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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14. Tharon

The water pooled on the uneven surface and carried pieces of straw around on it’s surface. Tharon put the bucket down and looked at the stallion. It had taken him quite a few buckets to get the horse clean, and while he hadn’t dried it yet, he was definitely able to look the legs over. To his relief he didn’t find any cuts or swelling, however he became aware of the blood mixing with the water and running down across it’s shoulder.

He moved  the candle closer to look at it, as it was dark in the stable. He was glad to find that it didn’t require any attention as it wasn’t in any way a deep cut. It was probably only bleeding now due to the constant movement from the rest of the way to the inn and Tharon’s thorough cleaning of the stallion’s fur.

Pulling a piece of cloth out of one of his saddlebags, Tharon started drying the horse down. Other people would just grab a fistful of straw and not waist a perfectly dry cloth, but that always left small piece of it in the horses fur and when it came to the stallion, Tharon was a bit of a neat freak. After all, a piece of straw could cause a lot of discomfort if caught under the saddle, and Tharon did not want the stallion suddenly raising and kicking while he was in the saddle.

“Oi, boy!” Tharon yelled at the innkeeper’s boy who took care of the stables. He was a scrawny little fella at about ten and Tharon wasn’t sure how he could handle visiting horses on his own, but if Clay killed him, it would be the boy’s fault. Not that the stallion was aggressive, it just liked cuddles and to get  it, it would “nudge” with it’s face. One of said nudges was enough to send Tharon halfway across the sables before regaining balance, and it wouldn’t surprise him if the boy fell and cracked his head open.

“Two cups, four hay. Make sure he has water at all times.” The boy nodded. ‘One hay’ was the amount of hay the boy could carry at once.

Tharon handed the reins over to the boy. As he watched him lead the horse into a stall, he though about how his son hardly had the height of the front legs. The innkeeper’s son was definitely taller than Keir, although thinner.

His room had it’s own fireplace, which was nice. It meant he could lay his clothes for drying once he washed them. Tharon opened the window that led to the roof and climbed out of it. He walked across the rooftop before letting himself drop into what should have been a silent and gracefull landing.

Instead, he slipped in the mud and ended on his behind.

“Yes. Very graceful…” Tharon muttered to himself and stood, following the forest trail to the river flowing nearby. He undressed and walked into the cold yet gentle stream. He washed his clothes before trying to get the mud and dirt out of his hair.

When he came out of the river, his skin was covered in goosebumps and he was shaking from the cold, but the warm promise of a lit fireplace kept him from dwelling on it. He simply picked up his wet clothes, put on his boots and walked back to the inn.

He climbed back onto the roof and in through the window, not wanting to walk through the entire in wearing nothing but muddy, wet boots.

As soon as he had spread his clothe out in front of the fireplace and placed himself on the floor beside the wet fabrics to dry, the rain started falling again.

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