Short Work

As it turned out, there were quite a few.
Luckily for the pair, they didn't see any soldiers after the cannibal one. Nicola didn't know why she still thought of them as soldiers. Soldiers were organized, loyal and efficient. These savages she had encountered were butchering, bloodthirsty psychopaths. Their only resemblance to the men they were supposed to be was their size and garb.
As they sneaked through Arkos, Nicola began seeing shadows off in the distance, disappearing before she could make out what they were. Though they worried her, she didn't want to tell Andrew. Whatever it was hadn't so far caused them any trouble, and there was no point alarming him until it was necessary.
"You see something?" Andrew was looking at her intently.
"Erm, no, nothing. Just keeping my eye out."
Andrew seemed satisfied by the answer, and they carried on down the street. The sun had long ago set, and they saw their path by the lights of the fires. Though it was difficult to spot landmarks, it helped to conceal them from those that would wish to stop them.

As they gradually got closer to the center of town, the buildings began to get bigger and fancier. Long gone were the one floored communal houses that indicated the poor district. These were the 3 storied, ornamented dwellings of the town's upper class.
"We're nearly there." Commented Nicola. She assumed it was unnecessary, since Andrew had led them through the city with a confidence that was startling. When he came to blocked paths, he barely hesitated before taking the fastest route. Some of the ways he had gone were so much faster than the routes she would have picked out, she was starting to wonder how he knew Arkos so well.
Oddly, he'd asked her for direction as they began, but as they got towards the center, he'd just carry on, checking back occasionally to make sure Nicola was keeping up.
Even though she had started off determined to lead, it had quickly occured that Andrew could do a far better job. He hadn't spoken much since the crossroads though.

He stopped Nicola with a hand gesture.
"Can you see that?" He said, pointing over at a large spire that was standing further ahead. It was so high, Nicola had to crane her head to see the whole thing.
"That, wasn't there yesterday." She said.
"I didn't think so either."
"Any idea what it is?"
"None. But I intend to find out."
Gone was the Andrew she met further back. His humour had died, and he no longer gave her sparkle-eyed smiles.
"He must be really shook up." She thought to herself. Not that she blamed him. It must have been hell to see his sister like that. How must he feel about-

"Stop right there!" Came a harsh, low voice, interupting Nicola's thought. She spun around in the direction Andrew had turned, to see a group of five soldiers, led by a massive, cowled figure with a chain-mace. He stank of burnt flesh. "What is your business in Redmanplatz?"
Andrew's tongue was faster than her thoughts, everything seemed to be moving so slowly.
"Where is this 'Redmanplatz' you speak of?" It was a clear challenge. Nicola was too scared to remind him that she was the only one with a weapon, and was in no position to use it.
"Formally known as Arkos, you insolent dog." His voice ripped through Nicola like a hot blade through flesh.
"This place is Arkos. You cannot claim it." What was Andrew talking about? In her opinion, defying an obvious butcherer when you were unarmed was the worst possible decision at this moment in time.
"On whose authority, peasant?" The reply wasn't so much sarcastic as over the top and threatening.
"Mine, demon." Demon?! Nicola turned around to face Andrew. His eyes were glowing a bright blue colour. He faced her, and his voice sounded in her head. "Lie on the floor and cover your eyes."
"What? Why?"
"Do as I say, and you'll get out alive. Trust me." He didn't look over at her, but she saw his hand gesturing to the ground.
Reluctantly, she obeyed.
"Who are you?!" Boomed the voice of the 'demon' again. This time, the violence was gone. He was barely able to keep his fear from showing in his voice.
"I am Andromeda Marcus Orion."
"Now, Nicola!"

She closed her eyes as tight as she could. Without warning, a boom erupted from just above her head, and a blinding white light seared her eyes, even behind her eyelids.
Then the world went dark.

The End

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