From his position at the base of the wall in the northeast corner, Nicolai began his climb. Being without grapple or crampons, the rogue was left to use only sheer skill to ascend the wall. Being in the corner helped, braced himself with legs splayed as his agile fingers sought out the tiniest of nooks with which to pull himself up.
As he climbed he kept alert for sounds of alarm from within. Gaining the top of the wall, Nicolai lay flat across it as he viewed down below into the courtyard, which the rogue calculated to be about 80 feet long by 90 feet wide. Weeds had started to cover the dirt floor which appeared to have become recently untended. In the center of the yard as a large pool, 40 feet long and 30 feet across. The water within was brackish and putrid, looking almost glossy black. Beside the pool, a set of stairs lead to the main doors of the temple itself. Four wooden sheds were attached to the west wall, and another four to the east wall. In the southern corners of the courtyard were two small octagonal stone buildings, about 30 feet wide, each covered by a delicate-looking dome.
His gaze followed the Siswa who had emerged from the temple and walked down the stairs into the courtyard. They didn’t take notice of him as they made their way toward the large double-doored exit.
With his back leaning against a tree with brightly coloured fall foliage, Feldard waited in anticipation of battle. In his hands he held his newest weapon—his crossbow. He’d had some practice with it since its purchase and more oft than not he could hit somewhere on his target, but he was still a little uncertain of firing into a melee, but it might give Saeth the time she needed to avoid capture, so he had it cocked and loaded ready to fire at the first sign of trouble.
His axe, Feldard had resting beside him ready for use as well. One shot with the crossbow and then the axe—it was a fair enough battle tactic. The dwarf had to remind himself that he was not trying to kill any of the elves, only this Rahib. ‘Aim for their feet and legs. They can’t fight if they can’t stand’ Feldard told himself silently.
The priest leant against a wide tree with his back to the action so that he was fully obscured. To relieve his tension he slowly exhaled. In a low voice he said, “We must see the reality of the situation. Yes it would be ideal not the slay the guards, but the greater good would not be served if we allowed ourselves to perish or be captured through some misplaced sense of honour. Their blood will lie on the hands of the Rahib, Halav will ensure the worthy have a safe path to the light.”
“Let us hope that Halav’s day will not be too busy then.” said the mage. He glanced around the bough of his tree at the situation. “Six guards are descending into the courtyard from the temple. They are armed, they must be expecting resistance from one elf maid? I doubt it, the villagers may have had a spy amongst them.” Not comforting thought.
“Mind you,” he added, “if he was aware of us, he would know our reputation. I for one was not silent of our previous adventures. Six guards would easily fall to us I think.”
Finally, the gate opened and the elves exited. Saeth glanced at them, then quickly looked down, tugging her cowl tighter around her face. Struggling to recall Rahasia’s voice, she called out, “Where is the Rahib? I am told he was to meet me here.”
Without saying a word in reply, the Siswa hurriedly charged toward the faux Rahasia. Their swords were sheathed, and it appeared their intention was to grab the maiden and forcefully take her into the temple.