He knelt beside the body, looking the big man over.
"Looks like he took them both out with the crossbow" he observed. Picking it up, he examined it. "Strange-looking thing, but a fine weapon".
Standing behind him, his companion looked at the bodies in the distance.
"How in blazes did he manage to get both of them"?
"Beats me". He shook his head "It's impossible. First of all, a shot from that distance would take one helluva marksman". He looked at the distant corpse. He didn't see the figure behind them repel down the last slope and disappear into the landscape.
"Well, we was supposed to relieve them, but I 'spect we'd best report this".
Standing up the first one nodded. "Right. Let's get our butts back. Capt'n ain't gonna like this".
They headed back, moving clumsily through the rocks. "Hate this flippin' high country", the lead man grumbled, stumbling over a loose rock. "Friggin' cold as a welldigger's arse, can't breathe up here, always walkin' uphill".
He looked up and stopped. "Now what in hell is that"? He squinted. "It's a rope, by god. Now who you spose left a rope hanging up there"? There was no answer.
He turned to see a rock with eyes staring at him. A rock about 6'-4" with a Bowie knife in its hand. Took his head right off, it did. His buddy lay about ten yards back, his throat gushing blood all over the ground.
Cad awoke with a jolt, a horrible headache and the awful smell of sweat real close by. Somebody needed a bath!
The jolt had come from being slammed into a cliff face. He was babystrapped to Stranger's chest, who was trying to repel with about three hundred extra pounds on him.
"Gott-damn man, you tryin' to kill me"? Cad roared. Stranger grunted. he was sweating like a hog and trying to hang on about 250 feet up. He pushed out again.
"Sheee..iiii...", Cad wailed.
May 9th, 2003, 02:15 PM
"iiiittttt!... dammit Stranger!! why don't you let me just go Dragon? I will fly us up the damned cliff!!!"! He stops and sniffs... "what the HELL have you been putting on your body DUDE!!.. you stink mons height!!"
"First of all... " Stranger gruns with effort... " I am pretty damn sure a 60 foot high red dragon will be noticed by anyone within half a leauge with just one eye in their head! Second... you try smelling of roses when you have just dregged your butt through half a mile bog to rescue someone who really aought to know Grand Arcania spells are not to be messed with!"
"Oh!... good point... yes... well... just be damned carefull" Cadfael holds on tighter "I bet a levitation spell would help!" his face brightens.
Strangers stops and clings onto the rock face... he slowly counts to ten... on six he explodes! "You have a bloody Lev spell, and I am busting my kn*ckers hauling you up this freaking face!"
"Well no... I just said it would help" Cadfael looks abashed..."never had need of one... I can fly after all"
"Of all the damned annoying mad bloody people to get stuck with...." Strangers voice raises in pitch as he finally begins to lose it "I have to get stuck with you. I must need my head.....EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"
Stranger rockets up the rock face... and lands with a thump on the summit. Cadfael.. still strapped to his back taps him of the shoulder... "okay... I lied about the Lev spell, a speciallity of mine you know"
Strangers scream of rage could be heard by e-Berry as she lay in hiding.
Stranger and cadfael stagger into e-Berrys sight, she jumps and runs over to them... "I was so worried... I heard a noi..." she stops and looks at Cadfael, his left eye black and blue, she then looks at Stranger, his lip split and bleeding..."did you get into a battle?" she ask... "and how are the other guys?"
Cadfael snorts... and walks over to his horse... almost tenderly he rest his head against her neck and begins to murmer softly... his shoulder shaking with laughter.
"Erm.. me and Cad a little... erm... discussion..." Stranger shuffles his feet... "we have agreed to... erm... thingy... well" he looks at her and smiles... "Did ya miss me?"
Cadfael colapses in to roaring laughter..."Why.. you been somewhere?" he then walks to the stream to clean off.... chuckling all the way...
"I DO worry about him..." e-Berry sighs
May 9th, 2003, 02:23 PM
Stranger got serious then.
"How much reconn were you able to get done"?
"Do you know where other sentries are, and where the main force is"?
"Can we get in, and more importantly can we get in at night"?
Cad looked at him. Stranger had a hard, cold look in his eye. Aw hell, Cad thought.
"If we can get in at night, we can make them wish they'd never been born".
He said it quietly, but something in the tone made e-Berry go cold. She looked at her lover and shuddered.
May 9th, 2003, 02:36 PM
"They are spread out in a line, east to west... about a 500 yards apart, I say our only chance is at night... especially now they know we are here" Cadfael becomes businesslike..."As regards the main force... not a sign of them. I reckon there maybe one or two mages with those lot back there... this is just for early warning. To let Her know we are coming... she will know that now. It is a tall order... but we can make it through." he stops and looks at Stranger "question is... do you wanna sneek past... or let them know we will not roll over and take this?"
Cadfael climbs back from the stream... his face hard... "I for one am getting pissed off with this!" he points back towards the City "From the time we set out they have been on our trail... they are not frightened to show themselves, they are laughing at us... I say lets make then RESPECT US!!"
