The Academic was rushed through the streets of Descar by a group of soldiers acting on orders. She was moved to the center of a group of five very large beings and shielded from the chaos surrounding her. She wondered if the soldiers truly believe she was the mayor of her town, perhaps no one let them know her cover to infiltrate the prison camp and rescue the alchemist was a rouse. She was certainly not enjoying the shoving of those around her; much less their distinct smell.
She understood the urgency of the moment. There was nothing but urgency in the moment. The Resistance was in full retreat from the fields of Descar. The Royal Army in quick pursuit with weapons the field of battle had never seen before. Things seemed hopeless for her and her comrades, but at the booming orders of the armored Musketeer on the fields the Resistance moved to the safety of the walled city.
“Wilhelm has fallen,” said one of the soldiers in front of her. The screams of a young man came from behind them.
“There are too few of us now,” the soldier at her right said.
“Follow my lead,” the solider at her left said. The group moved as one down an alley way.
“Break it down,” a soldier ordered. The guard at the front broke formation and smashed open a doorway. The wooden door sent splinters flying wildly through the air.
“Inside, ma’am, thank you,” the Academic was pushed inside a darkened room.
The soldiers chatted among themselves clamoring for anything that could be used to barricade the open doorway and seal off the large window at the front of the shop. The Academic huddled against the clerk’s counter keeping quiet as could be. In the distance gun shots rang out and more orders and commands were barked by both sides of the conflict as they wrestled for control of the city.
She sat with her knees to her chin and her eyes tightly closed. A stray round slammed through the window, glass flew into the eyes of one soldier and the clerk’s counter absorbed the bullet.
She thought she should shriek, or feel afraid in such a mad moment. Nothing came about. She heard the wounded soldier crawl on the creaky floorboards toward her position and knew there was only one course of action this day. She needed to be bold. There was no more danger in this moment than infiltrating an enemy camp, walking through the uncharted sewers of an occupied city or facing down two of the Regent’s henchmen. She reminded herself that she had faced down greater foes than a marching army. She opened her eyes.
The store the soldiers had opted to use as their sanctuary was a book store. She smiled wide and left the counter. She put the crawling soldier in her former seat and assured him there was bound to a be a tome or scroll with the knowledge to mend his wounds.
She stepped to the broken window. Two soldiers remained at the window, pointing long barrels toward the incoming army. The Academic looked out. Smoke and rubble stood where the group had just ran. Devastation followed in their wake and she wanted nothing more than Descar to emerge as unscathed as possible.
“What are your names?” She asked the soldiers.
“I am called Amelia, this is Anna, of the Bulwark regiments. Assigned to protect important assets such as yourself,” Amelia readied a shot.
“I thank you both for your services, Amelia and Anna of the Bulwarks. You have saved my life this day for sure. Now allow me to return the favor,” the Academic retrieved a scroll from a locket around her neck. A scroll drawn by Vitruvius himself, designer of the ancient aqueducts and instrumental in finding water where none existed, had treated her well on the brief journey to the Bronze Palace. She hoped now it would hold more devastating affects.
“Forgive me, ma’am, but I do not think a poem will save us this day,” the soldier called Anna said. The Academic appreciated the snark in the young lady’s tone. She appreciated as well the ability to dismiss the claim.
“Young one, I think you will find that there is power in even the slightest of words. Ensure I am not shot, please,” The Academic stepped out of the bookshop and into the ruined street.
Enemy foot soldiers clad in the lavender color of the King stormed into the the alleyway. She held the scroll firm in his grasp and spoke the best Latin she could manage. As she spoke, a gale of wind blew through the alley knocking many of the incoming troops to their feet.
The Academic took one final look at the street and whispered the last words of the scroll, “aquae mortem.”
A river appeared under foot of the Royal Army. Roaring whitecaps clashed against the businesses and shops of Descar. Water was summoned, and water had arrived. The soldiers not knocked away swam frantically against the currant to no avail. They could only hope to dodge walls and posts as they were carried back to the fields of Descar.
The Academic stepped back into the bookshop. Amelia and Anna looked at her in awe.
“I do not believe you needed the Bulwarks to aid you this day,” Amelia said.
“Of course I did, Amelia, we are all nothing without each other. Help me find a medical tome in this lot back here. Your friend needs aid,” The Academic hurried to the stacks of books and tomes behind the counter. The battle was over, but there was still work to do.
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