Chapter 30; 31 and 32

Chronicles of Mace

A few more long seconds pass as the two strangers eye each other up, both making sure neither has hidden accomplices about to launch a surprise attack.  Mace speaks first asking, “Who are you, what do you want, do not attempt to come nearer or to run away for my time is limited and having to chase you down will really annoy me.”

 

Mace settles a little and continues, “I’ve no wish to cause you harm unless you force my hand, just move into the open, no nearer than seven feet from me and tell your tale.  Come closer and I must take it as a threat and act accordingly.”

 

The stranger replies slowly and deliberately, “My name is Jack “O” Diamonds, and I mean no harm, as you see I am unarmed.  I am an adventurer searching for a Temple of treasures nearby, can you direct me ti it please?  Also I am told there may be people who worship the God named Cremlan there.  Who is Cremlan and what sort of people are Cremlan followers?

 

Mace frowns and seems a little surprised at Jack’s response.  He then retorts, “You speak of Cremlan, can I ask of what religion you are, and have you any proof?”

 

Jack takes a few moments to spill the beans of what he is up to, then again, obviously ready for an attack from Mace explains the following, “I am Cremlan follower who wishes to be initiated into Cremlan by a Cremlan Priest called Mileno.  It is this Temple I search for.”  Jack then slowly takes off his Arm Greaves and shows Mace the tattoo of a Web on his right shoulder.

 

Mace relaxes and un-slings his Backpack, and whilst still keeping his eye upon Jack, he pulls out some Trail Rations, and gently throws them to Jack’s feet.  Jack grabs the rations very eagerly and begins to eat the rations very quickly, all the time Mace watching him closely.  Jack also keeps a wary eye on Mace as he eats.

 

Jack finishes the rations, and takes out a piece of paper from a pouch, and throws that to Mace.  Mace reads the note as Jack tells him the note is out of date, and asks him if he is willing to help him search for the Temple and aid his quest to be initiated fully in to Cremlan.  Mace re reads the note, a shiver running down his spine as he sees his name, and considers his response to Jack…

 

The note reads…..

 

“LASTER RANGERS ABOUT TO LAUNCH RAID ON NEWLY FOUND CREMLAN TEMPLE.  TWO HEROES CALLED MANTO AND MACE FOUND ITS LOCATION BY ACCIDENT.  OUR TARGET MAY BE IN TEMPLE.  SIGNS OF BALAAMS ARMY IN AREA.  POSSIBLY BALAAM HEADS FOR STILLWATER.  TIKURIN AND MAGICAL ANVIL TO BE MOVED TO ZOON TO SUPPLY MILITIA.  REQUEST NEWS OF DREVLON INTENTIONS….”

 

                        YOURS … Besamny Howloo

 

Mace realises that this Jack “O” Diamonds has little idea of who he actually is.  He is disturbed at how much information is being circulated and wonders how Jack came in to possession of such important information.  If Mileno were to get hold of these names it would surely reach Balaam very quickly.  Mace has a calm exterior, but his mind races……………..

 

Chapter 31

 

Mace reads the note whilst the stranger keeps a close eye on his every move.  The stranger then asks for Maces response.  Mace remains outwardly calm as the stranger introduces himself as Wild Man Wilmer Gruff, and that he is a Mentalist responsible for destroying the defences of Laster and burning the Laster Rangers HQ down.  Maces mind races through the options he has, attack the man, join up until they reach Mileno, send him off on a wild Goose chase or try and take control of him, although this may be dangerous with a Mentalist.  Wilmer continues explaining that he had stolen the message from a Drevlon patrol on his way from Laster to the City.  Mace glance’s his eyes over the message once more, when Wilmer asks for it to be returned.

 

Wilmer then asks Mace for any Healing Herbs and a Sword.  Mace goes to his possessions as if getting Wilmer what he wants, whilst Wilmer tells him that Milenos and Buchards temples are widely known to the forces of good and wide open to attack.  Mace says that they must do something about this as it is a threat to all their aims.

 

Wilmer continues explaining that he plans to act as a bodyguard to Mileno, taking him North to the forces of Cremlan.  Wilmer smiles as he explains that he is well known to the forces of Amaranti dol Balaam and can pass freely among them.

 

Mace straightens up, hands back the message to Wilmer and says, “it would seem that we have similar goals, for me and my cargo are headed for Mileno, so it would be sensible for us to travel together and I would be honoured to help you in your initiation. However you must forgive me if I continue to distrust you until we’ve finally reached our destination, such caution has kept me alive so far and hopefully will continue too.”

 

Wilmer replies, “You talk of mistrust but where is your proof of Cremlan status?”

 

Mace smiles and again turns to his equipment. He turns to Wilmer and says, “As a sign of my good faith and in case we meet any trouble I will give what spare equipment I can, and this here, is my pass which I feel I can safely carry out in the open so you may have my Longsword”.  Mace slowly draws out an unmistakeable Broadsword and shows it’s marking to Wilmer.  Wilmer nods as he sees all the Cremlan markings on the Broadsword.

 

Laying a Longsword onto the floor along with a Dagger and Blanket, Mace indicates that these items are Wilmers.  Wilmer watches but doesn’t make a move.  Mace then adds, “Please continue to give me my space, I’m a touch paranoid right now, my spare Sword is yours and also one of my Daggers may you find them useful.  Hmmm, how to give them to you without endangering myself.”  Wilmer just stands and listens, still not making a move towards the equipment.

 

Mace frowns, then grins and exclaims, “I have it”.

