Seida paused when she reached the door to her chambers, pressing her ear to the it to ensure that the boys had finally left for their lessons. The last thing she needed was them trying to come with her; they’d be safer in Ist’Heom with the Order. Gregorim was considered a full member of the Order, even if he was only an apprentice. He could be tried for desertion and imprisoned for the rest of his life. Tauren was just an initiate, but it could affect the rest of his life if he came with her. As much as it pained her to leave them both, it was the right thing to do.
Thankfully, all she heard was silence. She slipped inside, ready to pack her things and get out of Khasta. Surely there was somewhere in the city she could escape from to get out into the Brakkenwood to create herself a waypoint back to her house. Her weapons and some much needed supplies were crucial in starting her journey. She could worry about the rest once she was out of Ist’Heom and somewhere safe.
Quickly, she ran to her chambers and grabbed her pack, tossing all of her clothes back into it and tying it closed. She would probably have to wait until night time to get out of the city to avoid being spotted, but at least she could get ready first and avoid waking the boys up once they were asleep. She tore the room apart, making sure anything of value was accounted for. Just as she was tying the bag closed, a knock at the door made her jump. She spun around in time to see both the boys enter the room with puzzled faces. Gregorim took only a few seconds of looking around the room before crossing his arms. Tauren seemed incredibly confused, not yet grasping what was going on.
“Going somewhere?” Gregorim asked icily. “We heard the meeting was over already and came to ask you about it. I take it the meeting didn’t go well?”
She hung her head and tossed the pack on the floor. This day had just been one disaster after the next. “Alright, you caught me. I am leaving the city. I’m leaving Ist’Heom, actually. And before you ask, no, you cannot come with me. It’s too dangerous.”
“We survived a dragon attack and you think that it’s too dangerous for us to leave Ist’Heom with you?” Gregorim scowled. Both the boys had their arms crossed now. “If you’re going, then so are we.”
“I can’t have the both of you being branded deserters with me. You’re too young to have that sort of burden to carry with you the rest of your life, especially you, Gregorim. Tauren would be spared any major punishment, but you could face a potential lifelong sentence in Fort Brakkon if you were caught with me. I simply won’t allow it.”
“I’d gladly face prison time if it means helping people who need it. If the Order isn’t going to do its job, then hang what they say. I’m going with you, Seida.”
“Me too! I won’t sit here like a helpless child when I can be out in the world getting revenge for my family. I owe it to my family to stop these dragons. Surely you can’t deny me that right. Mons has taken everything from me, as has the Order. I didn’t want to be here anyway.” Tauren snapped. There was a determined fire in his eyes. Clearly this meant a lot to him.
“Boys….” Seida sighed heavily as she looked between the two of them, both so stubborn and firm in their stances. As much as she wanted to protect them, they were not little children. They were old enough to defend and decide for themselves. “Alright, you can come. But you have to do everything that I say when I say it. Understand?”
They both ran and tackled her into an embrace. “We promise,” they told her. She gave them a tight squeeze, hoping desperately that she hadn’t made a big mistake in caving in. If anything were to happen to them, it would be on her head. But something in her gut told her leaving them behind just didn’t feel right.
“Let’s get your things packed, and quickly. We need to be ready to leave tonight.” She ushered the boys out of her chambers and next door to theirs. They went through all their belongings, tossing aside anything that bore the symbol of the Order—four different runes representing the four elements surrounding Kirada’s all-seeing eye. Once the boys were packed and they’d tidied up their rooms, she gathered all their bags in her room.
“So what happens now?” Tauren asked. “What are we going to do for the rest of the day?”
“Since you two finished your lessons early, that means we will have time to find extra supplies in the marketplace before our allotted time in the courtyard for training,” Seida said. She opened her coin purse, counting out how much she had left from what she had taken from her lockbox in the house. They should be able to get enough food to last them a while. The more she thought about grabbing the rest of her money from her house, though, the more she felt that maybe it wasn’t a good idea. The coins would be a dead giveaway of who they were outside of Ist’Heom if they used them in a major city. It would not take long for the Order to brand her as a deserter. She would have to be careful where they spent the money. She had some valuables that she could pawn off for coin in the kingdoms. Creature comforts and knicknacks were of no use to her now.
Once she’d quickly swapped her outfit for something easier to move in, she escorted the boys out of their quarters and towards the courtyard. The off duty guards were busy with their own training sessions. On one side, archers stood lined up, firing at the targets set up against the far wall as their captain gave them feedback. On the other side, there were guards practicing fighting either with swords and shields or bare hands. They stopped once they reached the gates when the guards on duty asked why they were leaving.
“We’re headed out to the market.”
“I’m afraid we’ve been instructed not to let anyone out until the Grand Master instructs otherwise.” The guards kept their pikes crossed. “You must ask for permission first.”
Seida clenched her jaw. This made things much more difficult, especially if the restrictions didn’t lift before night fell. There were already extra guards present because of the council meeting. Now they were unable to stock up on supplies they would surely need. Perhaps fleeing that night wouldn’t be an option after all. “I wasn’t aware of the ordinance. My apologies.”
“What are we going to do now?” Gregorim whispered as they turned around and walked back toward the temple.
“We may as well take the time to plan where we’ll go first. There are loads of maps in the archives we can look over to decide a starting location.” Seida led the way back into the temple. This set back was only a minor problem. ...