Minutes became hours. Hours became days. Khristian’s light spell had faded long ago and now Gayl sat in complete darkness. His body burned from the plague flowing through him and he was so exhausted he could barley lift his arms. He sat on the floor with his back to the wall, fighting to stay alert and conscious. His sense’s strained to notice any threat lurking in the darkness. If it came, he wasn’t sure he could do anything about it. Despite it all, his vigil never wavered. After what seemed like an eternity Gayl heard Khristian rousing next to him.
“I’m still here,” he responded. Their voices sounded thunderous in the quite sewer and Gayl flinched as he pulled himself up. He knew the baby would be crying soon and if anymore of the rat creatures were still lurking they would immediately be drawn to their position. He heard Khristian murmuring and soon his symbol of Sarenrae blazed with light. Gayl was blinded for a moment, but soon his vision returned and the brick walls of the sewer came back into focus. Khristian put his hand on Gayl’s head and looked into his eyes. “You’re still warm,” he said. “How do you feel”?
“Better actually,” Gayl responded. He still felt like hell and was very tired, but he did feel better then when he began his watch. Khristian patted him on the shoulder called him a “tough solider”. Gayl couldn’t help but smile at the complement reflecting on his initial recruitment. Khristian gathered up the still sleeping child and they continued their journey through the sewers.
They hadn’t traveled long when Gayl noticed their surroundings growing brighter. Soon they saw daylight up a head. They both let out a sigh of relief and headed towards the drainage exit. They were almost out when Gayl grabbed Khristian and stopped short. He heard several footsteps approaching from outside. Before they could react they saw shadows cast across the exit from the rising sun. They quickly turned back and ducked around a corner. Gayl pulled out his pistol and peaked his head around. He uttered a silent prayer hoping they would be passed by. He didn’t believe he could survive another fight. His hopes were quashed when he heard the barks and growls.
He just had enough time to utter a warning when hounds were unleashed and began charging towards them. They rounded the corner and one leapt towards Gayl while the other chased down Khristian. Gayl shot the hound while it was still in midair but its body still collided with him and knocked him off his feet. He rolled its carcus off of him and turned to help Khristian. Khristian was on the ground using his body to shield the baby from the hound. He cried out as its claws and teeth tore into him. Gayl pulled out his sword and skewered the dog who let out a loud yelp before dying. Gayl helped Khristian up as the sounds of shouts and footsteps drew close. Khristian was badly hurt but it looked like he could still walk. The baby was unharmed but was crying loudly. “Run,” Gayl yelled.
They began sprinting down the hall, but Gayl knew they could not outrun their pursuers with their injuries. With the child crying and Khristian’s light bobbing as he ran they had no way they could hide. “Keep running and swing round behind them and head towards the exit. I’ll hold them off while you escape.” Gayl said. Khristian turned to him ready to argue, but Gayl gave him a look showing that this was not up for debate. He stopped and turned back towards their pursuers while Khristian continued on. He pulled out his gun with his last bullet and waited. The light was faint here and he hopped that he would get the drop on them before he came into sight. Surprise was the only chance he had.
He saw their lantern floating ahead of him like a Will’O’Wisp with three shadowy figures following in its wake. Three men and one bullet. One of the figures stopped and pointed Gayl out. Gayl could tell from the man’s guttural speech that he had orc blood in him and that Gayl was as visible to him as if he were standing in daylight. His surprise blown, Gayl knew he was dead. His vision was getting blurry with his exertion and his pistol felt heavy in his hands. His mind raced as he tried to figure a way out. With no other options left, he took aim and fired at the best target he had.
The lantern exploded in the man’s hands, covering him and his companions in flames. As they screamed and struggled to put out the flames, Gayl rushed forward with his sword. He closed in and stabbed the orc repeatedly but then he was cracked on the head with a club from one of the other men. A bright flash of light consumed his vision and he felt himself falling. As soon as he hit the ground he was kicked in the stomach several times. He reached out and caught the man’s foot and shoved him forward sending him tumbling backwards. Gayl stuggled to his feet trying hard not to pass out or vomit. His ears were ringing and blood from his wound was running into his eyes. The man got back to his feet and came at Gayl. Gayl dodged the first couple of swings but the effort caused his head to spin and he stumbled and fell. The man stood over and raised his club over his head ready to crush Gayl’s skull. Gayl kicked out and swept the man off of his feet. Gayl held his sword erect and the man implaed himself on the blade as he fell foreward.
