Ch19: Homesick

This is the conclusion of part 1 to my short story. I will be continuing my work on part 2 as well as my other larger book series, but I will be taking a break from posting a chapter every week as things are getting busy at my end. Enjoy! 

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Nineteen: Homesick 

Thunderous clouds rolled in over the trees which sparsely canopied the ground. The weather seemed calm however as the storm’s winds had not yet started, and Arius watched the family preparing the ranch for the coming storm. He had followed the father and two children back to the ranch hours earlier after they were done playing at the shore. He was curious about them. They were aliens to him, or more he was an alien to them. This was their world, and he was merely a visitor stranded where he did not want to be. He wondered if this family posed a threat to him or not, and thus he stayed hidden until he could discern a conclusion.
Arius remained in the shadows along the edge of the ranch. He felt weary, and hopelessness began to set in. He felt alone in the world, and found himself longing for people he could call friends. Furthermore he longed to be home again with his once to be future wife, but the realization that this world could very well be his new home set in. There was no way to go back now.
Thunder crackled in the distance, and he watched as the father put away a set of lawn chairs where they would not be carried off by the wind. A woman called to the children demanding that they come in soon, and Arius guessed it to be their mother. The children were reluctant to do so as they climbed upon the wooden fence next to the barn, but a rising gust of wind encouraged them to listen to their mother. The trees began to swirl as the wind passed through them, and the family hurried inside as cold rain began to pelt the earth.
Arius looked to the mean sky where lightning licked it furiously. Already it was a downpour, and his eyes were soaked in the cold rain spilling down his face. Looking to the barn he decided to intrude upon the family’s estate and find shelter.
He hurried to the barn door which the wind slammed shut behind him, and he found a dark foyer full of hay and various kinds of tools. A small burden pulling machine sat in the center of it, and his eyes looked to the upper deck where a shuttered window beat violently.
Making his way to a stack of hay he bedded down where he could feel most comfortable. The sound of rain pelting the wooden roof and barn walls eased him into the comfort of his own mind. The hopelessness he felt before seemed to melt away, and now he felt a temporary relief. He felt neither happy nor anxious, but the kind of sadness that would carry one to slumber.
A harsh scream shattered through, and Arius shuddered as if waking from a nightmare. He glanced around the barn but found no intruder but himself, and wondered if the scream had come from the house. Another scream splintered through the storm however, and he felt it far off away from the property. It was something else in the forest at least a couple miles away.
He didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t sound human. Suddenly he felt vulnerable as if something horrific would break through the barn at any moment flashing its sharp teeth, but the screams ceased leaving nothing but the pattering rain and wind which creaked through the barn.
His nerves were tight, but soon he began to fall back into a slumber where his dreams took him back home. He was with his wife-to-be upon a lime balcony overlooking a blue forest canopy. Red and gold cliffs spired above the canopy, and a mountain range swelled up past the far lakes sparkling beneath the sun. It was his future father in law’s palace which overlooked the countryside below. He had come up in the late afternoon to spend time with his future wife, and had been discussing the conflict between the several clans vying for power at the time. Not the most romantic conversation, but it was the world they were enveloped in. Of course their entire courtship was in the midst of political conflict. His to be father in law had arranged for his daughter to marry into one of the more prestigious clans, but had absolved the contract to make her marriage to Arius possible. The man had been like a father to Arius, and he was thankful for all the kindness he had showed him, but absolving a marriage contract was not a well appreciated thing in those days. Especially when it involved some of the most powerful people at the time. His to be father in law had sacrificed much to make his marriage to his daughter possible, but the consequences were huge.
“Hey, wake up,” a voice broke through his dream.
Arius jumped as someone prodded his shoulder, and he found himself back in the barn with two men standing over him.
“What are you doing in my barn?” the man with a rifle asked.

Thanks for reading part 1 of my short story. Hopefully I will soon have part 2 running. In the meantime check out my book, "Ground of Oam" here

Ch18: Blue Ridge

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.

