Chapter 2: Call to Arms
His next sculpture was forgotten as his early training took over and he paced himself to conserve strength and breath. Rocks and trees flashed by as he sprinted along the high path that led to the garrison on the point. His cousin Dell would be there and Andin had to get to them before they left on patrol.
Rowan would try to stop the pirates herself. He knew she would – his sister was one of Myris Dar's best warriors. He just hoped she got to their mother in time to save her from the pirates.
A stream tumbled down from the mountain on the right and Andin leapt, clearing it to scramble down the rocky path toward the next level stretch. The sun was getting higher; the day's heat rising with it. Sweat stun his eyes and he wiped his forehead. His heart hammered in his chest and his breath came in gasps.
At the end of the straight section he began the run down to the point where the garrison was situated with a view along both directions of the coast. Andin stumbled, caught himself and kept running.
He was at the end of his endurance when he reached the paddock where the horses were kept.
They were still here – he wasn't too late.
Andin crashed through the door and stood panting in the sudden quiet. As his eyes adjusted to the gloom of the interior, he saw members of the Myrian guard at a long table – all paused in their meal to look at him.
Dell rose and came toward him, a look of concern on his tanned face.
"Andin? What is it? Why are you here?"
His cousin was tall even for a Myrian and Andin looked up to meet his blue-eyed gaze. "Pirates."
The room exploded as the guards jumped to their feet, running to collect weapons.
Dell gripped Andin by the shoulders. "Where? Did Rowan send you?"
Andin nodded, his breath finally recovered. "She found them on the beach; came to get me at the quarry so I could warn you."
"Where is she?"
"She went home to save our mother – and to hold them off."
Dell swore and turned away but Andin grabbed his arm. "Dell, it is a whole ship full."
His cousin stared at him. "About fifty then. Gear up, Andin, you may not be a guard but you trained with the rest of us and I know your worth."
Andin swallowed, looking at the line of swords and weapons hung along the far side of the room.
Dell turned to one of the guards. "Lesana, take the fastest horse and get word to the next garrison, we will need reinforcements."
Lesana, nodded, tossing her dark wavy hair over her shoulder. She stepped up and kissed her husband Trey then ran out the door.
Andin found a weapon. Like all Myrian swords it had a curved, single bladed edge. It seemed like ages since he had held one but its weight was familiar, comforting even. Dell tossed him a leather breastplate and arm cuffs and he quickly donned them.
There was not a horse for Andin so Dell pulled him up behind his saddle. "We should take the high path to the quarry. That is the fastest way to your home is it not?"
"Yes. Rowan would expect us from that direction," said Andin. The rest of the Myrian guards were mounted and ready.
Dell sighed. "Let us hope Rowan has been able to keep them occupied." He pressed his heels to the mount and it surged under them. Andin clamped an arm around his cousin to keep from sliding from its rump as they galloped up the steep slope.
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