Feldspar expected them to arrive any second. He sprinted to his left toward the closest border of the city; that was in a direction opposite the way to the hill and New City.
Feldspar heard shouts behind him and answering growling howls from in front. He quickly cut right, down a perpendicular street and then left to a street that would keep him progressing toward the city's border.
Two armed guards appeared before him. He did not slow down. This surprised them; they hesitated. He did not. They raised their spears in a defensive position too late to save them.
Feldspar's sword knocked aside the spear on his right. He noticed the guard was young, perhaps no older than Amethyst, and sadly untrained.
Feldspar did not break stride. He was so quick that the guard on his left was too far behind him to do damage. He hit the one on his right square in the mouth with the pommel of his sword as he raced by. He barely noticed the lower tusk of the young man break off half way down its length.
He continued on, his strength and fitness easily defeating his weak and poorly conditioned opponents. But sounds travel faster and the residents of Old City continued to voice directions with howls and shouts in terms Feldspar could not understand.
He looked constantly for any kind of effective strategic advantage, as well as any sign of enemies. He passed up a few buildings that might have provided concealment. One might provide temporary relief, but would more likely serve as a trap.
Despite his conditioning, he was becoming winded. He needed to find a place that would allow him to rest for at least a few minutes.
Then all thoughts of rest were banished. The street ahead revealed an open way out of the city! He stopped for a brief moment, stilled his breathing, and listened. And tested the scents in the air.
A group of the city's defenders awaited him on both sides of the street. It was an ambush. His senses also told him that streets parallel to his were occupied with enemies.
He took a deep breath and began jogging toward the exit. Almost immediately the street was blocked by half a dozen Riotori of the Old City's guard. They were armed with spears and swords.
They did not look confident.
Feldspar did not pause. He increased his speed and voiced a wordless shout as he charged, sword and knife raised high.
The force before him faltered. Several started to look to the sides to find a way out. But others, older ones, braced themselves and stood their ground.
Feldspar's training asserted itself.
The defenders expected to meet an onrushing and desperate opponent that would try to get through their blockade with brute force. Feldspar knew better.
As he neared the front center, he skidded to a halt. He saw them relax their guard.
He spun to his right, slashing high with the sword while his left hand thrust the knife blade at the nearest enemy belly.
He pivoted to his left and slashed again with the sword, gashing a short foe from shoulder to hip.
He was amongst them now, cutting, parrying, thrusting. Fur flew and blood splashed.
His armor protected him from most of the assaults of his opponents. He sustained cuts on his forearms and legs, but they were minor. The injuries they sustained from him were not.
His opponents scattered, those that still could. Feldspar saw open ground to the city's border and did not hesitate to take it.
A hard sword blow struck him high on the back. His armor protected him from the sword edge. He staggered, but maintained his balance and ran to the border. He glanced behind him, but no one was close. Many Riotori were on the ground. Others stood or sat, holding a wounded limb or simply resting.
Feldspar did not pause more than a second. He gained the edge of the city and hurried on, putting distance between himself and the walls and streets of Old City.
He suspected, correctly, that there would be no pursuit. The guardian residents of Old City were used to bushwhacking unsuspecting campers near the river or cautious and under-armed males from New City. They wondered if the male warrior that had gone through their city was a Riotori of a different kind. He was bigger, stronger, and more vicious than anyone they had even imagined. And with armor! Not even the oldest men in Old City recalled such a thing!
They were happy to see him leave and to hope he would not return. They set themselves to helping each other back to their quarters where their wounds would be washed and crudely bandaged.
When Feldspar was certain he would not be pursued, he rested. Unlike his brother, he had remembered to bring along a little food. He discovered his worst injury. A sword blow had pierced his water skin. He would remain thirsty.
Because of that he ate less than he had planned, grumbling and swearing through the brief meal.
Rested, he began the very long walk around Old City and then past New City to the hill where Beryl, Gypsum, and the rest awaited.
He looked at the sun. If there were no delays he would reach the hill about the same time the sun disappeared behind the horizon.
He did not waste time. He had much to look forward to.