The guards flanked Aria to her left and her right, surrounding her and readying their weapons. Cypher chuckled upon seeing just how foolish the young woman before him was. "You honestly believed that you could do something? All you have accomplished is your own demise, and I will still kill that stupid brat anyway. Did you even have a plan?"
To his surprise, Aria smirked. "Not really, no. But even if I'm going to die here, you'll still have to work for it."
Cypher spat at the ground. "Guards, take her alive. I want to break her before I kill her."
They saluted and readied their weapons, and Aria raised her sword. Zoraan and Scathe watched for a moment and decided they needed to do something. "I've got an idea. What if we release the prisoners? That might distract the guards and also help some of them in the process. Almost all of the guards have their attention directed on Aria. Might as well use this opportunity she has granted."
Scathe nodded. "Alright, I'll take care of that. You will stay here and if things take a turn for the worst, do whatever you have to to get Aria out of there. Understood?"
Zoraan nodded, and Scathe left, looking for the prisoners. Zoraan watched as Aria took on the guards.
It was quickly apparent to everyone that Aria was not the average swordsman. She did not focus on overpowering her opponents with feats of physical strength, but with feats of agility, jumping, rolling, diving and stepping out of the way of each attack the guards sent her way, and quickly retaliating, each strike a sure kill. But as the fight progressed, it became obvious: Aria would still lose. One of the guards with the crossbows got off a lucky shot, and it hit Aria in the left shoulder, her blood oozing down as she forcefully removed it from her body. But instead of taking advantage of the situation, the guards backed off, and Aria raised an eyebrow.
"It's over. You've lost, you stupid wench." Cypher spoke, stepping into the ring and elongating his nails into sharp claws. "You should be feeling the effects of the poison any second now."
Aria raised her sword and attacked, but Cypher dodged her strike and countered, and Aria barely dodged out of the way, but Cypher wasn't done, and kicked Aria in the stomach so hard she coughed up blood. She doubled over, coughing and trying hard to catch her breath, and Cypher smacked her to the ground, a twisted smile on his face. Zoraan watched in horror as Cypher continued to kick Aria while she was down. "Cry out for mercy, you peasant bitch! I want to hear you scream!"
Zoraan was about to jump in when another guard ran into view. "Sir! The prisoners have escaped! A man in a black cloak shattered their bonds and overwhelmed the guard! We need help!"
Cypher was so enraged he began to convulse. "WHAT?!?!" He shouted, staring down at Aria. "You clever little whore... you used yourself as a diversion so one of your friends can free the laborers while the guards full attention was on you. I suppose I'll just have to use you to help finish this operation-"
"OUT OF MY WAY!" Zoraan shouted, pole vaulting over the guards and kicking Cypher in the face. He picked up Aria and hung her over his back and quickly jumped away before the guards realized what was happening.
One guard walked up to Cypher and asked: "Sir, are you alright? Give me your hand."
Cypher just stabbed him with his nails, angry at how completely he had been played by a bunch of rebels. He began to curse and swear, raving like a madman. "I was told that I would not have to worry about insurgents! Well, that was obviously a lie. When I get my hands on Daedalus Arkham and Gol Necrosia, I am going to wring their thin little necks for their failures!"
Aria was barely conscious but she heard every word of Cypher's rant and wondered who he was talking about. Zoraan met up with Scathe and they made their way out of the camp. They may not have ensured the freedom of everyone at the camp, but a few of them should be able to escape and make it to safety. That gave Aria a little piece.
And after a little while, Aria passed out.