The Flight of The Draykes
A bad feeling growing in our hearts, Ares and I shared a look before we immediately began readying to move Faust in case things had gone bad.
Of course, knowing our luck, things had gone bad and not just bad, but catastrophically bad.
We were halfway through securing Faust back into the stretcher when Damon burst through the tent flaps, only to stop with his hands raised as he stared into our blades.
Lowering them, we turned back to Faust, only for Damon to urgently call out, “Don’t, we’ll have to fight through the streets and you can’t do that with the stretcher!”
Flabbergasted, I stared at him before I swallowed and said, “You’re not suggesting what I think you are, are you?”
“No other choice. Carry him on your back, Ares! We need to go. Now.”
Barking out, I stopped Ares from taking Faust, and with a grunt, I sliced off the ropes that were tying Faust down before kneeling and jerking my head at Ares. “Put him on my back. Gently!”
Wordlessly, Ares immediately carried Faust and gently placed him on my back, and I barked out again, “Tie him to me with the ropes. Make it secure but don’t hurt him.”
Following my order with a touch of hesitation, Ares tied Faust to my back and then backed away as I started circulating my warforce, skin turning into shades of white and black - before I rose with a grunt and then readied my shield and sword in my free hands.
Apologizing to Faust in my heart, I looked at the two teens who stood there, a little disoriented at what was happening before I sniffed and said, “I’m on defense, you both cover my front and back.”
Nodding at me, the two boys shared a look before Ares grinned and said in a low voice, “Seems like our shieldmaiden is back!”
Hearing him despite his low voice, I grinned fiercely as I stated with confidence in my voice, “We. Are. Getting. Faust. To. Safety. Is that understood?”
“Yes Ma’am,” they chorused, and then we were out of the tent and looking at the distance as the castle gate guards clustered around the gate nervously.
Seeing us come out, Sir Aaron gave us a nod before he raised his eyebrows in worry at the sight of Faust on my back, but he said nothing, just tapping Egon on his arm and jerking his head at us before heading toward us alone.
“Please keep him safe,” He said briefly, with a terse smile, before he turned his attention back to the gates and walked back to Sir Egon.
Looking around, I saw Sir Chase moving about, muttering something to the gathered groups of soldiers who nodded before heading back into their tents and a few moments later, coming out with large cloaks covering them, though the shape of the sword bulges gave away that they were heavily armed.
Soon, all of us were gathered in one group, staring at the castle gates, much like the rest of the people in the sprawling areas surrounding us were.
Then, the gate guards stiffened up and formed a shieldwall facing not outwards, but inwards toward the wicket gate, and then we heard shouts and screams coming from beyond.
Then we heard a voice thunder out, “By order of the Viscount, put your weapons down!”
Hesitating, the guards at the gate were about to put down their weapons when another voice thundered even louder than the previous one and said, “By order of the King, Capture Viscount Drayke for offenses against the Kingdom of Leon!”
The leader of the guard detail only thought for a moment before he shouted out, “My lord, please forgive us this offense and surrender peacefully,” and then the shieldwall moved toward the voices with weapons drawn and steadied.
Through the wicket gate, we could make out a mass of people running toward the castle gate and then someone must have given an order - for the portcullis began falling and the wicket gate was swinging shut.
Just then, an arrow shot out and pierced the leader of the guard detail... from behind.
Sir Chase, who had shot it, bellowed out, “Into them!” and our cloaked able soldiers, who I had not noticed leaving, were charging the guard detail from behind - stabbing deep into them.
Sir Aaron, in the meantime, had charged through the disordered ranks of the enemy and, standing underneath the falling portcullis, he raised a shield and was actually holding back the portcullis while his silver warforce armor flowed around him frantically.
Then the gate itself boomed once Twice. Thrice. Before large portions of it blew apart and three figures jumped through the open spaces.
Squinting, I made out Viscount Drayke, an unknown person, and Dame Bathory - all of whom had wounds of varying degrees, but their aura towered unstoppably.
Without pausing, they immediately charged into the melee, dispatching the guard detail with quick brutal efficiency, and in mere moments, the skirmish was over and their attention was back to the castle gate, which was again buckling under the attack of more golden bladeglows.
Half a minute later, the gate shattered apart under the joint attacks of the Knights, and then a stream of people began flowing from it and straight to our direction under the guidance of our soldiers, who formed a wedge to clear the path for them.
