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Lowenna part 26 chapter 31
By
rbo

Lowenna part 26 chapter 31

The part freed the children but are not safe yet.

Chapter 31 THE LAST OF THE RAIDERS

The group were making good time, the early sun had been cool and cloudy, but the sun had been getting stronger as it continued to rise, which was now slowing their progress. Lowenna had tried to rest, as she rode, almost falling asleep a couple of times as her crystal healed her. She also had a feeling something was very wrong. It wasn’t like when she had realised someone was watching her, but there was definitely something missing.

The party were pushing the horses as hard as they could; they had already passed the river Nort, resisting the urge to stop and refill the water, as they all knew that Zarkar could be after them.

The convoy, for now was all-together, but Grilk and Ryna had both started to lag behind. For Grilk, Lowenna could see that his horse was getting tired, as Grilk was over double the weight of Marchel and Lowenna combined, but Lowenna could not see why Ryna was also falling behind. Lowenna slowed a little. She was planning to see what the hold up was, but suddenly Marchel woke up, hitting Lowenna under her chin. He caught her completely by surprise and knocked her from the horse.

“I’m sorry Wenna!” Marchel shouted, grabbing the reins to stop the horse. He trotted back to where Lowenna was sitting, on the ground, mud splattered over her clothes, he couldn't help but laugh. Lowenna did see the funny side but didn't laugh.

“I’ll leave you behind next time,” she said, as she took Marchel’s hand, who helped her up, “I’m glad you are all right.”

“And I’m glad to see you back on your feet as well,” Marchel stated, humour still in his voice.

Lowenna flicked the mud at Marchel and gave a cheeky smile. “You called me Wenna, I must be growing on you,” she said, before grabbing a towel from her bag and wiping the damp mud off her face and arms. Marchel for all his bravado and threats had proven to be an honourable warrior and even a friend. Marchel had finally accepted her and it had only taken a few suns, several life-threatening battles, and a punch in the jaw to make it happen.

“Slip of the tongue, that’s all. We can’t have anyone saying I’m going soft now can we.” Lowenna could tell he was smirking even through his face guard.

“What you doing?” Grilk asked as he pulled up beside Marchel and Lowenna, “you fall off Wenna?”

“Not exactly,” Lowenna replied, as she rubbed her jaw, where Marchel had punched her. He had really hit her hard. Obviously he hadn’t realised it was her, or Lowenna was very wrong about Marchel accepting her. She supposed that he had thought he was a captive and was trying to escape.

Ryna caught up with the others. Lowenna could see he was upset. He stopped alongside them and dismounted, leaving the little girl called Luna up on the horse. Luna had a pretty though dirty blue dress and one ribbon in her hair. Lowenna was trying to work out if she was the girl from a vision she had experienced. Not that it really mattered. Lowenna looked up ahead; she noticed everyone else had stopped, and then, finally, worked out what had been wrong. “Ryna, what happened to your dad?”

Marchel suddenly started looking around, looking confused. Grilk dismounted and had a good stretch but did not make eye contact with anyone.

Ryna walked up to Lowenna, “My dad was shot with several arrows,” he said, as he started crying. “He was covering us when that magical flash lit up the area. It blinded me, so dad covered my sister and me, rather than taking cover. He killed several of the raiders, but there were too many.” Lowenna could see the anger building in him, behind the tears. “It’s not fair,” he suddenly shouted looking straight at Lowenna, “you should have been there to save him.”

Lowenna stepped forward, and held him as he cried, “I’m so sorry” she whispered to him, “I’m so sorry.”

Another horse was approaching from behind her. Lowenna could hear the hooves. “Isn’t that touching,” came a voice, which was unfamiliar. Lowenna released Ryna and turned. Edgar was sitting on a horse, one arm around Rique’s chest, the other held her cross bolt, the arrow head pressed against her neck. Rique held on to the reins in one hand and had a nasty swelling around her left eye, where she had been hit, and a little blood was starting to run from where the arrow had pierced the skin. She was slowly trying to slip her free hand into her pocket.

“I’m sorry…” Rique started, but the arrow was pressed hard into her neck forcing her to be quiet. Both Lowenna and Marchel had drawn their weapons, but neither could do anything without endangering their friend.

