“Ambush!” Juniper yelled as a crossbow bolt struck Riffen in the chest.
Behind them they heard a scream of a girl.
“Grace,” Juniper yelled.
“Head’s up,” Sigthyme said as a second crossbow bolt soared over his head.
“Smash!” Tak raised his warhammer and charged towards the overturn carts, now barricades for the bandits, but they were just out of reach.
Seeing the Goliath charging their defenses, one of the bandits aimed their bow at Tak and fired. The bolt sank into Tak’s shoulder, but he didn’t care. He already had his eyes on the other bandit who was in the middle of reloading the crossbow.
Riffen staggered for a bit before pulling the crowbow bolt from his armor.
“Ow,” Riffen muttered.
“Riffen, go to Grace,” Juniper yelled.
“Fine! Yeah,” Riffen turned and ran back towards the cart.
Once he reached it he saw two more bandits with large swords trying to attack Grace.
“Grace, hold on!” He yelled as he ran.
One bandit saw Riffen running and tried to grab a hold of Grace, she thought fast and slipped out from the man’s grasp. Then she plunged the knife into his leg. The bandit let out a yell.
“You little brat!” He sneered.
During this, Sigthyme ran forward towards the bandit’s barricades. He raised his hand and purple energy swirled around it. The purple energy shot forward like a cloud swirling around the bandit closest to Tak. The bandit’s body locked up unable to move and was held in place.
“Go get them, Tak!” Sigthyme cheered.
A new individual lifted himself up and stood on top of the third cart. Right away Sigthyme could tell that he was not human. He had blue skin and blue, wispy hair. A large scar ran across his face like a lightning bolt. He smiled with bright white teeth. He wore leather armor and a blue bandana wrapped around his head.
“Well, isn’t this interesting. Looks like we stumbled upon some warriors,” He said with a booming voice. “They look quite special.”
He turned his view towards Sigthyme.
“Yes, this one is special, I can tell,” He smiled.
The man placed his hand to his chest and a spark of blue energy swirled around him covering him with blue armor on top of his leather armor. Sigthyme could tell that this was arcane magic similar to his.
Juniper considered running back to help Grace and Riffen, but the sight the new, magically gifted foe stepping out of the shadows made her change her mind.
“Pickle, fly up and get ready to attack,” Juniper said and Piakol nodded flapping his wings and taking off into the sky.
Then Juniper darted towards the closest tree alongside the road. She raised her bow and shot an arrow at the blue-skinned man. The arrow flew through the air striking the man in the chest. The arrow passed through the blue, shimmery armor and pierced him in the chest.
The man turned and glared at Juniper before she ducked behind the tree.
The last bandit ran forward and cut off Riffen from reaching the cart. The bandit slashed out with her sword, but Riffen managed to raise his sword and deflect the blade.
Tak was no within swinging distance of the unmoving bandit with the crossbow. The bandit was able to look up at the war hammer as it came down, but he could not scream.
Tak slammed down the warhammer using both hands and it slammed down destroying the man’s skull and turning the rest of his body to bloody goo. Tak killed the man with one hit.
“You’re going to be a problem, I see,” The blue-skinned man growled.
“You’re next,” Tak growled back pointing the war hammer at the bandit leader.
The second bandit behind the cart couldn’t see much of the battle but saw the halfling in front of him. He shot a bolt at Sigthyme striking him in the shoulder. The bandit then ducked behind the overturned cart.
Riffen was no engaged with another bandit and was cut off from Grace.
“Grace, I’m coming. Just hold on,” He said. “First I have to take care of this thug.”
Riffen slashed out with his sword with a large arc across the bandit’s body. The sword slashed right through the bandit’s clothes like it was nothing and opened up a long, deep cut across the body. Blood poured out of her as she took a step back. The bandit was barely breathing.
The bandit closest to Grace looked over and saw his ally badly hurt. He raised his sword and slashed at Grace. The sword cut across her arm and she yelled out with pain. Blood ran down her arm covering her leather armor and started to pool on the ground.
“Now you’ve done it,” Grace said.
