Even in the low light of the hallway, Melothil was dazzled by the light reflected off Freth's shortsword.
Freth was known as one of the most notorious and skilled swordsmen in the kingdom, coming second place only to the legendary Rickard, one of the king's guards, but even then, the pegging was almost level.
Staring into the eyes of the man who meant to kill him, Melothil let out a mighty cry, almost a roar, and threw himself into Freth, knocking him backwards, and straight through the feeble wooden wall that stood behind him.
Falling a good three metres straight down, Freth broke Melothil's fall as they landed on the winding staircase that started on the level that the two had only seconds ago been standing.
Freth seemed hurt, but Melothil didn't want to hang around to risk his life. Picking himself up off the floor, Melothil ran down the stairs, flying from one step to another, never looking back.
In a matter of minutes, the entire Guild would have his name on their minds, and would do whatever it took to take his life.
It made him sick to think that so many members of the Guild, so many of whom had been brothers and sisters to him, could now turn their opinions around so swiftly, over an accident that changed nothing. By finding the insider, the Royals would have figured out that the Guild was behind this, whether finding the emblem or not.
This was not his fault. And yet he was being used as a scapegoat.
Melothil quickly came to the bottom of the staircase, and without stopping to catch his breath, he headed straight for the door, which stood only a few metres in front of him.
Using his shoulder, he barged into it, and was hit by the cold night air, filling his lungs and making it harder for him to catch his breath.
The shadows were his only ally now, and using them, he crept silently away, alley by alley, until he felt that he was out of harms way.
Throwing himself back against a wall, he slumped down, and suddenly felt a sharp pain dart through his right wrist. He must have sprained it landing on the staircase. The adrenalin must have prevented the pain from kicking in until now.
Normally, when such an injury occured, Melothil would return the Guild and they would have somebody patch him up. But obviously he could not return. He would not risk it.
As Melothil closed his eyes in an attempt to get some much-needed rest, he felt the cold air sting his cheeks, and a gently and elegant snowflake fall on his lips.