Castle Roland

Sands of Time

by Roland

In Progress

Chapter 2

Posted: N/A

Killian was miserable, that's all there was to it. 'I swear, if I ever see that bastard of a father again, I'll kill him with my own bare hands!' He thought to himself as the wagon he was in, bounced around. As if mocking him, as soon as the thought was out of his head, the wagon hit a rock causing it to bounce in such a way as to make his head slam into the sidewall. Not hard enough to truly injure him, but still hard enough to hurt.

Tears of shame and frustration sprang to his eyes and he slammed his fist against the floor of the wagon. He wanted to scream and curse, cry and beg, but he knew none of the above would do anything. He pulled at the slave collar that was now around his neck and cried even harder.

In the blink of an eye his life of a low merchant, living on the edge of the wealthy part of Silverton had slipped through his fingers as if he had picked up sand off the river's edge. The worst part was he had done nothing wrong, nothing at all. In truth, he had been doing everything right. In his studies, Killian had been toward the top of his class. He always did his chores. He even helped out in his father's shop allowing it to stay open late.

None of this was fair. He had nothing to do with his father ordering a shipment of silver ore. Killian hadn't been part of the raiding party that had taken the shipment on its way down from the mines, and Killian certainly had nothing to do with his father prepaying for the shipment with borrowed money. Yet, it made no difference to either the creditor or, obviously his own father.

The fact was the money was owed and payment was already late. The choices were limited at best. Killian's father could have handed over his shop, been left broke, homeless, and relegated to beggar caste. This was simply not acceptable, not to a man who looked down on the lower classes of society and had even been known to kick a beggar kid on occasion. The second option, was to barter with his most valuable possession, Killian.

Killian had a gift, the gift of spell casting, but not just any spell casting, he was a budding sorcerer. This gift was now his curse. For a spell casting slave was worth more coin than Killian had ever dreamed of, let alone seen. In fact, his sale, by his father to the merchant he was now enslaved to, got his father enough silver to pay off the debt and give the man enough coin to move into a new shop in an even better area of town.

Once more Killian felt the collar and cried. He was indeed miserable.

Syth was the first one to break the silence. "Does anyone have any clue where we ended up?"

"Nothing I saw was familiar, but it is still the middle of the night. With any luck, when the sun is shining, we will be able to figure out where we are." Lucas said softly.

Even though his tears were threatening to spill over yet again, Xavier spoke softly. "We never had a chance to talk since my father told us of his plan to send me away. We need to figure out what it is that we are going to do." He paused seeing all eyes on him, waiting to see what he was leading towards.

"This place is much different from our home." He looked at Lucas and Olpha. "Do you two also feel the difference in magic here?"

Immediately they both started to nod. "It is stale, just like when we had the vision of the Elf with the animals three days ago."

"I feel it myself, even my inner magic seems as if there was a cloak thrown over it. I know it's there, just not as close to the surface as it should be. I am not sure what it means, but we need to be careful of it." Xavier said softly, with more than a bit of fear in his voice.

Silence reigned for more than a few moments before Thane chuckled. All eyes turned towards him, trying to figure out what he could be laughing about. "You know, this reminds me of the time I was tested for Proficient Echelon." He paused with a smile on his face. A few of the others also smiled, although not as bright as Thane's smile.

"I only had Boots at the time, and Master Hedeal did not think I was ready yet." A small look of pain came across Thane's face as he thought about his first pet. The one who was killed only days before, and the wolf tried to protect Thane. Quickly though, the Animal Adept banished the pain, and continued his story.

"The Guild master scryed to find a 'suitable test' for me, When he said he found one, he told me to prepare. When the portal opened, Boots and I stepped through. The Guild Master never told me what was going on, so I started to scout around a little. It was the middle of the night, in a place that sort of reminds me of this place. Forested hills, cold temperatures and snow on the ground. It didn't take me long to find what the Master wanted me to find."