She quickly jumped back out of the bandit’s reach and threw her knife at him. The knife struck him near his collarbone on the right side embedding itself into his flesh. He was badly hurt, but not dead.
“I’ll kill you!” He yelled pointing the sword at her.
Riffen knew he had to get to Grace first or the bandit could kill her. Then Juniper would probably kill him.
Sigthyme looked towards both the blue-skinned man and the other bandit. He really didn’t like the guy shooting bolts at him, but he also didn’t like the look on the magic guy’s face. The man’s abilities made Sigthyme worried about what else he could possibly do.
Sigthyme waved his hands once again casting the same spell. This time his target was the leader of the group.
“No more magic for you!” Sightyme shouted.
The cloud of purple energy surrounded him and the magic squeezed his body. Then the magic dissipated and the man shook it off.
“Nice try Halfling,” He sneered. “You’ll have to do better than that if you want to stop me.”
“Yeah well…at least I don’t look like my mother had sex with a blueberry pie,” Sigthyme yelled.
“For that, let me show you what else I can do,” The man said.
He reached out a hand and an explosion of white, freezing cold energy came from his hand. It struck Sigthyme and it was like a blizzard consumed him. Frost covered his entire body and snow laid around him at his feet. Ice clung to his body and he could see his breath.
Sigthyme stumbled forward onto his hands and knees. His whole body was in pain as the cold clung to him.
“That is what I can do, Halfling,” He sneered. “Don’t mess with an Air Genasi.”
Juniper watched as her travelling companion and ally got coated with cold and frost. Maybe he was weak to fire.
“Piakol now! Use your firebreath!” Juniper shouted.
Piakol swooped down from the tree tops and unleashed a torrent of fire towards both the bandit leader and the closest bandit as well as the wooden structures. The leader was able to dodge out of the way and only suffered from minor burns while the other bandit was completely covered in flames.
“You have a dragon as well? Aren’t you just full of surprises,” The Air Genasi laughed.
While this was going on, two bandits still had Grace and Riffen in their sights. The female bandit was badly hurt but was willing to fight to the last breath. She launched herself with her blade outstretched. Riffen was able to deflect her blade and plunged his blade into her side. Her last breath left her lips as she slumped at his side onto the dirt road.
“Not today,” Riffen said before turning his attention back to Grace and the other bandit.
Tak watched as the small dragon flew overhead and torched his enemies.
“Their deaths are mine!” He yelled.
Tak lifted himself up onto the cart and swung with his warhammer at the Air Genasi. Unfortunatley, he ducked underneath the hammer.
“You have to be faster than that, giant,” He sneered.
“I will smash you!” Tak yelled back.
The crossbowman took his chance and shot a bolt at Tak seeing him as the most dangerous. The crossbow bolt sailed through the air and sunk into Tak’s neck, but it didn’t seem to phase him. Tak was concentrated on the leader.
Riffen moved forward putting himself between the bandit and Grace.
“Big man putting his hands on a little girl. Makes you feel tough, huh? Well now you got to mess with me,” Riffen said.
He slashed out with the sword and before the bandit was able to react, the blade passed through his neck severing the head from the body. Both fell to the ground with a splat.
Riffen stood there breathing in and out, deep heavy breaths.
“Done and done,” He muttered.
Grace walked up to him still holding her bleeding arm.
“Thanks, Riffen,” She said before falling into him.
Riffen dropped his sword to the ground in order to catch her and he helped her to the ground.
“That’s a bad wound, but I’m sure we can heal you up,” He said.
“Medic!” He yelled towards the others.
Sigthyme stood in his spot still covered in frost. His body still ached and the cold still wrapped around his body.
He whistled a little tune to himself as magic radiated his body. He warmed up a little as the magic healed his wounds.
He smiled as he stood up and yelled out to the Air Genasi.
“Hey gas head! I like your stupid cloud hair! It makes you look like a poodle during a thunderstorm,” He yelled out.
The Air Genasi turned to Sightyme.
“You again, I thought I took care of you,” He growled clutching his head with one hand.
“You mean that thing with the snow? Please, you’ll have to do better than a little, snowball fight,” Sightyme chuckled.
