[Fanfiction] Wind-Whisperer (1st book) - Chapter 3

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[Fanfiction] Wind-Whisperer (1st book) - Chapter 3

Post by Ommariuolo »

Chapter 3 – Derata’s last fight
Over the next two years, Goren learned to use his talents better. After the separation from Helim he was silent and self-conscious; he rarely went into the Grim Orc and no longer looked for the company of others. He had grown up in a single day. Suddenly he understood his mother and felt strangely closer to her than ever. Goren focused everything on improving his war craft and getting his body in top shape. Derata now and then allowed him to ride with Goldenbolt to explore Lyraine. It was a great sign of trust and a good opportunity to explore the surrounding area better, to finally let loose the reens and to running free. The horse and the rider enjoyed, but the duty wasn’t neglected. Otherwise, Goren had never dared to look in his mother's eyes.
Once he was summoned by Darwin Silverhair. “Goren, my boy, you are almost grown up now. Your training period is over, both with your mother and with Master Altar. What will you do then?”
The answer wasn’t easy for Goren. “I'll leave Lyraine, sir,” he replied nervously, but sincerely. “These walls are too small for me, and also the forest around. I want to go to distant lands, I want to find my purpose.”
“Your mother will be sad about that,” said Darwin, but according to the tone of his voice it was before he felt grief.
“She doesn't have to decide that, with all due respect.” Goren replied. “She left her people to raise me as a free man.”
“And if I ask you to stay with me?” the governor asked softly. “With your magical and fighting talents, I would happy to have you at my side as an advisor, so that Lyraine doesn’t sink into insignificance, but maintains its high status. War or no war, I'm still going to build a school, expand trade and attract artisans here. You could help me and prepare Zachary if he follows me.”
Goren worriedly pulled his fine black brows together. “I... can never give you back what I owe to your boundless good, sir,” he said roughly. His voice had now taken on a full, manly tone. “Everyone knows how much I adore you. I don’t like to leave you, please believe me. But I cannot stay here because I’ll never find recognition. You know.”
“People now respect you very much, your mother and you, because we owe at least as much to you both,” said Darwin Silverhair.
“Yes, they respect us, but try to stay as far as possible.” Goren said, smiling slightly. He stared out of the window, where crows showed their reckless flying skills trying to chase each other away from a small bird that fluttered desperately for its life. “I can't explain it to you, but I’m drawn away, from moon to moon I get more restless the warmer it gets and the summer wind whispers to me...”
The governor sighs. “I understand. Yes, really. So I will let you go with a heavy heart, together with Goldenbolt, for which our mares will mourn. Yes, you’re free, Goren Wind-Whisperer, you can go wherever Hirin’s messengers offered to take you.”

After talking with the governor, Goren walked into the woods, he needed to think. He wanted to find a way to tell his mother about his decision to leave before the middle of summer.
There are so many interesting things, all this he must see with his own eyes; Goren knew that he was moving into a war-torn world. Nevertheless there had to be adventures out there, and cheerfulness, freedom, maybe even friendship. Local narrow world was too small for him, he had learned and read too much for that.
He had tried to find out more about this mysterious people in the scholar's tower, but strangely, there were no writings about it, just nothing. He couldn't even find the paper with their coat of arms. Perhaps Derata had asked Master Altar to hide everything related to the Shaikan. In his thirst for knowledge, Goren finally turned to Darwin Silverhair, but the man knew hardly anything about the Dragonblood, because: “One does not speak about it.”
What was it with the Shaikan that they were avoided so much? They had never even been mentioned in the Chronicle, to which Goren previously accessed. As if a gloomy curse weighed on the Dragonblood ones, at least a sinister secret that Derata had carried with her since her flee and that she was unwilling to share with another; least of all with her son.
It's time for you to find out, whispered the well-known but not very pleasant voice in him. Goren had occasionally managed to keep it silent. But obviously not forever. Apparently his magical talent wasn’t limited to the voices of the wind. There were others who couldn’t be controlled.
