The Crusader Chapter 6- Prisoners
Posted March 4th, 2013 by ARandomWriter
Chapter 6- Prisoners
Dorian was dumped in the middle of a square steel cell, alongside Xavier and Sagus, then the doors were immediately shut and locked.
Dorian looked around, dazed. In the corner of the room there was a bucket to use as a toilet, and there was a slot in the barred doors for food to be slid into, but apart from that, the cell had no other features. It was just one in a large circle of cells, with a single guard patrolling in view. Dorian sat up against the back wall and groaned. He looked to Xavier.
Xavier just shrugged helplessly. Suddenly, Sagus gave a small groan and his hand moved slightly. Dorian and Xavier’s heads turned instantly to face him.
Both his eyes slowly opened, and he squinted, attempting to take in his surroundings. He blinked in confusion, and used his hands to get up.
“Sagus!” Xavier exclaimed, “thank the god’s you’re alive!”
Sagus shook his head, confused.
“What happened?” he asked sleepily.
“You were hit by an arrow,” Xavier explained in concern, “and we managed to get you back to Hemer. Vrewen patched up the wound, but Ormaan captured us and brought us here. Are you ok?”
“I’ll live,” he grunted, then looked around slowly. “What now?”
Dorian eyed the guard with suspicion. He was on the other end of the room, out of earshot.
“I don’t know,” Dorian replied, “I guess we’re stuck here for now, but we’ll find a way. I accept that I’m going to inevitably die one day, but I don’t plan on dying at the hands of Ormaan, without even avenging my parents murder.”
“You have a strong resolve,” he observed.
Without warning, the door leading out of the cell block was flung open. Dorian caught sight of two guards standing just outside it, but his view was blocked by the man that entered the cell block.
He wore thick black clothes, and an executioner’s hood was worn over his head. He held an enormous, menacing axe, it’s freshly polished metal glinting.
The executioner walked slowly and purposefully towards the cell. He held his axe with casual ease, which would have been difficult to do with a weapon of such size.
He came right up to the prisoners and looked upon them. He fingered his axe, craving to use it instantly. The executioners hand went to his head, and lifted his hood of to reveal a face that surprised and worried Dorian. The executioner was Jed. Jed, the man who Dorian had fought outside the tavern. He smiled wickedly.
“Who holds the power now?” Jed snarled, staring right at Dorian. “How I long to behead you all right here and right now! Alas, that cannot happen. I am a patient man, and I shall wait. Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of killing all three of you.”
”You’re a sick monster, Jed,” spat Xavier.
Jed laughed. “Do you know what it feels like to take a life in cold blood?” he whispered, “what it feels like to see the final expression cross a dying man’s face. They are always afraid. And you have power over them. They pray that you will show them mercy. But you never do. Because you have an example to set, a point to prove. You are the hunter, and they are your prey!” Jed began to back away slowly. “Tomorrow,” he said with a sinister smile, “you will be my prey and I will show no mercy. Because I want to see the final expression. I want to see your terror.”
Jed left the room laughing. Dorian shuddered.
Then the door opened again, and to Dorian’s relief, Vrewen entered.
“You’re shift has finished early,” Vrewen said to the guard, “they wanted me here.”
“Good,” replied the guard, “means I can get home in time for supper.”
He left the cell block and Vrewen waited a few seconds, then hurried over to the cage. He smiled at the sight of Sagus up and about.
“All right,” Vrewen said grimly, “let’s get you out of here.”
“How?” Dorian inquired.
“I have the key,” Vrewen replied simply.
“If you let us out they will know it was you!”
“Yeah,” Vrewen murmured, “yeah they will. I need to get out of this town anyway. The hopelessness and despair is starting to get to me.”
Sagus nodded. “If you’re willing to take the risk, then I’ll be by your side, fighting our way out of this damn prison, out of this whole town!”
Vrewen smiled. “Let’s get you three out of here.”