No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Eighteen: Blue Ridge

Arius hugged the wood keeping him afloat. He felt in a fog as the heat beat the top of his head, and his neck began to burn from exposure. He tasted salt as water breached his dry lips. His throat burned for something to drink, but all he had was miles of salt water. He wasn’t sure how long he had been adrift in the ocean, but he had long lost the crash sight the night before. He had to be miles from where the boat wrecked, and all he had was a piece of its frame to keep him afloat.
He thought he could see a blue ridge ahead of him which he thought was land, but it never grew closer, and at times it would disappear beyond the ocean. Perhaps his eyes were playing tricks on him, perhaps it was the heat.
Arius’ mind wandered, and he found himself back upon his home world. He recalled the vast forests of his homeland, the magnificent cities of the empire, and the orbiting planet Geira which would flood the lower lying continents in flood water during the night. He longed to be there again.
The cry of a bird startled him, bringing him back from his memories. It dashed over him, bringing his eyes toward a large rock sticking up from the water. The water swelled up around him, and pushed him toward the rock. Fighting to brace himself he bounced off the stone before being swept around it where a massive island awaited several miles beyond him.
Glancing around Arius found that he had floated into a shallow bay with several rocky spires coming up from the water. White birds circled the bay toward the shore, and forest stretched toward what looked like mountains farther inland.
Arius began swimming for shore while using the wood to keep himself floating. The water grew shallower the farther in, and soon he was on his feet pushing through the ocean. A beach was directly ahead of him within a narrow valley sunken into the cliffs along the ocean. A river ran through the valley and dispersed into its salty relative.
He felt like collapsing upon the sand as soon as it was under him, but he pushed forward to the tree line where he would find shade. Leaving the wood behind, he stumbled to a large oak next to the river. The water felt good in his mouth and even better down his throat.
Arius pushed himself against the tree where he let his muscles relax. He didn’t know what he was going to do now. Not only was he separated from home by a few hundred light years, but now he was separated from the only people that could get him home. He regretted his every move since day one, but pushed his negative thoughts away. He couldn’t dwell upon his regrets, but had to focus on survival.
Laughter caused him to role onto his belly behind the large tree’s roots which twisted into the ground. He spotted a young girl walking by the side of a large beast he recalled to be a horse. Another younger boy walked on the other side of the horse kicking the sand with his feet. They were mere children, but whether they were hostile he didn’t know. Perhaps they were human, the locals of the planet called Earth, or perhaps they were related to the leather bearing life forms.
Arius watched as they moved toward the water, and feared they would discover his tracks coming from the ocean. The tree provided too little shade to hide in while on his belly so he carefully stood up to stay in the shadows. Peeking around the trunk he watched some more as the boy dashed along the edge of the water splashing it into the air. The girl led the horse to the river side where it began to drink.
A tremor alerted him to something to his right, and he glanced up to see a man standing at the top of a ridge that flood waters had carved out. He was only a few feet away, and watched as the children played. A rifle was in his hand, and his clothes looked rugged. If not for the shade Arius would have been discovered.
“Dad, look at what I found,” the boy called.
Arius looked back to see the wood he had come to shore with. The boy drug it across the beach as it was too heavy for him to carry. From what he could tell, this was a human family.

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Ch17: Flight Across the Waters

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.

No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Seventeen: Flight Across the Waters

The others were gone now, and only the sound of the slow whooshing of the water could be heard besides the sound of the chopper circling the warehouse several blocks back. Arius moved onto the beach and onto the docks. He glanced around warily; his senses were up to the highest sensitivity possible. The slightest movement would alert him.
He moved to the boat house with the gas can in hand. He didn't know what he would do, but he had retrieved the gas for a reason. Perhaps he would follow the others and try to convince them of his innocence and Dueson’s treachery, but all he had on his side was his own trustworthiness which was absolutely nothing. Thorim would probably try to keep things under control, but the others had already shown their lack of concern for authority. Thorim wouldn't be able to protect him from the others.
The hair on Arius’ neck stood up as he sensed something moving toward the beach. Headlights glared around a building before a land cruiser peeled around toward the beach. Arius attempted to take cover but the headlights had already exposed him.
Bullets began to fly as he dashed for the boathouse. Swinging the door open he slammed it shut before bracing it with a nearby cabinet. He could feel the hostiles approaching on foot now. Glancing to the boat he spotted the motor, and made haste to fill it with gas.
The door shuttered as they attempted to break through, but the cabinet only gave by a couple inches. It wouldn't take long for them to get in as they continued to wrestle it open. The gas guzzled into the motor slower than Arius could take. The cabinet scraped across the floor before jamming against another shelf, and the door was open enough for a soldier to squeeze through.
Arius tossed the still full gas tank aside where it splashed into the water, and riddled the door with his rifle. The soldiers were pushed back, but they returned fire reducing the door to scraps. Arius nearly tripped into the boat as he back into it, and its rocking nearly sent him over the edge.
He fired another burst toward the door before turning to the controls. The key was already in the ignition which he turned to hear the motor groan. The door to the boat house blew open, and another turn revved the engine to life.      
Pulling the throttle the boat roared forward before slamming into the exit which hung over the water. The doors flew open as the soldiers stepped into the building where they fired toward the fleeing boat. Arius crouched as the bullets hammered against the boat but they missed him as he steered it away from the building.
More guns fired from the soldiers upon the beach, and the boat splintered from the rounds. Arius turned it toward the vast ocean unwilling to let them sink the boat, and soon the gunfire became silent. His hands shook from the adrenaline in his system, and he held his limbs tight as the boat bounced against the waves.
He didn't know where he was going other than away from the island. The moon was gone behind the clouds, and there was no light upon the ocean which left him in utter darkness. His eyes were good at seeing in the dark, but an endless ocean left him with nothing to see.
Arius kept it at full throttle not knowing when it would run out of gas. The cold wind against his face at first eased his nerves but soon chilled him to the bone. Looking back he could no longer see the island. He wasn't sure how long he had been traveling. Turning his eyes forward again he glimpsed the rocky reef ahead of him, but it was too late as the boat smashed into the rock with a grind.

