As was the custom with all kills made by the Assassins' Guild, Melothil searched the body.
The cabbey was far from handsome, especially as his features were contorted with pain and covered in blood. An overweight belly strained at the buttons of his royal uniform.
Shuddering with revulsion, Melothil tore off the robe, thankful that no blood had been spilt on it. He pulled out all the myriad pockets of fine velvet, but found nothing of importance. He threw it aside, where it hung like a frozen ghost on a gnarled stump.
Melothil then delved into the pockets of the man's breeches. He pulled out a leather purse, a monoculum and a pair of woollen socks before he at last found something remotely interesting - a tube as wide as his handspan, and decorated with the Royal Insignia.
Grinning with triumph, Melothil popped off the end of the tube and pulled out a smooth piece of vellum, which he unfurled carefully.
It was a map of the mountains surrounding Hated, and the forests and villages that peppered the foothills.
Melothil had not believed the cabbey in the slightest. The King would be far better protected in his own castle than in a weedy little village in the forest. The King had left his fortress for another reason. And Melothil was determined to find out why.
Scanning the map carefully, Melothil searched for anything unusual, significant, out-of-the-ordinary.
And Melothil's eyes narrowed as he saw the King's real destination, marked all too clearly on the map.
He smiled maliciously and rolled the map back into the vellum tube. Then he got up and turned to seize the cabbey's robe. It would be the perfect disguise.
But the only royal robe he saw was the one on Rickard's back. The protector was leering unpleasantly, a sword pressed to Melothil's neck.