Tag Archives: Angela

L&A: On the Road Again

I like Lezvie and Angela and they seem to be popular and I find that their stories are easy to write, so here’s another short story of them.  In case you’ve forgotten, since it has been a while, here’s the last thing of theirs I wrote: Lezvie’s Tale.

“You’re sure you won’t stay?”

Lezvie tightened one of the straps on his harness as he shook his head.  “If the Crimson Dragon is real, then stopping it will end a great deal of the organized terrorism.  Going after the source will be much more effective then just trying to handle the individual incidents.”

Jack nodded and stepped forward to clasp his hand.  “Keep in touch, aye?  It makes us nervous when we don’t hear from you for months on end, and especially now, since you have a much better idea of where to find the most dangerous enemies possible.”

“Don’t worry about me, Jack,” Lezvie replied with a chuckle as he returned the handclasp.  “Angela won’t let anything happen to me.”

“‘Course I won’t.”  Angela tossed her hair out of her eyes.  “If I even considered letting him get himself injured, he’d jump headfirst into whatever it was that wanted to injure him.”

Rodrigo laughed.  “She’s got your number for sure, Lezvie.”

Lezvie rolled his eyes.  “Come on, Angela.  We’re burning daylight.”

The two of them walked out across the plains, and the heavy doors of the Bunker slid shut behind them, the locks hissing as they sealed.  Angela flashed Lezvie a grin.  “On the road again. To tell you the truth, I didn’t much care for them.  They were nice enough, but it’s just… weird, being around people after being alone for so long.”

“I understand completely.  That’s why I never stay long with them. That, and I can’t exactly rid the world of the scum that populates it if I’m safely holed up in a bunker.”

Angela laughed.  “Of course.  Though isn’t it almost as hard to kill scum if you’re just wandering the wasteland aimlessly?”

“Who ever said we’re wandering aimlessly?  I know exactly where we’re going.”

“Oh?”  Angela arched one eyebrow.  “And where is that?”

Lezvie put one arm around her shoulders and pointed towards the horizon.  “You see that big mountain over there?”

She nodded.

“That’s where we’re going.  I know a guy who lives there.”

“Who lives out in the desert on a random mountain?”

“A paranoid hermit who also happens to have some of the most advanced tech on the planet.  He was a hermit before the aliens ever touched down, but he had the biggest net of contacts I ever knew of.  During the invasion, he was constantly getting pieces of alien tech and integrating it into his own systems.  He survived the Glassing and now watches the entire continent, and probably the entire world.  If there’s an organized criminal group out there, he knows about it.”

Angela’s eyes were wide.  “Wow.  Why haven’t you gone to him before?”

Lezvie shrugged.  “I didn’t think I needed to.  I had no real reason to think the rumors about the Crimson Dragon could be true.”

“Hmm.”  They walked in silence for several minutes.  Then Angela asked, “What’s his name?”

“I don’t know, actually.”  Lezvie shrugged again.  “He goes by the psuedonym ‘The Master’.”

Angela snorted.  “Arrogant much?”

“He’s earned it, though.  There’s no system in the world better than his, and there wasn’t one before the Glassing, either.  And machinery aside, he’s the most talented hacker in the world.”

Angela ‘hmm’ed again, and they walked in silence.

As the sun began to set, and after several quick breaks, consisting of a brief sit-down and a protein bar, they stopped under the overhang of what had been an old truck stop.  Lezvie set up the windscreens and the artificial campfire while Angela prepared their food.

After a quiet meal, Angela settled down in her sleeping bag while Lezvie took first watch.  They easily fell into the old routines; no discussion was necessary.  It felt good to be on the road again.


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Sweet Relief

Finally finished my term exams. I feel good about all seven and know for a fact I got a 100 on two of them. So that’s over with.

Best part? A five day break, starting tomorrow. I’m probably going to just sleep a lot tomorrow, but the next four days should let me crank out some writing. Expect to see more Lezvie and Angela stories and possibly some Phenomenon.

Also, I should be able to put up my first video blog post, if I can get some opinions on what I should talk about/read.

