The Callindra Chronicles Book 2: The Rise of Evil – Chapter 26

“Please calm down… Callindra is your name right?” Mili laid a hand on her arm and gave her a pleading look, “Pierce is only a couple days away I think. I promise I’ll watch out for your brother until you can bring him back here OK?”

“What’s a true innocent like you doing in this place in the company of these… people?” Callindra was trying to calm down with varying degrees of success. The men still wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“We just ended up here I guess.”  The woman shrugged, “Now Merel helps protect the tavern and I do what I can for the victims after the dust settles.”

“What aren’t you telling us? You know more about this creature than you’re letting on!” Cronos had approached from behind and the intensity of his voice startled Mili. “What are you keeping from me?”

Mili turned to look him in the face, “Honestly I don’t know anything other than it comes here and kills everyone it can when it’s not out slaughtering travelers.”

After a pause, Cronos spun on his heel and stalked painfully back into the tavern. “Is there a place I can carry Tryst? So that he will be as safe as he can be in this hell hole?” Callindra asked. Her magically augmented strength allowed her to easily lift her brother although the effort nearly cracked half healed ribs.

“Of course, he can stay in the infirmary. Bring him in, I’ll show you the way.” Once they had reached the infirmary they found Cronos and Vilhylm in a heated conversation.

“Listen Cronos, Tryst will be FINE. This has happened before and after a little time he came to on his own. We need to keep searching and more importantly stay out of the path of The Ravenger. It’s too powerful for us.”

“I’m not going to take that chance Vilhylm, he’s our brother.” Cronos said, his voice flat and stubborn, “If he recovers while we’re gone that’s fine but I’m not going to hang around here sitting on my thumbs waiting while he could be dying.”

“Calm down little brother.” Callindra carefully laid her brother on a table near to where Vilhylm was sitting. “I can’t believe I’m saying this but I agree with Cronos.  We can’t waste any time. If you are staying behind that’s your damn deal. I’m leaving as soon as possible.”

“Fine, have it your way Callindra. You always seem to anyway.”  Vilhylm said, “We’ll leave as soon as we are recovered.”

Before they left, Mili came to stand before Callindra, “Listen, I know we haven’t been much help but we’re doing what we can. Here’s something to use as a last resort since you don’t have a healer right now.” She pressed a small carved wooden box into her hands.

“These potions don’t permanently heal so be careful with their use. They will temporarily assuage wounds so that they can heal on their own. After they wear off though they are gone and you could go from healthy to stone dead in seconds.”

“Thanks Mili, they’re certainly better than nothing.”  Callindra smiled as she took the box.  “Thank you for watching Tryst too. I’d say you’re pretty much the only person here who I think is worth the skin covering their body, but maybe I’m too harsh a judge.”

On her way out she looked the men in the room in the eye with her hand on Brightfang’s hilt above her shoulder. “If anything happens to Tryst, you’ll answer to me.” The threat of a slender sixteen year old girl shouldn’t have made burly fully grown men flinch. But it did.

It had been several days and Callindra was getting impatient. “Where in the Nine Hells is that old man anyway? Maybe they just told us this to get us out of town.”

“Relax, at least we haven’t had any trouble sister.” Vilhylm was in a good mood.

A sound made her stop short and “Shut up I’m trying to listen!” A muffled roar came from a thicket ahead.

“Good call Callindra.” Cronos said, looking at some tracks on the ground and then pointing to some claw marks on a nearby tree.  “I think there are some cave bears around here and from the sound of it they’re hungry.”

“I don’t have time for this and neither does Tryst. Get ready boys, we’re going through these things as fast as possible.” Callindra drew Brightfang and he began to resonate with arcane forces as she invoked her most powerful spell. Another set of roars erupted from behind them and two giant bears lumbered into view, a thin green mist trailing from their mouths and the familiar emerald flame burning behind their eyes.

Moving fast enough that tears streamed from her eyes and leaves whipped in tiny cyclones in the wake of her passage, Callindra ran at the bears. One opened its arms wide to swipe at Vilhylm while the other attacked Cronos. Her entire body reverberated in a rhythm focused on Brightfang and as she approached one of the monsters her mere presence began to destroy its body.

Roaring in rage it turned to take a few clumsy swipes at her that she easily dodged, her blade digging a trench deep into the animal’s side. Before it could react she sliced it again, this time straight across the gut. Glowing green ooze leaked from the wound instead of the coils of intestines that should have spilled out.

The other bear picked Cronos up in a massive hug and began chewing on his shoulder. Callindra slashed at the beast that had her brother trapped but her blade slid harmlessly through its ribs and struck Cronos instead.

“Damn it that HURT!” Cronos twisted in the bear’s grip, still unable to get loose. Callindra managed to avoid a few attacks and put a few more slashes into the bear’s hide before suffering the same fate as Cronos.

She struggled in the bear’s grip as it opened its maw and spewed acidic vitriol that was only partially deflected by her sturdy leather armor. The winds still swirled around her, the gusts as sharp as knives and flayed the monster to the bone.

Although the fight had been short it had also been brutal. Cronos was on the border of slipping into death and if it hadn’t been for the Goddesses gift Callindra would likely have been in the same situation. Taking one of the potions she dumped a couple doses down Cronos’s throat.

“I know it’s not permanent but if we can just patch you up until your body heals on its own you’ll be OK.”  She said, frowning at his wounds. “I hope.”

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