I see him. They say his name is Rick Lavos. He’s on the ground, his body engulfed in lightning. Air mage.
Sir de Roldan is the first to fall, closest to the man he reaches to knock the man out, strikes him the lightning throws him back into the wall, when he hits the ground he’s a smoldering heap of meat, no longer a man.
I start pulling my sword free.
Next is Lord de Winter, the mage is starting to stand, grinning, a half-crazed look in his eyes. He thrusts both of his cuffed hands at Lord de Winter. An arc of lightning two feet thick streaks toward Kaerick. It catches him in the face, when he slumps to the ground, he no longer has a head.
My sword is freed, I move toward the man known as Rick, but he’s too quick. I seem to be moving in slow motion, he’s moving as fast as …… lightning.
Grand Inquisitor Loreth and his two guards go down next. Or their ashes do anyhow. Rick Lavos screams toward the trio. A ball of light emerging from his chest, shooting toward his targets. When it detonates, only ash remains, falling to the ground in piles. Rick turns to me, his eyes wild and crazy.
I swing my sword, it cleaves his head in two. The symmetry is almost perfect, the blade going down over halfway into his skull.
“Noooo…” he moans out, then gasps falling to the ground in a dead heap.
I wake up in a cold sweat. That’s not how it happened. Rick wasn’t that powerful. Everyone was alive, Rick was cleansed. I never even pulled my sword that night, never had the chance, he was knocked out by the Earl Marshall before he could do any real damage.
A woman’s arm wraps around me, ” What’s wrong my love? You were yelling, bad dreams again?”
Who is….? Oh yes, my wife, the Countess, we were married a few month’s back, after I was knighted, ” Nothing, my sweet, just a nightmare.” I say, only half believing it, turning around so I can see her.
She’s dead, has been for a week by the rot on her body. ” Come, sleep with me, join me.” she says, dead meat falling off of her lips, her eyes have that grey cast to them that only a dead person or a blind person get.
I can’t breathe, what is going on. Something starts shaking me, slapping me in the face, it hurts …. what is going on?
I wake up in a cold sweat, gasping for air. She’s there. Crying, hitting at me. ” Ary! Wake up! Breathe!” she screams. My Lily in the forest. My precious flower, I breathe again, waving my hand, ” I ….. I’m fine. Just a …. just a nightmare. I’m …. breathing.” I pant out, gasping for air.
Her eyes are rimmed with tears, her pale skin is red from yelling. How long had she been trying to wake me? She shakes her head, ” No, you are not fine. You were under an attack. You did not see what I saw, you weren’t breathing Ary.” she states, getting out of the bed, still wearing her nightclothes. I’m calling Serrin, get him to get the Knights, Inquisitors, priests, anyone!” she states, heading toward the door of the bedroom, the door that leads to the study, not the gallery or the washroom.
” I said I’m fine. I just couldn’t breathe, I’ve read about this, it just means I need to relax.” I tell her. Wait, no, something is wrong. What is it? Something isn’t right, it’s right on the tip of my mind, why can’t I see what it is?
She continues to the door, opening it and turning to me, ” NO! I am not letting you die under some foul witch’s spe….” her words are cut off. Likely due to the black steel blade sticking out of her throat, practically decapitating her as it’s thrust into her neck from behind.
” No!” I scream out, reaching toward her, looking to see who is killing her.
” Told you I would get her, boy.” the man says, his teeth as black as obsidian rock. It’s the mage from the attack on the way to Seahome. He found us, but how? He twists the blade, finishing the decapitation, pulling her head up to his.
” Pretty girl. Too bad she didn’t last.” he states grinning victoriously toward me.
I wake up in a cold sheet of sweat, gasping for air.
” What in the Arien abyss is going on?” I ask, sitting up straight.
Movement to my side, a hand reaching toward me and holding me. ” What was that, love? Not having nightmares again are you?” she asks.
I look to her, half expecting her to be dead, she isn’t. She’s alive. Breathing, beautiful, two beautiful violet eyes, though much darker than any in my family. They almost have a hint of red to them. I bend down to give her a kiss, ” Nothing to worry about, Gail. Just a small nightmare, nothing to wake up for.” I state, laying back down and facing the edge of the bed.
She snuggles up against me, ” Good ary. I hate it when you have the nightmares. You are so grumpy the rest of the day.” she states, one hand reaching around me, tracing lines on my chest. She’s warm, it feels good against my back. ” Although, I do have to say that finding ways to get you to sleep are fun.” she says with a tired, but playful giggle.
