Preview of The Scions of Eldon, Book Six in the World of Samar
“Is the bounty real?”
The commander considered the question for a moment, then he shifted in the saddle. “Yes, that’s real.” He motioned at the Orahim.
They scrambled out of their saddles and dropped into the mud, advancing before the horses and facing the two men. Jarrett drew his sword and dropped into a crouch.
“Really, that’ll do you less than no good,” said the commander in a bored tone. “You’ve violated so many Sarkisian laws that we have to take you in. It would be easier if you didn’t fight us, but either way, we outnumber you.”
“Take us in, or kill us?” asked Kendrick defiantly. Jarrett noted that he hadn’t drawn his blade yet, but both Orahim had removed nasty looking daggers from their belts.
“It really doesn’t matter,” said the commander and he barked a command at the Orahim in a guttural tongue.
The two serpents started forward, intent on their targets. Jarrett shot a glance at Kendrick, but the Nazarien was still staring in fascination at the creature that was bearing down on him.
“Kendrick!” Jarrett warned, moving to keep his muscles from tensing. Then the creature feinted at him and he danced back, the swipe of its blade passing within inches of his abdomen.
He heard the rush of Kendrick’s blade as he whipped it from its sheath, but he didn’t have time to worry about his companion as the Orahim closed with him, its reptilian tongue flicking in and out of its mouth.
It lunged for him and Jarrett swung up with his sword, catching the jab of its dagger on the hilt. He threw his weight into it, hoping to knock it off-balance, but it was heavier than he’d expected and it careened into him, its breath panting cold and stale against his face.
He reeled back, repulsed, and swiped with the sword, but the creature was agile and leaped out of the way, the sword cutting through rain and nothing more. With a roll, it came up on Jarrett’s other side and dove at him with the dagger. He dropped, swinging under it with his blade, but it jumped over him and fell into a somersault that brought it to its feet again.
Jarrett’s eyes widened in grudging admiration. He was known for his speed and agility in Terra Antiguo, but this thing was even quicker. He was going to have to outthink it. He feinted to the left and it took the bait, but at the last minute, he threw himself to the right, slicing across its body with his sword. He felt the blade bite through yielding flesh and the rope of its intestines spilled out into the muddy road, but he didn’t escape unscathed.
As it crumpled, it lunged toward him, swiping with its dagger. He felt the dagger slice through his left shirt sleeve, then he landed on his right side, his sword caught beneath him. He threw himself to his feet, but the creature was already dying, its amber eyes rolling back in its head.
Jarrett whirled and saw that Kendrick had disarmed his Orahim. The creature had scrambled behind the horses and was trying to avoid the Nazarien who stalked it. Jarrett tightened his hold on his sword, prepared for the next round of battle, but the commander’s attention seemed to be divided between his two assailants and the road behind.