Cythera Chronicles: The Shadow Warriors: Chapter five

  • Search and Rescue

    "Hang on down there!! Eyolf? Victor? Rogan? Anyone!?"

    Shortly, Eyolf came running towards Talos with his axe ready for combat. Gheed followed him running in a quite clumsy manner, carrying the sack with supplies. "What is it?" he asked.
    "There's someone trapped in the well," Talos said, "we have to get him up!"
    Eyolf approached the well and looked down into the darkness as he shouted: "We'll get you out of there! Are you okay?" His voice echoed down the well.
    After a three-second pause, a voice responded from the darkness... "I... think my leg is broken. I can't move... and I took an arrow in my shoulder, it's bleeding pretty bad," the voice sounded more desperate now, "HELP ME!"
    "Settle down, we'll get you out of there!" Eyolf responded and looked at Talos, "We need a second rope. He will have to tie it around his waist and chest... then we can drag him to safety."

    "I'm on it," Talos answered, "I think I saw a store not far from the gate. There have to be ropes of some kind there." Talos was already on his way, running in that direction.
    "Okay," Eyolf answered as he ripped the arm off his shirt and threw it into the well. "Use this to stop the bleeding!" he shouted. "I'll go get Rogan," he said to Gheed, "you stay here and make sure nothing happens to the guy down there."
    Gheed was about to protest as he glanced nervously around, but decided to stay; the well was placed in the top west corner of town and nothing could approach Gheed without him noticing it first. Still, he wished that he had never come to Kaleeah in the first place.

    When Rogan was finished searching the tavern, he had filled his sack with cheese, bread and some wine. He turned around as he was about to leave the tavern, looking at the dead bodies... a lot of them killed as they were eating their last meal. "These bastards are good," he thought, "no sign of battle, except the corpses and the occasional bashed-in door, and no one here noticed anything before it was way to late." Rogan jumped as he heard footsteps behind him and, given the situation, drew his sword quickly. "Eyolf. You scared me."
    "We could need your help," he answered, "there's a man trapped in the well. We have to drag him up, Talos is looking for a rope."
    Rogan stepped over the doorstep and outside. "Show me the way... my work here is done... seven dead bodies in here," he said with a sigh. He closed the door behind him.
    They started to walk towards the well, and Rogan turned to Eyolf and said, "Can I ask you something?"
    Eyolf looked back at him. He drew his shoulders. "Sure."
    "There's just something that's been nagging me for some time... are you not worried about your brother? You said he lives here, and..."
    Eyolf interrupted with a calm voice " Lived , Mr. Rogan, lived..." he took a deep breath before he continued, "I went to his house, no one was there. I also noticed his favorite bow was missing. Ragnar is fond of hunting, and has his own cabin in the forest north from here, where he spends much of his time. I choose to hope he is there and all is well with him."
    Rogan nodded and responded, "then he may very well be one of two villagers that survived the massacre. We could go to the cabin after we're done here and check up on him maybe?"
    "Sounds good," Eyolf said, "haven't seen the man for a long time... actually, I was planning to pay him a visit sometime this week." Instantly, Rogan felt much better. At first he had been deeply concerned and worried that Eyolf might be a traitor, co-operating with the enemy. But he settled down now. Eyolf didn't notice the Acertainment spell Rogan had cast, confirming that Eyolf was telling the truth.

    Talos found the store and went inside. The door was bashed in, so entering the shop was no problem. As expected, the shopkeeper had a lot of ropes for sale. Talos went past the counter to grab one and nearly stepped on what used to be that shopkeeper, executed with a single arrow. Talos frowned. He took a blanket and laid it over the dead man. "Rest in peace," he muttered silently. A pail of water stood in the corner and Talos took it as well. Then he went to the gate, which wasn't far away. Lukyan needed something to drink, and they needed the stretcher for the man in the well. His foot was not necessarily broken, but nevertheless he could not walk.

    "I can see your health is improving already," he said with a smile when he saw Lukyan wide-awake on the stretcher. He went up to the paladin and gave him some water.
    "Aah, refreshing," Lukyan said with a pleased voice when he had swallowed the water, "I just have to rest a little, and then I think I will be able to walk again... in fact, I feel like getting up right now!" Lukyan was a paladin, a fighter. And lying still on a stretcher was not his idea of a good time. Victor smiled. If something awful would happen to Lukyan, his friend and commander, when he was there and could not prevent it, it would most certainly never allow Victor to forgive himself.
    "Great," said Talos, "it seems like we may need that stretcher for someone else..." Victor raised an eyebrow and looked at Talos. After explaining the matters to his companions, Talos helped Victor carry Lukyan to the well, where the others were waiting for the rope. They too were very pleased to see Lukyan getting better. Not only was he a excellent fighter, but also a great comrade.

