1709 CHAVIAS - The Escape of Savage Jaxson
1709 Valley City, Grier Country
Chavias drew a steadying breath as they waited for night to fall over Valley City.
Why Valley City? Chavias intended to market on the decision.
Radix never sends us to raid cities. It’s too dangerous…Too many guards.
Too many Grier Guards.
Too many wildcards… Just thinking it, drew his eyes to the young man next to him.
Savage. At fifteen years old. He’d proven himself more malicious then any of Radix’s minions. A skilled fighter. Cold-hearted and able to kill without flinching.
Though his unpredictability and raw brutality made Chavias uneasy, Savage had never betrayed him. Never disobeyed my direction.
And though he occasionally still ate rats in the caves, Chavias had often had lengthy civilized conversations with him. And had taught the boy chess when Radix granted him a board.
I’ve found him to be acutely intelligent. The boy was always assessing everything.
Including Radix’s maneuvers. Learning how Radix thinks. Right next to me.
A man rushed out with a sword drawn. Savage spun from its trajectory, rolling along the man’s arm and catching the blade perfectly against his hip to ensure it didn’t pierce Savage’s side. Savage rolled the opposite way and yanked it from the stranger’s grip.
Turning it artfully, he plunged the tip through the attacker’s torso. Killing him on the spot.
I certainly don’t have to worry for his safety.
Just that of everyone else... He thought ruefully. But he’d seen enough to know. Savage was no mindless killer. True to his word, he killed with a purpose. He didn’t gain joy or humor in it. Merely as a means to an end.
He was coolly logical. Methodical even.
“What will you do when you’re free?” Chavias asked Savage from the corner of his mouth.
“Free you.” He fell into step with his mentor.
“No, you won’t.”
The crow, Thadeus, shrieked as he landed heavily on Chavias’ shoulder. Riding Chavias’ step.
“Then I won’t until you ask me to.”
“And if I don’t?” Chavias asked shrewdly. Jaw tight as he ignored the bird.
“Then I will not.”
Savage Jaxson snorted. “You’re the only one in Ardae to ever call me that.”
“So, I ask you again,” Chavias changed the subject as they wove the streets to the center of Village City. To the storehouse. “what will you do when you’re free?”
“You worry I’ll stumble around like a wounded animal, killing everything that wanders in my path?” He said perceptively.
A sideways glance revealed he was grinning facetiously. “Your humor is unappreciated.” Chavias grumbled. The bird shifted restlessly on his shoulder.
“I won’t.” He reassured. “I’m going to create a base in which to move goods from the Grier Undermarket. And slowly siphon monetary goods from the country.”
“You’re seeking vengeance on King Ocnomad?”
No wasted time denying the truth. Savage is nothing if not brutally direct.
“You’re going to take over his trade market in Center City?”
“Not directly. I’ll need a basecamp to collect goods.”
“A wise move.”
Savage gave an acknowledging shrug.
“You plan to steal these goods, I presume?”
“Yes.” Savage admitted. “From Gilwynn Village, Harridan Hamlet, Marshtown, Greenway Village, Sourthern Vale, and perhaps Valley City.”
Chavias recognized it instantly. It was the methodical pattern in which Radix had them raid Ardae’s outer civilizations.
“You plan to undermine him collecting food stores?”
Well-played. Chavias looked at him in admiration. He planned to live in defiance of Radix.
“Mistake me not,” Savage warned. Giving him a piercing look. “Not for some misplaced goodness. Only to sell them back to the people through my own market.”
“At least then the people would have the ability to buy it back.” Chavias sighed.
Instead of hundreds suffering and dying. They’d have a chance.
“You plan to rule Grier through the obtaining of commodities?”
Checkmate. Chavias was filled with pride.
This boy had grown to a man with a wickedly clever mind. Capable of taking from Radix. Capable of striking fear in Radix. A foe that Radix is right to feel threatened by.
“They’re wrong about you, Boy.”
Savage Jaxson gave him a long look.
“You’re no Savage. You may be the most logical, civilized being in Ardae.”
The younger man gave Chavias a long look. Vaguely surprised at the compliment from Chavias.
“Perhaps I am…both.”
“Perhaps you will rule all of Ardae one day.”
“One would hope it’d never come to that…” He said dully.
“What?” Ice blue eyes assessed Chavias.
“Tonight, I make a distraction and we part ways. In which I never see you again.”
“Unless you’ve need of me.”
“Unless I need you.”
Which I won’t.
Once you’re gone I’ll never call you back.
“I make you no promises with my freedom other than that.”
“What if I were to ask one?”
“What would it be?” Savage Jaxson’s curiosity was piqued.
Chavias had never asked him for anything. Not even a mug of water.
“If you meet another…Like me. You befriend them.”
“Because I asked you to.”
“Fine?” Chavias lifted a black brow.
“I agree to your wishes.”
“You’re a complex man, Savage Jaxson.”
“Said the pot to the kettle.”
As they rounded the corner, the storehouse came into view. And the cluster of men protecting it.
The crow cawed and abandoned its roost. Spiraling upward.
Chavias drew his swords. Glancing at the man next to him. “No blade?”
“I’ll use one of theirs.” He gestured as he crouched to the ready. Gold eyes flaring.