Edward and Inzoliah, Slaver Hunters
Inzoliah had been tracking her quarry for several days now, mounted as they were they would have escaped her and her temporary companion, but they were being slowed by something they would not willingly release. Slaves. She did not care whether or not they were human, elven, ferrals, or even imps, they were slaves and they were being led by slavers to be sold on the block like exotic beasts. That was something she couldn’t abide by, so she and “Sir” Edward, the knight of dubious authenticity who had been following her, had labored to catch up with the company of slavers. Tonight was the night, they had set up camp by one of the smaller oasis, too small for its life giving water to support a town, but definitely a boon to those travellers who stopped there.
She was enshrouded in a cloak the color of the desert sand, looking like no more than part of the dune she rested upon. Behind her, waiting to be given the sign to come forward was Edward, he wore his light armor and a similar hooded cloak, but he was barefoot to minimize the sounds of his footsteps in the loose sand. He had considered the possibility of stepping on some lethally poisonous desert insect, but the risk was worth the rewards if they could pull of this raid. As they were waiting for the majority of the slavers to go to sleep Inzoliah had counted them, twenty-two armed slavers and one slaver-mage in a dusty brown robe. The mage and most of the men were asleep, six sentries had been set, three farther into the camp in stationary positions, and three patrolling its perimeter. The slaves, of course, were kept in the middle, where even if they could unshackle themselves escape became impossible.
If she could take out the sentries silently the rest became easy, her problem was the mage. He had most certainly warded them against various forms of attack before retiring for the evening and even if her magic could break through his, of which she had no doubt it could, he and the entire camp would quickly be alerted, turning the odds out of their favor. So now it was left to her to reason out a strategy that his magic could not have conceived of, ideas flashed through her mind and were just as quickly discarded, some so obvious that she was embarrassed for having given them a moment’s consideration. Finally though, there occurred to her something that was quite frankly as delicious as it was devious, a tactic she would undoubtedly use in the future.
First she focused on the inner sentry who was closest to her, fortunately the manner in which they were set up had the other two inner sentries looking in totally different directions, and the outer sentries weren’t expecting an attack to fall against the inside first. Drawing on the energy from her ring, for she anticipated this to be difficult when reproduced amongst six sentries, she popped the cap of the first sentry’s water skin, the water inside silently rushed up to his face where it covered his nose and mouth. He tried to move but she had already seized his limbs, so he could only flail his head back and forth silently as he drowned in a desert. She was pleased as she set his corpse down gently, but that had taken an ungodly amount of her reserves, and she doubted she could successfully perform that feat five more times.
Time for a new strategy, she could sense Sir Edward’s growing impatience but she calmed him with a raised hand and turned back to her thoughts, if she couldn’t solve this conundrum by the time the shifts changed they would need to be long gone. Although she supposed they could follow the slavers, picking them off one by one, this she also discarded, inevitably they would plan some sort of ambush. She had to end them now while their guard was down.
Unfortunately Inzoliah had made a mistake, one mistake, in her excitement she had forgotten how common using magic was to hold down an opponent, she realized her mistake as two walls of sand rose on either side of her and launched inward to crush her like an insect. For a split second she thought she was dead, but a firm hand clasped her ankle and pulled her back from between the two mounds of sand.
“We should really start running,” Edward said, pulling her to her feet as the alarm was being raised in the camp below. Before them was open desert, as soon as the slavers mounted their lean desert horses the two of them would be run down, she would face quite unsavory treatment from them before being killed, they could never hope to contain magic users for long. Edward would be sold as a slave soldier, if not just a regular slave laborer. Either way, not a bright future. They had only run for a minute at most when the first of the mounted slavers crested the hill behind them, as they were closing in on the two Inzoliah turned, Edward reached back to grab her but saw she was working her magic and simply drew his sword.
As she drew on the energy of her ring pillars of sand launched into the horsemen, knocking them off their mounts and sending the beasts into a terror fueled frenzy, but she quickly reeled one of them towards her with what she could only describe as an arcane tether. Immediately recognizing what she was doing Edward rushed forward, swinging himself onto the horse and turning it towards her before kicking it into a gallop, he reached out grabbing her hand as he passed her and pulling her up behind him.
She looked over her shoulder as the slaver mage slowly crested the hill, bow in hand. As she tried to puzzle out what he was doing he fired a rather malevolently glowing arrow, at its rate of speed and elevation it would never hit them, but as it began descending it suddenly cut against the wind, darting straight for her head. Realizing he was controlling it she struggled against his magic, trying to force the arrow of course, it wobbled but continued steadily towards her until mere feet away it darted to the left and viciously exploded against the ground. He fired another arrow as they continued to put distance between them and the now remounted slavers, but it was a foolish tactic on his part, this time she was ready, and drawing on the power within her ring she ripped it out of the sky and smashed it into the slavers giving chase. Once again dismounting those that survived, and making their escape certain. They may not have saved the slaves, but they survived.