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Lowenna part 12 (chapter 14)

Lowenna part 12 (chapter 14)

Lowenna has survived an encounter with a Demon-god, but what else is just around the corner

Chapter 14 THE RAID

Lowenna stayed with Rique until sundown, when her brother finished work. She requested Mrs Ziggle to prepare a warm, but not too hot bath, and bring some dinner up to her before she retired to her room.

She removed her arm guard, and winced in pain, as she peeled it off her arm. There was a nasty weeping burn, where the sword had struck the guard. She took the two towels off the shelf, soaked them, and wrapped one around the burn on her arm and the other around the worst burn on her leg. She spent a period of time lying on her bed trying to keep the burns cool, resting, while looking at the book she had gotten in the market. Vlad had knocked on the door and had dropped some beef pie outside of her room, which Lowenna ate and enjoyed.

There was a second knock on the door, which disturbed the peace and quiet. “Korrina has finished in the bathroom, and I have put the water and towels in there for you.”

“Thanks, Mrs Ziggle,” Lowenna called out. She still found the name Ziggle funny but didn’t understand why. Her leg and arm were still really hurting, and she was hoping a bath would help.

Lowenna hobbled to the bathroom and locked herself in. She removed what was left of her green dress and underwear, and slowly lowered herself into the warm bath. She was trying to ignore the pain, as the water stung all the little cuts and burns on her body.

Lowenna’s crystal gave a low pink glow as it touched the water, and instantly the cuts and burns felt better. She lifted it up and stared at it. Some of the colour had returned, but it was far from the deep pink, which the crystal originally had looked. “So you have limited magic, but you can recharge. If you could fix my leg and my arm I would be very grateful.” Lowenna said to it, and the crystal gave a faint pulse as if to answer.

Lowenna was so tired. She could hardly keep her eyes open. She looked out of the window, to see a faint glow that faded away leaving darkness, and Lowenna closed her eyes as the tiredness claimed her.

Lowenna was walking through the street towards the market when she saw a body lying on the ground. It was the old woman who had sold her the book. She was definitely dead, with several arrows sticking in her back. There was a crash behind her, as a man with a peaked hat suddenly appeared. He was running at her, an evil grin on his face. The man drew his crossbow, and the arrow glowed with a blue magical energy as he released it. Lowenna dived to the left, the magic arrow just missing her, but now she was falling down the stairs at Vlad’s. Mrs Ziggle lay at the bottom unconscious or dead. “I’m dream-scaping,” Lowenna shouted, but it wasn’t like the other times she had visions, this seemed jerky, and disjointed.

The room blurred, and when Lowenna's vision refocused, she saw Kia and several other men trapped in a wooden room, fire raging all around them, the men were screaming and dying in the fire.

The vision changed again. This time, Lowenna saw Korrina pinned down by a large man. She was naked, with only scraps of ripped clothes left on. Tears were rolling down her face, his hands around her throat, as he forced himself on her. Lowenna turned and saw a man hit Ryna, who flew across the room, crashing into a wall. Rique was crying, holding the knife, Lowenna had given her. Her hands were shaking, and the man was laughing, as he walked towards her.

The vision changed again. Vlad lay dead on the floor, covered in burns a blue energy rippled over his dead body. A man in a large black hat was standing over him. Grilk suddenly burst through the inn's door, only for another man to launch fire from his hand, hitting Grilk in the chest and blowing him through the wall, leaving a trail of green blood in his wake. The old lady from the market was suddenly standing in front of her. “So what are you going to do about it Lowenna. Wake up, now!”

Lowenna opened her eyes. The water was cold, and she could smell smoke. She jumped out of the bath, wrapped a towel around herself, and threw her wet hair back. She unlocked and opened the bathroom door.

Except for the bathroom, all the rooms had been forced open. Lowenna was surprised she hadn’t heard anything. There was a sudden scream from the room at the far end of the corridor. Lowenna started running towards the scream but turned into her room to retrieve her dagger.

The room had been ransacked. .Her book was on the floor, her bed and the table had been overturned, The wardrobe had been left open and the ceramic basin had been smashed. Worst of all her bags and her daggers were gone. Another scream came from the end of the corridor. Lowenna cursed under her breath, turned and ran to Korrina’s room.

