Chapter 48: Dance
Hobble heard fighting and shouting from the open doors. Keeping close to the wall, he stalked forward. He reached the opening and peered through. Two guards stood with their backs to him a few steps into the room. Further in, a robed figure stood gently swinging a pot of incense. The room smelled of that incense, lavender and pipe tobacco. In front of a broad stair leading to the throne dais, Voan stood with a sword in his left hand. However, it was the spectacle in front of the panorama windows that drew Hobble’s gaze.
Gilmir fought two guards, and it took Hobble’s breath away. The economy of movement the elf displayed was spectacular. He moved like running water. Like a breeze through the trees. He was not fighting, he was dancing.
One of the guards stabbed at Gilmir with the spear point of the halberd. The other guard chopped with the axe part of the weapon. The two attacks were well coordinated and flawlessly executed. Gilmir avoided the spear-thrust with the slightest of movements. Turning his body, the weapon missed him by an inch. With his short blade, he deflected the axe blow in the direction of the other halberd, tangling the two weapons in the process. With his curved sword, he slashed. The weapon cut across the man’s face. In the next instance, the elf took a step forward and stabbed his short blade, impaling the other man in the stomach. The two guards fell to the floor, clutching their wounds, ending the fight within beats.
Hobble shook his head, realising he had to move if he was to do something about this. Creeping forward he closed in on the guard to the right. With an overhead chop of his staff, he hit the man over the head. The guard moaned and sank to the floor. Before the other guard could turn, Hobble moved again. Swinging the staff, he hit the other guard on the outside of the knee. The man buckled. But before he could do much more, Hobble had reversed momentum on his weapon bringing the other end crashing down on the man’s head.
Glancing up, he saw Voan climbing the stairs towards Gilmir who stood by the throne waiting. The robed figure also moved forward, climbing the stairs. However, Hobble had more immediate concerns. Two guards came forward from the wall on each side of the stairs, which Hobble had not noticed. The men came towards Hobble, spear points leading. The halfling sighed. Ambushing and taking out two guards who did not know he existed was one thing, fighting two guards in a fair fight was something else entirely.