So, that’s all coming up this weekend. See you then, wyrms.


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Lezvie’s Tale

Angela awoke to a gentle touch on her hair.  Her eyes fluttered open, and she found herself looking into Lezvie’s eyes, only inches from hers.

She jumped back, heat rising in her cheeks.  “How’re you feeling?”

“I’ve been better.”  He grinned.  “I’ve been worse, too.”

“Good.  Good.”  She let her hair fall in her face to hide her blush.  “I’ll just, uh…  Go get some breakfast.”

Angela slipped out and ducked around a corner, leaning against a wall and letting out a long, shaky breath.  “Why does he keep doing that to me?”

Footsteps drew her attention, and she looked down the hall to see Ruth, carrying a tray.  “He’s awake, I take it?”

“Yeah, he is.  Listen, Ruth…”

The redhead paused.  “Yes?”

“Who is Lezvie?  I mean, where did he come from?  What’s his goal?”

Ruth chuckled.  “That is such a long story, and I don’t even know all of it.  He doesn’t talk much about his past.”

“What about his present?  What can you tell me about him?”  Angela chuckled, half to herself.  “I’ve traveled with him for months, but he’s almost as much a mystery as when I first met him.”

“As with all of us.”  Ruth chuckled as well.  “He’s a good man, though, so none of us pry too deeply.”

“That makes sense, I suppose.”  Angela nodded.  She followed Ruth back into Lezvie’s room, where he lay in his bed.

“I see you two have met.  Been swapping stories?”

Angela took the tray from Ruth and set it on Lezvie’s beside table.  “You’re impossible, you know that?”

He grinned.  “You keep telling me that.”

Ruth quietly withdrew, leaving Angela and Lezvie alone.

As he ate, Angela sat quietly, thinking.  When he finished, she asked, “Lezvie…  Will you tell me about yourself?  Where you came from?”

Lezvie looked at her, setting his tray aside.  “What brought this on?”

“No one knows anything about you.”  She shrugged.  “I just want to know.”

“All right.”  He shifted on the bed, patting it.  “It’s a long story, so you should sit down.”

She sat down on the bed, then leaned back, laying against him.

He put an arm around her, and then he began to spin his tale.

“I was born in California.  My hair was white even then.”  He twirled a lock of his hair between his fingers.  “As you can imagine, it set me apart from the other kids.  I tried to emulate characters in Japanese anime; they were the only people I knew that had white hair.

“I studied martial arts of several kinds, including weaponized.  That’s why I can do what I do with my blades.  It also somewhat isolated me, so I studied.  The only real company I had was my family and a few people I had met online that stopped by from time to time.”

Angela looked up at him.  “Tell me about your family.”

“There were five of us: my father, my mother, my big sister Katie, my little brother Matt, and myself.  My dad was a mechanic, and Matt was following in his footsteps.  Literally.  He’d stick to my dad like a shadow whenever he worked on a car.  Mom was a mythology teacher.  Japanese mythology.  That’s another reason I got so into the way of the ninja and things like that.

“And Katie…”  He smiled fondly, remembering.  “Katie was the all-around perfect one.  Principal’s honor roll, captain of the women’s volleyball team, black belt in martial arts, the works.  It’s mostly thanks to her that I succeeded as well as I did.”

He chuckled faintly.  “I won so many awards in martial arts and academic achievements, that between me and Katie, they covered every wall of my house.  None of that matters anymore, of course…

“When the invasion came, I was hand-picked by the United Resistance to be part of a crack team to resist the aliens.  I got my knives on our first mission.  After that, we were much more capable of resisting them.  Only the aliens’ own weapons could penetrate their armor.”

He let out a heavy sigh.  “And then came the operation that destroyed our world.  We carried out a strike on one of the alien ground bases.  It was the first time we managed to fully destroy one of their bases.  And it provoked them.

“They decided Earth wasn’t worth the cost they were paying for it.  But neither could they just give up.  We’d eventually develop space flight and become a threat.  So they Glassed the planet.”  His head fell back on the pillow, and a tear ran down his cheek.  “We caused the Glassing.  We killed seven billion people, and reduced the few millions that remained to savages.”

