And we have the second part of the story! Part One can be found here.
Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement! I will admit, I was a little nervous about posting this but you guys have been totally awesome! Enjoy the ending to the story!
Something nudged Mikri’s shoulder. Groggily, she pushed the annoyance away and rolled, intent to returning back to sleep. The nudging came back, stronger and more insistent. Mikri sullenly opened her eyes. She was going to tell off whoever this was trying to wake her at this ungodly hour.
But instead of a barrack bunk, Mikri was met with the cold stare of stone. It took a second for her mind to snap into place. Cave… pinned by the horde… with… Letuus. Her grumpiness, momentarily pushed away in confusion, came oozing back. Mikri scowled, glancing over at draenei. He’d been up for a while, the two of them having swapped watch duty some time near the middle of the night. And of course, while Mikri was sleep tousled and grouchy, Letuus managed to be chipper.
“Today’s the big day!” He had the audacity to grin at her.
“It’s far too early for this.” Mikri muttered, throwing him a dirty look.
The two got ready quickly and relatively silently. Before long, they perched at the edge of the cave entrance, peering into the predawn. The air was still and the valley below shrouded in morning mist.
Letuus pointed to an outcropping part ways down the mountain; that was where Mikri would cast the explosion from. She nodded at him and the two stealthily began their descent.
As much as Mikri would hate to admit it, Letuus had been right. She was not very good at being sneaky. Rocks shifted and occasionally fell free around her untrained feet. However, with the help of a quick silencing spell, Mikri hid any noises that these stones might have made. Letuus, of course, was completely silent and looked as comfortable as if he were walking down the steps in his childhood home.
Finally, after a good deal of maneuvering, gracefully on Letuus’s part and awkwardly on Mikri’s part, they arrived at the predetermined destination. Mikri quickly scouted out the area, noticing several watch nests in the trees, almost level with their position. Silently, she pointed these out to her comrade.
Letuus nodded crisply and nocked his bow. He sighted, pausing to make sure the shot was clean. Then, with a faint twang and a hiss, the arrow was off. It flashed away, disappearing into the trees. The faint outline of the sentry slumped without a sound.
Before Mikri had a chance to process, Letuus slid out another arrow, nocked and sighted again, aiming at a different shadow. After another pause, he released the arrow. This happened two more times, each one smooth, practiced, and silent. Mikri’s jaw dropped slightly. She knew Letuus was good, but she didn’t know he was that good.
Letuus lowered his bow and looked expectantly over at her, “You gunna do your thing or am I going to have to take out every one of their soldiers?” Even as quiet as his words were, the swagger was still there. Mikri rolled her eyes at him and then turned her mind to the task at hand.
Reaching out with her mind, Mikri first tapped into the ley lines, letting the flow of magic pulse through her. It was steady and soft, like waves lapping on a shore, and Mikri made sure she was attuned to the movement. Next, her mind’s eye fixated on the target location, an ammunitions storage shed that she’s seen from above in the cave. Mikri hadn’t actually been able to see inside but she could envision pushing her spell through the iron roof like it was made of smoke.
Then, with eyes half closed and steady hands, Mikri traced out the runes of power in the air. Down in the camp, inside of that storage shed, identical runes were writing into existence. Mikri carefully set up the spell matrix, using the pulsing power of the ley lines as her ink. Circles and lines, intersections and empty spaces. Matrices were a tool, but also an art.
Finally, the spell was set. Mikri pulled slightly out of the arcane energy, enough that she was again in the physical plane but not so much that the spell was lost. Eyes still shut in concentration, she whispered to Letuus.
“Tell me when.”
A moment of pause. A soft breeze ghosted through her hair. The smell of morning dew. Birds, distantly beginning to call. Baited breath.
Mikri activated the matrix, sending the line work into spinning action. She quickly pulled out of the ley lines, letting the spell run its course. If she’d built it correctly, it wouldn’t need her oversight anyways. Mikri blinked open her eyes. The sun crested the mountains.
Brilliant light splattered all over the horde camp, emanating from the sharp CRACK! of her explosion. Before the afterimage had even left her eyes, Mikri and Letuus were off. They ducked under tree branches, leaped over roots, and sprinted down the valley as fast as possible. Around them, watch points were starting to stir in alarm but the gnome and the draenei ran by too fast.
“I thought… it would be more fiery! That was a whole lot… of light and sound but not a lot… of burn!” Letuus panted in between breaths.
“Wait for it…” Mikri shot back, throwing herself bodily over a fallen tree.
Behind them resonated another boom, this one deeper and louder than the other. However, it was followed by a chorus of pops and cracks, almost like fireworks. The glow from the explosion lit the mist, filling the forest with an orange haze.
