Images of what happened in Morage flash in Vincent’s mind causing him to jump out of his sleep. He looks around with wide eyes and huffs of breath. The nighttime sky hovers overhead with twinkling stars. The air is cold, but the trees around him do offer some protection. He spots Ryanah beside him watching. Hugo sits on the other side of a small fire.
“You’re awake. Thank God.”, Ryanah says to him.
As Vincent calms himself he places a hand on his side that was wounded. Only to find that the injury is no longer there. He also finds that his leg is well too.
“I was able to heal all your injuries, but you still needed rest.”, Ryanah tells Vincent. He raises his head to her.
“Thank you.”, he says simply. Ryanah nods her in acknowledgment.
“Where are we?”
“A part of the forest not too far from Gordowe. We actually rode the rest of the day and half the night before stopping after your wounds were healed. Argon is still after us.”, Ryanah fills Vincent in. Vincent brings his knees to his chest and rest his head on them arms cross.
“I messed up.”, he says simply.
“Why would say that? Our mission was to get proof of Argon’s involvement with the bandits. We have done that, so how is it that you messed up?”, Ryanah replies.
“I could have stopped Argon at Morage, but I ended up retreating.”, Vincent counters.
“That was not for you to do. You got us all out and the evidence we needed. You also took Argon’s attention away from the village. You went far enough beyond what you were called to do, Vincent.”, Ryanah stresses to him. She looks to Hugo who nods in agreement. “As for you getting hurt, no one is invincible. No matter how powerful they are and you’re not even fully grown.”
Vincent says nothing.
“You will be failing, however, if we don’t get this bag to Lumorra.”, Ryanah tells him. “Argon will not only be after us, but he will be heading there as well. You haven’t failed and have performed extraordinarily so far. All because you didn’t do what you wanted to doesn’t make what you did do any less.”
Vincent listens to Ryanah’s words and realizes she is right. Argon will be heading to the capital and they needed to get there with the evidence. He gets to his feet and grabs his long coat and weapons. He turns to Ryanah and Hugo who watch him silently.
“You’re right.”, he says to Ryanah. “We need to get to Lumorra which means we need to get moving.”, Vincent’s response causes a smile to appear on Ryanah and Hugo’s faces. “How did you do what you did?”, Vincent asks Ryanah as she and Hugo get to their feet.
“I told you way back when that I’m not a witch, but I am a wiccan. Which means I am able to tap into and use magical energy.”, she answers casually as she retrieves the horses .
“Energy?”, Vincent replies ignoring the fact that Ryanah and Hugo remembered the horses he and Ryanah had traveled with originally.
“I’ll have to go into detail later, but yes. A natural energy that is produced in every human and available for them to use.”, Ryanah explains. Vincent becomes intrigued in the subject and decides he will have to find out more later.
The three ride through the rest of the night into the next day. They arrive near Gordowe by the time the sun dips towards the horizon. So far they have been able to avoid Argon’s forces and Vincent decides to take a rest before moving on. They still have a day long ride in order to get to Lumorra.
“We are making good time. It won’t be long now.”, Ryanah comments. Vincent nods silently. Despite their progress though something just isn’t adding up in his mind.
“We have caught up with Argon’s forces; at least where they should be and we haven’t seen that much of them.”, Vincent speaks.
“Prince Winston must have called upon the royal army. This land does belong to the crown.”, Hugo offers.
“He did mention readying the royal forces.” Vincent remembers. “In that case we should find a battalion or patrol nearby.” Vincent says looking around.
“Is that necessary? We are already close to Lumorra. We should be fine getting there on our own.”, Ryanah counters. Vincent shakes his head.
“No, I have a bad feeling and I’m not sure if I’m overestimating Argon or not. I just feel there is more going on then what we think.”, Vincent replies.
“You may not be, Sir Vincent.”, Hugo speaks up gaining everyone’s attention. “Well, one thing about Lord- I mean Argon that not many remember is that he is the grandson of one of the kingdom’s most celebrated generals, General Anthony Harkboth. He was one of King Andreious’s most trusted generals.”, Hugo shares.
Vincent’s eyes widen. He didn’t know that.
“That is definitely something worth knowing.”, he says. “Why are you just bringing it up?”