The Air Genasi leader studied the battlefield quickly. It started out as a fair fight, but now the odds were against him. A magic user, a giant with a warhammer, and an Elf Archer with a pet dragon. Plus the other two of his bandit allies had not shown up. It was possible that they too had died. This battle was not in his favor any more.
“Well this has been a fun time, but I must make haste. Perhaps I will see you all again. Next time I’ll bring more friends,” He said.
“Leaving so soon? I was just getting warmed up,” Sightyme said. “And so was the dragon.”
“Enough of your jokes,” He snapped his fingers and pointed to the ground in front of him.
There was a blue flash of magical energy and then white fog errupted from the earth. It quickly spread obscurring everyone’s view.
“Hey where did you go!” Sightyme yelled as the clouds consumed his vision.
“Sigthyme! Sigthyme! Where are you!” Juniper stood on the outside of the fog cloud.
“In here,” Sigthyme yelled out. “He’s making his escape!”
Tak swung his warhammer around wildly but was unable to make contact with anything.
“Stupid cloud!” Tak yelled.
“Tak! Do you see him? Tak!” Sigthyme tried to find his friend.
They stumbled around in the cloud for a minute before it disipated. Both the Air Genasi, bandit leader and the other bandit was gone.
“Maybe you can track them,” Sigthyme suggested.
“Yeah, maybe” Juniper said.
“Medic!” Riffen yelled out again.
“Oh no, Grace,” Juniper said before running towards Riffen and Grace.
“Right behind you,” Sigthyme said.
“Me too!” Tak took up the back.
All three of them ran over to Riffen kneeling with Grace in his lap.
“Is she…is she?” Juniper stumbled over her words.
“She’s hurt, but she’s not dead,” Riffen explained. “She suffered a nasty cut, but I killed the two bandits. Now can you please hurry. Do either of you have healing magic?”
“Yes,” Sigthyme and Juniper said at the same time.
Juniper knelt down beside them and touched Grace’s wound. Nature’s healing energy flowed through Juniper closing the bleeding wound. At the same time Sigthyme hummed an old, Elven lullaby he had heard and purple energy surrounded Grace and helped in the healing process.
Grace’s eyes blinked open and she sat up quickly.
“What? What happened?” She said.
“It’s alright, dear. We took care of them,” Juniper said helping Grace to her feet.
“Well most of them anyway,” Sigthyme said.
“What do you mean most of them?” Riffen asked.
“Blue man got away,” Tak grumbled.
“It’s alright, Tak. You got to smash one of them,” Sigthyme did his best to comfort him.
“Just one? I killed two bandits,” Riffen smiled at Tak.
“With my help,” Grace said.
She walked over and pulled the knife from the bandit’s lifeless body.
“Let’s just get out of here before any more bandits show up,” Juniper said. “We can talk body counts later.”
Juniper helped Grace to the wagon and had her lay down in the back. Grace tried to argue, but honestly she was pretty tired. The adrenaline of the fight was leaving her body, and the blood loss really made her worn out. Tak and Riffen made their way to the rest of the bandit’s trap. They managed to pull what was left of the wagons off the road, opening it up to travel once again. Tak also stacked the three bandit bodies in one of the wagons.
“Do we want to bury them or burn them or something?” Riffen asked Tak.
“No use in dead bodies. Leave them,” Tak shrugged and walked back towards the wagon.
“Alright then,” Riffen cleaned his sword and then followed Tak.
“Do you want to go after them?” Sigthyme asked Juniper.
“I want to go after them, but they might have more reinforcements nearby. Plus I already put Grace in enough danger for today. I say we just keep on our journey towards Xylon,” She replied.
He wanted to pursue the magic user, but he knew that it was up to the group. Plus Sigthyme was worried that the Air Genasi might have more tricks up his sleeve. They had survived this round, but the next round could be more deadly.
“Alright let’s head out,” Sigthyme said.
They got the cart ready to move and all five of them continued on their journey towards Xylon.
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Header Photo Credit to Jo Chen (Could not find actual picture on website)