The Assassin's Smile

There are rumors. Of a death that strikes out of nowhere. Rumors of a war, fought in the shadows. But most feared are the rumors of a demon whose warriors not only fight in the shadow, but are shadows themselves. This demon became known as The Master of Shadows, and the legends of his wealth, ruthlessness and power spread and he became the most feared being throughout the land. But there is someone, whose strength is unknown and who wishes to get his hand on the most dangerous thing in the kingdom. And men following the Master of Shadows are the only thing keeping them from their goal.

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12. Tharon

It started raining not long after Tharon made it out of the city. He pulled the hood of the cloak over his head and leaned forward in an attempt to stay dry. If the rain continued, he would end up drenched no matter how much he curled forward over the saddle. The dark grey cloak could not withstand a longer period of heavy rain. At some point he would have to seek shelter.

Tharon’s vision was narrowed to the stallions muscles moving under fur the rainwater had painted a dark grey and the left front leg, kicking up dirt and water as the stallion moved through the rain in a steady canter.

Usually Tharon would not have started out in a canter, as he had quite far to go and the horse would exhaust itself. But he refused to seek shelter before he was at least half the way to where he was heading. It was okay if the horse was exhausted when it had a day and a night to recover.

Tharon cursed. He had hoped to make it there next morning. It was a full day’s setback. Maybe that would be enough for his plan to fail.

He got rain in his face when he looked up to make sure the stallion was still going the right way. The road ahead was straight for a good distance, so he pressed the horse to pick up speed.

Had his mind not been occupied with thoughts of who, why and what, he would have taken in to a count the way the rain made the muddy road wet and slippery. When the stallion slowed down for the turn, Tharon would normally have made it slow down further. The horse went into the turn with too much speed for the muddy road, slipped and fell onto it’s side with a surprised grunt, trapping Tharon’s leg between the saddle and the mud.

Tharon clenched his teethe at the pain, thankful he was leaning to the other side so his leg was the only thing that got trapped. He pushed at the horse with one hand, trying to get it to move and holding on to the saddle with the other, nails digging into the wet leather, his knuckles white.

A sharp rock was digging into his side, adding to the pain. The stallion rolled onto it’s legs. It stretched the front legs first, raising the front of it’s body and causing Tharon to lean forward so he wouldn’t roll backwards out of the saddle. The horse then stood, using it’s head to help itself getting on it’s back legs.

Tharon got off the hors and checked it’s legs. The mud was covering it’s side and legs, so he couldn’t see if the horse had cut itself on the rocks.

“Sorry ‘bout that, Clay…” he mumbled, petting the horses head. He led it a few meters in trot to see if it was lame, but the stallion seemed fine, although a bit on nervous.

Stopping the horse, Tharon got back in the saddle. It had stopped raining, which he too ironic to be amusing. He petted the stallion’s neck and continued his way to the inn he knew would welcome him.

In a walk, this time.

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