Scroll of New Light

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Chapter 5

Tristan scrambled into an alley as a drake swooped down and nearly picked him up in its talons. The creature and rider slammed into the street and slid into the building at the entrance of the alleyway. Tristan stopped in his tracks, turned on his heels and ran back to finish off the drake and rider. His dual scimitars spun around in a clockwise motion as he turned them upside down and drove them deep into the skull of the drake as he flapped around trying to get back into the air. The drake convulsed several times and screeched from its death throws before the weight of its neck and head slammed it back down on the cobbled street. The rider, an Orcish bowman, tried to knock an arrow to fire, but Tristan turned to face it quickly and threw his left scimitar at the Orc. The blade spun end over end before plunging into the chest of the creature and lifting it off the saddle and throwing it into the middle of the street. Tristan ran over and planting his foot on its waist, ripping the sword out of its chest as the Orc screamed in pain before dying in a pool of blood.

Kothar came running up with his Kimshas, the 4 pointed star blades, in hand. “A good kill, Tristan Taurel.” He saluted with his left blade before looking toward the sky once more. Several drakes had left the attacking airship and had caused chaos and destruction throughout the districts. Now however, they seemed to concentrate on their group, and it was a surprise to learn from Tristan that they were after him. Kothar and Mish’ka stuck with Tristan even though they weren’t being targeted.

“You and your sister should go; they have no quarrel with you. They want me and will kill anyone that gets in their way of getting me.” Tristan wiped the blood off of his blade with a torn canvas piece from a nearby destroyed vendor cart. “I don’t want to see you hurt on a count of me.”

Mish’ka came running up to the two men catching what Tristan had said, “We can not let you fight them alone, and besides they are laying siege to our city,” she raised her hands to encompass the city around them, “We have lost our home from the first attack, and my brother’s vending cart is probably destroyed by now or pillaged.”

Kothar shook his head in agreement, “It is like she said; we flee and fight now for survival. We have nothing else except what we carry, and what’s in the city vaults.” His grip on the weapons slackened a bit when he mentioned losing most of their possessions. “You my friend must get to the university in one piece, and we mean to see you get there.”

They took a moment to catch their breath and check for any wounds. They had been running through the streets for some time now and every so often they had a run in with another drake. Even though the airship had moved away to the outskirts of the city, it still continued to rain destruction on the city below and cause chaos amongst the airships above. Tristan thought they were safe finally until a flock of drakes came pouring out of the belly of the airship. Tristan remembered there only being 6 drakes, including Ferasi’s, when he had been on the ship. Now though there were 10 drakes flying out over the city including Captain Ferasi on her own mount.

One drake was now dead behind them with its rider, another drake was riderless thanks to Mish’ka’s acrobatics on a rooftop. She had run along the rooftops parallel to the drake flying low over the main street. Just as she was about to run out of rooftops she had leapt off the final building and crashed hard into the rider, knocking him off the serpent and plummeting to the street below. She had then leapt off the drake onto another rooftop as the beast cried out before heading back toward the other drakes. Tristan admired her spirit and her prowess; she was a well balanced fighter.

“How far are we from the university now?” Tristan asked as he scanned the skies for the drakes. 4 of them were flying low over another district, attacking people in the streets and launching orbs of fire causing numerous buildings to catch on fire. The flames were spreading quickly since most of the buildings in that district were made of wood.

Kothar looked at the skyline toward the north just over the rooftops. He saw what he was looking for, “You see that tower shooting high above the others?” Tristan nodded as he followed Kothar’s gaze. “That is the bell tower of the chapel on the grounds of the university. The bell chimes from that tower denote the changing of classes throughout the day.”

“Good, we only have about another mile or two at most weaving through the streets. So about another hour or so, you think?” Tristan turned to the two of them.

“It would be faster and a shorter distance if we go over the rooftops.” Mish’ka chimed in as she studied the skies around them.

“But that would put us in sight of the other drakes and make us easier prey.” Kothar turned to his sister with a worried look.

Tristan agreed with both of them; they needed to get to the university quickly but over the rooftops would assure them being seen. He couldn’t see any other way around it; they had to go over the roofs. “We don’t have much of a choice, Kothar. Your sister is right, over the rooftops would be faster and a shorter distance.”

Kothar shook his head and sighed resignedly. He knew he was out voted here two to one. “Alright then, Mish’ka you are the acrobat in the family and know these rooftops better than anyone. You should lead the way.”