Thane paused as he took a drink from his water skin and smiled, thinking back. "I came into a clearing and that's when I heard it. At first it sounded like a wolf was whimpering, and something else was laughing. Actually a few somethings. Slowly I moved through the woods and finally I was able to see what was happening. A pair of Orcs had somehow captured a wolf. The wolf was whimpering with it's paw caught in a metal jaw trap. The Orcs were laughing and tormenting the wolf, however, every time one of them got close, it would try to attack them, which just made the Orcs laugh harder."

Thane crouched down and watching, fighting the urge to just rush in there and kill the Orcs that were tormenting the wolf. Once he knew what was going on, he made sure that he was downwind of the orcs, since their sense of smell was so great. Thankfully these two looked to be fairly young, and only one of them had a sword, the other had a small rusty dagger in his belt.

He was petting Boots with the back of his hand, careful not to turn his hand over, and rub the very sharp 'panther claws' across his pet's back. He knew that Boots was as tense and angry as he was, but also knew to wait till Thane told him what to do.

Thane and his wolf had become as close as any Animal Adept and pet were over the last two years. As much as it annoyed the servants in the castle, Thane flatly refused to not allow his wolf to sleep on the bed with him. It finally took Xavier telling the servants to back off before things quieted down. "It's okay Boots..." Thane said, making sure to keep his voice low. He may have been down wind, meaning his voice wouldn't travel well, but he didn't want to chance it, especially since Orcs had hearing that was almost as good as Elves.

He ran threw the drills that his Panther Sect Warrior Master had pounded into his head over and over when sizing up an opponent. The rules came into his mind quickly and easily. Quietly he muttered to himself. "Rule number one, a Panther never rushes in. The panther stalks and waits till the time is right. Rule number six, Control your anger, never allow it to force you to act. The Panther rarely acts in anger. Rule number seventeen, the most important rule. Panthers are cunning and intelligent hunters. Remember, always, to hunt your opponent, strike only when you have the advantage."

Repeating the rules to himself, calmed Thane down as he slowly, carefully, moved around to be closer to the Orcs, yet still stay downwind of them. He motioned for Boots to go around the other side, and then wait for his attack.

Knowing the older one with the sword would be the biggest threat, he knew he had to take that one down first. Boots would do his best to keep the smaller one occupied until Thane had taken care of the first one. Then Thane and Boots could take out the smaller one together. At least that was the plan.

Thane took a deep breath, then carefully pulled two of the throwing spikes that were sheathed on the top of his 'claws'. The 'claws' were gloves that were worn over the hands, at the end of each finger was a eight cm razor sharp 'claw' that he used to fight with. Also, one the first joint of each finger was a smaller, but equally as sharp, claw that pointed downwards, this made open hand punches even more deadly, as they would rip flesh away and dig into the skin whenever they hit. Panther students spent most of their training time with the gloves on, learning to do everything from washing themselves, to eating with the claws on. They needed to be as comfortable with the claws on, as they were with them off.

Poised to throw his spike, Thane took another deep breath before he let out his best roar. This caused both Orcs to spin towards him, giving him the perfect opportunity. Even before they had spun, Thane let loose with his spikes. Only one hit his intended target, but the spike that embedded in the orcs shoulder was enough to allow Thane to rush. When he was about 3 meters away, Thane leapt into the air, just like a Panther would, and when he crashed into the bigger Orc, who was trying desperately to draw his sword, with the wrong arm. The two went rolling for several feet, before they came apart. Thane jumped back to his feet, and surveyed his handy work. The Orc's already injured shoulder now had five deep puncture wounds, further injuring the monster's fighting arm. His other hand had ripped a huge chunk of flesh off the Orc's midsection. However, the Orc was not out of this fight by any stretch.

On the plus side, when the smaller Orc spun toward Thane's roar, he kept watching, as Thane slammed into his bigger friend. Stunned at what was happening, he turned and watched as the two tumbled away, which put him face to face with a pouncing wolf. Thane had worked with Boots extensively on how to attack humanoids. Boots clamped his jaw around the Orcs upper shoulder, and the side of his neck, shook his head as hard as he could, ripping flesh from the smaller Orc, all the while using his own claws to dig in and rip anything it could.

