Forgiveness


Summary: A tour bus disappears in an isolated part of England's countryside where many people have vanished before. Balthazar goes to investigate, and since Dave is on summer break, he gets to come along. Oh, joy.

Disclaimer: All Publicly Recognizable Characters, Settings, Ideas, etc. are the Property of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. The Original Characters and Plot are the Property of the Author. The Author is in no way Associated with the Owners, Creators, or Producers of Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Productions. No Copyright Infringement is intended.


Chapter II

The two ate quickly and then started making their way back. They had only been walking about ten minutes when Balthazar held up his hand and disappeared. Dave cast his own invisibility spell. Both stood as still as possible. If these guys had a decent set of ears, invisibility would only do them so much good.

There was a woman up ahead with long black hair and a serious expression. She held her hands in front of her, palms facing out, slowly moving them out to her side then back in front.

"Anything, captain?" asked a man wearing a dark blue tunic with an insignia of a bird carrying some kind of flower in it's talons. Dave could make out the glimmer of chain mail beneath the layer of cloth.

"Nothing. Well, nothing human." She made a circular motion with her hands and ice began to form on her fingers. Suddenly, she thrust out her hand and the shards of ice flew through the air. Dave could hear them pierce flesh.

"I did, however, detect a rabbit. It'll make a good meal. Pick it up for me, will you?" She asked pleasantly as she continued walking.

Dave stood perfectly still. He knew from his practice with elemental magic that it was possible to read air, detect disturbances in it in order to asses one's environment. It wasn't something he was any good at, but he could at least recognize when someone was using the technique.

As a result, Dave and Balthazar continued to remain still for another ten minutes. Finally, Balthazar made himself visible before turning to Dave and nodding.

"We should be safe, they've moved on."

Dave nodded his understanding and the pair continued forward.

"Think that's all the people out looking for us?"

"Maybe. There's only one exit, so it's not like they have to worry about us escaping. They can take their time tracking us down."

The two continued their journey, eventually making it back to the edge of the woods where they decided to rest and wait until nightfall. A couple hours later, they saw the guards they had come across earlier led again by the dark-haired woman. The group seemed to be heading back to the castle. The woman was talking to two other men who followed along right beside her. Dave strained his ears but couldn't make out what was being said.

It wasn't for another hour that Balthazar decided it was dark enough for them to continue on to the castle. The town itself was surrounded by a thirteen-foot wall, which Dave and Balthazar walked through without difficulty. Despite the darkness, it was still fairly early in the evening. A few people were still outside, though not many, and there was always the chance someone would look out a window, so Dave and Balthazar tried their best to remain unseen by avoiding the main road and sticking to back alleys and ducking behind whatever they could find for cover.

As they got closer to the castle, the buildings turned from huts to town houses. Eventually, the pair made it to the castle and decided to rest, hiding in the reeds that lined the edge of the moat.

"So, what's the plan?" asked Dave.

"Freeze the water, walk across, phase through the wall, make yourself invisible."

"You want to rest first?" asked Dave, a bit tired from the use of all the stealth spells they had to cast to get this far.

"Might be a good idea, the reeds will hide us. We'll wait till everyone is asleep. It's almost midnight, we'll go in at two. That will give us two hours to look around. Then we'll make our way over to that abandoned mill. Get some sleep, plan our next move."

"So we just sit here for the next few hours? Also, how do you know what time it is? You don't have a watch."

"I spent centuries without one. I learned to tell time without a watch long ago, Dave," replied Balthazar, leaning back on the soft ground, his hands intertwined behind his head. "I'm going to sleep, and you're going practice your elemental magic. Try sensing your environment with the air."

Dave sighed. Sensing one's environment with air wasn't draining, it was just difficult. He held out his hands, palms out, while his master took a nap. Dave took out his cell phone noting that there were no bars and also that Balthazar was right, it was five past twelve.