“Make a move, I dare you, and she will die,” Edgar stated. Lowenna could tell he wasn’t bluffing, he almost sounded desperate.

“You kill her and you will also die traitor,” Marchel calmly said, his gauntlet crackling with magical energy.

“I know that," Edgar shouted at them, his voice raw and angry "but I’m dead if I surrender to you, so I haven’t a lot to lose do I?" everyone was quiet except Grilk, who let out a low growl.

"Zarkar will catch you and kill what’s left of your troop. He only needed me to signal when it was changeover at the gate for the raid to start, so that means I am now expendable to him. He will not hesitate to kill me, or anyone else." Edgar's voice had slightly calmed as he explained, but he felt like he been betrayed. He no longer cared about what happened to anyone, as long as he was all right. "My father told me to trust him, that Zarkar would make us rich again. But Zarkar doesn’t care about anyone except himself and his master. I have to get to Hymdale City, meet my father and start our new lives, nothing else matters.”

Lowenna could see what utter pain Ryna was in, he had just lost his father and now someone was threatening his sister, but like the others he had no way of saving her without endangering her life. “Leave my sister alone!” He shouted at Edgar, who just let out an evil laugh in reply.

“I will be going now, as soon as you are out of sight I will abandon this useless girl on the side of the road.” There was an evil smile spreading across Edgar's face there was no way he was going to leave Rique alive, but there was nothing any of them could do to save her, without taking the chance of that arrow, against her neck, being fired.

“If I only had another arrow,” Edgar said, as he moved his hand from Rique's chest to her throat squeezing it to keep her under control, he removed the cross bolt and quickly pointed it at Ryna, “I never liked you, you little freak.”

Suddenly Rique thrust her free hand over her shoulder, punching Edgar on the shoulder, disrupting his aim. Everyone jumped back as a bright yellow flash erupted between them, blowing Edgar of the horse. Rique also fell, but Marchel launched himself forward, catching her, and Ryna was right by her side as soon as Marchel put her down on her feet. Lowenna looked over at Edgar. She could see a pale yellow smoke drifting off his body, the cross bolt had discharged harmlessly into the air, and he wasn’t moving.

“Rique not hurt?” Grilk asked with concern in his voice.

Rique nodded, but her eye looked painful and Lowenna could tell she was struggling to stand and had been crying. Marchel, however, was not looking at her head but was looking at her hand. “That’s Krin’s ring isn’t it?” He asked, and Rique again nodded. “You should be careful, Magic gems like that drain the life energy of their owners. I’m surprised you could use it. You need to really force the magic through your whole body, usually takes a lot of practice.” Marchel looked over at Edgar, “You killed him by the way, I don’t know if you meant to but you did.”

Rique breathed heavily before responding, “I wanted him dead. He was responsible for some of my friends dying in Penbirth, and for my father dying." Ryna looked at Edgar and then Lowenna while Rique paused for a moment. "I so wanted him dead,” she finished, tears flowing freely down her face but there was resolve in her voice.

“Well just be careful,” Marchel responded after a few moments, “using magic drains you, and using it with hate and death in your mind can taint you forever. If you wish to keep using magic you should learn and practise other ways, I can help you with that if you wish.”

Rique nodded but did not say another word. She just looked at Edgar’s body. All the skin, which was visible now looked charred and most his hair had been burnt off. It didn’t even look like Edgar anymore.

“You, err, may have over done it,” Marchel said with a touch of humour in his voice, but no one else felt like laughing. After a short silence, Marchel continued, “There’s not much point taking him back now,” he looked at Lowenna, “so if I were you I wouldn’t go back to Penbirth.”

Lowenna smiled, “What and miss all the fun?” But again no one smiled or laughed. Lowenna cleared her throat, “I promised Kia I would look after Ryna and Rique, I will make sure everyone gets home. Then I will head for Hymdale City… If someone can point me in the right direction.” This was an on the spot decision, but made sense to Lowenna, apart from Penbirth, Hymdale was the only place she had actually heard of, and if Edgar were heading there, it couldn’t be too far away.