Angela wiped the tear away, resting her head on his chest.  “It wasn’t your fault, Lezvie.  You only did what you had to.  The aliens killed those people.  If you hadn’t fought them, they would have just taken over.”

He exhaled slowly.  “My family survived the invasion, and the glassing.  But not a month after the glassing, they were attacked by raiders.  My father and brother were the lucky ones.  They died quickly.”

She rested her head on his chest, putting her arms around him.  “I’m sorry.”

Lezvie rested one hand on the back of her head.  “That’s why I fight so hard against the raiders.  As though I can make up for losing my family by making sure no one else loses theirs.”

“So that’s why I felt like I could trust you, back when we first met.  I could feel that conviction.”

“You’re the first person I’ve ever told.”  He grinned faintly.  “Feel special.”

“I do.  Believe me, I do.”

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Recovery, Part 2

They’ve escaped the slavers, but Lezvie’s badly hurt. Will his mysterious friends in the Bunker be able to save him?

Jack and Rodrigo were already in the entrance hall when they arrived.  Rodrigo had a minigun strapped on him, the large barrel currently folded up beside the ammunition box on his back as he checked a computer on a wall.  “They’re coming.  Four Humvees, complete with fifty-cal turrets.”

“Any markings?”  Jack checked the safety on his rifle.

“Yes, but not one I’m familiar with.  Look.”

Lezvie followed Jack over to the screen, looking at the insignia on the side of the approaching vehicles.  “It almost looks like Crimson Talon,” Lezvie said, “it isn’t, as you can see.  There are four markings here, where the Talon only has three.  But it’s almost like they’re from the same family or something…”

The vehicles stopped about a hundred feet from the outer doors, and men in combat armor poured out, forming a semi-circle around it.  Two of them set up a heavy cannon in front of the door, aiming it dead center at it.

A man whose armor bore more color than the others stepped up to the door.  His voice was distorted by the helmet he wore, making him sound robotic.  Alien.  “You harbor fugitives.  You will surrender them to the Crimson Fang immediately.”

Lezvie turned to Jack.  “You ever hear of a ‘Crimson Fang’?”

“Rumors.”  Jack shrugged.  “A more organized, better equipped branch of the Crimson Talon.”

“While we’re swapping rumors,” Rodrigo interjected, “I heard that they’re both arms of a parent organization, Crimson Dragon.  Hence the names.  There’s also, supposedly, a Crimson Wing and Crimson Eye.”

“Unimaginative lot.”  Lezvie fingered his knives.  “But well-equipped, undeniably well-equipped.”

The men outside grew impatient.  “We grow tired of your disobedience.  Give us the fugitives or we will blow the door in.  You have thirty seconds.”

“Fugitives.  That would be the girls and I, yes?”  Lezvie chuckled.  “Well, Jack?  You gonna throw us to the dragon?”

Rodrigo pulled down the barrel of his minigun and gave the barrel an experimental spin.  “C’mon, Lez.  You should know better than that.”

“Good then.  Should we let them shoot first?  Give ourselves the moral high ground?”

Jack grinned.  “Always.”

“You have chosen to defy the Crimson Fang.  On your own heads be it.  The Crimson Fang shall destroy your feeble installation and kill all of you.”  The man stepped back behind the semicircle of soldiers, gesturing to the men behind the cannon.

The first shot splashed harmlessly against the powerful doors of the Bunker.  So did the second.  And the third.  Right after the fourth, Jack gestured to Rodrigo, and the security officer flipped a switch in the wall, causing the massive door to slide open.

Jack threw a grenade as the door opened.  By the time the massive gates had stopped moving, the grenade latched on magnetically to the cannon.  It exploded violently, tearing the cannon apart and sending shrapnel into the Crimson Fang soldiers nearest it.

Rodrigo and Jack followed the grenade with a volley of lead.  Jack’s rifle sounded rhythmically, each shot bringing down one of the soldiers manning the guns of the Humvees.  Rodrigo’s tactics were simpler; spray and pray.  The Crimson Fang soldiers went down like flies.