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Two hours later master and apprentice walked the halls of castle in a attempt to find the libaryDave let out a yawn-well, half a yawn. He managed to choke back the second half of it upon Balthazar's withering glare. The man could curdle milk with that look. The master sorcerer was disguised as a guard, having cast an illusion and Dave… well, Dave was disguised as a page boy.

"Balthazar, page boys wear tights," said Dave, remembering the one they had spotted walking into the castle across the drawbridge when the master and apprentice had first arrived.

"You don't look like a guard, Dave. All the ones we've seen so far are a lot bigger then you. Except for the women."

"But tights,' whined Dave.

"Just be grateful you aren't wearing underwear outside your tights."

Dave shot him a far less effective glare than his own. "You're just so helpful."

Balthazar merely smiled back, clearly enjoying the moment. "You're the one who compared our lives to a comic book. Maybe you'll get lucky and get a ray gun next time."

"Ha. Ha."

"Look on the bright side, Dave."

"There's a bright side?"

"Yes, I don't have to wear them."

Dave shot the man another death glare.

Dave stiffened when he heard footsteps behind him. Before he could turn, however, he felt Balthazar's hand on his wrist and was dragged into a room.

The two men stood pressed against the wall as they waited for the footsteps to pass. Once they did, Dave summoned a ball of light.

"Wow, that thing looks like it hasn't been used since World War Two," said Dave, gesturing to an old radio on a shelf to the right.

"Looks like a lot of this stuff hasn't been used recently," replied Balthazar as he walked around the room.

The room's shelves contained old radios, phones, even telegraphs. The tables contained more modern means of communication: a telephone, a satellite phone, a modern radio and they even had a radar set up.

"Guess these guys do like modern technology," noted Dave.

"Well each of them does spend ten years out in the world," said Balthazar. "Guess they save it for themselves."

"You'd think if they had this stuff, they'd use tractors for their fields. Wonder why this room has electricity but none of the other rooms we've been to do."

"Where would they get the power from?" asked Balthazar. "Chances are they have a generator, probably use the river to work a turbine. That would limit the amount of electricity available to them. Likely the reason they don't use tractors. Limited access to gas."

"Makes sense. Want to try calling Veronica?"

Balthazar shook his head. "Can't chance them having a way to check if the phone's been used and who's been called."

Dave nodded his understanding. "Should we head out then?"

Balthazar nodded and the two exited the room. As Dave was closing the door he noticed a plaque on it: "Comm. Room". He wondered if there were other rooms with modern day setups. Maybe their medical facility had a MRI? He doubted the Orricks would deny themselves the best of medical technology.

After another half hour of wandering and looking at doors for a plaque marked 'library', they eventually found it.

"Look for maps," ordered Balthazar. "I'll concentrate on history books."

An hour later, Dave deposited a few more maps on the table and turned to his master who was looking at an old book. "Found anything?" asked the apprentice.

"Yeah, according to these maps you found and this book, Aldercy exists in a pocket dimension."

"Like my bag?"

"This is way more complex, but yes, it's the same general principle. It takes up only one acre of space outside but over a thousand inside. It's powered by the ley lines despite not been directly over them. They use crystals to siphon off the power. That's how they charge the spell and keep this place hidden. I still haven't been able to find anything detailing their hierarchy or their military strength, but we're running out of time. We need to head out to avoid detection. Hopefully they won't miss a few books and maps. Where's the one with the mill?"

"What are ley lines?" asked Dave as he looked for the map in question, finally spotting it and handing it to his teacher.

"You know how our magic travels through certain paths in our body? Ley lines are paths magic travels around the earth." Answered Balthazar as he quickly looked over the map before grabbing and an armful of other maps and books he began stuffing them into Dave's satchel. "We'll hide at the mill for now, try and figure out our next move."

The pair left the library and had been walking for five minutes when they heard footsteps and both cast invisibility spells on themselves as well as a spell to cancel out the sound of their breathing. The pair pressed themselves against the wall as two guards walked by Dave didn't notice any rings and sighed in relief when the guards finally past. A few moments after they turned a corner Balthazar cast off his invisibility and sound spell, Dave did the same.