Goren had never said to anyone about what he heard inside him. He didn't want him to be declared insane. And he was afraid.
Thinking about it, thought Goren startled in sudden self-knowledge, I became very similar to my mother.

In the woods, the birds were busy building and advertising the nests; it was chirping everywhere, hopping between the branches, fluttering excitedly from tree to tree. Even the wild animals here and there flashed in the bushes and trees before disappearing silently. Looking at this idyll, Goren couldn’t imagine that somewhere raging war and devastation reigned.
He climbed to his now familiar place high on the Skystriker, to consult with the wind. Of course, this wasn’t an ordinary conversation: as before, it was mainly confusing, hardly understandable visions, often variations of the first oracular encounter. Nevertheless, he was curious about everything that happened to him, especially now that he had to make a decision.
For a while, Goren remained silent, enjoying the heat of the spring sun in the still pleasantly soft, air that smells of flowers and fresh grass. Then he put himself into a light trance, as Master Altar had taught him, to be able to catch the voices of the wind.
Soon after, a light breeze fanned his nose, which was gradually becoming stronger, and the familiar swirls formed.
We greet you, Wind-Whisperer, voice sang, caressing Goren’s cheeks with cool spider-like fingers. We greet you and regret, because the time of quiet happiness is over, you have to go and find your destiny.
“I know,” Goren said, “I’ll leave Lyraine and my mother in the summer, because I’m drawn away. What can I expect?”
Your future is dark, the answer came immediately. We warned you to don’t stay too long, but now it's too late, poor child, too late, too late. Look, blood-red colors the hill at the edge of the forest, long shadows fall over it, which no sunlight can illuminate.”
Goren felt a clammy hand reaching for his heart. The voices had never spoken to him so hastily and above all so darkly. “Show me,” he asked.
And the winds showed.

Derata interrupted the weapons inspection and turned. Goren came running out of breath, his face was sweaty, his breath flew. He must have run a long way, and the tone of his voice immediately alarmed the Captain. “Wait here, I'll be right back,” she ordered to the men of the guard. She turned to go, but then paused again and added with narrow eyes. “And woe, if one of you is pulling away!”
Involuntarily the guardsmen took a firm stance.
“Come on,” Derata said to his son and went to the fortress stairs, where nobady was right now. “What happened?”
“War, mother,” he croaked. “It’s here.”
“What led you to that conclusion?” she asked seriously.
“The winds told me,” he reported. “And showed it to me. I saw a large army, not the usual marauding troops, but soldiers in the best equipment and marching order. They’re at most four days away and they have clearly chosen Lyraine as destination.”
Derata’s face turned to stone. “They probably want to build a base here. That probably means that one of the Circle Mages will come.”
“We need to go immediately to Darwin Silverhair,” Goren suggested.
“Indeed. We have very little time to lock the city.”
“But that's not all, mother.”
Derata stared at his son: “Speak.”
Goren swallowed. “Their leader carries – the Shaikan coat of arms. Unfortunately, half of his face is covered by a helmet. But I could see that he has shoulder-length black hair and he has black mustache. His chin is split.”
Derata went pale, which scared Goren beyond measure, because he had never seen his mother like this before. A shadow fell over her face, and Goren realized that she was facing her past. “Ruorim,” she said slowly. “I understand.”
“Do you know him?” Goren was stunned.
“Nearly,” she replied puzzlingly. “But it was good that you went into the woods today, son, and we have to thank Hirin, the Lord of the Winds, in deep prayer for the gift he gave you. The situation is very serious, but has not yet been lost by this warning.”
Goren’s heart pounded excitedly. “What should I do?”
“Go to the guard and tell them to start protecting the city immediately. The guards must be reassigned immediately, and all weapon-capable people must be equipped and ready. I go to Darwin so we can prepare for a siege.” Derata ran up the wide stairs, taking two steps at a time.
