Chapter 4 - Emmalyn
Emmalyn hid behind Mathias as the five men stopped just inside the kitchen. The largest in the group was positioned just in front of the others, and he grinned when he locked eyes with Mathias. Emmalyn tried to get a grip on her fear as she studied the men. They looked like they could have stepped out of a time machine. All of them wore black pants, black long-sleeved shirts, and black boots, but it was the metal armour they wore overtop that gave her pause. The chest plate was impressive, and it had intricate swirling patterns etched into it. They wore matching shoulder plates that appeared to be made of two pieces. A bottom piece was curled and wrapped around the front of their arm, while a second larger piece covered their shoulder and the top of the arm piece. Again, the larger piece was etched with the swirling design. Then they wore what looked to be metal gloves. They were made of many pieces of metal. There were metal fingers connected to a large piece that covered their hand. That was attached to a sleeve of metal that protected their arm, and above that was a larger piece that protected their elbows. It was all quite elaborate, and it looked quite heavy. Then there were the swords they carried. They were enormous and beautiful, and they looked deadly as hell.
Each one of them had black hair. Three men had theirs cropped short while the last two had hair that touched the top of their shoulders. Except for the man in front, all wore varying degrees of glares. The man in front appeared more relaxed, and the way he eyed Mathias made it look like he was pleased to see him. That meant he knew her guardian, and that made no sense. She spared a minute to lean to the side and take a peek at Mathias. Gone was the fear she’d witnessed when the tornado started, now he wore a scowl just like the men he faced. She took in his stance and realized he looked very comfortable with the sword in his hand. It was as if he held it all his life.
“Mathias,” the leader greeted, confirming they knew each other. He had a wicked scar running down the side of his face and he frightened her more than the others did. “It’s been a long time my old friend. I assumed you were dead.” Emmalyn gasped at the words old friend. Not only did Mathias know him, but it appeared he knew him well.
“We were never friends,” Mathias grunted back. “And as you can see, I’m very much alive. You and your men can step right back through that portal and return to your realm.”
Emmalyn’s eyes flew right back to Mathias’ at the mention of a portal. There was no way she could disguise the fear and confusion that comment brought. Her fingers already holding on to the back of his shirt dug in deeper while her hand reached out and grabbed onto his arm.
“Portal?” she questioned in a whisper, as her whole body trembled. Mathias glanced at her sharply, then shook his head in the negative, and turned back to the man. She took that to mean he wasn’t explaining anything right now.
“The princess looks well,” the man smirked, as he twisted to look at her. “It appears you’ve done just fine while deceiving the realm.”
“Warrick,” Mathias sneered. “Eyes on me.” When Warrick did as asked, Mathias continued. “Why are you here?”
“To return the princess home of course. And to do so at any cost,” Warrick answered. “Stand aside, or we go through you.”
When Mathias only growled and raised his sword higher, Warrick lost his easy going attitude. His body seemed to grow larger, and the easy smile shifted to a look of fury. Emmalyn let go of Mathias’ arm and took a hesitant step back. If Mathias had plans to take all of them on, she didn’t want to be in his way. She still had no idea what was going on, but she knew there was a good chance Mathias could die defending her. And she didn’t even want to think about the princess thing. She had the small knife he had given her tucked into the hand that was holding his shirt, but she didn’t think that would do much against the five large men holding swords. Mathias and Warrick were in a stare down, and it looked like they were both waiting for the other to make a move. While they did, Emmalyn glanced behind her. The table held a few dishes, and a large vase full of flowers, but it was the butcher block on the counter holding the chef’s knives she’d have to move for once things started. She braced herself and waited, knowing if she moved now she’d gain all their attention.
Mathias apparently was better at this game, because Warrick suddenly roared a command in a strange language, and the men behind him charged. Mathias brought his sword to chest level and stopped the blade of the first man from slicing through his face. Emmalyn stumbled back in horror, knocking the table behind her. It rocked, and some cartons of food fell to the floor, but it broke her fall. She grabbed for the pitcher of flowers and hurled it as hard as she could at a second man who was attempting to step to the side of Mathias. The vase hit him in the temple and broke, spewing water, glass and flowers down the front of him. He bellowed, and when he shifted to face her, he had blood gushing from a gaping cut above his eye. He took one step in her direction, but Mathias raised his foot and drove it into the chest of the man he was fighting with. As he fell back into another one, Mathias twisted and drove his sword into the chest of the man that was reaching for her. The man hadn’t even seen Mathias move. He blinked once, then collapsed, allowing Mathias to easily pull his blade out as he fell.
“Hide,” Mathias bellowed, as another man charged him. Once more he was locked in a deadly battle and had no time to spare for her.
Emmalyn looked longingly down the hall at her bedroom, but she didn’t run. There was no way in hell she was abandoning him to take them all on his own. She was small, but he’d taught her how to defend herself. He spent hours teaching her self defence moves and showing her how to throw a punch. She’d stay by his side, and if he went down, they’d go down together. Gaining a bit of courage, she scooted forward, dropped to her knees, and shoved her knife into the calf of the man Mathias was fighting. He grunted in pain, and she had to scurry out of the way as he lost his footing. At the same time, Mathias arced his blade and swung it across the man’s neck. Blood flew in every direction as the man slumped to the floor on top of the other one. That meant two were down and three were left.
Emmalyn felt tears roll down her cheeks as two of the three left standing rushed Mathias at once. He was holding them off, but she could tell he was tiring. Then one of the men twisted the sword at an odd angle and caught Mathias in the belly. Mathias moved quickly and sidestepped, but it was too late, the blade had already done its damage. Mathias roared as blood spewed from the wound to coat his tee. It didn’t look deep, but Emmalyn knew it was bad. Panicking, she charged across the room to the counter and reached for the butcher block, pulling it towards her. Without thought, she snatched one out and flung it at the man that had sliced Mathias. The blade sunk into the man’s shoulder and he roared in pain. Not wasting a second, she grabbed another one and threw it as well. Her aim wasn’t as good, but it caught him in the face and opened up his cheek. Immediately the man turned and stalked in her direction, allowing Mathias to focus on the closer one.
She shrieked as he charged her. He looked terrifying with the knife imbedded in his arm and the bloody mess she’d made of his cheek. Reaching back once more, she snagged the pepper shaker. With trembling hands, she unscrewed the top and tossed it away. As soon as he was close enough her arm shot out, and she lobbed the pepper in a wide arc, hitting him right in the face. The man howled as he dropped his sword and wiped at his eyes. Without waiting for him to recover, Emmalyn grabbed another knife and rushed at him. Holding it with both hands fisted together, and putting all her weight behind it, she aimed for his chest. At the same time he looked up, jerked the blade out of his arm, and slashed it across her forearm. She screamed in agony, but drove her own knife in at the same time. The blade sunk in deep, and the man fell. Beside her, the one Mathias was fighting dropped as well. Emmalyn glanced at Mathias as he swung his eyes to her. Immediately he zeroed in on the gash on her arm while she took in the bloody hole in his shoulder. They were both still standing, but it looked like they had both received cuts.
“My turn,” Warrick growled, and they spun as one to face him. Warrick was the last one of the group standing, and he was by far the largest.
As he charged, the tornado gave another mighty roar, and what sounded like almost a dozen more men dropped out. Crying now, Emmalyn concentrated on Warrick and ignored the shouts coming from behind him. Both her and Mathias raised their arms, Mathias holding his sword, and her holding the bloody knife she had pulled out of the last man’s chest.