The Dark Watcher

Using a strip of cloth from his tunic - it was starting to thin out, what with all the cloth he had been losing - Melothil forged a small bandage, which he wrapped around his wrist, hoping to prevent any more damage, and let it heal on its own.

As the sun rose above the mountain range of Hated, Melothil, the once bold assassin, now reduced to little more than a wandering outcast, stumbled his way down the side of the mountains, traversing the jagged rocks, until he arrived at the edge of the forest.

Looking back, all that Melothil could see was the intimidating mountain range, once his home, and now the place he would fear to return to. If Melothil could make it to Haven, the small village in the forest, then he may be safe. He could start again, a new life as an innocent... Or maybe he could train up, recover, and return to Hated, to slay those who had betrayed him.

As he strode boldly on, with a new lease of life, Melothil made good time in travelling through the forest. It was not until he heard the snap of a twig behind him that his mood was broken.

There should be few people out here at such an early hour. Gatherers, maybe, but they should not be this far away from civilisation - if Melothil was correct, he still had many hours until he reached Haven.

...Then who was here? Was somebody following him?

Without a second thought, his assassin's instinct kicked in, and he leapt into the air, and using his good arm, clutched onto a tree branch and hauled himself up, out of sight.

Waiting for several moments, Melothil looked down, expecting to see a fellow assassin out hunting for him, but he was shocked to instead see what looked like a soldier. A soldier he recognised.

Looking through the window of the carriage that had now stopped below him, Melothil spotted Rickard, the king's most loyal and respected protector, who seemed to be heading in the same direction, on the very same path that Melothil had stood on only seconds ago. He seemed to be talking to somebody, too.

Melothil smiled darkly as he realised who it was... Zephiel.

The scum had escaped the city, and was now under the watchful gaze of Rickard.

Melothil could not strike now, as much as he wanted to. He longed to snatch the head off the evil king's shoulders and bring it back to the Guild, for forgiveness. But he could not do so with Rickard watching his every move.

Melothil listened intently to the sounds of conversation between the king and his guard, but instead heard footsteps approaching.

Concealing himself further, Melothil tried to get a better vantage point on the scene below, and his stomach churn with bloodthirsty excitement when he saw the young king get out of his carriage.

There was a man at the door, dressed similarly to Rickard, but he did not seem to wish to protect his king, instead, he seemed to be threatening him.

'Hurry, damn you!' Melothil could hear the man shout, but only just, as his hearing was buffeted by the barking of that stupid dog again.

The disloyal guard was not alone: from his viewing window, Melothil could count at least six guards, all with that same angry look on their faces.

Melothil knew that none of them would survive - not with Rickard protecting their king. Although, the assassin did slightly wish that the guards would successfully kill Zephiel, so that Melothil could just claim the head and be gone.

After a short but heated conversation, with Rickard threatening the traitors with the wrath of the Guild, the guards made the wise decision to flee, only to be stabbed in the back, quiet literally, with the mighty claymore that had become legend among enemies of the Royals.

Whilst both the king and his guard were distracted by the spray of blood that had quickly surrounded them, Melothil took the opportunity to carefully lower himself to the level of the carriage driver, who seemed to still be alive, albeit a little shaken, with blood running down his arm.

Throttling him, Melothil lifted both himself and the somewhat larger driver back up in the tree in the blink of an eye, so that the man didn't even have time to scream before the assassin had headbutted him, knocking him unconscious.

The bloodbath below had seemed to subside, and as Rickard untied the horses, Melothil was pleased to see he thought little of the missing carriage driver.

Watching the Zephiel and Rickard speed into the distance, Melothil smiled. He now had some leverage in the capture of the king.

The End

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