"We can always back out of this, you know? If you don’t want to face your dad, we don’t have to. And we’ll go with you. I’ll go with you.”
Those words echoed through her head while she watched Skrag, strong valiant Skrag, fall to his knees. Sweat and blood dripped into his dark eyes, oozing from his forehead and eyes. Thick shoulders trembled as he tried to regain the breath and strength that had been knocked from him. Seeing strong Skrag, her protector, on his knees with pale green skin frightened her.
The assassin twirled his blade, preparing to sink the blood-stained dagger in Skrag’s exposed neck. D’Nias released a primal roar as she pulled her bow forth and shot two arrows at the assassin. The first arrow whizzed past his head, pulling the attention from Skrag. The second arrow embedded into his arm, causing him to stagger backwards. Unbridled rage fueled D’naius’s stride as she dropped her bow to the side and drew the Oculous. Snarling as she rushed to Skrag, “You can’t have him.” “D’Nias, run!”
She ignored Aramel’s warning, standing her ground between him and the assassin her father sent. A feral smile reached the assassin’s face.
“Ah Princess, the king wishes to speak with you and you alone. I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave your friends behind and come with me.”
The blades twirled expertly in the creature’s hands as she began to circle as though he were a predator. There was a faint humming in D’Nais’s ear but she ignored it. Her light purple eyes flashed with pure rage as she watched the assassin, waiting for his move. D’Nias summoned the power swirling deep in her soul, gathering as much of it as she could. An arm raised to throw a blade at D’Nias but,- “ Stop.”
Silence took over the battlefield as the other attackers turned their attention to D’Nias, her eyes now a searing white as she lumbered to the assailant. Her light silver locks blew around her face and horns as she outstretched her hand. “You will drop your weapons.”
The silence was broken as metal clanged to the ground, blades skidding across the stonework. All eyes bore into D’Nias as she waited for the last weapon to drop.
“Run. Run until your legs can’t carry you anymore. And then, you will crawl. Do not stop for anyone or anything.” Hesitation. The thugs began to mutter, seeming to start to break free from the spell she’d managed to keep. With a flick of her tail in annoyance, she pushed the magic forward. “I said RUN.”
Feet began to beat a harsh cadence into the ground as they fled the campsite. Fatigue hit D’Nias but she fought off the urge to collapse as she skidded to the ground at Skrag’s now prone figure. Blood was dripping from a gash in his side, turning the dirt into dark muck under him and the scent of copper filed the air. A heart-wrenching groan escaped Skrag’s lips as D’Nias placed her trembling fingers over the wound and summoned what little magic she had to knit the skin close. Light sparks shot from her fingertips and flickered out. “Damn it! Come on!”
Tears began to spill down her cheeks as she pressed her fingers a little harder than she intended, willing the magic to work. Eventually, purple light spilled from her fingers and knitted Skrag’s ripped skin together, the bleeding finally coming to an end. Shakily, D’Nias fell back from her knees and collapsed to the ground to accept the exhaustion. Skrag began coughing and rolled over in a push up position.
Eutax’s metallic arm reached out to Skrag. “Uhm, I think we should probably leave. I don’t know what she did, but I have no idea if it will wear off or not…” Skrag took the extended hand and allowed Eutax to help him up. Aramel offered D’Nias a swig of water from his flask. Once she quenched her thirst, he popped the lid on. “You’re right,” D’Nias agreed, “let’s get up.”Aramel reached down to D’Nias and helped her off the ground. Her legs began to shake, and she leaned into Aramel. Instinctively, he pulled D’Nias a bit closer as he fumed. “Where is Randall and the guards?! Aren’t they supposed to be here to prevent things like this from happening?”
As if on cue, the orc and following guards burst through the trees. Randall scanned the scene and his eyes hardened. “They took us by surprise.” He studied Eutax’s attempt at assisting Skrag into the wagon. “You’re hurt. We failed you.”
“Well, it may have been close,” Eutax chimed in “But no one died this time. So, there’s that!” Aramel turned his back to Randall and face D’Nias, his hands cupping her face searching for cuts. “Are you hurt?” D’Nias wearily shook her head at the elf and batted his hands away. “No Aramel. I’m not hurt. I’m just tired.” Satisfied with the response, Aramel helped D’Nias in the cart. “You two nap while we travel. We can take shifts. The further away we are from this place, the better off we’ll all be.”
Skrag was already laying in the wagon floor, his eyes closed as the wagon rocked with everyone’s weight as they clambered in. D’Nias sprawled out next to him, trying to catch her breath. There was a thick slap of the reins and the mule took off at a fast walk. “Gods damn it…”
Skrag rolled his head to look at D’Nias, concern etched in his voice. “What’s wrong?” Her arm was thrown over her eyes. “You were wrong. I was wrong. I can’t back out of this now…even if I wanted to, my father would send more assassins after me. After you, and Aramel, and Eutax. I didn’t want to put you guys in danger.” Sniffing, D’Nias began to furiously wipe her tears but stopped as Skrag’s fingers laced with hers. His tone soft, “I told you, no matter what you decide to do I’ll be with you. We knew what we were getting into when we started this craziness.” He squeezed her fingers in comfort.
“Well, that’s up for debate. I didn’t know that by traveling with you assholes I’d put my life on the line. I just wanted to be a pirate king!”
There was a soft laughter that filled the night air.
Eutax’s voice cut through, “So D’Nias? What did you do to them?” D’Nais’s heart fluttered. “Uh, I don’t know? I just saw that Skrag was in trouble and I thought he was going to die. I felt this…surge of energy and I just called on it. So, I’m not sure?”
There was an awkward pause that the creaks of the wagon and the mule’s steps filled. “Huh. I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”
A smile tugged at the exhausted bard’s lips. “We’ll see, right?”