Despite the heavy losses they were taking, the red-armored soldiers came charging forward, those that had guns firing them, those with melee weapons trying to close the distance as fast as possible.  While outgunned, their numbers allowed them to endure the brutal damage the Remnants’ guns inflicted while still getting closer to the Bunker.

Lezvie stepped forward, drawing his knives.  He still looked agile, but Angela could tell that every movement pained him, and his usual grace came with much more effort than usual.  She stepped up beside him and kept the invaders from reaching him, putting each one down with a single shot to the head.

Even her sharpshooting could only slow the tide, and Lezvie had to fight.  His dance of death flowed as smoothly as it always did, and the soldiers’ blood stained the ground at his feet.  Eventually the ranks of the Crimson Fang were depleted, and the few survivors piled back into their trucks and fled.

“We can’t let them escape.”  Jack’s voice sounded tired.

Rodrigo nodded and stepped back across the threshold, tapping a command into the console.  The barrel of a large gun extended out of the mountain above the bunker door.  It fired, one shot for every truck.  Every shot hit its mark.  Every truck became a pile of scorched metal.

“That’s the problem with this wasteland.  You can’t trust anyone.  If you get in a fight, you have to wipe them out, or they’ll come back with friends and wipe you out.”  Jack set his rifle down and closed the doors.

Lezvie cleaned his daggers and sheathed them.  “Yeah.  Terrible.”

Then he collapsed.

“Lezvie!”  Angela rushed to him, catching him before his head hit the ground.  “Stupid, stupid man…”

She stripped off his bandage, which had been soaked to the point of uselessness.  His wound had been reopened during the fight, and now his blood ran down his chest.  “Stupid, stubborn, stupid man…”  She turned to Jack and Rodrigo.  “Help me get him back to the medical bay.”

They carried him in, laying him in one of the beds.  Angela shooed the men out of the ward and began taking care of Lezvie’s wound.

“Stubborn, thick-headed, arrogant, prideful, stupid…”  She finished binding his wound and rested a hand on his cheek.  “Stupid, amazing man…”  With a sigh, she sank into the chair beside his bed, resting her head on his chest, her blonde hair tumbling across his pale skin, suddenly exhausted.

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Recovery, Part 1

They’ve escaped the slavers, but Lezvie’s badly hurt. Will his mysterious friends in the Bunker be able to save him?

Angela was able to summarize the story of her time with Lezvie in under an hour, with much of that time spent repeating herself when Jack expressed disbelief.  When she found herself repeating Lezvie’s decision to help her rescue Tabitha for the third time, her temper finally got the better of her.

“Look, I’ve told you everything, can I please go see him now?”

“It still doesn’t make sense to me.  You haven’t given him anything,” Jack gave her a once-over, as though that were inconceivable, “so why would he risk his life for you?”

“Because he’s a better man than you!”  Angela got to her feet and tried to go out the door.

Jack sprang to his feet, grabbing her arm.  “Hold on, you can’t-”

Then Angela punched him in the face.  He stumbled back in surprise, releasing her arm.  She rushed out the door, ignoring Jack’s cries for her to stop.

“Whoa, there!”  A strong pair of arms caught her, whirling her off balance and knocking her against the wall.  “You can’t go running off.  Jack’s orders.”

Angela glared at the redheaded woman holding her in place.  “Let me go to Lezvie!”

“You can’t go to him, he’s not strong enough for-”

“Not strong enough for visitors?”

Both women turned and stared at Lezvie, who stood in a doorway, leaning heavily on it.  His shirtless torso revealed a bloodstained bandage wrapped around his chest.  “I think Angela’s anger is more dangerous to me than a little early exercise, Ruth.”

Angela shook off Ruth’s grip and rushed to Lezvie, throwing her arms around him.  “Oh, you’re all right, thank God you’re all right!”

He grunted as she squeezed him.  “Easy, Angela.  It’s still fresh.”

“Sorry…”  She eased off, but didn’t let go, leaning her head against his chest.  “I was so scared, Lezvie…”

“I know, little bird.”  He wrapped his arms around her, gently stroking her hair.  “I’m all right.  We’ll all be all right now.”

