Leona ignored Leonidas on the left flank and turned back to her job, which was to shore up the right flank with her presence and her fighting ability. A teenage militiaman armed with a spear was currently fending off a dismounted raider but his courage was flagging and the enemy was drawing closer with a smile on his face in anticipation of an easy kill. Leona sprinted to the teenager's aid and grabbed the raider from behind, impaling the surprised man through the back with her sword and dropping the corpse to the sand.
"T-t-thanks!" The youth stammered out. This was clearly his first fight and he was in way over his head. He hurried to rejoin his fellows and Leona clashed with another dismounted horseman who had engaged her. The raider crossed swords with Leona and reached down to scoop up a handful of sand to fling into her eyes. Leona kneed him in the face with her right knee and stabbed him through the chest while he clutched his face in pain. She withdrew her sword and looked for her next target. She spotted one in the form of a horseman who had just trampled a hapless militiaman to death and was turning to find a new victim.
Leona sprinted towards him and the man spurred his mount forward with his blade held out straight. She paused in place, reached down into her right boot, and drew her knife, which she empowered with magic and flung at the man's chest. It struck home just above the heart and he screamed as he fell backwards from the saddle; the horse turned and ran towards the rear of the village. Leona reclaimed her knife and stabbed the wounded man through the heart before turning to rejoin the fight, the outcome of which was still up in the air. The defenders were still holding, but the outlaws were pressing them hard.
Leona reached the right flank just in time for a quintet of mounted raiders to push on a trio of isolated spear-wielding defenders who had lost five of their comrades who lay dead in the sand. She stepped in front of them and cast a Wind Blast that knocked them from their saddles, then charged the men while they were down and began to attack. She killed two with decapitating slashes before they could get to their feet but the third rose in time to block her sword strike. The emboldened defenders gave an assist by spearing him through the chest while his blade was locked with Leona's. With her weapon free she turned to engage the remaining two raiders; one of them met the challenge while the other turned and quickly hopped on a horse, fleeing on horseback instead of fighting the Wizard Saint.
Leona made short work of the man by sidestepping his lunge attack and letting the spearmen do their work. Once he had fallen Leona thanked the men for their help and turned to find more defenders she could help. They hurried to rejoin the main body of defenders and she followed them. Leonidas was still helping the left flank hold and was busy fending off a trio of raiders who were harassing a brave lone spearman who was holding his ground.
The center was holding firm as the mounted raiders began to feel the pressure of Tempest Avian and the Griffin diving from above to knock them from their steeds and onto the sand, where the defenders made quick work of them. The raiders began to slowly give ground, but they were not finished yet. Leona would hurry the process along with another attack or two, but first she had to deal with a pair of raiders who were charging at her.
Leona threw her knife at one of them and nailed him in the chest with it, but the second man took the chance to cut her right arm before she could raise her sword. Leona clenched her teeth and faced the man, who had already gotten in her face and dealt two unanswered punches to the face before she could respond. He stepped back, swung his sword, and cut her outfit open at the midriff.
Leona retaliated by closing with him and slugging him in the mouth with a Mach Straight, then stabbing him through the torso before he could react. Another raider emerged from nowhere and tried to tackle the unarmed Wizard Saint, but she hit him in the face with a Mach Jab that threw him off balance just long enough for her to hit him with a Mach Uppercut below the chin and knock him onto his back, causing him to drop his sword. Leona used the time to withdraw her Silver Longsword from the torso of the slain outlaw and move towards the raider with weapon in hand. Seeing her approach caused him to scramble to his feet and flee without his weapon; the Wizard Saint left him alone and reclaimed her knife, wiping it off before quickly putting it away.
The Wizard Saint saw that the left and right flanks of the militia were threatening to converge on the mounted raiders, so the raiders began to flee the attempt at encirclement and disengaged from the fight in ones and twos. They fell back about 50 meters and were starting a fighting retreat, so Leona decided to give them some extra encouragement to keep moving by aiming carefully and using her special Daunting Roar ability to roar like her namesake animal and project a cone of sound that hit fifteen of the bravest raiders. Upon being hit with the cone they immediately panicked and broke into a full retreat, leaving their fellows in danger of being overwhelmed by the defenders, who were reinforced by the arrival of the second group that had been held in reserve.
The raiders began a full retreat, leaving their dead behind and running away from the village at full speed. The dismounted raiders quickly followed on foot; the militia moved towards them but made no effort to engage, only showing them the door. Leona's summons stopped their pursuit and rejoined their mistress, who was a bit bruised but none the worse for wear. Nebdoui had won!
-Thirty minutes later-
Leona and her summons stood watch in case the raiders returned for another attack while the militia gathered up its dead and pulled the wounded from the battlefield to care for them. The militia lost thirty dead and an equal number of wounded, but it had held its ground. The raiders lost forty dead and ten wounded; the wounded outlaws who could flee had fled when the main body broke contact, so only those too badly hurt to retreat had been left behind. They remained under the careful watch of the militia and would be taken to face justice in the Tri-Council City by the royal army.
Leona watched Leonidas walk towards her. He had a gash in his armor from a raider's sword but was otherwise unhurt. The siblings met at the entrance to the village and shared relief that the other had survived the melee.
"That was a tough fight." Leonidas said to his sister.
"Yeah, but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle. These guys were small fry compared to the Crimson Sashes." Leona said to her brother. He nodded and looked towards the horizon where the raiders had vanished not even half an hour ago.
"I don't think they'll be back anytime soon. Now that we showed them that we aren't an easy target they'll think twice about coming back for another try." Leonidas opined.
"Yeah, but you never know, Leonidas. They might try again just to get the honor of raiding the home of a Wizard Saint and living to tell the tale." Leona said to him. She had helped Nebdoui today, but she could not always be here to defend her home. Nebdoui needed to improve the training of its militia and upgrade its weaponry in case The Golden Band came calling. All the determination in the world could not stand up against rifle bullets.
"Yeah, but they'll be in for a nasty surprise the next time they come back." Leonidas hinted. Maybe Nebdoui was working to get access to firearms and a steady supply of ammunition so that it could more easily repel raiders like the ones it had fought today. Leona did not know if that was the case and she did not ask for clarification because it might be a secret entrusted to him by Chief Elijah. Leonidas looked towards her and spoke.
"You did great, Leona. I know that we're not on the best of terms, but I'm glad that you stayed to help us defend the village. You helped us a lot today just by being here and showing the villagers that fighting the outlaws isn't hopeless." Leonidas thanked his sister for her help.
"We're not on the best of terms, but that doesn't mean I'll let outlaws destroy our home. I'm the Wizard Saint of Courage and I vowed to take back the desert from the outlaws. I'm gonna keep that vow." Leona assured him in a statement that was intended to be much warmer than it sounded. Leonidas smiled.
"Heh. Maybe one day you will take back the desert. But for now, let's get your outfit patched up before you head back to your guild." Leonidas said to her. Leona nodded her agreement and the pair waited until sentries came to relieve them before heading towards the Jarnefeldt tent. After a brief wait two older men took their places and the duo walked the short distance to their tent. While they were not fully reconciled, Leonidas and Leona were well on the way to mending their relationship. It would take time and effort to fully mend the relationship, but Leona would achieve that goal one day.
First she needed to mend her outfit so that she did not look bad in front of the village. Sophia could help Leona with that.
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