Chapter 33: To the Battle
All conversation ceased the moment we all left the village. None of us wanted to speak lest speaking gave away our place to an unseen enemy. All of the chimeras who could fight were split into groups. Red and Quiver were with Storm and I, and the elves were with us as well. Sentinel had figured it was for the best: the rest of the Chimeras were afraid of the elves still.
We all hid our faces, and pulled our hair back as much as we could. The elves were not wearing their armor, instead opting to borrow the armor we had for the moment. It would be better for them to hide their identities as elves as well, so they tied their hair up and hid their hair and the tips of their ears behind cloth, imitating the way some people in the village did to keep dust out of their hair. Their pointed ears were the one thing that no chimeras had, at least not noticeably. We didn’t want to take chances. On top of that, we all used face paint to obscure our faces further, and armed ourselves for battle.
We didn’t know exactly where the Lassanian soldiers were at that point. They could have been anywhere. We had to be careful. We crept soundlessly through the underbrush, all of our senses peeled for the soldiers. Every group was within the senses of the nearby groups, so that if the soldiers found them first, an alarm would spread through the Chimeras quick enough for everyone to be on guard immediately.
But after half a day of travelling, they found the soldiers. The soldiers were not worried and were not aware of our presence.
Many of us started to draw our weapons. I had my daggers with me just in case, but I pulled out my bow and an arrow. The elves all pulled out their bows and arrows and looked at Storm and I.
“Remember what Sentinel told you,” Storm whispered to the elves. “They don’t see us as people. They won’t hesitate to kill. They don’t care.”
“We have to kill as well. We can’t hesitate. It’s the only way they’ll listen.”
We crept closer. Those of us with ranged weapons- the elves and I- got behind the others, and climbed onto lower branches of the tree.
Suddenly, there were harsh noises from a distance. A loud sound like a high-pitched roar came from the distance. Then another one. Before the second one, the soldiers were suddenly on alert.
“Let’s go,” one of them said. They were going to try to go get help.
I hooked an arrow onto my bow and aimed as quickly as I could. I shot, and my arrow grazed off of a soldier’s shoulderplate.
He looked up at me and the world froze for a split second, before three more arrows were shot. One of them went into his eye, and his scream pierced everything.
I hooked another arrow. By that point, Storm, Red, and Quiver had lept out at the other soldiers, quickly slitting their throats. And then, they all returned to the bushes and hid for a moment of tension and silence.
“Soldiers! Where have you disappeared to?!”
Another group of soldiers came out of the trees on the opposite side of the clearing, but stopped in their tracks when they saw the bodies of their friends on the ground. I shot my arrow and hit a soldier behind the one speaking in his throat, causing him to stagger back.
As the soldiers made the mistake of turning to look at their wounded friend, I was hooking my arrow, and the elves were taking aim. We all shot into the gathering crowd, and repeated.
We had to kill enough of them to at least scare them into leaving. We were close to the shelter that we had built for Rune- no doubt they had taken it, and were using it for shelter.
We had to at least take that back. We had to take that piece of the coast, and start holding them there.
Another sudden roar in the distance caused my lip to curl in disgust and determination. I hooked another arrow, and shot, and did it again, and again. The soldiers soon figured out where our arrows were coming from, however, and were shielding themselves from them. So, it was time to try a different approach.
I didn’t hook another arrow. Instead, I pulled dark energy from myself, holding it in my hand and shrouding myself in it the best I could. Then, I sent it out towards the soldiers. It wrapped itself around his neck and chest, stealing his breath and heartbeat. He collapsed in pain.
The elves kept trying to shoot arrows, and more Chimeras joined us in battle. Flames and lightning shot out of the trees and one by one, soldiers started to fall. The Chimeras who were on the ground didn’t even have to use melee after that, because we heard a yell from behind their lines. “Retreat! Back to the coast!”
The elves smiled, but none of the chimeras started to celebrate. Not even a little.
The battle was far from over.
It wasn’t until we reached the coast that we realized: it was almost over… but we needed to find shelter.
“Dust storm!” I hissed to the elves. The chimeras pointed at the ocean, and somehow, in all the chaos, the elves got the message, and it was our turn to draw back.
We all ran deeper into the forest, and I found my way into a small den-like cave under a tree. There were people right behind me, but all I knew was that they weren’t chimeras.
We hid the entrance to the cave, pulling branches and leaves over it. I turned around to look at them.
All the elves were with me. Storm, Red, and Quiver were nowhere to be seen.