Excerpt From "The Tempered Blade"
She slammed against the stone of the cave wall. Her arms were tied behind her back and she was unable to shield herself from the impact. Anger welled in her chest. She was aggravated that she'd allowed herself to be captured by a group of bandits. Sneaks with tricks. There was no respect in their trade, a warrior fought her battles facing her foe. A few breaths calmed her down enough to think. Her captors were standing behind her, their voices barely audible.
Cautiously she cocked her head to the left, a small hope to figure out at least why they had captured her."We could get at least three hundred from the warrior's family…anyone know if she has any?" a man with a nasally voice asked. She recognized the voice as the man who was ordering the other two around earlier when she just started to wake up. Maybe the leader of the group? "I dunno. Aren't we suppose to give ‘er to that guy?"
The second man responded, taking a labored breath. It was the rather obese man, odd size for his profession. A huff came from the final person, as if she was scolding a child. "We can make more money for ransom, obviously. You were supposed to find out if she had any family, Tails!"While the bandits bickered, Angwenth tested the rope wrapped around her wrists. She shifted her hands around, loosening the rope to stop the throbbing in her fingers.
In silence, she turned and leaned her back against the wall, watching the bandits as she flexed her fingers to get feeling back. The three bandits were facing away from her, standing over what looked like a map."I was busy…" Tails protested before taking another deep breath."Busy stuffing your face…" the young girl muttered with a snicker.While they were distracted, Angwenth glanced around the cave to see if there was anything that would help her escape. Something sparkled on the stone wall, catching her attention. A crystal! One with a sharp enough edge to cut through the ropes. She glanced back at her captors. Distracted. Perfect.
Trying not to make any noise, she inched her way towards the sharp edge. A fist slammed on a hard surface, from the corner of her eye it looked like the leader had enough of their childishness. "Tails. Scout. Stop it!" Tails and Scout responded, their voices quiet, "Yes, sir." The leader pointed at the map, "Scout, I want you to go the nearest town, find out if anyone is missing her. No detours. Got it?"
The quartz got closer, but Angwenth froze as Scout turned to leave the cave. The young girl took a few steps, froze and looked at Angwenth curiously, then back at the spot where she was only a few moments prior.. Scout scratched her scalp and then walked away shaking her head. Letting out a soft sigh, Angwenth took the last few steps as Scout walked out of the cave.
Leaning against the wall, she was able to shift her body until she felt the sharp edge of the crystal slice against her skin. It took a few tries before she had a rhythm, and felt the rope start to give. Her attention focused on the bandits, stopping any motions when they glanced away from their table. Just a little bit more."What the hell are you doing? Trying to sneak out when we're not paying attention?"
Angwenth stopped moving her arms and looked up at the leader innocently, "Sneaking out? I've been here the entire time.""Get back over there!" Angwenth smirked. Now it was time for action. "Or what?" If glares could kill. The leader rushed forward, ignoring the protesting Tails. "Sir!" The first punch landed directly into Angwenth's stomach. The force slammed her against the cave wall. Bent at the waist, her face hidden by her hair, Angwenth started to laugh."
How dare you!" the leader screamed, he aimed for another blow. Before impact, Angwenth twisted her body, the attacker's fist sliding just under her stomach and meeting air. The bandit lost his balance. As he tumbled forward and raised his arms to brace for the wall, Angwenth kicked her knee up and aimed for his groin. It hit with a thud. The bandit let out a loud groan as he fell. Angwenth stepped over him and peered down, her hands still behind her back. "Guess what?"
The bandit reached up to grab at her, but she dodged out of the way before he could and slammed her foot down on his chest to keep him still. With some effort, Angwenth tensed her muscles in her arms, pulling. The rope snapped and fell to the floor. Angwenth smiled and rotated her arms in a windmill motion to loosen up her shoulders. She reached down and grabbed the hilt of the sword that lay at the bandit's side. "Your rope isn't very strong."
Twirling the blade in her hand, she studied the weight and sturdiness of the weapon. "And your sword isn't very good." She frowned and then placed the tip of the sword directly against the leader's throat. "Who hired you to take me, you coward?"Her question was greeted with silence, until she pushed on the tip a bit more. Droplets of blood flowed down his neck. Tails spoke up, "A-A man did…"
"Shut up, Tails!" the leader hissed, his eyes switching between the blade and the warrior. Grinning, Angwenth pushed harder. "No, keep going, or your leader is dead."Tails stuttered again as he took a deep breath. He looked as if he was about to have a heart attack. "He said his name was Smalls. That you killed someone he knew…" "Damn it, Tails!" Smalls? Her breath caught in her throat and her eyes went wide. She took a step backwards. "He's…alive?"
In her moment of shock, a foot slammed in her back, forcing her to tumble forward. Angwenth rolled on her side a few times before coming to a stop in front of Tails. "Grab her, you idiot!"Tails leaned down, his large stomach getting in his way. Angwenth spun around on her back, her leg sweeping underneath his feet.
The fat man fell backwards, landing on the table that crushed under the added weight. She put her hands behind her head, palms on the floor; she pushed herself up while kicking her legs straight in the air. Her body arched and she landed on her feet. She swung the sword, the blade biting into Tail's neck. Blood squirted in an arch, some of it landing on the front of her clothes. He made a sick, gurgling noise as he clutched his throat with chubby fingers.
Angwenth turned to face the leader, "Just you and me now."He was back on his feet, a small dagger in his right hand. He ran in to attack and she parried with the sword. With ease he recovered and went for a lunge attack, keeping his chest and stomach aimed away from her to make a smaller target. Angwenth smiled, as she blocked each of his attacks, the blood from Tails dripped down the stolen blade, splattering across her and her opponent. The bandit attempted a new move, slicing at her hand instead of her stomach.
Blood welled up along the line where the knife sliced, and Angwenth felt her blood begin to boil. She slid in with her opposite elbow facing the bandit, as if she was going to slam into his chest, but instead spun around and sliced the sword across his stomach. Blood covered his tunic, making the bandit looked down startled. Seizing the opportunity, Angwenth hit the knife out of his hand, and rammed him into the cave wall, her left forearm against his shoulder, the sword tip against his chest.
"Where is Smalls?""Like I'd tell you." He sputtered, blood dripping from his mouth.Her eyes narrowed. "Fine, I'll just have to find your little minion and make her tell me." With that she jabbed the sword into his chest, sliding between his ribs to his heart.
He gasped and as she pulled out the sword and fell to the floor. She took a part of his sleeve and cleaned off her new weapon, before yanking the sheath off the bandit's waist. Angwenth walked out of the cave, sheathing her new weapon to her waist, "Now to find Smalls, and get some answers."
The Three Vow's The Tempered Blade and The Chronocles of Ollundra and all associated works are under copyright © Composite Games Limited 2013 - 2014