Half the floor ripped away from him as the rest of the boat flew into the air. Arius lost hold of the wheel and became suspended in the air before plummeting into the darkness around him. He heard the boat crash into a million pieces elsewhere before he was consumed by the ocean. 

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check out my book, Ground of Oam, here.

Ch16: Truly Alone

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Sixteen: Truly Alone

Arius moved through the hall as he could feel hostiles storming the warehouse from every direction. They had them surrounded, but he still had the shadows on his side. His mind ran rampant as he didn’t know what to think. What would he tell the others?
He was back upon the second floor because of the hostiles who quickly approached from the first floor. He retraced his steps the way he had come, before finding himself in the large room where the gas container had been found.
His eyes moved to the door he needed to go through, but he spotted Brockumus’ body slumped upon the floor. A trail of blood led toward him, and Arius was convinced that he was dead. Moving forward he rolled the man over who groaned with whatever life he had left.
“Brockumus,” Arius said, cradling the man.
“You must run,” the man returned. “Dueson will kill you.”
“Why did you sabotage the ship?”
“It had to be done. It’s too late to explain, but know that you must go. The others don’t trust you. Dueson will use that to his advantage.”
“You have to tell me who you’re working for.”
“I can’t. Go.”
Brockumus’ head fell back as he breathed his last. Arius’ stomach turned hard as he watched the closest thing he had to a friend die. Suddenly he felt alone.
The hostiles were moving closer, and now he was sure the exits were blocked. Resting Brockumus’ body upon the floor he cast his eyes to the large window behind the desk. Moving forward he smashed it with the butt of his rifle, and spotted the lower wing of the warehouse below. He could see several hostiles moving about the perimeter below, and he jumped before they could cast their lights toward the shattered window.
A loud thud sounded as he bounced off of the metal roof, and he began to slide to the edge where he fell to the pavement below. Arius’ breath was knocked out of him, and his left ankle pulsed in pain. He had twisted it on his way down.
Lights past over him as he stared toward the sky. He remained concealed within the darkness, and soon the hostiles were moving in for a closer look.
Arius rolled over with a grunt and spotted the gas can by his side. Luckily the nozzle had remained secure so no gasoline was spilling out. Grabbing the can, he slipped past the soldiers unnoticed though a limp slowed him down.  
He headed toward the beach ignoring the flaring pain in his ankle. It made his travel slow, but he didn’t have much farther to go. The last building was before him, and the sandy beach was after it. Pressing his back against the building he peered around the corner toward the boat house which was only a few yards away.
Jayvolni was waiting outside along with three others. One of them was Thorim, and the other two Gruegon and Camus. Apparently they had caught up, and now Arius had to figure out a way to explain everything to them. By now they were aware of the commotion at the warehouse as the leather soldiers were in frenzy over there.
Arius began to step out, but pressed himself back against the building as soon as he spotted Dueson approaching the men. Apparently he had made it out of the warehouse alive.
“What happened?” Arius could feel Thorim’s voice in the air. “Where are the others?”
“Arius,” replied Dueson with a flare of anger in his voice. “He killed my brother, and I don’t know what he did to Brockumus. He’s a traitor.”
Arius’ hands turned clammy. How could Dueson set him up after what happened? His brother was killed at the hands of Brockumus, but yet he continued to set him up.
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure! I was there, I held my brother until he died.”
“Where is Arius now?” asked Jayvolni.
“I don’t know.”
“We need to get out of here sir,” Camus said. “We don’t have gas for the boat.”
Thorim appeared uncertain. Was Arius really the culprit, he wondered. Pushing his thoughts aside he acknowledged Camus’ point and the group started back into town. Jayvolni grabbed Dueson by the shoulder and gave his regrets. The two followed Thorim into the night leaving Arius to himself.

