possible from the pouring rain.
Alexandre was lying on a cot near the fire, febrile. At his bedside,an old cat-woman, dressed in a white dress adorned with embroideredleaves, checked his pulse.
This done, she removed the wet cloths placed on the forehead of thewounded man to refresh them in a little water before putting them back.

On the other side of the bed, Yiris was sitting on a stool, wearing alittle black dress adorned with a white jacket, covered with darkarabesques, tied by a belt dark too.

Visibly tired, her blond hair braided, she had many bandages and freshsutures were visible on her face.
She gazed vacantly into space.

"Yiris", the old lady said, "his condition is not better."
"The fever?" The young woman asked, getting a grip on herself.
"No, it has gone down. The remedies were effective, it will quicklyresolved. The problem is elsewhere."
"But, Maya, you stopped the bleeding, right?"
"Yes,however, this is not the cause of his condition either. He suffers fromsmall sharp tremors. I fear that he will eventuallyconvulse because the drop in temperature hasn't changed his generalcondition."
"Maybe he's cold now?"
"No, they are not chills, they are nervous tremors. I think his mind issuffering. Look at him, he makes all kinds of expressions. In myopinion, the poor man lives a real nightmare and cannot wake up."

While Maya left the room, Yiris watched more closely the injured man.
Indeed, he seemed like a prisoner of a bad dream.

Until now, all attempts to make her regain consciousness had been invain, she didn't know what to do.
A few moments, eyes closed, she crossed her hands in front of her head.
In a sort of trance, she realized a series of strange gestures beforeopening her eyes brutally.
A noise disturbed her.
Having failed, she shook her head with rage.

"Dirken wants to see you!" A dark voice at the entrance to the roomsaid.
"Tell him to stay in his hole, I'm absolutely not in the mood!" Thegeneral replied curtly, annoyed.
"He insists on your commitment."
"He's a real pain in the ass"

Visibly furious, Yiris stood up abruptly and walked towards herinterlocutor.

It was a huge man, a real strength of nature, verymuscular, she just reached the bottom of his stomach. The appearance ofthe individual was strange.
He was neither a man nora wolf-man. Besides, his right eye white with blue iris was from aspecy, the second, yellow with a black eye, from the other.

"I go down to see this poor guy ... Lekan, I entrust to you thesupervision of the patient. If his condition changes, you warn me."
"Right Master!" Assented the man, bowing. I" must also remind you that we should advise Fanelia'scommand about the situation."
"Later ... promised ..."

Crossing small corridors dug in the rock, Yiris sank into the depths ofthe troglodyte building, whose maze was illuminated by numerous torches.

This place, the fortress of Irini, was somehow her house. Despite thecomplexity of the plan, she found her way without difficulty.

This was where most of the members of the tribe of which she was theleader lived. It was a small people of gatherers who also harvestedore.
Most were cats people, but a few humanscohabited with them.

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