I just watched the most depressing episode of the Daily Show I have ever seen (where he says why he is leaving & the lie off). Time to chase it all away with some Shadow Wolf.
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Sildus let his hand fall. Nothing happened. Well. more accurately, I was not pierced by a dozen arrows from his compatriots as the assassin expected. The forest was alive with sound, wisps of cloud caressed the moon, and the leaves rustled. Somewhere close a wolf howled.
“By all means, try again,” I told him. “Maybe if you hold your hand higher.”
All colour had left Sildus’s face. His eyes were as round as a frightened colt’s. He had gone from a position of power, from hunter to hunted, in a single heartbeat. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. Then I remembered Sapphire’s brutalized corpse, Bjorn’s mutilation, and Madame Glorianna’s admission. I wondered how many of the people he killed wore that same look before they tasted the kiss of his blade.
“You know, if you had not chased me down, I would not have acted against you,” I said. “I did not want to believe the letter. Perhaps it is simply ego: I wanted to be right about you, or at least feel justified in believing you. Or maybe I just wanted to think that the person who I shared danger with, drank with, and tasted glory with was a good man, in his own way. You disappoint me, Sildus.”
“What have you done with my men?” asked Sildus.
“Me?” I said. “Nothing. There is a reason my clan is called the Shadow Wolves.”
“What happens now?” asked Sildus, coiling like a Viper.
“You can run, and take your chances with what is out there in the darkness,” I said, meeting his gaze. “Or you can stay here and fight me. I give you my word if you kill me in battle here that you will walk away from–“
His knife, silver in the moonlight, punctuated my sentence. Even though I was expecting it, it still caught me off guard. I flinched and the knife bounced off my vambrace. The assassins of Myrrhn are taught to take advantage of speed in combat. I felt another impact against the thick mail on my ribs, then Sildus was away into the night.
I made no effort to follow. Somewhere nearby there was a sound that was very much like the cry of a wolf.
I walked slowly back to my fire on the hill. Halfway there I spotted a body. One of Sildus’s men. The big apprentice who had tried to kill me. His crossbow lay at his side. The back of his neck was a mess of blood. I shook my head and kept walking.
I was disappointed in Sildus. I wanted him to fight me. It was irrational and stupid, but it would have been a satisfying end to the affair. I would never know if he felt that I was lying about allowing him to leave or if he knew that I would destroy him in a fair fight.
I reached my camp and sat down at the fire. Dinner greeted me; a nicely roasted coney.
The howling continued while I ate. I was on my third bite when it reached a crescendo and I heard the screams of a man. As I finished my last bite a wolf with fur like a starless night walked into the firelight. Although shaped like a noble wolf it was the size of a draught horse. It paused and looked at me before dropping the assassins limp, bloody corpse onto the ground. I gazed into its great golden eyes and bowed my head. When I raised it, the wolf was gone.