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

The Company: The Swordplayer (42)

October 16, 2014

The story so far.

I had most unexpectedly found myself in close pursuit of the man we’d been slowly chasing for days. As the rest of the troop bogged down in the skirmish I’d left far behind me, all my attention rested on the fleeing figure ahead.

He was, to my surprise, an excellent rider. His horse was rangy, with a long stride, and fresh; my own horse was fast, and with light armor and my slighter weight, I had some advantage there.

Even so, it was all I could do to stay on him–and a glance back told me that only one other person had escaped the melee to follow.

Ivan.

Help Wanted (85)

October 15, 2014

The story so far.

You pick up the Orb and look at the librarians. You don’t recognize either of them.

“Well,” the one on the left says, eying the Orb. “That’s one way to solve the problem.”

“It’s useless now,” the other one says. Between them, Lord Wolson groans like an angry bear, and grits his teeth.

“What do you mean?” you ask, though you’re pretty sure you know.

“The Orb will no longer function in any capacity,” the librarian on the left says. “You could use it as a paperweight, I guess.”

“Oh,” you say. “Great. Good. That just leaves one question: how do I get paid?”

The Company: The Sorcerer (67)

October 13, 2014

The story so far.

The fleeing man guided his horse among the trees with such skill that I had no doubt we had found our quarry: Cesaric, putative king, renowned for horsemanship. No wonder he’d managed to evade us for so long. He might even have done better without his companions.

I was a fair rider, but the swordplayer was Ashadin, and they were all but born in the saddle. Soon I’d lost sight of Cesaric, and it was all I could do to stay on the swordplayer’s trail.

Then my horse burst out from the trees into open grass. Both Cesaric and the swordplayer were now far ahead. But at least now I had a chance to catch up.

Help Wanted (84)

October 12, 2014

The story so far.

You can’t see, but you hear a lot of shouting and scuffling, and a loud *thunk* followed by the noise of something breaking.

You push yourself to your knees, blinking fast. Your vision clears bit by bit; first shadows appear across the blinding white, then shapes, and at last you see Wolson struggling in invisible bonds, with two figures wearing Library robes standing to either side of him.

The Orb lies on the cobblestones before them. You stand, despite the weakness in your legs, and hobble over to it.

It’s got a chip out of it now, marring its formerly smooth surface.


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