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The man had the blade pressed against Sovos’ neck. Triumph coursed through him as he saw that he had won. It had looked like the target had walked out of a solid stone wall as he happened to be walking by on his patrol, but that didn’t matter now, he finally had his prize.
“The council? Well, it’s about time they sent someone after me.”
The man pressed the blade harder into his neck, making the target draw a sharp breath.
“Listen well boy, I’ve been on your trail for months. I simply had fortune smile on me today.”
“Ah, so it was you that destroyed my last decoy. I would have paid to see the look on your face when you realized it wasn’t me.”
“Silence! I promised I would bring you back alive and you are trying my patience with that!”
“Am I not obligated to harass my would-be captor? Especially now that I know you won’t kill me.”
“Would-be? I am your captor, Sovos. Now, take your bag off and kick it back to me. Draw your sword with your left hand, and drop it. Any sudden moves and I might break my promise to them.”
Sovos pulled the strap off his left shoulder and dropped the bag with a soft thump, he kicked it backwards and it slid across to the man. As he began to pull his sword out he said.
“The council obviously didn’t tell you everything about me. First, you should know that I am not completely helpless without my scrolls. Second, I am just a proficient with my left hand as I am with my right.”
He drew the blade and turned to the right as he collapsed his knees, the blade laying along the inside of his left forearm. The man swung wildly with his knife, missing, but knocking Sovos’ hat off. Sovos flowed into an upward slash, extending his wrist so that the cut would go from the man’s right hip to left shoulder. The man fell back and rolled away, drawing his rapier as he did so.
“I swore to myself I would never go back there. And there isn’t a force on, in, above or below this earth that will make me.” Sovos stated.
“Bold words. I look forward to ramming them down your throat.”
The man advanced and swung at Sovos, their hilts locked. Both were straining for the upper hand, the man had Sovos by a few inches, but Sovos was more muscular. Sovos purposely collapsed and the man’s own weight carried him up and over, landing heavily on his back in the middle of the road. Sovos took the chance and grabbed his bag and took off up the gradual slope of the city.
‘I can’t get anyone else involved in this fight.’ He thought. The upper parts of the section were very empty at any time of day, but with every one at the Market for the day, it would be completely abandoned.
The man was hot on his heels, he began to chant a mantra, power flowed into him from the ground, erasing the bruise the hard landing had given him. He stopped the chant when he was rejuvenated.
‘This is no ordinary target, making me invoke the old ways.’
Sovos had stopped on the inner face of the section, the other two sections were visible from here and this side was devoid of people. He looked back and was horrified. The man had attained a pale bluish-green glow that faded as he approached. Everything suddenly snapped into place, why the council had sent this particular mercenary, where he had seen this power before.
Fear cracked his voice. “So, Zoldák is it?”
The man swung and they locked hilts again.
“Yes, it’s me. The one who sold his soul for power, the Shadow Walker, the Assassin, Demon’s Blade and The Man.”
He kicked out, catching Sovos in the gut. The magically augmented kick sent Sovos flying across the empty space between the sections of the city, and sent him crashing into the Market. He lay winded among the remains of the fruit cart he had landed on. A powerful hand gripped his throat and lifted him effortlessly into the air.
‘How did he get over here so fast?’ Sovos wondered half-consciously.
“A worthy effort boy, but not nearly good enough. Now, the council has been waiting long enough. We’re going to have to Jump.”
The man slammed Sovos in to the inner wall, driving the air out of him again. Using his finger tips, the man made contact with the wall and began to chant. Within moments, a tremor shook the ground, and the entire section started to sink. The man began to glow with the same pale bluish-green light as earlier, but this was far more intense.
Rope bridges strained and broke under the ever increasing weight of the section. The few stone connections held for only moments longer before giving way.
“In a few moments, we’ll be on our way.”
“What do you mean ‘serious danger’?” Kurt shouted above the screaming “We are the ones who are in danger, we are the ones who are on the section that is slowly falling out of the sky!”
“NO!” Elysia screamed. “Sovos in on this section too! He’s a few levels above us and he needs our help!”
“How do you know?”
“I can feel his soul! The main purpose of Necromancy is to sense the souls of living and dying things! His presence is beginning to fade!”
“So, he’s dying?”
“No! It’s like he’s here, but not here. Almost half-way between the two.”
“That makes no sense!”
“I know! But that’s what I feel, we have to help!”
She took off at a full sprint up the slope with Kurt not far behind
“Sig, can you verify?”
Sig took to the air and flew up, moments that seem like an eternity in their own right passed.
“She’s right! Sovos is in deep trouble!”
Just then, they hit a massive group of merchants trying to get down and away from the commotion. The throng of people bumped and jostled past, causing Kurt to lose sight of Elysia.
“Elysia! Elysia! Where are you?!”
Elysia was already through the crowd, she had lost her hood and her dirk had been knocked from her hand in the mass of people, but she didn’t care, she had to get to Sovos. She couldn’t be alone again.
She rounded the last corner and saw a one armed man pinning Sovos to the inner wall by his throat, eyes closed and chanting in a dark language. Sovos was struggling against the assailant’s hand, but to no avail. The bluish-green light that came from the assailant was nearly blinding. It looked as though she could see through him at times when the power pulsed.
Elysia immediately cast about for a weapon, her hand went unbidden to her pocket and she threw the contents of it without thinking. It hit the ground in between Sovos and the assailant.
A fist of mud-colored stone erupted out of the road, catching the man in the center of his chest. Only then did Elysia realize that she had thrown the stone fist golem that Sovos had given her earlier. The man was sent flying back, Sovos fell to the ground, gasping for air. The force of the blow sent the man over the outer edge of the section. The light faded as he hung in the air for a moment.
He then fell, over one thousand feet, straight down.
End of Part 1.