Douglas watched General Elymas’ black horse trot at the head of his army. He shifted his position in the tree, waiting for them to reach the hidden rebellion members. Sweat beaded on Douglas’ forehead once the horse finally stepped onto the dirt path. Just a little farther and they would be in the perfect position for them to spring their attack. There, they were in the perfect position now. Douglas cupped his hand next to his mouth and made an imitation eagle cry.
After a few seconds a mix of roars, bellows and squeals erupted from below the path, and the dirt broke apart and dropped most of the army down into a pit filled with earth beast blades. General Elymas’ horse screamed as it fell down into the pit. Elymas unfortunately grabbed onto the side of the pit and watched in horror as the beast blades tore into his horse and fighters. He looked at the handful of his troops that hadn’t fallen into the pit. “Help them, you fools!”
The soldiers stared at the gaping hole that had appeared before them, and one at a time, they began to struggle to pull their swords free of their sheaths. The tiger Acerbi that were traveling with Elymas rushed past the soldiers toward the pit, snarling angrily. A blast of water knocked the lead tiger over, and the other tigers turned and searched for the source of the attack. A hoard of water beast blades rushed up the hill at them, an elephant that was dripping with water at their head. It trumpeted and shot another stream of water from its trunk into another of the Acerbi and knocked it over.
The tigers charged at the water beast blades and lunged to attack them. The water beast blades sent out wave after wave of water at the Acerbi, knocking them back. Douglas’ eyes opened wide when he saw one of the tigers finally get to one of the water beast blades. The aquatic creature was sent flying by a powerful swat of its paw.
Elymas’ sorcerers made their way to the front of the pit with their leathery scrolls in their hands. Douglas decided that this attack had gone on long enough and it was time to move into the next phase. He screeched once more like an eagle and the members of the rebellion started running for the edge of the forest. Elymas had finally pulled himself out of the pit and shouted, “After them! They must pay for what they did to Geraldo’s forces!” The sorcerers and soldiers that had fallen into the pit pulled themselves free and chased after them. The tiger Acerbi led the charge into the woods. Once Douglas was certain that it was safe he climbed down from the tree and disappeared further into the woods to the place where their camp was set up.
Apollos sat in a tree in the middle of the rebellion’s escape route, with vines and ropes tied onto the branch he was resting on. It was his job to cut each of them at the right time to ensure that no one in the rebellion was caught in these traps, and that he got as many of Elymas’ troops as he could with each one. He closed his eyes and turned his head away when he heard the screams of men that had fallen into the cleverly disguised spike pits that his forces had avoided. It was true that these men were loyal to Geraldo and wouldn’t hesitate to kill him if they found him but he couldn’t find enjoyment in the slaughtering of other humans.
Elymas’ troops pursued them more carefully, looking for any other traps that might be hidden from them. That gave the rebellion plenty of time to get past the tree that marked the next trap. Apollos cut through the vine tied closest to him and watched it go limp. The log that the vine had been holding back swung forward and slammed into the group of men, pushing them backward into another spike pit. The other soldiers quickly dropped down to the path to avoid being hit by the log on its return swing.
That was what Apollos was waiting for and he cut the second rope, releasing a pile of logs that rolled down the path at the soldiers. Fear filled their eyes and they scrambled to get back up onto their feet and out of the way of the rolling logs. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t move out of the way fast enough and the logs left behind battered and broken human bodies in their wake.
Elymas watched this from the path, his hands quivering in rage as half of the forces he had brought with him fell. “Men, fall back. Acerbi, go and hunt those rebels down! I either want them dead, or the location of their base discovered!” The tiger Acerbi hurried into the woods past the retreating soldiers.
Apollos’ eyes opened wide in shock when he saw the tigers made of shadow and flame rush around the pits and over the fallen logs. They hadn’t expected this from Elymas, or if Aldrick had he hadn’t shared it with anyone. Apollos cut through two ropes, sending more logs swinging forward, but the tigers deftly dodged to the side, avoiding them completely. Apollos decided that nothing they had planned would be able to deal with those creatures, so he cawed like a raven once.