“You got their ammo dump, didn’t you?” For the first time, Letuus sounded genuinely impressed, “By the Naaru, that’s genius!”
The two kept sprinting, getting farther and farther away from the encampment. Behind them, the explosions gradually died off, and were replaced by alarm horns. The ruse was up. The Horde was coming.
“Now comes the real fun!” Letuus grinned wildly, gasping for breath. Mikri didn’t have time to be annoyed by his mirth, she was focusing everything on keeping up with the much larger draenei. Stinging branches caught her face and the wind rushed in her ears.
“Dragon’s teeth, I hear them behind us already!” Sure enough, Mikri could hear the frenzied crashes of their pursuers. It didn’t sound like they were mounted but Mikri doubted she would have been able to tell the different. Her lungs burned and her stomach churned and still she ran along, right behind Letuus.
A whistling, different from the one of the wind, screamed by Mikri’s right ear. In front of her, the tree was impaled, bristling with a red fletched arrow.
“They’ve got bows!” She shouted at Letuus and he cursed again.
“Pray that they are terrible shots!” He returned, shoving aside a low hanging branch. Several more arrows swished by Mikri but none of them seemed very close to hitting. The Horde, she guessed, must have been blindly firing, hoping to score a lucky shot.
The underbrush got thicker and Mikri found herself leaping and scrabbling more and more. She and Letuus were forced to slow down, but so were those chasing them. She scrambled up a root tangled boulder, boots slipping slightly in her haste. Up on top, she leapt off. A moment was spent in the air before she landed on the loamy ground running as fast as she can. Letuus let out a brief shout and Mikri’s heart stopped in her chest. If he was shot down…
“Clipped my arm, nothing serious!” He hollered. Mikri heart pounded, relieved but not yet relaxed. They were close… just a little bit farther.
Something sharp sliced into Mikri’s calf. She took another step and the leg completely crumpled. The breath died in her chest as she fell, tumbling to a halt.
“Light damn it!” she screamed, tears of pain and frustration welling up in her eyes. She had gotten this far only to be shot in the calf. The blasted calf! Who got shot in the calf?
Mikri blinked away the tears, pushing herself up with her other leg. At least if she was going to be captured, she wouldn’t go down without a fight.
But before she could even begin casting, a huge hand grabbed her from behind and hoisted her up. What the… Letuus?? He swung her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and then kept running.
Mikri craned her head and stared shocked at Letuus. Why would he come back? It was every man for himself, everyone knew that!
“Kya’d… never forgive me… if I left you,” He huffed, eyes forward, sweat streaming down his face.
Mikri stared wide-eyed for a few more moments before the dull thunk of arrows hitting wood brought her back into the moment. She swiveled back forward – Letuus’s backward – and examined the pursuit. The horde sentries were right there, maybe ten meters behind them. The thick underwood was keeping them from shooting any more accurately but it was only a matter of time. Already, the thicket was thinning.
Stomach bouncing uncomfortably on Letuus’s shoulder, Mikri nonetheless concentrated, forming a ball of ice shards right in front of her. She might not be able to run anymore but she was not going to be a useless sack of potatoes. With a wave, Mikri shot the shards out in a wide arc in front of her, directly at the oncoming scouts. Most of the shards missed – there was just a few cries of pain from the pursuing group – but her attack was still effective. The Horde troops slowed down, wary of this new and sharp threat.
Mikri conjured and then casted a few more flurries of ice, slowing the enemy even more. Sounds of pursuit fell farther and farther behind even as the trees cleared more and more. However, Letuus’s pace began to flag.
“What’s going on!” Mikri exclaimed, craning her head over to see what was in front of them. The answer to that question became apparent soon enough.
“Cliff!!” Letuus stumbled to a halt, sides heaving. They must have been pushed farther south in their escape than they thought! Mikri repositioned to be sitting on Letuus’s shoulders and then cautiously peered over the edge. It was a sheer drop, maybe a thousand meters, maybe more, straight down to another part of the forest.
“Maybe we can —” The suggestion died on her lips as the sentries broke into the clearing of the cliff and quickly circled around the two. They approached warily, orcs and trolls and even a tauren holding their weapons defensively.
Letuus began to unshoulder his bow but Mikri was still scanning the cliff. Would it be far enough? Only one way to find out.
“Letuus. I need to you to do something crazy for me, ok?” He nodded slightly, eyes still locked on the incoming Horde soldiers. Mikri took a deep breath.
“I need you to jump off this cliff.”
Letuus straightened up like a rod. “What?!” He snapped at her.
“Letuus, trust me. Jump off this cliff. Right now. It’s the only way.”
“You’re crazy!” All of his swagger was gone, replaced by shock and perhaps a touch of betrayal.
The approaching sentries chose this moment to attack. They leaped forward, determined to take the two of them by sheer numbers. Letuus hesitated a second.
