“Why the hell am I here, anyway? I should-”
“Be staying quiet when appropriate. Those spats you have with your young man wouldn’t exactly be the perfect example of stealth, now would they?”
Calamine froze. “You.” She pounded up to the black clad man quietly laughing before her. “He is not my man! He owes me money. A lot of money! And I’ll have his hide if he-”
“Gets hurt while you’re not around to take care of him?” Marin raised an eyebrow bemusedly, watching the usually controlled, in-command captain splutter and quiver.
Yoruka slipped between the two. “You.” He pointed a bony finger at Calamine. “Need to stay quiet. We need people to help rescue Brian as well as people to help Jenica, wherever she went. You yourself hinted at something that might help in all this if she gets there, but you wouldn’t tell us what. You managed to send your man and his friend after her, and Rill wouldn’t have been held back if I cut his legs off, so that’s enough.” Marin began to vibrate. He couldn’t stop if he wanted. The looks on the captain’s face, shifting from shock to discomfort to rage to interest so quickly as to form all new expressions, gave him something to keep warm with at night. “And you!” The bony finger was in Marin’s face now. “Stop provoking her just because you’re bored and hurt that your son’s been kidnapped while you were busied somewhere else. If anyone should be bothered, it’s me: I taught him to fight, after all. But I’m not. Stop acting like your mother just pulled her apron away from you.” He shifted his weapons and took off down the road, smirking to himself. Marin twitched slightly, being careful to hide it from the others. He stood as Calamine, Loki, and Elegain passed him slowly, peering at him in curiosity. None had read his discomfort and anger at his son being taken, except for the old man. At least I know why you’re so good in a fight… Who needs to react when you can tell everything about your enemy? Of course, you can still do all the rest too, can’t you… The sorcerer grimaced and began plotting ways to surprise them later in the day. His eyes began to sparkle, and he slowly faded into the darkness of the trees…
A mile down the road, the young musician finally broke the silence. “Sir?”
Yoruka spun around, a foul look on his face. “Who told you to call me that?”
“I certainly didn’t. My name is Yoruka. I escaped generations of schoolchildren calling me anything else, and you’ll not start now, got it?” The boy blinked slowly, finally nodding. The old man smiled. “Now, what was it?”
“Well… I was just wondering how we were going to find Brian without his dad, and if it was nice at all to just leave him there.”
Yoruka peered back down the road, where they had minutes before turned a bend and lost sight of the stunned figure. “Eh, he’ll be fine. I’m sure we won’t be rid of him long - don’t worry about that.”
Darkness. Gasping, face ringing and eyes straining into the night, Brian woke. “There. I’d hoped you would wake up, but there’s a bit of a rush now. Stand!” Brian’s eyes focused and he saw the man who had pursued them all through the city. Brian sensed an unease about him, a strain that his face didn’t show. He stood. “Good. Now – much as I hate to do this, I have to let you go.” Brian’s hand reached to his shoulder. “Oh, you’re fine. My blade was expelled by the time I got to you. Now leave.”
“You… you’re the one that attacked me. You’re letting me go?”
“Oh. Right, suspicion, et cetera. Well, I want you for something boy. But I found you by posing as an errand boy. And my employer has decided to come collect you personally, so it’s let you go or watch you die. Prematurely.” He smirked at this. “Silverstaff, by the way.”
“Call me Silverstaff, you fool. Now go before your mother kills you.”
With that, the forest exploded.