It was humid in the forest sweat and water clung to the body as the small group of mutual travelers moved through the sprawling trail ahead. There was myself and a family of four. We decided to travel together a few villages back. There was rumors of bandits in the forests in this area and I looked decent in a fight. I wasn't too sure of the purpose to be travelling they packed light but claimed they were looking to make a new life. As for myself my reasons were of the greatest importance. As civil war mounted in the south I needed to find proof of a organization that was using our rulers as puppets for their own benefit. Of course people believed it was conspiracy or an excuse to have a war, but we saw them. They wore red tattoo's of a hand. They called themselves the red hand. They were powerful wizards who could wipe out an entire village in hours. We knew they existed, but we didn't know their motives and that was my job.
The current Emperor hasn't been the kindest to the people but was kind enough to wealthier men and other wealthier areas to keep a firm grip of power. He kept the rest under the boots of fear. Using powerful wizards to quell any form of resistance. Wizards were rare only some people were ever born with the ability to use magic, and few were powerful enough to become the emperors lapdogs. While the rest were feared by the commoners as nobody trusted someone that could use magic. If you had any talent in the art it was best to hide it unless you wanted to be brain washed or feared and hunted by the people.
"We need to find some water soon." said the father as he shook contents of a flask.
"The next town isn't too far ahead we should be able to make it by the end of the day." I said snapping out of my thoughts.
" I hope sooner. What's left in this flask is all we have." He said.
" I have an extra full flask, and I am a generous man."
" a generous man you say? A voice said from the canopy of the forest. If that's the case give me all that you want to give. The rest I will take." Men came from the underbrush of the trail as a few dropped from above. I held my hand on my hilt of my sword but we were terribly outnumbered.
"Dammit!" The father cursed," I thought you were keeping your eyes out for these types."
"Alright. Gold, silver, copper, silver, jewelry weapons. hand them all over. Don't try to be a hero my men have been itching to take a life so don't give em a reason. I don't like having to see people die. At least not in front of me." A man with jaded green eyes said.
"If you take our money we will certainly die." The mother said as she did her best to cover her children."
"If we don't take your money we may die. We don't steal just because it's fun you know." The man replied," Don't make this harder than it has to be. As he held out an outstretched palm."
The father balled his and slowly raised it. "The goddamn fool!" He punched the man as hard as he could. I drew my sword and pushed him over yelling for everyone else to get down as a swarm of arrows filled the air. I rushed ahead slicing one of the archers hands off before meeting the sword of man who was almost twice my size.
"This one is mine!" He grinned pushing his sword down. I stepped back and parried. The others were in danger if I was not free to fend off the other bandits, but this guy was a formidable opponent and my swordsmanship was mediocre at best. He came around slamming his sword down on me. I managed to block but each hit was punishing. I could hardly keep my footing. I didn't want to do this but it seemed to be I was running out of time.
"Flame serpent of titania swallow my sword." I mutter dodging an attack while sliding my hand on the broadsword that caught ablaze as I my hand move. The bandit jumped back in surprise and fear. Taking advantage of that I slashed at him he blocked but the fire jumped from my blade and onto him. He cried in pain as I stepped over him. The other bandits had surrounded the family I couldn't tell if they were okay.
Their attentions were turned to me in astonishment and wonder as their comrade writhed on the ground on fire. An arrow exploded from behind them and brushed my cheek. I forgot how outnumbered I was. I halted my approach as more bows were drawn. There wasn't much more I could do.
"He's a wizard! He lit Bran on fire. I saw it!" Screamed the archers who's hand I cut off, " Kill him!"
Before they could, A snarl from the woods sounded as an arrow shot out from the distance, and took out a man while knocking another over. In the confusion I ran forwards cutting one man down. Another arrow flew from the forest taking another man out; as another man was dragged into the underbrush by an unseen beast. I had a sneaking suspicion to who might be my saviour. The bandits began to run. A few more arrows flew from the forest taking out some but most of the managed to flee. That did not bode well for me.
"Are you all alright?" I asked the family.
"You're a wizard!" The father and the mother spat covering the children trying to squirm away from me.
"Yes. I am." I said dismay filling my voice.
"Get away from my family! You filthy, evil villain. This is all your fault!" He shouted. I sheathed my blade.
"If you wish." I started walking away.
I had dealt with this many times, every time I felt the same. My fists were always clenched my jaw tight, my eye's seeing red. I wanted to yell, I wanted to prove that I was not evil. How was I? My intentions were good. I helped save them. I protected them I never attacked them. I kicked a rock on the side of the trail.
"Ignorant trolls." I muttered walking quickly to get away from them.
Beside me I could hear the brush just as a white wolf bursted through wagging its tail excitedly. My hand rested once again on the hilt of my sword but I released my grip.
"I didn't realize you guys would follow me." I said as light footsteps came from the forest.