FOREVER KNIGHTS: #3 Forsaking the Vanquished

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His Bird Won't Like This

Lucien looked over at the Captain. “He’s big and he’s clumsy-”

Mardichi scowled.

“But he is just what we need.” Lucien finished.

“Mardichi.” Deragan said. Making all their heads turn at the sound of his voice. “You and I are point. The rest of you will follow us.”

The barbarian nodded his red head.

The Captain cleared the logs to join him on the road. “We’re running straight through. You two go around back.” He pointed to Lucien and Rhyers. “Take down that one and keep a path open to the river. Bast, watch our backs.”

They nodded. Scattering to position in different directions.

Deragan and Mardichi cracked their necks and rolled their shoulders. Bast stayed slightly behind, drawing daggers from his waistband. There was the slide of metal, as gold scales emerged along Bast’s face and shoulders. And black ones over Deragan’s arms.

“Move.” Deragan said.

He and Mardichi kept pace, side to side despite that Deragan only drew to Mardichi’s shoulder. Moving as one like a battering ram, they slammed into the side of the wall. Wrenching through mud and stone.

Once the wall was open Libby screamed. Ducking behind one of the Sarabi. “Much faster than I’d thought!” She squealed.

A man moved behind her. A giant pointed eared, yellow skinned creature, carrying a hammer nearly as big as the woman.

One of the Sarabi leapt toward Deragan’s back but Bast, in a hurricane of motion, came in rotating his daggers. Cutting the creature down and smattering blood on all three of them. He spotted the boy in the corner behind the man, tied with cloth.

“We’ll clear the way.” Deragan said over his shoulder. Giving Mardichi a look had them position and move as a unit toward the demonling.

The demonling swung his huge hammer and it caught Mardichi in the torso, sending him reeling back.

Deragan was able to rip one of the man’s arms off the handle of the hammer. Yanking it backward until it snapped. Sounding like a tree trunk breaking.

Bast ran past Deragan. Reaching the boy, he cut the cloth bindings down the side. Freeing him. “Stay.” He ordered.

The boy nodded, terrified.

Bast rotated to the other corner where Libby met him.

Standing and screaming like a wild banshee. Eyes turning onyx as she lifted her hands. Long brown nails extended beyond her fingertips and curled into claws. Her face paled around the eyes. Making her look as hollow as a wraith. She launched at him. Managing to rake one hand down his left shoulder and bicep. Gouging deeply into the skin.

Bast soundlessly jerked his daggers. One cutting across the side of her neck as he turned and the other cutting up through her stomach as she wildly raked him with her clawed hands. He watched her fall limply. Clutching her neck as she tried to stop the black ooze draining from her.

Deragan brutally punched the Sarabi, and caved in one side of its head, which it swung desperately.

The yellow man punched Deragan, knocking him back.

But Mardichi charged with his crushing fists.

Deragan hit the Cimmerii man at the same time. Making him stumble sideways a couple steps.

Bast dropped to his knees and reached both blades to slice the back of the man’s ankles. Making him drop thunderously.

Seeing Bast’s back turned, the Sarabi launched from the other corner to clamp down teeth aimed to take Bast’s head.

“Bast!” Deragan shouted.

Bast barely had time to jerk his head to the side, so it only sunk teeth into his collar and shoulder. Crushing bone. Bast yelled in pain.

The boy behind him gasped.

Deragan released his grip on the yellow demon’s other arm, spinning to catch the jaws of the Sarabi. He found grip, teeth cutting into his fingers as he ripped the jaws apart, folding them back in almost the opposite direction. It thumped limply to the floor. Sending up a cloud of dust as it stilled.

“They’re coming!” Lucien shouted from behind the cottage.

Mardichi stood up clutching his stomach as he moved shoulder to shoulder with Deragan again. Groaning in dread as he looked at the well-built wall.

Bast caught the boy’s arm.

“No!” The woman jumped up from the corner. “I wasn’t done with him!” She tried to lunge at them weakly, but Bast palmed her face with his hurt arm and shoved her back with as much force as he could muster in that side of his body.

He drug the running boy behind him. Reminding himself to slow enough he could keep up. He shifted the boy to hang onto his hurt arm so he could clutch the wound closed with his other hand. Trying to stem the bleeding.

“Ye’re wounded!” The boy cried.

“Hang onto me.” Bast barked as the two men before them splintered the back wall. Making an opening Bast and the boy jumped through. Running behind them. Rhyers and Lucien fell back to flank the boy, keeping him in the middle. They reached the NetherRunnel and hid in the trees while Rhyers backtracked to cover their trail.

In a few hours Deragan said the scent had died. “They’re gone.”

“We didn’t kill her.” Bast grunted. He lay on his side, clutching his shoulder.

“Ye’re bleeding bad.” The boy said.

“We’ll take him to WaterRose.” Deragan added.

Mardichi threw Bast over his shoulder. Making Bast groan in pain.

“His bird isn’t going to like this.” Lucien grimaced. Fearing for all of them.

“Somebody needs to take the boy to the FireStar in LandingTown.” Bast said weakly.

“Me!” Lucien volunteered. Grabbing the boy’s arm. “That’s me. We’re going to the FireStar, Lad.” He said cheerfully. “You all can explain to the bird why he’s wounded. I’ll have no part of that.” He waved them away as he quickly turned in the opposite direction.

“I really want back on the FireStar.” The boy murmured.

“Me too, Lad. We’ll wait out the storm there.”

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