“Just follow the river Nort to its source, Hymdale is very close to there. It's on the coast,” Marchel replied, but Rique seemed distracted.

“I can see five horses coming, they will be here very soon,” she stated moving her gaze from the road they had just travelled to Lowenna, and back.

Grilk drew the large sword he had obtained in the last battle. He already missed his old axe, but this was a nice sword. The blade was black wide and long and felt good in his hand. The raider, who attacked him with it, had used two hands to wield it, but Grilk could use it in one and hold his battered shield in the other, “We no outrun them, me stay, kill them, you go.”

Lowenna and Marchel both shook their heads. Marchel turned to Ryna “Keep your sister and the others safe, we will deal with these, last few raiders.”

Rique started to protest. “I can help,” But Marchel held his hand up stopping her speech.

“Yes you could, but you are now out of arrows, and I don’t want you using magic again till I’ve shown you how to use it safely.” Marchel ushered Rique up onto the horse with Luna. It was obvious, to Lowenna that Rique was in a lot of pain, both physical and emotional.

Rique headed off with Luna to join the others, but Ryna drew his bow loading one of his last two arrows, “I’m staying,” he shouted.

Lowenna looked at her crystal, some of the colour had returned. She then looked up at Marchel, “We haven’t time to argue, Ryna get on your horse, shoot your arrows then head off after your sister and the others. Marchel, you and I will take cover behind those rocks, as soon as they are close enough we take them. Grilk stay there, look fierce and don’t die. You signal us when they're close.”

A big smile crossed Grilk’s face. He liked this plan. It was simple and he would get to try his new sword. Marchel nodded at Lowenna, who in turn looked at Ryna, who mounted the horse that had been Rique’s and Edgar’s ride. Marchel and Lowenna took their positions, and Grilk just stood there in the middle of the track, doing exactly what Lowenna had told him. The face he was pulling, and the roar he gave out, made Lowenna think that she wouldn’t want to fight him right now.

The riders were now close enough that Grilk could see them clearly, and they would be able to see him. Ryna fired his first arrow, and one raider fell, the second arrow hit another in the arm, but this did not stop him. “Go!" Grilk shouted to him, and Ryna rode off leaving Grilk alone on the track.

Grilk waited, he knew patience was useful, something he had learnt from years of battle. They were close; he could see their eyes. He shouted "Now!" Before roaring again to signal Marchel and Lowenna, who both launched themselves into the air. Marchel’s gauntlet fired a blue energy orb, and Lowenna threw her dagger. The orb hit the raider on the left before he could react, and the dagger hit another raider in the heart killing him instantly.

Lowenna was impressed with the throw, as her aim seemed to be very accurate, but she was also a little worried. What Rique had said was playing on her mind. Killing was easy for her, and she seemed to be enjoying it.

Another raider was still charging at Grilk. He hadn’t noticed his associates falling from their horses. He had a spear pointing at the old orc, but Grilk blocked it with his shield and thrust his new sword in the man’s side, the blade cutting through the raider's armour like it wasn't even there.

The last raider had slowed to remove the arrow from his arm, but suddenly found himself outnumbered three to one, so he turned his horse and fled. Marchel laughed as he pointed his gauntlet in the raider's direction and he looked over at Lowenna. “Let him go, he won’t be coming back,” she said, as she retrieved her dagger. She wiped the blood off, on the dead man’s clothes, before replacing her blade to its holster. She was wondering if she done this before? 

Lowenna looked over to Grilk, who looked a little disappointed. He had been looking forward to a fight, “That it?” he asked, “Hmm wasted a good roar on them.”

Lowenna Laughed, but she was a little worried about the killing. This was the first time it had really bothered her, and she wanted to know what life she had before she had awoken on the beach a few suns ago.

Grilk was now looking at a large black stallion, which the raider he had killed had been riding. It wasn't the prettiest horse Lowenna had ever seen. Without a word, he clambered onto its back and headed off after Rique and the others. “Think Grilk likes that horse?” Lowenna asked Marchel, before the two of them rode after Grilk and the others.

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

Copyright © © 2015 by Robert Stevens All Rights Reserved

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