Hey everyone! Hope everything is going well in your neck of the woods. Wait… do woods have necks? If so, what are they for? Are there heads of the woods? Arms? Legs?
Weird…. anyway, here’s more story.
“The dragon is coming?” Plex asked. “Now?”
“There are two people here who have resisted her dominating will,” the elf woman replied. “Do you really think she would let that stand?”
Plex cursed, but couldn’t refute her logic. Lavalandinarial kept people in line through fear and mind magic. If there were people that were resisting both of those things, she needed to take them out before they could rally others. He was a threat to her, and he knew what the dragon did to threats.
Suddenly, he felt very tired. Plex was having trouble remembering the last time he had been asleep. This day seemed to go on forever. A lot had happened to him in that short amount of time, as well. Given all that he had been through, it was tempting to lay down and rest.
He would never do that, though. If he laid down, he would die. His family would die. His friends would die. His kinsmen would die. And the dragon would win. That was something he couldn’t allow. She would have to kill him before he’d admit defeat at her hands. If he didn’t do something quick, that’s exactly what would happen too.
By this time, Gilania’s team had managed to kill most of the Honor Guards who were harassing them, though it had cost them dearly. Only about a dozen of them were left. To his relief, he saw that his sister was one of them. She was injured, though. Her right eye was covered in a bandage. Plex started to get up to check on her. Gilania waved him off.
“It’s above my eye, not in it,” she yelled.
Plex was going to ignore her and rush over there anyway, but the look she shot his direction told him that he’d receive a fist for his trouble if did.
He looked around at the rest of the scene. A few of her teammates held the remaining three Honor Guards at sword point while the rest fought over what to do with them. Most of them were calling for their heads while the others tried to hold them off. Plex lowered his gaze to the elf woman he had just help free from the dragon’s dominance. What if those three were just like her?
“There are others like you, right?” he asked her. “People forced into doing the dragon’s bidding through magic?”
“If I had to guess,” she answered, “I’d say it’s about half. Half of them join up because they agree with what the dragon is doing, and the other half are those who the dragon wants for their skills, but who won’t fight for her willingly.”
“Do you know which are which?”
She thought about it for a moment before nodding. “Out of the ones who were here with me? Yes. I know which ones joined willingly or not.”
Plex pointed to where the three were trying to back away from the closing mob. “Are any of them under her spell?”
It took a moment for her eyes to focus, but she eventually said, “Yes. One of them is under her spell,” and then she passed out.
“Great timing,” Plex grumbled. Then he yelled where the three guards were surrounded, “One of them can be turned to our cause, the other two need to be killed. We don’t have time right now to figure it out. The beast is coming here, now.”
Roars of outrage and fear rumbled among the remaining teammates. Plex knew how they felt. Every second they wasted she was drawing nearer and if they were still in this open field she could just breathe fire down upon them and they would be destroyed without a fight.
Remembering the fight that had been going on beyond the facility, Plex whistled to his queen again. This time his message was more urgent, retreat now, retreat for your lives. He had to hope she got it and fled without questioning or she had fled before when she had warned that it was a trap. He didn’t have time to go and check on her and the warriors she had brought. They were on their own.
Plex hefted the elf he had been fighting off the ground, her head lulled to her shoulder, until she was positioned mostly securely across his shoulders. She weighed more than he’d expected, probably mostly the armor she wore, but he could carry her for a time.
He moved towards the surrounded guards, unsure of how to proceed. He didn’t want to kill them all but he wasn’t sure how to find out who could be saved. He didn’t have time to talk one of them down as he had the guard he now carried.
Before he could reach them, however, her weight was lifted from his shoulders. Startled, he turned to see that Baclem, the troll, his former teammate, his new friend, had easily taken her from him and slung her across his own shoulders. Plex thanked Baclem with a nod and then turned back to the problem at hand.
It was too late. He couldn’t hear her coming but he could feel it. Something about the air changed. It suddenly seemed darker.
“For the one of you that is working for the beast against your own will, know this: you can break free. I have won out against her magic once. So has this elf my friend now carries. If we can do it, so can you. Fight her and then come find us.”
Then with a frowning look to the sky, Plex said, “Knock them all unconscious and let’s get out of here.”
Three sickening thuds were followed by the sound of three bodes falling to the soft turf almost as one. Plex didn’t look. He didn’t want to know if they’d been hit to hard to survive. He needed to ensure these players, these newfound warriors, survived first and foremost. He wasn’t sure if he could lead them to safety but he was going to try.
“Follow me,” he said simply and then he turned to leave back the way he’d come.
Gilania called, “This way is faster.”
When he turned back, she was pointing towards a door on the far side of the practice field. Shrugging, he motioned for her to lead on.
She walked with a confidence that amazed him. He knew that she had spent little time in the city before coming here to play football, yet she was navigating the streets as if she had lived in it her entire life. Plex might’ve said something to her about it, but he was busy keeping an eye out for Honor Guards. Besides, he didn’t want to break her concentration. If she started paying attention to him, she might accidentally take a wrong turn and get them cornered.
Plodding up next to him, Baclem said something that the majority of the others were probably thinking, “We’d move a lot quicker if we didn’t have to drag our enemies along with us.”
“Not all of them are our enemies,” he responded. After explaining what the dragon had done to some of them as fast as he could, he added, “I don’t know about you, but I know I wouldn’t want to be killed for something that was beyond my control.”
The troll was silent for a moment. “You said she remembers killing her beloved, right? If I had to live with that memory, I’d see death as a blessing.”
As much as he wanted to, Plex couldn’t refute that logic. “Living with the memory of something like that would be hard. It’d be damn near impossible. Still, I’d want to take down the person who gave me that memory before I left this world.”
Their conversation was cut short by a whistle from his sister. Plex ran forward to Gilania’s position. Standing in front of her was an old dwarf. She seemed unsure of what to do, though she had a sword brandished in front of her. “Hold,” Plex cried to her. “I know this dwarf. He’s here to help.”
Frukeld nodded his thanks to Plex. “It seems that everyone in your family is skilled,” Frukeld said as a greeting.
“Only because you’ve never met our younger brother,” they replied in unison, drawing a chuckle from the old dwarf.
“Be that as it may,” Frukeld commented, “now is not the time for this discussion. In fact, time is something we’re out of right now.”
“What do you mean?” Gilania asked.
“Lavalandinarial will be here any moment.”
Plex opened his mouth to argue, then closed it right back up. He could feel the dragon drawing near them. The awe that her presence generated was building up in his stomach. She wasn’t there yet, but she was close.
“You fool,” Gilania spat at the dwarf. “If the dragon is almost here, why would you stop us? We could’ve escaped.”
“No,” Frukeld answered calmly. “She would have easily caught up with you and you would have died.” The corners of the old dwarf’s lips curled up into a smile. “Besides, we’ve got a surprise waiting right here for the big bitch.”
Just then, Plex’s stomach twisted up in knots. He knew what that meant before he looked up and saw her.
Lavalandinarial was here.