Jack came out of the interrogation room, muttering and rubbing his jaw.  “Your girl packs a heck of a right hook, Lezvie.”

Lezvie grinned.  “I wouldn’t know, Jack.  What were you trying to pull that she hit you?”

“Trying to keep her away from you,” he replied, chuckling.

“That would do it.”  Lezvie ruffled Angela’s hair.  “She seems to like me for some reason.”

Angela blushed faintly and let go of him.  “Oh, I don’t know, I think I’m entitled to like the guy who’s saved my life and that of my best friend.”

“Yes, I suppose you are.”

Tabitha had followed Jack out of the room by this time, and looked at Lezvie.  “I never thanked you properly for saving me.  Especially since you almost died to do it.”

He smiled.  “It’s just a scratch.  I’ll be fine before long.”

A man in a lab coat came through another door, blinking through his thick spectacles.  “New people.  And Lezvie’s back.  Busy day, hm?”

Lezvie chuckled.  “I think introductions are in order.  Remnants, this is Angela, my traveling companion for the past several months, and Tabitha, her best friend, whom I rescued from the Crimson Talon.  Angela, Tabitha, these are the Remnants.  You’ve met Jack.  He’s the leader, and pilot, whenever they need to fly.

“The redhead is Ruth.  She’s the Remnants’ engineer and cook, the combination of which explains why her whiskey tastes the way it does.”

This got a laugh from all the Remnants, including Ruth.

“The good doctor over here is Neil.  He’s… well, the doctor, obviously.  And the one who is not here is Rodrigo, chief of security.  He was on the ship with Jack when we got picked up.”

Angela nodded.  She remembered him.

And as though his mention summoned him, Rodrigo came running into the room, skidding to a stop, out of breath.  “We’ve got company.  Not sure who it is, but they’ve got vehicles.”

“And that means they’re dangerous.”  Lezvie pushed himself off the wall he was leaning on.  “Come, we best prepare.”

Angela followed him as he moved through the halls of the bunker.  “Lezvie, you’re hurt!  You can’t fight!”

“I have to fight, Angela.  I’m here, I’m fighting.”  He opened the door to the infirmary and picked up his harness, slipping it on.

“You stupid, stubborn man…”  Angela watched him, seeing how even the small movements of dressing brought him pain.  “Let me.”  She walked around behind him and helped him fasten the straps of his harness and affix his knives.

He held still, letting her help.  “Thank you.”

She fastened the last strap, grumbling.  “I can’t believe I’m helping you go fight.”

I think you just can’t resist touching me,” Lezvie said with a cheeky grin.

Angela smacked his arm.  “Honestly, you’re impossible.”  She watched him as he walked down the hallway, still keeping one hand on the wall for balance.  “Completely impossible.  Going to get himself killed.”  She pulled the pistol from her belt and followed him.

If Lezvie insisted on protecting the Bunker, she’d be right there as well, protecting him.

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Slavers, Part 4; Conclusion

But not the end of Lezvie and Angela, don’t worry.

The trio managed to get into the shelter of a nearby cave just before night fell.  Lezvie, despite his initial bravado, slipped into delirium as the pain and blood loss overtook him.  It was a long night, with Angela and Tabitha trying to keep him cool and comfortable.

In the morning, he had regained consciousness, but still only had a fraction of his strength.  “We need… to go to the Bunker.”

“The Bunker?”  Tabitha looked at Angela.  “What’s that?”

“I dunno…”  She looked down at Lezvie.  “Nearly two months we’ve been together and you’ve never mentioned it.  Where is it?  How can it help?”

“There are more people there…  Good people…  I’ve never told you… because I don’t like being in one place…”

“It’s a refuge?  And you thought if you took me there I’d want to stay.”  Angela grinned, brushing a lock of dirty blonde hair out of her eyes.  “You don’t know me all that well.  Which way to the bunker?”

He pushed his sleeve up on his arm, exposing his wristwatch.  The press of one of the buttons switched the display to a compass, with a blue arrow pointing off into the distance.  “Twenty six degrees northwest, about thirty miles from here.”