Shortly afterwards the horn of the fortress sounded the alarm for the first time in a long age.

Now it turned out that Derata had been right to be ready all that years. Soldiers, warriors and those capable of wielding arms were quickly mobilized, the women put their children in shelters that had secret access to cellars. Market stands were dismantled, they were safely hidden, the storage facilities were secured again, barricades were erected at major intersections. The horses were saddled and kept ready for a breakdown, the corridors covered by archers, oil prepared in cauldrons to be heated quickly.
Within a day, the open, friendly city of Lyraine had become a fortress. Until dawn, the farmers from the surrounding area had all gathered with few possessions, but above all with their cattle. Traders were no longer admitted and had to leave again. But not many came, the word about the advancing army had spread around in no time. Darwin Silverhair sent messengers to Connach, Windport and Sevenkeeps, with the request for help.
On the third day a lightly armoured scout knocked on the city gate with a white flag and was admitted after he had got rid of all his weapons.
Darwin Silverhair took him into the hall, surrounded by personal guards, with Derata on the side of his throne. Goren was also present, according to the mother's orders near the guards, the face covered by a helmet.
In greeting the messenger tilted his head slightly: “My lord Ruorim Blackbeard, master of the unbreakable Blades and wizard of the high arts, offers you his greeting, Darwin Silverhair, lord of the fortress of Lyraine. The glorious army of the dragon riders prepares itself for a big battle in the service of the people and asks you for a willing admission of the soldiers, because we need accommodation and supplies in order to be able to serve our people with full commitment.”
The governor didn't flinch. His head rested on his hand, his arm propped on the back. “Smarmy words for a slaughtering sorcerer, I have to praise that,” he said calmly.
The rustling, scraping and light tinkling died in the hall. Nobody moved anymore, nobody dared to clear the throat. Even the fire that had previously rattled cheerfully in the large fireplaces crouched softly and crackled. All eyes were on Darwin, who had previously only been seen as a good, gentle man.
The messenger's face darkened with anger. Obviously he had imagined this appearance differently. “I’m insensitive to insults, sir,” he gritted his teeth. “I’m only a messenger, without any rating, neutral and objective.”
“You are as dirty as your lord,” Darwin repeated, leaning back. “No matter how nice you put it: robbery remains robbery and theft remains theft. The fact is, you want to occupy our beautiful city, spread out like vultures, quaffing, plundering, raping and killing everything that stands in your way. You want to take everything from us, and if we’re lucky we’ll have a little bit of life left until you’re done and satisfied. Shove off, messenger of misfortune, servants of the Renegades have nothing to do here. We’re a free city and will remain so.”
“You're making a terrible mistake,” the messenger said, and in his throat something gurgled wildly. His voice echoed hollowly through the room. He was surrounded by heavily armed men whose expressions were determined and without the slightest hint of fear. Certainly an experience that the man had never had before. “I was told that you was a sensible man.”
“And surely you were also told that I’m a learned fool whose weapon is the feather, not the sword,” replied the governor. “But you're not the first who confuse friendliness with stupidity, and I'm not afraid of anything. Our city is ready to withstand your rush. We can go through a siege for years. You too?”
The man dropped his stick with the white flag. “That’s your death sentence!” he shouted.
“Just the opposite,” Darwin Silverhair suddenly said softly. His blue eyes were bright. “And thereby your master can understand how serious we are, we’ll send him a clear message.”
The blood drained from the messenger’s face, and he took three steps back trembling. “The messengers are inviolable, it’s the law of honor for all humans!” he croaked, falling into panic. the Last of his self-confidence had vanished and his grip went to the weapon belt as if by reflex, but he had nothing left to defend himself.
“Oh, I’ll not hurt you, Ereon knows how much I appreciate the honor,” the governor said, smiling coolly. “But I was told that this law doesn’t apply to Shaikan.”
