After doing so they huddled for a moment to catch their breath. “That won’t hold Necromancer for long,” Anvar commented. “I hope you have a plan.”
Before Linvin could say a word, one of the Imperial Guards on the main floor spotted them and screamed, “The prisoners have escaped. To arms.” He blew a horn by his side.
“How about that plan?” Rander asked impatiently. “Is there one?”
Linvin surveyed the grand area and answered, “No time to explain. Just do as I do.” He led his uncle and cousins along the hall toward the tapestry. Soon they took shelter behind its massive width.
Clanking of armor was heard in great numbers coming from the far hallway. On the ground floor the guards from the outside stairs entered the room and were joined by a host of others. They ran with haste toward the great staircase. Moments later the great double doors to the throne-room blasted open from the Colorful Magic of Necromancer. Though Linvin’s party was safely distant, the situation became that much direr.
“This is your plan?” asked Rander. “Hide behind a rug? They already know we are here and are coming. Can’t you do anything else with that gem at all? Where’s all the great power we heard about? We are trapped in this hallway. You have no way out. We are all doomed.”
Linvin paid little attention to the complaints. He concentrated instead on the progress of the guards coming up the stairs, the ones emerging from the far hallway and the rapidly growing group from the throne-room. His gaze shifted around the three approaching enemies as he gauged their rate of closure. Without breaking his concentration Linvin spoke firmly to his uncle. “When this is over and we are free, reminded me to beat the life out of Rander.” Anvar simply nodded in an effort not to affect Linvin’s thought process.
The guards from below reached the landing on the second level and were ascending the two side stairways. Guards took up positions at the two ends of the hall and were slowly advancing from equal distances.
Anvar finally spoke. “I can take out a few but I cannot channel enough magic for this fight.”
“Save your magic. We will need it soon. Now everyone climb onto the railing. Use the tapestry to brace yourselves.” His bewildered family did as they were told and were soon balancing on the rail. “Alright, then. Follow my lead.” Linvin placed the Red Sapphire in his pocket and stabbed his short sword through the tapestry. Then he jumped off the railing. The sword slowed his descent as it sliced through the very fiber of Mandrean bravado. Following suit, Anvar and the twins dove in a similar manor and slid down the backside of the wall hanging.
The soldiers on the stairs were in such a hurry to climb the steps that steel blades sliding down the tapestry went unnoticed. In the hallway the guards were awestruck by the spectacle and did little more than watch as their adversary escaped.
Once Linvin and the others reached the ground he led them in a race for the grand entrance. After they cleared the front of the staircase all the men could see what became of their foe. Though only moments passed, the guards on the top took an inordinate amount of time to cry out the location of Linvin’s band. All eyes turned to see them crossing the center of the room and nearing the exit. Immediately the soldiers on the stairs turned and stumbled back down the way they’d come.
It was time for Linvin’s masterstroke. He held up his fist and the party stopped. Then he turned and regarded the majestic work of art, which had been formed into a staircase. “Anvar,” he said calmly. “That needs to be gone…now.” Anvar nodded and stretched forth his hands. Concentrating longer than they had ever seen him do before, Anvar built up such an aura of orange magic that a sphere glowed around his body. All at once he released the energy just as the first guards returned to the second floor landing. The wave of magic struck the stairs with a thunderclap as they exploded sending stone and men alike hurtling through the air. Those on the top level were cut off from their main access to the first floor and Linvin.
With debris still falling to the ground, Rander resumed his path for the doors. Linvin grabbed his arm and stopped his progress. “No. Not that way. We just woke every Mandrean soldier in the city. That is the direction from which they will come. So we shall go this way.”