tagRomanceA Perilous Journey Ch. 08

A Perilous Journey Ch. 08

byLordBrionGrenwall©

The Ahlissan Chronicles

~ Novella 2 ~

A Perilous Journey

~ 8 ~

Pursuit


The cold water on the goblin's face awakened him to the numb pain of being hog-tied; he was on his stomach with his extremities tied behind him. Kneeling in front of him was the human warrior who had so recently broke his nose. The other two robed humans that he and his fellow scouts had tried to ambush were also gathered around. The human in the black plate armor grabbed him by the knot of dirty black hair on the top of his head.

"Where is your leader taking the human mage?" Brion asked the trussed goblin, his voice an angry growl.

"Me know nothing!" The cowardly goblin yelled.

Now it is well known that smaller humanoids are quite cowardly and will only fight other creatures in large numbers and when faced with their own pain or discomfort the quickly tend to give up.

"I'll ask you again" Brion said twisting the topknot of dirty hair "where is the large hobgoblin leader taking the wizard?" He shook the goblin's head for extra affect to make his point.

"I already say me know nothing of red hair mage!" Of course Brion had not mentioned the distinctive color of Eryca's hair but the goblin had let it slip.

"Fine, have it your way." Brion stood and placing his tongue in his cheek made a clicking sound. Upon hearing the sound the goblin tried to twist his head to see what would happen, he soon found out. Looking over his shoulder he realized that his bindings were tied to another rope that went up and over an outcropping of rock and was tied to the pommel of the black destrier's saddle. Having heard the noise Armageddon took a few steps forward and lifted the goblin off of the ground.

Pain shot through the goblin twisted limbs as all of his body weight was put on his joints at abnormal angles. The goblin cried out in pain but struggling only made it hurt worse, he felt the now familiar hand grabbing his topknot again.

"Now I shall ask again" Brion said looking into the creatures tear filled eyes "where are they taking her? Answer me or I'll have my horse drop you to the ground and yank you back up."

The green skinned goblin could see by the cold look in the human's icy blue eyes that he would do what he said and the creature knew that eventually its limbs would start to pop out of their places.

"Wulfgut say we take wizard to castle up in mountains. He say wizards' creature offer us steel swords for pretty lady, then we become strongest tribe!"

Brion turned and looked at Astinos and Aizantius; they knew exactly what the goblin meant by the wizard's creature. Now they just had to find out where the citadel was that housed this master of the homunculus. Brion grabbed the goblin by the hair once more and looked it directly in its beady black eyes.

"One last question goblin, answer it and I may let you live. Where is this castle that you speak of?"

"I do not know master! Me was never told!" The goblin whined. "Please no kill me!"

"Then I have no more use for you." As he spoke Brion drew his dagger from his belt and pressed it firmly to the creatures' throat.

"Wait, wait!" The goblin shrieked. "Maybe I hear that it is west of here before the outpost of Marstefel! Please no kill me!" It cried, tears falling from its black eyes.

Sheathing his dagger Brion whistled sharply and Armageddon took several steps backward dropping the filthy goblin to the ground. The warrior stepped over the humanoid and undid the biddings then he leaned over the cowering goblin and picked it up by the neck bringing its' eyes level with his.

"I am going to let you live but if I find out that you are following us or trying to betray us I will hunt you down and skin you alive. Now go!" Brion said as he tossed the goblin before him.

The scared goblin jumped to his feet and ran towards the forest as fast as his aching limbs could take him.

After the three had consulted their map and found that the trading camp of Marstefel was at least two days ride from where they were they mounted their horses and pushed up into the highlands.

* * *


The Abbor-Alz highlands were rough terrain, the ground was dry and slightly rocky. Elevations could change abruptly; it could be flat one minute and lead to a steep drop off of several feet the next minute. This made it difficult to ride mounts with any sort of speed, especially in as large a group as Wulfgut led. To make up for this lack of speed in reaching the wizard's keep, Wulfgut had driven his raiders all night long. Lady Eryca awoke at dawn when the hobgoblin that she was tied to unceremoniously dropped her to the ground. She righted herself and mumbled at her guard, who in turn called over Wulfgut. They watched as she tried to speak through her gag, convinced that she was not trying to cast a spell Wulfgut commanded the guard to remove the gag. Wulfgut squatted in front of Eryca, bringing his eyes level with hers.

"What is it sorceress?" He asked as he placed a dagger to her throat. "And I warn you if I even hear words of magik I will slit your throat."

Eyeing him coolly, unfazed by his dagger Eryca spoke.

"I will be no prize for you at all if I starve to death before you deliver me. Or do you intend to break your command and deliver a bag of my bones?"

She stared at Wulfgut letting her words sink in through his thick skull. It was true that she had not eaten in several days and while the stench of her captors had made hunger impossible in the beginning, her need for food was overpowering her revulsion.

The great green-grey hobgoblin sneered at her, he knew she spoke the truth and he had been waiting for this. Though he suspected that she might try something like this to gain sympathy and thus be freed to work her magik, he did need to keep her alive to receive his reward. Wulfgut turned to his guard.

"Feed her bread and water from your stores but make it quick and do not unbind her hands. The minute she is finished replace the gag."

The guard did not look happy about having to feed this human witch from his own rations but he did as he was told. Keeping an eye on Eryca he took a small loaf of stale bread from his pouches and shoved several large pieces into her mouth. Eryca wanted to cough up the dry food but managed to choke some of it down. Next the guard held up his water-skin and sloppily poured some down her throat. The water was old and tasted of algae but it washed down the stale bread and wet her lips.

