Chapter Nineteen: The First Tower

At the base of the first tower stood three guards, all dressed in aggressive-style armour, lined with red fabric with the emblem of The Eden inked onto their chests.

This one, however, was somewhat obstructed by the thin blade protruding from his back, through his chest, and feeling the bite of the cool dusk air again on the other side.

A groan escaped him, not loud enough to alert the other guards, but not so quiet as to prevent Jonrah from jerkily glancing from side to side to check his surroundings. They remained clear.

Lorda withdrew the blade from the surprisingly thin armour that this guard was wearing, which hopefully meant that the other two, and hopefully the rest of The Eden, were using armour that was just as thin.

It wouldn't take long to find out.

With only two men remaning down by this tower, Jonrah made the signal for Lorda to go left, whilst he himself circled the tower to the right. This way, they would both be able to take one guard, and could not be surprised by any unwanted visitors.

Jonrah found his next kill after only a few steps. Unfortunately, he was not facing the other way, as the first guard had been, and he let out a small yell as he saw Jonrah approach.

Lorda had to circle the tower almost half way before catching sight of his own prey. The man in red was running toward Lorda, obviously alerted by the cry that had been stifled by - no doubt - a sword tearing softly through the lungs of he who uttered it.

The man held his claymore as if it were a spear, ready to cut down any man who stood between him and the enemy. It would have been futile to try to parry the strong thrusts of this well-built warrior, and so Lorda, sheathing his sword, rolled from his rear to the ground, landing softly and almost silently on his back.

The attacker, stunned, but unable to stop himself, ran straight into the outstretched legs of the mysterious gymnast, and was met by a force that one could not expect from a mule; a kick that threw the attacker over his own head, several feet into the air and just as far forward, landing awkwardly with a quiet but distinguishable snap of the neck.

The night was quiet once more.

Lorda was not alarmed by the approaching footsteps, for they would only be those of Jonrah, circling around the tower to meet him. Lorda had himself decided to stay put - no use both of them following the base of the tower in one direction unable to find one another. The tower itself was probably one hundred metres in diameter, and so to hear one another shouting which way to go would be both hard, and a signal to their enemies. It was better than he just waited.

Shortly, it paid off. Jonrah rounded the corner, a spray of blood almost invisible against his raven hair, but a trophy of his kill nonetheless.

They clasped hands together, smiled, and relished the fact that for the next twelve hours, until the break of dawn, this would be how their strategy played out. Easy slaughter of feeble men who stood in their way.

Jonrah's gaze was drawn abruptly away from the warm smile that made up Lorda's face, to a tower in the distance.

Equal in size to all the others, jet black, but with a red tinge towards the top, as they all were. But this one was different.

A little taller than the others, but without the red tint to the upper levels. It seemed to be shimmering in the distance, almost like a mirage. It seemed to be... growing.

The direction of Jonrah's gaze also attracted Lorda to what he could see, and without a word, the shared the same peculiar thought: Is that tower growing taller?

It was an absurd idea, and probably just a figment of the night, but as they stood, staring at the tower which lay probably two miles away, they saw that another, a little closer, also seemed to be growing in the same way.

Lorda's eyes widened as he realised what was happening.

'Eagles!' he cried, ignoring the warning he would be sending to the men in the tower above.

Jet black eagles, beasts that Jonrah had heard little about, but enough to know about their vicious nature, and their Eastern breeding grounds. The Eden must be using them as watchmen. Training them to kill; not in their nature. Free-flying around the plains, picking off any stray adventurers. Or foes.

The End

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