The Sun Door Part 5
by Joe Solmo
The humidity in this part of the world was damn near one hundred percent all the time. Fortunately the rainy season was over just before we got here, and it would be a while before it returned. Hopefully by then we would be long gone from Galaria, the plague of a nation we have been stuck in recently.
“So, which way are we headed?” Dead Eye said once we were out of earshot of Urny and Daft, the ever vigilant.
“North would be fine with me, unless you want to find a ship sailing from Southport,” I said looking at Drejnin. The large man walked quietly for a moment, then turned to face me. Damn he was intimidating.
“Didn’t you say you worked in the north, something about a rebellion?” Drejnin asked.
“Yeah, you’re right, let’s head south. I hope big boats and deep water don’t scare you guys?” I kidded.
“Almost nothing scares me,” Drejnin said.
“I believe that,” Dead Eye added, and with that said we set out for Southport, the largest city in this cesspit jungle. I had only been there once, with Dead Eye. We ran into some trouble there with a gang chief who we lost two weeks of pay too. The slimy jungle rat grabbed us as we left the tavern having drank our fill and not having any money to pay. It wasn’t a fair fight I tell ya. Who would jump a couple of drunks? What kind of person does that? They held us down in the basement of a seedy magic shop that really only had primitive charms and other bullshit the gullible people buy. There was some strange looking animals in cages, exotic pets for the rich I assumed. I don’t know everything they were into, and I don’t really want to know. One crazy thing happened that night though.
It was the only time Captain Stool rescued us. That was only because he let us go down there to get out of his hair for a few days, when Chase said no one could leave. He was only saving his own ass. He had heard from some of the guys we were causing a ruckus in that tavern and came down to drag our asses home. Only when he got there, we weren’t there anymore, so he paid some bum to tell him where we went.
If Chase had gotten word of our little escapades in Southport, all three of us would have been digging latrines for months. I almost feel sad that we didn’t get caught. The thought of Stool digging would have been worth the extra labor. I am not sure Dead-Eye would agree, seeing how that is what they call dry work. No alcohol until the punishment was over.
The wagon path leading from the gate ran for about fifty yards before splitting into the directions of the compass. It was really well made for a bunch of jungle degenerates. Just as we approached the crossroads Drejnin called for a halt. He was listening for something and peering into the darkness of the jungle. He turned towards me and whispered, “There are people up ahead.” I nodded and turned towards Dead-Eye to pass the word, but he was sitting on the ground trying to twist the top off of one of the wineskins. I think it was a cork, but I didn’t want to ruin his fun. When I turned back around Drejnin was moving with the grace of a cat, slinking down the path towards the crossroads. I did my best to keep quiet and match his pace as I followed the large man and his friend, the dontu.
Dead-Eye caught up as we approached the intersection of roads, stumbling erratically. Drejnin put his head up high and walked into the middle of the road. “Show yourself, I know you are out there,” the giant man said with a booming voice.
“Can you see in the dark as well,” spoke a familiar voice from in the shadows and then I heard the sound of horses walk out into the path, Brakken. The big doof and five of his magi students entered the pale lamplight that illuminated the path. I think I might have shit my pants. How did that asshole know we were leaving? Oh! That son of a bitch Chase set me up, he knew I would run back to Drejnin and tell him about Brakken’s plan. He knew they would try to escape! Now if something went wrong with Magi Captain’s plan, he could blame any wounds on their escape attempt. That son of a bitch.
More bodies stepped out into the lamplight, we were surrounded. None of the foot soldiers were anyone I recognized. I guess that’s what they were doing in Chase’s office when I got there. Dead-Eye mumbled a curse under his breath and pulled his crossbow up to his hip. Even though Dead-Eye was a drunk, he could be serious and seemingly sober up when needed. I watched Drejnin for some signal on how to play this as the tension growed.
“We are leaving, Brakken, of the Magi. There is no need to make this get violent. Just let us leave,” Drejnin said towards the leader of the Magi.
A smirk crossed Brakken’s face as he reached into his robes and pulled out a small wooden box, the light from the torches illuminating his features. He opened the lid and pulled a crystal the size of my fist out of it.