Upon entering the room, Lowenna saw Korri being held down by a huge man. One of his hands around her neck, pinning her to the bed, his other hand ripping off her clothes. He was grunting with his trousers round his ankles. Lowenna looked around for a weapon, but there was nothing. So she removed the large towel, which was wrapped around her and jumped onto the man’s back throwing the towel over his head and twisting it, so it was under his chin.

Lowenna dug her knees into his back and pulled both ends of the towel as hard as she could. The surprised man gasped, as he let go of Korri, who rolled off the bed. He tried to grab the towel that was choking him, but it was too tight, he couldn’t get his large fingers between the towel and his neck. Lowenna wasn’t going to let up. She pulled and pulled gritting her teeth, not giving the man a chance. His face turned purple as he gasped for air. Lowenna kept pulling as she choked the life out of the large man. He fell forward onto the bed, but Lowenna held on choking him for a little while longer to make sure he was dead.

When Lowenna finally released him, she turned to Korri, “Are you all right?” she asked while puffing and trying to catch her breath. Korri just sat on the floor, with her mouth open, not moving. The remains of her outfit were just hanging off her.

"You killed him!" she finally sobbed after a moment of silence.

“I hope so. He was going to rape you, possibly kill you.” Lowenna replied while wiping the sweat from her brow. She picked up Korri’s floral dress, which was on the floor and threw it on quickly to cover herself. “You don’t mind if I borrow this, do you?” She asked, and headed out of the room, not waiting for Korri to answer. “And lock and barricade your door!” Lowenna shouted as she left.

Korri was a littler smaller than Lowenna, so the dress didn’t fit that well but was better than nothing. Lowenna reached the stairwell, and saw another man below her, threatening Mrs Ziggle. He had a sword in his hand, pinning her against the wall, while a second man was behind her desk, looking for anything of value.

Without thinking, Lowenna jumped over the railing, landing on the desk. Her bad leg stung, as she landed, but it didn’t stop her kicking the bandit, closest to her, in the face. He fell backwards, hitting his head on the stone floor and didn’t get up again.

Lowenna now turned to face the man with the sword, who now was staring right at her in disbelief. His head turned round to face her without moving his body. He was completely ignoring Mrs Ziggle, who kneed him as hard as she could between his legs, before falling to the floor. The man grunted in pain and tried to grab her, but Lowenna had used the distraction to attack, jumping from the desk and kicking him in the back. The man grunted again as his head bounced off the wall, right above Mrs Ziggle’s. He then tried to turn and made a clumsy move towards Lowenna, but she knocked his legs from under him, and he fell awkwardly, crashing to the floor unconscious.

Lowenna then helped Mrs Ziggle off the floor. “Are you good Mrs Ziggle?” She asked, but Mrs Ziggle was in shock. She managed a quick nod before sitting down on the first step. “You showed him not to mess with you," Lowenna said with a smile, as she tried to calm Mrs Ziggle down, "I’ve got to help the others. Korri is upstairs. Go! Lock yourself in a room with her, until help comes.”

Mrs Ziggle scrambled back to her feet, “good idea,” she said, and rather shakily headed up the stairs. She stopped half way up and turned to face Lowenna, “You be careful Wenna.”

“I’ll be fine,” Lowenna replied, picking up the unconscious man’s sword. “Go, now,” she quietly said, waiting for Mrs Ziggle to be out of sight, before she burst through the door, into the main bar.

It was like a surreal moment, almost exactly like her dream-scape. Vlad and a woman stood against a wall. Beside them, Rique was on the floor, with ripped clothes, holding an unconscious or dead Ryna. There were three bandits in the room, all looking directly at Lowenna, not believing that she had the bravado, to burst in to face them.

One started to laugh. The closest one to Vlad replaced his large rimmed black hat onto his head and drew a crossbow pointing at Lowenna. The third and largest of the three grinned lifting his long-handled axe off the table and ran at the red-haired woman, who had just burst in on them.

The bandit raised his axe above his head, swinging it downward as if to chop her in two, but he was too slow. Lowenna dodged his attack with ease, spinning behind him and thrusting her sword into his back. The man cried out in pain, looking at the blade, which was sticking through his chest. Lowenna spun back in front of him and kicked his axe out of his hand. She quickly picked it up. With a swipe, the man was suddenly silent. His head fell to the floor, followed by his body.

Lowenna held the long-handled axe in both of her hands, Korri’s dress now splattered with blood. Lowenna had a slight smile on her face, daring the other raiders to try to kill her.

