By the time Derek and Emerick entered, weapons were drawn and readied all around. Vlad and Caim were backed into a corner by several of the men. One of the ruffians held a girl with one meaty paw; the other a dagger to her throat. Her eyes were wide with fear. By the look in Elkas’ eyes, Derek deduced this must be the boy’s sister.
“Stay where you are!” one of the men started, clearly the leader. “Move, and Grease here will gut her like a pig, mark my words.” He turned to Elkas’ father, an old and thin man. "Tell me, old man, what’s more important to you: gold or life?”
“P-p-please,” he begged, dropping to his knees, his arms outstretched, beseeching. “Don’t hurt her.”
“Then give me the gold, old man.”
“I-I don’t have it,” he said, terrified. “Not all of it, at least.”
“A pity. Grease,” he turned, calling to the man holding Elkas’ sister, “what do you want?”
“Oh, I’d been itchin’ for an ear, I have. Want the other, Arkady?” The woman moaned in dismay and Grease tightened his hold to shut her up.
“Don’t you touch her!” Elkas screamed.
“Or what?” Arkady mockingly called back. “You and your pretty band goin’ to fight us? We got you outnumbered and outmaneuvered. I suggest you all run along now before somebody gets hurt.”
“Not so,” Derek says, firm as stone. “Men, shield!” he called out as he raised his holy symbol high in the air. A bright light ripped through the room, blinding and disorienting anyone without the sense to cover their eyes. Several of the men fell to their knees, clutching their eyes and screaming. “Strike!” Derek yelled, as he brought his mace down onto the nearest foe. A sickening crunch made him smile grimly despite himself. Killing, even when righteous, was such a horrid ordeal.
Vlad and Caim bounded forward to meet the dazed men, slashing and thrusting furiously. Emerick flitted back and forth, jabbing with his short sword.
The man called Grease dropped his dagger and the girl broke away, running for the back of the little shop. Blind, Grease fell to all fours, fumbling to find his weapon. Elkas, rage pumping through his veins, roared and charged the helpless man. Grease probably didn’t feel a thing; the savage swing of the broadsword had cut him in two from neck to navel in a fraction of a second.
Alone in shielding his eyes from Derek’s spell, Arkady smacked the old man with the flat of his sword, sending the old man reeling across the floor. Turning quickly, his sword crossed with Derek’s mace, and then again with Emerick’s sword. He backed away, making for the door. He got no further than a few steps before Vlad’s rapier found the small of his back. He looks down, seeing the point protruding out in front of him. “So much for parley, eh?” Vlad whispers into Arkady’s ear as the bandit’s life trickled out onto the floor.
As the last body was silenced, Elkas rushed to embrace his father and sister. “Thank you,” the old man said to the group. “I am Teron Brevyre, Elkas’ father, and this is my daughter, Elenie. You have saved us. Is there any way I can repay you?”