Mish’ka looked at the sky one last time to see where the nearest drakes were. The four were still tearing apart the district on the other side of the city, where the other ones were she had no idea. “It’s now or never guys, lets go.” With that she ran up a staircase built into the back of one of the homes, taking 2 steps at a time.

Kothar came next, keeping a watchful eye on the 4 drakes. Tristan brought up the rear scouting the skies near them as they made their way from rooftop to rooftop. Sometimes the roofs were simple flat ones where people did laundry or relaxed in lounge chairs. Other times they were slanted and required a little more finesse to traverse over their clay slates or wooden shingles. People scurried about on the streets below, hurrying to homes or shops and closed doors. A few stragglers were up on the roof watching the chaos but when they saw the drakes in the distance, they quickly changed their minds and headed indoors.

Halfway to their goal their luck ran out.

WWWHHOOOSSSHH!!!!

A fireball came barreling through the air and blasted into the roof Tristan had just jumped off of. The explosion sent Tristan tumbling into the air and crashing down on Kothar who had turned at the last second at the sound. They both tumbled and bounced across the rooftop as Mish’ka did a 180 and came running back to them. “Are you two ok?” She helped Tristan off of Kothar and then helped her brother up.

“Yeah, just got the wind knocked out of us.” Tristan scanned the skies and found 2 drakes heading their way. Tristan saw the tail end of a third one as it dipped below the rooftops and flew down the main street. “Looks like we have company,” He pointed in the direction of the incoming drakes. He looked back toward the bell tower which was much taller than Tristan expected now that they were closer. It housed 10 bells and was well over 30 floors tall.

“Watch out for the other one, I just saw it skim the roof line back the way we came.” Kothar pointed in the direction where Tristan had seen it a moment ago.

“Yes I saw it too. We need to get to the university as quickly as possible. There will be people there who can help us.” The siblings nodded in agreement and began their run again across the rooftops. Tristan looked every so often over his shoulder watching the drakes quickly close the gap. The third one had finally come out of hiding among the buildings and was now leading the other two. When he looked back again he could make out the lead rider and his heart sank.

Scarlet Ferasi…He thought to himself. Of course she would come for him personally.

They got across 3 more roofs before the drakes fired on them again. Fireballs blasted around them, raining burnt laundry, potted plants, and debris on the streets below. People screamed and ran for cover as the world came crashing down on them. Tristan looked around for any kind of help, as he ducked under 3 more laundry lines…

That’s it, tangle them up.

He stopped dead in his tracks and turned to face the drakes.

Kothar noticed Tristan wasn’t behind him and stopped his sister, “Tristan what are you doing?” He called back as they both ducked as more fireballs were unleashed, barely sailing over their heads. The heat was extreme from the lethal volleys that flew overhead. Beads of sweat rolled down his brow as he watched Tristan face the oncoming drakes.

To Tristan’s was a tall wooden pole that had several lines of laundry attached to it. Tristan waited for the drakes to come right at him, however Scarlet Ferasi pulled away at the last second with one of the other drakes. The third one came straight on at Tristan, its taloned feet poised to rip Tristan off the roof.

Time seemed to slow down for Tristan as he watched the beast dive right at him. He watched the muscles of the wings bulge and retract as they beat furiously for more speed. He could see the look of pure malice on the human rider’s face as he lashed the drake with a whip, pushing him on with ferocity. Tristan tightened the grip on his scimitars as he squatted low, bracing his legs for what he was about to do.

5 seconds was all it took for it to be over…

1…

The drake and rider skimmed the top of the roof in front of Tristan, its tail slamming into the side of the building.

2…

Tristan leapt into the air at the last second and spun around to slice the ropes, catching the drake and rider in the falling laundry lines.

3…

Drake and rider slammed into the roof in front of Kothar where he jumped forward slamming his star blades into the drake’s head.

4…

Mish’ka charged the rider, slamming her staff across his head snapping it back in the opposite direction as he flipped off the drake.

5…

Tristan ran forward, leaping into the air over the drake to come down with both swords, plunging them into the chest of human rider.

Silence reigned for what seemed like forever to the trio as they looked at one another and then at the spectacle before them. Kothar planted his foot onto the snout of the drake and ripped both blades out of its head. Mish’ka leaned on her staff as she tried to catch her breath.

