Bain rode through the streets of Grates, the feeling of happiness overriding his care for the men and women who cursed at Dalzig's charge. The horse was trained to keep moving through the worst of climates and crowded of battlefields. Dalzig could easily avoid hitting a few pedestrians on Grates' roads.
He knew where he was going. Before even attempting the journey, Bain had looked at several maps of the area, deciding on the best possible route and discovering the locations of the Healer's house. He had wanted to rush out the doors and mount Dalzig the moment he learned of Horus the Healer, but he knew it wasn't wise and could cost his wife her life. Therefor, he took a day to plan and ready himself. He hated the wait, but knew the worth of it. If there was anything he had learned as a soldier and general, it was that taking time to cover details could save time and lives.
That planning had gotten him to Grates in a week and a half, rather than the usual two and a half weeks it took. Bain could laugh he felt so happy. Elizabeth seemed better already. It was like the Lord had smiled on him like never before. It was simply a glorious-
Dalzig jerked to the side, avoiding a blade that sliced at his side. Luckily, the attack missed. Bain pulled his blade in one swift motion and beheaded the dark-clad man who held his own blade. The head rolled and Bain forced Dalzig to continue, but with no avail.
Ahead were more dark-clad men, all with blades out and some sort of black fabric concealing their faces. Bain cursed and looked for any pedestrians. He found that the ones who had been there now lay motionless, puddles of blood beneath them.
Bain cursed himself again. In his excitement, he had forgotten to pay attention to his surroundings. These men had seemingly guessed his direction and set up an ambush. Did they know he was headed for the Healer's? Or was it by luck?
"Who sent you?" Bain called to the dark-clad men. None of them spoke or moved. Had Bain not known any better, he would have assumed they were manikins, like some of the clothing shops sometimes had. But these men were real and dangerous.
"Chosen..." one of them whispered.
"Chosen..." another joined in.
Bain hopped off Dalzig. He had dealt with a few cults in the past, but he never had seen one like this. He knew, though, that once they had a goal not even death would stop them from trying to accomplish it.
"Dalzig." Bain pointed to a dark alleyway and clicked. The horse let out a grunt and galloped away. Normally, Bain would have gladly let the horse fight, but with the saddlebags and supplies he had piled on top of his stallion, the horse would not fight well and could be injured. He would not risk Dalzig like that.
They started to walk forward, with a few more of the dark-clad cultists moving out from the shadows. Bain counted them and found that they were just thirty eight in number. He knew he could handle them, but it would take time. That was something he did not want to waste.
"Kill... Chosen..." one of the cultists said. The speaker was the closest, so Bain decided on a strategy and went with it.
He shifted into Hero stance, ignoring the fact that he had no buckler, and ran at the closest dark-clad cultist. The cultist went for Bain's head, only to miss when Bain ducked and sliced the figures chest open. It was deep enough to strike the heart, so Bain didn't bother with a second attack.
He moved on to the next one , using Hero's Bash to dispatch him. The next cultist was upon him in an instant. Bain countered a downward slice with his arm, careful not to let the actual blade hit him, and chopped the man's arm off. Bain backed away and barely dodged another attack from a third cultist. They were trying to surround him, Bain realized when he looked back.
Bain switched to Straight Blade stance and charged at where the cultists were the most numerous. His sword swing in fluid motions, his body swerved and avoided any blade that came his way, and his eyes observed everything. One down. Two. Three. Four. Five and six. Seven. Eight.
With a final slice, cutting the cultist in two and spraying blood on Bain, Bain came to the other side of the cultists group. They gathered together, ignoring their losses and walked toward Bain. It was odd. He had taken their numbers down from thirty eight to twenty seven without taking a single hit and still they came. Bain studied their movements more closely and realized they were walking in step, like a trained unit.
Or a possessed force.