The ground began to rise as they ran and soon they were leaping over gullies and fallen trees. After twenty minutes of this they came to a fallen tree bridging a deep ravine.
"*do you think they would try to lead their horses across this ?*"
"*Maybe; Depends on how well trained the horses are and if they have any levation magic strong enough to try jumping it.*"
They padded across and jumped to the ground on the far side, where Tanis resumed human form. "If we've got enough of a lead on them I might be able to make a trap out of this." Tanis said drawing the Rune Dagger she had used before. Holding it blade up in her left hand with her right palm facing the dagger and the way they had come she began chanting softly. After a minute or so a faint glow formed in the air between the dagger and her palm.
"Good, they're just now reaching the edge of the broken ground. That should give me just enough time."
Tanis climbed back onto the fallen tree and began carving Runes into it with the dagger and whispering Words of Power. After about five minutes she plunged the dagger into the tree in the middle of the spell speaking a final Word of Power. Causing the whole thing to glow brightly for a moment before fading from view. "I'll miss that dagger, we've been through a lot together. But with a little luck I'll be able too make a new one in Bristol."
Tanis jumped down from the fallen tree and resumed her cat form "* let's go, we will want to be well away from that when it goes off. *"
"*won't they know that you did a spell, because of the tracking spell they're using ?*"
"*They will know that I did a spell, but they won't know what I did. If they slow down enough to find my trap and avoid or disarm it...Well, it's not as good as a kill; But it will give us a heck of a lead on them.*"
I finished just before sunset, well pleased with the results. Once the basic spell was in place on the orb in was really a rather simple matter to reverse the basic light spell already on the crystals and link it to the Orb. A small tweek and the Light crystals were also absorbing a bit of ambiaent Magic to keep the whole thing going.
I was a bit surprised at how easily I was able to do this. Mage work was not part of my basic Grendel programming nor did it feel like a part of my former life as a Ranger. And yet here I was planning to add all sorts of tweeks and extras to the Spell Web I was weaving. This was a thing to Meditate on at length once I could find the time.
I was just settling down to test out the quality of my work when I saw the wagon coming up the road. It seems I had finished just in time.
Ishmael was driving with Elizabeth sitting next to him. Isaac was in the back talking to an older woman who I later learned was Helga, Elizabeth's "nanny/chaperone/traveling companion/servant and dear friend" as Elizabeth put it while explaining things over dinner. It was my great good fortune that the Wave Runner had been late in arriving so that introductions and so on had had to be rushed and the wagon driven fast enough to greatly limit conversation along the way.
If whatever god of luck was responsible made his/her/its self known to me I'd've become a worshiper on the spot. But no supernatural beings appeared to take me up on the offer. So, either no god was involved, or my gratitude was worship enough.
It has been said that I should have made note of the Wylding's Cloak at some point in these writings. And this is quite true, given that the Cloak is part of the Wylding's innate magic and an iconic tool.
The Cloak is a part of the Wylding and takes effort to separate from themselves. So they are careful about who they loan them to. And only under extreme conditions will they bestow one. Of course during a war extreme conditions happen rather a bit more often than otherwise. Which is where the common misconception that Wyldings need the Cloak in order to transform. They don't. But the loss is still an inconvenience and creating a new Cloak takes quite a bit of time and effort.
Now one upon whom a Cloak has been bestowed is dependent on the Cloak in order to transform. At least until they can find a Druid or Shaman to preform the Wylding Ritual. Assuming that they want to become a true Wylding of course.
Once a Cloak has been bestowed it is linked to the new owner and what happens to the Wylding who gave it no longer matters. This is of course not the case with a Cloak that has only been loaned. If the link is broken the Cloak will lose its powers. Although a Shaman or Druid of sufficient skill can restore the Magic; at least in most cases. Assuming that not too much time has passed. And there have been reports of Loaned Cloaks becoming Bestowed upon the death of the Wylding; a dying wish effect as it were.
It likely goes without saying that Cloaks of this sort can't be stolen. At least not stolen for use. They can be stolen and destroyed or magically bound. Assuming such action is taken quickly. As a Wylding can call the Cloak to themselves by a simple act of will as long as the Cloak is within a few miles.
The thunder of galloping hooves cut off further conversation as Tanis draped her cloak over Tom and spoke a Word. A second harsher Word sent the bespelled horses galloping off to the North. And a moment later Tanis was dropping to all fours next to Tom. "* We'll wait until they've passed, then head southwest*"
Before Tom could reply one of the pursuing Naazz raised his arm and spoke a Word. A bolt of dark energy shot skyward bursting into a rain of smoking arrows forming a net in front of the bespelled horses.
Tom didn't waste any time on questions he ran, and soon found that his new form was in far better shape than his old one.
"*Speed and distance will buy us some time. But we need a place to hide and work. Are there any towns big enough to fend off this many Naazz ?*" Tanis ask after they'd been running for about 10 minutes.
Tom thought for a bit, "*Maybe Bristol, if we can reach it. It's most of a day's travel from here even at this pace. Assuming we can keep this pace for that long.*"
"*Bristol, sea port, shipyard, Magus training school. Yes; that should be enough to give them pause. And give us the time and cover I'll need to turn this mess around.*"
"*I'm a bit slow at the magic game; what have we stepped in, and how deep is it ?*"
"*Not sure. They caught the horses while my spells were still fresh. They can use that to track me. Any magic I do now will be like sending up a firearrow. We can use that to lead them into a trap, if we can get enough of a lead on them to have time to set one.*"
"*Head a bit more south then. And we'll reach a stretch of ground that'll slow them up quite a bit. Slow us a bit too, but a cat will still make better time than a horse and rider. Couple of places they'll have to get off and lead the horses or risk losing them.*"
It was a crisp autumn night with a hint of frost in the air and an almost full moon to light my way. I would have been happier with less light as I didn't need it and would have been better hidden by more darkness. Even so, I made the trip quickly and without incident.
The hints of coming Winter in the air also gave me the beginnings of an idea for how to befriended my hosts before fully revealing myself. Sooner or later they were going to notice that someone or something was lurking about better therefore if that unseen presence proved to be helpful and protective. And the spy eyes and ears I was planning to setup would give me an easy way to know of things they were needing or otherwise concerned about.
Now I just need to find a crystal of the right size and shape.
This proved to be more of a challenge than I had expected. Which lead me to wonder just how the Yuun-Xi had guarded the complex back in the day.
I wondered, but no answers came, and it wasn't worth taking the time to meditate on just now.
My searching did lead me to the discovery of a small but well equipped workshop that I had overlooked before. And that solved my crystal problem quite nicely. Glass while not exactly a crystal is close enough for quite a few things, including the spell I was planning to setup. The spellbook had even mentioned it as an option.
Crafting the glass ball I needed, along with a few other items that could prove useful later, took longer than I had expected and it was almost sunrise as I headed back to the cabin.
My hosts would be back before the end of the day. So, like it or not I was going to have to setup my spy net during the day and just hope no one was around to notice.