They were walking back to camp as they talked and suddenly Wain said, “Look! There’s someone roasting a sausage over our fire!”
“Let’s be careful.”
“I’ll just pin him to the tree,” Wain strung his bow and knocked an arrow.
“No! He might be from the Order of the Sea.”
“All right. If you don’t want me to shoot him,” Wain grumbled, put the bow down, and strode into the camp. He grabbed the stranger, slammed him against the tree, and pinned him to it with his arm. In his other hand he caught the sausage.
“What are you doing here?” he growled.
“I am a knight of the Order of the Sea,” stuttered the man.
“Oh, really?” Wain stared at the man.
“Just let him down, Wain,” James said, “I sense no danger in him.”
“Oh ok,” Wain let the man go and took a bite of the sausage, “Sorry about that.”
“Oh, no trouble, I’m sure,” the man looked nervously at the barbarian.
“Sit down,” James invited, “What can you tell us about the tower guard?”
“The local garrison is lead by a vampire, it consists of about ten soldiers. Under the tower is a passage to the center island where the main fortress is.”
“How fares your order?”
“We have ten trained knights, ready to do or die to free the islands.”
“Are you their leader?”
“No. Our leader is Alain Shiningblade.”
“Why is he called Shiningblade?” Wain licked the sausage grease from his fingers.
“It sounds better than Shiningknife,” said the man a little dubiously, “You see, all we have are our daggers, bucklers, and wooden training swords.”
“Once we deal with the tower garrison tomorrow then you will all be properly armed,” assured Wain.
“We will be glad to follow you, lord paladin. Alain instructed me to tell you that he hopes you will use us wisely. He does not believe that we have the weaponry or the skill to match against the soldiers, without heavy casualties. Especially the vampire.”
“We have slain the vampire already,” James said.”
“Truly? You seem not injured.”
“A dorky looking fellow in a black cloak, with blackened weaponry. Right?”
“I wouldn’t call them dorky…” said the man hesitantly.
“Yeah well, he’s dead. Tomorrow we will deal with the garrison. Look, I love your company but its been a long day. Go tell Alain that we will meet him at noon in the village and assault the tower.”
“Yes, milord paladin,” the man rose and left.
Both James and Wain fell asleep almost immediately. Actually it had been a long two days for they had not slept in the boat. Fortunately for them the vampire had ordered his soldiers to stay in the tower until his return. They were happy enough to comply. Even though they were hardened mercenaries the vampires committed tortures that turned their stomachs.
– Part III
– Part V