Chapter 8; 9 and 10

Chronicles of Mace

There are no problems getting the five volunteers, and shouts go up from Zephyr, Manto, Mace, Beque and of course Clyve himself.  The Horses are readied quickly as Clyve talks with Fresgyt who is to take over charge of the Wagons.  They won’t be able to travel until the five return though because the robbers have taken two Horses, and the other five will be with the chasing party.  Within a matter of ten minutes the chasing party is mounted and ready to go.

 

Clyve turns to the four others in the party and warns everyone to be on their guard as they do not know what they are up against, but these villains must be brought to justice.  Clyve stresses that unless there were other accomplices, they are only chasing two people.

 

Clyve, seeing everyone is ready leads the way out of the small camp, with everyone who is left behind wishing the chasers good luck, and to be careful.  Mace suggest to Clyve that they spread out during the chase, and Clyve agrees that this is what they should do after riding a few miles.  Clyve doesn’t expect the robbers to turn and fight straight away because there would be too many of them.  They will wait until the chasers are well away from the Wagons.

 

Galloping off in the direction the robbers departed in, the five pursuers chase after their foe.  The moon breaks through the clouds above, and casts a half light over the countryside.  The Horses pick their way through the few trees and bushes that are a feature of this landscape.  As the chasing riders gallop, night creatures surprised by the sudden activity run for cover and safety.  An Owl disturbed flies in to the air, startling one of the Horses, but Manto manages to control the Steed, and soon catches up with the rest of the group.   Clyve leads the way to the trail heading south to Laster and begins to slow to a Canter so that more attention can be paid to possible ambushes or surprises that the robbers may have prepared for any followers.  Beque is a Ranger and takes the lead of the group, followed by Zephyr, Manto, Clyve, and Mace.

 

Twenty-five minutes pass with no sign of the robbers, when suddenly Beques Horse seems to stumble, and unsaddles him completely.  Beque falls to the ground, as the Horse rolls tries to keep its legs and falls onto its side, which is altogether very strange.  Then somewhere ahead the unmistakeable sound of soft “pings”, and the sudden scream from Beque as firstly he is hit by an Arrow, and then seconds later two more Arrows strike deep in to his body.

 

Clyve shouts, “Take cover, Ambush.” Beque staggers to his feet, three Arrows protruding grotesquely from his body, and finally collapses on the ground, and stays motionless almost in the middle of the trail.  Zephyr falls from her Horse and dives behind a bush which will offer her some cover.  Manto dives from his Horse, and in one continued motion leaps to the other side of the trail, ducking low behind another bush for cover.  Clyve dismounts in style and dodges behind a tree, giving him some solid cover.  Mace also jumps from his Horse and pulls it in to some Trees just behind where Zephyr is cowering.

 

There is a few minutes silence while everyone’s senses strain to try and gauge exactly where the attack had come from.  Clyve then whispers to everyone, “Can anyone see where those bastards are?” 

 

Everyone answers back, “no”.

 

The tension is tremendous, as everyone stays hidden to prevent them being the next target of the Bows which seem to be hidden up ahead somewhere.  Beques body lies still on the trail as a testimony to the accuracy of the Robbers, if that is who has organised this effective ambush.

 

Maces heart pounds, as this is the sort of excitement he really hadn’t expected……… As for using his Spells, it would help if he could see where the enemy were, but they are obviously keeping their location well hidden as well.  To cast Smell Mirage now, without knowing exactly where the enemy are could be a waste, or he could be lucky!  Now is the time for heroes, judgement, bravery, and a large slice of luck.

 

Chapter 9

 

Mace peers forward from his cover, keeping as low as he can.  All is very still, and he cannot see where the enemy is.  Creeping to his Horse he ties it to a tree, and decides upon a brave flanking movement, cutting through the trees and approaching the ambush point to the right.

 

With his Horse safely tied, he moves quickly through the trees to his right, dodging, keeping low, and occasionally stopping and listening.  All remains quiet, and even the whispers that Clyve had been making have now stopped.  He looks forward and sees that he has to cover some open ground before reaching the next group of trees.

 

He readies his Shield so that it covers his body from the side of the ambush.  He looks at the ground to see if there are any obvious tripwires, which there aren’t.  He doesn’t intend to hang about though when he moves forward for that would be inviting trouble.

