Callie looked over the mercenaries. They weren’t the most sane bunch she’d ever seen. Then again, they were in the business for excitement and adventure. So, it was no surprise that they were a strange group.
She had been true to her word. There were twenty three vampire mercenaries in the group.
They sharpened their weapons and seemed to be in high spirits, in spite of what they were about to go into.
“I’m going to achieve so many great feats.”
“Most exciting job I’ve taken.”
“When this is over, let’s get some fresh blood.”
“We can’t drink from the undead, after all.”
“All right, Everyone,” Callie called out. “Were going to be heading for Sadow’s Keep. There are a lot of strong enemies, and many more of them than there are of us. Each and every one of you will have many opportunities to show your valour.”
The group cheered.
Callie looked over at Tynan, Gabriel and Aiko. She nodded. It was all going to begin soon.
I sat with Illyana and Lynai. The three of us waited. We took up our position surreptitiously while Callie gathered her mercenaries.
It was, after all, more convenient if we did not have to explain ourselves to the mercenaries.
“Callie should be in position about now,” Lynai said.
“I hope they’ll all be okay,” Illyana stated.
“As do I,” I said. “At this juncture, we can only trust them to fight strategically. They will have quite a few mercenaries to cover them.”
“I’m still worried,” Lynai confided. “I’ve gotten to know all of them pretty well. I trust their abilities, but I also know how dangerous this whole plan is.”
“How long until we begin?” Illyana asked.
“They will be in position within the hour, assuming everything goes according to plan,” I stated. “They will signal us at that point and commence their attack.”
I rose from the ground. “I will return in a moment. I have something I must do.”
I moved a short distance and constructed a small shrine. I proceeded to make an offering. “Nemesis, grant me strength as I complete this task in your name,” I prayed. I waited a moment as my offering was consumed. I then made a second offering. “Athena, grant me the wisdom to find the surest path to victory.”
With my prayers concluded, I returned to my companions.
Callie turned to Gabriel. “Send the signal, We’re going in.”
A single fiery arrow shot into the sky. Aiko was the first to move, travelling through the shadows and up to the parapets, knocking a ghoul off before returning.
Gabriel fired a second arrow into the tower. The undead were already on high alert. Callie let her mercenaries loose. They moved forward, loosing projectiles against Sadow’s forces.
“Keep your wits about you!” Femre ordered. “Keep in a loose formation in case any of them know wide radius spells. Alpha company, you go down first. I’ll follow with Beta. Be prepared to loose our secret weapon.”
We could see the mercenaries reacting pretty quickly. I just had to rely on Callie and the others to keep their distance. Still, it seemed unlikely that all seven of us would escape alive.
As selfish as it was, I was hoping that both Callie and I would for certain. It wasn’t fair to the others, that I was thinking of them less. It also wasn’t fair to the mercenaries that I wasn’t sparing much of a thought for but when all this was said and done, I really wanted my happy ending.
Michael lifted me under one arm and Illyana under the other. He couldn’t lift us both for long. We all knew that, but he didn’t have to. A strong wind carried us upwards. I dropped out of his arms and caught a window ledge.
I moved up and pushed it open, going inside the keep. Michael hurried inside with Illyana still in his arms. We were past the easiest hurdle.