The other two men had looked at each other before the one with the large hat launched his arrow at her. Lowenna dived to the side, taking cover behind one of the overturned tables. The table exploded into a huge flaming mass of splinters, throwing her backwards against the wall. Lowenna looked up, the other bandits hands were on fire, but it wasn’t hurting him. He pointed his fists at Lowenna and balls of fire flew at her. She dived to the side again. The balls of fire hit the wall, with fire and stone erupting from where they had hit.

The axe was out of reach. She dived again across the floor, as another arrow, flew over her head. She jumped over the bar, taking cover as more fireballs went sailing over her smashing bottles and glasses and showering her in broken glass.

Lowenna lifted her head, the glass falling off her, leaving little cuts on her exposed skin. There was a knife on the shelf. She grabbed it, but it wasn’t very sharp. It might kill if she got the chance. “Get out here now girl.” A voice came from the room.

“We won’t hurt ya,” the second man shouted.

Lowenna didn’t move. Would they kill her if she poked her head out? She grabbed an unbroken glass and chucked it to the far end of the bar causing it to smash. Where the glass smashed, the bar suddenly exploded with two balls of fire blowing a hole in the panel. She was trapped, there was no way she could get out from behind the bar without exposing herself as a target.

Voices came from the other side of the bar, “Did you get her?”

“I don’t know.”

“Make sure, blow the rest.”

Lowenna looked around. There was nothing to protect her. Suddenly, another section of the bar was gone, and there was nowhere left to hide. She grabbed her crystal and launched herself over the bar.

At the exact same time, the main door to the bar was smashed off its hinges, and Grilk ran in bellowing. He was wearing his old Leather armour and had a tin hat with a bone horn sticking out of the side. He was also carrying a very large double headed axe, he roared out loud as he started to run at the man whose hands were on fire.

Lowenna Knew what was coming. She wasn’t about to let Grilk get blown apart. She jumped in the air and threw the knife at the man, but an arrow struck her in the arm as soon as she had let the knife go.

The knife wasn’t sharp enough to kill, but it hit its target, embedding its self in the raider's back and putting him off his aim. The fireballs missed Grilk, and the raider recovered just in time, to see Grilk’s axe hitting his waist, carving him in two.

Grilk roared again. He was enjoying this. He hadn’t been in a good fight to the death in an age. He then turned to face the bandit with the hat and crossbow, who had just injured Lowenna. Grilk roared for the third time and started running towards his new target.

The Bandit threw down, his crossbow, realising it probably wouldn’t stop him, and pointed his fingers at Grilk. A blue crackling energy suddenly poured from his hands, like lightning. It hit the old orc, knocking him off his feet.

Grilk groaned in pain and used his axe to help him stand. “Hate magic!” He grunted as he launched himself at the man, but the bandit slid forward, placing his hand on Grilk’s chest. There was a pause, like both were waiting for the other to move, when suddenly Grilk was launched through the high window directly behind him, with a stream of blue lightning connecting him and the bandit’s hands.

Lowenna had used Grilk’s attack to remove the arrow from her arm, and grab an old sword that used to be mounted on the wall, but now lay on the floor. Its blade still sharp, even after years of disuse. She pointed the sword at the man in the hat. She was worried about Grilk but needed to concentrate on the raider, or else he would kill her too. She jumped to the left avoiding the blue lightning. Each time the raider fired his magic, Lowenna managed to dodge.

The magic was being attracted to the metal shields and weapons adorning the walls allowing Lowenna to stay one step ahead of it. She had him and he knew it. She was close, but he jumped backward, changing tactics. He stopped firing, pointing his hand at Vlad and the others and Lowenna froze. The bandit started laughing, “You would give up your life for them? They are nothing.”

Lowenna glared at the bandit, “I’m not dead yet, and if you hurt them...”

The bandit interrupted Lowenna, “You will what, little girl?” He flexed his fingers and looked away from Lowenna straight at Vlad. “I was going to let you live, old friend, but I’ve changed my mind.” The blue energy rippled through his hand, he flexed his fingers to fire, but no magic would flow, the man with the black hat, suddenly started screaming as his hand fell to the floor.

The sword had flown true severing the raider’s hand. He was cradling the stump, blood pulsing from the open wound. He was breathing loudly and heavily, gasping in pain. He looked straight at Lowenna, his eyes full of anger and hate. “Do you know who I am? Do you know how I got this power, little girl?” The blue lightning suddenly burst free from his whole body. He swung his good arm toward Lowenna. She dove to the floor, so the magical lightning missed her. When she started to get up, there was a second blue flash of lightning and this one found its mark.