Not being able to draw its sword, the Orc rushed Thane, something that the Elf has actually hoped it would do. Thane stood his ground and waited. When the Orc was several steps away, Thane actually jumped in towards the Orc, driving his claws into the Orc's chest, right where the shoulders met its torso. He then planted his feet on the Orc's knees, and threw himself backwards. He hit the ground and rolled, effectively throwing the Orc behind him.

Even though Thane hadn't planned it, the Orc hit a large tree, upside down, and slid down it, head first. Before the Orc could gather itself, Thane was there, and used his claws to rip its throat out. He didn't even pause, as he knew Boots was still fighting the smaller of the Orcs.

When he turned, he saw the smaller Orc had drawn his dagger and was trying to stab Boots with it. He watched as Boots barely avoided a wild slash, but the Orc had it's back to Thane. He started to run, even as he drew two more spikes, letting them fly just before he himself launched into the air. Both spikes hit, although not where he wanted them to. However, when he hit the orc, square on the Orcs back, he was able to rake his claws across the smaller Orc's throat before they even hit the ground.

Thane jumped up, and looked around, as the smaller one thrashed on the ground. Thane kept an eye on him, but knew he would be dead in moments.

He took a moment to calm down, then looked over at the wolf. The animal was watching Thane wearily, still whimpering slightly. Thane removed the 'claws' and put them in his pouch, before slowly and carefully approaching the injured wolf.

"It will be fine boy, I am here to help." Thane said softly as he slowly made his way to the trap. He backed off a few times when the wolf snapped at him, but he never once moved quickly, or did anything to try and frighten the animal more. He spoke calmly and softly the entire time, and finally, after about ten minutes, the wolf allowed him to come close enough to release the trap. Of course then came the problem of the wolf's terribly damaged paw.

Thane took several more minutes to try and sooth the wolf, who, even now that it was free, the wolf really couldn't go anywhere. "Come on big guy, we need to get you home, and get you fixed up." It took him more than a few more minutes to convince the wolf to allow Thane to pick him up, but finally the wolf allowed it. As soon as Thane straightened, a portal opened in front of him. With a glance to make sure Boots was right behind him, Thane walked through the portal.

"You are supposed to be getting some sleep." Garnet spoke without even looking.

"I wish I could." Xavier said as he leaned up against the tree that his friend, his blood brother, was leaning against. "I am sorry I got..."

"Do not even finish that statement." Xavier may have been the Prince, but he and Garnet had known each other almost since birth. Garnet was ten years younger than Xavier, but, as Sand Dragon tradition had it, a Warrior Dragon was always bonded to a Great Dragon, shortly after birth. This gave the Great a very loyal bodyguard, and close friend; something that had been a great help for Xavier especially towards the end of the war. Garnet was Xavier's rock, and one of the only people who was not afraid to tell Xavier what he thought.

Garnet turned and looked down on his Prince in his Halfelvin form. "As was said to your father. You would have had to order us to not come with you, and even then we still would have." Garnet paused as he once again took a look around, then looked down again at Xavier. "Do you remember the day your father came and told us it was time for the bonding? We both knew it was dangerous, and that it would be painful. But never once, did either of us think about saying no. Xavier, you know I would die to protect you, any of us would. We are here, with you, whether you like it or not. Do not live in the past and what might have been. You are our Prince. We will follow what you want, you just need to figure out what that is."

Xavier nodded to himself, then looked out into the woods. He had thought about doing a spirit walk, but with Magic so different here, he didn't dare yet, at least not until he got a better handle on how much difference there was in the magic. He also thought about assuming his true form, and getting an aerial look, but he quickly dismissed that idea. They had no idea where they were, when they were, and if there were other Dragons around. A young Great Dragon flying around unescorted, in the middle of the mass fighting between all dragon races, was not something to do unless he knew it was relatively safe.

He was lost in thought for a long time until he heard the others start to move around. He was only slightly shocked to see that the sun had already started to rise. Shaking his head, he walked back towards the camp. His time thinking had allowed him to make a few major decisions; now though, it was time to eat, and to let everyone know what he had decided.

A few of his friends looked surprised when they saw him start stoking the fire, and getting their breakfast cooked. Garnet though, only smiled and nodded. He saw everyone was dressing in armor and weapons, and spoke softly. "Remember to wear your cloaks. We don't want to get noticed if we can help it."

