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Keys of Magic - Part 17

The outskirts of the city was chilly at night. I say in the dark bushes with Risgar at my side. In front of us we could see the light of the camp. It was large, very large. The rebel nobles had a lot more soldiers then I thought they were going to have. They should have had reduced forced because they too very effected by the attack at Demon’s Road. They must have deliberately kept their troops out of harms way in preparation for this attack.

“That is a lot of troops.” I whispers in the darkness.

“Indeed, but it is not the troops that you should worry about. A single Apostate can take out many many soldiers and might only be defeated when they lack the energy to continue fighting. If it was just soldiers then the King’s Apostates could deal with the attack in conjunction with the army.”

“And we need to cause a distraction for the army and many of the Apostates.”

“Yes, that will be your objective. Mine will be to protect your from the soldiers for a long as possible until their Apostate’s show up. Then we are both on our own. As long as you keep them distracted then anything you do will be acceptable.” Said Risgar.

“Alright. Just give the word and I will start.”

“We are waiting for Undir’s signal. Once they get into position it will be time for us to strike.”

I nodded. I didn’t know what her signal would be but I’m sure that Risgar would tell me when it happened. I took those moments to reach into my pocket and fish out the golden signet ring. I held it softly in my hand for a moment and then slipped it on my finger. Nothing felt like it had changed but I could feel Zillk’s power now, just out of normal reach ready for me to beckon it forward.

‘Are you ready?’ It was the Slayer asking me.

‘No, but I’ll have to be when the signal happens.’

‘I’ll keep a watch out for things while you fight and I’ll give you a warning if something happens.’

‘Thanks I’ll be counting on you.’

Then from not too far away there was a caw of a raven. Risgar began to rise and say, “That is our signal. Do your best to survive.”

I rose along with him. I guess the raven signal made sense. If Undir was an Apostate of Tistral the Ravenborn she must have some ability to command those birds. I didn’t have long to ponder it because we left the bushes and began to head straight into the camp of the rebel army.

“I suppose it is time to cause a ruckus then.” I said. I raised my right hand, the one that had my signet ring on it and pointed it toward the edge of the army. People had begun to notice us and they were yelling. Several archers were beginning to draw their bows. But they weren’t fast enough. I open my hand showing my palm to them. Then the world got cold. The moisture in the air suddenly began to freeze and drop onto the ground in chunks of ice.

Then the front line of the soldiers erupted in pillars of ice. They screamed in panic and normally I would have been disturbed by what I was doing. But the influence of Zillk protected me from that. I might have been able to resist it but I didn’t. I knew that it was better if I let it happen.

Some of the archers that survived the ice released their arrows which wiped toward me at lethal speeds. However I did not bother to stop them. Risgar was between me and the arrows. He swung his hammer through the air and the arrows followed his arch.

‘The metal in the arrow heads obey his command.’ It was the Slayer who had time to watch and explain what was happening. I however did not pay any attention to it. I commanded the ice and cold to swallow up the camp. Despite that it was still summer snow began to drift out of the air toward the ground.

The soldiers were screaming and shouting. A small group managed to get enough organization to start a charge against me. However they never got close. Their bodies frozen before they were more then ten paces outside the camp. The temperature was lowering drastically in the area and I had to kept an active effort to make sure that Risgar was not indirectly getting effected by my powers.

I don’t know how long we where there in the front of the camp. I do know that when the soldiers began to fall back that the time had finally come. Several people were beginning to come out of the camp. They certainly didn’t look like normal soldiers. Normally Apostate’s hide their identities with cloaks and hoods but these were not. They wore what appeared to be their own uniforms.

Bright distinctive colors and a style that would make them look unusual on any street in the country. I brought down the cold a moment to greet our new guests.

“You are not exactly what I was expecting. I was expecting more dark and mysterious figures. Instead I get a bunch of weirdoes. Don’t tell me that these are the Apostate’s that the king is so worried about.” I said. Itina hadn’t given us any instructions about concealing our identity but I thought that acting as if we were servants of the King would provide us a good reason for being here.