"That was draining," said Dave.

"Hopefully we won't have to do it again," replied Balthazar.

Due to the lateness of the hour, the pair had no trouble passing undetected through the town. All the same, it took a little over two hours to reach the mill.

Dave made his way to the wall opposite the door before collapsing in a heap. Oddly enough, the floor was fairly comfortable.

Balthazar shook his head and raised his hand, casting a light spell. He knelt on the floor and, using his magic, loosened the floor boards. A quick check revealed a fairly spacious area. He and Dave would be able to crawl under the area to hide if needed, and it would be a good place to store the books and maps they had taken. He turned to his apprentice who was sound asleep. Balthazar smiled and shook his head. He'd let the boy rest. After all, this was supposed to be a vacation. He deposited the books and maps, replaced the floor boards and went outside to set up a few wards.

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"Dave, wake up," hissed a voice next to the youth's ear as a slight pressure was applied to his arm.

"Hmm, what?"

"Someone has set off one of the wards."

Dave sat up and quietly got to his feet. He turned to face Balthazar who had moved beside the door. Dave cast a spell on his shoes to prevent them from making noise and followed suit.

The door swung open and Isabel walked in.

"Hello?" said the little girl turning her head side to side.

Balthazar sighed in relief and knelt down to the girl's eye level. "What are you doing here?"

Isabel jumped in the air and turned to face the two sorcerers "Don't do that!" she exclaimed stomping her foot and placing her hands on her hips. "You scared me!" She continued glaring at them as if they had committed a grievous offence.

"Sorry," said Dave and Balthazar in unison exchanging a glance. The master sorcerer's lips twitched as he tried to suppress a smile.

Her glare softened and she shook her head. "I brought food," she told them, swinging her backpack off her shoulders and opening it to reveal apples, bread and cheese.

"Thank you, Izzy," said Balthazar as he reached in and, grabbing an apple, tossed it to Dave.

"How's your mom?" continued the master sorcerer. "She didn't get in trouble?"

Isabel shook her head. "Nope, the guards believed her. She said she'll come here to bring you more food for dinner. You guys find a way to grind the Orricks into the mud?"

Balthazar smiled. "Not yet, but we'll figure something out. We're going to head into town and try to gather information. Do you want us to take you home first?"

Before Isabel could respond, the door was thrown open and Maggie stepped in. "Isabel Kendra Tyler!" she shouted. "What did I tell you about running ahead?" She exclaimed as she stomped her foot on the floor, her hands on her hips as she glared at her daughter.

Isabel looked at the floor, her shoulders slumped.

"Morning Maggie, thanks for breakfast," greeted Balthazar cheerfully.

Maggie turned to the sorcerer and relaxed. Her daughter was safe, and apparently so were the two sorcerers. "Balthazar, good to see you found this place. Any luck?"

Balthazar nodded. "We snuck into the castle and found the library. We'll go into town, try and figure out how many people are willing to fight if it comes to that, maybe see if there are members of the Orrick family who might be willing to help. Don't suppose you know about any who would?"

Maggie started to shake her head, then stopped. "I don't think there's a head that will help, but maybe a few of those under them."

"Sorry, heads?" asked Dave, raising his right hand briefly.

"There are seven villages that make up Aldercy. Each one has a head. Alyne is in charge of them. I think Alexander – he's the head in Upper Aldercy— Has a reputation of being kind, but that's it."

"Well, it's a start," sighed Balthazar.

"I'll leave you two to eat your breakfast," said Maggie as she reached out for her daughter's hand. "I'm afraid I need to get moving. I've been commissioned to create a tapestry for the castle."

"Oh Maggie, before you go, how well do people around here know each other?" asked Balthazar.

