Chapter Twenty-Eight: Friend or Father

Jonrah saw the flailing body burst through the door, and at first thought it was that of Lorda, his rescuer.

He sighed with relief, however, as he saw that the man was dressed in the red robes of The Eden. He was upside-down, and hit the wall, bouncing off and landing on his head, where he shuddered and lay still.

Shards of rotting wood splintered from the remnants of the door that Lorda had now taken a step through, and the guard that had stood by curiously was now covering his face to protect it from stray wood.

Lorda quickly surveyed his surroundings, saw the armed guard, and siezed the weapon of the still-twitching body that lay in a heap on the floor, among the debris of the door.

As Lorda drew the sword, the guard dropped his arm from his face and was met with the eyes of the now armed Lorda. The guard slowly backed away from Lorda, but not out of fear, just so that he could have more room to maneuvre around his opponent.

As Lorda and the guard stared at one another, Jonrah was certain that he was now invisible to his friend, and as he took the first lunge towards the guard, who was now stood just by their cell, Jonrah was dissapointed to see that the blow was excellently parried.

Jonrah felt helpless, standing by and watching the action unfold, when he could be fighting side by side with his dearest friend, his old student. The way it was meant to be.

Lorda seemed to be taking charge of the duel; he lunged and swung his blade in a desperate but controlled attempt to make the connection between steel and flesh, but no such contact was made.

The guard was just as focussed and well-trained as the previous foe had been. Not the follower - for he hardly counted as a foe - but his first encounter.

Lorda took another lunge towards the guard, again inwardly frustrated but outwardly calm to see the blade bounce off the steel of his enemy's weapon.

As Lorda was preparing for another sharp jab, the enemy made his move. Seeing that Lorda was open for attack, he struck from left to right, intending to slice Lorda open at the chest. But the guard was yet to discover Lorda's agility.

Leaping back, narrowly avoiding a nasty scar by only an inch, Lorda dodged the blow, and as the guard followed through with his blade, missing his target, Lorda took the opportunity to attack once more.

Although the enemy's chest was open, easy to plunge his sword into, Lorda decided against killing another one of these bastards, and instead swiftly cut in a vertical line, straight through the right arm of the guard - the arm which held his sword.

As the limb fell from its original placement, a thin stream of blood followed it, splashing delicately but almost audibly onto the ground; a small pool of liquid ruby.

Before the guard could let out a cry of pain, Lorda had delivered a solid blow to the nose using the hilt of his sword, and it caved inwards, letting out a spurt of more blood, but this time not continuous, only a short squirt.

Lorda watched the dark eyes roll back, revealing the white just before the eyelids drooped, hiding the pearls from sight. He fell back, and Lorda let him, watching the guard as his head connected with the hard ground. Enough to cause a nasty headache when he came around, which he certainly would.

Lorda looked down to see blood still pumping from the open wound in the guard's arm, and so ripped off a small strip of cloth from the unconscious man's uniform, tying it tightly around the arm to stop him from losing too much blood.

Searching the body quickly, aware that Jonrah was watching intently, eager for escape, Lorda retrieved the guard's keys from his belt, and was delighted to see that only three were on the ring.

In the poor light, Lorda could only just make out the shape of Jonrah, and what appeared to be somebody sharing his cell.

Slotting the key into the lock, Lorda swung the rusty iron cage open, letting Jonrah through without a word, but then stopped as the stranger attempted to walk through the gap.

Holding his sword between the cell door and the lock, Lorda asked, 'Friend or foe?'

The End

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