Angela nodded, then paused, eyeing him.  “Can you walk at all?  Because I don’t think Tabitha and I can carry you.”

Lezvie nodded.  “Help me up?”

Tabitha and Angela got on either side of him, and he got to his feet, swaying, leaning on the two girls.  “Lucky… That we… travel light…”  He panted from the exertion of talking and standing at the same time, the wound in his chest sending sharp pains through him with every breath.

“Shut up and walk,” Angela said, supporting him as best she could.  The three of them began to make their way across the wasteland, towards the Bunker.

They couldn’t keep moving for long.  After only half an hour, Lezvie collapsed, cold sweat on his brow.

“Lezvie!”  Angela grabbed him tighter, cushioning his fall.  “Lezvie, are you all right?”

He groaned, clutching his wound.  “Can’t…  Go on…”

“We have to!  We have to get you to the Bunker!”

“Back… pocket… of my cloak…”

Angela looked for the pocket, and, finding it, pulled out a small silver cube.

“Take it… and go…”  He coughed a few times, blood flecking his lips.  “If you get… within ten miles… squeeze it… and they’ll come…”

“And they can come get you then?”

He nodded.  “Go.  Fly, little bird…”

His pet name for her made a tear run down Angela’s cheek as she considered the possibility that Lezvie might die.  She looked over at Tabitha, squeezing the other girl’s hand.  “Take care of him.”  At Tabitha’s nod, Angela took off, glancing at her compass now and again to make sure she stayed on the right heading.

She ran like the wind, making every effort to live up to Lezvie’s nickname for her.  Her side cramped painfully, and her breath burned painfully in her lungs, but she didn’t dare stop.  Every second that ticked by was another second that could mean Lezvie’s death.

Just when she thought she had reached the limits of her stamina, the cube started buzzing.  She fell to her knees, the air sucking into her lungs painfully.  “Oh, I hope that means I’m in range…”  She squeezed the cube with all her might.

Long moments passed.  Nothing happened.  Tears stung her eyes as she contemplated having to get up and keep running.  She slowly dragged herself to her feet, looking in the direction of the Bunker.  A small black speck, moving across the sky, drew her attention.

“Not a bird…  Too big…  Too steady…”

As she kept watching it, it grew larger, and she could hear a faint whirring sound.  “A helicopter?”

The large aircraft drew closer, something like a cross between a helicopter and an airplane, with a large rotor on top of each wing.  It set down near her, and two men in patchwork survivalist armor disembarked, jogging towards her.

“Who are you?” the larger one demanded, taking the cube from her, “and how did you get Lezvie’s emergency beacon?”

“He sent me…  He’s been hurt.  Shot.  That way.”  She tried to fight her fatigue, gesturing in the direction she had come from.  “He needs you to get him.”

“Lezvie’s been shot?”  The man grabbed her arm and rushed her back to the aircraft.  “C’mon, we’ll get him.”

She let him drag her, too tired to resist him, even had she wanted to.  When they got on board, she pointed them in the direction of Lezvie and Tabitha.  The two-hour run took less than ten minutes in the aircraft.

“There he is!”  Angela pointed out the tree she had left Lezvie under.  The pilot set down close to him, and then the pilot and his partner and Angela rushed out.  The men picked up Lezvie and carried him to the aircraft, and Angela pulled Tabitha along with them.

“How is he?”  Angela asked the other girl as they took off again, squeezing her hand.

“He passed out about twenty minutes ago, but he was still coherent then.”  Tabitha collapsed into a seat, shaking.  “I thought you wouldn’t make it for a while, there…”

Angela hugged her tightly, taking comfort in comforting her.  “They can save him.  He wouldn’t have had us go to them if they couldn’t pull it off.”

Tabitha nodded.  They flew in silence, holding each other for comfort, while the smaller of the two men examined Lezvie’s wound.  The pilot flew the aircraft in through a hole in the top of the mountain, landing it on a concealed platform inside.