He then walked over to Xavier and spoke softly. "Go get into your armor, I will finish up here. I have a feeling you want to talk to everyone before we go investigate this battle site Lucas found?"

Xavier nodded and went off to his own tent. "My Prince, Would you like me to help you with your armor?" Syth asked as soon as Xavier entered the tent. Xavier nodded, as he started to strip off the clothing that he wore.

"While you help me though, there is something I wish to speak about." Xavier asked as he pulled his tunic off. "We are no longer in the Kingdom of Seandra. I am no longer the Prince of that Kingdom, even if it still exists. It would be best to not call me anything other than Xavier."

Syth looked at Xavier in shock. "I understand the words you are saying My Lord, but, my heart will always see you as my Prince. Had it not been for you and your father, I would still be simply a slave. Never in all the dreams I had about being a free being, did I imagine I could be a free being, and friends with the Prince." Syth started to lower his eyes, but Xavier was quick. He reached his hand out, and lifted the Drow's head so his eyes met his own.

"Sythranel, my proud Druid, and friend. You never need to cast your eyes down when I am around. You saved my life, where not even the palace guards had spotted the assassin. Had it not been for you, I very easily could have been killed. You earned your freedom, my respect, and love. But you did not stop there. You took to the challenges of being a member of my Royal Court, and never looked back. You have no reason to still feel you are the least of my friends. But I must insist, from this time forward, until I can rebuild or reclaim the throne of Seandra, you, and the rest of my friends, treat me as just that, a friend." With a smile on his face, Syth nodded, then helped Xavier strap the rest of his armor and weapons in place. Xavier knew that Syth would be the hardest one to convince. Now, as he made his way back out to the fire, where everyone else waited, he would just have to convince them of his decision.

They watched as Xavier walked around the camp carefully inscribing Shamanistic glyphs on different items. They all knew he was doing what he could to protect the camp, just in case. When he was done, he turned and looked at the group and sighed. "First off, thank you all again for joining me. None of you had to, yet you did, and for that I will always be grateful. One thing I decided last night was that we can not worry about what happened after we left. For now our focus must be on finding out where we are, when we are, and what we are going to do from here on out. To do this, I will need each of you to help me. By that, I mean I need each and every one of you to voice your thoughts and opinions, no matter how crazy they sound. If we are to get through this, than we need to be open to everything. Finally I must ask that we drop all titles. For now, until we know more, we need to be careful who we say what to."

As they left their campground, the seven of them walked easily, yet cautiously. They had no real idea what they were going to find, but knew, from Lucas's report, whatever they found was probably going to be interesting. They hadn't gone very far when Garnet held up his hand, silently calling a halt. Quietly he moved up to the first body they came across, a human who had not been picked over too much by the carrion yet. "It is very surprising that the body has not been picked clean yet." Garnet said as he lifted up the dead human's coin purse, which was still attached to its belt.

"I would say, with this type of weather, he has been dead for about two weeks, no more than three." Olpha said quietly, she was a Healthman, and had started to inspect the body. Garnet, the other Healthman in the group started to look the body over then looked up and nodded in agreement.

Syth moved up, and stared at the body. Garnet moved in to check something else when Syth stopped him. "Garnet, do not touch the body." He said slowly. Garnet knew that Syth wouldn't say it, if he didn't see something, so he slowly backed off looking around for something.

"Is it trapped?" Lucas asked as he started to look around the body for some type of trap.

"No... but look at the arrows." Syth said, confusion etched onto his face.

"They look like normal arrows to me." Olpha said confused. That was until Xavier spoke up.

"The angles..." He said softly, causing most to look at him just as confused, but Syth was nodding. "These arrows did not just hit from one direction."

"He was surrounded..." Malachi said dismissively. "It means nothing."

"No." Xavier said cautiously. "Not just from different direction. Look at the one in its shoulder. It came straight down. Yet the one that enters just below his left hip, came from below. The rest... it looks as if the arrows were deflected or... I am not sure. I just know it is not right."