 

Taking a deep breath, Mace moves into the open, and runs as fast as he can towards the next group of trees.  There is no point trying to be quiet as his equipment clangs and swings about wildly as he runs.  Then to his horror he hears the unmistakeable ping of a Bow being loosed.  It came from the direction of the ambush, but he is not sure from exactly where.  Half expecting to feel some intense pain, he hears a muffled cry as someone is hit by the Bow fire.  The cry seemed to come from directly ahead of him.  He keeps his head down and continues to run.  Then just as he is about to reach the trees another ping can be heard, and this time he knows he is the target.  Thank goodness though he doesn’t get hit, but hears the sound of an Arrow whistling just past him.  A narrow miss!

 

He thumps in to a tree and clings tightly to it, breathing hard, and sweating.  Adrenalin is pumping hard around his body, but feels relief that he has made this cover and safety for the time being.  He breathes deeply for a few moments, and then cautiously begins to move through the trees.  Reaching where he had wanted to go, he crouches low and surveys the area ahead of him.  Then through the half light he spots a Horse.  The Horse looks restless, but stands still.  He still cannot see any of the attackers, and decides to wait a few moments before deciding on his next move..

 

His heart pounds, as he realises that the enemy are very close.  They are probably waiting for him to show himself again.  He still refrains from casting a spell, as he doesn’t know the exact position of the ambushers, or does he want to try his luck?

 

Chapter 10

 

Heart thumping and adrenalin running, Mace watches the Horse for a few moments longer.  He decides that speed of action should prevent the group being injured and that a delay on the approach could prove very dangerous.  He can’t be sure, but hopes that his chosen course of action proves to be the right one.  If it’s wrong it could prove very costly to Mace, even fatal!

 

He prepares the way for his attack by casting Smell Mirage on a tree he can see ahead of him.  He waits for the smell to permeate the required area, and is a little disappointed when he doesn’t hear anyone coughing or spluttering.  It may mean they have a defence against the smell or there isn’t anyone there.  It’s too late now. Head down and weaving from side to side, Mace begins his advance, half expecting the ping of a Bolt to come his way.

 

He runs forward across the open area, adrenalin about to burst out of the top of his head, when he hits the stench.  He coughs and splutters as he tries to hold his breath as the smell of rotten egg, decaying cabbage, fart, and manure hit him simultaneously.  Tears run from his eyes as he approaches the Horse, which is nervously moving from side to side.  He sees a movement to his left, but it is too late to change his plan now. Gripping his Shortsword tightly he moves in, then stops suddenly.  A figure suddenly gets to its feet next to the Horse.

 

Mace wipes the tears from his eyes and sees that a young girl, no more than 21 years old faces him.  She is well built though, about 6ft tall and quite stocky.  She has striking waist length White hair, and sparkling Blue eyes.  Mace cannot help but notice how beautiful she looks. She is wearing a Leather jerkin on top of a Beige shirt, a Green Cloak, and Black leather trousers.  She also ports a natty number in thigh length Black Leather Boots with studs all the way up the side.  The effect is finished off with Beige Leather Gloves, Black Leather studded amulets and a Black Leather studded neckband.  She begins to wave a Quarterstaff around in the air, in preparation to attack Mace.  She has a wild, violent look in her eyes, and Mace thinks that no matter how desirable this creature may look, she is going to hurt him!

 

Mace slowly steps forward, and notices the girl seems to be in some pain as she faces up to him, almost snarling as she does so.  Mace hears movement behind him and quickly glances behind to see Zephyr Firefang approach.  Mace turns just in time to see the girl spring forward in attack.  To Maces astonishment a beautiful song fills the air, and the attacking girl just stops in mid attack.  Mace also finds the song so lovely that he just stops his defensive move and just stands to listen.  Mace isn’t sure how long he is standing listening, but it ends almost as quickly as it started, and Mace watches as Clyve, and Manto spring on the girl, landing heavily on to her.  The Quarterstaff falls harmlessly to the ground.  The girl briefly struggles then gives up as it is obvious she has been totally overpowered.

 

Mace thanks Zephyr for her help, and she explains that she used her Calm Song ability to prevent the girl attacking Mace.  The girl on the ground begins cursing them all, “it’s not me you want, it’s the bastard The Punisher you want.  I was trying to look out for you all to save you from the trap he set you.  Let me go, let me go, he’s getting away.”

 

You all look at each other, then in the distance you can hear faint footsteps running away through the undergrowth, somewhere to the North of where you are.  Clyve then speaks whilst holding the girl down, “What shall we do, follow the Punisher or take the girl back to the camp, what do you all think?”

 

Mace wonders if they should follow or not, especially as this enemy may be able to set up another ambush!  They have also got the task of getting Brequets body back to the Wagons as well.