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Old 12-05-2006, 05:06 PM   #134
Illusionary Holbytla
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
Scyld's time for initial regrets and cursing himself for being so foolish and having to bring Linduial along had passed. Now as they tore through the woods a multitude of calculations was running through his mind. Fifteen minutes, maybe twenty, before Sorn and Gurth reached the high place where they had briefly stopped. Scyld glanced back at Linduial to make sure she was keeping up. She could not sustain this reckless pace for long. He scanned the woods around him; all he needed was a natural ridge where he could have the high ground in a fight. If he had that, maybe there would be hope. Maybe they could both survive.

He doubted it. He might survive, if Linduial died before he did and the chance for escape came. But if he died, Linduial surely would as well. Scyld had always intended that should the time ever come for him to kill Sorn, he would have a clear shot at his back. Hand-to-hand fighting was to be avoided at all costs, and Gurth being there to back Sorn up (or fight for him) only slimmed Scyld's odds - and if he stood little chance, what did that say for Linduial?

Gurth would have to be gotten rid of first. If Scyld could take them by surprise and loose a fatal knife in Gurth's direction, he would have a chance against Sorn alone. He dared not think of otherwise.

As Scyld had hoped, a natural ridge formed up and Scyld led Linduial along the bottom of it for many strides. He stopped at a rocky place where the ground looked firm so that they might easily climb upwards a way. He offered Linduial a hand and helped her to scramble up with him. Alone he would have been able to walk upright, but with holding Linduial's hand he bent further forward and used his other hand for support and balance. After climbing about fifteen feet he decided they were high enough and led Linduial across the ridge in the same direction they had come. At the very least, Sorn would not see their path upwards written across the face of the mountain as plainly as the sun shone in the sky.

"You stay here," Scyld said as they came upon a large rock jutting up from the land that would provide both ample cover and a natural seat for Linduial. "Make yourself small and invisible to those below. Now, we wait."

"How long?" Linduial asked quietly.

Scyld shrugged. "As long as it takes. I'd guess ten, fifteen minutes." He watched her for a few moments more. He had cursed himself for bringing her, but he knew then that he did not mean it. The feeling was as alien to him as color to a blind man, but he thought that maybe this was friendship - and maybe a friend was someone worth dying for. Just maybe. He had no words to explain this, but impulsively he reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder. She had turned to watch the trail below, but at his touch she turned her head. Scyld did not say anything, only squeezed gently, and then he walked away. For his own hiding place, he stood behind a tall and wide tree, appealing in that it was indistinctive from others around him. He removed a knife from the sheath inside his left boot and began to listen for Sorn and Gurth. It would not be long now. Not long to wait, and perhaps not long to live.
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