Chapter Twenty-One: The Cry of Steel

Lorda let out a violent curse as he watched Jonrah fall to the ground for the second time.

Having only just made it to the wall himself, he was fairly confident at first that they would be able to make their escape, wait here once more, and maybe try again tomorrow. But now that Jonrah was severely injured, the chances of that were very slim.

The eagles had long since given up on their attacks on Lorda, who was now safely behind the wall, but Jonrah was alone, surrounded by a dark stormcloud of vicious eagles, who would no doubt do a lot worse to Jonrah than they had done so far.

Holding his shield up high once again, Lorda prepared to face the birds.

In a swift and graceful leap, Lorda scaled the wall, making a dash for Jonrah, whose condition had not seemed to deteriorate.

The blood was forming small puddles around his neck and foot, but it seemed that the flow had ceased, and the blood that was circulating around Jonrah's body would hopefully stay there.

Running into what seemed like a tornado of birds, Lorda - with no regard for his own safety - threw the shield onto Jonrah's chest, causing him to stir as his eyes gradually opened.

Firmly holding onto the back of Jonrah's armour, Lorda drew his sword and attempted to hit away any birds that got too close to himself. Jonrah was now holding the shield in front of his face - the one part of himself that was unprotected, besides his feet - and although he was not moving, Lorda saw his platemail gently rising and falling.

The trail of blood that was being left was fairly minimal, and the puddles which were only several metres away were almost invisible in the dark.

The birds engulfed the two adventurers in a mist of darkness, making the surroundings unnoticeable. Lorda was hacking and slashing at the surrounding eagles, all the while dragging Jonrah with all his strength.

Half way between the wall and the tower, something remarkable happened.

All noise subsided. The birds were silenced, and even Lorda could not hear his own breathing.

The violent beating of the wings was inaudible, and as Lorda stopped, he felt no more fear of the attacking eagles. For they had now stopped attacking.

Without warning, and still in what seemed like silence, the birds returned to the sky, flapping their wings in complete silence, now almost graceful. The birds lodged in Jonrah had died, most likely had been crushed by Jonrah's weight when he fell, and as the remnants of the flock returned to their roosts, some flying to the towers from which they had arrived, Lorda was kick-started back into action.

The birds had been called back, for whatever reason, and this gave Lorda a chance to get Jonrah safely back to the wall, where he could try to tend to his wounds, which although looked dangerous, did not seem incapacitating.

Within a few steps, however, a screeching brought the world back to life.

The horrible sound of metal on metal. Iron cogs turning, unoiled, screaming against one another. Lorda halted, looking to the tower. A small gap appeared in the base, widening as doors swung outward.

The cry of steel continued.

The End

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