"Pretty well. People will notice strangers, but if you say you and Dave are messengers from East Aldercy, you should be fine. Hopefully." She held out her hand for her daughter. "Come along, Izzy."

After the two women closed the door, Dave turned to his master. "Should we wait till nightfall to go out?"

"There won't be anyone to question," said Balthazar. "We need to gather information before we can do anything. And we'll have an easier time blending into a crowd."

Dave sighed and grabbed his jacket, quickly casting an illusion to make it look like a jerkin once more.

The two walked towards the town, Dave barely suppressing a yawn-well, several. He was pretty tired. He frowned at the crowd gathered around the gates of the town.

"What's going on?" asked the apprentice

"Check point," said Balthazar wearily. "They're looking for us, think we'll be heading into town."

"They're right. What do we do?"

"Wait in line. It's fairly long, good chance to talk to the locals. We'll leave before we get too close." The pair reached the line and the master sorcerer turned to one of the waiting men.

"Any idea what's going on?"

The man looked at Balthazar, blinking stupidly, then he frowned. "I hear there's some newcomers that they're looking for." He looked Balthazar up and down. "Haven't seen you before," the man continued mildly.

"I was on the tour bus." The man offered a confused expression, and the master sorcerer elaborated, "The big metal machine that came a couple weeks ago. My nephew and I work as messengers now, just arrived from East Aldercy."

The man nodded. "Name's Steven," continued Balthazar. "My nephew's name is Alex." Balthazar was unsure of whether or not the names Brian and Dave were known to the locals. He thought it best not to take the chance. Dave sighed at having to remember yet another alias for his master.

Within half an hour, Balthazar and Dave knew plenty about the man. His name was Malcolm, he worked the fields, had a wife and three kids and spent every spare moment he could at the local tavern. Balthazar made a mental note to check out the place.

In between bits of Malcolm's personal life were bits about local politics. Balthazar asked questions without seeming too interested and had soon learned that while Alyne was a ruthless sadistic tyrant, it was her second-in-command he had to worry about. Megan was a fierce warrior and Captain of the guard. Alyne was a threat only if you fell into her power. Megan was usually the one who put you there.

"That's her there," said Malcolm suddenly pointing at the woman who had been leading the search party the day before. She was walking just outside the line, glancing at people as she went.

Balthazar frowned. They were about halfway to the gates. So long as he and Dave didn't draw attention to themselves, Megan shouldn't give them a second glance. He moved in front of Dave, blocking the younger man from the captain and stared straight ahead. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding when she just glanced at him before moving on.

Malcolm had fallen silent. The captain made him nervous. After ten minutes of quiet passed, Balthazar decided it was time to leave. They made it ten feet before a voice called out. "Impatient, are we?"

The master sorcerer turned As the captain of the guard approached everyone clear a path not wanting to get in the way. Malcolm looked nervously from side to side deciding if he wanted to risk drawing the captain's attention by running.

"Yes," replied Balthazar calmly. "I have a lot to do. My business in town can wait until you've caught the ones you're looking for."

Megan crossed her arms and stared coolly at the master sorcerer. "You waited some forty minutes."

Balthazar frowned. She had kept track?

"You only had another twenty or so to go. Why leave?"

"I decided there were better ways to spend my time."

She raised an eyebrow. "And how do you spend your time?"

"In the field."

"Both of you?" she asked, looking at Dave's hands.

Balthazar grabbed Dave's wrist and bolted.

Dave chanced a glance back as he and Balthazar ran towards the forest they were only been followed by two guards, apparently Megan didn't consider them worthy of her time. The pair had just reached the tree line when one of the men chasing them grabbed his jacket/jerkin, yanking the apprentice back and causing him to fall.

Balthazar turned and launched a plasma bolt into his enemy's chest and the man fell. The master turned and left-hook the other man in the jaw, and the guard hit the ground with a thud.

