Tainted Victory – Chapter 2, Part 2 (Page-a-Day)

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Colt raised his hand. “What are the lines connecting the front and back lines, there?”

Evelyn pointed to the square. “It’s just to, like to show they are connected all the way around. It’s not important.”

“Every part of the location is important,” Siguard added.

“Not what I mean,” Evelyn said. She sighed and recollected herself. “We have the advantage of higher ground if we choose to use it.”

“Are there any ways to get to those higher levels without going through the throne room?” Raisor asked. “I find it easier to get a drop on larger enemies. Both literally and figuratively.” He made a dramatic downward stabbing motion.

“Aha!” Goblet slapped Raisor on the back. “I like this one. I too go for the head and it is easiest to do that from above!”

“Can you just stop,” Evelyn ran her palm over her face in exhaustion. “There are no passages outside the castle to the higher levels. It is only the throne room.”

“So if we want people to go high we would need to make a distraction so they could ascend the stairs,” Hugh said. 

“Yes,” Evelyn said.

“So who can make a distraction large enough to take a cunning dragon mind away from the people running off?” Olivier asked.

“We could always have Colt talk him to death,” Raisor said.

“Dragons do understand our language,” Colt added. “Just like dogs. Well, more similar to dogs.” He scratched Hounder under the chin. “Dogs more understand our feelings than they do literal words.”

“I do not think that would work. Magic will work however.”

“Magic will work,” Colt said. “They are attracted to shiny items, so the brighter the better.”

Claudia rummaged through her quiver of arrows. She pulled out a few with glowing red runes. “These do have fire magic on them.” The grouped turned their attention to Olivier.

Olivier sat absentmindedly tapping his staff. It took a full scan of the room for him to realize they were looking at him. “Oh, sorry, what was the discussion?”

“What magic do you have?” Claudia asked in a raised voice.

“Ohh, yes.” Olivier rested for a second. His eyes maintained their stare, but lost their focus. Everyone waited, breath held, and body tight. “I have mastered the basics.”

“Basics? That’s great. That’s useful,” Evelyn said in a way that did not entertain its greatness or usefulness.

“The basics are vast,” Claudia said. “Most mages just take a specialty. It’s easier to focus on healing and lead to necromancy than it is to go from healing, to teleportation, to elemental, to fabric, and back to healing.” She rattled her arrows again. “I have my way to reach the basics. If he mastered all of them he is quite strong.”

“Just because I chose not to take on an apprentice, or pony up to the coin-a-dozen kings and rulers does not mean I do not know my craft.” Olivier stared daggers at Evelyn. “I can handle anything needed for the drake,” Olivier said in his normal, jovial cadence. 

“So we have two people who can distract,” Hugh pointed to Claudia and Olivier. “We have two people to do atrial strikes,” they looked to Raisor and G. 

“We only need one. Myself!” Goblet huffed his chest out.

“Funny,” Raisor said. “I was thinking the same thing myself. 

“You two can romance later,” Evelyn said. “We still have three of us left. Myself, you,” she pointed to Hugh. “And the the walking shield.” She pointed to Siguard. “What do we do?”

“I can join the fray,” Siguard said. “My metal can withstand any heat!” He clanged his guarded fist against the embedded rose sigil. 

Evelyn looked at him like he was a child. “If you are a great and noble leader, then I pity the men who had to follow you.”

“Those are big words coming from a tramp who carries but a knife that cannot penetrate my armor!” 

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