I relax, start drifting off to sleep, ” Not tonight, Gail. Busy day ahead of me. Thank you for being here though, it helps me sleep.”
” I’ll always be here my sweet Ary, promise.” she states, falling back to sleep.
My eyes pop open.
I wake up in a cold sweat, my heart is racing, breathing labored.
I look around the room. Is it real? Am I in another nightmare? Am I awake?
Assess the situation.
I scan the room, looking to see what is there. Stone walls, chest, I’m in a bed. Armor hanging in a stand.
” I’m in the Keep.” I state to myself, nodding, ” Okay, we’re in the proper room. Next step, I’m a squire in the Knights Lithmorran. I’m unmarried. I’ll be Knighted soon.” I cant my head, ” Sounds right.” I cant my head again, ” Well, with the exception of the fact that I’m talking out loud to myself….”
Time to prove it.
I pull out my sword from it’s scabbard at the head of my bed. The word Faith inscribed along the blade, i drag it across my palm, reopening the scar there. ” Arien, that smarts!” I let out in a small gasp. ” Yep, I’m really awake.”
I state, laying back in the bed, fiddling in my satchel and pulling out a bandage and starting to wrap it around my hand, ” Yep, still talking to myself.”
I nod, ” Yeah, think it’s time to go for a walk.” I state, once again, out loud to myself. I pull out my armor. Not the steel, the leather, the armor I wear under the steel. It’s black, fits like a second skin, and moves with me. Best armor I’ve ever had made. I don it all. Take a black scarf and wrap that around my sword’s hilt, then strap that to my back. Then I stare at the door, paying attention to the light from the torches, stepping toward the window.
I wait there, I don’t know how much time passes, five minutes, an hour, two? Doesn’t really matter, what I’m waiting for happens. The light creeping under the door flares blue for a moment. Now. Changing of the guard.
I go out the window, hanging on to the windowsill with my fingers, then let go. I land with a roll on the hospital roof, benefit of my room’s location. Should be empty this time of night. Two minutes.
I run across the roof, jumping as I near the edge. Tricky part, hope I had enough speed. I did, clear most of the roof of the next building, wrapping my arms around the stone of the chimney of the Bakehouse. Minute and a half.
I climb the chimney, stand on it, face the training grounds, I curl into a ball, then thrust out with my legs, flipping over the remaining length of the Bakehouse, landing on the ground with a thud. The cat goes running off, it wasn’t expecting me to land there. Why in the Arien Abyss do we have a cat on the grounds anyhow? No matter, I have about a minute to go.
I run full on, right up the bleachers, then jump off landing behind them, facing the tall stone wall. Too high to jump up to, but I knew that. I turn and run along the wall. Thirty seconds.
I make it. I’m at the gate. I look around, two guards are guarding the gate. Each facing the road, but both of their heads bowed, eyes closed. No matter. I’ve made it, I catch hold of the sconce a foot above my head, pulling myself up. Thankfully it’s good craftmanship and built into the wall. Probably Vandagan. When I’m balanced on the iron sconce I reach up, more like hop up a bit. Grabbing the lip to the top of the wall, I’m up and on top. Then I’m down the other side, outside of the Keep. I hear the guards making movements. I, too, make the sign of the chalice as i walk quietly away from the gate. Beth would have been proud if she’d seen me. I stop. Wait, when I flipped off of the Bakehouse…. Was there someone at the top of the tower? I shake my head, couldn’t have been.
Soon I break into a run. And am soon joined by Cerritus and Lectos, they usually do find me. We run, I turn, heading somewhat toward Wilhelm, though that’s not my target. Half an hour later, I arrive. An old abandoned church. I step in, listening, doesn’t sound like anyone is here. I go to the confession room, let in my wolves, then close the door behind us. I always sleep better in a church. I pull out the sleeping roll that’s attached under my sword, pulling it free after removing the scabbard. I roll it out, then kneel holding the sword and scabbard up in front of me. I pray, ask for forgiveness, ask for protection. After my prayers are done, I lay in the sleeping roll, Lectos and Cerritus come and lay to either side of me, watching the door and laying down.
Warm. In a church. With guards. I should sleep fine the rest of the night. I hope. I start to doze.
” Ah fuck!” I yell out, waking up for a moment, ” How in the Abyss am I supposed to get back -in- without being noticed?” I exclaim. I shake my head, probably for tomorrow. I’ll sleep first.
I’m always here. One is on the run. One is Charalin. One is seeking… ”
” Shut up.” I say out loud, then I pass out, the darkness of sleep taking me into it’s embrace.