Fleeing through the woods in the middle of the night had its advantages, but there were too many hitches to make them count. The mindless golems would run as long as they were commanded. They do not need sight, their masters are their eyes and ears. Faylor did. A dense canopy shielded the forest floor from any moonlight. For protection Faylor held out his hands to assure he wouldn’t smash his face into a tree trunk camouflaged in the darkness. The result was him pinballing around in a staggered path, bouncing from one obstacle to another.
The clunking rhythm from his pursuers gradually grew louder with each jumbled step. Although all of his concentration was needed to navigate the maze of trees, Faylor’s mind betrayed him as he dwelled on Wyke. Little energy was wasted on the boy who would have ratted him out. The horrifying thoughts came in spurts. Different ways Wyke would most likely be tortured. All to find out where the weapon came from and where Faylor was headed. A weapon that didn’t even work, but that wouldn’t stop the magicians nor did it stop the images. The most recent was a slow fire, burning from Wyke’s feet to his head, with the sorcerers magic keeping him alive to feel the full extent of treason’s punishment.
Blinking the thought away, a circular outcrop of light came into Faylor’s view. The dim glow lit up the upcoming trees allowing him to run in a much smoother motion, swaying his arms for a faster sprint.
Catching himself on a tree at the edge of the outcrop exhaustion caught up to Faylor. The brief rest reminded his muscles how tired they were. Crippling cramps plagued his limbs. His body was meant for standing still, not hard labor. While the tortures continued to flood his mind, the present threat of the never tiring golems loomed. Faylor knew he couldn’t waste any more time. By now his former master would have sent out a telepathic alert to the surrounding districts and they would have sent out their own trackers on his scent.
Across the lit area shadow ran deep at the outer reach of the moonlight. The coolness of the trunk played to Faylor’s exhaustion teasing him with relaxation. At that brief moment, Faylor contemplated giving up, ending the anticipation of the chase. Death wouldn’t come fast but it was much easier than the alternative. Before the idea formed any ground Faylor dismissed it. The notion of his friend dying for nothing was to much. Each graphic image, the work of his master, became useful, reminding Faylor about his mission‘s purpose.
Suddenly the pounding feet of the golems morphed into a sloshing as they trampled through a nearby creek. Reaching into his bag he grabbed the radio. More for hope than anything else, he flicked the switch again, filling the area with a low hum. As he stood up his heart dropped. Standing opposite him was a magician. Its lime green hair looked more like puss in the darkness, while it’s pale skin mimicked the surface of the moon, splotched in dirt. Lost in the surrounding wood, the magician’s cloak stole all detail from the his body. Only his filthy feet on leather sandals were visible. What Faylor could see was perilous purple eyes, and a very long pointed nose that matched the rest of his appendages.
“Golems to your back, and me standing here. I must give you credit for how far you came with those odds.” The magician stated.
Faylor’s years as a statue kept his tongue still.
“You still know your place. Well your master will be glad to have you back, he already burnt through the others.” He laughed, gripping his chest in the pleasure of his joke. Raising a hand the magician began speaking a non-earth based incantation. Faylor recoiled in fear. After a moment nothing happened. Stretching out from his crouched position, Faylor looked down at his hand, which held the radio.
Raising both hands the magician tried again in the same steadied tone, but when that failed he resulted in yelling the spell. When neither attempt worked Faylor began to understand. The images of Wyke dying were no longer as strong as before. His master’s detailed visualization were gone. He was only seeing the blurry images of the imagination.
“You are nothing more than a Rune.” The magician yelled trying uselessly to attack the ex-servant. Faylor noticed the magician’s insanity.
Magician’s use to carry weapons like staffs and wands, but once they established complete control they abandoned them. The over-relying on magic left modern magicians defenseless. Wasting no time Faylor fumbled for the knife in his pack.
“Or what?” Faylor demanded. For the first time in his life he felt superior to the magic wielding class. Holding the knife in his hand he remembered the feeling of it slipping into the boy. The relief he felt when he was no longer in danger soothed him once more. “You wouldn’t be the first I’ve killed.”
With the radio in one hand and the knife in the other, Faylor charged the magician. Trapped in the field of the technology the magician froze in shock. In seconds the knife was sheathed in the wizard’s chest and the two hit the ground. Hunched over the dying symbol of oppression watching him slowly slip away, Faylor felt free. He waited until he was sure the magician was dead before removing the blade. Twisting the lighting bolt blade from the magician’s chest opened up a small hole that quickly filled with dark blood.
Stories of the power contained in magician blood resurfaced to Faylor’s memory. If the radio worked, why should the stories be false. As bad as the smell was, Faylor forced down his queasiness and rubbed the blood on his face and hands. Magician’s blood was said to block some magic, most importantly a master’s ever watching eye.
The heavy feet of the running golems were almost on top of Faylor. The knife was a useful weapon against flesh, but a creation of earth would take much more to bring down. If he could reach the water, the golems would need to find a bridge or passage to cross. With one look over his shoulder, Faylor adjusted his pack and ran for the river just ahead. Reaching the bank Faylor plunged into water as the golems caught up. Splashing through the river with his hands above the water Faylor’s progress slowed. Standing like statues at the edge of the water, the golems watched as their target escaped into the woods.
Faylor made sure he stayed within earshot of the river, but deep enough so that he couldn’t be spotted from the other bank. The path to the lake was fairly smooth. Navigating the thick woods without a horde of golems behind him sped up his progress. It was nightfall when Faylor gazed upon the glass like water. The croaks of frogs and buzz of a multitude of bugs drowned out the hum of the radio. Kneeling down where the river ran into the lake, Faylor drank his fill. With the inside of his mouth cooled by the frosty water, he found himself a tree to rest against. Confident that his body would wake at danger, Faylor closed his eyes. Listening to the hum and buzz combination of technology and nature Faylor fell asleep.
TO BE CONTINUED…