On the ground next to Tristan was a bow dropped by the rider. He looked over the body of the man and grabbed the quiver of arrows and several throwing blades he had. He looked back at the sky and saw that the other two were swinging back around for another pass at them. Tristan knocked an arrow and pulled back with all his might as he aimed toward Ferasi’s other drake rider. Before he could fire there was an earsplitting screech from behind him.

“Look!! It’s the Abydos Griffin riders,” Kothar let out a cheer as they watched 8 majestic creatures came swooping down from the upper level. They had seen the other two drakes and were flying as fast as they could to intercept.

Tristan turned around to see that the drakes were almost upon them again. Not enough time, he thought as he pulled back on the bow once more. He looked down the air and straight into the eyes of the Orcish rider. The rider seemed to challenge him as it raised its lance high above its head in defiance. At the last second Tristan adjusted his aim and fired directly at the drake’s head instead. The arrow leapt off the bow and whistled through the air as it raced across the sky toward its target. The drake fired a blast of flames at Tristan in retaliation before it was struck directly between the eyes.

Tristan didn’t have time to see if it went down for he was slammed into from behind by Mish’ka as she pushed him out of the way. The fireball blasted the roof top scant seconds later driving through the timbers and destroying the interior of the home below. Mish’ka and Tristan were thrown far across the roof by the blast. They didn’t see the drake Tristan had hit snap its head down as its body became a rock and plummeted down into the street sending people running for their lives. Its massive scaled body flipped over as it slid across the cobbled stones, crushing the rider under its weight.

Captain Ferasi turned her drake away in disgust and anger, as she flew straight for the Griffin riders. She pulled out her twin whips, snapping in the air as she held onto the drake with just her legs. She plowed straight into the heart of the flock and she snapped her whips out at the two middle riders. Both whips shredded flesh as they wrapped their barbed tentacles around the riders’ necks. With the speed of the drake flying in the opposite direction and her sheer strength she wrenched forward, snapping both riders off their griffins. She snapped her whips back, releasing them as they plummeted toward the city below. Their screams gave her some pleasure as she turned her drake around for another pass.

Tristan crouched with the bow still in his hand as he watched the captain cut through the Griffin riders again. Another man fell to his death, his screams drowned out by the cries of his mount. Tristan knocked the bow again and took aim; carefully watching for an opening where he could catch Scarlet by surprise.

Mish’ka ran towards him and then slid to a stop just behind him, her heart still pounding from the blast they barely missed. Her clothes were singed and she had a few burn marks on the back of her arms and neck. She looked up at the aerial battle, “Tristan we must go now; they are giving us a chance to escape.” She lightly touched his left shoulder causing him to slacken on the bow. “This is our chance to get away; the university is not far away now.”

Tristan looked behind them past Kothar’s shoulder as he stared at the tower looming in the distance. They could make it, but he couldn’t let these riders be slaughtered without some kind of help. They were just trying to protect the city; if it hadn’t been for him being here the city never would have been attacked. He shook his head as he looked back at the aerial battle. The griffins had scattered, trying to give Ferasi harder targets. “No, I must try and help them first. Take your brother and go. Head for the university, I will be right behind you.”

Mish’ka stared into his eyes and saw the determination and his resolve. She nodded her understanding, “Ok, but you better be right behind us.” She grabbed her staff and took off running toward the tower, pushing her brother along.

Tristan waited until they were onto the next rooftop before turning back. He pulled back on the bow once more, his muscles stressed to the point they felt like rock. He aimed carefully, watching every turn, every flap of the wing, and her every move. He waited for what seemed like an eternity for the right moment.

He found it a few heart beats later as Ferasi turned her drake suddenly and shot like an arrow straight for a griffin that looked wounded. He sighted down the oak shaft, the feathers pricking the back of his ear. He closed his eyes at the last second as he released the arrow. Like before the arrow rocketed off the bow and whistled through the air. It missed the drake’s head only because the captain saw the arrow at the last second and tried to pull up. The arrow instead tore through the membrane of the left wing. The drake shuddered from the wound as its wing went limp for a moment. Scarlet Ferasi tried everything she could to control her beast as it plummeted toward the rooftops below. The Griffin riders took that instant to dive after her, their lances and bows poised to strike. Tristan waited one second longer, watching the captain struggle to right the beast out of a steep dive. He then turned and bolted across toward the rooftop’s edge; the bow being laid across his back. He took two quick steps to the edge and leapt over the 10 foot gap between buildings. He landed, rolled, and regained control as he continued to cross the rooftops. He began to catch up to the other two, but he stopped for a moment and turned back as he saw the drake pull up at the last second. Its taloned feet slammed into a rooftop which it used to vault back into the sky, the wings beating furiously to gain altitude.