The tiger Acerbi rushed past the tree he was hiding in, pursuing the fleeing rebels and he cawed again. Roars filled the forest as hidden rebels summoned a variety of beast blades that jumped out from hiding and attacked the tiger Acerbi. The Acerbi were taken completely off guard and were quickly overwhelmed by the beast blades of the rebels, and soon clouds of shadow were rising into the sky like smoke. Apollos watched carefully for any other sign of pursuit, and breathed a sigh of relief when he heard Elymas call out, “Fall back! They have us outmatched today!”
Apollos heard hurried footsteps running over the bridge and a smile filled his face. They had managed to repel Elymas from Falance for the moment, and had given themselves more time to prepare for his next assault. He began to make his way down out of the tree, certain that there would an impressive feast back at the camp that night.
Apollos swallowed his mouthful of bread and reached for his goblet of apple cider to wash it down. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and grinned at Aldrick. Aldrick sat behind a plate of food he had hardly touched, and worry filled his face. “Cheer up, Aldrick! We won a great victory today! If we can keep this up we won’t have any problems reclaiming the Falance province in earnest!”
Aldrick shook his head. “Things aren’t going to be as easy next time, Apollos. Elymas is going to be expecting an ambush like the one we had today, and he will take measures to turn it around on us. If only Elymas had been caught in that initial trap, we could relax.”
Apollos patted him on the back. “We have nothing to worry about, Aldrick. We have the finest stratitian in all of Malor on our side. You know that he will be expecting more of the same, and you will figure out a way to use that to our advantage, and create new traps that he won’t expect. Enjoy yourself for an evening, there will be plenty of time to come up with your next move tomorrow.”
Aldrick frowned. “I don’t understand how you can be so calm! Geraldo used the second power of the Acerbi sword; he would only do that if he was desperate to defeat us.”
Apollos’ face grew serious. “I know, but our troops are watching you. They just earned themselves a victory, and they can’t understand why their commander isn’t happier. Save your troubles and worries for the command tent.”
Aldrick chuckled. “And here I thought that there was nothing more that you could teach me. Very well, pass me some of that cider and I’ll show you how to have a good time.”
Apollos passed the pitcher over to Aldrick. “That’s the spirit!”
Elymas sat behind a travel desk in his tent, furiously scribbling a note onto a piece of parchment. Today’s attack wasn’t anything like the tactics that rebellion had used in the past. He assumed that the change in tactics meant a change in leadership, and the only tactician that Elymas knew of that could pull off anything like this was Aldrick. When he deserted Geraldo, he must have defected to the rebellion, presumably under a false name. That was the only reason he could think of that they wouldn’t have killed him yet.
Elymas folded up the piece of parchment and dripped wax from a red candle that was burning on his desk over the fold of paper, and pressed the ring on his right hand into the wax. It left behind the impression of a scroll with two lighting bolts crossing behind it. He got up from his desk, and walked out of his tent. He shook his head at the sight that met his eyes, twenty soldiers and five of his sorcerers sat around cook fires, somberly watching a kettle of water. Twenty five soldiers was all that was left of his force that he had left Geraldo’s palace with. He hadn’t even expected to need the soldiers in his attacks; the sorcerers should have been enough to rip their ranks apart.
He fixed his one eyed gaze on a soldier holding his hands out to the fire, and he pointed at him. “You.” The soldier jumped and looked at Elymas in startlement. He stood up quickly and saluted Elymas. “You will deliver this to Lord Geraldo at once.”
The soldier saluted and accepted the letter from Elymas. “At once, sir!” The soldier trotted out of the camp and down the road.
Elymas looked over the nineteen remaining soldiers and said, “Until Lord Geraldo sends us reinforcements, you will scout out the area. Find out where these rebels hide themselves. I want to know anything you can discover. How many of them there are, what they are doing, who is in charge. If you see any alone, approach them and tell them that General Aldrick has snuck into their camp and is deceiving them. Perhaps we can get them to tear themselves apart. You begin scouting out the area at day break. If I see any of you still lounging about the camp after that, you will feel my wrath!” Elymas turned and made his way back into his tent.
Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more like it, come back on Monday when I will publish part one of chapter 1 of The Godard Brothers, come back tomorrow when I will have all of chapter 11 for you, and Sunday for an update video on what the Godard Brothers are going to be about, and a glimpse of what is going to happen in chapter 1. Check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read, and don’t forget to check out my newly published book, The Kids on the Case: Our First Case. You can buy a copy of your own here:The Kids on the Case: Our First Case.