It was dented, scratched, and chill to the touch when she picked it up and eyed it curiously. The autumn air had taken effect. It must have been laying there for some time...
A half dozen crossbows raised to point directly at Tiago. A solidly built man stalked up to the gaucho and ran the butt of his weapon into his gut, fortuitously striking the uninjured side of Tiago’s abdomen.
“Sit. Down.” He hissed in a menacing tone.
Most of the guards this side of the garden seemed to be looking at him now.
That was good, right?
Every instinct he had screamed that it wasn’t.
That didn’t sound very convincing at all. He didn’t have a backup plan, really.
He didn’t have much of a plan at all. The planned part of this would be going the opposite direction, out the opposite gate.
He took a breath, then acted.
His hand, beneath his poncho, whipped his knife out in a well practiced arc.
He wanted that crossbow, and he needed to move, now.
The knife cracked against the wooden mask, clawing a splintered line into the wood. The masked figure stumbled back, spitting out a curse as he backpedaled to gain distance from his attacker.
It was slow going, trying to move quietly up the face as the Seele officer tried once more to ask to speak to whomever was in charge of this operation, only to be answered by further bolts to an increasingly studded shield.
Why? Tuku thought as she neared the line of thin holes in the wall that served as windows. Why not make demands? Who were they? What did they want? Had they had something to do with the attack on the bridge? That seemed extremely likely, given the rapid movement and total surprise. But why take prisoners without demands? Why take the estate? Why-
Her fingers slipped on the next crack, and she experienced a brief moment of gut dropping vertigo before the other hand caught tight, arresting the quick and sudden fall, but not after a distinct scraping noise sounded on the wall.
She held still, clinging to the rock and cursing herself a thousand times over.
Idiot. How many times has Tahiry told you. Focus when you move. The Path. The Path is all that matters.
A crossbow appeared in the window mere feet above her.
“Did you hear that?” said a nervous, weathered voice.
A flash of movement caught her attention through one of the stone slits set high on the wall, a flicker of stark white and black. Then there was a heavy snap, and Tuku barely had the time to notice something sharp before it cracked against the ground, mere inches from her feet, bouncing off the stone and shattering a flowerpot behind her. With an undignified yipe, Tuku stumbled back as she heard something else whizzing through the air like a frenzied bee.