Now this was a little different. He immediately started using focus on his weapon, partly for intimidation but mostly to make it hit harder. The others were still far enough away not to be a threat yet. And I knew that distance was definitely a factor in trying to influence things. I had just enough time to draw my sword and deflect his incoming blow. Deirdre had drawn her dagger and attacked him.
He was definitely surprised by her attack.
Which gave me an idea.
I moved behind Deirdre and gave her the sword in her left hand. It wasn't ideal, but as her right was holding the dagger against his sword, it only made sense. I was sure she'd switch it in a moment.
I could feel Deirdre wondering what I was up to. Leaving myself defenseless was not a smart move when there were more coming. But I decided to give what I'd been practicing all day a chance. Deirdre was very, very fast when she wanted to be and my reflexes had definitely improved. I didn't exactly expect to put them to the test that quickly, but I saw no other option.
Part of me definitely found it interesting.
I moved back and started to combine water and air in my mind. Deirdre got my plan immediately and deflected two blows while she stepped back to the water. Now, normally it was very bad to be with your back against the wall, but with water available as a distraction, it merely meant that you didn't have to worry about your back.
Before the man could attempt a fourth strike against her, I managed to rise up a little water and use air to move it. A little ball of water, like a splash, hit the man straight in his eyes.
So simple, so effective.
His strike, a high sweep, missed terribly and Deirdre had the time to duck beneath it and cut him both on the side of left his leg and the underside of his left arm. She didn't wait for him to cry out in pain though. And neither did the man. He wiped his face to clear his eyes and wanted to attack her back while she was still lower.
But his focus wavered.
I immediately tried to focus as much dark as I could on his legs and felt Deirdre do the same. She pushed him over hard and, as I stepped aside, caused him to land head first, in the water. And just in time, the others were arriving.
There were two of them, looking somewhat less experienced and well dressed as the main man. They were younger too. Maybe only two or three years older than me, while the man was at least older than thirty. They also looked quite nervous to each other, probably because we fought the other guy so quickly.
Who was already getting up.
Deirdre grabbed my shoulders and aimed me for the guy on our right. She moved past me to attack him with a sword and make him defend, distracted. I was a little further from the water now and, I thought, it would be a bad idea to use the same trick again. So I looked at the forest edge.
With only a bit of effort I was able to move a bunch of leaves up from the ground to swirl around Deirdre towards that attacker. I glanced behind me to see the other guy helping the man up. We didn't have much time. The guy defending himself from Deirdre made an interesting mistake though. He focused on her sword. And lost a lot of mental energy. Deirdre was able to deflect his blow and push him over to dash past him with me in close pursuit.
Now we were at least no longer surrounded. The three of them, the man moving in front, edged toward us, a lot more careful this time. Deirdre and I already felt them trying to focus with the three of them. They looked like they still weren't aware of the gems on the sword and dagger, but only Deirdre had the advantage of them. I had to focus to not give in to the Darkness.
The man looked quite annoyed and wet. His left arm was bleeding on the the grey cloth, tainting it with it's dark hue, thinned by the water. I was surprised to even smell a bit of it on the air. None of the three were talking, nor we ourselves.
Then some noise behind us.
It sounded like someone else was coming. But we couldn't keep looking back without losing track of the ones in front of us. I kept feeling weaker as well, more and more they focused on me. Deirdre and I were both looking at the three guys when someone stepped out from between the trees behind us. The guys looked surprised, shocked even.
A very feminine voice spoke up, just a hint of tiredness on her words. "Did I arrive on time?"