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D.T - Irene the Sly: chapter 4

The final group is formed at last.

Irene the Sly: Chapter 4

Irene didn't stop running until she was too tired to keep it up; even then she kept moving forward, too afraid to look behind her. She spent no time thinking about what the four different staircases at the end of the tower base floor led to; she just went up one and hoped for the best.

*

"You know I can't believe that out of all those merchants outside the tower only three of them had decent weapons," Nethlen said casually.

Most the group ignored him and continued walking as if he said nothing. "Hey, it's a pretty genius idea, set up shop outside the tower and sell cheap merchandise to idiots at high pricings." Theo responded. "The odds of anyone coming back after finding out first-hand what they bought is utter crap; it's not likely."

"You two act as if sleazy merchants setting up shop outside the most famous place in Grimnar is even the least bit surprising," Samhal said joining the conversation. "What is surprising is that some of them are actually selling legitimate merchandise, even if it is at wildly high prices."

"Would you three shut up," Adelea said in annoyance. She brushed her blonde hair from out of her eyes as she looked around slowly. "There is someone else here."

"Well, of course, there is we were sure not to be the only ones to climb," Samhal said.

Adelea ignored her and stopped her gaze on one of the violet trees just twelve yards to her left and said, "There, behind that tree; just one."

"I'll go check it out, see if they're friendly," Caleb said, already heading over there.

When he got to the tree, he found a young girl with red hair and freckles, sleeping peacefully. Seeing her Caleb relaxed and turned to shout to his companions, "It's just a young girl; she's sleeping."

Moments after he shouted to his friends, the girl awoke and got to her feet pulling out a beautiful dagger; pointing it at his throat. Caleb held his hands up and backed away slowly. Seeing the fear in the girls eyes, he smiled lightly and said, "Hello, my name is Caleb, what's yours?"

The girl said nothing, so he continued, "I'm sorry for frightening you. We noticed another presence and wasn't sure if it was friend or foe. Those are my companions back there by the way." Caleb nodded behind him. "The two ginger twins back there, who are probably whispering something stupid about me right now, are Theo and Nethlen. And then there is tall, pretty, and brooding, her name is Adelea and she's our leader, of sorts." He stopped backing away then as the girl stopped moving forward and glanced to his friends behind him. "Oh and then there are the rest."

"Screw you Caleb your introduction sucks," Samhal called out.

The girl stepped back from Caleb and put away her dagger; then she turned and fled towards the stairs ascending higher. Myre snarled, "After her!" And then went to chase the girl but Adelea grabbed her arm and stopped her saying, "Let her go, she's of no threat to us; just a scared little girl."

Moments later the girl vanished into thin air before reaching the stairs. Myre pulled her arm free of Adelea's grip, which then loosened, and rushed over to Caleb to check on him. She had her hands all over him checking to make sure that girl didn't stab him anywhere; he said he was fine but kept his eyes focused ahead towards the stairs.

He gently pushed Myre away from him insisting he was fine. Then he went over to Adelea and told her he was going to find that girl and help her if she could; it was more a question then him saying what he would be doing.

Adelea crossed her arms and asked, "Okay even if you can find the girl who can go invisible, then how will you help her?"

"Give her some of my provisions, so she can make it down and out of the tower. She looked like she was out or just about; if that's the case she won't make it down and out of here."

"You can't give her your provisions," Myre protested.

"And why not? They're mine and mine alone to share as I please."

"It's a waste, and you don't even know that girl; plus that bitch pointed a dagger at your throat remember?"

"She was scared and alone; I would have done the same thing."

"Let that stupid bitch starve then, it's her fault for coming here unprepared."

Caleb glared at Myrel, "Maybe, but just how well can you prepare for a place like this? Or maybe she did prepare best she possibly could, maybe she was robbed of her food climbing this far. You may not understand the pain of starving, but I understand it all too well. If ever I can help someone from never going through that then I will; so get out of my way."

Caleb then moved past Myrel and stormed ahead. Myrel went to chase after him, but Adelea stopped her and said, "He will come back shortly; let's give him some time then follow after him." She struggled, but Adelea wouldn't let go.

"I thought an invisible girl would be much harder to find," Caleb said after spotting the mysterious freckled girl.

She got up and pulled her dagger out; again. "What do you want?" She asked.

"Easy, I'm not here for trouble, in fact, I thought you might be, so that's why I came; alone I might add."

"And how do you think I'm in trouble? Or are you going to say that only you and your friends can protect but only if I do something for you." She sounded very cynical now.

Caleb stepped a little bit closer to her but stopped with them still several feet apart. "No, but I noticed you don't seem to be carrying much on you save for that fancy cloak and dagger. I'm not sure how long you have been out of provisions, but you can't keep climbing without food or water. I want to give you some of mine so you can climb back down with a chance to make it out before starving to death."

