* * *
Dorian simmered, grumbling about a rescue attempt, and he began to hatch a plan with Haggin and Elros about starting a fire on the far end of Boneguardia™ to cause a distraction. The cushani thought maybe the tavern that the Bone Guard would be a better target, being farther from the place the rescuers would need to be.
* * *
Redick wasn’t home, but his wife Solaria told Malachi and Juke that he had gone to talk to Winston Oakar, Dorian’s father and Malachi’s uncle. They went to the Oakar residence and found both men there. After they’d finished the story of Jolial, the rebellion in Calideer, and the bag of contraband, Winston instructed them to fetch everyone who had heard the bard’s tale as well as his belongings and return to the house. Quietly. They rushed off to comply.
* * *
Once gathered at the Oakar residence, Winston and Redick went through the items in Jolial’s pack and came to a decision: those who had heard the story of rebellion in Calideer were in danger, and must hide away until the old soldiers could figure out what to do. Dorian argued with his father, stating that he should be fighting by his side. A knock on the front door interrupted the discussion.
Two Bone Guard were at the front door and Juke noted that four more were at the back door. Redick and Winston told everyone to sit tight, and then the men went outside to deal with the Bone Guard.
The explosion at the front door came as something of a surprise. Juke and Malachi watched as Redick laid waste to Bone Guard soldiers in the front of the house. Winston fought off several more in the rear of the house, and once all of them had been dispatched, the two men re-entered the house. They sent everyone to the Parademis house to wait while they gathered more friends and continued the fight.
* * *
Waiting was nerve wracking, but a few hours later Redick and Winston returned, reporting that the Bone Guard had all been killed or scattered. Jolial was alive, but very badly injured. Tetheus Egaine had survived and was holed up in the lord’s manor with Jiro Kazu. The only thing left to do was decide what they were going to do next.
The old soldiers recommended abandoning Havenshire and attempting some chicanery to make it seem like those involved in the uprising had been killed by some natural disaster. Almost everyone was opposed to just running away. Dorian was inspired by the tales out of Calideer. Malachi could not stomach the thought of leaving the rest of the population to the tender mercy of the Alidor Quzar. Haggin’s eyes had been literally opened to the power of the Sun, and he knew that he could not go back to his old life no matter what. Elros looked forward to a guerilla campaign against the Empire. Obaba simply smiled and continued baking her cookies, with no intention of leaving her home. Juke was a little more circumspect than the others, but she agreed that the bell could not be unrung.
It was decided. The people of Havenshire would make a stand.
* * *
The next two weeks were a
montage blur of activity as everyone made what preparations they could. Training was intense, the fields were trapped, and sorties were made against the approaching centuria of soldiers accompanying the “Butcher of Halidus.”
Finally, word came back from the scouts that the Imperials would arrive by the rise of the next eclipse…