The breeze is gentle and soothing. It is a nice warm night. I admire my nice little patch of soft grass that I am resting on, from which I have a great view of the clear starry sky above me. My horse is tied to a nearby tree, sleeping quite peacefully.
There are trees all around me for the most part, but to my side is a sheer cliff face drop off of about five meters, that gives me a nice clear view of road that runs from Heimos all the way to Denos. I always pick spots like this to rest where I am less likely to be caught by surprise.
I hear the clitter clatter of horse hooves and the rumbling of wagon wheels. Another one? I’ve already seen two wagons passing this way, headed for Denos. Both were filled with women and a few men, no doubt on their way to be sold as slaves. Those poor woman have a fate worse than death in store for them.
I just came from Heimos myself, or at least what was left of it. By the time I arrived, it was already nightfall and the town was under siege from some unbelievably powerful arch-demon. A demon like that doesn’t just pitch up out of nowhere without half the country hearing about it first. Which means someone summoned it. But still I can’t believe someone could summon something of that magnitude, it must have taken weeks of preparation and an unimaginable amount of magical power.
I wonder if ‘He’ had something to do with it. Regardless, I could not exactly afford to stick around and immediately turned around and gave up my only ‘lead’. I rode all the way back here. Denos is about another half a days ride still, so I decided to spend the night here.
After that I spent another day and night here, just sticking around, reluctant to just give up. I wanted to see what this little event would flush out. But, alas, so far the only people that have passed by are slavers. The demon must have been dispelled the same night already.
What I’m most curious about is how did the slavers find out about this event so quickly, it’s as if they knew beforehand something was going down, and were literally waiting outside of town for it to go down. I can only assume that they are somehow ‘in on it’. I am reluctant to go down to one of the passing caravans in order to ‘ask them’, I get into enough trouble with the Slavers guild as it is and I suspect that they might actually lock me up this time.
Slave trade is perfectly legal in most cities on this continent, as decreed by the king. However the Slavers guild was formed to enforce certain rules upon the trade and act as a kind of authority. Basically the only people that can be made into slaves are criminals decided on by the royals, people that are to be executed and foreign invaders or prisoners.
There are of course underground markets for slave trade that you can go to, to avoid these regulation, but it is not without risk. If somebody recognises and reports someone that should not actually be a slave, and if the Slavers guild traces it back to you, well let’s just say that even a slaves life is heaven compared to the punishment you will meet.
The Slavers guild can only operate by the grace of the King and us such they will go to extreme measures to enforce law upon the business in order not to invite the King’s ire. That being said these bandit cockroaches are taking one hell of a chance enslaving the survivors of the Heimos incident en masse like this.
I watch the wagon pass by underneath me and then unexpectedly one of the wagons wheels break. Hmm, I don’t like this. The men below me are arguing, the one accusing the other of driving to carelessly.
What’s really strange is that this slave wagon is holding only one girl and she is being guarded by several men.
“Well hurry up and fix it!” The man barking orders must be the leader.
“Yes, right away!”
I watch as the leader goes back round and climbs into the caravan again. Some of his men are complaining about the boring trip and how there were not much ‘spoils’ to be found in Heimos.
“Alright then, let’s have a little fun while we wait for the wheel to be replaced.” The leader just said something that bothers me.
“You two over there, hold her down!”
I can hear the girl crying out to them to stop and the sounds of her struggling against her many captors.
“There’s not enough space here, you lot get out, only need the two of you to hold her down.” The leader carries on, “You guys can each have a turn with her when I’m done.”
The girl carries on begging them to stop. I sigh, there’s just no way I can overlook this happening right next to me. Oh well.
I get up, dust off my pants, pull out my axe and my parrying dagger, and jump off the side of the cliff. The gentleman directly below me is kind enough to cushion my fall, although the sound of his bones cracking and splintering under the weight of my landing can’t be very healthy.
The remaining four men that climbed out of the wagon on their leaders orders, are staring at me in shock. One of them looks up to the top of the cliff face five meters above us in disbelief. Stupid man.
The leader already noticed the comotion and issued an order, “Who the fuck is that? Kill her!”
I can’t but help smile, it’s play time! The man behind me lunges forward with his spear, but I can hear it coming a mile away. I easily step to the left and let the spear pass safely on my right. At the same time I swing my double sided axe out to my right and behind my, slicing the man's head neatly of his neck.