    Talos threw the rope to Eyolf, who shouted to the man in the well: "I'm going to give you two ropes! Tie them around your waist and chest and we'll drag you to safety!"
    "Okay, just hurry up!" was the response. The man was getting impatient, and he was right; the sooner they got him up, the sooner they could get out of the village. There was always a chance that the attackers could return, and if they were of the same kind as the ones they encountered in the forest it wouldn't be anybody's wish to stay and fight them. Eyolf threw the ropes to the man, still holding one end of each rope in his hands. Then there was silence for about a minute before they got an answer from the man, "Done, drag me up already!"
    Eyolf and Rogan grabbed one rope, Victor and Talos took the other while Gheed opened a sack and found some bread and cheese. The man was probably hungry, he thought, and it was a great excuse for getting a snack.

    "All well down there?" Rogan yelled.
    "As good as it gets!" the man answered.
    They dragged to the full extend of their powers, and after a few minutes which felt more like half an hour, the man was rescued. He rolled off the edge of the well and to the ground. The four men fell to the ground as well, Victor landed on Gheed, which resulted in swearing and moaning.

    Everyone got up, Rogan helped the man to his feet and untied the ropes. However, the man quickly sat down again because of his bad leg. The right arm of his robe and partially the chest was covered in blood. Eyolf's shirt's arm had fortunately stopped the bleeding, tied carefully around the man's arm. Gheed passed him some bread and cheese, which he accepted with great pleasure. "Thank you," the man said while chewing on some bread, "You fellas saved my life!" The man, a tall, skinny person in the mid-thirties wearing a dark blue robe smiled at his rescuers.

    "Just happy to help," Rogan answered, "My name is Rogan and this is Victor, Talos, Eyolf and Gheed... and Lukyan there on the stretcher." Lukyan stretched and got up, he walked around a bit to see if his legs were still working. The man shook hands with everybody.
    "Pleased to make your acquaintance, noblemen," he said with a smile, "My name is Theseus, and I'm the alchemist here in town." Rogan nodded and smiled at Theseus, but his expression turned more serious as he asked, "You were attacked. Judging by your... highly abnormal hiding place I'd say you were in the middle of the frenzy. Can you tell us anything about the attack?"

    He swallowed the rest of the bread and started. "Well, let's see... I was on my way to Judge Bèlfegor to deliver some potions he requested the other day. So I locked the door to my shop and started to walk when I heard a scream from the tavern. I turned around and looked and there I saw several men... at least I think it was men... wearing black robes. I could see three, but there were more of them coming. They went in different directions, into people's houses... suddenly four more of them exited the tavern and headed for the barracks. I dropped the potions and ran towards the courthouse while I yelled 'We are under attack!' over and over again. I had just about reached the courthouse when a couple of them intercepted me. Thank the Maker they were carrying blades and not crossbows, or they would have skewered me in seconds! I managed to outrun them, but more came and I was forced to run towards this corner. To avoid being killed, I jumped. An arrow hit me in the shoulder as I fell, and I damaged my leg when I hit the ground... This well has been dried out you see. Been there for several painful hours, until you guys showed up."

    "Glad you made it," Talos answered, "seems like you're the only one who did. We haven't been to the courthouse yet but we have found many bodies."
    "Seventeen," Rogan said with a sad expression.
    Theseus was silent for a few seconds, thinking... before he turned to the men and said eagerly, "Twenty-three people live here, maybe some are still alive!"
    "Seventeen bodies. If Eyolf's brother is still alive we have nineteen people accounted for," Rogan said.
    "Ragnar?" Theseus asked. Eyolf confirmed it with a nod and Theseus continued, "I spoke with him a few hours before the attack. He was going to his cabin for some hunting so I sold him some clear mind potions.
    Rogan turned to Victor and said, quiet so that Eyolf didn't hear: "That could mean he bumped into the warriors on the way to his cabin. But let's assume he's alive and well." Victor nodded. Eyolf didn't hear what Rogan said, but that didn't mean that he didn't understand. Rogan felt sorry for him. All he had now was hope.

    "After we have searched the courthouse, we head for Ragnar's cabin. Eyolf will lead," he announced.
    The men helped Theseus get on the stretcher. "If it's not too much trouble," he said, "I would like to get some things from my shop before we leave."
    Talos and Gheed helped carry Theseus to his shop, Eyolf went to stand guard by the gate and the others headed for the courthouse.

    Victor opened the large metal door with a key he got from Theseus. Strangely, this door was not bashed in like the rest of the doors were. "Maybe they didn't get this far," Victor thought hopefully as he went inside and found himself standing in a room with a large table and several chairs. This had to be the court of Kaleeah. None of the men had been to Kaleeah for several years and thus did not remember much of it.
    Victor took a few more steps into the room and looked around, admiring the many paintings and tasteful decorations in the room.