Now the messenger turned pale like a shroud: “Shaikan? But…”
At that moment, Derata stepped forward with drawn sword, and when the light of the torches fell on her face and on the coat of arms she was wearing for the first time in more than a decade and a half, the messenger realized that he was lost.
He fell on his knees to beg for mercy, but his head hit the ground even faster and soak it with blood.
Darwin Silverhair sent the head bound to the messenger's horse back to his master, and threw the rest of the body in front of the ditch in the dust and left it there.
The governor said to his people. “We won't have to wait long for the answer. Be brave and don’t be afraid, because you fight here for everything that is dear to you.”

And then the battle began. One morning Ruorim was at the gates of the city, at least four hundred men, maybe five hundred. At night, under the protection of the magic mist they silently marched through the fields and woods, but now clearly visible in order to immediately dampen the defenders' courage to fight.
The army was flanked by the cavalry, who rode along the ditch with raised lances and flags in magnificent armours. Ahead went spearmen, archers behind them, and then went on foot soldiers, armed with axes, swords and maces. Most of the soldiers were men, but the defenders noticed several units of orcs and trolls, as well as a small number of dwarves. Fires burned in various places, and besides the flag bearers, crossbowmen with torches went into brackets.
Ruorim rode a big black stallion; he was easy to recognize as leader, because he paused in front of the raised bridge of the city moat, in black and red armour with his helmet closed, and asked the governor to hand over the city to him without a fight, then he would give them mercy.
On Darwin's instructions, the answer was a hail of arrows, and the dragon riders around Ruorim had to spur their horses to avoid the hits. Ruorim, however, remained unimpressed, pulled the reins tightly, and merely raised his shield hanging on the side, on which the arrows bounced off without effect.
“This was my final offer!” he shouted in a thunderous voice, and gave the signal to attack. The first wave was already breaking on into the moat, and the governor gave the order to throw stones and shoot spears and arrows against targets. Screams flew across the fronts, there was no less movement on the battlements than outside the gates, and the fighting lasted for hours and hours.
Master Altar was in the middle, holding Shaikan’s black magic. Every man and many women fought bravely and without sparing themselves, but the enemy was outnumbered by the barely three hundred men guard in Lyraine, and Ruorim was much younger than Altar. His magical powers were more persistent. Yet the Altar’s magical protective wall held, but became thinner and thinner with each passing hour. Altar didn't want to think of what would happen if the black magic hit. It probably threw the brave people in deep despair and madness and handed them over to the enemy. Goren supported his master as he could, but he knew that there was almost no chance. The winds had sung to him about it, only he hadn’t told that to his mother, because he didn’t want to believe that his fate couldn’t be changed.
Apparently, this time the wind was right. The enemy jerked ever closer, the siege ladders were almost completed, as did the battering ram.
Ruorim's soldiers had slaughtered deep wounds in the forest with axe and fire, and Goren heard, in the hissing fire, the screams of the animals and the old trees wind that had been guarding Lyraine for so long.
For two weeks Lyraine withstood the assault, which seemed unbelievable, but the city was well fortified and every man in the guard fought for two. Darwin Silverhair eagerly hoped that help would arrive soon, but Sevenkeeps and Windport were far away, and Connach was probably busy with its own security, because it couldn’t be impossible that the army would move further from Lyraine.
In the meantime the losses were high. Derata send women and children behind the walls via two secret corridors heading west, still below the flooded trench, into a dense part of the forest that previously looked untouched. The Shaikan hoped that at least some of them would be able to hide until the army move on, and so escape slavery, abuse and death.
In rapid succession the cavalry roared into the attack like a furious storm, slaughtered everything within easy reach and returned to the city just as quickly before the enemy could react. This tactic worked three times, but then Master Altar's strength weakened, and the enemy positioned spearmen in the front row. After all, there have been significant losses in the dragon riders as well. Lyraine made them pay dearly for the attack.