What would he do now? He had no place to go, and his only allies were now against him. He was truly alone, and he could only trust himself. 

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check Ground of Oam here

Ch15: Ulterior Motives

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.

No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Fifteen: Ulterior Motives

“Why are you doing this, Dueson?” asked Arius. “Why would you jeopardize the mission?”
“What mission,” Dueson scoffed. “We’re hunting a hundred year old legend that doesn’t concern us anymore. My mission is to the highest payer, and right now you have a large sum on your head.”
“You’re making a mistake,” Brockumus said, feeling Ruekrow’s pistol at his head.
“If it’s Waid you’re working for, then you can’t trust him,” Arius added.
Dueson barked out a laugh.
“Why, because he’s put a bounty on you? I’m not trying to marry his daughter Arius, I’m just expanding my business.”
“And you would sabotage the ship for that! We’re stranded here with no way off this planet.”
“I have faith that things will work out, and for the record, we didn’t sabotage the ship. But I’m sure I know who.”
Their senses perked as something moved outside the warehouse, and the thudding sound of a flying machine could be heard nearby. It was likely the leather clad soldiers heard the gunshot when Dueson shot Brockumus, and they were probably on their way now.
“We have to get out of here,” Brockumus hissed.
“Quiet,” Dueson’s brother barked.
“You tried to kill me Brock, why?” asked Dueson
Arius’ eyes narrowed.
“You’re the one that shot me Dueson,” returned Brockumus.
“After you came from behind me with a knife.”
“What are you talking about?” demanded Arius.
Had Brockumus really tried to kill Dueson?
“Arius, don’t listen to him.”
“Shut up!” ordered Ruekrow, pressing the pistol closer to his head.
“Your friend tried to kill me Arius,” replied Dueson. “It seems he has an ulterior motive.”
Arius looked Brockumus in the eyes whose grimace told too much. Dueson wasn’t lying, and Brockumus had tried to kill him, but why?
“They’re here to kill you Arius,” Brockumus said, realizing his exposure. “He set you up to turn the others against you.”
“But that’s not why you tried to kill me,” Dueson interrupted. “You’re the one that sabotaged the ship, which tells me you have another interest besides protecting Arius.”
“You’re stretching.”
“Am I? I read your background before arriving here, and I know a forged history when I see one. It’s prestigious enough to guarantee your acceptance on this mission, but subtle enough to avoid unnecessary attention.”
“You don’t have a clue what you’re coming against. I was sent on this mission to ensure success, and thus far you’ve done nothing but impede that success for nothing but money.”
“I guess there’s enough guilt to go around then.”    
The sound of the flying machine grew closer, and Arius knew their position would be compromised shortly.
“I’m sorry, but it’s time to end this,” said Dueson. “I’ll tell the others that you were killed by those leather wearing monsters.”
Arius grew tense and he spotted the handgun hidden behind Brockumus’ unzipped jacket. The flying machine outside passed overhead; its lights flashed through the far windows casting their shadows against the surrounding junk.
Brockumus passed through Ruekrow’s hold, grabbing his handgun from behind his jacket, and spun around to shove the muzzle into Ruekrow’s side where he fired a round into his chest. Dueson shouted as he watched his brother fall, and fired at Brockumus who fired a second shot past Arius.
Dueson cried as the round ripped past his right arm while Brockumus remained unscathed. Arius stepped to the side with his rifle passing between the two men. Dueson had dropped his weapon, and cradled his arm as he looked to his dying brother behind Brockumus. Ruekrow was still alive, but coughing up blood which flooded his lungs.
“Kill him Arius!” Brockumus demanded, keeping his gun toward Dueson.
The flying machine could still be heard outside, and Arius thought he could feel dozens of hostiles bearing toward the warehouse.
“Who are you working for?” Arius demanded, finding the muzzle of his rifle aimed toward the man alone.
“I’m not the bad guy Arius,” he returned. “Dueson and his brother were hired to kill you, and they set you up.”
“But you sabotaged the ship.”
“I don’t have time to explain my actions.”
“Ruekrow!” Dueson cried, watching his brother suffocate on the ground. “You’re going to pay for this Brockumus.”
“Arius, kill him now or I will!” demanded Brockumus.
Arius was hesitant to lower his rifle. Dueson was there to kill him, but Brockumus had sabotaged the mission. As far as he was concerned they were both dangerous.
Arius’ eyes glanced toward Ruekrow who reached for his handgun lying next to him. He grabbed the gun, finding a final source of strength, and raised it toward Brockumus who felt it. Both Dueson and Arius shouted as Brockumus stepped back and fired another round into Ruekrow’s chest finishing him for good, but several more shots fired as Dueson had retrieved his weapon.
Brockumus stumbled back, and blood spilled from the three holes in his chest. He nearly collapsed to the floor, but caught himself on a beam before disappearing around the corner where archaic looking machinery rusted away. 
Dueson hurried to his brother as more hostiles began to storm into the warehouse. They were hidden among the vast amount of junk, but soon the leather soldiers would come upon them. Arius grabbed the fallen gas tank, and looked toward Dueson who knelt by his dead brother. The man wept, and Arius felt guilt as he slipped away into the darkness.  

