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Lowenna part 24 (Chapter 28 - 29)

Lowenna part 24 (Chapter 28 - 29)

He stabbed her, is Lowenna all right? And what of Marchel and the others?


It was dark where Lowenna was. She was alone, lost and scared. She couldn't remember what happened. Was she in dreamscape?

Lowenna took a step but felt a sharp pain in her chest and dryness in her mouth. She called out, but there was no answer. Her crystal wasn’t around her neck. She was completely powerless and alone, just like when she had awoken on the beach.

She breathed in slowly, trying to keep calm and ignore the pain, but as she took a step, it felt like something was pressing on her heart, making it hard to breathe. Something was very wrong.

Lowenna paused. Was that singing? It took a few moments for her to make it out. She was sure it was the same voice, from the dreamscape a few moons ago. It was a kind voice, possibly the woman in white, but she couldn't make out the words.

Lowenna started walking towards where the voice was coming from, but suddenly Krin stood before her. His eyes looked dull and lifeless, but his face was etched with hate. He ran at Lowenna, a small blade in his hand, she went to block the attack with her arm-guard, but just before the blade touched it, Krin faded back to the darkness he had appeared from.

Lowenna had been ready to defend herself, but wasn't really up to a long fight, especially since she had no weapons or any magic at hand.

She started walking again but after a few steps Benwa appeared before her. His whip in his hand and the ground started to shake, but like Krin, he faded once Lowenna got close. Troy lightning erupting from his body appeared next, but Lowenna pushed on. Passed the large spawn of Hydra, then Malaki, who burst into flames right before Lowenna’s eyes, but she kept going. All of them faded before they could hurt her. The pain in her chest was getting worse but she was determined it wasn’t going to stop her.

Two more figures appeared just in front of her and suddenly the feelings of guilt and pain were too much for Lowenna to bear. Reath and Vorn stood in her way both staring at her. She fell to her knees, tears forming in her eyes. “I’m so sorry you died,” she blurted out, but her voice sounded raw and echoed through the darkness.

Reath's voice echoed around the void, “You killed us.”

“I didn’t kill you,” Lowenna replied to the boys, tears now running down her face. She couldn’t even look at them anymore, so she bowed her head.”

“If it weren't for you, we would be alive.” Vorn’s voice echoed, yet his lips did not move.

Lowenna knew this was true. She had allowed them to come and even after seeing their poor fighting skills, she had tried to be supportive, but all she had done was condemn them to early death.

“I’m so sorry,” she said before looking up again.

Grilk, Marchel, Kia, Ryna and Rique, had all joined Reath and Vorn. Rique’s voice echoed, “You won’t be able to save me, or my family. Even though you promised.”

Marchel’s voice took over “I’m already dead, and it is your fault.”

Kia’s voice now echoed, “You said you would take care of my children. You lied! You can’t save them. We are all going to die.”

Lowenna lowered her head again and wept. They were right she had let them all down. The guilt was too much. These were her friends and they were dead or dying because of her. Lowenna looked at her hand. It was fading into the darkness, looking translucent.

“Wenna!” She heard Grilk’s shout, but it sounded different. It didn't echo like the other voices. “Wenna!” Grilk cried out again.

Her friends faded back to the nothingness, which they had appeared from, but Ricardo and the king from the church now appeared in front of her.

“I can’t believe I gave my life for her,” Ricardo stated, staring at Lowenna, who was still on the floor, tears rolling down her face.

“She always took more than she gave. I should have tried to save myself, rather than her,” the King said, staring down at Lowenna.

The little girl from the dream walked around from behind them, pointing at Lowenna, “You bad!” She shouted.

Lowenna bowed her head again. Everything seemed too much. She looked down at her hands they were almost completely gone. She was fading away into the darkness, but through her tears she saw her crystal. “Wennaaaaaa!” She heard Grilk’s voice again.

She clasped the crystal in her hand and there was a pink flash. The King, Ricardo and the little girl all vanished, replaced by a large skull impaled on a sword with a snake coming out of its mouth. Lowenna knew what it was. She had met it when she had been fighting Malaki. “You will be mine," a voice echoed, "give into your despair.”