"Keep your food I don't need it."

"Ohh?" Caleb raised a brow curiously, he looked around then asked, "And might I ask what you plan to eat exactly?"

The girl studied him for a minute then asked, "You really don't know do you?"

Caleb shook his head, "Know, what?"

Slowly the girl stepped away from him, keeping her eyes set on him still, and moved towards one of the violet trees. She then plucked one of the fruits and bit into it. After chewing and swallowing the bite, she said, "This fruit is all the food I need; I have been living off of it since I got here and felt fine. And the juices give me all the waters I need too; so no I don't need you to continue climbing this tower."

The girl then tossed Caleb the fruit and put away her dagger. She turned and started walking off again shouting, "Please stop following me now."

"Wait can I at least know your name?" Caleb shouted back.

The girl didn't stop moving but she did respond, "My name is Irene... Good bye Caleb." She then pulled the hood up from her cloak over her head and vanished again.

Caleb found the group waiting for him just at the base of the stairs on the floor below. "How much of your own provisions did you end up giving her?" Adelea asked.

Caleb glared at her, annoyed at the question and said, "None, she wouldn't take them."

"Well you tried Caleb, so you don't have to feel bad when she does fade away to hunger or thirst," Myre said scathingly.

"No, as a matter of fact," Caleb said turning to Myre. "She's been living off that dark fruit that grows off the purple trees in this place. She said it keeps her stomach full and gives her all the waters she needs."

"And you believed her?"

"It does make sense if you think about it," Adelea said. "Thus far we have not seen any streams, puddles, or other forms of water, but these weird trees growing all around still manage to live. I'm not sure what sort of magic this tower is but the only way to climb to the top would have to be by eating those fruits to sustain ourselves."

"So what we're going to risk our lives on the word of some random bitch we don't even know?" Myre protested. "I mean what if it's poisonous?"

"If it is then chances are no one will ever make it to the top of this tower, at least none of us anyways. But we will worry about that when our provisions run out, for now let's keep climbing; we dawdled long enough down here and I sense others not too far behind us."

The group continued on as before, when they got through the next four floors though everyone was out of provisions. "Alright, let's hope your redhead friend was right about these fruits," Adelea said walking over to one of the violet trees. She plucked the purple fruit and examined it closely; then bit into it.

Everyone watched with anticipation as she ate the fruit. "It seems absolutely harmless to me," She said, then she continued to eat the fruit. Caleb followed after her and grabbed some fruit for himself and bit into it. The others soon followed.

"Alright so she was right about the fruits," Myre complained, "so can we all stop talking about her now."

"We have stopped talking about her, now it's just you," Rowen said irritated.

"Nethlen, Theo, and Caleb are still talking about her too."

"Yeah well the ginger twins can almost never shut the hell up. And Caleb, I don't care what he has to say."

"All of you shut up," Adelea said in a hushed voice. She looked behind her, her eyes went wide and she said, "Quickly everyone hide."

They followed her lead and suddenly broke off from their path but Rowen still asked, "Hide where?"

"Behind the fruit trees, two people per; and no one move or say damm thing until they have long since moved on." Adelea responded as she pressed herself close to one of the trees and crouched way low. Everyone else followed her example, scattering throughout the many dark fruit trees around and waited to see what had Adelea so spooked.

Moments later a small group of people cloaked in crimson red cloaks with a familiar looking demon design on their backs. Their heads and faces were completely covered by the overly large hoods and they kept their hands up by the waist tucking them away between the long sleeves.

By appearance alone, they seemed nothing special but as they passed by they gave off a dark aura that frightened everyone around; even Adelea. When the red cloaked group moved on everyone, let out their breath in sighs of relief. They grouped back up and Caleb asked, "Who the hell were those people and why were they so frightening?"

"They're called the 'Red Wraiths'," Adelea answered. "They're a cult of powerful dark magisters; they work with ancient ritualistic magic and have a power not known to many."

"How come none of us heard of them before?" Samhal asked.

"Because they were long before your time. I was just a child myself when the king of Dorgal waged a campaign to eliminate them all for good."

"Wait Dorgal is ruled by the council we don't have a king," Samhal said.

Adelea sighed and brushed her blonde hair out of her face and said, "That too was before your time. In fact the council is still a very new regime." She paused to glance around at everyone. "Wait a second Rowen is gone, where did he run off to?"

Everyone looked around them and found no sign of him. A loud piercing whistle rang their ears moments later. They turned to where it had come from and found one of the 'Red Wraiths' holding Rowen with an arm twisted behind his back and a shiny blade pressed firmly against his neck.

"Surrender peacefully or this one dies," the man in the red cloak said.

Soon as he finished his sentence the others showed up surrounding the group; their magic shrouds dropped now making them fully visible. There were a good deal more of them now then what Adelea or the others had seen passing by just minutes ago.