"I agree. Never before have I seen arrows impacting the same person in this way. All the arrows have similar markings, which leads me to believe they were all part of a volley. Yet, while most come in on the proper angles, there are several that seem to come from either straight above this creature, while others seem to have come from below. This is very strange." Syth said softly, squatting down, and pointing out the different arrows as he spoke about them.

"I would advise caution my Pr... Xavier." The Dragonling said, still getting used to calling Xavier by his name when others were around. He was used to speaking to Xavier as an equal when they were alone, such had been Xavier's demand for his friend and bonded blood brother. But always in the company of others did Garnet use Xavier's proper title.

All Xavier had to do was nod, and they all easily fell into the normal arrangement. Since they had chosen not to take the horses for this, not knowing what they would find, Thane took the lead of their group, staying several meters ahead of the rest. He quickly pulled his 'claws' on, and stalked out in front of the group. He wasn't a front line fighter, although he could be if needed, but being an Alphar, as well as a Panther Sect warrior, he was the best at sneaking through the wilderness.

Next in line, and moving off several meters to the left, his bow at the ready, with an arrow already knocked, was Syth. His animal companion, the focus of his Druidic magic, Agrona, a winged bobcat, walked close to its master's side, looking for trouble.

Flanking him, and several meters to the right came Garnet. He was the Warrior adept, as well as being in his most comfortable form of a Dragonling. Garnet was not the best at being stealthy in the woods, but he was their greatest warrior. With his chained sickle in hand, and the scimitar across his back, Garnet could easily match most other in straight combat. Add into the mix, the fact that, as a warrior adept, he had access to some spells, and he became even more dangerous. But the one thing that really made him dangerous was the fact that he was bonded to Xavier. That gave him access to some limited Shaman spells as well. Out of the entire group, only Xavier surpassed him in rank. Xavier being a Skilled step three as opposed to Garnet's Skilled step one.

Following behind Garnet and Syth were Olpha, then Lucas. Both had their spell books out and ready. Since they were both Mages, neither one of them were good front line combatants. Although, like everyone else in their group, both Olpha, the Halfling, and Lucas the Highman, could hold their own in a fight, they preferred to stay back, and let their spells do the talking.

Covered in the middle of the group was Xavier himself. Being a Shaman, he didn't need a book, but still he had a spell ready just in case. Not ready to draw the Royal Blade yet, Xavier had his sling out, and loaded, ready to launch a projectile at a moment's notice.

Bringing up the rear of the group was the Garm. Malachi had his spiked shield out, as well as his fighting axe, and was on full alert to make sure nothing was able to get to his Prince. This arrangement formed an effective wedge with Xavier protected in the middle.

For close to an hour, the group slowly, carefully made its way through the obvious battle site. More than once, they stopped and stared at the carnage and the damage that was evident in the area. While no one spoke, more than one of them had the thought that the Gods must have gotten involved for there to be damage like this. If they only knew that they were exactly correct, they may have fled the area without looking around more.

Even though King Rathort had made sure they had plenty of gold, and even a few platinum pieces, the children still knew enough to see what they could find on the dead. They never knew what they might need in the future. The first time that Garnet held up a copper piece that was in someone's pouch, they all looked confused and shook their heads. Shrugging, Garnet put it in his magical pouch, along with all the others. Thus far they had not found any weapons or armor pieces that interested them. More than one of the group thought that this was one of the worse equipped armies they had even seen. 'No wonder they are dead.' Malachi thought to himself as he inspected a steel sword. 'The workmanship on this blade is abysmal!'

They all stopped when Thane threw his hand up, and crouched down. They waited till they saw him wave everyone ahead. It didn't take long for them to start to hear voices. None of them could even begin to understand the words that were being spoken, although Lucas thought it sounded like a human language of some sort.

A group of 12 armed and armored humans was surrounding a tipped over wagon. While Syth couldn't see what they were talking to, when another voice spoke up, Syth edged forward.

Again they could not understand the language, so Lucas flipped to a page in his book, and silently cast a spell that would allow him to understand any language. Unfortunately the spell wasn't cast in time to hear what the second voice, a voice obviously from a Pantherling, said. However, Lucas was able to understand what was said in return.