“Never," Lowenna whispered as she slowly got to her feet, wiping her eyes. “Never,” she said again a little louder this time.

“Submit!” The voice echoed loudly, forcing Lowenna to take a step back.

“Never!” Lowenna shouted at the top of her lungs, there was another pink flash.

“Never what?” Grilk asked as his green face came into focus.

“Hi Grilk,” Lowenna answered weakly. Her crystal was pulsing away in her hand, keeping her alive.

“We thought we had lost you,” Rique added, the concern fading slightly from her face.

“Not a chance,” Lowenna replied, forcing a smile on her face. “We’ve got to save those other children and get you and your family home safe.”

Grilk was also looking very happy. If Lowenna hadn’t known him better, she could have sworn she could see tears in those yellow eyes.

Marchel came into view, as did Ryna. “I told you I’m fine, it is magic resistant armour,” Marchel snapped at him.

“You should still rest,” Ryna replied, “you fell hard.”

Marchel huffed but went and sat down on a large rock, removing his chest plate examining the damage. He pressed his finger against the dark stain the magic had made and his finger went straight through the old metal. “Dam!” He muttered to himself. The old armour had worked, and had saved his life again, but after years of use, it had finally given out, and now was useless. Marchel chucked the chest plate on the ground in disgust.

“What happened?” Kia asked as he pulled up on his horse. “I heard Grilk scream.” Grilk gave a low growl and Marchel threw him an angry look. Kia looked at Krin’s dead body with three arrows and an axe protruding from it. “Well looks like something interesting happened,” he smiled at Rique, Ryna and Grilk, “Can’t leave you alone can I?” he joked before noticing the blood on Lowenna. The smile faded from his face as he realised how serious the incident had been.

Lowenna didn't care. She was in a lot of pain and didn't want to think about anything except that. She closed her eyes, as the world faded back to darkness.

Chapter 29 ZARKAR'S CAMP

Lowenna slept for the rest of the sun. When she finally opened her eyes, it was dark. There were several stars visible in the sky and the rest were hiding behind clouds. She sat up quickly but regretted the movement as she was still in a lot of pain and was still finding it hard to breathe.

“Lie back down,” Rique said quietly to her.

“Where is everyone?” Lowenna asked, but Rique didn’t answer. It took a few moments for her to realise where they were and she forced herself to get up, not releasing the crystal from her hand. “How long ago did they leave?”

Rique did not want to answer, but Lowenna didn’t take her eyes off her until she caved. “They left as soon as it was dark, not long ago.”

“On foot?” Lowenna asked.

“Yes… But we aren’t going after...”

“They need all of us to save the children,” Lowenna interrupted her. “We need to catch them up now.” Lowenna staggered over to the horses, but when she tried to mount the horse, it hurt too much and she fell back down to her knees.

“You haven’t recovered enough, and you were stabbed through the heart,” Rique stated with a hint irritation and worry in her voice.

Lowenna turned, grimacing in pain and looked at her friend “You go, please help the others, I’ll stay and rest.”

Rique went to protest, but the way Lowenna was looking at her she decided not to. She mounted a horse and took off, heading away from Lowenna.

Lowenna sat back down, opened her hand and looked at her crystal. It was glowing but the colour had faded and was no longer bright pink. “Don’t worry, you look after me, and I will look after you.” She said to the crystal, and it flashed, responding to what she said. She closed her hand and squeezed it before she closed her eyes and slept.

Rique rode the horse as quiet as possible until she could see the canyon and the others. She dismounted and quietly joined the group. “What are you doing here Rique?” Marchel asked in a whisper.

“Lowenna woke up. I convinced her to stay and recuperate, but she convinced me you needed all the help possible.”

Marchel did not look pleased but continued “Right the plan was we find the captives, and then Grilk and I would cause a distraction to draw any guards away. Lowenna was going to free them while you three covered her and took out any raiders. The task of freeing them now falls to one of you.” He turned and looked at Kia, "Which one of your children do you think can handle it, or are you going down there yourself?”

“Ryna is more than capable and he knows at least two of the captives. I’ll send Rique to a different point she can help cover with her cross bolt. The only thing I’m worried about is will they be ready for us? They know we are coming and they have shadow magic.”