And then he turned and leaped off the edge of the cliff.
They were falling.
Wind howling and screamed in Mikri’s ears while her clothing and hair snapped all around her. Through her watering eyes, she could see Letuus spinning besides her, his arms flailing wildly.
Ignore your fears, they will only serve to make you sloppy. Focus. Focus.
The ground rushed up at her, indistinct green becoming treetops frighteningly quickly.
Mikri closed her eyes and quickly created the matrix. She drew upon the ley lines, filled her matrix with power and casted. Her hands splayed outwards. The air around her shimmered.
And then Mikri and Letuus’s fall slowed to be as gentle as a feather.
Serenely, the gnome and the draenei floated the last couple of meters. They softly landed in a clearing near the base of the cliff without even a sound. For a moment, both laid there, hearts racing and adrenaline pumping.
“Holy mother of pearl.” Letuus breathed out and then pushed himself up into a sitting position. He began to laugh, deep hearty chuckles filling the clearing.
Mikri found herself laughing as well, partly from the nerves dispersing and partly from what they had just done. Her shoulders shook and she wiped away tears, a grin splitting her face.
“Oh my stars, we should do this more often!” Mikri finally got control of her laughter. She pushed herself up, beaming over at Letuus.
“When you said to jump, I thought you’d lost your thundering mind!” Letuus forced out between giggles. “And then we were falling and falling and I was cursing ‘til I was black and blue!”
The two of them laughed for a bit more before they were able to reign it in.
“I suppose we should head back to camp now,” Letuus remarked, a grin still stretched across his face.
“Probably a good plan,” Mikri grinned back and then tried to stand up. Her injured leg buckled under her and she fell to the ground with a hiss.
“How bad is it? Can you walk?” The laughter left Letuus’s eyes, replaced with concern.
“Ehh I mean it won’t kill me but I probably won’t be walking on it for a little while. The arrowhead sliced right through part of the muscle.” Mikri inspected the wound for a moment before tearing a strip of cloth free from her sleeve and binding it around the gash.
“Ha, well, looks like I’ll have to carry you again. Would you rather be a sack or the damsel in distress?” Letuus shouldered his bow and then walked over to scoop up the gnome.
“Neither! I’m riding on your shoulders mister!”
“You sure? If I carried you back to camp like a damsel, I’d be double the hero,” Letuus joked but obligingly placed Mikri on his shoulders. He straightened up and turned towards the direction of the Alliance base.
“Let’s go home.”
Kya was starting to get frantic. No messenger boy had woken her in the night and no new survivors had made their way back to camp in the morning. The sun was now high in the horizon, beating down hotly on the backs of the soldiers.
Kya paced back and forth a few more times and then came to her decision. She would head out on her own to find where her friend were, orders be damned. If it turned out that they had bene captured by the Horde… well she would figure it out when she got to that point. Kya was striding over to the quartermaster for supplies when she noticed a commotion over by the main gate.
Abandoning her task for a moment, Kya strode over to see what was going on. She pushed past a few other soldiers and looked out onto the path leading out of the camp.
And there, marching proudly into camp, was Letuus and Mikri.
With a strangled shout, Kya pushed past the rest of the onlookers and dashed over to her friends. She met them half way, enveloping them in a huge hug.
“Mikri, Letuus, you came back!” There were tears in her eyes but years of training kept them contained.
“Of course we did! You’re talking to the finest archer and the cleverest mage in all of the Alliance, no simple Horde encampment could stop us!” Letuus was all bravado as usual but Kya could tell he was also genuinely glad to see her as well. She pulled back from the hug, beaming at both of them.
“We’re so glad to be back, it’s been a crazy adventure!” Mikri bubbled. For some reason, she was riding Letuus’s shoulders. Kya cocked an eyebrow.
“And why exactly are you…” She finally noticed the bandage on Mikri’s leg and the slice on Letuus’s arm.
“By the Naaru, you two are wounded! Come quickly, we must heal you up, must tend to those injuries!” Kya grabbed at Letuus’s undamaged arm and started steering him into camp. Both Letuus and Mikri laughed and Kya looked back at them. The two of them had never gotten along so well before.
“What exactly happened out there?” Kya asked as she pulled them through the main gate and towards the infirmary. The soldiers who had gathered before dispersed, some saluting at Letuus and Mikri.
“You’d never believe what happened.” Mikri grinned, enthusiasm bubbling in her eyes, “It all started when…”
Kya smiled warmly, listening intently to Mikri’s story. Every so often Letuus would butt in and add in his own detail, which Mikri would excitedly acknowledge before moving on with the story. Her energy was life itself and Kya felt herself really relax for the first time in a long time.
It was good to have them home.
~ FIN ~