Finally there was a storm attack. Ruorim had selected the correct time. He had to accept high losses again when the tower ladders were installed, but finally the first soldiers jumped over the battlements, and the city gate burst into thousands of pieces under the concentrated attack of the rams.
Derata positioned spearmen and archers behind it, but Ruorim sent forward the cavalry, who quickly cleared the way and stormed through the alleys with flaming torches, throwing them on the rooftops and through windows. Soon there was fire in many places, black smoke rose into the sky, and the day almost turned into night. The air was filled with the cries and wails of the people, houses collapsed, weapons clanked, arrows buzzed through the air.
The fortress had so far been successfully held by the bodyguards, but Derata knew it was only a matter of time. She rushed to the search of Goren, found him in the thick of battle and dragged along.
“I need to release Goldenbolt,” Goren screamed. “Don’t you hear his neighing? He can escape, if I...”
“Don’t worry about the horse, he’ll take care of himself,” Derata objected. “He’ll find you, for sure.” She hurried Goren into the hall and gave instructions to lock and hold it as long as possible.
Only Darwin Silverhair and Master Altar were present in the hall. The governor wanted to face the enemy here with Altar at his side.
“Derata!” the governor shouted. “Is it over?”
“Yes, my lord, unfortunately,” the Shaikan replied. “Lyraine will fall in a few hours. But Ruorim paid a high price for it, and I think most women and children escaped. I have just given instructions to set fire to the store and kill the cattle so that these bastards are left with nothing.”
“We will not flee,” the governor said emphatically.
“Oh yes, you will, together with Master Altar and my son.” She went to a wall tapestry and raised a corner. Then she pressed on a certain spot in the wall, and under the astonished eyes of the others a door suddenly opened inwards to a secret passage.
“You have – without my knowledge... but how...” Darwin Silverhair muttered bewildered.
“I had this passage put on years ago,” Derata explained. “Exactly for this purpose. You will now follow its course and you, Goren, will bring the governor and the master to safety. I hand them over to your care.”
“But what will –” Goren began.
“I was able to flee once, my son, but not this time,” she said firmly and, as always, strictly. “I must stop Ruorim until you’re safe. At the end of the passage you’ll find a latch that you must turn. The ceiling is only held by a few support beams, it will collapse by a mechanism as soon as you open the latch. And then no one can chase you. The forest is large and they don’t know exactly where you’ll go.”
“You thought of everything,” Darwin whispered. “I swear on Ereon, you're an amazing woman...”
Goren objected desperately: “But if so, you can come with us! Please...”
She didn’t let him finish: “Goren, shut up, we're running out of time, since I have something to explain to you. Probably, it was necessary to do this a long time ago, and now isn’t the right moment, but there's nothing you can’t change...” She put her hands on Goren’s broad shoulders. “Goren, this man, Ruorim Blackbeard, he’s your father,” she said – as calmly as if she mentioned some unimportant fact.
Goren went pale and he felt his knees soften. But he had no time for an outburst of emotion, the fight was already coming in from outside, and his mother kept on talking. “I’m Derata, daughter of Darmos Ironhand, the lord of our fortress Shaikur, the only and true home of the Shaikan and seat of the dragon. Ruorim asked my father for my hand, but I refused. So... he drugged me and fathered you with force, because it was only you who mattered to him. I was unimportant to him.”
“Why...” Goren whispered.
“He probably want the second entity, which you may have inherited in part. Because the signs indicate that you carry Malacay's soul within you.
A groan escaped from Altar. “Malacay, the cursed! The heretic...”
“Yes,” Derata continued. “In his day he was the greatest of all mages, and he tried to put himself on an equal footing with gods. Therefore, they have imposed a curse on his soul, he was destined to suffer forever. But he managed to hide his soul in his own son, and since then it’s transmitted to all dragonblood, until he wakes up at the right time in the chosen one.”
“Whispers...” Goren was shaking.