2 Griffin riders came down across the top of the drake trying to jab their lances into Ferasi. She snapped her whips around to pull the lances away, but one scored a hit on her left arm. The lance’s blade cut deeply across the top of her arm before veering off with rider and Griffin as they tore away from the buildings below. Scarlet almost dropped her whip as the pain tore through her body; the blood from the cut raining down on the streets below. Tristan’s arrow had gone clean through the wing’s membrane and so the drake was able to still fly; though it was a bit slower now.

Ferasi screamed in frustration as her and her mount straightened out. The other Griffins had regrouped and now tried to catch up with her. Tristan saw with dread that she now turned her attention once more on him. She pushed the beast to fly faster as they closed the distance on him. Tristan turned and took off once more across the rooftops, the muscles in his legs and arms were aching from the chase. He was soaked head to toe in sweat as he vaulted over another alleyway. Up ahead he saw that there were only two rooftops left before he reached the university. Mish’ka and Kothar were on the last one urging him to hurry as they pointed behind him and shouted.

There was a roar and then a whoosh sound behind him. The air directly behind him heated up and he knew what was coming. He dived for the other side of the arched roof he was on. The fireball blasted the clay tiles in different directions and picked him up in midair and flipped him head over heels on to the other side. His back slammed into the clay tiles and he began to slide down the other side of the roof uncontrollably. His hands reached out around him to grab hold of something, but the tiles just kept coming loose.

Above him the tiles had melted from the blast or shattered like glass from the intense heat, raining down all around him. Tristan’s feet tried to find purchase as he slid as he watched the drain pipe and the edge of the roof race toward him. Tristan finally managed to pull out his scimitars and he twirled them clockwise as he slammed them hard into the roof as he twisted his body around to face the roof. The blades bit deep into the wood underneath, tearing away timber, hay, and daub as he tried to find purchase. Deep furrows tore down the roof side as he slammed into the rain gutter. His legs crumpled under him as his weight and the force of the blow ripped the pipe away from the roof edge. Tristan’s legs and waist snapped over the side before his body was jolted to a halt from his blades finally catching hold. His legs and feet slammed into the stone wall of the building, almost causing him to lose his grip on the blades.

Tristan looked up as the shadow of the drake passed over him just before the creature itself swooped over the rooftop. Tristan craned his neck to see where it was headed but couldn’t see over the next rooftop. He could hear Mish’ka and Kothar running across the other roofs trying to get back to him. They called out his name as they ran across the flat rooftop.

Tristan turned back to look up at the two blades dug deeply into the roof in front of him. He began to swing his legs back and forth trying to get one up onto the ledge for purchase. On his third try he managed to get his left leg up, the strain from his weight pressing the leg into the tiled roof seared through his muscles and veins. He pushed with all his might with both arms and his left leg as he tried to get back up on the roof. Mish’ka bounded across the other roof behind him and leapt over the gap between buildings. She slid down the roof just above Tristan as she tried to help him up. Together he made it over the edge and they both plopped down against the remaining tiles, their feet bracing against the rest of the rain gutter.

“You…certainly know…how to keep a girl…on her toes…” Mish’ka took several large breathes of air as she spoke, the wind knocked out of her from the leap.

Tristan smiled, “Why Mish’ka, are you flirting with me?” He batted his eyes mockingly. She leaned over and punched him in the shoulder, causing him to wince. His arms were already sore, she just made it worse.

“Nice try, but you are not my type for courting,” She leaned on her elbows as she looked around the sky above them. The drake had engaged the Griffin riders once more in combat. Their aerial maneuvers were like a dance that stretched out across the skyline. “We better get going before she comes back. We don’t need anymore fire blazes or death defying rides down rooftops.”

She got up and jumped back over to the other roof. Tristan stood up, checked for any wounds or broken bones before putting his blades away. He jumped over, the landing sending a shuttering pain through every part of his body. From there they hurried as fast as Tristan could go to the last rooftop. There at the edge, they knelt down and looked at the street below them and the university before them.