Dave got to his feet after Balthazar's bolt took his attacker down. No sooner was he standing however than something hit him from behind and sent him spiralling back down to the ground. Remembering his training, he turned his fall into a roll and quickly got back up to see Megan fighting Balthazar hand to hand.

The master sorcerer caught her ankle when she launched her leg to deliver a kick to the face. She used her free leg to jump and, tucking in her arms, rolled in mid air, freeing her trapped limb. She landed and uncoiled a strange-looking metal whip made out of pieces of interlocking metal. A blue light flickered within the pieces and she raised her arm to strike Balthazar. The ancient sorcerer sidestepped the attack, but the tree behind him was not so fortunate.

Dave gaped when the whip went through the tree, cleaving the oak in half.

"Dave!" shouted Balthazar. Dave turned from the tree to see the bluish silver rope coming right at him. He held out his hand and formed a small circular shield about twelve inches in diameter. He knew that if he tried to make a larger one, the power would be spread too thin to hold back the attack. As it was, the force shoved him back a few inches and his shield started to crack, but he held his ground.

It also helped that in order to attack Dave, Megan had left herself open. Balthazar launched a plasma bolt at her side and Megan fell. The whip found its target due to the momentum, but the force was considerably decreased.

Balthazar knelt down and took a ring off her left hand's middle finger. "Grab her whip!" shouted Balthazar as he tossed the woman over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "And make yourself invisible!"

The two ran into the trees. By this time, two more guards had started following the Merlinians, but Balthazar and Dave had a good head start and, despite the weight on Balthazar, they were able to evade their pursuers. It also helped that there were only two pursuers. There had only been four guards plus the captain at the gate. After all, they hadn't known they were dealing with sorcerers.

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"Okay Dave, we can stop," announced Balthazar when they came across a small clearing in the woods. He leaned forward and deposited Megan roughly on the ground before straightening up and stretching his limbs.

"How did she get to us so fast? One second she was at the check point, the next—" Dave threw up his arms.

"She's a battle caster," said Balthazar, collapsing to the ground.

"What's a battle caster?" asked Dave as he sat down cross-legged.

"A sorcerer whose training has been combat oriented. They're the martial arts masters of the magical world. Battle casters have used magic to augment their body to withstand extreme trauma. They can actually jump over buildings that are several stories tall, cling to walls, move with extreme speed, which is how she caught up to us so fast. They can bench press a couple of medium-sized cars. They are also weapon designers, using their knowledge to create magical tools that have military applications, like that whip of hers."

"What, like, cross between Spider-man and Tony Stark?" asked Dave.

"Again with the comic book references?" sighed the master.

Dave smiled sheepishly. "You're a DC guy, aren't you?"

"I do prefer Batman."

"Why didn't you just lie and tell her I work in the field?"

"She's too observant, she would have noticed the lack of calluses on your hands, with all the wooden tools, even doing women's work or been a messenger working with horses you should have some. There's not a job outside of the castle where you wouldn't have calluses, and your fingernails are way too clean."

"We could have told her we were new."

Balthazar shook his head. "Alyne tortured a few people to death remember? All the bus people would have been there for that, she'd remember them. Besides Malcolm was there and would have contradicted any other story we gave. I figured it was best to just run."

"Why take her? Questioning?"

Balthazar nodded. "I cast a sleep spell. She'll be out for a bit. Still have water in your satchel?"

"Yeah." Dave opened his bag and pulled out a water bottle, tossing it to his master.

"Thanks," said Balthazar, taking several long gulps before tossing it back to the apprentice. Dave took a few sips before putting the bottle off to the side.

"So what now? We just wait?"

"For now, and keep our eyes and ears open for the search party that's bound to come after her."

"I'm rather looking forward to that," said a female voice pleasantly.

Balthazar and Dave jumped to their feet. Megan rubbed her head and slowly sat up to stare at her captors. "Aren't you going to be polite and offer me a drink?" she asked pleasantly, looking at the water bottle at Dave's feet.

Dave turned to Balthazar who nodded. He tossed the woman the bottle.

