New World: Part Two
“You’ll do fine with that; just don’t whack anyone too hard!” Looker said and walked out the door. The others trooped out behind him. He wanted me to attack... with a shield?
I shook my head and smiled slightly. What a strange family. Even Oathkeeper got out of his shell to have a good fight. Next thing I know, even Kris will be attacking people!
I followed the others back upstairs, and arrived in time to hear Kris call out to the closing door, “Don’t kill each other,” and then turn back to her work. Wow.
I was still tired from all my travelling and fighting, but there was no excuse I could think of to get myself back inside. But I was going to be late now, I had to hurry.
I trotted a little to catch up to the others, who were just turning behind the house to a large open expanse of trampled down snow. Boundaries were marked with a variety of stones lined up to form a rectangle.
“Here’s how the game goes,” Oathkeeper explained, his breath billowing out in clouds. We gathered in a huddle around him. “Since we finally can have even teams, we’ll do two on two instead of making someone sit out. Object of the game is to stop your opponent from reaching the back line of your end of the field. Nothing’s against the rules but killing,” Oathkeeper said with a slight smile, remembering Kris’s input.
I hadn’t noticed, because I was late coming up from the tunnels, but the others changed into outfits similar to mine, thick tunics and cloaks, to block the cold? They shed their cloaks now, and started bickering about teams. My over sensitive ears flicked down as the bickering turned into an argument.
“How ‘bout we just let Lari decide!” Looker finally shouted over the others.
“Alright,” said Runner reluctantly, calming down.
“Um... Looker and I?” I said stupidly. I didn’t want the unfair advantage of picking Oathkeeper straight out; even I could tell he was by no doubt the best fighter present. But this game wasn’t all about fighting, but thinking too. Besides I felt most comfortable around Looker, even though I spent all morning shopping with Oathkeeper.
“Alright, Then it’s me and Runner versus you and Looker,” Oathkeeper said, nodding. He turned and walked onto the field, Runner following and swinging his sword excitedly.
I gripped my shield tightly, and I as well, walked over the boundary of stones and onto the field. Looker followed behind me briskly, pulling a second dagger from his belt and holding it in his left hand.
“What stops us from slicing each other to ribbons?” I asked nervously, bending slightly to match Looker’s height and slipping my shield lower down my arm.
“We're brothers; we couldn’t hurt each other too badly,” Looker said, his caramel eyes widening. “We have a large supply of healing supplies just in case,” he said in afterthought.
That’s right! I remembered stopping at Kauvara’s earlier and wondering why Kris could possibly need so many healing potions. It was to keep her rowdy family from injuring each other too badly. I wonder what her former foster pets thought of her control over her sons...
We came to a stop in the middle of our side of the field. Runner and Oathkeeper stood opposite of us. Runner’s four feet were spread far apart in a wide stance, flicking his curved scimitar from hand to hand. Oathkeeper was in a fighting stance as well, but managed to reign in his excitement to just a subtle twitch of his tail.
I looked at his sword in awe. The skill it must take to wield a blade that long! It was easily as tall as its master, and very thin.
“You hold them off; I’ll sneak past,” Looker whispered, pulling down one of my ears to his height. I took my eyes off Oathkeeper’s blade and my ear out of his hand. I nodded and crouched.
Looker leaped forward and I ran up behind him. Runner immediately attempted to take a hit at him, but Looker scurried under his legs, and his blow was met by my shield instead and me. I saw out of the corner of my eye, Oathkeeper, slipping away in pursuit of the sprinting Looker.
I shoved Runner back with my shield before he could take another swing, and ran towards Oathkeeper, shouting, “Looker! Behind you!” Unfortunately, Runner could run faster than me and I was forced to turn around and defend myself.
The shield was definitely a good blocker, but my arm was going numb with the effort of holding my arm up and from the vibrations Runner’s hits caused.
“Come on; get out from behind your shield!” Runner taunted me.
With a flare of anger, I managed to knock back his scimitar with a thrust when he attempted to attack me again, and the broad side of the sword rebounded back and smacked him in the face.
Runner dropped to the ground with a grunt and I was off and running without even checking to see if he was alright. Looker was still dueling with Oathkeeper, so I sprinted right past them, the row of stones clean in my sight.
A sudden wave of nausea swept over me and I sank to my knees, unconscious.
In my dream, I was standing in the center of a burned town, the wind blew through the deserted village eerily. A voice seemed to be carried with the wind whispering, “Bring back the life to the land...” and disappeared when the wind died down.
“Wait, come back!” I cried out, knowing it was useless. The voice was just inside my head. The wind picked up again and with it came the voice,
“Bring back... The Life Orb.”
I awoke on my side, the sounds of battle still around me. For a second I thought I was back home, fighting the futile war again, but then I realized I was surrounded by snow, not fire. Evidently, Oathkeeper and Looker had not finished their fight yet. Runner still sat where I had left him, kneading his forehead with the palms of his hands.
“The Life.... Orb?” I murmured. What is it?
“Lari! What are you doing?! Get up and GO!” Looker shouted over his shoulder, and then landed on his bottom as Oathkeeper clipped him under the chin. He rolled out of the way as Oathkeeper attempted to cleave him. “HEY!” He threw a dagger at Oathkeeper, who promptly dodged it, and it landed in the snow four feet away.
Oathkeeper hovered for a moment trying to decide what to do next. He made up his mind as Looker crawled away to retrieve his dagger, and soared towards me.
Still not completely over my fainting spell, I crawled on my hands and knees towards the row of stones. I really did not want to fight the formidable warrior in this weakened state.
My shield was weighing me down, so I slipped my arm out of the restricting strap and put on a burst of speed to make it the last few feet. The stones grazed my face as I leaped over.
A sword landed with a crunch near my face, I flinched and looked up to see Oathkeeper hovering above me.
“Miss,” he said and landed next to the sword. He yanked it out of the ground, and stored it in the scabbard that hung across his back. It was too long to fit in the traditional sheath and belt at his side.
“You could’ve chopped his head off!” Looker said, flabbergasted.
“I wouldn’t hit him,” Oathkeeper drawled, gathering his cape off the ground where he threw it earlier. He handed back Looker’s other dagger.
“Thanks,” he grunted, and tucked it back into his belt.
Runner walked unsteadily towards us, two red lines on his bright yellow face, showing where his deflected blow had landed. “Good game,” he mumbled. We all laughed at the unfortunate Ruki, and Oathkeeper tossed him a potion.
“Drink up, guys; we don’t want to look too battered for Kris.”
“Any broken bones?” Kris asked as we trampled in the door, empty healing potion bottles clutched in our hands.
“Just a few scrapes and bruises,” I answered casually. I set my bottle on the counter by the sink.
“That’s good.” I caught the horrified expression on Lari’s face, that said clearly 'she thinks that’s good!' and laughed quietly.
“Dinner will be ready in a few minutes, go wash up.”
We all trooped out of the kitchen sitting room area and down the trapdoor into the tunnels.
I trailed behind, grabbing Lari’s sleeve to stop him. Looker and Runner carried on towards the bathroom, either unaware or uncaring.
“What’s up?” I asked the green Aisha. He looked up at the ceiling confusedly and I realized, not for the first time, he wasn’t completely modern.
“What was with the fainting back at the field?” I clarified.
“Oh that.... Meet me after dinner. There’s a lot to explain,” Lari said darkly, and turned away towards the bathroom. I stopped to think what he could possibly have to explain. Did it have to do with his unknown past?
To be continued...