Chaos reigned down on the street level. People were running in different directions, many carrying valuables, others stood in groups talking or glancing up at the sky every so often. 3 individuals stood out from the rest of the cacophony; a dwarf, a large man, and a little girl. They seemed to Tristan to be calmer than the rest, as if they had expected this attack. The girl though, was still shaken up by it, but being beside the others she seemed to be doing well. Her brown mop of hair had recently been cleaned up, and she wore a simple sky blue dress that she tugged at every so often. She didn’t seem to be used to wearing dresses as her nervous tick caught the eye of the dwarf. He walked over and said something that seemed to calm her a bit.

Kothar noticed the direction of Tristan’s gaze, “What do you think? Those 3 seem to stand out from the crowd.” Mish’ka had taken notice as well and nodded in agreement as Tristan looked over at the two.

“Well, they are probably our best bet for information. This attack doesn’t seem to rattle them like everyone else. Either they are with the attackers, which I doubt. Or…” He studied the dwarf and the human a bit longer, trying to remember some of the descriptions that Father Alban had given him of the group. A dwarf had been mentioned and they both look like they are from the mountain region considering their clothes and gaits.

He motioned for the others to follow as he made his way along the roofline, looking for a way down.

“They have seen us,” Mish’ka hissed as her hands tightened on her staff. Both Kothar flinched and reached for their weapons out of instinct. “They haven’t moved yet but they are most certainly watching our movements now.”

“We will find out their intentions soon enough.” Tristan replied as he found a ladder bolted into the stone edifice of the building.

Soon they were street level once more and making their way through the crowded street. Tristan noticed that the dwarf had his hand resting on an axe while the man relaxed his fingers over two pommels of his own. The girl was practically on her tippy-toes trying to see through the crowd. People didn’t seem to give them a second look as they busied themselves getting to their homes or shops, or possibly out of town.

Tristan breached the river of bodies first, with the other two coming out on either side of him. They stopped 5 feet away from the others, each in turn taking their time to look over everyone. The dwarf was the first one to make a reaction, his eyes had widened a bit, though his impassive demeanor had not changed. He tapped the arm of the man and pointed to his neck, making a V-shape with his fingers. Tristan realized the dwarf meant his talisman. He cursed himself for leaving it hanging out as he tugged back inside his vest.

“No need for worry, Tristan Taurel.” The large man had seen his reaction. He stepped forward and brought his right hand out. “I am Berwyn Greystoke, and this…” he pointed to the others, “is Halfgrim Axethrower, and the little girl is Lina.” They looked at the girl quizzically for a moment. “Oh, we rescued her from some slavers and she has been our tour guide here in the city during our stay.” The little girl tried to curtsey but Tristan could she hadn’t performed the action very often, if at all before.

Mish’ka came up to the little girl and knelt in front of her. The action made Lina nervous and she stood a little closer to the dwarf. “Do not be frightened child, we mean you no harm here. You are very brave to have been with slavers in this city.” She pulled out a little glass pendent in the shape of a blue bird. It caught the eye of the girl immediately and she stepped closer. Tristan hadn’t see Mish’ka in possession of anything like it before. But he wasn’t surprised since he barely knew them.

“It is pretty, ma’am.” Lina said shyly as she looked at it from a few feet away.

“Well I am glad you like it. It is yours to keep,” she handed it to the girl who cupped it in her hands gently. She looked down at its many facets that shown brightly in the sun. “I make them in my spare time and sell them in the markets of the southern districts.”

“Yes ma’am, I know. I have been there on several occasions with my masters and have seen you,” she then pointed to Kothar, “and him as well.” The others seemed to breathe a collected sigh of relief at the recognition from the child.

“Well then I suppose we are all friends now. Where are the others?” Tristan turned to Berwyn, “Lord Orin? And Brother Thomas is it? I should very much like to speak with the priest right away.”

Berwyn took a look at the sky once more for a moment, before looking at Halfgrim, “They are on their way to the vaults. We were asked to wait for you here, and then Lina was going to take us to the Abydosian Vaults.”

Tristan noticed that Mish’ka and Kothar seemed to know of the place as they both nodded. He remembered then that Kothar had mentioned that they had some valuables as well there. “Well then I guess we should get going.” He turned to Lina who was still gazing upon the bird. “Lina would you be so kind as to lead the way?”

