The Stone Guardians Book One
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The Messenger from Myris Dar
Book One of The Stone Guardians
A Desperate Battle
Rowan awoke to the sound of a very distinctive howl. It was Hathunor. His voice was like the peal of a deep clear bell compared with the mindless snarls of the Raken trieton. Rowan was on her feet in an instant. The five companions around her were up also. Torrin already had a great sword in his hand and the Tynithian, Arynilas, had an arrow nocked and drawn as he scanned the trees in the direction of Hathunor’s warning call. The Stoneman carried a short sword and round buckler and the other large man, whom she took to be Nathel, the healer, had a sword and round shield. The only member of the five that was without a weapon was the one she assumed to be the Rith, Dalemar.
Rowan walked quickly to Torrin. He glanced down at her and then went back to scanning the trees. “Your hunting party has arrived,” he said grimly.
Rowan took an anxious breath. “We still have a few minutes before they get here. You should leave now. You won’t have time to take your gear but at least you will have your lives. They will only follow my scent.”
Torrin dropped his gaze to look at her, an inscrutable expression in his eyes.
The other big swordsman stepped forward. “I didn’t spend two and a half days healing you, just so you could go off and get yourself killed!”
Rowan turned to him. “There is almost a full trieton of Raken out there. Six are better than one but it is still no contest. We will be overrun.”
The healer’s eyes widened. “A trieton! You have a trieton chasing —”
Rowan cut him off with a wave of her hand, ignoring his look of surprise. She focused on Torrin. “Please, I cannot let you be killed in return for your kindness.”
Torrin was silent for a moment, searching her face, then he shook his head. “I will not leave you to be hunted down and killed.”
Rowan growled under her breath. “Then let us fly together; at the least we can find a more defensible spot to make a stand. If we survive, we can come back for the gear.”
Torrin glanced at the others and received nods in return. The five suddenly launched into action. Two went to get the horses; the other three grabbed the remaining weapons and the few packs that they could carry. There was no time to properly saddle the horses.
Rowan raised her fingers to her lips and blew a short whistle blast. Roanus came hurtling towards her and slid to a stop, his lead rope whipping around his neck like a snake. She threw one of her saddlebags across his withers and then jumped up, swinging a leg over to gain a seat on his broad back.
Around her the five companions were mounting as well. A silent look passed between Torrin and Arynilas, an unspoken question in the big swordsman’s eyes.
The Tynithian nodded and amid the chaos, Torrin said to Rowan. “There is a cleft in a rock face a few leagues back that we passed yesterday. It is defensible.”
“Lead the way.” Rowan pressed her heels to the sides of her horse, launching him after the others as they fled into the grey early morning light, the howls of a Raken trieton in pursuit.