The person responsible for the footsteps came into view, and Astra
realised that she
might have miscalculated. It was a man wearing chain mail, and he had not
only a sword at his
belt but also a crossbow. Before she could untie the boat and escape, he
most likely put a crossbow bolt through her.
The man looked startled when he saw her. Whatever he had expected to see, it wasn't a naked amazon, her still wet skin reflecting the light of the torches. Collecting his wits, he said: "Put your hands in the air." In spite of the parlous position Astra was in, she smiled inwardly at the incongruity of his order. Where did he think that she could be concealing a weapon, that he needed to tell her to put her hands up?
Astra felt she had only two realistic options now. Untying the boat would take too long. She could dive back into the river. The man would find it hard to hit a moving target as she dived, and once in the water only her head would be visible and she would quickly be carried out of the dim illumination provided by the torches. Or she could surrender, and hope to get a chance to turn the tables later on. Both courses were very risky, of course.
5/22/2000 12:07:21 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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