Chapter 1: Beginnings (part 4)

Lieran spotted his mistake as soon as his hand left the ledge of the window he had just jumped from. Momentarily oblivious after rearranging the dog, Lieran hadn’t looked very closely at the roof below him.

It was thatch.

The assassin broke right through the flimsy material, hitting the ground at a bad angle and collapsing in a heap. He held his breath, hoping that by some miracle, the disturbance had gone unnoticed. When he heard the shouts of the few remaining guards, he cursed, first at himself for not killing them all when he had the chance, and then at his situation. He knew, even before he tried to stand, that running was out of the question, but perhaps there was some small singular bright spot in this mess.

He had landed in the stable.

Lieran stood, or tried to, and nearly collapsed again because of the pain that shot through his leg, but he wasn’t assassin simply because he looked good in black. Limping towards a horse, Lieran reached out a shaking hands towards the beast, whispering quiet assurances to the beast that everything would be ok. The horse snorted, but other than that, made no sudden movements. With a grunt, the assassin pulled himself on top of the horse, untied the tether, and slowly backed it out of its pen.

Then he waited.

When he heard the guards finally make it to the doors, he tensed. There cames the sound of fumbling with the lock, and then a long creak that pierced the quiet night, and a sliver of light appeared and expanded on the floor of the stable.

Lieran shouted and dug his feet into the flank of his newly acquired mount, and with a whinny, the horse started into a gallop. The lucky few soldiers on the edge of the mob managed to dive out of the way, but those on in the inside, blocked by their own companions, were either trampled and knocked aside by fleeing duo.

The guards that weren’t on the ground moaning, were futilely drawing their weapons and shouting for help, but by the time any came, the assassin would be out of the city, and on a fast track for the forest.

Or so Lieran thought, but word traveled quickly and the injured killer found himself greeted by a part of soldiers at the front gate. Some were on foot with pikes lowered, and others were in the act of mounting their own steeds in case the assassin managed to find a way through. Nearly panicking, Lieran forced himself to think. A city would have to have more than one exit, and the assassin meant to find it. Pulling the reigns sharply to the right, Lieran guided the horses down a small alleyway that he prayed had an exit on the other side.

Otherwise it would be a dead end, in several different ways.

Fortune seemed to be trying to ingratiate itself with Lieran following its cruel twist with the roof however, and the killer soon found himself on another large street that turned west. He followed it, and crowed in victory soon after, there was another gate, and this one didn’t have a welcoming committee. Bursting through the open gate, Lieran found himself outisde the city walls, but his celebration was cut off when he heard the sound of hooves clacking behind him.

Of course the guards were giving chase, Lieran thought with a grimace, and he continued his frantic pace down the increasingly rough road. Trying to put together a mental map, Lieran frantically tried to sort out where he was heading. There were only a few small towns in close proximity to Shanbydder, but nothing large enough for him to shake off pursuers in. The only that large was…

Mortling Forest, Lieran decided grimly. He could throw off the guards there. But he’d have to get there first. And he’d need to change horses if he wanted to stay ahead of his pursuers. Digging his heels into the horse’s sides once more, the human urged his mount to go faster, he’d need every second.

The End

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