Mortimer’s first thought upon returning to consciousness wasn’t particularly alarmed, or interesting, or even coherent. It had a lot of vowels, too few consonants to string them together, and included a passing and confused mention of the sharp, throbbing pain radiating across the right side of his head. His second was that he could hear the sound of rustling paper behind him. He had the bleary good sense to hold himself very still, the chain of events that lead to him lying here in a tangle on the road trickling back to him through the myriad aches caused by his fall. As it turned out, the girl might not have needed much help after all… but what, and whom, had hit him? Her “father?” She had at least one partner, that he could safely assume. It sounded like only one of them was behind him.
He couldn’t stand again without a certain amount of struggling and effort that he doubted he could afford. His mace remained strapped across his back; it would be impossible to reach for the weapon without alerting the robber rifling through his b- Maker, his bags! The phylacteries! He didn’t have any damn gold (what did they expect from a lone Templar?) but if they damaged the phylacteries it would be a disaster. Had had to do something, now, but what?
With a silent prayer, Mort levered himself onto his elbow in one lumbering movement and pushed forcefully backward. His armor screeched as he twisted to right himself, thrusting his body into a fully-armored push-up, then using the momentum of it to pull his legs up underneath him. In one second the man went from prone to up and on his knees, struggling to get a foot under him while his hand flew over his shoulder, groping for the handle of his mace.