She looked up at him with a beaming smile as she remembered her promise to the others. She slid the bird into a side pocket of her dress, “Yes sir, Master Taurel. I can lead the way.” She turned then, and slipped back through the university gates before anyone could call after her.

“Well I guess we better catch up before we lose her.” Berwyn sighed and then looked at the siblings for a moment. “I apologize for stating this, but Brother Thomas never mentioned anyone else. Just you, Tristan.”

Kothar and Mish’ka tensed at the comment and looked to Tristan uneasily. He put up a hand reassuringly, “If it hadn’t been for them I wouldn’t have made it through the city alive. We have been hounded by drakes and have run from airship battles to get here.”

Mish’ka and Kothar went and stood on either side of Tristan for support. They may have just met him, but they had already been through more than what most people have faced together. Kothar looked to Mish’ka for confirmation; she nodded her agreement. Kothar then turned to the others, “We have been through a lot already today, and we both agree,” he looked her way one more time, “that we will help Tristan get out of the city safely. After that, we will see where the roads take us.”

“Aye, Berwyn, that’s good enough for me,” Halfgrim turned toward the university seeing Lina disappear around a corner, “Wait child, we weren’t ready yet.” He shook his head, nodded to the others and then turned and took off after the girl.

“Well, the Dwarf has spoken. Alright Tristan, if you vouch for them then I am sure it will be fine with my brother and the priest. Now we better get going, the others have already left for the vaults.” Berwyn put a hand on Tristan’s shoulder to reassure him and then turned and headed off into the university.

Tristan looked at the siblings, sighed, and took off after the others.


A small figure peeled away from the shadows near the university entrance. His lavender backpack shifted around as he hurried after Tristan and the others. For a gnome he was larger than most, almost the size of a dwarf. Zookji was used to his size and took every advantage to use it. Working for the Thieves’ Guild in Berdeen under the Guildmaster Camaru’s watchful eye, he had learned a great deal. Being her top spy, and not just for his size, he had been given the job of keeping tabs on the group. He had followed them from Helmcross, helped them in the passes of the Northern Reach, and then lost them in Dushuan only to finally catch up to them in Abydos 2 days ago. He had no idea what they had done in the university offices of the dwarf but he stayed nearby in the shadows, gleaning what he could.

They seemed to be in a hurry now, after a couple of days of sitting around, maybe they have the scroll or now know where to find it. He thought to himself as he passed from shadow to shadow, in and out of the crowds of students, teachers and bystanders through the university grounds. Zookji saw that they were rushing along and with the people panicking from the attacks it was hard for the gnome to keep up. Zookji tailed the group through the length of the university and as he finally got closer to the group he noticed them following a little girl. The gnome shook his head in wonder as they passed through the eastern gates of the campus and moved off into the streets of the city.

The little thief slipped through the crowds, dodging legs and spinning around bystanders as he kept within 15 feet of the group. It was hard to listen to them talk with everyone else chattering on about the attacks and daily life in the city. After several more streets and down two alleyways the group stopped near the entrance to a marketplace. Everyone in the area was chattering in whispered tones while others pointed toward the horizon line of the city. On the horizon on the other side of the city Zookji could see the attacking airship and several of Abydos’ own military ships locked in aerial battle. 4 of the 5 ships were nothing more than simple gunboats by naval standards, but the 5th one was similar in size to the enemy ship. The gnome stared in amazement at the firepower of the attacking ship, for he could see that 3 of the 4 gunboats were damaged or listing to one side in the air. He wouldn’t be surprised if some started to fall towards the city streets below after the continual barrage from the other ship.

Something glinted in the afternoon sunlight, swooping around and about the ships as they fought in the skies. As Zookji took a step closer to try and make out a shadow fell over him. Zookji instinctively ducked, causing Berwyn to miss grabbing him. The gnome kicked him in the shin and then turned to run but found the dwarf, Halfgrim, standing there. Axe in hand, poised to strike, the dwarf did not look happy.

Zookji spun around and found a human with a bow, another with a staff, and a third with strange star-shaped blades surrounding him. Berwyn winced as he rubbed his shin before stepping forward, “You’re fast little one,” he sighed, “I’ll give ya that. Now who are you and why are you still following us?”

Tristan’s bow slackened an inch, “’Still?’ following you?” Quizzically he looked to Berwyn. The siblings also turned their attention to Berwyn, the attack poses slipping a bit.

Zookji smiled at the moment of distraction. He straightened his right arm down by his side.


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