Aglaril Cycle:Chapter 03 Fire and Lightning by Rich Feitelberg

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SUMMARY: Evan is ambushed by the necromancers he seeks.

Father Evan and Sir Ambrose followed the path to the left. The granite walls in this part of the ruins were in better shape than elsewhere. The walls towered twenty feet above their heads for ten yards then stopped as they emerged into the remains of a large plaza.

Grass and weeds had overgrown the cobblestones and two collapsed stone structures lay in a heap about fifty feet from the plaza entrance, a large one of red clay bricks and a small one of granite. On the far side of the granite debris, a column of marble lay on its side in pieces about ten feet from the pile of crumbled brickwork. Ten feet beyond the marble column were worn marble stairs leading into a basement or underground passage.

Evan's men entered the plaza looking about in all directions. Ambrose and the other swordsmen were in the lead followed by Evan and the archers under his command. Ambrose took a few steps toward the pile of granite and stopped. He listened but heard nothing but the slow movements of his men, clanking in their armor.

He glanced about and saw his men shoot him questioning looks. He gestured for them to be quiet and he listened again. An eerie silence descended upon them. No one move and seconds ticked by as Ambrose listened.

The quiet was like thunder in Ambrose's ears and suddenly he was aware of a feeling; something someone was close by. He couldn't put a direction on it but it was there.

A small stone from the pile of granite rolled to the ground and Ambrose looked the granite then at the crumbled brickwork beyond. The feeling got stronger; there was evil among those bricks.

Gesturing to his men, Ambrose and his knights fanned out toward the granite rubble slowly. The knights crossed themselves and glanced at each other repeatedly. As they reached the edge of the granite pile, a lightning bolt struck one of the swordsmen; a ball of flame enveloped another.

Everyone turned to look at the noise from each blast. The knight hit by lightning collapsed and the knight on fire dropped to the ground and began to roll about, attempting to douse the flames. Some of the swordsmen near him began to kick dirt over the flames.

"Attack," cried Evan, pointing at the red brick rubble.

Ambrose looked in the direction Evan had indicated. Suddenly he spied the head of one of the mages beyond the crumbled brickwork, just as he had sensed. Instantly, he sprang forward, his men following after him. Ambrose took three strides when the necromancers loosed more lightning bolts and fireballs at them. He heard the spells impact against two of the swordsmen trailing behind him and the sound of them crashing to the ground. Ambrose, however, did not miss a step.

A volley of arrows soared overhead. Ambrose saw some of the missiles hit the brick debris; others made it over the top but whether they hit their targets or not, Ambrose could not say.

Ambrose glanced at Evan to see how he was progressing.

"Flank right," said Evan to the archers.

Evan caught Ambrose's gaze and gestured for him to flank the left side of the brick remains.

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