Chapter 14 - Melkar (P7) - Split Up
Denar pulled his arm free from the other Knight’s grasp. Clearly furious, he’s emerald eyes kept staring fixedly at the inn’s door. What had that idiot done?
“Denar?” Elian’s voice woke him from his frozen state and he glared at him. What in the world was stoping him from doing exactly as he pleased? Loyalty towards that kid? He recalled a time when he’d sworn to himself he’d never follow anyone’s orders ever again. Had he changed so much?
Elian stepped closer to him and placed a hand on his arm. He could clearly see the anger in his eyes, the inner-conflict leaving his thoughts in turmoil.
“Denar, please. Don’t leave me now,” he asked in a murmur and the Knight sighed, averting his gaze.
“I don’t think I can, even if I want to …”
Elian took a deep breath, unable to feel hurt by his words, and nodded.
“Come. Let’s go upstairs. We have a lot to discuss and decide.”
Denar followed him without a word, as did the other Knights.
Those that had filled the common room quickly dispersed, most of them through the exit door, wanting to get away from that mess as soon as possible. Others curiously surrounded the dead body, over which the woman was still crying. But there were also those that simply picked up where they’d left, be it drinking a pint of beer or even having a bit of fun with the closest girl.
In any case, the general environment was on of confusion, which allowed the discreet retreat of the small group of shadowy men as they made their way towards the stairs.
Once back to the room that had belonged to Allana, Lamar closed the door and Elian opened window, considering its height and the narrow, shadowy street below. It was the only exit, besides the door. The two floors that separated him from the ground weren’t’ that high, the wall showing several irregularities. It wouldn’t be too hard to climb down, he considered. And he knew better than anyone that that was certainly an escape route Allana would consider, taking into account her past experiences with runing away from the palace.
So, she must have escaped through the window! And now what? Where was she? What about Elipson …?
He looked back at his Knights. The spontaneous joy that had glowed on everyone’s faces just moments ago was completely gone. Now they were all staring at him with gloomy expression, waiting … And, for the first time, Elian felt the true weight that always weighs on a leader’s shoulders every time he has to make a decision that everyone else expects to be the right one.
Taking a deep breath and looked outside again, at the dark sky. It would still be a while until sunrise. It was urgent to find Allana, and even more urgent to get her out of that city, since they seemed to be looking for her. On the other hand he couldn’t forget Elipson’s situation, that was obviously getting worse with every minute she had to pass on that man’s company. Not to mention the fact that Denar might be recognized, should he and Caleb cross paths. The only possible solution was to distribute tasks, so that, if everything went well, they would all be able to leave that damn city together.
Once decided on a course of action Elian took a deep breath and looked at the Denar … It wasn’t going to be easy convincing him. He already looked very close to his limit, clearly about to snap.
“Well, the only solution is for us to split up. We should try to leave this city as soon as possible.”
Arkel nodded in approval and Lamar took a deep breath.
“Right. But first we have to find them …”
“Yes. This is what we’ll do. I’ll look for Allana. Arkel and Denar will get all our stuff and ready our horses, as discreetly as possible. Ideally, we should try to leave town without anyone noticing. We don’t know if they’ll come back here, searching for us. And we don’t want to be followed when we leave the city. If no one knows we left the inn we can gain a few hours of advance that will certainly make it harder for anyone following us to catch up with us. Denar, I’m sending you with Arkel because Caleb knows you and can easily identify you, which I’m guessing, could only make things harder for us. So, if anything unexpected happens, try to keep your identity hidden.”
The Knight took a deep breath and raised his head in silent agreement, regaining his coolness and objectivity, although Elian knew that he’d never forget what had happened and that, as soon as opportunity arose, scores would be settled.
“Mahel, you’ll be responsible for guiding us. You have to know everyone’s location, so that we may all get together again. If anything happens we’re counting on you to be our backup. Lamar, you look for Elipson,” he simply said, trying not to dwindle too much on that matter, and looked at everyone. “Are we agreed?” The Knights nodded and Elian took a deep breath. “Lets do this, then! I want to be outside this city gates by tomorrow morning, together with everyone else!”
The Knights nodded again in a silent agreement, and left the room with their specific tasks in mind. Elian held Lamar back for a moment, signaling him to stay behind, and waited until they were alone.
“Lamar, I chose you to go to Elipson because I know you’re the most centered of them all, and that you won’t do anything stupid in the heat of the moment. I talked with her, before. She knows what she’s doing. I don’t want you to place your life, or hers, at risk. I’m sending you to help her should she need it, not to save her. If she doesn’t send out any signs of distress, just wait until she finishes what she’s doing. Understood?” Lamar averted his gaze and Elian took a deep breath, placing a hand on the Knight’s shoulder. “I don’t want to lose you … or her. We aren’t strong enough to fight them face to face, much less if it is as we expect and they have Magic on their side …”
Lamar took a deep breath and nodded.
Elian gave him a comforting smile, trying to transmit a bit of confidence, knowing beforehand that the request he’d made had greatly displeased him, and they both left the room.
The common room downstairs was still chaotic and confusing. Someone wanted to take the dead innkeeper’s body away, but the woman was screaming, refusing to let anyone touch her husband.
When Elian and Lamar exited to the cool night all the others had already dispersed. With a last nod that promised without a word a future meeting, they left towards opposite sides, disappearing amongst the shadows of the night.
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