"You have a good point," Godrich said, placing both elbows on the table as he laced his fingers. "Trying to brute force our way out of here might open us up to risk. But moving a letter might be much simpler... Although there is the risk that our messenger is not able to find Mec, and we run out of time." He shot a glance towards Clair, who was silently contemplating the presented options. "What do you think?"
Clair was silent, staring down at the bowl of stew in front of her, casually swirling the liquid with a wooden spoon. She carefully ate a spoonful, before setting the spoon down. "A letter might be our only option, but of course we should keep our eyes and ears open for any better opportunities. Either way, we'll need to find ourselves a smuggler who might be willing to help out, for coin or otherwise..." She looked around the tavern before continuing. "We can come up with a few stories, mingle with some of the merchant types. I'm sure we will come across a few. Even if they're still here, they will have ways to move some of their wares- ways they deem trustworthy."
Let's continue our discussion in private," she said, just before raising the bowl of stew to her lips and drinking the remaining liquid. She licked her lips before dabbing them dry with the sleeve of her cloak.
The room that was allocated to them was quite small, only containing one bed and not much else. There, the trio fabricated a few characters to play, anecdotes and stories they would use to fit in with merchants they might come across, excuses for why it was important for them to hurry out of the city or at least get a letter out to their traveling companion. They also carefully crafted a letter to Jay Foxtrot, that if read by uninvited eyes would not raise suspicion, but would still alert Mec of the situation if he was to receive it. Given that they lacked the supplies, Godrich volunteered to find a scribe to write the letter and seal it, leaving Clair and Shallan at the inn. It was growing late, but he hoped to still find such a scribe before it was dark in hopes to save time the following day. If not, he would have try again the following day, before the market square was open. It would be imperative that they use that time to strike up conversation with merchants.
Both of the mage hunters twitched in unison when the onslaught began. They would like to say that their years of training, their experience with hunting down and occasionally fighting mages, is what aided them. In truth, they both had a knack for it, an inherent talent to detect when an unnatural power was being cast. They felt the tingle in their arms, and the hair raised on the back of their necks. Then, suddenly, the smell of ozone, and a flash of light. Gaxeel was quick to step forward, absorbing the bolt of lightning with his sword, which flashed and sparked for a few moments afterward. Behind him, he saw the hunter spin in a quick pirouette, shrinking down her size as she tried to avoid another attack that originated from the ground beneath them. Plant-matter and rock burst forth from the ground, forming a phalanx of spears.
Gaxeel grunted upon feeling the impact of spear-like roots slamming into his armor. The properties of the white metal prevented the magical tips of the roots from making a dent or penetrating through, but Gaxeel's skeleton shook from the sudden impact, which knocked him to one knee. Through the sound of his rattling bones, Gaxeel heard Vanna cry out, followed by more unearthly noises. He stood, sparing a glance over his shoulder. The huntress had been impaled through one side of her body. Two sharp points of magical plant-matter had pierced through her right arm, and a third straight through the right side of her torso. Blood sputtered from her mouth and nose as she struggled to breath, and more blood soiled her clothes and the dirt beneath her. Her eyes stared at Gaxeel, wide and unyielding, and he could not quite tell if she was truly looking at him or through him. There was not enough time to tell, before the woman fell out of consciousness.
Gaxeel felt the tug of magic being called upon again, and spun bag around, spinning his sword in a defensive motion. Vanna may have been doomed- but Gaxeel had seen others survive worse before. It would require a miracle... and a quick escape, before she lost too much blood or her lung completely collapsed. There was no guarantee that the latter would be possible. It would be long fight, and Gaxeel was at a disadvantage. Two mages stood before him, neither of them afraid to use lethal and sudden tactics. The forest was densely wooded, save for the occasional clearing. One poor swing of his sword and it may end up lodged in a tree, leaving him vulnerable. The horses were nearby, but if he gave away their location there was nothing preventing the mages from destroying them.
He swiped away another attack with his sword, and used the brief moment it provided him to step forward. The scar on his face itched and burned, as if responding to the familiar figure of the wooden doll that had appeared and dispatched Vanna. "I wish I could say the gods have been kind to give me a chance to redeem myself after our last run-in. Though, they seem to have exacted their toll for this opportunity." He raised his sword, pointing it defensively towards the doll while keeping his eyes on the cocoon of roots and branches, which began to writhe and twist as it repaired itself. "This wooden abomination, weapon, has only showed itself once before. To defend you, Mec Fiska, who surely lies inside of there. What brings you here? Tell me, before I bring you to justice once and for all."
Mec sat on his knees, breathing heavily, slowly, deeply. Thick, warm, blood trickled down his arm, dripping onto the mossy ground beneath him. With Olenna's timely arrival, there was hope for survival yet. Even so, his lips quivered as images flashed before him. The burnt body of a man, a wooden doll squeezing Shallan's throat. Was it all a misunderstanding? Was he wrong to challenge what he had known, what everyone had known, about those with abnormal and dark powers? There was nothing for it, nothing more he could do except for what he continued to promise himself and his friends. To live and to find purpose.
In response to Gaxeel's question, Mec's cocoon continued to shift and writhe until a small opening formed. Through the window, Mec observed the situation around him. The unconscious huntress, impaled in three places, and the fierce visor of the knight brandishing a white sword. The young mage tasted blood and a sharp pang on his bottom lip, which he had been biting down on. "Go, I beseech you," Mec said through a coarse throat. "There is still time. Take your companion to the city, and save her. You have my word that we will not give chase."
Gaxeel grunted loudly through his helmet. "The moment I turn my back, you will both destroy me. Besides, it is my sworn duty to defend this world from the likes of you, to give no room for you to sow your demonic influence. So I will face you, as a knight, till the end if I have to."
Without fear, Gaxeel pressed forward.
Fighting two versus one, he no longer used his sword to deflect magical attacks. Instead, he would swipe the spells away with a free arm as he continue to parry and strike with his sword in the other hand. The white armor and his gloves studded in the same silvery-white metal, provided plenty of protection. He waved away a lightning strike, performed a quick half turn to avoid another serpent of vines and branches, and quickly struck it with his sword. As the vines withered and faded to dust, he parried another strike, stepping again. Each movement he managed to perform put him closer and closer to Mec Fiska's cocoon- who he suspected the wooden doll refused to leave unprotected. As the fight continued, drawing the knight closer and closer, he realized the frequency of the attacks began to slow. In fact, the only attacks that he was defending from were those of the doll. The wooden serpents and the shifting of the cocoon had ceased.