Gayl rolled the dead man off and got to his feet. Up ahead the last man had finally put out the flames, but his arm and face were badly burned and his swagger suggested he was in just as bad of shape as Gayl. Gayl advanced cautiously trying to keep his balance. Every couple of steps his vision would become blurry and he saw himself facing three men instead of one. He saw the man reach into his coat with his good hand and pull out an ax. Before Gayl could react the man flung the ax at him, impaling him in the shoulder. Despite the blow Gayl kept his feet and ground his teeth as he reached up with his left hand and began to pull the ax out. The man drew a sword and rushed Gayl. Gayl screamed as he ripped the ax out of his shoulder and swung it at the rushing opponent. The man stumbled backwards and avoided the blow. He then lunged foreward with his blade, just as Gayl was lunging with his sword in his right hand. The two skewerd eachother and fell to the ground. Gayl’s sword had gone through the mans chest while his blade had pierced Gayl’s stomach. His armor had taken some of the momentume away, but Gayl knew the wound was still fatal.
He lied there for a couple of minutes staring into the darkness. He grew colder as he fealt his blood flowing from his wounds. He let his eyes close as he waited to die. Then a voice shouted out in his head. “I don’t want to die here. Not is this disgusting dark place”. The thought spurred him into action and he pulled himself. His hand on his stomach he staggered towards the exit. He hopped that he Khristian and the child had gotten out during the fight and were now safe. Khristian was badly wounded by the hound though and he had no idea how far the man would get in the wilds. He couldn’t do anything more for them.
He found the way out and grinned at walking from a dark place towards a bright light to his death. He walked out and stood for a couple moments waiting for his eyes to adjust. Up ahead he saw a blurry green line that he asumed must be the surrounding woodlands. “There” he thought. “I’m an Elf, I will die in the woods”. He walked as far as he could into the woods, which wasn’t far considering his condition. The sewer entrance was still insight but it was as far as he could go. He let himself drop and felt contenet. He took a deep, painful breath and was glad to smell clean air before he died. He closed his eyes and waited. He felt so cold and tired. Then he saw a light forming and his pain slowly subsided as the light grew. He fealt warmth coming from the light as he floated towards it. This was it, the doorway to the afterlife. He didn’t venerate any particluar god when he was alive. Where would his soul go?
The light took on a humionid form and Gayl wondered if this was a diety or some celestial coming to claim his soul. The form became more detailed and Gayl was confused to see that it was a young human man. He was holding up what looked like the symbol for Cayden Cailean and there were other figures around him. The human took a sweet treat out of his mouth and spoke. “Don’t worry mate. You’re still with us,” and then winked at Gayl. Gayl saw the others around him were clothed in bright garish colors identifying them as Varisians. One of them was holding Gayl up and the others around him stared down in concern. Did he end up in a Varisian afterlife? He then saw Khristian standing amongst them and a young woman next to him nursing the child they had fought so hard to protect. “No, “he thought. “After all that and they didn’t make it”. The one holding him held a waterskin to his lips and he drank deep. It was the best thing he ever tasted. He put the skin down and continued to look around. He locked eyes with Khristian who was smiling with relief. Then it finally set in.
He was alive.
“Who…, where…, how?” he mumbed to Khristian failing to form his question.
“I ran into them on the trail near here,” Khristian explained. “Apparently they had been hiding in the city and had just now been able to sneak out”.
“How did you find me?” Gayl asked.
The priest of Cayden Cailean spoke up. “The trail of blood from the sewer’s kind of gave you away. I thought you elvest were suppose to be good at covering your tracks”.
An older man steped foreward and introduced hiself as Ali. He was the head of the troupe and his brother was the priest who had healed Khristian and Gayl. Gayl leaned back and took a moment to savor the sereinity. They were safe. The moment was short however as Gayl’s training reminded him that he had to report the attack to his supperiors in Kyonin. The attack happened last night, but it already fealt so long ago. Gayl got to his feet and addressed Ali. “We need to travel to Kyonin. If you head south and then…”
Ali held up his hands and shook his head. “Don’t worry. We know the way”.