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Jon's Tale - Part II

by Kyle "Nairoci" Roahrig


          
Our first order of business was to find out just how many of the Ceyah there were. The second was to attempt to find others in the village to help us in our plans. With a popular uprising, there would be no way for the Ceyah to hold onto the village.

            The first proved to be fairly simple. Led by a commander named Dargaard, many of the Ceyah mercenaries were notorious drunks. Careful questions during oneís drunken bout informed us that there were about two dozen mercenaries, and thankfully none of the undead horrors from my nightmares. Still, even two dozen seemed a bit much, considering our village numbered no more than fifty people.

            Unfortunately, in all our careful searching, we found none who would actively aid us except the local blacksmith, and even his help was limited. He did fashion real weapons for Jace and I, but would not help with the fighting. Neither would anyone else in the village, though we knew that most, if not all of the townsfolk hated the Ceyah occupation.

            Our former lords, the Council, had turned a blind eye to our conquest, which caused us to hate them nearly as much as the Ceyah. With little help from the inside, and none from the outside, we could not survive a straight up fight with the mercenaries. I took well to the planning of our attack, and happen to think I did a pretty good job, all things considered. An innocent looking reconnaissance showed us that there were two guards posted at all times at their barracks, one at the front door, and one at the back. I decided that Kate would take out the guard in front, and have Jace take that guardís position to hopefully avoid the suspicion that an absent guard would bring. Kate would then take down the guard in back, though there was no need for me to stay there in his place, since if you made it to the back of the building, you were standing next to the door already, and anyone would be able to tell I didnít belong there from that close.

            With no need for me at the back except to move the body, Ray and I would head into the barracks and put it to the torch, hoping that the smoke and fire would confuse the newly awoken mercenaries (they would be sleeping when we started the fire, but surely most would wake up soon after) and that we could dispatch them easily as they ran out the exits hoping to find safety. This plan would leave only the half-dozen guards that were on patrol in the middle of the night, as we would attack just a few hours before dawn. The timing of the attack would ensure that many of the guards had hangovers, and that others would be exhausted because they had just gone to bed a few hours before.

            We put the plan into action the next morning, roughly two hours or so before dawn. We wore grey hunting leathers in the absence of real armor, the leather would at least slow most weapons and cushion the blows. After a short buzzing sound, the front guard fell without even a grunt, a feathered shaft quivering in his chest. Jace quickly ran up and moved the body off to the side of the building, behind some crates, and appropriated the guardís position at the door.

            After watching that even, I ran around the building just in time to see the rear guard crumple to the ground, spitted on one of Kateís arrows. I quickly hid the corpse behind some bushes and Ray and I slowly crept inside.

            With the first part of the plan having gone off without a hitch, I suppose what happened next was deserved. We were not halfway through the door into the main barracks room when we were confronted by Dargaard himself, who was an early riser. His look of shock evaporated with a thump as my mace came up and hit him square over his heart. Though I was sure he would not survive, his scream could be heard across the village. I shouted for Jace to come in, and then dove into the midst of the dozen or so sleepy mercenaries. The first three I struck, crushing flesh and bone, were not even armed. The rest however, had used those precious seconds to find their weapons and arm themselves. Knowing I was hopelessly outnumbered, I began to back off while parrying attacks. Relief shot through me as I saw Jace burst into the room. By the time they realized he was there, he had already cut two down from behind, leaving the other seven sandwiched between us. They did not seem too worried though, and split into groups of three and four, with the larger heading for Jace. Their mistake. I fought through my three like lightning, parrying the first blow and crushing the manís side. After dodging the next attack I struck another man full in the face with a left-handed roundhouse, and used my momentum to spin around and give my next blow that much more strength. That blow from my mace struck the third man in the head, crushing his skull like an eggshell and dropping him to the ground.

            All of a sudden, a searing pain in my side erupted, causing me to drop my weapon and fall to the ground. The merc Iíd punched was not as disabled as Iíd thought, and had stabbed me right in the side. I didnít think anything vital had been hit, but I didnít really have time to worry about it either. The merc was coming to finish me off. Though I stayed silent, I made a big show of holding my side and rolling around. When he came to spit me on his blade, I lashed out with both of my legs, catching him solidly in the knee. Though Iím sure his knee snapped, I am equally sure that the blow from Rayís staff to the mercís head is what killed him.

            By the time I finally got up, I realized the fight was over. Jace had gotten two of the mercenaries before Ray showed up, and as soon as Ray got there she ambushed another. As the two squared off against each other, Jace dispatched his final enemy and he and Ray overwhelmed her opponent, putting him down with wounds all over his body. Knowing there were still more outside, we feared for Kate and rushed out of the building to help her.

            We neednít have worried. As soon as we got outside we noticed a half dozen mercenaries already on the ground, with yet another quickly joining them as we arrived. The last two realized they didnít stand a chance, and promptly surrendered. It appeared that while we were inside, Kate had corralled the mercs and shot at them from so many different directions that the prisoners swore we had a company of archers (a dozen) that we just werenít admitting to having. I was not around to interrogate them though. After they surrendered and my adrenaline level dropped, my legs gave out due to the loss of blood. My wound was much more serious than I had thought. Though organs were not hit, the wound was very deep, and would not stop bleeding.

            As I lay on the ground, staring at the sky, I thought about just how wrong my nightmares had been. The pale hawk-man of my horrors was nowhere to be seen. Instead I would die of a flesh wound in my own town, killed by some nameless merc whose body currently decorated the floor of his barracks. As I lay there, silently cursing my nightmares, Ray walked over to me and knelt at my side. She lay her tiny hands upon my wound and started whispering. I tried to tell her that I was dying, and that she should not mourn me, but I could no longer form words. I desperately wanted to tell her I loved her, and panicked when I couldnít, but suddenly felt very relaxed and peaceful; I had always heard that happened right before you died, yet I could not worry about that now.

            At the edges of my vision, a blue light began softly shining from my wound, slowly expanding until all I could see was that soft, pulsing blue glow. After a few seconds of that, even the glow faded to black as I lost consciousness.

            When next I opened my eyes, I woke with a panic. I looked frantically around, sure that I was dead and in the afterlife. I calmed down when I recognized Ray, sleeping in a chair next to my bed. Somehow sensing I was up; she quickly awoke, and stared at me for a second. Then with a squeal, and so much glee on her face that I was suddenly embarrassed, she ran over and tackled me back onto my bed. I lay there, with her clinging to me like a particularly comfortable set of clothes, and could not help but smile. With her head buried in my chest, I put my arms around her and just held her.

            Knowing that Jace and Kate were surely in the building too, and also that they were alerted to my being awake with Rayís shout and dive, it still took several minutes for them to come in, and I knew it was Jace who prevented Kate from just barging in, and I felt indebted to him for that.

            With Kateís purposeful cough, my smile got only larger, though I reluctantly released Ray. Wearing a sheepish grin of her own, Ray unwound herself from me and sat on the edge of the bed. Feeling cold without her pressed against me, I sat up myself. After a few seconds I became self-conscious when no one said anything. Confused, I began thinking about why even Kate would stay silent, when I realized something I had not had a chance to think of earlier.

            I knew who I was.

 

 

Jon's Tale Part I ] [ Jon's Tale Part II ] Jon's Tale Part III ] Jon's Tale Part IV ] Jon's Tale Part V ] Jon's Tale Part VI ] Jon's Tale Part VII ] Jon's Tale Part VIII ]
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