The steel sings and dances. Each thrust connects to an arch in the air with a new attempt to strike. The imperial soldiers take turns to swing their blades, and the rogue can only defend and deflect the attacks for so long. Feet backtrack for an improvised exit. Not enough time. If only they were some half-baked recruits, but no. To secure escape routes their commander sent for fine swordsmen. Just after turning at the street corner, she found all four guards at the sewer’s entrance. Running at full speed, she jumped over their heads and continued into the sewers. Taunting is a reckless habit she acquired over the years. And now her premature flaunting had her snared by the swift-footed soldiers.
One of the assailants breaks the rogue’s stance. One of her daggers flies and falls into the canal; a sword scratches her shoulder. “Damn it, they are cornering me!”
“O Lady of Water…” burbles a low voice from the corridor intersection, “…lend me your power.”
Heads turn to a young man using his fingers to write iridescent symbols on thin air.
He shouts at the soldiers, “Undine!”
Water rises from the canal. It forms into a maid of considerable size with delicate features, like a veiled, ship figurehead prepared for impact. It slams the four soldiers against the wall. They drop unconscious to the floor.
The mysterious savior turns to the rogue. “Are you all right?” he says.
“I… yes.” She mumbles.
“Good. We should go before more show up.” He takes the lead. The rogue follows him down a path that seems familiar to him.
“My name is Solanus,” he says, “high summoner of The Six.”
“Kai,” indulges the rogue, though Outlaw of the Kingdom’s Capital City would be a more truthful introduction. However, not wanting to get on a powerful cleric’s bad side, she chooses to omit that part. “Baptized under Undine of The Six.”
He chuckles. “How fitting for the situation.”
“Say,” she starts, speeding up beside him. “This is the way out of town, right? To escape the imperial invasion, I mean?”
“Yes…” says Solanus. His lips pressed tight into a deep frown. It is clear Solanus is not happy to abandon the town. From what Kai saw, he has enough strength to stand his ground and fight. The man must have his reasons for not doing so, but they are none of her business. Better change the topic.
“Where exactly will we get off through here?” says Kai. “Amber Village?”
The shadow on his face vanishes. “Quite the opposite. The coast.”
“But we are going west.”
And the corridors are becoming darker with each step. Solanus picks a small object from his pocket and blows on it. The engraved stone produces just enough light to see the pathway.
“We are going south, a little southwest,” says Solanus. “The walls are slightly angled, so it’s hard to notice. There will be a curve ahead.”
“So what?” says Kai. “You have a boat?”
“No. But there are a few at Enseada.”
“It’s a long way to walk.”
“That’s why I hope someone at Amber is willing to part ways with a wagon or at least a horse.”
“If the war hasn’t reached there, that is”, thought Kai. But silence is more welcoming than pessimism at that moment. So the rogue walks by the summoner’s side saying no more.