All this time, Sir Aaron - red-faced and yet gritting his teeth in defiance - held onto the shield and raised it high, keeping the portcullis at bay.
Then the rearguard of the fleeing people came through, the last members forming the center of the formation and their gold bladeglows that created a web that knocked away the arrows and spears identified them as Sir Galen, Sir Faaris, and Teacher!
Executing a fighting retreat, they trusted their backs to the ones who had already fled and faced the unending storm that hurtled towards them with nary a shred of fear on their faces that were streaked with blood.
“Blood from their enemies,” I hoped and prayed even as I ran, carrying Faust, behind Ares and Damon, who were cutting a path to the port with the rest of the left behind soldiers.
All the while, Sir Chase kept firing one arrow after the other, felling the would-be interceptors in their paths, and the ones who rushed into our headlong charge - fell to the quickly moving bladeglows of Sir Patrick who guarded from the middle.
Deflecting arrows with my shield and cutting down two people that had gotten clear of Ares and Damon, I grunted as I took a cut to my cheek as yet another interceptor barreled his way into the blade of my sword.
Jerking him to the side with a twist and shove of the sword, I kept running behind our vanguard while keeping an eye out for more interceptors and hoping that Faust was alright.
Then the fleeing people caught up to our position, and we moved like flooding water, drowning all the obstacles in our path, until we reached the docks and then we stopped, unsure of where to go before someone yelled out, “The blue warship with the flag of the Draykes,”
Quickly scanning the waterfront, I cursed as there were multiple blue warships with the flag of the Draykes flying on them, but they were all aground or in the process of launching into the water.
Then Viscount Drayke was among us and a moment later, running toward an exquisite lean blue warship that lay menacingly in the water beside the docks, with the sailors aboard looking warily at us.
Viscount Drayke yelled out something that I couldn’t hear to the sailors and the sailors after a brief look at each other, immediately extended a gangplank and motioned us to board, while Viscount Drayke roared out, “All aboard! Now!”
The fleeing people all ran, dressed in their nightclothes, straight onto the ship where they were guided by a few of the sailors while yet more of the sailors began whispering amongst themselves.
Then our rearguard caught up, and we turned around and formed an outward-facing crescent formation around the civilians and the gangplank.
I say we - but I was already sprinting up the Gangplank and finding a safe position out of the way of the arrows at the bow of the ship.
Then, from the safe position, I gritted my teeth anxiously as I watched from where I was as waves of bloodthirsty soldiers battered our defenses.
Bal, I couldn’t figure out why we were facing such trouble in Viscount Draykes, viscounty when the Viscount himself was with us!
But banishing the thought, I put away my sword and scanned the warship before I grabbed a sailor who had a spear - a spear that he Bal nearly poked into me in surprise - and gestured for him to give me his spear.
Seeing his hesitation, I impatiently grabbed it from him and then from where I stood, I slowed my breathing, closed one eye, picked my mark, and then careful not to touch Faust with the spear - I let loose and watched as the spear sailed in the air and nailed an attacker to the ground.
Motioning to other sailors for more spears, I kept up a steady barrage until the last of the civilians and our wounded were on board.
Then the Knights, who were still fighting as the rearguard, boarded, Sir Aaron stubbornly using his large frame and dented shield to cover the last of them.
Then it was just Sir Aaron and the Viscount.
I saw the Viscount say something to Sir Aaron who bellowed back something angrily, and then Viscount Drayke slammed his fist into Sir Aaron’s temple and caught him as he crumpled to the ground before throwing him onto the ship and facing the hordes of attackers alone.
Then the most terrible aura of a weaponmaster who was burning his blood came as bladeglows flickered everywhere, knocking enemies and projectiles aside.
With a shout, they brought in the gangplank and our oars were out and the warship was moving away from the dock while the Viscount fought on alone on the docks.
Squirting, I made out another group of people fast approaching the docks, and then someone yelled out something commandingly and the fighting stopped.
In the distance, the proud figure of a weaponmaster heroically stood, and at an even greater distance - I saw a face that I recognized and would not forget for my entire life.
Alastor - the would-be King.
Face twisted in fury, he glared at Viscount Drayke, who gazed back unflinchingly before he barked out a series of commands.
Then several people detached from the group and threw themselves on the Viscount, who allowed himself to be tackled to the ground.
I watched as Alastor walked to the edge of the dock and I met his seething eyes as he gestured with his hands and warships launched themselves after us.
But we were away and getting further every moment.
Even so, they came, the hunters.
And we were the prey.
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