 

Wilmer stands still as Mace seems to peer into him, then a wave of tiredness sweeps over him.  Wilmers knees slowly buckle and slowly slides to the ground asleep. Mace lets out a little, “yes” and waits a few seconds. Wilmer lies on the ground asleep; the spell has worked first time.  Mace casts “BLUR” on himself and walks around Wilmer so that he is positioned behind him.

He lifts the mighty Cremlan Broadsword above his head in an executioner’s movement, ready to cleave the enemies head off.  The blade drops on his sleeping foe.  Mace hits the body a glancing blow on the top of his head, but it is only a flesh wound.  Mace felt the Broadsword almost use a mind of its own to avoid causing much damage to the Cremlan servant on the floor.  Mace curses that he hadn’t thought of the possibility that a Cremlan artefact may indeed, not kill one of its followers!!!!!

 

Wilmer leaps to his feet in some pain, with blood pouring from the head wound.  He stumbles a few steps as mace quickly readies himself to cast a second Sleep spell.  He casts it before Wilmer has time to react, and Wilmer can do nothing about it.  However, this time sleep does not overcome Wilmer, and a loud curse emits from Maces mouth.

 

The action pauses for a few seconds as both men recalculate their moves, and decide on what tactics if any to use.

 

Mace stands gripping the Cremlan Broadsword which seems to have some will power of its own, and may reduce the damage given to Wilmer.  He is a few feet from Wilmer.  Wilmer is kneeling on the ground, recovering his composure still unarmed and facing away from Mace, and wounded. Mace knows that Wilmer must have some Mentalist powers, and Wilmer certainly knows that Mace has some Magical ability.  Wilmer is of course still unarmed…….

 

Chapter 32

 

Wilmer grabs some dirt in his hand and is about to hurl it into Maces eyes when he feels as if he has been struck by a force resembling a solid punch.  Wilmer stumbles backwards from the impact.  He seems to have been hit by some invisible, mental strike.

 

With Wilmer shaking his head to recover from the strike, Mace moves around to where the normal Broadsword is, Wilmer makes another grab of slushy dirt, sees Mace swap weapons and tries to rush him, throwing the dirt in Maces face as he moves.  Mace tries to hold his arm up in a defensive move but some of the dirt hits his face, forcing him to turn away.

 

Wilmer’s momentum carries him forward as mace wipes his arm across his face.  With surprising agility for such a large man Wilmer strikes forward with a straight front punch in a low stance, which connects with Mace in the region of his genitals.  Tears well up in Maces eyes as the pain seems to hit every part of his body in an instant.  His legs buckle and he stumbles backwards.  Wilmer falls forward onto the ground.

 

Maces fall is broken by his collision with the Horse, and although the strike was a good one by Wilmer, Mace quickly recovers, glances behind him and grabs his Shield from the Horse.  Wilmer gets to his feet and takes on a defensive stance, still with his bare hands as his only weapon.  Mace spits on to the ground as a signal that his patience has worn thin.

 

Mace growls to Wilmer, “Yield Wilmer and I will spare your life; it would seem your fate is not to end here.  Surrender now and I’ll even let you continue your journey, on that I’ll give my word…. I’ve had second thoughts on killing you outright and considering your presence had disrupted my plans I see no reason not to take your life in revenge.”

 

Wilmer holds his defensive stance for a few seconds as he considers Maces words.  Wilmer considers Maces magical powers, and that although his words sound promising he would only have to turn his back long enough for Mace to prepare another Sleep spell and it could be curtains for him this time, especially as the Cremlan Sword that may have saved his life has been replaced, by a wicked looking Broadsword.  Wilmer must maintain the pressure on this man.

 

Wilmer’s response is quick although Mace tries to block the attack with his Shield; a stronger and more accurate Martial Art attack is made by Wilmer.  Wilmer uses a flying side kick which hits Mace on his Sword arm, spinning him around.  As Mace spins back to face Wilmer, the Broadsword blade whips across Wilmer’s arm causing a small wound.

 

Both men circle around the clearing planning their next attack.  The adrenalin pumps through both bodies as this fight to the death gets even more intense.  Wilmer makes one or two fake attacks which Mace responds to with wide ranging arc swipes with the Heavy Broadsword.  Wilmer certainly has the speed, but Mace has a clear advantage with range.  As they circle each other again a strange clicking noise can be heard from within the trees.

 

Wilmer is keen to keep Mace on the move so that he cannot use anymore of his Magic, and he does this to good effect, making dummy jumps in and out of range, making Mace swipe and miss several times.  The whistling of the blade as it moves through the air warning Wilmer that if he does get hit, it could be very serious indeed.

 

After several more dummy attacks, and several rotations around each other, Wilmer makes his move with a low kick to the knees of Mace.  Mace sees the move and brings the Sword down across Wilmer’s back.  Both attacks hit at the same time, Wilmer’s kick hitting Mace on the knee, shattering the joint, but Maces Broadsword causing a long and large welt under Wilmer’s armour the length of his back.

 

Mace collapses onto one knee in agony, as one of his legs is rendered useless.  Wilmer falls flat onto his face in to the dirt and slush, stunned from the impact of Maces blow.

 

The clicking noise sounds as if it is getting nearer.

 

Although Mace is badly hurt and his mobility will be severely restricted, Wilmer is also in a poor state, and is not moving very freely, the blow on his back having stunned him badly.

 

If Mace had been fully mobile he could easily have finished Wilmer off now, but the five feet distance between the two fallen men seems a huge distance at the moment.

 

There is a pause in the proceedings as Maces leg is wracked with pain, and Wilmer tries to lift himself off the ground……