All he could hear was a loud hum. Whatever had pushed him back had also hurt his ears. Like when someone shouted in them but worse. It also unbalanced him. Enough so that he wasn’t prepared to defend himself against the two men who grabbed him.
The wagon was a fair distance away, but he needed to keep up the distraction. He started yelling and thrashing against the men holding him. It was enough to keep everyone’s attention just long enough for the wagon to turn behind the hill. There was no way they could catch up now. He sighed with relief and let them put metal handcuffs on him.
When he tested the metal cuffs he almost laughed. They were designed for humans. A Panos’s paws could contort and shrink until it was the same size it his wrist. Typically when someone tied a Panos they did it just above the shoulders to ensure they couldn’t slip out. Ciamon was happy to see that these strange humans didn’t know how to tie him properly.
It wasn’t until much later that the humans noticed that the wagon was gone. Not until the fire was out and Ciamon’s cuffs had been tied to the back of another wagon. The humans were angry but didn’t try to threaten him or torture him. Instead they just swore at him in several different languages.
“The General is going to be pissed,” said one of the men that had captured him.
“No really? I thought he loved failure,” sarcastically replied the other. They had been charged with guarding him.
“At least we have these,” the first man pointed at the wagon Ciamon was tied to. He was tied facing away from the wagon but he could smell people behind him. He had assumed it was the humans but now that he concentrated on it he could smell, Humans, Panos, and several other races.
“Didn’t the General say he only wanted two of each? Shouldn’t we kill a few of the extra dog things?”
Growling, Ciamon had to hold himself back from slipping out of his bonds and ripping the men’s throats out. They spoke of killing his people like they meant nothing.
“Naw, I think we should let the general decide what to do.” The first man agreed and they started moving towards the ruins again. Ciamon, still tied to a wagon, had to walk backwards.
Passing one of the warning towers, he considered slipping out and activating it. If he did, it would alert the Tamoran Battlemages that something was wrong. He didn’t want to summon the mages for something that wasn’t a grand emergency. His mother had told him stories about Battlemages. They were ruthless, dangerous, and heartless. They were necessary boogeymen, able to wipe out an entire village with a flick of their wrist.
The ruins, as much as he could see, were fascinating. From afar they had looked like piles of stones but from close up, he could tell that they were buildings once. The road that they travelled was perfectly paved and lined with glowing pillars. Each pillar had a different race’s writing on it. He recognized most of them but there were quite a few that he didn’t. As he was looking around, he saw the shadow of the hunter that was supposed to free him.
The hunter didn’t try anything until the caravan had stopped. They seem to have reached the center of the ancient city. Ciamon was convinced it was a city. There was something strange in the air here. It smelled of thunderstorms and rot, but there hadn’t been a storm in weeks.
“Ciamon, why haven’t you tried to escape?” whispered the hunter from under the wagon.
“They keep talking about a general. That means there’s a military around here somewhere. We need to get as much information as possible and alert the Battlemages if we have to.”
Nodding, the hunter crawled back under the wagon. He disappeared just in time; the guards came back.
The first guard sneered, “Try not to be too slow, puppy. If you are, you’ll regret it.”
Walking backwards had some advantages, the biggest of which was seeing the look of complete terror on everyone’s faces as his wagon started to go up some sort of ramp. Whatever they were seeing scared them, and that made Ciamon happy he wasn’t looking forward.