Waiting In Darkness, Part 4

“Each team has a mage of some sort,” Gregory said, his voice soft. He glanced back at Connor and frowned. “Our team has two. Would that just be chance?”

“Not likely,” Connor said, shaking his head. He sighed and leaned back against the wall of the alley they were hiding in at the moment. Giving Gregory a smirk, he said, “Chris is rather protective of me. He worked with my brother a couple years ago and, being twins, expects that we’re rather alike.”

“Ya ain’t?” Gregory said.

For a moment, Connor didn’t answer. He merely frowned thoughtfully. He had to admit there were many similarities between himself and Finian. “We’re both ezuras,” he said. Giving Gregory a weak smile, he added, “In your language, the closest word would be innocent. It means we’re of a distinctly sanguine nature.”

Gregory nodded in understanding. “A bit scattered, lovable and not always reliable in a pinch,” he said. “I know the type. Also know it don’t mean ya need extra protectin’. Yer more’n capable o’ defendin’ yerself.”

Connor smiled and nodded. He blinked and pointed. “There,” he said. A group of the monsters was moving through the lot. Connor wasn’t sure just how Gregory had been able to anticipate that they’d be moving through at this location, but he wasn’t about to argue.

“Right,” Gregory said, waking his staff. “Stay close. You guard my back an’ I’ll guard yours. We don’ want these guys overpowerin’ us. Get me?”

“I understand,” Connor said. He nodded to indicate that he was ready.

Gregory smiled and then stepped out into the open. “Hey, ugly,” he shouted. As the monsters turned to face them, he pointed his sword at them. Lightning flashed, blinding them.

Connor used the opportunity to rush out and scatter explosive glyphs at their feet. He snapped his fingers, activating the spell. Then, the battle was on. A few were felled in the first assault. However, most were only angered.

Connor whirled so that Gregory was behind him, guarding his back. The monsters were quick and smart, for all that they looked horrible and inhuman. In a moment, they had the pair surrounded.

Gregory stuck close to Connor, even as he threw bolts of lightning at the monsters, along with using his sword in a more conventional manner. Connor had drawn his dart bow after the initial attack. He held his ground, while firing explosive darts into vital areas on the monsters.

“There’s too many of them,” he called over his shoulder.

He heard a wry chuckle from his partner. “If’n ya got a plan,” Gregory said, his voice a bit breathless, “I’m all ears!”

“Cover me?” Connor said, reaching into his pocket. Gregory cursed softly and then began parrying attacks from both sides, while Connor searched for the glyph he needed.

Gregory was holding his own, but the monsters kept coming. “Do it fast,” he breathed. Then, he gasped when one of the monsters caught him by the arm.

Connor’s hand closed around the glyph he need as the monster hauled Gregory off his feet and made to toss him. “No you don’t,” he snapped, tossing the glyph into the air. He gasped as another monster caught hold of him. Then, the spell activated.

A miniature sun seemed to light up over their heads. The monsters fell back, keening in pain. A few burst in a shower of ash. Connor took a shuddering breath as he was suddenly released. Then, he bolted forward, towards where he’d last seen Gregory.

“Gregory,” he cried, dropping to his knees beside the taller man. He sighed in relief when he saw that the man was already moving to sit up. “Are you hurt?”

Gregory looked himself over and then sighed. Trembling, he shook his head. “What the hell was that?” he breathed, “An’ why didn’ ya do it sooner?”

“I wasn’t even sure it would work,” Connor admitted. He took a shuddering breath and looked up at the little sun. It wouldn’t last long, but it would give them a much needed breather. Looking back at Gregory, he shrugged. “It’s just a hot house spell,” he said. “It’s used to warm an area for tropical plants or animals, so they can grow and live in colder climates.”

“Yeah, well,” Gregory said, licking his lips nervously, “ya’d best keep a couple o’ those handy, just in case.”

Connor nodded, then he startled when his radio crackled to life. “Joker, do you read?” Hollis’s voice came through the little speaker.

Sighing, Connor lifted the radio to his mouth. “Go for Joker,” he said, looking up at Gregory. If Hollis was calling them, it meant one of two things. It might be that they’d missed their check in time.

“Ace and Chalice need assistance in sector vee,” Hollis said, his tone brisk and business-like.

Connor cursed softly. “We’re on our way,” he said. Then, he tucked the radio away. He stood, giving Gregory a grim smile. “Somehow amusing that Chris was worried about me and he’s the one who needs help.”

“Only if ya like dark humor,” Gregory said. He grabbed Connor by the arm and said, “Let’s get on, then.”


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