Griever walked past his fellow Hawks, just nodding as they gave him reports and went on to head out once more. The enemy was smarter. They had taken Kate nearly two weeks back at the Ball. The other team of Hawks still robbed the vault clean, but it was a loss.
It had devastated the group and had stopped any attempt at retaliation for nearly a week, but thanks to Jem and, surprisingly, Norida, the Night Hawks were once again ready for action. For revenge.
"Griever," Jem called from behind. Griever stopped and turned to see her walking between two tents toward him. She looked... intense. "We are going to raid the southern tower to see if they have any info on Kate."
Griever just sighed. His letters were exposed. Instead of turning on him, however, they had essentially made him second in command. The Hawks had swelled in number as well. With the capture of Kate, the Sheriff got cocky and let the news be public. He even was smart enough to say they had been torturing her. Griever shuddered. He would make them pay for hurting her.
"Alright, I'll gather a few Hawks and bring Samuel to keep an eye on him," Griever said, scratching his beard. In the last few weeks it had grown to cover part of his chest. He had been meaning to cut it... but, well... There were other things that needed doing.
Griever made his way through camp. He had started to wonder why he even cared about this rogue group. He never did at first. He only stayed because he was hired to. He hadn't received any payments, however, and he really didn't mind. This was the first place that really felt like home. Griever clutched his rosary under his shirt and gripped Eternal Lion's handle. God, let it stay his home.
He found Samuel sparring against George, one of the many villagers who had joined the Hawks a week back. The man was learning, but not enough to go on raids like he wanted. The other villagers had tried training as well, but the Hawks insisted they stick to helping around camp. Most listened. George did not. Griever didn't blame him either.
His sister was taken to the dungeons for torture a week before the Ball.
"Samuel," Griever called to the man. His sword was quick to finish off George before the man turned. Griever had a hard time suppressing annoyance at the sight of him. The man was one of the few men originally in the Hawks, but he was a nuisance. He always tried to challenge Griever. The first time had been right after Kate had left. He thought that if he could beat Griever, he could rescue his leader."You are coming with me on an information run. We are to interrogate the men there to the fullest of our ability."
Samuel nodded with a smile. Thankfully he did not challenge Griever or try to ask a ton of questions. It would have been annoying. The man was good with a blade, at least. Otherwise, Griever would never ask him to come.
"Can I come?" George asked, his eyes begging Griever. He was a large man, surely, but he would fall to a trained soldier easily.
"No," Griever said, "You are to stay here. Until you can at least scratch Samuel, you will be no good there."
George bowed his head in defeat. Griever's word actually meant something now. Surprising, huh? "But, Sir Lionhawk," George said, using the nickname Griever had received from the villagers, "I can carry supplies instead of fighting!"
Griever started to say no, but held his breath. Surely it would not be harmful to let the man do that much? He could stay back as they fought. He wouldn't be in any danger. Griever sighed. "Fine, but you are to stay away from battle at all times," Griever commanded, then turned to leave. "Oh, and Samuel?"
"You are in charge of George." That would keep him too occupied to try and duel.
With that, he left. He still needed to get some more people together. Maybe Mark or Digory? Griever may have gotten used to the women, but using them in battle was something he was still hesitant about. It wasn't that he thought they were weak. It was just... Against his nature.
Griever let out another sigh. What a pain today was becoming! "Yes, Ali?"
The little girl had a rabbit in her hand and blood on her trousers and shirt. It was obvious what she had been doing. "Are you hunting again?"
She nodded, then showed him the large rabbit. It really was quite the catch. "Nicely done! Why don't you let one of the women show you how to cook it?"
Ali shook her head. "I still have to skin Jerry and Lisa!" Dear Lord, why did she name her prey? "Plus you promised to go hunting with me! Lisa said you would never go..."
Griever scratched his beard. Had it always been this itchy? "I got something I need to take care of, but I will go hunting tomorrow morning, I promise. OK?" The little girl nodded, then took off with the rabbit. He wondered if it was 'Lisa' or 'Jerry' briefly before heading on.
The tower they were raiding was a joke. It had fallen in less than an hour and they only found a dozen men inside. Selena, who had insisted on coming even as a carrier for supplies, was interrogating one now. She liked to try her peaceful approach before Griever got to them. It was fun, really. He didn't torture them, really, but he made them talk.
"Well," Selena said, walking away from the chair-bound captain, "I give up. You're turn, handsome." Griever sighed. He wished she would stop the flirting. Was this karma?
Griever walked across the small room, now barren due to lack of supplies and stood in front of the captain. His brown hair lay flat from sweat and his eyes darted from Griever's sword, to his face. Since Griever didn't follow the tradition of wearing a mask on raids, his face was becoming more and more popular. He was known as the Falcon.
"Falcon," the captain muttered.
Griever smiled and pulled Eternal Lion. "I am pleased you know of me," he said, "But I want to know who YOU are." He slid the blade's flat side over the man's stomach. "I hear stomach wounds are the worst. Your entrails fall out and won't go back in. If you don't die from shock, you die from the loss of blood. I wonder what would be your path to death?"
The man shook visibly but held strong. He spit at Griever's feet. "I won't talk!"
Griever clicked his tongue and turned to the masked figure of Selena. She, as much as he hated it, was the perfect one for this act. "Do you think I should kill him slowly, or not?"
She put a finger to her mask in thought. "I don't know. I haven't seen a man die in a while and I AM pretty hungry for flesh."
The man bought it up. His shaking and wide eyes gave that much away. Now for the final push. "Captain, so you know what I value a LOT more than your life?"
The man nervously shook his head.
"It's my own life." With that, he pulled Eternal Lion across his forearm, letting blood spill down onto the floor. "Now," Griever said, shaking, "If I will do that to myself, just imagine what I will do to you?"
The man let out a cry, but calmed himself. "I won't t-talk... N-never!"
Griever sighed and let out a sigh. "I will give you another example, then." He turned and sliced Selena across the neck, letting blood spill across the room. She fell quickly, like an actress with a week of practice. "Now, there is no one to stop us from having fun..." He raised his blade.
The man finally broke down and started crying. "P-please.... I have a family..."
"Where are they keeping the Hawk!?" Griever yelled, putting his blade to the captain's neck.
"They have her in the dungeon under the Sheriff's castle!" he yelled, "But she is in a special room that can only be accessed through the Marshall's quarters!" The man continued to cry even as Eternal Lion was sheathed.
Griever turned to Selena and helped her to her feet. "Well done. This fake blood works miracles!" He smiled at the captain, who was too shocked to move. All he had was a face stuck in surprise. "Let's get going."
Griever gathered up his group and headed back to the Night Hawk's camp grounds. George seemed happy and Samuel did as well. Well, today was a victory, so Greiver let them stay that way. He hoped this would make Jem happier. She had a brave face, but she was the one who took Kate's absence the hardest.
Griever turned to the area where the Sheriff's castle stood. 'Soon, little Hawk, you will be free,' Griever thought. He was no longer the Lion who Watched. He was now the Lion Who Fought.