Derata hesitated. “So you can already hear him?” She shook her head. “How stupid I was, my silence condemned you to it, and now I may be driving you to the ruin even more.” She took a deep breath and looked at her son: “Forgive me, Goren, I was just trying to protect you. And please believe me, I love you, you are my flesh and blood, and I've never transferred my hatred of Ruorim to you since I felt you inside me for the first time. Now go with Darwin and Altar, take them to a safe place. The day will come when you’ll have to deal with the Malacay’s soul, but I’ve prepared you for it. You’re strong and brave and your mind is pure. You can do it. It’s important that you never meet your father! Don't try to measure yourself against him, he’s stronger than you. He was going to help Malacay in you, and that could mean Fiara's downfall. You’re a Shaikan, Goren, and just like me, you can choose freely and decide for the light. – Ah, they're coming. Farewell!” Out of a brief impulse she hugged Goren, pressed him closer than ever before, and he felt the tremor in her body, a silent sob, before she let it go and Darwin and Altar urged for the secret passage.
There was already fighting in front of the entrance; time was running out. While Goren followed the two older men as if stunned, Derata whispered a few more words with them and gave two burning torches in their hands before pushing Goren into the passage, closing the door behind them and straightening the tapestry.
“Come on, boy!” Altar whispered, trying to pull him away, but Goren remained stiff. The little old man pulled and tugged, but he was far too weak. He might as well try to move a rock. He swung his foot out as if he were about to kick Goren's shin, but then hastily changed his mind as the boy glared furiously at his master. “I remain,” he hissed. “There’s a hole, it’s enough to see everything, and I can see my mother. I wouldn’t leave her in the lurch!”
Darwin put a hand on Altar’s shoulder, the anger made the eyeglass slip off his nose. “Leave him for a moment, old friend. If our hourglass has expired, it doesn't matter where it find us, don't you think?”
“Grrrr,” Altar snarled, but obeyed.

Derata waited, standing at the door with her sword raised. During this time, Goren and the two older men almost reached the exit, that was her only concern. She no longer cared much about her own life, not since that fateful night. All her thinking was only concentrate on Goren, but now his fate was no longer in her hands.
She would about to meet the man who had destroyed her life and finally take revenge on him. What could happen to herself didn’t matter to her.
Finally, the battle noises died out outside. Then the door was opened by magic, and a tall man in black and red armour, with the Shaikan coat of arms on his chest, wrapped in a long cape, entered the hall. In his right hand he held a mighty flame sword, the edges of which were wet with blood.
When he saw Derata, he paused. Then he took off the helmet.
Although so many years had passed, Derata recognized him immediately. At least its left, flawless side. The right side was disfigured from the cheek to the forehead by a deep scar that had also affected his eye, the clear yellow wolf-like eye clouded but not entirely blind. The eyeball shimmered reddish. “Happiness wasn’t always on your side, Ruorim Blackbeard, as I see,” she said. “I owe thanks to whoever did this to you.”
“Derata,” he replied and slowly approached her. “Years have been favorable to you! You became more beautiful. Finally my long search is over, although I dared not hope to find you here. Some of the signs promised me to meet with you, but I couldn’t definitely interpret them, everything that affected you has been troubled ever since you became a breakaway and denied the dragon's blood within you.” He shook his head. “However, I had imagine it because this city defended itself so stoutly. These simple people here are normally not capable of doing this, least of all this fool governor.”
Derata took a fighting stance. “City haven’t yet fallen,” she said quietly.
“Don’t be a fool, Derata, whether we find Darwin or not – we are the masters here from now on.” Ruorim approached her slowly with his arms outstretched and his sword lowered. “You’ve accomplished a great job here, which demands every inch of admiration from me. Come with me, and if not as my wife, then as a companion. I’ll transfer the command to you on the spot! Let's make peace. I admit that when I heard of your escape, I was angry, but only out of pain. But seeing you here now, all affection breaked out in me. I never had another woman by my side, the place is still free for you. Come with me!”