"Don't worry none about the slave. We'll fix it up just fine. He'll fetch a handy price at the slave market." One of the men said as he raised his sword, making it clear that he would fight if need be. Lucas was appalled by the language the man used. Even when he had visited the slave homes, he had never heard someone mash their words together like this. It was almost incomprehensible to the Highman.

While they were talking, Syth quietly made his way to an area that he could better see what was going on. When he hunkered down again, he saw a young black Pantherling, sword in his hands, and even a dagger wrapped in its tail ready to strike if needed, warily eyeing the men. Behind him there was a Dragonling child leaning up against the wagon, clearly seriously injured. Strewn around the child were the bones of several carrion birds, rats, and other things that must have gotten close enough for the child to feed on. Even from where Syth was at, he could see the twisted right leg, and the tail that was laying at a very odd angle.

"You will have to come through me to get him." The Pantherling stated while raising his sword, ready for an attack. It didn't take long for the attack to come. Three of the men lurched forward, one of them trying to go around the Pantherling to get to the Dragonling, and the other two coming right at the black furred creature.

Syth glanced sideways, and saw Xavier nod. He stood up, drew the arrow back to his cheek and waited for a shot. The Pantherling struck out at the one trying to get around him with its dagger wielding tail; while at the same time blocking a sword strike from one of the other men. However, he was not able to get out of the way of the man with a spiked mace.

The man was trying to end the fight quickly, but the Pantherling's quick movement was just enough to where the mace did not connect with its soft side, instead, with a sickening crunch, the mace impacted on the Pantherling's hip. The force behind the blow shattered its hip. The Pantherling fell with an anguished cry.

Syth's arrow found its mark, driving the tip right through the mace wielder's skull killing him instantly. Less than a second later, Syth activated the magical cloak he wore, teleporting him directly in front of the Pantherling, causing both men to jump back at the sudden appearance of a cloaked figure with the hood pulled all the way forward, not allowing them to see any of Syth's features.

Quicker than either man could react, Syth drew his Ice Dagger, and slammed it into one of the men's chest, instantly causing ice to form around the wound. He released the dagger as the man stumbled back. Next he stabbed out with the top of his bow, catching the other human in the gut, causing him to double over, as the air rushed out of the man's lungs.

Syth then spun using his bow much like a staff, and brought it crashing down across the back of the man's neck, driving him from his feet, and planting him face first into the ground. Syth then drew his spiked flail, and waited to see if anyone else was going to attack. Unfortunately for the group of men, Syth's companions made their choice for them.

The sudden appearance of Syth had caused enough of a pause in the human bandits to allow the rest of the group to make their way down. Just as Syth drew his flail, Garnet appeared out of the woods, drawing the group's attention with a huge roar that reverberated off of the trees. While he wore a cloak, he hadn't bothered to pull the hood up, knowing the sight of a Dragonling rushing towards them would give most men pause, at least it would have in their time. This assumption clearly held true in the area and time they now found themselves. The first man who turned towards the sound didn't have time to do more the gasp, as the spiked ball on the end of the chained sickle crashed into the side of his head, crushing his skull. The man dropped like a sack of flour as blood splatter sprayed the snow with a red mist.

Garnet didn't stop moving as the blade of his sickle then found the side of the next man, wounding him across the side. The man dropped with a silent scream as he desperately tried to hold his insides in.

On the hill, above the fight, Lucas and Olpha both spotted the spell caster at the same time. The man had a book in his hand, and was starting to cast with his free hand. Lucas's Flaming Dart ball left his hand a split second before Olpha's Ice Strike. Lucas's Flaming Dart did some damage to the caster, but not enough to kill it. However, Olpha's Ice Strike impacted before the Mage could prepare for it. The Ice Strike slashed into man's knee ripping the kneecap off. The man's agony filled shriek caused several of the other attackers to stop and look.

In less than thirty seconds, the group of bandits had been cut down to half, and, with their only spell caster out of the fight, they started to try and pull back. However, while everyone else was moving up, Thane had moved around to the back of the group. Leaping out of the brush, Lucas scrapped his claws along the back of a female swordsman as he flew over her head. He crashed into another swordsman bandit, and before they finished tumbling, Thane managed to dig his left claw deeply into the man's neck. With a twist of his wrist and a pull, he removed the man's adam's apple.