He pulled a chain of keys out and chose a small golden one. He gave a great sigh and slowly slid it into the keyhole, then turned. The lock clicked and the gate swung open, allowing Dorian, Sagus and Xavier silently left the cell, each nodding their thanks to Vrewen.
“Your weapons and belongings are on a table outside, but we’ll have to kill some guards to reach it.”
He handed some daggers he’d concealed to the three.
“These will have to do for now.”
“Vrewen,” Sagus said, “it might not mean much, but I appreciate what you are doing for us. You’re taking an unnecessary and you could end up dead. You undoubtedly will never be able to return to Hemer while Ormaan and Drasen are still here. I know the price you are paying for this, Vrewen, and I hope you realize that we appreciate you paying it.”
“Thank you, Sagus,” Vrewen replied. “Now, are we all ready?”
Each one of the men nodded slowly. They had surprise on their side, but it was going to be a tough fight getting out of Hemer, and it was unlikely that all of them would survive. The exit was on the opposite side of the town, and they would face waves of the many guards before they reached it.
Dorian held his dagger with an iron grip. He was determined to get out of Hemer and find a new lead on The Hunter, no matter how long it took him. A fire burned in Dorian’s eyes, and it wasn’t going out until he was far away from Hemer.
Vrewen burst opened the exit door, knocking over the two guards waiting just outside. Dorian and Sagus leaped onto them and brought their daggers down in unison, immediately silencing the two guards. Dorian instantly jumped up, and looked around. They were in a long corridor, with no other guards in sight.
He also spotted the table, and approached it, gathering his cloak, belt, blade and pack, his only possessions. He quickly put on his belt, and attached the sword scabbard, then drew the blade. Dorian also wrapped his cloak around himself, as did Sagus. Meanwhile Xavier put on the mail amour he had been wearing when they were captured.
“Come on,” Vrewen muttered, “you’re taking too long!”
They strode down the hallway, weapons at the ready, and Vrewen opened the bolted entrance, releasing them onto the streets. Two guards were standing just outside, and they saw the escapees.
As fast as lightning, Sagus withdrew his bow and shot an arrow into one of the guard’s head’s, but the other had sprinted, and was already around the corner.
“The prisoner’s have escaped,” he roared, “the prisoner’s have escaped!”
The town, which had been dark and quiet at such a late time of night, burst to life. Flaming torches were lit, and guards filled the streets, carrying their weapons and searching desperately for the prisoners.
“Find them you fools,” Dorian heard Ormaan shout in the distance, “find them!”
There were no side streets to get around, no places to hide, and the four companions were completely exposed as they sprinted down Hemer’s main road.
Sagus ran in front, letting arrows fly every time a guard came into view. Dorian saw a street they could turn into up ahead. Without warning, a small group of eight spearmen stepped out of it and formed an organized line.
Sagus let two arrows fly at the same time, and struck down two of the spearmen, but the rest still stood, and threw their weapons. The six spears sailed in a large arc, coming straight for Dorian. He leaped to the side, just missing one of them, and another landed with a sudden thud at his other side. Dorian kept running as the spearmen drew their swords, disappointed that none of their spears had hit.
Sagus shot another arrow, and only five spearmen remained. Dorian Xavier and Vrewen met them in close combat, swinging their swords in perfect strikes, and easily defeating the guards.
“Come on,” Sagus called, indicating the side street.
They followed him down it, and were relieved by the lack of guards. It was relatively quiet, with all the sounds of the search off in the distance. They wound through the streets without speaking a word, their hearts thumping in their chests.
Sagus broke the silence; “I know a route down these streets that will take us directly to the gates.”
“The gates are going to be a problem,” Vrewen replied, “they can only be opened by a lever which will be heavily guarded.”
“We’ll face that problem when we get to it,” Dorian said bluntly, “for now, we need to focus on getting to the gate.”
Everybody else seemed to agree, as they all fell silent again. The texture of the ground changed, and the party’s footsteps echoed loudly. They kept moving as quickly and quietly as they could.