“Shadow magic is no more powerful than fire, water, or any other type of magic," Marchel replied. "The only difference is that there are more shadow spells for killing. My thunder magic and skills are more than enough to deal with this Zarkar.”

Kia nodded and lay down, crawling on his elbows till he could see over the edge of the canyon. All the others followed his lead so that they could all see. There were several tents, a couple of fires and two waggons, one with a cage structure on it. There were at least six guards, two standing by the cage and the others were scattered around the camp. There was also a raider sleeping by the closest fire. Kia pointed at the cage “There are five people in there I think it’s the prisoners…” Kia speech trailed off, with a surprised look.

“What wrong?” Marchel asked.

“One of the people standing by the cage, he’s wearing a gate guard uniform. I know him, I think he’s the missing young guard.”

Marchel huffed again. “The Lawmen suspected someone from in the gate was helping the raiders, looks like we found out whom,” he replied.

“Is that Edgar?” Ryna suddenly asked.

“I think so,” Kia replied.

“His family got kicked out of higher Penbirth a few seasons ago. He joined the Gate guards just after, and his father disappeared a few moons before the raid.” Ryna said.

“How do you know all this?” Marchel asked Ryna, throwing him a look that made Ryna feel uneasy.

“They moved into the large empty house behind Vlad’s, I helped them move but never got anything for it, Edgar was a bully treated me and the others as slaves, he said he was above manual labour.”

“I remember that,” Rique added, “he was a real snob and always thought he was so hard done by, moving down into that large house, and he was really annoyed when he had to get a job.”

“He was almost as useless and lazy as Krakett and was given an officer's rank and put on the easiest shifts,” Kia added.

There was a short pause before Marchel spoke again. “So none of you actually like him, but if possible we should try and take him alive.”

“If it was me and I had betrayed the settlement would you try to take me alive?” Kia asked.

Marchel didn’t answer right away, “If we have a prisoner especially the one who betrayed the settlement, it might, just might help Lowenna. I sure the Lords will be plotting to have her arrested and executed. She will be made to take the blame for all the deaths that happened during the raid, and I personally don’t want that to happen.”

Kia nodded though he had noticed that Marchel had not answered the question. “There’s a steep path over there. That’s the closest route to the cage, Rique you hide on the other side and cover the escape. Ryna I will lower you down on the rope you will need to search the guard once he is dead or force Edgar to open the cage, if there’s a problem signal me, I will be shooting any raider I see.”

“Grilk and I will go to the far end I have a distraction planned and my magic will cover us,” Marchel added.

Grilk did not smile, he wasn’t pleased with Marchel, but he knew options were limited, and time was short. He followed Marchel along the edge until they were at another track leading down further away from the cage and tents and grabbed the rope with his warg.

Zarkar sat in his tent alone. He had ordered his bodyguard out while he ate. He hated being watched, especially when he was enjoying his food, but a bodyguard was a good idea. Some of the men were ready to flee, or even try to kill him, for this predicament they now found themselves in. To top off Zarkar’s bad mood, Dumar had not returned and this was playing on his mind. He knew that Benwa had failed, and he still didn’t know how many and how dangerous the men who were tracking him were.

He had ordered Dumar to get some information and had sent Krin, his last trusted man, into the fray with a dangerous mission. If he survived the wound's he had suffered, had been ordered to pretend to help and then kill as many of these dangerous, warriors as he could. If he had failed to kill them all, Zarkar was ready for the party to catch up this moon. In fact that it's exactly what he wanted.

What was left of the party would arrive soon and walk into his trap. He had six sentry’s including the two guards out in the open, plus his bodyguard. There were ten of his men hiding in the nearest shelter, ready to fight, and his best five remaining archers hidden on the ridgeline, plus Paulus. Paulus was not a fighter, but he had light magic. He would blind the enemy and illuminate the area like it was sun time. Then the archers would be able to pick most of the remaining warriors, leaving the rest of his men to finish any survivors.

"They should be here soon," Zarkar again thought, and a smile spread across his face. “They will all die," he said to himself while washing down his dinner with a large goblet of wine.

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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