There were four of them. The front one was a man in bright red robes. They stopped and looked at me and Risgar. “And I was expecting the king to sent more then two people to try and stop us.” He smiled, “But I’ll be polite. It is rather fun to talk with people who are about to die. You see we do not need to hide ourselves like you do because in the world that we are making it will be us who are in charge. No more hiding among normal people, those who are capable of being Apostates will be the new nobles and rulers.”

“What sounds just as bad as our current situation. While I would like being an Apostate would let me not have to pretend that I’m normal I do not thing that changing who is nobles will help.”

“A pity. Had you agreed with us then we would have been willing to let you join our ranks.” The man looked over to Risgar and said, “What about you? Would you rather be appreciated and join us?”

Risgar laughed, “I’d rather die then be a pawn. Do you even know who is manipulating you behind the shadows?”

The man flashed an angry glare before returning to me, “Nobody is manipulating us. But since you are rejecting our offer I guess that we will have to kill both of you. It isn’t really personal but since you decided to follow the king’s orders and attack we really have no choice.”

Off to one side I heard a raven caw. “It looks like our time to talk is over then. Our friends are beginning to make their move so it really is time.” I raised my hand again and the temperature began to drop once more. I also began to run forward and began to draw my sword.”

I noticed out of the side of my eye that Risgar was moving along side me. The four Apostates seemed slightly surprised that we were the ones starting the attack but they were all making motions of their own and almost certainly calling upon their own powers.

“I called out to Risgar and said, “I’ll take the two on the right. You fight the ones of the left.” I barely saw him nod. Then I could not pay attention to him any more.

I was facing down two of them. The red robed one was one of them. The other was a woman, tall wearing extravagant men’s clothes. I didn’t know what either of them was capable of doing but they knew I could control ice. I swung at the man with my sword, making sure that it was deliberately clumsy. He was able to dodge out of the way. However following the blade was a wave of frozen ice that swept across the area.

I expected to hit him with the wave of ice but it cracked and broke shattering into a thousand pieces without any adequate explanation. My eyes twisted over toward the woman who was smiling at me. I motioned with my other hand and blades of ice shot toward her. They veered off to different sides of her like they hadn’t been aimed at her at all. That was troubling. I needed to know what he ability was.

I spun and rushed at her with the sword. I pulled back at the last instant and a wall of water rose up between us. There was a slicing sound and I noticed that my sword had been cut. The tip had been cut off by the wall of water. Dangerous, a water controller. That would be troublesome. The wall froze according to my will and then I continued forward breaking through it. At least I could mess with her power as much as she could mess with mine.

I used my sword as my advantage. She brought up water to block and destroy me sword but it froze before my sword hit it and I was able to cut through it. Step by step I managed to get closer to her with my blade. Other then her power she seemed to be unarmed. Finally I got to her and raised my sword to cut her down.

‘Behind you.’ Warned the Slayer and I dodged to one side as the blade of the red robed man cut through where I had been. I would probably win against the woman if it was a dual because I had another advantage but against the two of them I would have trouble.

I watched the two of them. The woman seemed to be watching me. The way she watched me move made me realize she was doing two things. She was watching me to counter me if I tried to use my powers. The second thing was that she was waiting for an opening. She knew as well as I did that we couldn’t make moves against each other. Normally at least, if she got me while I was distracted then I wouldn’t be able to counter her.

So instead I was in a swordfight with the red robed man. I was trying to show as little skill as I could. I still couldn’t figure out what his ability was. Was he using it, I couldn’t tell. I watched and calculated while he attacking me. However his swordplay was extremely good. I had to show more and more of my skill to keep him from killing me.

So I took a risk. I drew upon every ounce of skill that Zillk offered along with all the training that had been pounded into my by the Slayer. I use that one moment where I broke the illusion of my skill to slip past the man and toward the woman. Her eyes widened in surprise and rose the wall of water. I counted it turning it into ice and breaking through. Then I impaled her with my outstretched blade.

Her blood splattered over me and she screamed. However she latched her hands onto my body and then I felt a burning as I felt her blood try to bore into my skin. I froze it but that hardly helped as she pushed at the water. She was holding onto me and I couldn’t pull out the blade to stab her again. I twisted it but it wasn’t enough.