1. Flight or FIGHT! (Part 4)


    Allison McCain began to hesitantly step backwards. Splashing into the swirling waters, feeling each step with a cautiously placed boot heel. She had so much adrenaline running through her system that she hardly noticed the cold water as it began to soak through her clothes. Concentrating on her footing while holding her pistols well clear of the rivers tumbling surface and her eyes on Karchev and his 'pets' in case they made any sudden movements.

    "You know." She called, "I can understand why you sound in such a bad mood." She continued to grin at Karchev's slightly puzzled expression, glad that the Khardoran War-caster was as focused on maintaining his magical field, "That nose of yours much Itch something shocking!" Though she didn't see his reaction as she suddenly had to catch her balance, her feet twisting on the weed slick rocks on the river bottom. Water splashed around he hips. Karchev did glower as his anger was riled by the impudence of the Cygnaran’s jibes.

    "It is a shame you are not a Cathmore. Though for you I think I will find some satisfaction in you death." He called to her.

    Allison nodded back somewhat absently as well. Her features twisted in concentration. Every step behind her had been with a tapping drag of a heel along the sunken barges anchor rope. Internally she was focused on her 'arcane sight', one of the distinguishing gifts of a Pistol Mage. This time she was looking 'backwards' and 'down' into the murky depths, tracing the line back to the sunken barge and its submerged cargo. Suddenly, to her sight, shapes loomed up black and silent out of the murky swirling silty water. Stopping her retreat waist high in the river she shifted her focus to a different and trickier task and wondered just how much of a surprise she'd be able to make out on Karchev's face.

    The transformed Khardoran War-caster moved his 'wall' forward slowly, continuing to concentrate on hedging the Cygnaran in. The lass was backing ever further into the river shallows, eventually she would have to stop or risk falling into the deeper water of the rivers central course. He didn't care how she chose her end, if she would rather risk being swept away ad dragged to a watery doom by her quenched Caster armor so be it. He himself was in no hurry to follow her, since for him an extinguished boiler meant certain doom. The close proximity to the river laced all of his motions with caution, though his frustration at not having brought a Destroyer to hand rubbed at him. He'd chosen his personal Kodiacs the better to clear a path at speed through the forest and keep the scouting group 'contained'.

    He wondered if he would be reduced to simply picking things up and throwing them at the wench. The idea brought a rueful smile to his features as he remembered a time long past of pleasant strolls along shaded stream banks and the child hood fun of tossing rocks into the water to sink twigs . He looked down and his eye alighted on a 'small' rock. transferring Sunder to his 'off' hand he bent and picked it up, testing its weight before hefting the stone out into the river. As he followed its arc, he registered the questioning signal from one of the Kodiacs. With his grin widening he gave instructions to his two machines and soon all three were bending, sorting, retrieving and launching stones out into the rivers flow to splash and spray all about the object of their attention. As some of the resulting shots came close to hitting the girl, he almost laughed at her sodden expression as the gouts of water sprayed over her.

    Suddenly his pleasant revere was broken as he felt an arcane 'surge'. Flexing defensively he searched and 'felt' for the manifestation of the magical effect the woman had cast. Maintaining his field he glanced to either side and saw no change in his Kodiacs and the Girl still stood waist deep in the river. He thought harder, trying to analyze the fading trace of power. Then he saw the arcane glow in McCain's eyes, the sign that she too was communing with War-jacks. Startled he turned one Kodiac to scan into the forest, looking for a 'Jack that he may have missed powered down amongst the foliage, He shifted a small amount of focus into the Kodiac, preparing it to charge against some light scouting 'Jack such as a 'Hunter' class chassis.

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