He looks at e-Berry... "I hope to the Goddess you have a killer instinct in that warm heart of yours... you are going to need it... WE are going to need it"
May 9th, 2003, 02:52 PM
e-Berry glowered at Cad.
"Do not mistake my petite stature and delicacy of hand and foot for weakness, Monk," she said sternly. "I can hold my own with the sword, and I know you saw my kill yesterday.....there were not a few of the Kobold who lived not to see the sun go down."
May 9th, 2003, 03:01 PM
Cadfael takes e-Berry's face in his hands and kisses her brow...
"I doubt not your courage" He says... "but a Kobold is a Kobold... can you kill a man My Lady? Especially when he begs you for life... word of what we do must not get out... there must be no survivors, no prisoners"
"I Will do as I must" she replies..."although I do not have to like it"
"Good... on both counts, do not ever get to like it" he tells her.
May 9th, 2003, 03:14 PM
The Stranger looked at Cad incredulously.
"Sneak past them? You think I'm going to leave anybody at my back"?
""No, I say we go in at night. See if we can spot the mages and take them out first.
"We' re going to have to take extra precautions, though. The Mages may have set up early warning spells".
"My thinking is, let's you and me go in tonight. Baby, you're going to have to hide out here. No way could we get you in without making noise.
"Come daylight, you mount up and ride through, ready to kill everything that moves".
"If Cad and I do our job right, it won't be many, and the ones you do see will be running hell for leather out of there".
He looked at Cad. "Sound right to you"?
May 10th, 2003, 12:17 AM
The young corporal hit the far wall with such force his shoulder was broken in two places. His assialant advanced on him... intending to kick the life from him, but was forstalled by his aide...
"General... we must have his report" the aide bowed, hoping he had not gone to far "Obviously... this enemy has power we did not bargain for"
"Report... REPORT!!!" thundered Tuskna "the only report I am hearing is of incompitance!! It is I who did not bargain for idiots under my command... I have 400 men watching the pass... it is 3 miles wide" he slams his fist into the table, making the goblets and platers jump, one goblet overturn an spill red wine over the map laid out there... Rufus jumps to contain the damage "I should know if cockroach farts out there.. and two.. TWO!! men waltz in and take out four of the watch!"
"Like I said Sir" Rufus stammers... "Our inteligence must be wrong.... we thought there would only be two leaving the City, it appears there are now three... if we are wrong about that, could we also be wrong about just who, or what we are dealing with?"
"Just wait untill bloody King Tarsus hears of this" Tuskna said..."My balls will hand from Tarmalian's city gate!"
"It is not the King we should worry about" Rufus blurts, before he realises just what he is saying "It is that Old Hag" his face turns ashen when he realises his words.
Tuskna steps away from the striken man..."You damned fool... are you trying to get us all killed... are you trying to get me killed!"
Rufus looks around the command tent... like a rabbit waiting for the fox... Tuskna holds his breath... minutes pass... then finally he breaths again... "God... I am getting to old for thi..."
Rufus screams as his heart is ripped by unseen hands from his body... Tuskna screams and reels back, his face a mask of terror... then the voice comes again... "The fool was right... you have underestimated your enemy. You have something more dangerous than you can ever imagine coming towards you... You have The Druid, The Lady, and The Dragon... fall on your knees and thank your Gods the fourth is not with them. Now go... prepare yourself"
Tuskna runs from the command tent... his body running with cold sweat. he falls to his knees and breaths deep, his lungs grasping for air..."Oh by the Gods help me" he moans... looking to the sky. He almost wets himself when a raven flies overhead... screaming over the troops below.....
May 10th, 2003, 07:33 AM
Though disappointed that she was not to accompany them, e-berry knew Stranger was wise to leave her here for the time being. She was not familiar with the enemy they faced, and would do more good "cleaning up" after their sortie.
"I am ready for them, my love. I will not fail you."
Stranger took her hand and brought it to his lips.
"You could never fail me, A'maelamin," he said, kissing her fingers softly. "But now we must make ready."
May 10th, 2003, 07:33 AM
He had been lying there for two hours. It had not been difficult, really. These troops were average at best, certainly not like the Volkar of the old days. Those savage, wily men of the mountains had near killed him a dozen times or more.
Theses poor boys were mere conscripts, hauled in from farms, jails and alleys to serve the whims of- who? No matter, they were about to pay the price for lack of dedication, lack of training and lack of attention.
There were many of them. They had to have a base camp somewhere. These few had been easy to spot. Like most bored sentries, they just couldn't sit still.
The rocks hurt their butts, their nicotine habits took over too often, and some of them even had little flasks of whiskey.
Conscripts. That could make the whole thing easier. How much could they take without deserting? Something cold and icy descended on The Stranger's soul, something from a long time ago that he had never wanted to see again. As the sun went down behind the mountain, he began an imperceptable, patient stalking of the first sentry. In her hiding place e-Berry looked towards the mountain, her heart racing. She suddenly felt very alone.