The female swordsman, although injured was not out of the fight. As she tried to advance on Thane, Agrona, Syth's winged bobcat, glided down and slammed into her already injured back, driving her face first into the ground. The creature then locked its jaws on either side of the backbone and clamped down. With a couple of violent yanks the cat's head came back up with a pair of neck bones in its mouth.

Not being one to ever stay out of a fight, Malachi let out a battle cry and charged, slamming his spiked shield into the nearest man, while using his axe to deflect a sword strike from another human. Had the situation been different, Malachi would have laughed outright when the sword the man was using shattered, when it connected with his axe. The bandit's eyes went wide with shock, but he did not live long enough to figure out what had happened.

Xavier had been swinging his sling trying to find a target, when one man tried to make a break for it. A snarl appeared on Xavier's face as he released the small stone from his sling at an incredible speed. Due to the magical nature of his sling, as the stone sailed through the air, it grew in size, until the small stone was twice the size it had been. A normal sling stone could kill in the hands of a skilled thrower. Xavier was such a thrower, however when the stone hit, twice the size that it was when released, it broke bones easily where it impacted. In this case, Xavier's aim had been spot on as he hit the man right in the back of the neck, snapping the man's spine and crushing the lower part of the man's skull.

The final man, barely past the age of ascension, threw down his sword surrendering just as Garnet turned towards him. Garnet eyed the young man wearily, while both Thane and Agrona surrounded the man from opposite sides. Garnet looked over at Xavier who was making his way down the hill, Lucas and Olpha at his side. All of them had their cowls pulled forward so their features could not be made out. Xavier though, knew exactly what Garnet was silently asking. He nodded, "He can live, however, the Mage will not. Olpha you defeated it. You get the first pick of spells from the book. Lucas you get the next pick. Any that duplicate I will take. We will see if spell pages sell in this time as well as they did in ours." Garnet turned back to face the man. He tried to tell the man to remove all his weapons, but the man didn't understand the words Garnet spoke. So instead, the Dragonling motioned for him to remove his weapon belt, and lay on the ground.

Lucas and Olpha made their way over to the man who was cradling his leg, and looking shocked at his knee cap, which lay over a meter away. When he noticed the two approaching, he tried to draw a weapon, since his book had fallen out of his reach. The small dagger was easily swatted away by Lucas's staff, he then swung it around, and brought it down with all of his might, easily shattering the man's skull. It was the quickest and easiest way to make sure the man did not suffer more than he already had.

Seeing this, the human grew pale, and tried to flee. He didn't make it two steps before Garnet intercepted, and with one blow, sent the human to the ground, unconscious.

Syth, on the other hand, slid the handle of his flail into the loop on his belt as he turned towards the injured Pantherling, and the young Dragonling it was trying to protect. The Pantherling's sword was still in its fighting hand, while its off hand was clutched over its ruined hip. Syth could easily see blood pooling around under the Pantherling, and even bits of shattered bone sticking out in places.

"Don't move." Syth said in the Dragon tongue, the language that was most common in Seandra. "The injury is bad, but moving will make it worse."

The Pantherling nodded, clearly in a lot of pain, yet it forced itself to speak. It was shocked to hear such a young voice speaking the tongue of the Dragons, but it responded in kind. "Thank you for saving my life. I am forever in your debt."

Syth sighed heavily. It appeared the Pantherlings in this time, whatever time this happened to be, were just as honor driven as the Pantherlings in his time. He reached up and pulled back the cowl of his cloak and looked down at the Pantherling.

As soon as it caught sight of Syth's face, the Pantherling cried out while trying to back up, and raise its sword. The single word was spoke with total contempt and unmitigated disgust, "Drow!" Unfortunately, the creatures ruined hip caused ripples of pain to rake the creature, turning the snarl of revulsion into a cry of pain. So great was the pain that the Pantherling had to try and fight off the blackness that was creeping into his vision. Thankfully or not, the Panther slumped back, the pain too great, and he blacked out.

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