"Thank you," she said graciously as she caught the object. She took a few sips and crossed her legs, looking up at her captors as if she were at a tea party with friends.

Dave leaned back against a nearby tree. "Don't suppose you'd mind telling us how we can bring down your family."

"'Fraid not. The simple fact of the matter is you can't, you're vastly outnumbered."

"How many sorcerers live at the castle? Is that where all the sorcerers in this area reside? What's the guard schedule?" asked Balthazar.

Megan snickered, "Yeah, like I'm going to tell you."

Dave felt a sudden force at his side that sent him sprawling rather ungracefully to the forest floor.

"Balthazar! What was—" he stopped suddenly when Balthazar gestured to the tree Dave had been leaning against. Shards of ice were embedded in the wood where he had been standing. Dave looked over to their prisoner.

Megan was still sitting on the ground. She crossed her arms and glared. "I'm a battle caster, you twit. I know how to cripple, maim and kill with a few well-placed strokes of a butter knife. Give me a few drops of water, I'll turn it to ice and send the shards deep into your throat."

"… I'll keep that in mind." He turned to Balthazar while he reached into his pocket. "Thought we took her focus," he continued as he slipped on his ring. Megan's eyes narrowed at the dragon.

"Apparently we only took a decoy," said Balthazar lightly.

Megan jumped to her feet as Balthazar took a step towards her. "You really should have been more thorough, sorcerer."

Dave quickly got back up and shot out a plasma bolt. The woman was too fast, however, and easily dodged the missile and charged forward.

Only to slip and fall flat on her face.

"Ice?" She looked up from the frozen patch on the ground to Balthazar who had circled around to her left flank, knowing she'd have a harder time hitting him if she had to turn her body to blast him.

"Cute, Balthazar, real cute," she continued dryly.

Balthazar raised an eyebrow at the woman's demeanor. As soon as she started getting herself back to her feet, however, he sent out a concussion wave which sent her flying into a tree to her left.

Megan reached out and grabbed the trunk of the tree to steady herself as she got to her knees and turned to Balthazar, a smile on her lips.

"You do realize this tree is like a baseball bat to people like me, right?" In one swift movement she dug her fingers into the tree and, grabbing it with her other hand, used both to tear the tree from its stump. She swung widely in the general direction of her opponents.

Dave instantly threw his arms up around his head and put up a shield out of instinct. He heard a loud crack and slowly lowered his arms to see the tree had been split in half. It had broken right where it was about to hit him.

He turned to see Balthazar coiling the whip he had taken from Megan. The master sorcerer was looking around trying to determine where the captain had run off to in the confusion. His eyes narrowed when he spotted a snapped branch.

"Come on!" ordered Balthazar as he started running, Dave not far behind. "A burst of strength like that would have cost her, she can't have gotten far."

They soon found Megan standing in a small clearing, holding out her palms, a ball of red light between them. She looked up and, seeing them, smiled before firing the ball into the air. It exploded, sending bits of red light in all directions.

"You a betting man, Blake?" she asked pleasantly. "Because depending on how many of my men are nearby, you could have anywhere from no company to a company of twenty sorcerers, battle casters and armed brawlers." Her lips curved into a smirk as she looked the pair over, noting Dave's more labored breathing. "So, do you want to try and capture me again?"

Both master and apprentice turned when they heard rustling behind them and saw two men and a woman appear from behind the trees.

"About time you three got here," chuckled Megan at the new arrivals. Balthazar turned to face the captain when he felt the whip he had taken from her fly from his hand.

"You really shouldn't let yourself get so distracted, Balthazar."

She sent the length of the whip flying towards the master sorcerer, who nimbly dodged to the side.

"Dave! Handle the others!"

The 'others' decided that their boss had a handle on her opponent and focused on the apprentice, each launching a strong plasma bolt at the youth. Dave threw up a shield before the plasma bolts hit and launched his own bolt at one of the men before ducking behind a tree for cover.

