“You want me to kill a sniveling unarmed man?” Roscoe asked in what he hoped was a dubious voice. “That doesn’t really strike me as a good use of my talents.”
“Oh, we’re not testing your talent. Not yet, anyway,” Merlinus answered cheerfully. “We’re testing your loyalty, your willingness to do whatever we ask you to do. So, is there some reason why you aren’t killing that fool right now?”
Roscoe pulled out his sword and began advancing toward Worram. The wainwright backed away slowly. Behind him, and a little to Roscoe’s left, a tall stack of wagon wheels stood. It gave him an idea. With his eyes, Roscoe tried to direct the wainwright to back up into it. For a moment, Worram appeared to be confused as to why Roscoe’s eyes were moving oddly, but he eventually caught on and turned into the stack.
Once Worram backed into the wheels, Roscoe raised his sword, gave a yell, and smashed one of the bottom wheels with his blade. He heard the wood crack and the stack began to teeter. Roscoe pushed the wainwright away from the falling wheels, pulled on it to ensure that it did fall, and followed Worram away from the crash. All around him came shouts of alarm. He heard at least a half dozen distinct voices, including Merlinus. The mercenary leader was ordering his men to capture the two of them alive.
Roscoe cursed. He had known that Merlinus had people stationed around the warehouse, but he hoped it was only one or two. The number of voices he heard meant that it was highly unlikely that he would make it out of this mess alive. That thought was quickly pushed out of his mind. It was ok if he didn’t make it out. All that mattered was getting Worram to safety. Protecting the citizens of the Kingdom was his primary responsibility as a Knight of the Matticus Kingdom.
Worram cried out when Roscoe caught up to him, but to the wainwright’s credit, he kept running. Roscoe tried to pull him towards the closest door, but Worram wouldn’t quit heading in his original direction. Since it was his warehouse, Roscoe assumed that Worram knew something that he didn’t. It wasn’t worth fighting him over, so he continued to follow him down the rows of wagon wheels.
Suddenly, everything went dark.
Worram let out a panicked cry and fell to the floor. Roscoe had too much momentum built up an couldn’t stop in time. He fell on top of the cowering man and nearly lost his sword in the process. A yelp of pain told him that he probably had cut the man as he fell too. He didn’t have time to worry about it, however. There was a noise off to his left alerting him to a nearing enemy.
Roscoe took a deep, calming breath and struck out at the noise. He felt his blade sink into flesh and heard a cry of pain. In his mind, he tried to picture his surroundings from the moment before he lost his sight so he could at least have some idea of the landscape around him. He stood up, taking the blade with him. The person he had stabbed cried out again as the wound was opened further. A quick kick pushed the injured opponent off his sword and further into the blackness.
Another sound, this time coming from the opposite way, had him turning around with his sword ready. A whoosh of air alerted him to oncoming danger. Roscoe barely got his blade up when the hilt started ringing in his hands. Whoever had attacked him swung their weapon so hard that it almost knocked the sword out of Roscoe’s grip. Stubbornly, he held on. He tried to launch an attack of his own, but he went back on the defensive before he could. This time, he didn’t hear the danger coming as much as sensed it.
His intuition saved him, but it didn’t protect him fully. His sword didn’t block the next attack. It redirected it. Unfortunately for Roscoe, his arm was still in the path.
Fiery pain wracked him as his opponent’s weapon dug a deep cut into his left forearm. The only thing that kept him from dropping his sword was the knowledge that, if he did, he was going to die. Adrenaline pumped through his veins, strengthening the grip he had on the sword with his uninjured arm. Luckily, he was righthanded and he had practiced using his sword with only one arm.
Unfortunately, all the practice in the world wasn’t going to help him if he didn’t know where his opponent was. Worram cried out again. This time it sounded more like a mixture of fear and pain. The wainwright was in trouble. So was Roscoe. Whichever one he decided to help would have the best chance of survival. As far as Roscoe was concerned, it wasn’t a choice. He didn’t hesitate.
Roscoe turned his back to the danger coming at him to try to save the helpless man.