Gypsum growled, "Get out of my way, forget you saw me, and you will not be hurt. I mean no harm to you or your city."
The three, two males and a female, hesitated for seconds only before moving to surround him. They did not hold their weapons as experienced soldiers might hold them. And they were young. Gypsum doubted the female had lived sixteen years yet.
Their tusks were not the gleaming white of his own;, their tusks and horns showed an unhealthy gray tint he found repulsive.
"Drop your weapon and surrender and you will not be hurt...at least not now."
To Gypsum's surprise, the woman spoke the order. She must be the one in charge. He faced her; the two men took positions on his right and left.
When Gypsum made no move to comply, she added the threat, "If you do not surrender, we will show you no mercy."
"Excellent. I am not looking for any." Without further hesitation he attacked. He faked a raised sword at the male on his right. That one took a step back and Gypsum whirled to engage the one on his left. A clumsy parry by his opponent was slapped aside and the unprotected sword hand was chopped off at the wrist with a single downward stroke.
He turned just in time to parry—skillfully—a lunge by the other male. Gypsum closed quickly and grasped the other's sword wrist with his left hand. He struck with the pommel of his sword against the side of the head, just behind the base of the top horn. That one staggered sideways and fell.
The female attacked with a downward two-handed stroke attempting to cleave Gypsum's skull. He dodged to the right; the stroke missed him completely. Before she could raise her weapon for a second stroke he stepped forward and struck her on the top of the head with the flat of his sword. She collapsed without a sound. He whirled again and administered the same treatment to the enemy now missing a right hand.
He took a hurried glance; all three of his opponents lay unconscious on the street. He sheathed his sword and continued his hurried path toward the spires.
By this time he realized the error of perspective. From the hilltop or bottom the spires seemed to be in the middle of The Old City. But he discovered that they were in fact closer to the far perimeter than to the center. He would have had a much easier time by skirting the city all the way to the opposite side of where he entered and then approaching the spires. He had not yet decided if he would pass that information on to Feldspar even if he got the chance.
He rounded another corner and stopped for only a few seconds. The base of the building that supported the spires was now in sight, and not far! He broke into a casual run, all his senses on the alert for hazards.