He needed a plan and he needed to take these guys out quick. Unfortunately, there were no cables nearby or any other technology he could manipulate and turn into a weapon.

Dave heard a crunching noise just three feet away on the other side of the tree and decided to move. He jumped out from behind his wooden shield and used a blindness spell on the man who had been approaching the tree. He then levitated the man and sent him flying towards the woman who was readying a plasma bolt. The other man, the one Dave had hit earlier, was up again and sent a concussion wave towards the apprentice. With too little time to react, Dave was sent flying. He looked up a few moments later to see his attacker bending over the woman. Dave took the opportunity to get to his feet and launched his own concussion wave at his attacker. The man went flying. Dave looked around for the man he had blinded and saw him off to the left. The man was glaring at the apprentice, having thrown off the spell, and was readying a plasma bolt. Dave conjured a shield in time to block the assault. He then cast an invisibility spell on himself and willed twigs a few feet away to move and crack. The man aimed another bolt at the empty space, creating the needed opening for Dave to blast him.

The man crumpled just as Dave heard the crack of a whip. He ran over to the clearing and found his fight had fortunately not taken him far.

He reached the area in time to see Megan try to hit Balthazar with her whip. It missed and struck a tree. It didn't cleave the plant in half like before, but it still made a slash several inches deep. Dave stepped out from behind the trees, but he hadn't taken more than two steps forward when Balthazar spotted him and held up his hand, signaling Dave not to interfere, before he returned his focus to Megan who was breathing heavily. "You've only got a couple more left in you, Megan, and my apprentice beat your battle casters. Give up!"

Megan smiled. "More are on their way, Blake. They'll be here in seconds. You can't sense them getting closer, but I can. As for my whip, you're right. I only got a couple more shots left and you're too quick. So I guess I'll just have to aim for where it will be sure to hurt

Balthazar's eyes widened and he took off as towards his "Dave, move!" he shouted fear filling his voice.

But Dave didn't have enough time. He was tired from the run earlier and the three battle casters hadn't helped, the healing had been draining and after seeing his master not having any trouble, Dave had allowed himself to relax. He just had time to look up, see the whip coming towards him and close his eyes. But the whip never hit him. It hit something else. Someone else.

Balthazar was right in front of Dave, his arms outstretched and pressing against the tree Dave had been standing in front of, using it to support himself. To make matters worse, Dave saw two women and a man enter the clearing from behind Balthazar, and heard even more to his left.

"Run," ordered Balthazar, blood dripping from his mouth. "I'll deal with them, meet you back at the mill."

"Are you insan—"

"I was only injured because I had to watch your back!" hissed Balthazar, a few drops of blood spilling from his mouth and onto his apprentice's face. "You're distracting me, get out of here!"

Balthazar grabbed Dave's collar and shoved the boy aside. Dave almost lost his balance, but recovered.

"Run! Before you get me killed!" shouted Balthazar, turning to face his opponents.

"Stop that boy!" yelled Megan after hearing Balthazar's orders.

Dave turned and ran. Balthazar tried to stare down his opponents, but they weren't paying him any attention. He didn't blame them. He could barely stand, and he knew he couldn't fight these guys. Aside from Megan there were eight others, five of which were about to pass him in their pursuit of Dave.

Balthazar shot at the nearest tree with weak rapid-fire plasma bolts from his left hand. The trio fell, but quickly got up again and started towards him.

"Ignore him! Get the boy!" shouted Megan, before sending a plasma bolt of her own towards Balthazar, hitting him squarely in the chest. Balthazar fell as pain ripped through him, his injured back hitting the hard ground and the world went black.


OH I am such an evil, evil cliffy mistress you shall all bow before me! Wahahaha. Seriously though I'll get three out as soon as possible I swear I don't actually want to leave you guys hanging like this hopefully my beta will get three done soon, but she is busy. (Working two jobs, and in a play.)