"You are my apprentice?" Riovynn asked, the dagger still held at her throat.
"Yes." she spat.
"Then why were you trying to kill me?"
"The Emperor told me if I killed you, he would let me go."
Curious, He thought."And why is your face bruised and cut."
"I had to fight 4 others for this chance."
Riovynn had to admit that for an untrained female that was impressive. He lowered the dagger but left the second one, the one pinning the girl to the wall, in place.
"Well before I let you off that wall, we're going have to set some things straight. First: No more attempts at killing me, or I won't let you live to try a third. Understood?"
The girl nodded, but the glare in her eyes remained.
"Second, I will be honest with you. I don't want to train you. This means that if you give me the slightest excuse to get rid of you, I will take it. And the last thing, you will not question anything I do. If you cannot figure out why I make a decision, then I'm not going to trust that you are skilled enough for me to tell you. Are we in agreement?"
The girl hesitated, for a brief moment it seemed like she would rather choose death than agree to Riovynn's terms.
I wouldn't be at all disappointed if you did. Thought Riovynn.
"Fine. Now let me off."
Riovynn removed the dagger, allowing the new apprentice to walk freely around the room.
"So when do I do start training?" asked the girl.
"You already have. I will teach you some things, but others I will expect you to pick up through observation. I am teacher. Not a babysitter. Now pack your things, we're leaving."
"I don't have any things, and where are we going?"
"To the Resistance."
"We are going to the enemy?"
"That is my-... our... next assignment."
Riovynn sent the girl to ready some horses while he packed what equipment he found prudent. He couldn't pack too many knives, he would be detained for sure. But on the other hand, if he showed up with no weapons at all and was unharmed, that would be sure to raise suspicions.
Riovynn eventually settled on three. He could always hire a blacksmith to make more, for the resistance had to have a blacksmith reasoned Riovynn. They wouldn't make a very good resistance without out one.
"I need your help." came the girls' voice from behind him. "The Stable-master won't give me any horses. Apparently a slave took off with one a few weeks ago and now he's not letting them out of his sight."
Riovynn sighed. Had it been anyone else he would have made the girl do it herself, but the Stable-master was stubborn and Riovynn wouldn't mind teaching the man some respect. He grabbed his bag and strode out of the room. As the two neared the stable, Riovynn muttered,
"Pay attention girl. Next time you will be on your own. When I motion to you, you will draw your knives."
He threw the door open, nearly sending it off its hinges.
A man of medium height came stumbling out of a stall. His confusion and anger were evident."
"What is it? Who the the hell-"
"Shut your mouth." commanded Riovynn. The anger on the man's face melted into fear. "Why have you denied my apprentice the use of your horses?"
"A s-slave esc-"
"Does she look like a slave?" Riovynn shouted.
"I-I don't know... no identification s-sir... I wasn-"
Riovynn gestured at his apprentice, who whipped out her knives with a twirl. "That is her identification fool! Perhaps you need a closer look?"
The girl stepped forward with a gait reminiscent of panther stalking it's prey. Threl tried to bolt, but he Riovynn had grabbed him before he had taken a step. The pitiful man began to whimper and plead and in disgust Riovynn threw him to the ground and continued into the stable to find a horse.
"You are not worth the time it would take to clean your blood off my blade," spat his apprentice.
His glower was kept in place, but Riovynn had to fight the urge to smile at the girl's remark. In the next moment she was untying the horse to Riovynn's left. The two mounted and kicked their horses into action.
After a few minutes of riding Riovynn turned to his apprentice. "Not worth the time it would take to clean his blood off your blade?"
The girl's scowl slipped for a moment as she tried to divine the purpose behind Riovynn's question.
"Was that unacceptable master?"
"On the contrary. You played your part well, but..."
"But what?" asked the girl.
Riovynn was already laughing.
They weren't bothered by the hosts of the dark lord, which sped their journey up considerably. By the time night fell they could see the lights of fires in the distance. Riovynn had already decided on a course of action, but he wanted to test his apprentice. He would need to know where to begin in her training.
"How should we approach?" he asked her.
If she had been caught by surprise that her master had asked for advice, the girl didn't show it. He brow furrowed in thought for a moment.
"I think we should wait until morning and then ask them to take us in."
It wasn't bad, but it was not the best plan. "Explain yourself." prompted Riovynn.
"Well... the dark tends to make people more wary. They will be less wary in the morning and less prepared."
"Prepared for what? We aren't here to kill them. And while that may apply in a city, you must consider the circumstances. Who goes to the resistance?"
"Those who hate the empire."
"Which are typically what kinds of people?"
"Slaves, farmers, those who are being hunted by the empire, and those who wish to escape its influence."
It hadn't failed to escape Riovynn's mind that he was on of those in the latter category. "Which of those could we represent most convincingly?"
"Precisely. Now based off of that, I want you to reevaluate your strategy."
"We wouldn't stop for rest if were being hunted. So we'd enter as soon as we made it here. It might even be good if we could find some servants of the empire and get them to chase us to the camp."
"Very good. If I'm correct, there is small contingent of the Dark Lord's soldiers off to our right."
"How do you know?"
"Because I pay attention to the signs."
They spurred their horses to the right and soon found the patrol. There were between 10 and 15 armed men.
"Can we kill them all?" asked the girl.
"If we had too, but remember why we found them. All we need to need to do is..."
Riovynn whipped a dagger at one of the men by the fire. Those around him didn't even notice he'd been killed until he slumped forward into the flames. Even from their point outside the camp, Riovynn and the girl could see the glint of the knife in the man's back.
"Now get on your horse and make lots of noise." Riovynn instructed.
The two took off, plunging through bushes and snapping branches as they did so. They followed the fires through the forest until they came to a pair of closed gates.
"Let us in! Please!" cried Riovynn. There was no answer. "We're being chased by soldiers of the empire! We wish to seek refuge! Please help us!"
The soldiers were nearly on top of them. Riovynn spun his horse around to face the men and drew his two remaining knives. To his surprise, he found that three men were already dead, with more dropping every second. Riovynn didn't even have to swing his arm.
A voice called out, "Who are you and what do you want?"
"I am called Durn and this is my sister Tanya. We seek refuge with the rebellion from the Empire."
Gears cranked and the doors swung in. A party of five armed men stood just inside. They surrounded Riovynn and the girl, and one of them, a man with short sandy hair, spoke.
"You will come with us. We don't mean you any harm. I suggest you do nothing to change that."
What amused Riovynn was that he had been thinking much the same thing.