The Stone Guardians: Book Two
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Book Two of The Stone Guardians
The Ren Warlord
Torrin’s broadsword sang as he pulled it from the scabbard. With a sweep of his arm, its tip was at the man’s throat. “You will not touch my wife.”
The soldier, swallowed and lifted his hands in surrender. “No offence, no offence. I was only testing the waters. She does not wear the mark.”
“We are not from Ren. Back off.” Torrin pushed until his sword nicked the man’s neck.
Rowan released the grip on her own dagger and stepped between them. “We need to speak with your warlord.” She turned to Torrin and raised her eyebrows.
Torrin lowered his sword. “Bartholimus. He and I are – old friends.”
The soldier blinked and looked from one to the other. “Well why didn’t you just say so!” He turned and motioned for the other soldiers to stand down. “Follow me.”
Torrin and Rowan shared a glance as they stepped after the man. “Let me do the talking. We know what kind of an impression you have made so far,” whispered Torrin.
Rowan scowled. “I would almost welcome the challenge.”
“You may get your wish. I don’t even know if he will remember me.”
They were led through the squalid camp to a large conglomeration of tents. Light glowed within, flooding from the entrance as servants scurried in and out. Torrin eyed the guards outside and their weaponry as they approached, noting those that looked battle hardened and those that did not.
“Wait here.” The soldier ducked through the entrance.
Rowan nudged Torrin, pointing with her glance at the warriors that had subtly surrounded them as they had made their way through the camp. Either to serve as guards or simply because they were bored and curious, Torrin wasn’t sure.
He folded his arms across his chest and waited with Rowan. “If this works we will get safe passage through the southern Ren tip,” he said quietly.
“If it doesn’t?”
“Then we will be taking a hostage.”
Rowan raised her eyebrows. “Let us hope he remembers you.” She turned to face the entrance to the tent as their escort came back out.
The man smiled obsequiously. “Come, come, Bartholimus is always happy to greet old friends.” Torrin felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck. He and Rowan took a step towards the entrance but the man raised a hand. “No weapons. If you are old friends, then you know what Ren is like.”
Torrin frowned – he was afraid of this. Reluctantly he pulled his sword from its scabbard and handed it over to the guard next to the entrance.
“The lady too.”
Rowan sighed and reached up to pull out her sword as well. The dagger on her hip did not go unnoticed either.
Feeling decidedly exposed, Torrin followed the man into the tent. He reached out for Rowan’s hand as they went through, but there was nothing there. He spun.
She was gone.
“Rowan!” Torrin charged back outside and saw her being dragged away by a group of soldiers. He launched himself after her, but was pulled up short by spears levelled at him by the guards. He grabbed the closest one and yanked the soldier off his feet as the man tried to hold on. Jabbing as hard as he could, he struck the soldier in the chest and sent him flying. He spun the spear as the rest came for him.
“Stop! Or she will be killed. I have but to give the order.” The man who had led them here called from behind. “She is feisty but cannot hope to stand against the four men who hold her.”
You don’t know my wife. Torrin smiled grimly as he thought of the small daggers they had each hidden upon themselves before approaching the camp.
Torrin dropped the spear and turned, glowering at the man. “If she comes to any harm, I will kill you first.”
“You have my word. She will not be touched, as long as you are who you say you are.”
Torrin tool a last look at Rowan, who was standing now in the midst of the soldiers. She nodded to him and lifted a clenched fist to her heart. Torrin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Take me to Bartholimus. Let’s get this over with.”