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Chapter 12
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Chapter 12

Taru couldn’t stop the throw, but she did manage to ease the blow. She managed to catch the soldier before his head contacted the floor. She stood then, with her hands raised in question.

He wasn’t trying to attack you; we were just worried that you would not be the first person through that door. Alye informed her. Taru did her best to try and look chagrinned. She didn’t really feel bad about letting the guard know that she could take him. She walked over to the table, but refused to sit. Eamonie was looking slightly impressed at her display. She smiled at the queen.

“Perhaps you will have to show me this fighting style, but later. First I want to again assure you I had nothing to do with this plot against you. If I had to guess I would have to say it was my daughter behind it.” She sighed and looked at Alye. “And you my dear, don’t bother with the awfully time consuming dance to not speak to me mentally. I’m sure my old brain can handle it.”

Thank you your majesty, but I do have to ask why you believe your daughter to be behind this. She did not seem suspicious at dinner. Alye looked at Taru and she nodded her agreement, she hadn’t liked the other girl, but she hadn’t suspected anything.

She is thin and weak, how could she plot against us in this way? Perhaps voicing her opinion wasn’t the best idea, but Taru wasn’t going to keep quiet. She had been attacked and the warrior in her was hankering for a fight. When Eamonie laughed she was at first confused and then a little offended.

“You my girl have much to learn about politics. Often times the small and weak looking ones are the most dangerous. Your observations would be valid on the battlefield, but here they are not worth much. In my world my daughter has much power. She is in line to rule this whole country so she has many who will support her in whatever she wants to do.” Taru was surprised that the queen was not mad, but she did listen to her.

We thank you for that information, but we need to figure out what to do now. Calm Sea has let me know that the guards have attacked them, and while they took care of them, she is afraid that more may come. Is there a place that we will be safe, perhaps outside of the castle so we can keep our horses safe as well? Alye was looking around worriedly, and they all jumped when they were joined by the remained of their group. Calm Sea was licking blood from her muzzle, and she looked pleased with herself.

“There is a small house that belongs to me located to the north of the city. If we ride now we can be there within the hour.” Eamonie informed them. Alye nodded, and Eamonie looked to the guard that Taru had inadvertently attacked. “Raulin you will get Trevus and Rechard and meet us at the stables.”

The guard nodded and left. They all departed as well out of another door located on the side of the room. They reached the stables much quicker then Taru would have thought possible, and she was soon busy helping to tack up the horses. Loyalty was shifting around nervously, feeling that something was wrong. The warhorse was the only one of the horses in this part of the barn that had been trained to worry about this feeling. He finally got tired of Taru ignoring him and kicked at the door of the stall in protest. Taru hurried over and quieted him. She tacked him up with practiced ease and hopped into the saddle.

They rode out towards the edge of the city, and Taru was surprised to see the streets were empty. She didn’t question it, as it helped them in this situation. They rode swiftly, but they had to keep their pace below their normal speed due to the elderly queen. Her horse was a beautiful gray mare, but she was not built for anything but beauty. The ride didn’t take long, but all three of the warriors were tense the entire time, and that made the ride seem eternal. Dawn was just breaking over the horizon when they arrived at the small house the queen had mentioned. The small house was in fact about three times the size of the main building in the rebel camp. There was also a wall surrounding the building. Taru didn’t like the wall at all, and she didn’t understand how a wall inside a wall made sense.

“The horses can be stables in the back, there is a small building there that will serve well as a stable.” Eamonie told them, the first words that had been spoken since the ride had begun. Alye looked at Taru and Gava, and they understood, they were to take care of the horses. Everyone dismounted, and Eamonie led everyone into the house. Taru was good with horses, but even so, leading 5 at a time into a small barn was a bit of a trick. Thankfully Loyalty was cooperating, and the other horses seemed inclined to follow his lead. It took a little while to figure out the best way to put the horses in the stalls, as there were only 6 of them and 11 horses, but they talked it out, and in the end only Loyalty ended up in his own stall. Once they were fed and watered Taru smiled at Gava, and raced her back to the house.

Once they were inside the house, they were hit by the somber feeling, and the smiles disappeared from their faces. Alye and the queen were sitting on the large sofa in the main room. The others were spread out and were now all armed. Suri handed her a sword similar to the one she normally wore. At Taru’s confused look Suri smiled.

“Where did you think Nik got your weapon Taru? The sword that you have come to like so much is the preferred style of the female warriors of Buenasha. The queen has an elite guard made of her best female warriors, and they are all masters of this style of weapon.” They spoke quietly, as they didn’t want to disturb the conversation of Alye and Eamonie that was going on in the other room.

They patrolled the inside of the house, and they took two-hour shifts riding around the wall. The day passed quickly, and Taru was finding it harder and harder not to be bored. When she wasn’t busy patrolling she was listening to the conversations that were taking place in the house. Eamonie was pulling some serious strings to find out what was going on, and Alye was trying to contact Dayn. Apparently their connection as twins and mind speakers allowed them a level of communication that most people could never have. She was meditating in the library, and she had asked not to be disturbed.

It wasn’t until late the next night that anything happened. It was during the time that Gavi was patrolling the wall when three men were seen coming over the large barrier. She raced back to the house and it only took minutes to assemble their small group of troops and be armed. They watched the three dark shapes move towards them, and adopted different stances in preparation for the attack. They struck as one with a silent command from Alye. The three intruders were subdued in a matter of seconds, and bound just as quickly. They were hauled into the house complaining, and when Eamonie saw them she just laughed.