The other three men just stand there looking really dumb, until their leader who is almost done putting his pants back on, barks another order at them, “Fucking kill her already!”
The two men that were holding the girl down leap out of the wagon, with their leader soon to follow. A sword comes flying at my face, but I use my axe to knock it out the way and at the same aim another is headed for my left side, I easily parry it with my dagger though, throwing the man off balance.
I take the opportunity of the third man fumbling around with his crossbow to bring my axe around and cleave the off balance guy’s midsection wide open. He falls over backwards rather lifelessly.
I hear the release mechanism of a crossbow behind me, sounds like that guys stopped fumbling and started shooting instead. I lean my head to the side just in time to feel the crossbow bolt graze past my left cheek.
I step in behind me and bring my body round. My axe arcs low and sweeps through both the bowman’s legs cutting, clean through them with enough force to lift the guy off the ground. The force started rotating him till his body is horizontal and he is facing the sky. At which point he may have noticed that I had brought my axe back round and overhead, in one swift motion. Before gravity can start working on him and put a stop to his temporary mid-air suspension, my axe comes slamming down into him, driving him into the ground. Gravel and dirt sputters out in all directions around him.
After nearly cleaving the bowman in two, the other two men that jumped out the wagon had touched down and both brought their weapons to bear at the same time. As the two swords start arcing towards me, one clockwise, one counter, I step quickly between the two of them. As I pass safely between the two of them, their swords closing in behind me I take the chance to offer one of them a devious smile.
The two men notice it to late, I have already passed between them. I feel a bit sorry for them, they put all their hearts into those swings. Of course that meant that they could not possibly put a stop to them once their target had stepped out of the way and as a result end up burying their swords deep into each others sides.
The leader has leapt from the wagon as well, intending to bring his sword down upon me, but I don’t feel like killing him just yet. I instead step away and towards the coward that has been shaking in his boots the whole time, hiding behind his shield, instead of attacking me.
Just one, two, steps and I’m almost on top of him with such speed that he instinctively raise his metal braced tower shield in front of him. Fine, have it your way. As I step in for the final pace, I bring my axe round towards him. It collides with his shield with enough force to crumple it like a wet rag and send the man hurtling through the air, into the cliffs rocky side, with a large crashing sound.
I waste no time and step back towards the leader who, to my surprise has already stood up from his failed swing and readied himself for another attack. Hmm, this man is actually quite skilled isn’t he? I take another step toward him, but have to put the brakes on as the leader quickly swings his sword towards me.
His blade arcs upwards diagonally past me as I arch myself over backwards to avoid it. But alas, at the same time I brought my right leg straight up, with all my power, into his crotch. I can’t but help be disappointed, the whole thing really is over too quickly.
Well at least I have the feeling of his pelvis shattering from the force of my kick into his balls, as he is lifted at least two meters into the air. I guess he’ll never be able to use those things again. I can’t but help muse as the man sprays vomit and blood from his mouth and nose, as he falls back to the ground.
I stand there just a moment as I enjoy the sight of him convulsing on the ground, with his eyes rolled all the way back into his head, leaving only the whites showing.
“Aaargh.” That fucking hurts! There’s a sword stuck in my side, who the fuck put it there! Oh, that’s right. I forgot about the guy that was replacing the wheel. I pull the sword out of my side and flick it away to my left, it flies away and buries itself in the rockface.
The disarmed man cowers before me as he watches my wound close up on its own. I draw my face in close to his.
“Tell me, do you know of a man that goes by the name of Darvos?”
He shakes his head violently from left to right.
The man’s scream fills my ears. Now that that’s taken care off, I turn my attention to the girl left behind in the wagon, she is staring at me in shock. I must say though she is really cute.
“Ah- ah- yes. Thank you. For rescuing me.”
“Oh I was just passing by, and it didn’t really sit right with me, what they were getting up to.”
“So I’m heading to Denos, you wanna come? If you’re coming from Heimos, then I guess you probably got no better option at the moment.”
“Ah, yes, that is true. Do you mind?”
I help her out of the wagon and lead her around and up the back of the hill, to the top of the cliff, where my trusty steed awaits me. I untie my horse and help the girl onto it. After mounting it myself and grabbing the reins, I ask the girl, “My name is Hannah, whats yours?”
“Oh, pleased to meet you, I’m Sarah.”