The Assassin The Soldier And The Thief - Chapter 39 - Burning the Bridges | Penana
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The Assassin The Soldier And The Thief
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#39
Chapter 39 - Burning the Bridges
Nelso555
Dec 15, 2017
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No Plagiarism!bsWzjj5L5tpD6m2kg560posted on PENANA

It was the aching pain in his side that kept Arlandra Knight away from battle for at least two weeks. Juliet told him when he awoke from his slumber that he had been tossing and turning whilst battling with a terrible fever.copyright protection37PENANAxA3rStXM7M

He remembered none of it, only his dreams, playing over and over in his head like some broken record player. He remembered kneeling before a dark and unseeable figure. His body was tired and heavy, and there was blood on his hands, but he couldn’t tell whom it belonged to. The figure was tall and almost took on the shape of a human, but Arlandra only saw that of a demon. Smoke spiralled away from its body and Arlandra found that he was suffocating. Then the demon’s eyes flicked open, bright against the darkness of its body. One of its eyes was as red as the blood on the assassin’s hands, and the other took on a deep and fiercely drawing green.copyright protection37PENANAtjeqTxJYjP

Arlandra tried to run but his feet were as solid as lead. He was paralysed, unable to stand or turn away. The demon pulled from the nothingness of the assassin’s dream the shadow of a blade. It’s expressionless eyes glared into him, and then he cried out in terror as the blade was brought down.copyright protection37PENANAsIsy4vTkBZ

He’d wake up screaming, of course, and it’d only take Juliet’s soothing voice to calm him down once again. As he recovered from the wounds that Garn had dealt him, and the fever that burned him, he at some stage expected a contemptuous I told you so from Juliet, but she never said it.copyright protection37PENANAl8zoArSyeZ

And now, three weeks after his encounter against Garn and the shemn, the assassin once again marched into battle across the bridge of Surra. For the first time in those three weeks he was able to again become lost in the blue of the Sandra, and with it followed all of the memories he had stored there. He saw where, somewhere along the bank of the river, eleven years ago, he was found by the assassin’s order. His life had begun here, in this place where he was about to battle with the shemn.copyright protection37PENANAkHiz8b6Saq

He was among everyone now who belonged to Surra, they all understood what was needed to keep the city safe, and he hoped that meant they were willing to die. Soldiers and resistance fighters, assassins and bounty hunters, civilians and criminals, they were all here to fight.copyright protection37PENANAHC8abdF5xg

A cloud of smoke sprung up from over the horizon, indicating the presence of the shemn. There was a tension within Arlandra that he had never felt before. His body still hurt, the scar that remained from where a sword had pierced through his body continued to ache as he moved.copyright protection37PENANA4TpEi06ayk

The men were lined up on the far end of the bridge, facing the luscious green of the Taegan Valley. A group of them who Arlandra assumed were leading the defence were shouting orders and giving inspirational speeches that he really didn’t need. Then he stumbled across a familiar smell. It was similar to the smell of tobacco, however it was more bitter and fruity.copyright protection37PENANA9T2ssaEy3O

When he spotted the man’s thin blonde hair, the dress pants and the blue collard shirt, and of course the cane with the silver head, he knew that he was looking at Jonathan Bernard. Bernard stood with his back straight and his head up, glancing over the valley as if there wasn’t a worry in the world. There was someone with him, a little younger than Arlandra, he was unsmiling and he bore the tattoo of a cross on his cheek.copyright protection37PENANAZKr7UDlAIS

“Small world,” Arlandra said to Bernard.copyright protection37PENANARMMhr4hxeP

Bernard looked at the assassin, he was surprised but he tried not to show it. “Why yes it is,” he said. “No doubt it’ll be a lot smaller once this damn war is finished.” Bernard gestured to his follower. “Allow me to introduce you to my new champion, Saizo Vittorii.” The boy glared at Arlandra with cold eyes.copyright protection37PENANASoIVQa6uJ9

“Of all people, I never thought I’d see you here.” Arlandra continued.copyright protection37PENANAjJTKQOnco5

“I’d say the same to you,” Bernard replied.copyright protection37PENANA4gSRxkVOS9

The commanders had finished their speech and the mock army could only wait now.copyright protection37PENANAEKxnFoyLTh

Arlandra wondered about Bernard. “And why would a man like yourself,” he said, “a self proclaimed king, risk everything to fight on the front lines.”copyright protection37PENANAUc1OXRCk31

“It’s everyone’s world, Arlandra, it’s my part, same as everyone else, to protect it.” Bernard was still smiling. “Besides, those creatures burned down my village so I need some payback.”copyright protection37PENANAq8ijZPEVEw

Arlandra saw the first of the army of disfigured bodies march from over the horizon. There was a universal gasp as fear swept through the people and the commanders tried to calm them down.copyright protection37PENANA5ihCGW1eIU

Barnard didn’t seem to notice. “And what about you?” He asked rather casually. “What’s your business in all this?”copyright protection37PENANAwD7xs4p5pt

“Garn Pallerii,” Arlandra answered.copyright protection37PENANA6PBo9BeNxS

“He’s the fellow your friend was asking about, wasn’t he? So you’re still after him. I think you’re losing your touch, my friend.”copyright protection37PENANAjCbAfRxg5g