“You thee claim to be my best warriors, and you were taken without any fight by these children trained by an intelligent dog.” At the growl from Calm Sea she smiled. “My apologies, but the fact remains that my three best trained warriors were quite easily subdued by you and your pack.”

Taru was confused at first, but she quickly came to understand that Eamone was telling them that these three were not a threat. Alye quickly untied them, and they shook their limbs from the tight bindings. They took up positions around the room and said nothing to the others there.

“Alye, may I introduce my formerly elite guard. They are sisters from my own sister; they have been trained since they were old enough to walk to be my personal protection.” Eamonie looked at the three who were all standing with ramrod straight backs and feet exactly shoulder wide. Taru was pleased that they had managed to show up the queen’s best warriors. She also was very surprised that the queen was taking this so calmly. If she was in charge of these girls she would have been dressing them down for their failure.

The rest of the night was quiet and with three more people in the rotation for all the watches Taru got a very nice amount of sleep. She woke refreshed and looked around at the sleeping bodies spread around the room. Only those on watch were awake, and she slipped outside to see to the horses. Loyalty greeted her with a happy whinny and a pawing at the stall door. She smiled at him, and gave him a rub under his forelock. The other horses were asleep, heads lolling and manes flopping into their eyes. Taru slipped into Loyalty’s stall and took a brush through his mane and tail. She then braided them up, just in case they needed to leave in a hurry or fight. She then moved to all the other horses, checked their food and water, and brushed them all down.

It took up a lot of time, and when she walked back into the house she found everyone awake and Eamonie’s three warriors were making them breakfast. The food was decent, but not nearly as good as what they had eaten the day previous. Taru figured she would be spoiled by that food for a long time. She ate quickly and then Gava and Suri joined her outside to do some fighting drills. They both used the more active striking style taught to most of the people in the camp. She was very happy to demonstrate the flaws of this style with her own. After tossing both of them to the ground a couple times, they asked for some instruction in her style. Taru was happy to teach them, as she knew that teaching was one of the best ways to cement knowledge. She started with the quick foot sweeps, and some of the groundwork. The other two already knew all the falling techniques, and that helped a lot. What most people didn’t realize was that if you didn’t know how to fall, a simple three or four foot fall could kill you. Landing the wrong way, especially on the battlefield was a death sentence.

They were both very good students, and Taru had moved on to some of the more complicated throws when the three girls from the night before joined them. They watched for a moment, and then asked if they could join in. Taru was happy to have more join them, and she quickly found that they were not as skilled in falling as what Hawk required. She took them through a few falling drills before she would allow them to do any throwing skills. They were warriors, and learned quickly because of their lifelong training. Soon all six girls were paired up and practicing throwing and falling skills. The Buenasha girls were getting especially good at the techniques, and Taru was finding it hard to keep from being thrown with them even after only three hours. Part of the reason was because she was so used to working with Nik, or with Hawk where the main thing she had to worry about was their increased strength. These girls were stronger, but they were also faster then she was, and that was making it harder to defend against the attacks.

They were all very tired after a good four hours of working out, and they were shown to the bathroom when they walked into the house. Taru cleaned herself quickly, and was pleased to find another set of the loose fitting clothing was laid out for her. The other rebels were dressed in their now clean standard clothing, but she really did prefer this looser style. She would have to ask Jaki about how to get more sets of this style made for her. She joined the others for lunch and they all found out what was going to happen. The rebels would be leaving during the night, and Eamonie would be going back to the palace. She was convinced that her daughter would not try to have her killed, yet. Taru couldn’t understand the insane politics of this country, but she wasn’t going to ask questions. As long as they were able to make it back to the camp they would be fine.

The girls went out to fight again before dinner, and this time they used weapons. Taru was amazed by the skill displayed. She knew her ability with a sword, or any weapon for that matter, was not the best, but these girls showed her just how far behind she was. They danced with flashing blades, and when their weapons made contact they didn’t made the dull clang that Taru was used to, they sparked and sang. She watched with her mouth hanging open. She realized that the only reason they had been able to so easily capture these three the night before was because they were not expecting a fight.

They were all tired after dinner, and the rebels sat around waiting for the time when the night was darkest to make their escape. They had tacked up the horses about an hour ago, and were now just making sure that no one was coming. Eamonie was almost certain that Evelynn was not going to try something because there was noting to gain at this point, and if anything happened it would certainly implicate her. She could keep it quiet if something happened in the palace, but out here it would prove something was afoot. Taru did understand that, but she didn’t care. She just wanted to get back to the rebel camp, and get back to her nice quiet routine. Well as quiet as fighting a battle about once a week could be.

The managed to leave the house and High City with no issues, and Taru wondered if they had overreacted to the whole situation. Yes, someone had tired to attack their horses, and well the guards had gone after them in the palace, but after that everything had been quiet. Alye seemed quite concerned however, and when Taru asked her why, she was quite disturbed by the answer.

Eamonie has been a loyal ally for as long as we have been here, but her daughter showing this much open hostility to our cause is a very big problem. If we can’t have our base in Buenasha we would meet with much bigger problems. Kelnar has constant border patrol, and if we tried to have our base inside Malaquent, we would be wiped out within weeks. Terotmal is also impractical as a base, because any land close enough to Malaquent to be efficient is desert, and it would be very hard to hide there. Buenasha is the only logical place for us to have a base, and if we have to fight with both Buenasha and Malaquent we would lose very quickly.

Taru was surprised by the complicated situation they were in. She had never before realized how much they were up against. The thought was quite sobering, and she realized that there really was a lot against them. She rode in silence for the rest of the day, thinking about what they could do to change their rather unpleasant situation.

Onto Chapter 13

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