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Neopedia : Escape from Meridell!

Escape from Meridell Castle

Valrigard holds close to the castle walls, feeling the wet, chilly stone on his back. In his hands is a sword he's stolen from the armoury, not more than two minutes ago. They'll never miss it; not unless they look. That doesn't give him a lot of time, though; the dummy in his cell probably isn't going to fool them for long. Valrigard will have to move quickly, but he can't afford to be reckless. He will have to be fast and act with certainty -- it'll be tricky, but he doesn't have any other choice.

He counts the paces of the guards, waiting for his opportunity. He has spent a lot of time down in these dungeons, enough time to count the guards' paces and remember each one's patterns and habits. He knows Oligar always falls asleep halfway through his shift -- just after eating a huge lunch; Bandro always stops around noon to take a sip from a bottle he keeps up his sleeve. Valrigard also knows Axolen always retires to his office at half-past noon to do something. He doesn't care what it is; all he knows is it will keep Axolen in his office until one. That gives him thirty minutes... thirty minutes to escape from Meridell Castle. Not a lot of time, but it just might be enough.

The last two guards move by him, not even suspecting something might be hidden in the shadows. One of them stops. "Look here," he says, pointing at the dim lantern. "It's gone out!"

The second guard just shrugs. "So what? They go out all the time."

"But, we'd better light it."

The second guard shrugs again. "Why? There's plenty of light. Besides, you'll have to go all the way back to the guard station to get a wick."

The first guard nods. "You're right," he says. "Let's finish our walk, then we'll come back and do it." As they continue down the corridor, Valrigard sighs quietly. His hands loosen on the pommel of his stolen sword, then he rushes down the corridor -- in the direction the guards just came from.

He rushes by two more corridors, and the other lost souls behind bars barely notice his passing. There is one who shouts out for help, but that's nothing new or strange down here. Valrigard stops at another corner, peeking around it. High above him is an open grate leading to the second level. All he has to do is reach a window. From there, he could get home with no problem. Down here, however, there are no windows, no sun, no rain, and no hope.

Valrigard flies up quickly, his tail disappearing into the darkness just as the second patrol rounds the corner. They pass under him without a second thought. He's on the second floor -- just three more...

Just then, he hears a noise over his shoulder. A guard! Where did he come from? No time to ask...

Valrigard looks down the grate. He can't fly down -- the guards below would see. He can't stay here, because of the guard coming around the corner...

Valrigard grits his teeth and pulls his sword.

The guard rounds the corner, looking like an armoured pear. He waddles in his heavy chest plate and grieves, a spear held lightly in his hand. Valrigard moves fast, his wings propelling him across the corridor faster than his feet ever could. Before the guard can even bring his spear into both hands, the sword is flying in his face, and behind it is a Draik full of teeth, claws, and wings.

The guard falls backward, the spear knocking from his hand. The back of his head hits the stone floor and a cloud of dizziness fills his skull. While trying to blink through the confusion, the guard realises the sword is at his throat. Valrigard pushes the sword closer, its razor tip touching the bottom of the guard's chin.

"Wh -- whut?" the guard manages to say. "Valrigard? The traitor?"

The Draik's lips curl into a snarl. "I'm no traitor!" he whispers, then slams his sword against the guard's face -- knocking him unconscious. Then, he looks around for a dark corner in which to hide the fallen guard.

Continuing on, down yet another darkened corridor and up a passage only a flying creature could reach. The guard is gagged and bound, left in a supply closet Valrigard hopes nobody will need to use any time soon. He knows he is ten seconds late. If he doesn't move quickly, he'll miss his window, and the Draik will have to wait another fifteen minutes before Rhog makes another complete circuit of the second floor.

Below him, Valrigard hears a sound. Rather, more like an alarm... and shouting. They've either found the guard in the supply closet, or they've found the dummy he left in his cell. Either way, it doesn't matter.

No more sneaking. It's a straight up fight now. Valrigard the Traitor, they call him. "I'm no traitor," he whispers under his breath.

Right now, though, he's Valrigard the Prisoner, and it's a long way to freedom. He grips his sword, grits his teeth, and keeps moving.