Alec broke from the cover of his horse, sword held in front of him. Caught in the middle of reloading, his target dropped the crossbow and drew a short knife, stepping to the side and attempting to parry the stroke. The pirate had enough experience with combat, sometimes on the decks of a rolling ship, to see the move coming. His blade struck home, transfixing the man and adding to the death toll. The ground shook as Thorus charged in at the second, his morningstar arcing over the bandit's head. Scrambling to get out of the way, the man failed to see the return stroke coming. The heavy weapon smashed him to the ground before he even had a chance to bring his own weapons to bear.
Behind the melee, the guards weren't done yet. Bolts and arrows arced over the heads of Thorus and Alec, seeking the group of fleeing bandits, even as two of the guards rode past on borrowed horses. They were joined by the outrider from behind the caravan, who added his own arrow to the volley. Two of the distant bandits stumbled. One of them didn't get back up.
"Ho, there!" The voice was another guard, paused in the act of clambering onto Alec's abandoned mount. He was looking at one of the bandits, on the ground right next to him. Struck cold by Indrys' spell, the man's chest was still rising and falling steadily. "This one's not dead yet."