“Because I’ve never known Argon to have inherited his grandfather’s prowess or skills in combat, but if he did-”
“If he did then there is definitely something more going on then just a frontal assault.”, Vincent interrupts him.
“Do you have any ideas?”, Ryanah asks Vincent. Concentrating on the thought for a few moments an image of Crotella tower flashes in Vincent’s mind. A gasp escapes him as a result. “What is it?”, Ryanah asks.
“We need to find the soldiers Prince Winston has placed in this area. Now.”, Vincent responds jumping to his feet. At that moment the sound of someone approaching is heard from the forest around them.
Vincent draws his sword in a flash holding it to the three soldiers as they emerge. He recognizes them as royal soldiers and drops his sword.
“Perfect. Take me to your commander, now.”, Vincent says to them. After recognizing Vincent the soldiers do as he says and takes him, Ryanah and Hugo to the main camp right outside Gordowe.
“Vincent what’s wrong?”, Ryanah asks as they enter the commander’s tent. The commander rises to his feet and bows respectfully to Vincent.
“Sir knight Vincent.”, he greets him.
“Commander.”, Vincent returns not wasting time. “I’m afraid I have to make some adjustments to your assignment. I need you to move some of the forces in this area towards Crotella tower. It is in danger of being attacked.”, Vincent tells him. Ryanah and Hugo’s eyes widen in surprise.
Vincent ignores it and goes on. He knows that some knights would have accompanied Sir Rollrick to the capital for the trial leaving the forces at the tower lower than usual.
The commander looks bewildered by Vincent’s orders. “But sir we were ordered to protect this area around the capital.”, he tells Vincent.
“I understand that, but if Argon is taking a page from his grandfather. He will be attacking the capital and Crotella at the same time.”, Vincent counters.
“Does he have the forces to do such a thing?”
“If he has men from all the lords and forcing others who lived under those lords to fight for him, but he doesn’t need many if some of the knights are in Lumorra. All of the army is around the capital itself and the surrounding area including here in Gordowe.”, Vincent assumes.
“Yes, so the first wave can engage the enemy and the rest of us can catch them from behind.”, the commander informs Vincent. In his mind Vincent has to admit the plan is good. A classic box in the enemy method with a bit of a twist, but he couldn’t let that distract him.
“Nonetheless you must trust me. The army is not a threat to Argon. He believes it is on par with his own. His true targets are Prince Winston and the knights.”, Vincent stresses to the commander.
After a moment he finally agrees. “Very well, Sir Vincent. I shall trust you.”, he says.
“Vincent are you sure?” Ryanah says from behind him placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Yes I am. It came to my mind when Hugo told me of Argon’s lineage and when an image of Crotella tower came to me.”, Vincent explains to her. “Let’s face it, after all this the crimes Argon has committed are only needed to save the crown’s image and insure Argon is seen as the villain he is.”
“I see.”, Ryanah responds.
“I assume you will be heading to Crotella tower.”, Hugo says to Vincent. “What is it you will like us to do?”
Vincent pauses a moment before speaking. He didn’t think about what he will do.
“Actually I want you two to help with the battle at the tower. I am hoping Sir Rollrick left Sir John there. It’s going to take you three days to get there, but there should be another part of the army nearby. Am I right?”, Vincent says turning back to the commander.
“Yes sir.”, he answers.
“Then send word to them by messager pidgin in advance. You will be conducting another two part wave strike. Now.”, Vincent orders. Quickly the commander does as he is told.
“I’ll be heading to the capital with the rest of the men here. The commander will be joining you.” Vincent says turning back to Ryanah and Hugo.
“What of this?”, Ryanah asks gesturing to the bag holding the payment.
“Keep it. We still need it just not now.”
Vincent then heads to the exit in the tent followed by Ryanah and Hugo.
“Commander I’ll be informing your company of what is about to happen. After that I will divide the force and you can start moving.”, he says without turning around.
“Yes sir and the letter is done.”, the commander responds.
“Send it off immediately.”, Vincent throws the response over his shoulder.
Vincent gathers every soldier and sends word to those on patrol. Once everyone is present he explains how the commander will be leading a force to Crotella tower and he will be leading everyone else to Lumorra. Once he is joined by the commander Vincent proceeds to divide them and say farewell to Ryanah and Hugo. Their portion of the company leaves immediately after. It is midnight by this time so Vincent decides that he and his company will head out at first light.