“Almost there,” Sagus muttered after couple of minutes, and he rounded a tight bend into a thin street. The Sagus froze. As did all of them. The street ended about ten meters up, and just across from it was the tavern, which meant the gate was only a few hundred meters to the left. However, that wasn’t what made them freeze. Ormaan stood at the end of the street, with a guard on either side of him, and a loaded crossbow raised high.
“What a fitting conclusion to your miserable lives,” he yelled, “a final confrontation on a dark street, just when you though you were going to get out safely! This ends here, with your deaths!”
“You’re right, Ormaan,” Dorian called, “this does end here, and now. But we won’t be the ones who die.”
“Won’t you?” Ormaan asked with a short laugh, and fired the crossbow without even flinching.
The bolt whizzed just past Dorian, and he assumed that Ormaan had missed. Then he heard a soft gurgle from behind him, and he turned around.
“No,” he whispered.
The crossbow bolt was embedded deeply in the centre of Vrewen’s chest. Blood dripped from his mouth, and he made another small noise. The blood dribbled down Vrewen’s chin, and he fell to his knees.
Sagus’ face wore an expression of shock and sadness. He mouth hung open slightly, and as Vrewen fell to the ground completely, the expression on Sagus’ face changed from sadness to rage.
Ormaan was slowly and purposefully reloading the crossbow. The bolt clicked into place, and he aimed again, his hand as steady as a mountain. Ormaan aimed the crossbow straight at Xavier, a cruel glint in his eye. There was no way he would miss. His hand was too steady, his aim was too perfect.
Xavier knew that, but he stood tall, stood strong, ready for the blow, though he knew his armor would not protect him. Ormaan squeezed the trigger, and the bolt was sent flying through the air. Dorian had not realized that Sagus’ bow was raised, that an arrow was knocked before he fired. He did not fire at Ormaan. Instead, he fired at what appeared to be just air. The arrow spun as it sailed through the air. The timing was perfect. Sagus’ arrow intercepted the bolt’s path and knocked it away, so that both rolled along the ground.
Ormaan’s eyes widened for a brief second and he began to back off slowly as he hastily reloaded the crossbow. He aimed it again. Sagus fired. His arrow hit the crossbow, jamming it, and Ormaan drew his sword in frustration. Sagus fired again, and Ormaan, grabbed the guard on his left, using him as a human shield. The arrow hit the guard, killing him, and Ormaan continued advancing.
Sagus snarled, unable to shoot Ormaan. Xavier charged forward at Ormaan, whilst Dorian ran for the other guard, just as more rounded the corner. Sagus loosed arrow after arrow, but they just kept coming.
Ormaan tossed the guard’s body aside as Xavier approached him, and Ormaan swung his blade rapidly in a flurry, disconcerting Xavier. He parried each of the blows, but it became quickly obvious that Ormaan was the better bladesman. He was faster and stronger, and although Xavier was managing to parry all of Ormaan’s hits, he was tiring quickly.
“You should have been grateful, Xavier,” Ormaan roared as he swung his sword, “grateful that I let you stay in Hemer, that I never interfered with anything you did! Yet you turned to these fools. What did you plan to do once Ger was gone? Go back to normal? You knew that wasn’t going to happen!”
“I wanted to make a change,” Xavier shouted back, “I wanted to help set Hemer straight! It’s a corrupt town!”
“As are almost all the towns in Voran!” retorted Ormaan.
“That may be so, but I believed, and I still do, that changing the way things are for one town, one small town, will prove something! It will prove that The Crusader’s system can be broken. It will prove that he can be defeated. It will prove that Voran can be free again.”
“Freedom,” snarled Ormaan, “the mere though of it disgusts me!”
He swung his blade a final time and struck Xavier over the head with the flat side of it. Xavier swayed, and fell, unconscious. Ormaan began to drag him away. He caught a glimpse of Dorian and Sagus looking at him, trying to take on dozens of guards at once.
“I promised this town an execution tomorrow,” Ormaan shouted to them, “and it’s an execution they will get!”
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