Twado glowered at her, as he moved to keep the fire between them.
"If you like, I'll set it for you," she added sweetly, flexing her
Twado feigned sleep.
"I need to pass water," N'one announced as he rose, "I'll be back in a
This was greeted with silence, except for a muttered, "As if I care!" from
the direction of Twado's blanket-covered form.
Ignoring them, he swept from the cave, into the crisp evening air, and made
his way to the edge of the gully. From this vantage point, N'one could see
for many wheels of the countryside and the path they had come by. As he
relieved himself, N'one noticed a smudge on the horizon, taking out his
magi-enhanced spylens and muttering the focusing chants, he scanned the
skyline, only to start back in dismay. It was Hells Gate, or what was left
of it. Through the lens he could make out a smoking crater where the
drinking pit once was, something had destroyed it just after they had left.
He was just about to shut down the spylens, when a shape moved across his
vision across his vision. Quickly, he refocused and picked up the shape as
it swung across the sky.
"By Barl's pus filled toe!" he exclaimed. He swiftly collapsed his lens
and, leaping fallen branches and snow-drifts, ran back to the cave.
"Flee!" he shouted as he arrived at the cave entrance, "A Cholan is upon
Panting, he swept the sackcloth away, and came face to face with an
Time slowed. Gliding past the sword thrust which would have disembowelled
him in a trice, he drove his fist in the assassin's nose, forcing it into
the brain, killing him instantly, and stepped into the cave.
With lightning speed, N'one assessed the situation - to his left, an
assassin was reaching for a crossbow; in the far corner, a second was
standing, knife poised, over the still bodies of his companions; to his
right, a third had thrown a slim blade. It churned through the air towards
him with deadly accuracy.
Moving as if through treacle or thick oil, N'one snatched it from the air
and cast it back at its owner. In the same movement, he leapt sideways at
the man reaching for his crossbow, drawing a skewer in mid air he plunged
it into the assassins neck, and using the wall as purchase, launched
himself at the final assassin.
He realised to late his error as he flowed through the clinging air, the
man's well thrown blade tore into N'one shoulder. Grimacing in pain, N'one
drove a skewer into the assassin's open mouth and into the brain.
Landing badly, he tumbled into the wall. He got up on shaky legs, ripped
the blade from his flesh and flung it from him with a muffled curse -
poisoned of course. He moved to Twado's limp form and checked his pulse -
slow but regular.
He was drugged!
N'one's mind swam and black spots appeared in his vision. Could it be that
the meat was poisoned? He looked at the fire: it gave a pungent sweet
smoke; looking clearly, he noticed thin pottery shards amongst the coals,
"A Bollus!" N'one choked. He withdrew a silk 'kerchief and pressing it to
his nose and mouth, forced his oddly uncooperative legs to carry him back
to his three companions.
Three! His vision wavered as he tried to count them… Lobsang, Twado and
"Where in the bloodsump was Svana?" N'one wondered as he collapsed near the
He woke with a start, sweat dripping from his
brow. Bad dreams again - they got worse each passing night. Bordran rose
and walked the length of the room to the only window; it was nearly light.
He could see the lightbringer's rays peeking over the myriad of buildings
that made up sprawling Prendersbard.
"Borc," he muttered to himself, "must make haste."
Feeling like a wedge of crispy fried Pocroot, he wondered over to the
consumption area and began hauling logs in to the combustible. After a few
attempts, he got the fire burning and placed some fat on the rapidly
heating surface before cleaving some Pocroot in to slices.
Whistling a soulful tune, he pondered on matters at hand. He had been
commissioned by a wealthy client to produce a construct to perform his
daily grooming. Obviously a sharp knife wasn't good enough for him. It
would probably only take him a few days - he was already mulling a few
ideas round his head. It involved the latest iteration of his compact steam
engine construct and some sort of seven-bladed arrangement (he thought
seven was a nice number, though he was considering nine). He wondered if
some sort of safety mechanism would be needed…
Munching on his grindled Pocroot, hey lay back on his chair.
Some deviant seemed to be at the door, his knock-replacement construct
seemed to be malfunctioning…
Bordran walked over
Bordran walked over and opened the door. Outside was a tall figure.
The man stood and looked at Bordran, he seemed to be studying him,
assessing. Staring back, the stranger appeared slightly familiar. Bordran's
gaze slowly fell and noticed some white flakes on the floor…
Where they oats…?