Matticus, with his left hand on Revis’ shoulder, and his right hand on the pommel of his sword, kept vigilant watch for any sign of trouble as they snuck into Jaded’s fort. He knew they were invisible and so they couldn’t be seen, even by the vampires, but knowing and trusting are two very different things. He kept swinging his head down look where his feet touched the ground until to nearly stumble when he couldn’t actually see his feet.
Ahead of him, Revis sighed, and whispered, “Stop that!”
Their invisibility didn’t cloak them in silence though, and despite Revis’ attempt to urge the Jester quietly to cease his infernal shenannigans before he pull them both over, the words sounded far too loud to both their ears. It set both Jester and Knight on edge.
Every creaking step thereafter caused them to flinch and cringe. Their grips on their swords tightened and Revis could feel Matticus’ left hand grasping even more firmly on the armor of his shoulder. The Knight sighed and shook his head, not for the first time questioning how a Jester became ruler of a kingdom.
They succesfully navigated the drafting hallways of the fort, and came to the expasnive, jewelled and rune covered, door of Jaded’s bed chamber. After making sure that none of her minions were around, Revis let himself become visible again. “When I count to three,” he instructed the Jester, “kick open the door.”
“Why do I have to kick it,” Matticus complained. “That sounds like a knight’s job.”
“For two reasons. One, it’ll end your invisibility spell when you attack the door. And, two, it lets me check for traps really quick before we go inside.”
“Ok. Here we go. One…Two…”
“Wait. Are we going on three, or is it one…two…three, then go?”
“You go on three. We always go on three,” Revis whispered before pausing in confusion. “Have we had this discussion already?”
“Weird. It feels like we have. I guess I saw it somewhere else then…. Anyways, let’s go. One….two…three!”
Matticus put all of his weight into the kick against the door. His foot hit right next to the doorknob. Instead of the door flying open, however, Matticus flew backwards. When he next opened his eyes, he was greeted with a grand view of the ceiling, with a few spots covered by his feet sticking up in the air. At least the kick accomplished one of the things it was supposed to, he thought after seeing parts of himself again.
Revis rushed to his side. “Are you ok,” the Knight asked. “Did it shock you?”
“No,” Matticus answered.
“Then it wasn’t magically sealed.”
Revis thought for a few seconds. He grabbed a candle off of a nearby table after an idea came to him. Using the light to peer inside of the lock, he began quietly laughing when he was done inspecting it. Matticus shot him a questioning glance. In response, Revis gently turned the knob and the door opened easily.
Upon looking inside, they saw that the room was empty. The curtains on the far side swayed lazily across the open window. Fresh candles burning cleanly in sconces in the corners provided ample light to banish any shadows that might have held their prey.
Picking himself off the ground, Matticus advanced to the end of the door, then feigning that he needed to give his sore leg a moment longer to recover he motioned for Revis to take the lead, “You were going to make sure there were no traps set for us, right?”
With a snort Revis quickly scanned the room and then stepped across the threshold, the Jester on his heels.
“Where is she?” Wondering if his failed attempt to kick down the door had given her time to escape through the window, Matticus stepped to it and peered outside, but there was no sign of her.
The Jester backed away from the opening so he wouldn’t be seen by anyone happening by, and then stopped to soothe the ache from his leg. The real pain had taken a few moment to settle in and now that he was moving around and putting his weight on it, his leg had decided it wasn’t happy with him at all for trying to kick down the door. Not for the first time, the Jester wondered if he was getting to old for this s…
“Hey, come take a look at this,” Revis interrupted Matticus’ train of thought, and the Jester went to join his knight at a large oak desk.
Revis handed Matticus a piece of parchment that had been sitting on top of the desk. It read:
We found something at Site B. You need to come see this for yourself.
“Where is Site B,” Matticus asked.
“I don’t know,” Revis countered. “You have the map.”
Matticus raised his eyebrow. It was now his time to pay Revis back for all those slights. “Yes,” he stated, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I have the map. You know, the one you put in your pack.”
Revis threw the Jester a disbelieving look as he opened his pack. He started to admonish Matticus, “It’s not…” His words died down as he pulled the map out of his pack. Looking up, he saw that Matticus’ face was one big smile. The Knight chose to ignore it and started looking over the map.
“It looks like Site B is the closest one to this fort. It should only take us a couple of hours, at most, to get there. We should probably hurry, too. Something tells me that we don’t want them to find whatever it is that they’re looking for.”
Revis shoved the map back into his pack while Matticus muffled his laughter behind his hand, disguising the action as a cough. Revis rolled his eyes and told the Jester to “grow up.” Matticus missed the comment because he was too busy coughing, though he quickly regained his composure as he saw that Revis was ready to depart.
“Do we need to make the journey invisible again?”
“Would probably be smart, at least until we are safely away from Jaded’s fort and on the trail to Site B.”
The two men went through the process of disappearing again, with Matticus once again holding onto his Knight’s shoulder, and then they slipped through the fort undetected. Once they were safely beyond the lights of the fort, the Jester and Knight resumed their visibility, and smacked their lips as if to remove a bad taste.
“Let’s not do that again.”
“What? The invisibility?”
“Well, it’s just weird.”
“We’ll see. Come on, we need to hurry.”
The Jester and Knight trapsed across the island, with Revis occasionally consulting the map to make sure they were headed in the right direction. Matticus had his doubts that Revis was reading the landmarks correctly, but wasn’t sure he’d be able to do any better so let the Knight forge ahead. Then at least if they were led astray he could place the blame on Revis. The thought of having something else to laugh about at Revis’ expense made Matticus smile again, and he nearly stumbled in Revis who had stopped suddenly in front of him.
Revis pushed Matticus back behind a large tree, joining him a second later. Each of them peered around an opposite side. Up ahead stood a camp, with all of its inhabitants gathered around a man on a small platform. The man, Revis assumed it was the foreman Len, was talking to his workers.
“Congratulations, everyone,” he exclaimed. “Our esteemed leader, Jaded, has assured me that we did indeed find what she was looking for. Tonight, we open up our kegs in celebration! Drink your fill, for tomorrow, we shall take our place at the front of Jaded’s new empire!”
As the crowd cheered at Len’s proclamation, Revis and Matticus exchanged a look. They were too late. Before Matticus could ask what their next move would be, Revis handed him his pack. “Stay here,” he instructed. “I’m going to sneak in there and try to find a few things out.”
“We need to know where Jaded is, what they found, and what the thing they found does. Hopefully, I can figure it out without alerting them to my presence. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Revis disappeared from sight. Matticus peeked around the corner. A few seconds passed when, suddenly, a voice from beside him made him jump. “By the way,” Revis warned, “don’t touch anything in my pack. There are dangerous things in there and you don’t want to get hurt.”
Matticus gave a big sigh. How did Revis know that he had planned on doing that? So, instead he focused his attention on the camp, hoping that it would keep him from being bored.
That’s when the world erupted. A blinding light made him close his eyes as the force of a huge explosion threw him backwards.