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Ch14: Ensnared

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Fourteen: Ensnared

The large warehouse loomed over them like an ancient beast standing against the ocean wind. The rolling doors were unhinged from their rollers leaving a narrow gap for Arius and Brockumus to squeeze through, but they knew not what waited upon the other side.
The interior of the warehouse was lofty. A second floor awaited several yards farther where two sets of stairs led to an upper mezzanine before several door led to other areas. Below, more doors awaited opening which left much ground to be covered. An old truck sat in the middle of the first room which Brockumus headed for. Finding the input for the fuel, he opened the cap and sniffed only to distort his face in disgust. The gas was rotten.
“Perhaps we can find better fuel elsewhere,” he said.
“I’ll take the top, you the bottom,” Arius suggested, with a wary gaze to the upper mezzanine.
He didn’t like the idea of splitting up, but they had to find fuel if they were to get off the island. They had contacted Dueson and Ruekrow through the wheel, and they were supposed to be on their way to the warehouse. Arius just didn’t want to be caught alone with them.
“I suppose so,” replied Brockumus. “But be careful.”
Arius nodded, and soon he made his way up the stairs. Old furniture and papers littered the upper mezzanine, and he found the next door hard to open. It budged with some force, and he made his way down the next hall. Windows took in the distant moonlight casting the long hall into a surreal sight.
Clearing several small rooms and closets, Arius found himself in another large room with workbenches and walls full of tools. Several doors led in and out of the room; several of them were open giving him a peep into the rest of the massive warehouse. A chill traversed his spine as he nearly expected something awful to come out of those dark rooms and halls.
To his right he caught sight of a red container with a spout. Moving toward it he examined the inner contents and found what he thought to be fuel. Sniffing it, he found it tolerable.
Something shuddered behind him, causing him to spin around with his rifle. The sights landed upon Ruekrow who had seemingly been trying to sneak up on him.
“You going to kill me too now,” Ruekrow said, with intimidation.
Arius lowered his rifle and replied, “I don’t kill my allies.”
“That’s not what I’ve heard. I hear you’ve had some questionable events in your life.”
“I don’t know what you’ve heard, but you don’t know me or my past.”
“I know you’ve managed to make some powerful people back home angry. Should we talk about that?”
 A shot fired from somewhere below, and its vibrations shuddered throughout the warehouse.
“Brockumus,” Arius said with worry.
The two of them hurried to investigate, Arius grabbing the fuel container on his way out of the room. Through several halls they came to a staircase which creaked on their way down. The place seemed to grow darker as they came to the first floor, and soon they were surveying the floor.
They came to a large room where ancient looking machinery collected dust in every corner. Pillars supported the vast ceiling overhead, and the place was like a cluttered maze. Weaving around the junk Arius spotted Brockumus against a far pillar with what appeared to be a wounded arm. Blood ran down the sleeve. 
“What happened?” Arius asked, moving to assist him.
“It’s Dueson,” he warned, before spotting Ruekrow. “Look out!”
Arius felt the coming impact moving through the air, but was too slow to turn around. The butt of Ruekrow’s rifle hit him square between the shoulders, knocking him to the ground where he dropped the container. A scuffle broke out behind him, as Brockumus tried to fight.
Arius jumped to his feet with his rifle and spun around only to find Brockumus under Ruekrow’s hold. A pistol was to his head, and Ruekrow dared him to make a move.
“What are you doing Ruekrow?” Arius asked, with his heart racing.
“Drop your weapon Arius,” Ruekrow replied. “You’re not going anywhere.”
Arius’ senses alerted him to another presence behind him, and he felt a gun pressed against the back of his head.