    Suddenly, the silence was broken by a scream. Victor turned around, only to be hit in the head with a large candelabra. He fell to the floor, swearing.

    Rogan and Lukyan ran through the door and inside when they heard the scream followed by Victor's swearing. They drew their swords with lightning speed and forced Victor's attacker to the floor.
    The attacker, to their surprise a young woman, screamed and waved her arms and tried to kick Rogan, but they held her down.
    "Easy, we are friends!" Lukyan shouted. Obviously, he scared her a lot, because she settled down quite quickly, but was still breathing heavily and with fear in her eyes. Fear of dying.
    "Thank the Maker!" she stuttered after a few seconds, her eyes shifting from Lukyan to Rogan and back to Lukyan again. "I-I thought y-y-you were t-t-them!" She had trouble talking and shivered.
    "But we are not," Lukyan answered calmly, "they are gone now and we are here to help".

    Both Rogan and Lukyan got up as a door in the far end of the room opened. Out came two men, armed with a broom and a decorative axe. Behind them was Judge Bèlfegor, an old man dressed in a nice robe.

    "We are friends," Lukyan repeated and turned to the men so they could see his armor. He was wearing a breast plate with the Seventh Legion's symbol -a lion holding a battle axe- engraved. The two men remained still but put down their "weapons".
    "Then everyone is accounted for, with the exception of Eyolf's brother," Rogan said with a smile.

    Judge Bèlfegor walked past the two men and approached Rogan and Lukyan. "What's the situation?" he asked. Even though he had been forced into hiding and the situation of his town's inhabitants was unknown to him, he still seemed like he was in control. "It is with heavy heart that I say this, Judge Bèlfegor," Rogan replied, "there is only one survivor except the four of you. We are not yet sure about Ragnar, brother of Eyolf. We fished Theseus the alchemist alive out of the well a while ago."

    The Judge's expression turned from strong and secure to sad and confused. He made his way to a chair and sat down. The young woman started to cry and the two men tried to comfort her while comforting themselves. To them, the situation seemed more than hopeless. Rogan and Lukyan tried their best to comfort them.

    "Who did this?" one of the men asked, enraged. His expression alone made it clear that he was willing to kill whoever murdered his fellow villagers if he only could get within an arm's reach of one of them.
    "We are not quite sure," Lukyan responded, "We managed to kill some of them in the woods... I myself was injured by one."
    Victor got up from the floor, rubbing his forehead, swearing. The young woman was wiping her tears and was tried to apologize. "No hard feelings," Victor said with a warm smile, "everyone can make mistakes. Let's get you to safety now."
    The two men helped the woman up from the floor and Judge Bèlfegor got up and walked towards the front door. They set course for the gate, ever so vigilant, and met up with Talos and Theseus.

    "I'll go with the survivors," Lukyan suggested, "I'm still weakened and we all need medical attention."
    "Very well," Rogan answered, "we must go to the cabin and see if Ragnar is all right. We can meet back in LandKing Hall."

    Lukyan agreed. The survivors, along with Theseus, gathered around him as he cast a Direct Nexus spell. They shimmered and disappeared into thin air.

    "Wait up! Wait uuup! " Gheed came running towards the men, his hands filled with food and oboloi.
    "I knew there was someone missing!" said Talos and looked at Gheed.
    Gheed threw everything in his hands to the ground, hitting Talos' toe with a big piece of cheese. "Don't tell me they left?" he shouted.
    Talos laughed, "Too late, you will have to come with us... unless you would like to stay here then."
    Gheed frowned.

    "At least we saved a few people," Victor said, noticeably disappointed and sad. He knew that it would not be the end. The mysterious warriors came out of nowhere, massacred nearly an entire village -the people surviving were just extremely lucky- and returned to nowhere. And it was then the thought came to him. What about the man in the tavern? The one who died telling them about the attack? It was a long walk to Kaleeah and this man ran all the way to Cademia. What if the warriors let him go? What if they were on the move, targeting something bigger and they wanted to tell the world about it? Victor turned around and looked at Rogan, and judging by his expression, he was thinking exactly the same thoughts.

    To be continued

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 11-04-2002).)

  • Good job, Rogan! This is a very interesting story. I'm glad that you're active again.

    Slayer's Guide to Punctuation

    Incorrect: The man said: "hi there".
    Correct: The man said, "Hi there."

    Slayer's guide to Cythera:

  • Let's list the things Slayer does for us:
    Slayer's Guide
    Editing Chrons
    Moderating Cythera
    and now (drumroll please)
    GRAMMAR!!! :D

    "Look, a distraction!" -Fletcher Dostie

  • Nice, Rogan! You're doing a very good job of creating an escalating tension. I would say I can't wait for the next part, but since it's already posted, I don't have to. ;)

    "The e-mail of the specious is more dangerous than their mail" - Tom Holt, 'Snow White and the Seven Samurai'

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