It was Lowenna's turn to cry out in pain, as the magical energy flowed through her. The pain suddenly stopped and she fell back to the floor. Slowly she opened her eyes, her flesh was smoking and singed and her hands trembled. Raising her head, she looked at the man as he towered over her, his eyes glowing blue, and the energy dancing on his skin. The man grabbed Lowenna by the throat with his good hand, and lifted her up, so that she couldn’t reach the floor, “You fight well, for a girl. It was possible you could have killed me, but alas you had your chance.” The man laughed, “any last words little girl?” he growled at her in anger, his spit hitting her in the face.

Lowenna threw him a determined look, anger building in her, as she grabbed her crystal. She felt the magic surge through her, as she placed her other hand on his wrist, “I am Lowenna!” She shouted.

The bandit roared in anger, much like Grilk had earlier, but Lowenna's eyes flashed pink as her body erupted, covering her in pink flames. The raider tried to focus the blue lightning, but it couldn’t penetrate the fire that now surrounded the red-haired, young woman. He started screaming again, but no longer in anger. Now he was screaming in agony. His hand wouldn’t work, he couldn’t let go. The pink flames rolled down his arm and started to spread over his body, burning away his flesh. The blue glow of his eyes faded back to normal. All Lowenna could see in them was fear, as the flame engulfed his entire body leaving nothing but dust and his smouldering hat that now was drifting to the floor.

Lowenna fell to the floor, naked. The clothes she had been wearing burnt away, and her skin was smoking from the fire that had just extinguished itself. Her head was throbbing, the room was spinning. The last thought, which ran through her mind, was that she had saved them, they would be fine now, as unconscious overcame her.

The man in the black cape stood on the large ledge, overlooking Penbirth. The raid had been a success, but not without cost. He had retrieved the items that he had been sent to get, but none of his lieutenants had made the rendezvous. One had been in Vlad’s, another stayed by the gate house and the final one had been on the street, making sure any guards from upper Penbirth were cut off, from where he had needed to be. He knew, not everyone was going to survive the raid but expected all three of his lieutenants to make the teleport point.

“Problem?” Dumar asked, “you said everyone was expendable.”

“No problem, just not as smooth as it should have been,” Zarkar replied, holding his bag tightly under his arm.

“You got what you were sent for?”

“If I did not acquire what my master wanted Dumar, I would not have left the town, or I would be fleeing for the Dark Plains right now.” Zarkar turned to glare at Dumar, who backed off with a bow of respect. Zarkar returned his gaze to look at Penbirth again, a smile returning to his face. At the bottom of the hill, he saw the wagon pulling away and a large group of his followers on horseback.

“Looks like the wagon is full of valuables and some prisoners,” Dumar licked his lips, remembering that he could have one of them to play with, once they were away from here. He wanted a young girl to play with. Young girls always scream the best. He was just thinking about what he would do to her to make her scream when Zarkar interrupted his thoughts.

“The gate was stronger than we had been told.”

Dumar composed himself, “The blast was more than adequate, and even if it hadn’t been I would have teleported the five of us in. Anyway, you said the raid was just a distraction.”

“Very true, and the wagon is heading off, hopefully, laden with gold, gems and a few prisoners.”

“I’m sure the others will be with the wagon, even Penbirth’s best soldiers or law-men could not stop them, let alone Vlad and a few locals.” Dumar smirked when he said this, but Zarkar looked more concerned.

“Vlad may not have been given magic, but he betrayed us and did know how to fight.”

Dumar scoffed, “His skills are no match for any of us. He will be dead or begging for his life by now.” Dumar looked down, he could just make out Vlad’s Inn in the moonlight, “that place will be a burning shell by the early sun.”

Zarkar allowed himself to smile, “Take me to the meeting place, the wagon and the survivors will arrive there by next sundown. We have to get to the canyon and divide up all the spoils." He took one more look at the settlement, there were several buildings on fire, and the main gate had a huge hole in it. He knew many of the settlers would be dead and more would be dead by sunrise.

The two figures vanished from the ridge in a puff of smoke. Leaving no trace, they had ever been there, as the buildings burned and the screams of the dying could still be heard in the still moonlit air.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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