No one expected Ona to save them all. Ona least of all.

Ona was not a rustic creature. He enjoyed his life in the big city. While he was finding the outdoors to be kind of rad, they were missing some essentials. Like plumbing, or a decent coffee. He was cursed to be morose the entire day without his customary intake of caffeine.

Figuratively cursed, of course.

Regardless, Ona had spent most of the night tossing and turning in his makeshift dwelling. The rain had ended some time after night-fall. The gnome sisters were holed up in the carriage with Ruby Lawks, Nutrose was off in the trees, and Bin had fallen asleep outside. Which left the tattooed dwarf to deal with the snores of a refined troll and their musically dense leader. Just after midnight, Ona stumbled out of the dwelling, promising retribution.

Ona had been having nice dreams too. Of lightning, the relic in his own hands. The power, the legacy…

He tripped over the first enemy, and accidentally knocked out the shadowy figure before he was even aware they were under attack.

Three approaching Archiwrecks froze in place, surprised as well. They had watched the makeshift camp for hours, and had been certain all were asleep. The snores and rumbles from the dwelling must have been from an army, not merely two city folk. To have someone walk up on them, well…no one quite knows exactly who screamed first. Only that it was far higher pitched than it should have been.

“Get!” The first enemy shouted underneath Ona’s bulk. Get he did, and clasped his arm. The dwarf murmured a quick spell. His marks flared to life, light blinding his enemies.

“Attack!” He shouted, and lashed out with his fist. Even half-asleep, the blow knocked a human Archiwreck unconscious. The third enemy blinked the light out of her eyes, and tried to reach for her book in a bag at her side.

The girls stumbled out of the carriage. Ruby pointed a wand at the third. “Hax!” she screamed. White light lanced forth, and sent the enemy back into the trees. The gnome sisters threw their books out, and raced next to the dwelling.

Ona turned, but the other two were gone. Vanished. “What just happened?” he asked.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Goldmight said. he flit out of the dwelling, followed by a bleary-eyed Kleb. “Who were those?”

“Archiwrecks,” Pidella said. She looked to her sister for confirmation, who nodded. “They were wearing a crest, a temple arch broken in half.”

Ruby looked at them. “Archiwrecks?”

“Outsider mages,” Pidelle said. “A group devoted to tomb raiding and stealing magical artifacts for power. Though they were supposed to be further south…” She trailed off, and looked at her books. “Am I not current?”

“You didn’t read last month’s warnings?” Pidella asked.

“There was a paper in one of Book’s classes, you know how I can get swamped with requests.”

“They said Archiwrecks were sighted near the Glass Cliffs.”

The sisters paled, and looked at each other. “We need to do more joint coffee sessions for regrouping,” Pidelle suggested.


“Later.” Goldmight waved his hand. Dust shimmered off his wings, bathing the clearing in a pale golden light.

“They’re coming back, with reinforcements.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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