Adelea took a look around her, seeing all the red wraiths. Using her magic to extend her senses she felt out all of the cloaks; each of them full and brimming with life magic; they were no illusions. Reluctantly she put her hands up and told everyone to surrender peacefully.

"Don't do it!" Rowen shouted in protest. Even as the dagger pushed against his throat and started cutting him dangerously close to the jugular, he protested. "Tell these corpse fuckers to go kiss a grave."

"Enough Rowen, that's enough." Adelea said as she and the others surrendered their weapons and themselves peacefully.

The red wraiths thoroughly searched each of them and took all their weapons. Then they individually tied their arms behind their backs with a strange black rope which made their whole body tingle. Rowen struggled, a lot, but was still tied with the rest and they were all marched two by two moving with the wraiths.

"What are they going to do with us?" Caleb whispered quietly to Adelea who was paired next to him.

"They're going to sacrifice us for their magic, as either individuals or in one large group," Adelea whispered back.

"Then why the fuck did we just give up?!"

"Because if we fought them back, there they would have slaughtered us. Right now we have a hidden gambit that gives a chance to get away from this alive."

"And that would be?"

"Quiet down you two!" One of the wraiths shouted at Caleb and Adelea.

*

Irene followed the group in their crimson cloaks from a safe distance, watching them as they captured and detained Caleb and his friends. 'Just keep moving,' She would tell herself every time they stopped for a short rest. 'They will be fine, just keep moving and get the hell out of there this is not your problem.'

She finally convinced herself to move on, when they all stopped for a long rest, by reminding herself that if she didn't get ahead of them now, they might get the wish before she did. But she stopped when one of the older boys, with a nasty cut on his neck, slipped free of his bondage and ran for it.

He made it twelve steps before being incinerated by a blast of flame. Irene cupped her hands over her mouth to hide her gasp of terror. Now she was ready to go; there's no way she would be able to save them.

"We needed that one for part of the sacrifice ritual," one of the wraiths argued loudly.

Irene kept moving on though and shook her head. "I'm just a kid from the streets, I can't do nothing against the magical people," She said out loud to herself. "Especially ones like that." She kept going, but she couldn't get that image of that guy being burned to ashes and then seeing Caleb and the others dying the same way.

'But the cloaked people were talking about a ritual sacrifice,' she thought to herself. 'What if they're going to torture them slowly or something?' She stopped then muffled her mouth to scream in frustration.

Reluctantly, she turned back around and went to where Caleb, his friends, and the red cloaks were all camped out. Most of them were lying down now, trying to rest, but a couple remained up and moving around, lookout duty.

She pulled over her vanishing cloak and pulled out her dagger then slowly moved into the group, stepping around the cloaked people as she made her way to Caleb and the others. When she got there, she cut the ropes around Caleb, who was still awake and wondering what the hell just happened since he couldn't see Irene.

When he started moving around too much, she hushed him and whispered so faint he struggled to hear her. "Shut up or we'll get caught." Caleb went back to being still after that but whispered back, "Invisible Girl, I need you to grab our weapons from the brown sack they have, after you finish freeing all of us."

Irene didn't respond and moved on to the woman next to Caleb, who whispered quietly to her, "Thanks for coming back for us kid."

She stopped cutting her ropes and thought for a long moment before asking, "You knew I was following you guys?"

"It's a special magic talent of mine. Listen the others are still half awake, so when you cut them free, tell them 'Adelea sent you' so they don't freak out and ruin this whole thing."

Irene cut her free and said, "Got it." She then moved on to others and whispered the message to them before cutting their bonds. They remained silent and unmoving when she told them that, but they were wide awake now. When she freed them all, she moved on to grab the brown sack, which wasn't hard to spot among all the red cloaks lying around.

She grabbed it silently and slowly moved back when the cloaked man's hand shot out and firmly grabbed her wrist. He started to get up when she kicked him in the face and pulled her hand free from him, still holding the bag.

Next thing she knew, her entire body was burning as the cloak was caught in flames. She quickly removed the vanishing cloak and tossed it to the ground. The other people in the red cloaks had woken by the time Irene got the bag to Caleb.

"Thanks Irene; we have to go though!" He said grabbing her hand and leading her along with the group.

She glanced back to see the two ginger twins staying behind. She didn't know what they were doing until they both clapped their hands together and a large sparkling ball of fire exploded before them; it was bright and extremely loud. More sparkling balls of fire exploded in succession after the first one, they did very little damage from what Irene could tell but they gave them the perfect cover to escape.

The stairs leading onto the next floor were just within their range and they rushed up them while the twins' magic still exploded behind them. While the others thought they were safe, Adelea knew they only eluded the red wraiths temporarily: it wasn't over for them yet.

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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