Chapter 13: Trust
Crouching in a patch of shadow, Tanyl cast a glance back at Rith. The dark elf was huddled a few paces back, but even in the poor light Tanyl could make out signs of strain in his movements and on his face.
He did his best not to remark on it, though it disturbed him greatly that one was being harmed due to his decision. The feeling was familiar, he felt it each time his men returned a few short or in need of the healers. His mind flickered back to the conversation they had before, he wasn't sure how long ago, they had nothing to tell the passage of time.
'Tanyl had frowned in displeasure, glancing about the darkened streets outside of the Inn,
"you are positive there is no other way, Rith?"
Rith had given him a longsuffering look,
"yes. I have no magick, lightling, to use to reach our destination. Neither do I have the balance or level of awareness to dance over the rooftops. You know where your home is, you know the patrols, use that knowledge to get us to safety."'
"The next patrolman will be coming in a few moments, we need to be quick."
Rith nodded, staying close as Tanyl surveyed the area once more before darting out, thankful Rith had convinced him to shed his finer outer cloths, the silks would have flashed in the street lights. Rith followed close behind, he had been forced to lay a disturbing amount of trust in the light elf. A flash of white cut thru the night, the source, a bandage, made to cover Rith's silver eye.
It had taken them little time to prepare ad leave the tavern, however, in that time, the strain of his escape had hit Rith hard. Not physically this time, though he felt bone weary and his body throbbed like one large bruise, the biggest issue was with his control over his magick sight from his silver eye.
It was true, that he covered or kept it closed as a sign of respect, what they didn't know was that Rith could control it at will. If he wished not to see anything, he wouldn't. It took a steady flow of magick to control, he would not lie by saying he didn't regularly just keep it shut for days at times to prevent strain. But with his magick rushing about trying to repair the damage he had done in his hasty escape; the flow had become sporadic at best.
It was safer for all for him to keep it covered and closed.
This is where the trust came in, unlike other times where he had willingly stopped his sight, he lacked his usual awareness that made up for the lack of sight. Normally, when he desired to give it a rest, he would weave a sort of barrier on his right side. Any disturbances in the barrier would alert him, and even tell him what had disturbed it, be it a table, wall, dog, person, or even the occasional distracted fairy.
'Next time, leave the blasted eye candy behind.'
Rith scolded himself mentally as Tanyl pulled him back slightly from where he had listed into a faint ray of bright light.
"It's not far now, just around the bend there."
Tanyl waited until Rith nodded in acknowledgement before surveying the area once more.
Rith had warned him to be extra cautious, the dark elf was unable to provide any distractions for any beings of the astral plane, nor did he have a way to detect them properly, and while Tanyl lacked the ability to view the astral realm, he was at least not going to let them be caught by surprise.
They had just managed to duck into a darker alley way when a faint sound caught their ears. They held their breath as the sound got closer, it was the steady beat of footsteps and the hisses of people trying to talk in whispers. Both elves strained their ears as whoever they were came closer, just managing to make out a few words as the speech became clearer the closer the speaker came.
"Disturbance…. arty…. ordered to…. gathering men now, I want you and two others with me.
And remember, he may have been our captain, but he is now a criminal and must be apprehended at all cost."
It wasn't hard to piece things together. Rith looked over at Tanyl, feeling slightly sorry for the elf whose eyes were filled with both confusion and the pain of betrayal,
"come, lightling. We don't have much time."
Tanyl nodded woodenly, turning away from the direction the guards had gone. After a moment, he shook off his shock and shoved his pain down deep, silently thanking all his years in the military. It had given him a good deal of practice in ignoring discomforts.
Rith said nothing at the sudden shifts in behavior, he had expected no less from a captain. Their pace quickened and after a few more corners later found them crouching beneath a second story window, hidden in the shadow of a rather large tree.
"Here, when I was young I used this tree to get to and from my room in the wee hours of the night. It should serve us well."
Rith glanced up at the trees large branches far above, if he looked closely he could see slight indentions in the smooth wood. A quick look over and he was sure they were hand and foot holds for a much younger captain. As Tanyl prepared for the climb, Rith felt a twist of uncertainty. During their skulking, he had discovered the loss of one eye to be much more detrimental in his coordination than he had ever thought. The thought of climbing an unfamiliar tree, or anything for that matter, made him uneasy.
He had apparently stood there contemplating the tree for to long as he was called from his thoughts by Tanyl,
"come on, I've got you, it's not as hard as you think."
Rith gave him a dubious look that drew a small smile from him,
"I suffered a cut too close to my eye for the healer's comfort. She bandaged me up and left me half blind for a month. You can't think I would have just stayed in my room all that time, do you?"
Rith raised an eyebrow at him,
"you don't seem the type to be breaking too many rules."
That drew out a chuckle,
"This Tanyl is over four thousand years of age, that one was barely ninety."
Rith gave a sober nod, approaching the tree trunk,
"of course, that explains everything."
Tanyl shook his head, motioning to the tree,
"I'll guide you up, you'll have to wait at the top branch for me to undo the locking spells but it should be sturdy enough."
Rith gave a deep sigh before steeling his nerves and shacking off the jitters. Brushing one hand along the bark he easily found the beginnings of the holdings,
"good, lift your right foot a little bit, just until you begin to bend your knee. Yes, right there. The path is nearly straight up, but it does twist around a rather large knot some ways up. Don't worry, I'll be right behind you if you begin to lose your grip."
Rith gave him a withering glare before turning back to his task. Under normal circumstances he wouldn't have had any trouble, but he'd made it only a few feet from the ground when he nearly slipped the first time. Rith clamped down on the surge of panic that lit in his chest, scolding himself. He could fly to unknown heights above the city but he couldn't climb a blasted tree!?
He couldn't seem to help it though, it fest so very different to be climbing with his, admittedly, little strength and no magick to speak of in waiting should something happen. From below, the sound of Tanyl's voice floated thru the air,
"keep going, I'm here if something happens."
Rith steeled his resolve at those words, though he doubted it was for the reason Tanyl thought. Rith refused to rely on a light elf to save him from anything, and he'd be dead before he failed at soothing as simple as climbing a tree right in front of one.
With Tanyl's gentle couching, Rith managed to reach the branch, leaning back against the trunk tiredly. The branch was rather larger, and thicker than Rith had expected, it was only slightly slimmer than he was wide. He caught his breath as he listened to Tanyl calmly climb the tree, shuffling over so the light elf could join him on the branch.
"Just a moment, and I'll have the window open."
Just as the last syllable left Tanyl's mouth they both froze. As he had finished speaking, light elf and dark were suddenly illuminated by a light, radiating from within the room itself. Both stared in grown trepidation, trying to puzzle out what, or who, was its source.
The window was thrown open, and the light flashed bright again, before it's conjurer spoke,
"I thought you'd come this way, Tanyl…"