“Seize him,” came Brakken’s voice and he pushed the gem out towards Drejnin.
“Go fuck yourself, Brakken!” I added to the conversation. No one could say I didn’t participate in the negotiations.
“Your secrets will be mine,” the mage said completely ignoring my comment and hurting my feelings, that rat bastard.
“I don’t think so, Serius said and charged the men trying to grab Drejnin. Three died before I pulled my sword out, in my most gloriously awkwardness to date. Their insides littered the road, steaming. In the darkness I couldn’t see what the weapon was in his hand but Serius was a blur as he attacked. It was graceful, almost beautiful to watch, if he wasn’t eviscerating them, anyway. Serius was a definitely someone to fear in battle.
Drejnin took three quick steps towards Brakken, drawing his sword and snarling like an animal, but that was as far as he got. Some kind of beam or a ray came from the crystal and stuck Drejnin in the chest. It froze him in place. I could see the strain on his face as he struggled to break free, but it wasn’t doing any good. What the hell could stop such a man?
“Come on Dead-Eye, they need our help!” I said and ran towards the three men closing in on Drejnin. Suddenly a sharp pain erupted in my calf and I fell to the ground. I turned my head to see what happened. There was a crossbow bolt sticking out of my fucking leg. My leg, shot from behind! I looked up at a sheepish looking Dead-Eye, he mouthed the word sorry, smiled with his crooked teeth and then shrugged. Then the bastard started to reload his crossbow. I snapped the bolt with all the adrenaline flowing from the pain and anger I felt. A second later I felt the breeze off of Dead-Eye’s second shot as it took a man in the thigh. I got to my feet, trying not to put any weight on my friendly-fired leg. Using my sword as a makeshift crutch I limped my way toward Drejnin, who hadn’t moved a muscle since being struck with that beam.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. I turned my head and saw Serius. I had to look again, something wasn’t right. He wasn’t wielding weapons like I thought before, he was the weapons! At the wrists on both arms Serius had axes, instead of hands! He was cleaving through Brakken’s mages before they could get a spell off, making his way to thier Magi Captain himself. He was only about five feet from the Captain’s horse now.
With a sneer Brakken raised his free hand and a blue light shot from his fingertips towards the dontu, but it bent around him harmlessly. The dontu looked around, as if amazed as much as Brakken was and then shit got crazy.
Serius changed. His body changed. His neck elongated, his arms pulled into his body then grew out of his back, it all happened so fast, I stopped mid charge, fascinated. Gone was the dontu Serius I knew¸ and in his place was a Wyvern looking beast towering fifteen feet in the air. A great roar poured out of its gaping maw and I swear the damned thing winked at me. The large head swiveled on the long neck towards the Magi Captain.
A bolt of lightning shot from Brakken’s hand and dissipated around the wyvern. With a fluid motion the wyvern launched into the air gliding towards Brakken. A frantic fireball launched from the mage at the wyvern, but once again it had no effect and fizzled out. With a quick movement, reptilian teeth snapped closed and Brakken’s headless corpse fell off of its horse and hit the ground. The crystal fell from his hand, breaking the spell, and Drejnin tumbled to his knees, weakened.
I stuck Brakken’s hand with my sword crutch as I approached his headless corpse. The rest of his lackey’s had run off once the wyvern attacked. I turned to see what had happened to the beast that used to be my friend, but instead found the dontu staring back at me with the widest grin on his face.
“That must be why dontu are feared!” Serius said excitedly. Drejnin walked up to us on wobbly legs, he held the crystal in his hand. He looked very weak. He looked up at Serius and nodded to him. “Once again you save my life,” he said.
“That is my calling. Did you see what I did! I remember what a dontu is now. It’s great,” Serius said.
“Sorry about sticking you, Lucky,” Dead-Eye said.
“At least you tried,” I said giving the drunk a dirty look. “It’s the thought that counts.”
“Hold him,” said Drejnin. I was grabbed by the dontu. Drejnin reached down and dug into my wound and got the rest of the bolt out of my leg. It hurt like hell, but I was relieved to get the blot out of there. After a quick wrap job I was good to go, well except for the limping.
“What’s the next step?” Dead-Eye asked.
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