CHAPTER 43: SCORPIO AND LEO ASCENDENT
There was fifty of them all told. Cole thought to himself. Cossacks, Vikings, few pirates what have you. Tough too. This is the best that Thomas has to offer. Any one of these could give me trouble on their own, Cole thought. Not much trouble. But still, trouble. All this went through his head as he arced though the air, spinning and turning to avoid enemy fire. Sometimes Cole thought he was a Temporal. Time was gliding around him, like a swan on a lake. If you could have seen his face under the mask, it would have been as serene as a marble saint. In his mind: odds, strategies, possible outcomes ticked over and over like some wondrous mechanical beehive. And even before his first toe, of his first foot touched the ground for the first time, he knew what he had to do.
They won’t try any fancy stuff.
No pretty moves, no posturing.
They are fifty big, burly men armed to the teeth with axes, swords and whatnot.
They’ll crowd me and hack me to bits.
Got to keep moving.
He was on the ground, on his knees, braced, arms crossed, ready for the spring.
First to die: Thin, lanky character with long blonde hair. No uniform but he’s carrying a Valaska, a light, elegant axe which means he’s probably a Slovak.
He’s wiry, the weapon’s light, he’s not wearing any armour so he gets to Cole first.
He’s smiling wild.
Thinks Cole’s unarmed.
Cole releases the clasp and two jagged blades shoot from his wrists.
Blondie stops smiling.
Scorpion doesn’t sting ‘till he’s ready.