The Callindra Chronicles Book 3: A Fall of Stars – Chapter 6

Callindra burst out laughing and she reached into a belt pouch, placing a sapphire the size of her thumbnail on the bar.  “Drinks are on me.”  She declared with a smile and the bar erupted into cheers.  The barkeep’s eyes bulged at the sight of the gemstone and he began pouring drinks for the rowdy crowd who began swarming the bar.

The bar crowd began to get louder and more raucous, but a troupe of musicians began playing and the groups of patrons split up to their own tables, laughing and singing along to their favorite verses.  The night wore on and Holt found himself at the bar next to the trio.  The girl was well in her cups and seemed to be attempting to tell a story that involved a daring rescue of a group of villagers from a cave of goblins led by a group of nefarious humans.  He couldn’t be sure if she was one of the villagers or one of the rescuers or if it was just a tale she’d heard.

Glancing around, Holt saw that half the patrons were asleep on their tables.  Everyone hadn’t drunk that much.  He hadn’t drunk enough for his head to be this fuzzy either.  The last thing he thought before he lost consciousness was how stupid he had been for dropping his guard because of a pair of pretty eyes.

Callindra awoke with a blinding headache to the sound of shouting voices.  It took her a moment to realize that the voices weren’t shouting at all, but were talking in a normal tone; it was only that her headache was causing the perceived increase in volume.

“I’m telling you Shen, we can’t break the god rotting thing.”  Said a low rumbling voice she vaguely recognized.  “It shattered my axe and broke that chisel and the hammer besides.  I tried cutting the chain with the blade and it shocked me.  Near as burned my hand to the bone.”

“Well we can’t very well send her off with a weapon, now can we?”  This one was higher.  Callindra knew this one; it was the bartender from last night.  “Either we kill her and miss out on a hefty payday or we figure this out.  We can’t shelter anyone, if we do they void the contact.”

She pried her eyes open and turned her head to look in the direction of the voices.  Her sword’s chain was pulled tight against her wrist and led out through the bars of a cell to a crude smithy setup.  Hundreds of iron manacles hung on the walls and dozens of folk she vaguely remembered from the bar the night before were slumped against the wall.  With rising horror, Callindra could see their hands had been shackled together, pins forged into the manacles.

Adrenaline surged through her and she pulled on the chain with all her strength.  Shadowsliver leaped off the anvil, sliced deeply into Torver’s arm and spun through the air towards the cell.  Torver screamed in pain and Shen dove to one side to avoid the razor-sharp blade as it spun past his face.  The sword cut halfway through one of the thick iron bars of her cell and stood there quivering.

Callindra struggled to her feet and pulled her sword free.  “You should have killed me.  When you had the chance.”  She panted, “Because now it’s too late.”  With a two-handed swing, Shadowsliver hacked completely through the tops of three of the bars.  Her backswing took cleaved through the bottoms of those same bars and they clattered to the stone floor at the same time as Shen pointed a hand at her.

Five bolts of sickly green light lanced out from his fingers and burned into her body, but Callindra stepped through the bars and deliberately stalked toward him with death in her eyes through the smoke of burning clothes and smoking flesh.  Torver threw a heavy forge hammer and her sword blurred, cutting it out of the air.

“Time to pay my bar tab.”  She snarled and spun her sword in a fast arc by the chain before letting go and sending him arrowing across the room and through Shen’s torso.  A crackle of electricity leaped down the chain and blasted him across the room to land with his arm in the forge fire.

Torver stepped on the chain and reached for it, but Callindra sprinted around him with the speed of a gale, whipping the chain around his injured arm and pulling hard.  The big man grunted in pain but took hold of the chain with his other hand and began to reel her in.

Callindra laughed and sent another jolt of electricity through the chain he held so tightly.  The magic she wielded charred his hand to the bone.  His body twisted in agony and the chain burned into his arm with a sickening sizzling sound.  Torver fell to the stone floor twitching and jerking in his death throes.

With a practiced tug on the chain, Callindra shattered the charred bones of her foe’s arm and brought Shadowsliver back to her waiting hand.  The initial adrenaline rush was wearing off and she was beginning to feel the effects of her night of drinking along with whatever drug they had used to sedate her.  The door on the other side of the room opened and a man with burning green eyes strode into the room.

“Ah.  It appears we have a lively one.”  He said in a dead voice, his lips hardly moving.  “How interesting.”

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