The guard reapplied Eryca's gag and checked the bindings about her wrists and fed himself as the raiders rested their mounts and fed themselves. After their break was over the large hobgoblin raider lift Eryca back onto his warg and then climbed up in front of her. He tied the rope that held her to him and kicked his mount in the ribs to get the giant wolf moving. The guard was glad that one more day of hard riding and by that evening he could be rid of the human witch and her horrid stench.

* * *


The three companions had ridden through the night with Aizantius providing them a little light by way of a blue glowing ball created by magik. It had floated just in front of them and had allowed them to ride through the rough terrain without injuring their horses. Now they were standing at the edge of the area that Eryca's kidnappers stopped at just after dawn. Brion could tell that the tracks were still fresh and that they should catch their quarry around nightfall. They knew that they were approaching the wizard's castle that the goblin had told them of and they planned to rescue Eryca before she could be turned over to the evil mage. Spurring their horses onward they rode with all possible speed following the tracks of the hobgoblin raiding party.

* * *


Wulfgut rode his warg with all possible speed; he could feel his pursuers drawing closer. He had not even wanted to stop at dawn but his mount, the alpha-male of the warg pack that aligned with his tribe, demanded that they stop. So he allowed them a small breather and even a little food but his rear scouts had not rejoined the group and that concerned him. They had most likely been killed by their pursuers and he could not hide the tracks of his entire raiding party even if he had tried. His best defense was speed, getting the prisoner to this mysterious mage before the rescue party caught them.

Wulfgut could see the squat citadel in the distance, it was pyramid shaped and surrounded by a low hexagonal shaped wall with parapets at the corners. He had accomplished his mission, just a two or three more miles and he would be able to trade this smelly human for edged steel.

* * *


Deloraa watched the image of the approaching hobgoblins in the dark liquid of her platinum scrying bowl. She had observed them for the last few miles and now they were close enough for her to go out and meet them. Finally she would have what Lyzandred desired and then she would receive the secret of the artifact she sought and leave this miserable place. Leaving the bowl on the pillar and calling her homunculus to her she spoke the words that would take her to her prisoner.

* * *


Night was falling as the hobgoblins rounded the bend that put them within a half mile of the pyramid structure. Suddenly there was a dark blue flash and surrounded by any inky black cloud of smoke was a being dressed in black robes, its hood pulled low over the face. The goblinoids reined in their wargs and the entire column slammed to a halt with several hobgoblins, goblins and wargs ending up in a tangled pile in the middle.

Wulfgut forced his warg to take him closer to the dark hooded figure that had appeared out of nowhere. As he watched the figure the hideous little creature who had approached him only days ago crawled up from behind the figures back and perched itself on the robed figures' shoulders.

"Greetings dark one" the large hobgoblin spoke in broken common "we have your prize."

Without removing its black hood the figure answered Wulfgut in the goblin tongue.

"Bring her so that I may inspect her." Spoke the dark figure in a hissing voice.

Wulfgut turned and shouted in goblin for the guard to bring the prisoner forward. The large hobgoblin guard steered his warg around the tangled mass of bodies that were now watching the exchange with fear and awe. Eryca watched as she and the hobgoblin raider approached the dark figure, even with her mage's eyes she was unable to see through the darkness that filled the figures' hood. During her captivity she had recalled everything she had heard about the Abbor-Alz and she had not remembered ever knowing about a mage like this living in these highlands. For the first time since being kidnapped by these hobgoblins Eryca looked at this dark figure and felt fear.

The guard's warg stopped short and refused to go any closer to the robed being, forcing the guard to dismount. He grabbed Eryca by the arm and forced her towards Wulfgut and the evil wizard. Once in front of the dark being Eryca still could not see into the darkened hood as a hand reached forth towards her face. The beings' hand was human-like but the skin was white with a blue tinge and instead of fingernails the hand possessed long, thick black claws that looked razor sharp.

The being placed its' horrible hand over her face, Eryca tried to struggle and fight against its' grasp but it was unbelievably strong and held her fast. Lady Eryca felt her entire body flush with a warm tingling sensation as the hooded figure muttered a spell that seemed to search every fiber of her being, looking for something. Even though Eryca could not see the figures' eyes she could feel them probing, looking her over as the spell ran through her body, she felt naked, exposed before the evil thing. It nodded its' hooded head apparently pleased with whatever it had found.

"Yes, she is unwounded, very good."

Then without warning the evil thing placed its' horrible hand directly between her legs, cupping her womanhood. Again she felt the same tingling heat as the being spoke similar words of magik. The sensation radiating through her loins was both pleasurable and revolting.

"Excellent. You are still pure, a maiden as yet untouched by the passions of the flesh, unspoiled by a man. Yes, you shall do nicely."

The voice Eryca heard next belonged to Wulfgut.

"Where is the steel you promised me?" He said loudly. "We had a deal wizard!"

The dark robed being turned its' hooded head to face the hobgoblin and spoke with a low menacing hiss.

"Do not presume to question me goblin! I will deliver what I promised when I am satisfied that all is as it should be."

The robed and hooded figure waved its' hands in a series of complex gestures while murmuring and with a puff of inky black smoke a large iron-bound wooden chest appeared behind Wulfgut.

"There hobgoblin, is the edged steel that you were promised. Now we are done here!" Said the figure in the goblin tongue and then grabbing Eryca by the arm the figure spoke a few spidery words and the two disappeared in a cloud of inky black smoke.

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