Guilt twisted Ekavir's stomach. People were being terrorized, houses were being burned, and it was all his fault. Why had he let himself stay overnight?! At the most he should've simply asked for supplies and then rode on into the wilderness to rest. That way they might've passed through the villiage but they'd have no reason to search every building.
Apparently news flew on birds wings even outside the castle walls.
He still stood in the house, hand on the doorknob, heart and concious clashing. His first instinct was to saddle his horse and leave, using his enemy's delay to his advantage.
But how many homes would they destroy? How many families would they harm before they realized he was gone? No. Leaving the people in such a state would make him no better than his uncle. He wanted to end this as soon as he could.
It took a minute for Ekavir to mount the fresh, enemy horse with his injuries. With some creativity and determination, though, he made it. Its original rider had left it tied to a tree and he'd decided it'd be best if he left his tired mount here. It was hardly fit for travel, let alone a mad escape. And, if nursed to health, he was sure such a strong breed of horse would be of use to the villagers. Not that a horse could fix any of the damage he'd done.
He snuck around behind the villiage buildings until he located the army's captain. Never hard to spot with his thick jaw and impressive build, Captain Vlad was likely hired more for his intimidating elements than his stragedy. His only tactic: attack. There was rarely any splitting up or heading off, just taking every human resource and their weapon and throwing them at the target--as they had the villiage. And it was that approach that Ekavir's entire plan balanced on.
Heart pounding nervously, he nudged his new palace horse right out into the main villiage road. The captain was busy pointing his spear at two young people. Ekavir immediatly recognized the girl with the silver hair. A young man with a head full of black hair held her defensively and Ekavir felt a small rush of relief that she hadn't been destroyed with the building and that she had found her friend.
Turning his attention back to the matter at hand, he lined himself up with the captain at a relatively safe distance and then leaned up against the saddle horn casually.
"Did they really grant you this much man power to find one prince?" he forcing a teasing smirk to hide his nerves, "Because I'm not sure whether they were trying to humiliate you or flatter me!"
It worked. Captain Vlad's head jerked around and Ekavir felt himself being locked in his glare--and every other villiager's for that matter. Only one stepped forward. She had a head of long red hair and extremely expressive eyes. They locked on his and he couldn't hold the gaze for long; he found it more intimidating than the hulk on the horse before him.
"Is Darik really the best name you could come up with?" he growled back.
He knew how to play this game. He'd seen my father do it countless times to those who needed to sinch up their briches, "I don't know; is captain the best title you could earn? Banished or no, I still hold an element of control over you--I'm your unfinished quest."
That did it. Vlad's sword spoke more than he ever did--as it would now.
"He's right there you boneheads! Attack!!"
He had his horse whipped around and racing out of the villiage before the captain had opened his mouth. The soldiers fell into action and, once again, were hot on his heels. He was just glad they had all left the villiage.
Ekavir's leg protested at every rise and fall of the gallop but it felt good to be on a fresh mount. The wind tangled his hair and yanked at his clothes. His eyes watered from the speed and he risked urging my steed faster. He wasn't going to make the same mistake again.