For the next ten minutes, Kimar, with help from Ercen, reviewed their plan for rescuing Freida. It would require simultaneously parting everyone into the cave together. The assumption was that the cave would be completely dark. Ercen would be responsible for casting light. Kimar would immediately engage the gargoyle in combat. Freida’s parents were tasked with grabbing her and getting her to safety, while Danielle, her parents and the boys would provide cover to Heidi and Johann, in case there were more gargoyles present by the time they parted in.
Kimar said for the third time, “Surprise will provide us our best chance of retrieving Freida. Obsidian gargoyles are very fast, and because he’s trusted as a scout we know the one we are facing is a leader. Therefore, we can expect him to be one of their fastest. He is very dangerous, especially when surprised.”
“Be very careful, and watch out for each other,” Ercen added, quietly.
Kimar scanned the faces of the humans he would be leading into a fight beyond their comprehension. He deeply hoped they would be up to the task of facing such a daunting enemy. The faces looking back at him were resolute, even if pale.
“Weapons at the ready,” Kimar cried. “Remember, do not face the gargoyle unless you have no other option. Use the stalagmites as shields.”
As they formed their parting circle, everyone faced outward this time. The boys clutched their swords tightly and offered their fists for the other to grab. Farmer Skulstad did the same. Heidi Skulstad cradled her staff in the crook of her arm, awkwardly holding her husband’s fist, as he grasped his sword. Again, Danielle tucked the Key box under her left arm, while holding onto Paign’s hand. With her right hand, she clutched at Tiny’s scruff. He made a deep, gutteral growl, anticipating what was to come. Anders gripped hold of Tiny’s collar.
Kimar grabbed Ercen’s free hand. “Now.”
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