“Ah, Burns,” asked Kam, staring out across the main thoroughfare of the city, “isn’t that Cornelius running this way?”
“Yes, Sir,” muttered the sniper, taking careful aim, for a moment almost overcome by the temptation of firing.
“And, if I’m not mistaken, those things behind him are……?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Burns once more, ignoring all around him except the rapidly approaching figure looming large in his sights. One thing at a time, he thought ironically to himself.
“Okay. I’m not waiting any longer,” stated Kam calmly, as he checked his newly acquired pistol, “we need to follow Harms right now.”
He stepped through the portal, his eyes closed. When nothing pierced his flesh, he opened them, and jumped back through.
“Clear!” he shouted, and waved frantically at Cornelius, before rushing back into the portal, a grumbling Burns following.
As they stepped through, the world seemed to spin, turn upside down and then suddenly right itself once more. Burns fell to the floor in a daze, an overpowering stench causing him to gag.
Somehow Kam kept his feet, but only for a moment. He heard the crash of the Cornelius hitting the floor and slumped down next to him.
“Where the fuck have you been?” he asked, and then, “By the Egg, you stink!”
Cornelius spat to clear his mouth and then swore. Before them was a vast plain of rolling grass, a mosaic of patterns flowing through the vegetation in time with the occasional eddy of the wind. In the distance they could see the outline of a tower, an architecture all too familiar.
Grishak knew the Ambryn were close; he could hear their snarling cries and the buzzing of their stubby wings. He continued his run, the portal within his reach. Ahead he saw the back of the diminutive human, he who had speared him, passing through and increased his speed. That was a rematch he eagerly awaited.
With one last gigantic leap he cleared the barrier, his momentum propelling him forwards. A roar of triumph died on his lips as he crashed headlong into a rocky wall, the shock of contact stunning him. Warily he turned, axe in hand to await what he knew would be his final battle.
Harms had covered a wide area now, and there was absolutely no doubt; the portal was gone. He had with him the other four troopers, somewhere out there a significant band of Taurans, and he was in an unknown place, with the Prelate only knew what living there. He was screwed.
His decision, although he hated to admit it to himself, had been bad. The whiny little Taartun, Kam, had after all been right. Just about now, he could have done with the local and Burns at his side. Harms would even be satisfied with the annoying Cornelius to bolster his tiny force.
Calling his men together, he picked a line of travel opposite to the Taurans. They needed to find some civilisation and soon.
He had waited a long time, watching them throw themselves against the field, but they couldn’t get through. Grishak had tried a few ineffectual swipes of his axe against the barrier, but it had neither hurt them, nor the tenuous field.
Grunting to himself, he had finally turned his back on it, and made his way further into the interior.
Guest post with D.P. Prior
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