As soon as the door opened, a man and a woman with a stretcher whisked Lezvie inside and away.  Angela and Tabitha tried to follow, but the pilot stopped them, directing them to a small room with three chairs and a table.  Once they were seated, he sat across from them.

“My name’s Jack.  I lead the Remnant.”  He leaned forward, his eyes dangerous.  “Now who are you?  I get no word from Lezvie for nearly four months, and all of a sudden you show up with his beacon, and tell me he’s been shot.  There’s a rather interesting story in there somewhere, and I will hear it now.”

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Slavers, Part 3

Tabitha stared at him, her gaze steady despite the fact that she shook.  “How do you know my name?  Who are you?”

Lezvie pulled his knives out of the slaver’s back, cleaning them on the man’s shirt.  “My name is Lezvie.  Angela sent me.”

“Angela?  She’s still alive?”  She watched him, eyeing the knives.

“Very much so.  She’s waiting outside of town while I get you out.”

“Have you and her…?”  Tabitha made a suggestive gesture, watching his expression.

“No.”  He shook his head.  “Our companionship is purely one of company and convenience.  Strength in numbers and all that.”

“Yet you’ll brave the Crimson Talon at her request.”  Tabitha arched an eyebrow at him.

Lezvie had to admire her spunk.  Not two minutes ago she’d been at the mercy of a brutal slaver, yet she could make pointed remarks and cunning observations.  “I can see why Angela likes you.  Come on, someone will probably check on this lout eventually.”

She flushed.  “Could you give me a minute?”

“Right.”  Lezvie slipped out the window and sat on the ledge, looking out at the wasteland as Tabitha put her clothes back on.  She tapped him on the shoulder and he turned back towards her.  “Ready?

“Ready.  How are we going to do this?”

He hopped off the windowsill and grabbed onto the bricks of the wall.  “Wrap your arms around my neck and hold on.”

She obeyed, climbing onto his back and holding onto him as he climbed down.  On the ground, he chuckled faintly.  “It might be easiest if you just stayed there and let me carry you out.  Even with the extra weight, I can move more quietly than the two of us individually.”

“All right…”  She tightened her grip on him, settling into position as he began sneaking from house to house.  Just on the outskirts of the town, a sudden cry from the slaver’s camp made him whirl.  They had been seen.

With a mild oath, Lezvie set Tabitha down.  “Run to the cliff and climb.  I left marks on the path I took.  Angela’s at the top.  I’ll slow them down.”

“But you’ll die!”

“Only if you stay here, distracting me.  Go!”

She scrambled towards the cliff, climbing up it.  Lezvie turned towards the slavers who charged him, drawing his longsword.  “All right, you buggers.  Let’s dance.”

He charged them, meeting them amongst the fires and the dead, his sword reflecting the angry orange lights.  Set against the brutish swings of the slavers, he was a ghost.  Surrounded, outnumbered twenty to one, he remained untouchable.  They fell under his sword, gaping wounds appearing on them.

One of them, draped in the garb of a chieftain, charged him with a pair of katanas.  He was no mere thug.  His opening feint nearly fooled Lezvie; the follow-up strike nearly cost him the fight.

Lezvie, however, had other advantages than his skill.  The slaver chieftain swung, a powerful overhand swing, and Lezvie blocked it.  His sword, made of alien alloy, shattered the chieftain’s blades, leaving the slaver exposed.  Lezvie spilled his guts over the hard ground.

However, skilled as was, he was not invincible; the slavers had firearms.  A bullet grazed his arm, then his leg.  He backed out of the fight, moving towards the cliff.  As soon as he was free, he turned and ran, zig-zagging, trying to avoid the bullets.  He didn’t entirely succeed.

A lucky shot hit him in the back, punching clean through him.  He bit back a cry of pain and scaled the cliff, becoming invisible against the brush and rock.  The slavers kept up their fire for a few more seconds, but soon gave up.

Lezvie dragged himself over the top of the cliff, weak from blood loss and pain.  Angela and Tabitha awaited him, and they pulled him up onto a bedroll they had prepared.  He managed a weak grin.  “Mission accomplished.  Crimson Talon wasn’t so bad after all.”

Part 4

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