Episode 24: "Anything happens"

Isabelle woke to the dark of the night but not to its silence. A song, not loud but somehow pervasive, had interrupted her sleep. The man, the man, the armed man . . . She rolled out of bed and pushed open the shutters on her window. A light flashed repeatedly at her from the tower rising above the town. The mysterious voice sang as Isabelle pulled on her armor and buckled her swordbelt, sang of an armed man who was coming and commanded those who heard it to arm themselves. Isabelle did so, stuffing her remaining personal items into her pack and running out of the door to her room. She headed for the stairs, intent on helping with whatever was going on.

Two shadowy forms flanking the front door to the bar were Max's men; Isabelle had seen them preparing to keep guard the previous evening. When she approached, one of them pointed past her and whispered "Back door."

Isabelle nodded and left, dropping her pack on the bar. The back door turned out to be behind the staircase, obscured from view. Isabelle slipped out of it and into a dark grey night.

She was clearly not the only one concerned by the mysterious song. Shadowy figures crouched alongside many of the buildings, looking around. One of them tried moving out into the open and two arrows missed him by inches, striking the ground. The arrows had come from the direction of the road, and their angle of impact suggested that the archers were up in trees. The villager dove back into the doorway that he had been hiding in.

A few seconds later, the song stopped.

Isabelle carefully made her way along the left-hand wall of the tavern and peered around the corner. The caravan wagons were there, but there was no sign of Thunder. Before Isabelle could decide what to do next, something bright flashed out of the trees across the road and flew into the covered wagon. A wordless roar issued from inside. A silver-rimmed silhouette stormed out, its only identification the gold bands around its wrists and ankles. The inhuman guard raised its right arm to the side, palm open to the sky. It clenched its hand and suddenly it was holding a javelin. As it cocked its arm for a throw, two more arrows shot out and hit it in the chest, glancing off. It's arm blurred and a white flash shot into the trees, the crack of exploding wood answering in place of thunder. The guard smoothly returned its arm to the position for summoning another javelin.

Isabelle turned away and walked back to the tavern door.