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Rescuing Merith
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(For Part One, by Masa of Kaliphlin see here.)
The waves lapped the boat's side, as Ageven and his companions traveled down the Arkbri River, just a day after their escape from Cedrica. It was hard to imagine that this peaceful scene could any day now become a battlefield, but so it was, for Victor Revolword had taken Cedrica, and there was no saying what he might do! Suddenly, from the water right ahead of them, a crocodile sprang out, pulling from his garments a soiled and dirty letter. Without a word, he dropped it into Ageven's lap. With a start of surprise, Ageven read the letter, his four companions crowding around him. It was from Gaius, Mikel Kalores' head of household affairs. Ageven promptly agreed, sending a return letter by means of the crocodile. They would now strike across the desert, descend to Eastgate, and rescue Merith, fiance of the late Dugal MacLean, who, it was feared was in great danger from Petera MacLean, Dugal's brother, now in control of Eastgate, and suspected of having turned to the side of Revolword.
Four days latter the travelers entered Eastgate, gathering supplies - of which, indeed, they were in need of. The city was peaceful - though Revolword had captured Cedrica, the inhabitants felt they had nothing to fear, there city was well protected and guarded. For three days they remained in Eastgate, trying to find out what information they could - but they were strangers, only Ageven had even seen Merith close, and Petera was ever watchful. On the eve of the third day Gad walked the streets, wondering what excuse Ageven could come up with. It seemed to be a hopeless task. Merith, had hidden herself away somewhere in the city. It was evident that Petera was searching for her vigorously, though without much stir; the inhabitants of Eastgate would not favor his purpose. They were in a race - a race against Petera, a race against time - a race which, do what they wished, it seemed they were loosing. Lost in his thoughts, Gad paid little attention to where he was going. Suddenly a young man, in the garb of an assassin, ran into him - whether on purpose or not, he could not tell. Gad recoiled instantly, but the man said, in a low voice, "Come with me, I know what you are looking for." The hilt of a dagger gleamed in the sun for a second, and Azc felt he had no choice but to follow.
After having walked for several minutes, they finally entered a house, located very near the city wall, where Gad's suspicious companion locked and bolted the door. In answer to Gad's look of surprise, he said, "It is better so. The very stones have ears in this place."
"What is it you think I wish to know? You must be mistaken, I am a stranger in the city. I have come with Ageven Deraim, in search of supplies..."
"And in search of someone, if I mistake not. At any rate I can trust you." He then told Gad, much to his surprise, that Merith was in hiding in that very house, and that it would be an easy task to let her down over the wall. "But it must be done quickly! Petera is not one to sit back and wait. Another three days of searching and he will have found her!"
"Of course," replied Gad, who was rather unsure of what to do. "You are aware, however, that I can do nothing without Ageven? We had planned on leaving today, and I dare say it would be easy enough to row up the river latter tonight and have her come over?"
"That is a very good plan. I will be waiting near the city gates at dusk tonight, if Ageven has agreed, give me a nod as you leave, I will understand. Now you had better return - stay a minute, I will take you, it would be difficult for you to find your way through the streets all by yourself."

Later that night, in almost complete darkness, a boat floated silently down the river, along the wall's edge. Kaflar and Azc had been sent to Barqa ahead of the other three, so the boat was less heavily laden. They were startled, suddenly, by a soft low whistle. Raz backed his oars instantly. "This must be the spot."
Ageven nodded, and with scarce a sound stepped over the side to the rock by the wall's edge. "There is no fear of a little noise," whispered Gad's mysterious friend, "this guard at least is asleep."
"Or a little light either?" asked Ageven. "Good, light us a torch, Gad." Under the fitful torchlight Raz made out two figures on the top of the wall, and soon the grating of a chain was heard, Merith was being let down, and she was soon on the slight ledge of rock. Ageven helped her into the boat. The sound of the chain being pulled up was all that could be hear for a second, but then the young man spoke, "Ageven Deraim, do not trust Petera. He has turned to Revolwords side. But you need fear nothing from Eastgate, it's inhabitants are still Kaliphlin, they will not side with Revolword. You must go now, but if you ever need information from Eastgate, I am on your side." With a wave of his hand he descended the wall, and the group was left alone to float down to Barqa.
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By gid617 (Kai NRG)
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Added February 20, 2013
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