And sorry for not getting this done sooner, but I had to watch some episodes and get in the zone. Kinda forgot what the heck was going on here. When you haven't looked at something in three years, that happens.
Anywho, here's the first chapter! :)
The crackle of lightning and booming of thunder echoed Aldarn’s tension. The young Quelthar glanced up at the impressive lightshow, but his mind was else ware. Kaleb, his captain, mission leader, and best friend was running late. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem, but tonight it was much more than that. After all, Kaleb was inside scouting out a possible raid on King Phobos’s armory.
Aldarn took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves, but it didn’t help. When he closed his eyes all he saw was Kaleb captured, tortured and finally hung from the ramparts as a reminder to those who would dare to steal from the immortal, sorcerer king.
Where are you, Kaleb? The nervous rebel thought for the thousandth time.
Kaleb was never late. He’d slip in, be there half hour at most, and then slip out, taking one or two weapons with him, or even a whole bundle under the guise of a servant or slave moving something. It was brilliant, the way he’d grab a bucket and mop his way through the entire building, taking note of every room, what was in it, who was in it and at what time they moved around. He didn’t try anything he wasn’t sure he could handle, and did it quickly. At least, that is what he’d been doing. But they were nearing the second hour of this venture and every minute they lingered they neared discovery.
“Kaleb,” Aldarn growled beneath his breath.
He dared not speak any louder. Nor call out, pace, or even move in the slightest. He stood stock still. The two of them agreed to meet beneath the north-western edge of the Thorn Cliffs beneath Castle Metamoor’s wall in the swamp. Close to the edge and built into the wall itself was Phobos’s mighty armory, the only place on the Kadoka continent where large amounts of weapons could be found. Even though Aldarn was two hundred feet below the top of the castle walls, the King was no fool. The guards on the ramparts were handpicked with magnificent eyesight and hearing to notice even the quietest of intruders. Aldarn had almost been spotted twice already; once because of carelessness, the other for Kaleb’s stupidity.
Aldarn sighed again out of nervousness. Trying not to pace, he sent a silent prayer to the heavens.
Almighty Creator, please bless that Kaleb and me get out of this alive. Doing so as free men would be nice. And please bless that your Guardians return. alMen-Queltha.
Aldarn felt a bit calmer after the prayer. Somehow, he felt that they’d survive this hair-brained scheme and live to return to the village. But his good feeling fled when he heard the alarm horn. Gut in his mouth, heart hammering, Aldarn stared up at the wall, trying to hear what the guards were yelling at each other.
“Intruder! Intruder in the armory!”
“Kaleb, you imbecile!” Aldarn muttered. Cursing under his breath, he stepped out so he could see and froze. So long as he didn’t move, the guards wouldn’t notice him.
Up in Metamoor it was pandemonium. Guards were running about like chickens with their heads cut off. No one was giving orders, and the intruder (Kaleb) seemed to be everywhere at once. Aldarn shook his head. His father always said the Guldons were as a race were prone to panic. When the going got tough, they couldn’t find their butts with both hands.
“There he is! Get him!” All at once, everyone tried to grab Kaleb at the same time. Men were shoving each other over, running into one other; one even fell off the wall onto the thorns below. Aldarn tried not to laugh. As a lieutenant himself, he would never let his men fall into such chaos over one man.
Then he watched as Kaleb leapt onto the wall. Phobos’s guards laughed and roared in triumph, thinking they had him cornered. They didn’t. Without looking back, Kaleb dropped a bundle of unstrung bows down to where Aldarn could easily get to them. Then, he threw a barrel of gunpowder with a torch sticking out of the top right into the pack of Guldon guards. Aldarn busted up laughing. No wonder they were panicking. He was throwing grenades that could blow up half a castle. The explosion ripped off some of the wall, and more Guldons fell. Aldarn didn’t move as parts of the building fell all around him. Drawing attention to himself wouldn’t be a good idea as Kaleb needed his help to escape.
Before the now deaf and shell-shocked guards managed to pull themselves to their feet, Kaleb leapt onto a large thorn vine. He climbed down a little ways, jumped onto another, and then a third. A few jumps later and he was in the bog, covered with stinky mud and bog grass. Aldarn grinned triumphantly at his captain and best friend.
“I found that bow your grandfather made when your father your age,” Kaleb informed his humored companion, pointing up at the hanging bundle that was almost impossible to get to.
Aldarn eyed the hundred feet between them and the bows. “Cris can make that neck breaking climb tomorrow morning.”
Kaleb broke off whatever it was he was going to say when an arrow whizzed past his ear. Several Guldons were making the same climb down the vine while archers continued to shoot at the two men. Without another word, the two boys raced and weaved through the bog, trying to stay on the land. Although Kaleb was already drenched, getting any muddier wasn’t wise. It was harder to track someone who didn’t stink in a crowd.
Just as they neared the edge of the swamp, disaster struck. An arrow ripped into Kaleb’s side, and knocking him down. Aldarn slid to a stop, and grabbed Kaleb, dragging him behind a small rise. It quickly turned into a muddy pincushion with arrows constantly hitting it. When Aldarn tried to pull Kaleb to his feet, he only ended up back on the ground with a shriek of pain.
“Kaleb, you must stand!” Aldarn told him.
The guards were drawing closer, and it sounded like they’d brought dogs with them. Kaleb tried again with the same results. He grinned at Aldarn, his face muddy.
“I doubt I can.” Kaleb chuckled at the irony, and gave a soft cry at the pain it caused. “Get out of here, Aldarn.”
“No,” Aldarn replied flatly. “You’re my partner and friend. No.”
“As your captain, I’m ordering you to leave,” Kaleb growled, the humor gone from his face. Aldarn opened his mouth to refuse again when Kaleb said, “Or do you want your father to endure what happened to your mother again? While you’re still in mourning?”
Aldarn froze. His mother had been arrested and ganged raped by the police. Less than a year later she lost the will to live, and committed suicide. That was only a few months ago. Capture meant certain death, by execution or being worked to death as a slave. He glared at Kaleb. He was right. Losing Aldarn would be more than his father could bear and his father was one of only four blacksmiths that would work with the rebels.
Aldarn took a deep breath and growled, “You better end up in the mines, and survive until we free you.”
Kaleb gave a dry laugh, and then Aldarn was running, weaving as fast as he could. He didn’t look back as the dogs raced after him or the archers continued to shoot at him. He wouldn’t look back as the guards caught, beat, and dragged his friend to the dungeon and a fate worse than death.