“I have a proposition for you” the man announced, smiling cruelly at Mauorc.
Suddenly the mouth of the alley was filled with armed humans closing in around Mauorc with weapons raised and ready. There were too many for Mauorc to deal with on his own without getting seriously injured, if not killed.
The man with the scarred face raised his hand and the other humans halted their advance but kept their blades levelled at Mauorc. These men were no amateurs, nor were they common street thugs, they were trained. Mauorc eyed up his opponents, hefting his two daggers and adjusting his grip on them.
This could get messy.
“We just want to talk” the scarred man intoned, “As I said before, if I had wanted you dead, you would indeed be dead”.
“Who are you?” Mauorc demanded.
“That’s not important, let’s just say I can get you close to someone you want dead” the man’s small smile distorted his face even more than the scars making him look almost monstrous. Mauorc kept his eyes firmly on the scarred man but was acutely aware of the blades behind him ready to strike him down in an instant.
“You can get me close to her? Why would you do that? At what cost?” Mauorc inquired wary of a trap.
“Well it just wouldn’t do for a queen to be killed by her own men now, would it?” the scarred man barked a sharp mirthless laugh that never reached his cold eyes. “The cost is merely the life of one little Tree Nymph, which should be effortless for someone with your skill set, yes?”.
“If it is only one little Tree Nymph why not have your goons here do it?” Mauorc questioned, gesturing to the armed humans behind him. That remark earned him a jab in the back with a blade tip but there was no real force behind it, and his coat absorbed most of it. The scarred man smiled coldly once more.
“We have other duties to attend to and can’t waste time trying to locate this pest”.
“So I track and kill this Nymph, and you get me close enough to kill your queen, whom you want dead? This proposition seems to be stacked significantly in your favour” Mauorc concluded bitterly.
“What choice do you have Mauorc? If you don’t kill this Nymph you won’t get anywhere near the queen. You knew this revenge mission of yours was suicide when you started out; don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. At least this way you have a chance of getting out alive”.
“Tell me what you know of this Nymph” Mauorc sighed.
Three Months Later
It had taken longer than expected to locate this little Nymph but Mauorc was finally right on her trail, soon he would be back on track and could claim his revenge.
He moved quietly through the forest shadowing the trail and soon saw his target making her way down the path.
This is too easy.
One little Nymph on her own would be no trouble at all. He crept closer and closer until he was almost upon her. He drew two of his throwing knives from his sleeves as he stumbled on a hidden tree root. He managed to catch himself before he fell, but not before he had snapped a twig on the ground.
The Nymph spun, drawing her bow and nocking an arrow. The movement was beautifully graceful and fluent and Mauorcs’ breath caught as he first saw her face. He had never seen such a creature in his life. It was at this point that Mauorc realised he could not kill this little Nymph.
The Nymph straightened out of her crouch but kept her bow ready. Mauorc stayed completely still lest he be skewered by one of her arrows. He was about to call out when a twig snapped behind him. His words caught in his throat as he spun to find himself confronted by a giant bear rearing up onto its hind legs.
Mauorc turned and ran.