A Necessary Loss

It took Melothil several hours to drag the somewhat overweight carriage driver through the forest to a location where they wouldn't be stumbled upon. This location also needed to be far away enough that the man's screams would not be heard.

From early on in his career - if one could call it that - as an assassin, Melothil had been taught to feel little to no emotion. This was something that he didn't enjoy, but found necessary nonetheless.

It was at times like these that he was thankful for his persistence.

With the man - who was now sweating in the warm undergrowth of the forest - tied to a tree, Melothil had little to do whilst waiting for him to awaken.

He had already done so several times, but he had no choice but to knock him out once more, so that he wasn't aware of his surroundings, and so that he couldn't fight back. Not that that would make a difference, even with Melothil's damaged right arm.

After what seemed like an eternity, but what could not have been past 11 o'clock, judging by the position of the sun through the trees, the sweaty fat man eventually came to, only to be stopped from screaming by a large amount of dirty leaves, which were to act as a gag.

They did just that, because as the man realised they were tickling the back of his throat, he retched, and the contents of his stomach cleared a path for him to scream through.

The leaves fell onto his stomach, covered in yellow sick, and the carriage driver once again began to scream and shout.

Melothil assured him that his noise would go unheeded, as they were in a very remote location, but the man did not hear above his own voice, and continued to shout.

Melothil saw one way of ending his cries, and so drew his shortsword and held it to the man's neck.

'This is the sharpest blade you will ever come across, I can assure you of that,' Melothil whispered in his ear as the man stopped screaming. 'If you don't want it to be the blade upon which your blood is spilt, you will do well to answer my questions quickly and to the best of your knowledge.'

There was answer, which Melothil took to mean that the man was going to obey.

'What is your name?' Melothil asked his first question.

'Heral, sir. Oliver Heral, of the Royal Guard.'

'Yes, yes, yes, alright. No need for the details. Now, you were escorting King Zephiel and Captain Rickard, were you not?'

'I was, sir. They were fleeing the city of Hated after being attacked by an assassin from the Guild,' Heral replied, stuttering slightly as sweat rolled down his face.

'And where were you escorting them to?'

'To Haven, the concealed village in the forest.'

This made Melothil smile once more. That was exactly where he was headed, and now it would be even easier to find the king and his guard.

'Is that it? Will you release me?'

'That's really two different questions, Heral. Yes, that is it. You've given me all the information I need.' Melothil saw Heral smile happily at the prospect of freedom. However, the smile was quickly turned around. 'But in regards to your release, I'm afraid I can't do that.'

'Wha- Why not?! I answered your questions!'

'That you did, but you also claimed to be a loyal servant of the Royal Guard, and we are less than a day away from the grand city of Hated, where you will no doubt be headed to inform the Guard of my presence here, and my intentions to travel to Haven.'

'No! I won't tell them a thing!'

'I can't trust you with matters such as these. I'm sorry.'

Swiftly bringing the blade across Heral's throat, Melothil watched the blood drain from his neck similarly to the way that the life drained his eyes.

Cleaning his blade on a nearby leaf, Melothil sheathed his shortsword, once again telling himself that this loss was necessary.

The End

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