Every time he took a step forward, Derata retreated a step back. “After all you've done to me, you dare to make such offer to me?”
Ruorim stopped: “What I did was out of love, Derata. How else can it be explained that a fruit grew out of it, a sapling? Where is he?”
“Dead!” Derata hissed. “I lost it in the snow during the flight, and I spat on his dead body, before going on!”
Ruorim's face suddenly turned black and sinister. Savage hatred and anger distorted his undamaged face side towards a demonic grimace. The mask of kindness had fallen. “You lie!” he blurted out. “I know that he’s alive, I can feel it!”
“Think what you want,” Derata replied. “I have nothing to do with your bastard, offspring of black magic, he may rot if he’s actually still alive! And now get out of here!”
Ruorim slowly raised his hand with the sword. “You have no idea who you're messing with, woman,” he warned hoarsely.
“I knew that when I smelled your plague stink and saw your worm-eaten face for the first time!” Derata hissed. “Whose servant are you, Zarach or Nor, or do you even serve both?” she spat on the floor. “You’re a shame of the Shaikan, the dragon blood in you is black and spoiled!”
“Enough!” Ruorim growled. “Give me Darwin Silverhair, and maybe I'll spare you!”
“I don’t need your mercy, traitor! I've been waiting for my revenge for so long, do you think I'll miss it?” While she spoke, Derata started to attack.
Ruorim parried, but he had been surprised by her speed. He had to quickly dodge the next one before he could start a counterattack. He was bigger and heavier than Derata, but she was more agile and faster. She didn’t even try to parry the massive blows of his huge sword, but dipped under it or sat over it, trying to land hits – arms, legs, where the armour was rather permeable.
Torches cast wavering shadows on the walls, blow followed blow. Ruorim clearly lost his head with rage, because Derata didn’t concede him anything. That spurred her on. At that moment she felt nothing at all, she was completely focused on the fight, and nothing else. She appraised Ruorim's strategy, tried to anticipate his next steps and failures, and adapted better and better to his manner of fighting. She remembered each of her father's teachings and applied them. The longer the fight lasted, the more often he beat into the void, the more certain Derata was that Ruorim would soon give herself a nakedness that would allow her to deal a fatal blow. She literally danced around him, waving her sword with such force and dexterity, as if holding a weightless feather. Her breath had hardly accelerated so far, and her legs were still nimble and in balance. In contrast to Ruorim, who was already bleeding from several minor wounds on his arms and face, she hadn't even got a scratch.
But she saw a movement too late. Ruorim suddenly raised his left hand and called a spell of dark magic. Derata backed away, but then suddenly a chair flew into the way, which she could no longer avoid; she stumbled and fell, and the next moment Ruorim was already over her, one knee pressed against her sword arm
and put the flame blade on her throat.
Derata was furious and hated. “Cowardly bastard,” she pressed out. “Do you have to use your magic to defeat a woman?” In contempt she spat on his face.
“You’re the best sword warrior I have ever met and I underestimated you,” he replied coldly. “I can’t allow that.”
Velvet darkness, receive me and one day let me find the light again, Derata thought when the sharp blade pierced her neck. She heard the scratching of the metal on the bones of her cervical vertebra before the world became dark.

As if he had anticipated it, Altar stretched up, closed Goren's mouth with his hand, and forcefully pushed back the scream that wanted to break out of him and that would betrayed them all. “There's nothing more you can do for her, boy, come on now!” he hissed.
Goren's voice sounded choked from bony fingers. “Let me go, I must kill him, the cowardly dog, I –” His fingers groped for the door, but he found no latch, no way to open it. His mother had really thought of everything and thus prevented him from betraying himself.
With combined strength, Darwin Silverhair and Master Altar managed to drag the distraught boy away from the hole and pulling him with them. They hurried down the passage.
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