Fight or Fly
He turned to her startled then rushed forward. “Princess!” They embraced quickly as chaos fell about around them. Bells chimed and people scattered and screamed. “Where is she?” He asked, his brow furrowed.
“This way!” Leasha gestured to the others and ran back to the hut.
Rozen had emerged, summoned by the chaos. She looked around, her face pale, then hurried toward a crowd shouting about children.
Breanna was at the door, wide-eyed and afraid but she rushed forward and leapt into Broc’s arms. “We heard the uproar,” she explained breathlessly
“Yes, yes, everyone is alive!” Mim scowled. “But not for very bloody long.”
“I’m ready to fight,” Broc said drawing his axe and nodding to the others. Cassian and Koax drew their weapons and Leasha fumbled to ready her bow, she had few arrows left and wondered if she would have to find another weapon. Even Breanna still unsteady on her feet, pulled her Fenner blade from its sheath. Leasha wanted to go to her, to reassure her, to take a moment to speak with her but the world was descending into chaos all around them.
“You’re a daft beggaring lot! This ain’t our battle.”
“We cannot simply abandon these people,” Cassian had to shout over the commotion to be heard and the group huddled closer together, “This fort is not prepared for war, they shall not last without aid.”
“They’ll not last much longer with us pokin’ about,” Mim sounded exasperated and haggard. She sighed and spoke slower, “we saw the army, Elf. We must leave. Our duty was to warn them now our duty is to flee. Over the wall if need be. The hope of all the Edge Islands, the Druids of Midwinter as well, is standing right there,” she pointed to Breanna with her staff, “and she’s just about ready to keel over. You’ll throw away your own life, but is you willin’ to risk hers?” she looked pointedly at Broc, “your sister’s life, for what? To give this lot an extra blimmin’ hour?”
“I’m not about to ‘keel over’,” Breanna spoke through gritted teeth and there was a ferocity that burned in her eyes. Leasha felt pride and admiration swell within her. If courage were all that was needed then Breanna would ebd the war before it even began.
“But, Bree,” Broc shook his head, and spoke softly “we’ll never make it.”
Leasha noticed the look that passed between the siblings and her heart twisted as she saw Breanna’s shoulders slump in defeat.
But Leasha knew he was right. Not only was Breanna still weak, she herself felt exhausted from healing. Cassian too appeared tired with dark circles around his eyes, even Koax was more quiet than usual, their black eyes uncharacteristically droopy. The longer they all lingered the more dangerous and chaotic the fort became. It would be dangerous enough to stand and fight, before long it would be more dangerous too flee.
“We owe it to the Druids,” Cassian said, but even he looked unconvinced.
“What say you, Bree?” Leasha asked.
Breanna looked up at her. There was a familiar tangle of nerves as she stared into the deep dark eyes of the Wealderling. She could feel her cheeks burning and knew more certainly than she had ever known anything, that wherever Breanna went, she would follow.
The apprentice Dragon Mage shook her head and turned to Broc. “I made a promise.” She pulled away from her brother, and he seemed confused. “I’m going to the Wizards to find out how to end this.” She stepped back and looked to Cassian. “But I won’t force anyone to come with me.”
Leasha moved forward quickly and placed a hand on Breanna’s arm. “I’m with you.”
Koax and Cassian exchanged a glance.
“Dragon Tamer is always to be followed by me,” Koax said quickly.
“To the end,” Cassian added although Leasha noticed that he didn’t look to Mim.
Broc patted Breanna on the shoulder, nodded his head, and grinned. “It looks as though, I am to follow your lead this time.”
“Right,” Mim said, her voice trembled with barely contained fury, “now that we’ve all decided not to die, let’s get out of here, shall we? Up to the North Tower.” Mim raised her staff and turned to go.
“You,” it was Rozen, red cheeked and running to Breanna, “let’s get you out of here,” she looked at the rest of them as they all turned to the well-built Druid. “There’s still a chance to get out .”