- Episode 23 -
Percival's hooves pounded hard upon the crude dirt path leading towards Shimmer-Stone River. Never one to leave anything to chance, Mal had made sure to have a few escape plans already in mind. It wouldn't be easy but if they were still being pursued then they were going to have to do something. He couldn't risk them being overtaken and something happening to either of the kids.
Mal risked a single glance behind them and cursed under his breath. "Bent blades and nicked edges," he proclaimed through his clenched teeth. He had hoped that fortune might have smiled on them a little longer and Trinity's magic had held them securely for a while yet. Instead, the pack of beasts were hastening towards them at speed followed from behind by the pair of sprinting ruffians.
If Mal couldn't shake them things were going to get ugly quick and his only options would be to try to stand and fight or trust in Trinity's magic again. Neither options was strategically sound to him at this point. While Trinity had proven to be both able at calling on her magic and effective as well they didn't know her full limits yet. If she exhausted herself too quickly again she would be helpless and dependant on both of them to protect her. And while Camden had managed to luckily hold his own against two thugs he didn't want to chance their odds again.
That is where Shimmer-Stone River came in; not the deepest as far as rivers go but it was known for it's rather fast current. It was part of how it earned it's name, the quick flowing water had virtually polished the stones making up it's river bed until they reflected the sun almost as much as the river itself. Only a fool would try to cross Shimmer-Stone River without knowing a trick or two, and Mal knew just the kind of trick for the occasion.
"Come on Percival, let's show them just what your made of," Mal proudly shouted as he urged his loyal steed onward. "Hang on tightly you two," he warned as they burst through some thick brush arriving on the river's bank. Percival never broke stride as Mal directed him straight towards a makeshift ferry that was secured to both banks with a thick rope. In a single fluid leap the fearless old warhorse vaulted onto the wooden craft to land with a series of loud creaks. Immediately Mal threw himself off to sever the rope behind them and then turned to set himself to the task of pulling them across.
Camden had to fight the urge to smile and wave back as they passed away from the river bank, which was difficult for him. Trinity was more concerned with the growing complaints sounded by the ferry underneath them. "Are you sure this thing can hold our weight," she tried to ask as delicately as possible.
"Less worry, more hurry," Mal answered her while his arms flexed in a steady rhythm. Another crack punctuated a bead of sweat forming on his brow. "Let's hope so," Camden found himself whispering to Percival. Without the need for words, the mighty mount seemed to agree with Camden.