“This one’s different,” Arlandra felt the pain that his scar had left behind, “it was merely a contract at first, but now it’s personal. You see, Bernard, he’s the one behind this war and I’ll do whatever it takes to undo what he did.”copyright protection37PENANAbBUi9mmysL

Bernard was surprised by that. “That so? Well if that’s the case then I might know some… accomplices, of mine who may be willing to help.”copyright protection37PENANA1yBDXLfcyM

“Really? Who?”41Please respect copyright.PENANARD0I8rYQtS
“They’re big and green and they live in the forest.” It was a stupid riddle.copyright protection37PENANA4SpgtE71Vd

Arlandra was sceptical. “You’re saying you actually established a working relationship with the orcs.”copyright protection37PENANAi6PcpYzLw1

“They’re actually quite reasonable… well, most of the time.”copyright protection37PENANAxyA9byUrKt

To Arlandra it sounded like a stupid idea, but then again, these days stupid ideas were far better than nothing. “Sounds like a plan to me.” He finally agreed. “Noveria will need all the help it can get.” He gestured to the approaching army of shemn. “We’ll need to deal with these guys first.”copyright protection37PENANAdOmC4PhcRc

He admitted to himself that, even though he had fought against the shemn before, the army that approached him now was terrifying. He was part of an infantry squad, so he would take on the shemn directly as soon as the riflemen were finished. He drew his sword and let the sunlight glint of the scarlet purple blade.copyright protection37PENANAp9iflIdVuK

Next to him, Bernard was holding a crimson revolver in one hand and a dagger in the other.copyright protection37PENANAX1ixbu56VQ

“You know, Bernard,” he began, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you fight before. You sure you’re up for this?”copyright protection37PENANAz9FVLJL3WC

Bernard gave a charming smile. “Don’t worry, I can hold my own, besides, Saizo here has been teaching me a few new tricks.”copyright protection37PENANAfmMyB8gO3K

Arlandra could have continued the conversation but he figured it was time to focus – in fact, he probably didn’t have time to say much else anyway.copyright protection37PENANAy0MRyYlE4g

At long last the riflemen fired, thunderous shots of scarlet blue and purple flying across the air in rallies. Arlandra could taste the bitter gunpowder that dried up his mouth. There were painful cries as the shemn retaliated, firing glowing red explosives into the ranks. Dust and bodies were kicked up into the air as each explosion went off.copyright protection37PENANAuEp9AbTleQ

The shemn did not falter no matter how many shots they took. They just kept coming, marching solidly and fiercely. Arlandra knew that the riflemen had done all that they could do. Now it was his turn. Strangely, he didn’t feel fear, but rather, desire. He closed his eyes and felt the power in his hands, the energy that flowed into his sword, black and red. His lips twisted into a smile, and before he knew it, he was the first one to embrace the shemn.copyright protection37PENANAYucK2NSjBW

He parried an oncoming blade and drove his sword hard into the enemy’s ribs. He channelled the energy from the fallen foe into the end of his blade and fired a red blast of power into the creatures behind it. That was a new trick, he thought.copyright protection37PENANA4aXQ1wOmaT

He heaved his sword sideways, throwing all his might into the swing, so much that he had cut one of the creatures in half at the waist.copyright protection37PENANADFx2P7dJts

Bernard fired his revolver aimless into the masses of the enemy, not caring where each bullet struck. He seemed surprising focused.copyright protection37PENANAzsWLdZz6ja

Meanwhile, Saizo fought them one at a time using only a thin little knife. There was a strange sense of beauty about the way that Saizo fought, and if it weren’t for the boy’s expressionless face as he cut the throat of the enemy, Arlandra would have assumed that he treated killing more like an art than a horrendous deed.copyright protection37PENANA2nl0enw3JH

After what had only felt like minutes of carnage, Arlandra heard the orders of “fall back,” and he knew that his time was over. The commanders were setting their plan into motion so he really didn’t have to be there anymore.copyright protection37PENANAWnnupcBDW5

There was a new rally of rifle fire that stopped the shemn in their tracks as the rest of the infantry fled like mice back towards Surra. Explosions went up behind him that left his ears ringing as he ran. They were going to destroy the bridge with all of the shemn on it, and Arlandra only hoped that the man with the explosives was patient enough to let the others off first.copyright protection37PENANA5vx2hK2QRl

When he reached the wall of barricades that marked ‘safety’ Arlandra turned around to watch the fireworks. What he got was even more spectacular, and admittedly, quite sad. He didn’t see the blistering fire of the explosions because they had gone off somewhere beneath the massive bridge, but he certainly heard them. Loud, constant, rumbling thunder that shook both the ground and the heavens. The bridge of Surra, the one that had been there for his entire life, little by little, broke into pieces and crumbled into the river below. Suddenly dust and smoke had consumed the sky, and had eaten his view of the Taegan valley and the devastation that now lay in-between.copyright protection37PENANA1TImUWJqZt

Well, Arlandra thought, there goes our way north. Burning the bridges, wow we are desperate. At least now we have time to come up with a plan.copyright protection37PENANA8WQvqgH2TE

Of course, Arlandra already knew his plan. He would find Bernard, who had become lost in the battle, hopefully he isn’t dead, and then he would get Juliet from the city and head East. It’s time to drag the orcs into this.copyright protection37PENANA7Z9F1qq4gh

He didn’t know if he fully trusted Bernard’s idea yet, but Noveria needed help, and what else could he do?copyright protection37PENANApha7E44ov4

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