The Company: The Warrior (45)

October 29, 2014

The story so far.

I knelt by the swordplayer’s side. Her body relaxed on the ground. Her eyes blinked. She groaned, her hands reaching for the wound that speared her front to back.

“Don’t move,” I said, though I couldn’t think what could be done for her. We had a field healer with us, but anyone with the skill to save her life would be back with the main company.

Olemilekan stood back from us, his face expressionless. I wondered whether he’d seen this, too, or whether his vision had enabled him to save our captive at the expense of one of our own.

“Get…the Ashadin,” the swordplayer gasped. A trickle of blood ran out the corner of her mouth.

“What?” I asked, stupidly.

“The Ashadin…with the troop. Get them.”

The Company: The Warrior (44)

October 28, 2014

The story so far.

“Look out!” I shouted, and she spun, her own longer sword coming out of the sheath at her back so fast that I never saw the blade.

Olemilekan shouted something in his own language, reaching toward the swordplayer with his hand outstretched.

The swordplayer froze. It took me a moment to realize that she had not stopped of her own accord. Olemilekan’s sorcery kept her from moving.

Our quarry’s blade sank up to half its length into her midsection.

The sorcerer’s companion and I ran forward together. She reached the man first, and kicked him backward so hard that he lay still on the ground.

The swordplayer, still frozen, slumped to one side, her eyes wide open.

The Company: The Warrior (43)

October 26, 2014

The story so far.

I looked from the ‘Ke woman to the swordplayer in confusion. This made no sense at all.

“Why would she want to do that?” I asked. In a moment, I had the answer: that, not turning Laszlo’s sorcerer in to the authorities–and thereby catching Laszlo up in the resulting prosecution–would be her vengeance for being dragged into this.

I turned to the swordplayer. “If you’re contemplating it, don’t. The Jarl is not kind to those who counter or fail to carry out his orders.”

She stared at me in confusion. “I’m not going to kill him! Why does everyone keep–“

Behind her, the man on the ground lurched. His blade came out from under him, sweeping toward the swordplayer’s unprotected back.

The Company: The Swordplayer (48)

October 25, 2014

The story so far.

Believing that I apprehended his purpose, I put myself between the sorcerer and the man on the ground. Olemilekan was a sorcerer, not a swordfighter.

And if he decided to use sorcery, I had a little of that at my disposal, as well.

“Stop!” Ivan shouted. “What are you doing?”

“What a good question!” I shouted back. “It’s all our asses if Olemilekan kills him.”

“He’s not going to kill him,” the sorcerer’s companion said. “He saw you kill him.”

The Company: The Swordplayer (47)

October 24, 2014

The story so far.

Olemilekan rode up to us at a flat run, then reined his horse in so hard it reared, slid from its back, and ran toward us. Behind him, his companion followed suit, shouting something in their own language.

Ivan whirled, staring up at them. The sorcerer interposed himself between Ivan, and myself and the man lying on the ground.

“What’s this about?” I asked, but the sorcerer gave no indication that he’d heard, nor understood if he had. “What’s going on?” I directed to his companion, as she reined in and dismounted.

“He saw something,” she said. Olemilekan drew his sword.

The Company: The Swordplayer (46)

October 22, 2014

The story so far.

Ivan hesitated. “You’re not going to…”

“Going to what? He’s not going anywhere.”

The man lying on the ground groaned. His leg was twisted under him. Maybe not broken, but he seemed unable to rise. The heavy armor he wore was a hindrance. He had a sword, but it was pinned under him. “See?” I said.

Ivan started to say something else, then gave up. “I’ll get the troop leader. Don’t go anywhere.”

“I hadn’t intended to,” I replied, as he got back on his horse. Perhaps he was still sore over our previous conversations.

Far back, the sorcerer and his companion emerged from the copse.

The Company: The Swordplayer (45)

October 20, 2014

The story so far.

I reined my horse to a halt and leaped from the saddle. By the time I’d reached the other rider’s side, his horse was long gone. Moments later, Ivan drew up, his horse in a lather.

Our quarry groaned and tried to rise. “Don’t move,” I advised him. “I won’t hurt you, but you may have injured yourself.” His horse had been going flat out when my arrow had taken it in the leg.

Ivan’s gaze darted from the man to me. “What now?”

“What do you mean, what now? This man is probably the one we were after. If you want to make yourself useful, you could fetch the troop leader and tell her that.”

The Company: The Swordplayer (44)

October 19, 2014

The story so far.

The quarry glanced back once, saw me gaining on him, and gave his horse his head. The horse leaped ahead, running flat out.

My own mount was already running as fast as I dared let him on this uncertain ground. While he could manage his top speed longer than the other horse–Ashadin-bred, and carrying a lighter rider–the quarry might still outdistance us.

I unlimbered my bow and nocked an arrow, training my point of aim on the fleeing horse. With any luck, I wouldn’t kill it.

I let the arrow fly. Even as I reached for a second arrow, the first struck the horse’s hindquarters. The animal stumbled and slacked speed, favoring its right rear leg.

The rider slid to one side, overcorrected, slid to the other, and then fell from the saddle and lay still.

The Company: The Swordplayer (43)

October 18, 2014

The story so far.

It was oh so tempting to rein in and charge back at the man I held responsible for my position. I hadn’t cried the sorcerer when I could have–a fireball bursting over the copse we’d left behind told plainly what he was up to–but Ivan was well within reach.

Then again, so was our target, and with his capture I could buy out my contract and be free of the lot of them.

Not as satisfying, but far more practical.

The ground beneath us was uncertain, but I had a good horse. I slacked the reins and let him run full-out.

Help Wanted (86)

October 17, 2014

The story so far.

The senior librarian sits at a desk of size and depth intended to intimidate. You sit across from her. Between you rests the Orb, the tiny chip out of it marring its otherwise smooth surface.

“It no longer has any value,” the librarian says. “It’s just glass.”

“Crystal,” you correct her. “The way I see it, I’ve rid the city of a dangerous artifact and finally given you justification to charge Wolson with a crime. I’d say that’s worth at least the commission he offered me initially.”

The librarian sighs and regards you for a long moment. “How much was the commission?”

You tell her.

“Really? I’d have charged more.”

You contemplate telling her that she could always pay you more, then. But you have another idea.

“I’ll make sure to remember that, the next time the Library needs any similar jobs done.”

And when they do, you’ll make sure to get paid in advance.

END


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