CHAPTER THREE: Crossing the Rabbit's Path (6)

     “Brace yourselves, boys. It’s time for target practice!” the eely voice enticingly remarked, and bowstrings tightened with anticipation as a chorus of cackling responded.

      Bornen and Grom, too blinded and bewildered to maneuver, helplessly pawed at a wall until they were unexpectedly lifted from the floor and found themselves flying across the room. It was clear they were ejected from Ezmyr’s when their lungs welcomed a deep breath of smokeless, undiluted freshness.

      Denthis leapt nimbly passed the entryway with the two dwarves clinging to his arms, and a tail of fire trailed at his heels. As he landed, a volley of arrows launched in their direction, which pierced the sprinkles of snowflakes left lingering from a second bound. He darted briskly in a zigzag pattern, evading the entire volley almost effortlessly, then lunged behind a bulky boulder that deflected the last few arrows in the way a glass window would repel houseflies.

     “Sod, he’s fast. I can’t hit him!” a cultist cried out.

     “I can’t hit him either,” another one added vainly.

     “Hurry, rub some snow in your eyes – that’ll help wash the spell dust out.” Denthis chanced a glance over the top of the boulder while the dwarves feverishly groped around and lapped up handfuls of snow onto their faces. “Ten . . . twelve maybe,” he murmured to himself thoughtfully, “and another two behind that tree-” Then he felt a force knock him forward as a shaft plunged into his left shoulder. “And one from behind,” he concluded breathlessly.

     The robed figure that nailed its mark was in mid celebration when, (if you could see its visage beyond the purple veil that masked it), an expression of absolute surprise replaced the look of cheer, which apparently sank into an arrant terror, until finally settling for something a little more cross-eyed and corpse like. (Without context this sounds rather odd, but with context this series of expressive events makes perfect sense: an arrow did indeed strike Denthis, but a moment later one of the protective arcane patches, which was sown into his pack if you recall, evaporated in a salmon colored steam. When this happened, the arrow disintegrated in the same fashion, leaving no trace of a wound. This sort of thing didn’t sit well with him, so Denthis decided to undertake disciplinary measures by vengeful means. With a speed greater than any mortal man is naturally gifted, he sprinted over to his assailant, who turned to flee but only made it two paces, and the cutlass delivered swift recompense.)

     “There he is, get him!” Another barrage of projectiles shot through the crisp mountain breeze.

 

The End

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