The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 19

Callindra sprang out of sleep and out of bed in one combined moment.  With a rattle and musical chiming of tiny links, Brightfang leapt off the floor and flew toward her in a spinning unpredictable arc of razor sharp steel.  With a sound that was half laugh of joy, half cry of terror.  She flailed with an arm still wrapped in sheets and just barely managed to grab him by the blade, the flat smacking into her palm with a satisfying smack.

She was wearing a thin cotton shift and nothing else, her hair seeming almost to twine around her with its vines and flowers smelling of sweet summer afternoons.  The winds joyfully tugging at the hem of her shift made her smile.  The sun shining on her sword made her smile.  The sight of her brothers walking through the door rubbing sleep out of their eyes made her smile so hard she thought her heart would break.

“Thank you all.”  She began, but before she could say any more her brothers gathered around her each showing that they cared in their own way.  Tryst with a pleased, but concerned look as he used a magic Delving to make sure she was fully healed.  Cronos with an awkward one armed hug and off color joke.  Vilhylm with an examination of Brightfang and her armor.

“I think we need to go.”  Callindra said, “The people looking for me aren’t going to stop.  What you did to get me out.  I mean it’s the ORDER.”

“I don’t care who it is.”  Cronos said, “None of them want to hurt you as much as we value you.  But yeah, we should get out of here.”

“Although you’re likely to still be exhausted for a few days and you have a number of new scars, I think you’re still fit to be out of bed, at least for a short time.”  Tryst said, “The Goddess’s gift has extraordinary restorative powers, but it still draws the power to heal from your body.  You shouldn’t overexert yourself and you need plenty of food to help with the process.”

“Your gear seems to be in order.”  Vilhylm said, “Your armor is in perfect repair and that chain seems like it hasn’t disrupted the integrity of your sword, although the balance is likely to be off.”

The bells in the Monastery began to ring and Tryst looked up sharply.  “Those are the alarm bells, someone’s attacking the front gate!  We have to help!”

“We have to go.”  Vilhylm said flatly, “Odds are we’re the reason the attack is happening.  A few extra swords aren’t going to make a difference here; your Brothers and Sisters can handle it.  We need to go.”

“You may be right, but I-“ Tryst began, but the door being slammed open interrupted him.  Larcel stood there.

“What are you still doing here?”  She demanded, “You need to get out before these things get through the front gate.”

“Things?  What things?”  Callindra asked, as she tried to take off her shift and discovered that it was far more difficult now that she had Brightfang permanently bonded to the chain on her right wrist.

“I don’t know.  There’s a man in a black cowl with an army of green eyed freaks out there.”  Larcel said, “Nothing for you to worry about really, we can handle it.  They’re demanding we let them search our premises for fugitives, but they don’t have any legal right to do so.”

“Shouldn’t we stay and help?”  Callindra asked, freeing herself from the shift and beginning thread Brightfang’s chain back through it. “This is probably all my fault.”

“Not a chance toothpick.”  Larcel said with a good-natured poke at her ribs.  “We’ve got this covered.”

“Thank you.”  Vilhylm said before anyone else could respond.  “Come on then, let’s get moving before we make the defense of your sacred ground more difficult.”

“Green eyed freaks?”  Tryst said, worry creasing his forehead.  “I don’t like the sound of that.  They’re likely to be Abyssal Spawn Larcel.  Do not take them lightly.

“I was there at the briefing Sir Te’Chern.”  She said to Tryst, “I heard the report and your warnings regarding these so-called Spawn.”

“Don’t underestimate even the most harmless seeming opponent.”  Vilhylm warned, “We made that mistake and it nearly cost us our lives.”­­­

Callindra had disentangled herself from the cotton shift and grinned to herself at Cronos’s blush.  She was quite nude underneath but now was not the time to discover she was shy, and she found that she really wasn’t.  Just like the books she’d read about comrades in arms, these men were her battle comrades and companions; she did not look on them with any possible romantic feelings.

“Cronos where are my clothes?”  She asked, giving the younger man an excuse to turn away.  “I need to get dressed so I can get into my armor.”

Larcel chuckled, “Your things are on the shelf next to your bed.  Let the poor boy be.”

It took a bit of time due to Brightfang and his chain, but Callindra managed to wrap herself with a breast band, get her shirt and breeches on and finally get her armor strapped into place once more.  The pressure around her chest felt comforting, like a hug from a parent, not that she remembered her parents.

“All right.  Let’s go.”  She said, finally feeling herself again.

“We’ve been waiting on you.”  Cronos grumbled, still apparently feeling salty about her teasing him.

“We have a passage that leads out of the city.”  Larcel said, “I’ll show you where the entrance is once you’re ready.”

They followed her to a conspicuously blank section of wall and pressed a pair of bricks.  The wall slid smoothly inward at her touch revealing a stairway that spiraled into darkness.  A light breeze smelling of fresh mountain air came to curl around Callindra, tickling the ends of her unbound hair and sparring with the zephyrs that had accompanied her here.

“Take care.”  Larcel gripped Callindra’s forearm.  “I’ve seen some people roughed up before, but what they’d done to you was…”  She shuddered.  “Just take care.”

“My brothers fill in where I fail.”  Callindra replied, a pained look in her eyes.  “I try as best I can but I thank Jorda that I have good people watching out for me.  I never thought I’d come closer to dying from something like that, I always figured it’d be from mouthing off to the wrong person.”

It was a weak joke, but it brought a smile to Larcel’s face.  She nodded wordlessly and Callindra followed her brothers down the stairs.

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