Laying low in the shadows of the back alleys surrounding the castle, Melothil assessed his body for damage that the adrenalin rush had distracted him from noticing before. He appeared to be uncut, except for the piece of cloth cut from his tunic.
He looked a little closer, and even in the low light, cursed as he realised what he had lost.
The small piece of cloth that had been sewn on was the mark of the Assassin's Guild, recognisable anywhere.
If the king took one good look at it, he'd instantly narrow down his potential candidates. The city was ridden with freelance assassins as if they were vermin, but few were as experienced and sought after as those of the Assassin's Guild.
They were an elite group, welcoming only those who were deemed worthy, or the sons of those who were deemed worthy. Training was minimal, except to the young, as most recruits already knew what they were doing.
Melothil's father, Medone, had been one of the most notorious assassin's ever to roam freely through the city of Hated. Lying high in the mountains, Hated was considered to be a city in the sky, and for the most part, it was. With most of the structures above cloud level, the entire city was built upon a range of mountains to the north of the land, where few dared to venture.
Despite this seemingly hazardous location, however, the city saw little cold, and was very well protected from invaders. Except invaders already inside the city.
Melothil was reluctant to put his father's legacy and the well-being of the Guild at risk, but he knew better than to risk entering a building that would soon be swarming with guards - most likely, it already was.
Melothil snuck further away from the castle, down through the city slums, where beggars and prostitutes made the laws.
Melothil was obviously not that well concealed, for he was suddenly approached by a law enforcer, in the form of a beggar. The man reeked of alcohol, and drunkenly asked Melothil for a coin. Looking deeply into the old man's eyes, Melothil brushed a strand of black hair from his face.
This was what the evil King Zephiel had done to this once proud city. He deserved the fate that he had escaped tonight. He deserved to be hunted until he took his last breath. He had to die.
Thinking the situation over once more, Melothil turned, ignoring the beggar, and headed back toward the castle. He had to retrieve the emblem to protect his identity and the identities of his fellow assassins.
Even if this was a mistake that cost him his life, Melothil was not going to let Zephiel find the Guild. If Melothil could not claim the king's life, one of his Guild-brothers surely would.