one. You did exactly what I wanted you to do. Now I do not need
to track down your friends. As for your fate, I hate bullies and
cowards. You are both of those things and will die before your
friends can save you.” Linvin knocked the man back a step with a
sweep from his shield. It left the man’s body open and Linvin did
not squander the opportunity. He plunged Falconfeather through
the man’s stomach and pulled it out through his side. The bandit
fell to the ground, dead.
The other three men were almost ready to strike. One bore a
broadsword while the others carried battleaxes. Three more men
could be seen running from the front of the column. Linvin quickly
sized up his opposition. If he hurried, he could kill the three men in
the back before the others arrived. The battleaxes were unsuited
for close-quarters combat while the broadsword was perfect for the
fray. He decided it was best to save the swordsman for last as the
axe men were at a disadvantage when close to their peers.
Linvin sprang into action, kicking one of the men baring an axe
and using his shield to absorb a sword thrust. Then he struck
behind the knee of the second axe-man and sent him to the ground.
Not wasting time to bend down for the kill, he stomped the man’s
windpipe with the heel of his boot and left him to asphyxiate.
Now Linvin had enemies on both sides but turned his attention
to the man with the axe. Linvin expected a quick swipe. When the
man hesitated, he knew a blow was coming from behind. He
instinctively ducked and saw the broadsword pass over him. Not
being able to stop his momentum, the bandit fell over Linvin. His
motion carried Linvin with him as he fell to the ground. Knowing
it was imperative to reach his feet again, Linvin kneed the man in
the groin and cast him aside. Then he rolled back onto his feet just
in time to block a blow from the axe with his shield.
What no one including Linvin had realized was that the staff
holding the red sapphire had come loose in the scrum, growing to
its full length, and lay unattended on the ground.
Linvin, meanwhile, spun off the axe blow and twisted toward
its owner. When the two men were face-to-face, Linvin struck the
man in the forehead with the pommel of Falconfeather. As the man
stepped back, Linvin drove the mighty sword though the man’s
torso and then withdrew it. The dying man fell to the ground in
Expecting another sword attack, Linvin turned back to the man
with the broadsword and raised his shield. To his surprise, the man
had stepped back and was waiting on his companions who were
almost on the scene. “We’re going to need everybody down here
for this one!” the man called to the front.
Linvin’s best chance for success was to keep the participants he
fought to a limited number at one time. With that in mind, he
drove at the man, brushing aside a sword swipe and a punch. At
close range, Linvin bashed his shield into the man’s face and then
drove Falconfeather deep into his belly. He quickly withdrew the
blade and brushed aside the body.
It was not a moment too soon as the three from the front arrived
in force. They wore leather armor, and all carried swords similar to
their recently killed comrade. The first man charged into Linvin
and tackled him. Falconfeather and the shield flew from his hands.
The man’s companions came up alongside as Linvin wrestled
with the man. Linvin rolled over on top of him and was about to
deliver a punch when he saw a sword blade plunging at his back.
With a quick spin, he switched places with the man he was
wrestling and let him take the blow. The blade buried deep in the
man’s spine and lodged there. Casting the injured man off him, he
precisely aimed and struck his boot into the kneecap of the man
standing nearby who was still armed. A loud crack was heard as
the man fell to the ground, holding his broken knee.