The start of this CTS and intro is here.
Xenith exhaled blowing hair out of her eyes. This was boring just sitting around waiting for Fridai to return. She stood up and stretched. Toeii was still meditating under the nearby tree. Secia was doing some sort of exercise. “Hey Secia. Want to get a better look at Freeport?”
The young monk smiled and nodded. “Sure, but we can’t go in there.”
“I know but that cluster of trees over there are closer. I bet we can climb one of them and peek over the wall,” she suggested. Toeii’s eyes opened and he frowned. Without saying a word Xenith knew he didn’t agree with it. She had to reassure him. “It will be safe Toeii. I promise. I’ll look after Secia and you’re still close. We can call you if we need any help.”
“Oh please Master Toeii,” Secia pleaded. “One small peek then we’ll come right back.”
He reluctantly agreed and the girls were off. It was a brisk walk to the trees. It was a thicker grove than it appeared in the distance. Xenith could no longer see Toeii when she entered the shade of the trees. First she boosted Secia up the tree and she helped Xenith up. The two peered over the wall into the city.
Xenith was surprised to see the dirty streets filled with all kinds of evil characters. She saw more dark elves, trolls and ratonga than she cared to see. She turned to look at Secia who was in awe. She couldn’t even get a word out and just pointed to the dark tower near the center, the Overlord’s fortress. It was a daunting yet eerie sight. The girls sat in the tree silently viewing the city.
After a few minutes the pair slid back down the tree. “I think we’d better head back,” Xenith stated. She took a few steps then stopped. She held her hand up to her mouth signaling Secia to stay quiet. Xenith drew her daggers and slowly turned in a circle. She was certain she heard something or someone nearby.
“Lookout!” Secia shouted. The warning came too late. Xenith was slammed up against a tree, her left arm twisted behind her. The initial blow knocked the dagger out of that hand. She stabbed backwards with her right arm, blindly trying to hit her attacker.
“Run and get Toeii!” she managed to get out before a hand clamped over her mouth. Xenith pierced the attacker’s arm with her blade. He cried out in pain but he took his hand off of her just as she had hoped. However, he now pinned her right arm behind her too. Xenith tried to kick back at him and he shoved her harder against the tree knocking the wind out of her.
Secia, meanwhile, was not about to leave her new friend. A second man had jumped out in front of her. She spun on her heel and kicked him in the chest. He flew backwards landing on the ground with a thud. Secia didn’t see the third guy who grabbed her arm and flipped her on her back. Stunned for a moment, she saw him rushing towards her. Quickly she hopped back on her feet and blocked his attack. She traded punches with the man for what felt like hours to Secia. This fight was not going in their favor. She saw Xenith struggling with her attacker as he bound her hands behind her. Out of the corner of her eye, Secia noticed the man she had kicked coming at her. “Master To…oof,” she cried out before one of the men smacked her in the head with the side of his sword.
Xenith had regained her breath but the man gagged her before she could call for help. Secia fell to the ground helpless. The other two men bound her hands and gagged her too. “They’re both rather feisty,” one of the men said touching Xenith’s hair. She cringed and tried to pull away from him. “We’ll make lots of gold off them.” The girls were then blindfolded and thrown into the back of a wagon. Xenith hoped Toeii had heard them or that he and the bard could track them down. She tried to keep her hopes up even though the wagon rolled on and she heard no one in pursuit.
Toeii's ear twitched involuntarily, batting away a nosey fly that had been buzzing around his head for the past hour. It would have driven anyone else crazy but he had been able to focus his attention on meditating, it didn't hurt that the high savanna sun warmed him, even under the leafy shade tree overlooking the Freeport main gates.
A light breeze rippled through his fine silk clothing. He was glad he could enjoy wearing them a little longer before he had to put on the heavier leather clothing he carried around when they traveled to Everfrost, though he knew his thick fur coat would provide most of the warmth he'd need.
His ear batted away the fly again. The monk slowly opened his eyes, his nostrils breathing deeply the sweet smells of the plains carried in on the breeze.
Something was wrong.
He hadn't heard a peep out of the girls since they had left an hour ago. Odd he thought, considering they never stopped making peeps. Toeii scanned the horizon, paying particular attention to the stand of trees Xenith had convinced him to allow her and Secia to go to get a better look of the city.
"Foolish," Toeii said to himself, "letting a Wood Elf take one of the students he was responsible for roaming around outside Freeport."
Toeii got to his feet, picking up the ironwood bo-staff he had set down at his feet and began to jog for the trees.
When he arrived he headed straight for the tallest tree he could find, they would have wanted to see over the walls...
The veteren had seen enough battle to know a fight had taken place here; broken ground, torn grass, shattered bark and blood.
"You're right, you are."
Toeii whirled around to see two human men coming at him from behind a nearby tree, the closest drawing back a bow to fire at point blank range. The arrow snapped forward and Toeii, blessed with the fine muscle control of a monk years his senior brought his staff up, deflecting the arrow, inches from his chest, with his tougher than steel staff.
The bo staff whipped around, striking the archer, who was fumbling for a sword as he continued to close with Toeii, square in the neck. Bones crakced and the man's head flopped in toward the staff, he fell to the ground dead, limp as a fish.
The second man, eyes wide, couldn't stop his momentum and lunged at him with a long knife. Toeii dropped his staff and pirrouetted to the left, deftly avoiding the man's clumsy attack.
He had no idea who these men were, he recognized the knife.
The attacker slashed at Toeii again, the monk simply grabbed the man's wrist and tugged at his arm, dislocating his shoulder with a pop. The man tried to scream but Toeii had covered his mouth with a large clawed hand.
He pushed the man against the tree trunk and leaned in close.
"You're not going to scream, you're not going to call for help, you're going to tell me what you did with the two women I've been traveling with or I'm going to finish pulling this arm off, understand. Nod if you understand," Toeii's voice was a low, threatening growl.
The man nodded, whimpering underneath Toeii's hand. He didn't say a word, he only motioned to the wagon tracks that dug deep in the soft sandy ground.
Toeii nodded, relieved the man of his stolen weapon, placing carefully in his belt and knocked the man unconscious with a hard blow to the head.
The Kerra growled again and began to run, following the wagon at a dead sprint.