Legends of Cobalt

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Thieves in the Night

“It will take three days to reach Spinel on foot.” William ushered us through the dark toward the stables. “I talked a wanderer into letting you ride on a wagon to get you there faster.”

“What about our stuff at the tavern?” Phebes slipped on the wet grass. and caught herself on my shoulder.

“It’s taken care of.” William slid the stable door open, pale firelight bloomed in the dark. “Father wanted you closer in case he needed you again. He ordered me to clear out your personal belongings from the Atropa Belladonna and store them here.” He waved us through the door. “Get in before someone sees the light.”

We squeezed through the stable door and William pulled it closed behind us. Oil lamps hung from iron hooks casting a steady yellow glow into the space. Horses slept in the gated stalls lining the walls. The building wreaked like wet straw and animal dung.

 “Where is he?” William whispered to himself and pushed past us. “I told him to harness the horses and be ready to go when I got back.”

Grazer the druid stepped out of a stall near the back of the room. The horse in the stall pushed at Grazer’s head with its nose and the druid scratched the beast’s chin.

“Why didn’t you get the horses harnessed up?”

“Oh, hey, how are you guys? I haven’t seen you in a while, I think?” Grazer meandered over to us. “Where’s your grumpy bull friend?”

“We had a difference in moral understanding,” Wyanet replied.

“That sounds like it’s bad,” Grazer frowned. “Is that bad?”

 “Why didn’t you harness the horses, like I told you to?” William insisted and pointed at the hay wagon against the back door.

Grazer looked at the wagon. “Oh, yeah, that’s why I came out here. I got talking to these kind horses and must have gotten distracted.” He jogged his thumb at a stallion. “She says she doesn’t get enough to eat. If you don’t have enough hay, I have some space to plant a little more. Most of the hay I grow gets eaten by donkey and goat, but I’m sure they wouldn’t mind sharing if I asked them. I could bring you some if you want?”

William rubbed his forehead with one hand. “We can discuss my stallion and his eating habits later. The four of you need to get going before dawn.” William opened that stall of a shaggy draft horse and grabbed its harness. “Let’s get moving.”

“Does that horse have a pulling partner?” Wyanet placed her gear on the driver’s bench of the hay wagon.

William pointed to an identical horse on the opposite wall. Wyanet coaxed the horse from its stall and helped William hitch them to the wagon.

I jumped into the wagon bed. A plain, rough-cut, wooden chest sat behind the driver’s bench. I opened the lid and sorted through it. Phebes hovered over me.

“It should all be in there.” William pulled a leather strap tight and buckled it in place. “That cute barmaid helped me gather it all up. What was her name? Rebecca, I think?”

“Do you mean Raisa?” Grazer ran his fingers through a horse’s mane.

“That was it!” William hitched the trace to the yoke. “If we survive this, I think I’m going to be spending some more time around that tavern.”

“You would need to kill Bella before she allowed you to,” Wyanet laughed.

“Is everything there?” Phebes whispered to me.

“Our basic gear is, but my sword isn’t.”

The front door of the stable slid open. We all stopped what we were doing and stared. Olivia limped through the gap. We sighed in relief.

“I’m glad I caught you.” Olivia used a spear as a crutch, a hard leather pouch hung from her back and she carried a sword in her free hand. “I have some gifts for you.”

“That is not necessary.” Wyanet met Olivia halfway.

“No, it is necessary. You saved the lives of Frederick and me. It is the least I can do before you risk your lives for us again.” Olivia extended the spear to Wyanet. “It isn’t made in the style you are used to, but it is well made and better than nothing.” 

Wyanet took the spear and tested its weight with an approving nod. Olivia limped toward me. I hopped down from the wagon and met her.

“You mentioned your sword broke at the cathedral,” Olivia handed me the sword in her hand, “My girlfriend and I have worked on this project for some time. This is the first weapon that my enchantment held on to and the only one I have. It isn’t the best of enchantments, and I think with time I could weave more in, but it should make it a little easier to cut through someone’s defences.”

“Thank you. When this is all over I will try my best to get it back to you.” I pulled the sword from its scabbard and inspected the blade. Runes etched into the metal ran the length of the fuller. The runes shimmered in the shifting lamplight.

Olivia handed the leather case up to Phebes on the wagon. “I’ve also been working on these for when I decided to leave Vercingetorix.”

Phebes unbuttoned the clasps on the case and lifted the lid. “What are they?” Phebes pulled a small glass vile from the case. Blood-red liquid swirled like fire in the bottle.

“Healing potions?” I slid my new sword back into its scabbard.

“They are only basic healing potions, but yes.” Olivia replied, “They are useful in a pinch and more reliable than hoping divine intervention will save you.”

William cleared his throat. “When were you going to tell father about leaving the pack?”

Olivia tilted her nose up and refused to look at William. “I do not require the permission of a man to take major action in my life.”

William rolled his eyes. “Anyway, you’re good to go.”

Phebes closed the potions case and stored it in the chest. William and Wyanet lead the horses out of the stable. I tossed my sword into the wagon and walked after it.

Olivia grabbed my arm and stopped me. “Thank you for saving Fredrick and me.” Olivia kissed me on the cheek. “We’ll try to join you by the week’s end. That brat Nellie owes me blood.”

“Um. Uh. It was no problem.” 

I chased after the wagon and leapt into it. Phebes caught my hand and kept me from falling backwards. Wyanet climbed her way onto the driver’s bench beside Grazer. William walked alongside us.

“Don’t light your guide lights until you’re clear of the estate.” William pulled an envelope from his pocket and handed it to Wyanet. “Give this to the gate guard on your way out of the city. It should get you out of the city without any record of your passage. It should also get you some rations for the journey South if you’re lucky.” William took a few more steps away from the wagon. “Remember, you don’t need to kill the enemy, just keep it occupied. We’ll be a few days behind you. Good luck.”

Grazer snapped the reigns and our wagon picked up some speed. Gravel crunched under the wheels and the horses’ hooves. I put my back against the chest and rested my arm on the side rail. Phebes pulled a blanket from the chest and wrapped it around both of us before resting her head against me. Our wagon took five minutes to cross the estate. We jolted to a stop at the open gates. I craned my neck around to see.

“Get out of our way,” Wyanet demanded.

Phebes started to snore softly against me.

“Is it too late for me to come with you,” Bucephalus responded.

“Why? Have you changed your mind?”

“I thought about it and realised you are still my best chance to leave this Gods-forsaken land. If That means I have to travel with you back into the pits of evil, so be it.”

“Climb on,” Grazer announced, “The more the merrier!”

Wyanet clambered over the driver’s bench into the back. She plopped down on the opposite side of Phebes and raised an eyebrow at me. I shrugged with my free shoulder in response. The wagon axles creaked and we jerked forward into the city.

The story will continue, August 6th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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