[Author's note: And the Prince's thoughts and action continue through the battle. This takes place durring Phoenix Rising: Assassination by Moonlight]
Amid the air filled with savage cries a Scout voice cut through “AMBUSH!”
The Prince found himself knocked to the ground winded.
“Hopefuls to the Prince. Shield him NOW!” Sergeant Deer’s voice commanded.
“Use you packs as shields,” Theo heard Smith yell out as she rolled off of him.
The Prince rolled over and managed to sit up, only to find himself surrounded by Hopefulls all holding pack before them like shield. The sound of arrows thudding against them kept Theo form asking why. Someone screamed in pain. Theo looks to watch a Hopeful sink to his knees. He kept his pack up, shielding the Prince from yet another volley.
Next thing he knew Smith was leaving the circle Lordling Marcus closing up the Gap she left. “Stay low Your Highness,” Marcus stated as he blocked yet another volley of arrows.
“Why isn’t someone going for the archers?” he demanded as yet another volley caused cries of pain.
Suddenly a Wolf howled. The Prince couldn’t decipher it all. Not with the nose of sword and cries of battle and pain that raged around him. Theo stayed crouched as the battle crept closer. Hopefuls were discarding packs in preference for swords. What was he doing? Theo wondered. He was sitting here in the midst of all this letting them protect him as he cowered in the center? That was not right! Theo pulled himself up. His father would be fighting next to his own men. But his action was interrupted by a scream.
Prince Theodoso didn’t bother to find who screamed. His eyes instead were fixed upon the man in black smiling at him. He felt frozen to the spot, his hand couldn’t draw his weapon, he could do nothing but stare at the dagger.
Suddenly Marcus lunged between him and the man taking the dagger meant for the Prince’s heart. Marcus staggered back as the man deftly pulled the dagger from the Lordling’s shoulder. Able to move at last Theo caught him.
“You will not escape from me,” the man hissed to Theo, stunning him back into immobility.
“RAAAAA!” Smith knocked into the assassin’s chest before he could use the dagger again.
The Prince could only hold Marcus, whose life was beginning to drain from his body, the Nigiri poison working upon his system. The man clutched at him, bringing Theo’s attention from Smith and the assassin back to the Lordling.
“You must live your highness,” the words bubbled from his throat. “Live, for if the King dies you must lead us.”
“My father will not die,” Prince Theo stated with more conviction than he felt.
“RETREAT!” someone yelled and the Prince glanced up to see the assassin disappearing into the tree, Smith on his heels.
Lordling Marcus gripped Theo’s vest with the fierceness of a dying man. “Live to lead us Your Highness,” he whispered forcefully, “Lest the King be dead.”
Prince Theodoso suddenly stumbled as the body let go of life and became a dead weight. Someone quickly took the body away from him and moved it to a growing pile. Theo looked around him.
“By the Gods a Willow!” someone cried out.
“Get the wounded there, those in most need closest to the trunk!” Sergeant Fox responded.