The Strange World’s Around Us: Book 2


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1. Prologue

Iastan ran through the forest, trying to get away as fast as possible, but they were slowly catching up to him. He could hear their voices shouting and yelling behind him. They were getting close. C'mon, he thought. Just a little bit farther.
He turned left, onto a little trail that had been made from him being on it so often. He knew they would follow him down the trail. Iastan had done this often enough that he knew where they would go. Sure enough, he heard them slow down a bit, notice the trail, and go down it after him.
He went down the hill, opened the door in the hill, and slid inside, closing the door behind him. He heard them go over the hill and pause at the bottom, wondering which way he went. Then he heard them go off in some direction, running to catch up with him—well, if he had gone in that direction, which he didn't. He waited until it was quiet, then moved to the door.
Suddenly, the door opened and he saw a man standing in front of him. The man was about average height and had a slight build. He wore a green shirt with black pants and boots.
"You did a good job of camouflaging the door to look like the slope," the man said. "But not good enough." The man punched him, making him fall to the floor, unconscious.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Iastan woke up in a dark, damp cell. It was pretty spacey, as if it were meant usually for quite a few people.
"Nice to see you conscious again." A voice said from the dark. He looked through the bars at where the voice was coming from.
"What do you want?" He asked. The person walked out of the darkness. It was the man he had seen earlier.
"I want to know what everyone else wants to know." He answered. "Who are you, and why are you doing this?"
"Why would I tell you?"
The man nodded thoughtfully. "I thought that would be your answer. Which is why I came a little more prepared than most." The man reached in his pocket and pulled out a bright, sea green emerald.
Iastan bent down and took off his boot, searching for something that wasn't there. The man watched with interest, until he finally asked his next question.
"Where did you get this?"
Iastan said nothing, but hit the bar in anger.
"Give it back." He said in a low voice. The man heard the frustration and threatening sound in it.
The man raised an eyebrow. "This must be of great interest to you."
Iastan glared. I wish I was on the other side of this stupid cell, he thought. Then I could strangle this stupid, unknowing fool.
"Where did you get this?" The man asked again.
"Why does it matter?"
"You know where they come from, don't you?"
Iastan nodded. "Yeah."
"Well there's your answer."
He sighed, frustrated. "I got it from a friend."
"What's his name?"
"Her name is Thasraif."
The man raised an eyebrow. "Her?"
Iastan nodded.
"Where'd she get it?"
He shrugged. "I don't know."
The man looked thoughtful. "What's your name?" He asked abruptly.
"Iastan. You?"
"Shlaitis."
They sat in silence for a bit.
"Who are you?" Shlaitis asked, breaking the silence.
Iastan shrugged carelessly. "I'm an assassin." He said casually.
Shlaitis raised an eyebrow. "Doesn't sound like you care that much."
"I don't. Not really anyway. I get paid for doing it, and if I don't have any assignment currently, I just kind of do whatever."
Shlaitis nodded. "That would explain all of these." He indicated a pile of weapons. There was a sword, a dagger, a couple throwing knives, a bow, an axe, and a scythe.
Iastan smiled. "Well, I have a lot of interest in different weapons."
"I can see that. However, going back to the subject at hand, how did you meet Thasraif?"
"The way I meet anyone. They ask me to kill someone for them."
"Who did she ask you to kill?"
"Shalrik."
"Who's that?"
"Thasraif's older brother."
Shlaitis raised his eyebrows. "Why?"
"She wanted to be in control."
"In control of what?"
Iastan looked at him. "You have a lot of questions."
"Of course I do. I'm here to question you. What did she want to be in control of?"
"Ichilae."
Shlaitis sat up straighter. "What?"
"She thinks she can make Them follow her."
Shlaitis muttered something under his breath. "She should know better than that. Has she already tried to?"
"Not that I know of."
Shlaitis sighed, being frustrated and annoyed. "Now I have to go after her and stop her." He muttered.
Iastan nodded. "Can I come with you?"
"How good are you at these weapons?" Shlaitis asked, indicating the pile of weapons.
"I'm really good at all of them. I don't move on to the next weapon until I've more than mastered the one I'm currently on."
Shlaitis thought about it. Iastan could be really handy should there be a fight, which of course, there would be. There always was. And he wouldn't have any problems with Iastan not being trustworthy. He nodded. "Yes, you can come."
"When do we leave?" Iastan asked.
"Now." Shlaitis answered, standing up. He took out a key and unlocked the door to the cell. Iastan stood as well and went through the opened door, heading for the pile of weapons. Then he paused and looked at Shlaitis, his eyes questioning.
Shlaitis nodded. "You'll need to arm yourself if you plan on coming. Not having anything to fight with might make it hard to fight."
Iastan bent down and picked up the weapons one by one. He put the sword and dagger around his waist. Then he put the bow with its quiver and the axe on his back, crossing them to make an X. He put a cloak on to cover them, but situated it, so he could get to them easily if he needed to. The throwing knives he put in secret places on his person. He held the scythe in his right hand.
Shlaitis, seeing Iastan fully equipped, went to the corner where he had stowed his weapons. He had a longbow, two throwing knives, and another knife Iastan didn't recognize. He put the longbow with its quiver on his back, and the rest went around his waist. He too put on a cloak, covering his weapons the same way.
The two of them then left the building they had been in and got on two horses of the Shurikalan breed. They went southeast, to the land next to Lauthriel, where they hopefully would find Thasraif. Being near the border of Tokrul, it was only half a day's ride.
When they finally got there, they stopped the first person they saw and asked him if they knew where Thasraif was. The man's face darkened, and, answering their question said, "Last I heard, she was in the city Azarine. It's two cities away from here." They thanked him and rode on to the city Azarine.
It was almost dark when got there, and as they entered they slowed, expecting trouble. They dismounted and looked around. The city was very busy and no one seemed to notice their presence. They stepped into the crowd, Iastan leading the way. Shlaitis saw someone go down a side alley, looking suspicious. Shlaitis pointed him out to Iastan, and together they followed him silently down the alley.
The figure went down to the very end of the alley where it opened up into a much bigger space. They followed him into the open space. The space was empty other than the man they were following and themselves. The man was on the other side and a little to the right of where they were.
The man was about to disappear down another alley, so they rushed forward after him. But it was their mistake. For, by doing so, they fell into a trap. As they rushed forward, two ropes came slithering out of the ground and wrapped themselves tightly around their two new captives, holding them in place. They gasped at how tight the ropes were, being very painful indeed.
They heard someone come out of the alley behind them. The person went around them to face them, showing her face as she did so.
"I didn't expect to see you again Iastan." She smiled at Iastan, but the smile was a cruel one. She then turned and looked at Shlaitis and raised an eyebrow. "And you brought someone with you. Did you come here to stop me?"
They both glared at her, neither one answering her question.
She rolled her eyes. "Well, either way, you die now." She said, reaching down for two throwing knives of her own, one in each hand. She raised her arms and threw the knives at them, aimed perfectly for their hearts.
The last thing either of them saw were the daggers.

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