Prelude #4

The guard paused to stifle a yawn. He thought it ironic that someone like his master would need guarding, and in the several years of his service, there has been no major disturbances. Yet, he maintained contsant vigil.

He nodded to his partner as they passed each other on the patrol. There was plenty of time left on their shift and it would be a while before he could rest. Pushing away tantalising thoughts of home, he continued patrolling. A long night lay ahead of him. Or so he thought.

An intense, piercing pain shot through his neck for a moment, before he blacked out.

One by one, the guards were dropped by arrows. A dark figure ran through the shadows towards the backdoor. A few deft movements with his lock pick and he was inside. Without making any noise, he crept through the room and paused at the door. From the voices, he could make out atleast 5 security guards, and possibly more. He was at the doors of the barracks. He waited for a few moments, picturising the room, positioning each guard mentally from their voices. He readied 3 arrows on his bow. Checking that his dirk was accessible on his belt, he kicked open the door.

The events of the next few moments were a blur of arrows and blades. The first 3 guards dropped instantly, with arrows sticking out of their chests. The next one got full eight inches of blade in his gut, and in a flowing motion, he pulled out the knife and slashed the next one’s neck. Two guard were sleeping in the bunks. Hearing the commotion, they jumped out of their cots and reached for their swords, only to be felled by two more arrows in rapid succession. In under a minute, the room lay still as he observed the scene with dispassionate eyes. All his mercy had died the day they took his father.

He made his way through the house, backstabbing and slitting the throats of any patrolling guards until he reached his destination - the trophy room. It took some amount of trying before he was able to pick the lock and enter. The trophy room was huge with countless glass cases on either side stretching into the distance. He knew he had very little time before reinforcements arrived. Even he couldn’t take down an entire army on his own. He ran down one side, quickly scanning through the items, until he found it, the glass case labelled with his father’s name.

The sight of it sickened him. His father’s mask was placed on the velvet floor of the case. Beside it was his father’s lucky bow and several arrow heads - the trick arrows. Moments later, he was on his way out, sneaking through the shadows, running, climbing walls. He had got what he had come for. Vengeance will have to wait for another day.