An Arrow to the KneeMature

Mitchell stepped out of the car almost before it had fully stopped outside his apartment, grabbing his gear from the back seat and slamming the door. Headquarters had been particularly inquisitive this time - they just had to know about his apartment, his habits, and of course his little expeditions beyond the city walls came up.

Mitch threw his equipment on the couch as he entered his disaster area of an apartment, walking straight to his tiny bedroom and throwing himself onto the bed, still dressed in his deep blue shirt, black pants and leather jacket. His two daggers were even still in their sheaths, strapped across his chest. Reaching into his pocket, he retrieved the broken grip of his favorite combat knife. Now he'd have to get a replacement. The beast had fought back much harder than expected. He tossed the useless scrap of steel onto a wooden chair next to his bed and lay there on his bed, motionless, for a moment. 

Fifteen minutes later, Mitchell reflected that it was already four in the morning and he probably wouldn't be getting much rest anyway at this point. He grabbed his longsword from the couch, sheathed it on his belt, and exited the cramped apartment. 

He breathed deeply of the night air when he stepped outside, smelling the typical scent of smoke and hearing the sounds of factory machinery. It was times like these that made him wonder why he'd picked out a home in this particular corner of town. He didn't think long, though instead walking at a strong pace toward the city gate. He passed people in the streets - beggars, mostly, along with a few other undesirables - and after a good twenty minutes' walk, the gate came into view. 

Mitchell walked confidently up to the sentry posted in front of the gate, who glanced at him with recognition before pressing a button on a metal control panel next to him on the guard tower's side. The gate began to slowly open, the two massive segments of metal parting for Mitchell to pass through. Mitch nodded in thanks at the sentry before taking off at a run.

It wasn't long before Mitchell ran into trouble, as usual. An arrow pierced his left knee. He cursed loudly as he fell to the ground, drawing his sword and preparing himself for the coming fight. He pushed himself to his feet carefully and painfully, keeping watch all around him for his assailant as he did so. When he was standing - more or less, at least - Mitchell did his best to balance on his right foot, so as to keep the weight off of his wounded leg. Soon, his attacker appeared, wearing tattered brown clothing that seemed made for living in the harsh wastes outside of the city and wielding an ax - an average, everyday ax, like one might use to chop wood. Mitchell wondered as his opponent approached, was this guy serious?

Oh, yes he was: As soon as the two combatants were within weapon's reach of each other, the figure made a clumsy but powerful swing at Mitchell, who ducked under the swipe and thrust his sword at the enemy's chest. He just barely missed, but the movement saved his arm from an ax blow that would have otherwise severed everything beyond the elbow. Mitchell spun on his one good foot, bringing his sword around and planting it with a powerful swing in the attacker's side. Mitch slashed the blade across his enemy's chest, then plunged it into the masked figure's chest, piercing the heart. 

Their eyes met, Mitchell's stone-cold and deadly azure irises meeting with the other man's desperate-looking brown ones, before the aggressor collapsed to the ground, dropping his ax. Mitchell lowered his sword, keeping it in hand, and gazed uncertainly about him. Now how was he supposed to get anywhere?

That was when, with the adrenaline very slowly starting to drain from his system, he came to the incredibly painful realization that his knee was basically shattered, and his entire left leg was soaked in blood from the wound. Oh, and then there was the small matter of the arrow sticking through his leg. 

Mitchell took the pommel of his sword carefully in his left hand, placing the point of the blade against the ground and taking one tentative step forward. Though it was excruciating, he was able to walk - somewhat. He continued to hobble along, head back toward the city walls. He'd have to see Cynir another day. 

This reminded him, he thought as he limped along, of something that had happened during his training. He'd blown out his knee during a combat exercise, and had to finish the fight with one good leg and the help of a few of his fellow students - he remembered, though only briefly, Charlie, Stryder, Seth, and a few others. After the exercise had concluded, he'd been rushed to an emergency medical center where his knee had been fixed and he was on his feet within the month. He doubted he'd be so lucky this time. As he raised his right hand, clenched in a fist from the pain in his leg, to bang on the door to the city gate, it swung open of its own accord and Mitchell fell forward, losing his grip on his sword. He cursed loudly, and looked up to meet the eyes of the Guild Master. 

The man didn't seem too surprised to find Mitch in such condition, but looked sympathetically down at him and ordered two of the sentries to help him carry Mitchell to headquarters. 

"You've lost quite a lot of blood, my boy," the Guild Master said to Mitchell, even as he began to fade from consciousness.

The End

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