Howdy! It’s Wednesday so that means Character Story time! This week we’re picking up right after the Calorin commander executed the other officers of Lynwood Keep and sent Liam to the dungeons. And I promised some excitement this week. So without further ado, part 4! (I backtracked a little. To see what happened last week click here!)
Liam was dragged away in front of the garrison, still silent in shock over the last few minutes. The Calorins left him in one of the cells beneath Lynwood Keep. There Liam waited in misery for the dawn. When it came, he barely cared. His hands were chained in front of him and he was led out again. The captive Aredorians were all assembled in the courtyard as he was brought out. Horses stood ready, and on one hung a bundle of his weapons. He wondered dully how they had collected the right ones, but then, maybe he didn’t. He was forced to mount the horse and a Calorin took the reins.
They made ready to ride out when Liam heard his name called. He turned to see Bran step forward and salute him. Slowly, every man did the same. There was admiration in some of the Calorins’ faces. Liam’s throat choked for a moment, then he returned the salute. He wished that it could be his last image of the world. The guard made no attempt to punish Bran for his act of defiance, though the commander’s face showed that they would both be dealt with later.
The horses were held to a walk, and occasionally a trot. Liam rode with his eyes fixed on his horse’s neck and mane. He couldn’t bring himself to watch the forest as it slid slowly by. It had been his home since he came to Lynwood Keep as a young boy of fourteen, eager to start his training. And now, ten years later, he was leaving to die. His body would be discarded in some ditch, left to rot instead of being buried in the silent forest alongside countless generations of the defenders of the Keep.
They paused to drink and water the horses at a stream. Liam as before, got nothing. One of the guards had tried earlier, but the captain, as sadistic as his commander, had forbidden it. A few minutes later they moved on. By midafternoon they had entered a darker part of the forest. The Calorins shifted uneasily even though the path stretched out unhindered in either direction. They muttered quietly to each other, casting nervous glances to the looming trees. A moan and a thud brought them all to a halt. They turned to see that one of the guards had fallen from his horse. Another Calorin dismounted and went over to him, staggering back with a cry when he saw that the man’s throat had been cut. The patrol began to stir uneasily. There was no sign of anyone or anything but them. Liam was just as confused as they were. There was a flash and a knife spun lazily into the chest of another soldier. It had seemed to come from nowhere.
Then, there was a dark figure standing on the path, a lethal looking blade in his hand. Two men staggered back from the blade. Liam felt himself dragged from the horse and held in front of the Captain, a knife to his throat. The figure spoke.
“You think you can handle that coward if I take care of the rest?” he asked. His voice carried the slight accent of the coast. Liam found he still had plenty of fight in him, despite his aching body.
“Give me the word,” he replied. Even under the hood, Liam could have sworn the man smiled.