Escape from Indrasel

A JP by Tahjerius, Rosmary, and LSP

((Burning Indrasel Warehouse, Karavoss))

"And who are these? Friends of yours? They'll have to be dealt with, I'm afraid! This battle is between me and you."

"They are not, but you will not touch them. They will leave, they have earned that."

Moving forward, Horns walked past the people he was trying his damnedest to kill just moments ago. He passed them without a glance, placing himself between them and the insect mage.

"You will leave them out of it. I will not remind you of that again."

"My, my, my! What brave words! But how do you intend to stop me?"

Leo waved his blackened hand, a wave of insects soaring past the Tor to reach for the three heroes. Horns let out a roar, and flames enveloped him as he turned. He extended his hand, a wave of flames rushing forth to meet Leo's attack, frying the insects and stopping them in their tracks. Horns snarled at Leo, fire running up his frame as if he was covered in flammable liquid, though he didn't seem bothered at all by it.

"I mean what I said. Now face me, insect-monger, and prepare for battle."

It took no more than a glance from the elf and the red-head to each other, and they both knew to capitalize on the unexpected turn of events.

“It’s time to go, “ V stated, as if to make sure it was clear.

“It's really time to go,” Lafayette added, as if to make doubly sure it was clear.

“Really? Do you think?” Kalena said through clenched teeth, looking about at the veritable inferno raging around them even as Horns and Leo commenced their battle for reasons she hardly cared to know.

Lafayette hooked his arm under her uninjured one and they lurched unsteadily between the stacks of burning crates, the fire intensifying so that the trio were in constant danger of being singed by the licking flames. “In what direction do we go?” the Merovignian asked, hacking, his lungs aching.

“I see a way out, this way!” V called back, pointing out a mostly clear path through the debris with his scimitar.

The conflagration was blindingly bright and filled the air with a large volume of thick black smoke. V's stinging eyes made out a side door and when he reached it he saw that it was blocked by a fallen beam. As he feared, when he grabbed the knob the door opened inward and he could only crack it a few centimetres. The shadows of dancing flame played across his swarthy features as he turned and saw Lafayette and Kalena approaching.

“Do you have any more of those bombs left?” the elf asked, already guessing the answer.

“Non, je suis tout dehors,” Lafayette said, lapsing into his native tongue without realising it.

“I take it that's a no then?”

“No, I'm all out of them,” Lafayette repeated in colloquial Common, before hacking and coughing uncontrollably.

“This smoke is doing awful things to my hair,” Kalena complained deadpan, her broken arm hanging limp at her side. “What is the hold up?”

“An obstacle, but one that might not be impossible to overcome,” V responded optimistically, grabbing hold of the beam.

Grunting, he tried to lift it from where it jammed the door but it was far too heavy and a bit hard to touch since it was partly on fire. Lafayette set Kalena down on the floor where the air was better under the smoke and went to help V, but even together their combined strength could not budge it and they both soon collapsed in hacking, choking paroxysms. Flames were engulfing the walls and ceiling and the heat was becoming intolerable.

“We need to go for the main door,” V wheezed. “Even if that means getting arrested by the Karvossian army...”

“No, absolutely not!” Kalena said. “Have you any idea what the penalty is for impersonating a member of the Agriculture and Poulters Guild?”

“Oh, to hell with them! It can't be worse than being burned alive!”

Despite the pain and the smoke, Kalena struggled back to her feet. “Come on! There must be a low window we can break and get out of! I've been in worse spots than this!” She stumbled, agony jolting up her arm and causing her to cry out. “Not much worse, but some. Remember Opra Dale?” she asked Lafayette.

“That's what this reminds me of,” he said grimly, moving to help her.

“We survived that just fine.”

“Only because of divine intervention!”

V was about to advise them to stop wasting what little air they had left talking, when suddenly two sets of strong green fingers pushed through the crack of the door, solidly gripping it for a moment before the person withdrew and began driving a series of powerful kicks against the wood until the door finally splintered and broke off its hinges, revealing the tall and mighty form of Shel.

V had hardly seen a more beautiful sight and wasted no time diving out the doorway, half tripping over the beam as he fell onto the ground outside where his smoke-sodden lungs started pulling in the wonderful fresh air.

Supported by Lafayette, Kalena staggered past V as the pain of her multiple fractured arm grew more severe from all the jarring movement, becoming inconceivable.

“Get up, there is no time to rest,” Shel told V, prodding him with her foot. “The army is blocking the roads and beating the bushes, arresting everyone they find... Prespa had to take the carriage farther away...”

Everyone’s voices seemed to be fading in and out to Kalena, as her legs buckled and she started losing consciousness.

She heard Shel: “What did I say about there being no time to rest?”

She heard V: "...probably ought to set her arm… got to hurt...”

And Lafayette: “...need to take a circuitous route back to Osilon... a whole day's travel...”

And Prespa: "I told her she was not up to this, she is lucky she only broke an arm instead of her neck...”

Kalena was brought aboard the carriage where she caught a momentary glimpse of Solandriel hovering by the comatose Gerda before Shel laid her down on an adjacent bed. Prespa splinted her arm with a piece of wood and linen bandages and then put a glass to her lips. The medicinal drink tasted terrible but Kalena drank it down, quickly descending into a deep, sedated sleep.

Lafayette leapt from the carriage. “Go, I'll run defense for you to get out of here...”

“And how're you going to get out of here?” V asked, concerned.

Lafayette let out a shrill whistle that was replaced with a ‘twhap twhap’ sound and a gigantic black bird came bursting out of the night gloom. “That's my ride,” he said, smiling at V's bewildered reaction to the exotic animal. He swung himself onto the saddle atop of Pepper. “I'll meet you all back at our house. Bonne chance à vous tous!”

As Lafayette rode back toward the warehouse, the avian mount blending into the night's shadows, Prespa gave a slap of the reins and the huge carriage took off in the opposite direction.

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