“Do what he tells you Arius,” Dueson’s voice came. “Your times up.” 

Be sure to check out my book, Ground of Oam, here. 


Ch13: A Way Out

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Thirteen: A Way Out

The town sat silently upon the shore of the island, where the ocean whispered the sound of its steady waves from the darkness that concealed it. There were no lights in that place as the place was dead. Only toward the center of town could light be seen, for the leather soldiers had decided to make camp there as long as they were upon the island. Arius was dismayed about the amount of hostiles that had moved to the island.
The raping of a hanging sign against a chain-link fence sounded to their right due to the wind. Arius imagined a dark creature to leap out from the darkness as soon as they passed by the ally, but all remained still. Brockumus was ahead of him, and surveyed the area for their destination. The beach was just around the corner, for he could see a sudden blackness in the distance. Docks were consumed into the abyss.
Around the building, they made way toward an old boat house sitting off of the water. Jayvolni was supposed to be inside as they had communicated through the wheel upon arrival to town. This would be tense, for he would have to work with those who thought him a traitor.
The door to the boat house creaked open, and Brockumus led the way in, glancing to the left and the right. A boat sat in the middle of the room where ocean water calmly swept back and forth bobbing the boat up and down. A large door sat in front of the boat closing it off to the vaster ocean beyond.  At first the place seemed empty, but then Arius felt someone lurking in the far shadows across the room.
“Were you followed here?” Jayvolni asked, uncloaking himself from the shadows.
“No,” replied Brockumus. “Where are Dueson and Ruekrow?”
“Gathering essential supplies. We can leave as soon as we have them.”
“So the boat is good to go?”
“I patched it up, but it needs fuel. Hopefully the brothers will be able to locate some.”
“What about everyone else,” Arius chimed in. “We won’t leave without them.”
“The others will be here,” replied Brockumus. “Thorim is shortly behind us. It’s Rie and Grem I’m unsure about.”
Brockumus had contacted Rie shortly before arriving to town in order to persuade them to meet at the docks. The two mercenaries were reluctant to cooperate however as they had decided to take matters into their own hands. Apparently their ship’s beacon had been washed ashore, but the leather clad soldiers had seized it before they could. Rie and Grem planned to steal it back, but that meant waiting upon the island even longer.
“I heard over the wheel,” said Jayvolni. “They think they can retrieve the beacon.”
“It’s dangerous, but without it I’m afraid we would be stranded here forever.”
“I must say, I doubted the reality of finding it,” said Jayvolni. “But even so, we can’t stay here for long. If they don’t make it back by morning, then I’m afraid we have no choice but to leave.”
“That’s a lot of ground for them to cover,” said Arius. “Is there any way we can pick them up.”
“I have a feeling that as soon as we get into the ocean, we’ll want to get as far away from here as possible. I don’t want to leave anyone behind, but the two decided to go on their own, and thus far don’t seem in want of aid.”
“To be fair,” began Brockumus. “It was you that first broke up the group.”
“We needed a way off of this island before things got too dangerous, and now look at where you are.”
“I suppose they will be saying the same if they get back with the beacon.”
“If,” emphasized Jayvolni.
Brockumus let out a deep sigh before asking, “what can we do to help?”
Jayvolni turned his eyes down as if perplexed by the question, but staring them back in the eyes he replied, “Find out where Dueson and Ruekrow are at, and help them bring back supplies. What we need more than anything is fuel, so that is the real chore.”
“Sounds good,” Brockumus glanced toward Arius.
The two left the boat house where Arius moved his gaze to the distant moon which now glistened over the ocean waters. Before the clouds had masked its glow, but now it was left bare. Arius gripped his rifle, and wondered how much they would sacrifice just to save their own lives. Would they leave some behind, or would they pull through as a team? These were mercenary men however, and they knew little about teams. 

Be sure to check out  my book, Ground of Oam, here.