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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16. Tharon

A loud noise jolted Tharon out of his sleep. He sat up immediately locating the source of the noise, as the wind once again grabbed the shutters and slammed them open into the wall. The next thing Tharon realized was that the room was freeing cold. The fire had died out long ago and the open shutters had obviously done nothing to keep the cool air from entering.

Walking over to close them, Tharon cursed himself for falling asleep in front of the fire. Yes, he was dry now, but being dry did not equal being immune to cold. As he curled up under the covers of the bed, he wondered how he had managed to sleep through such a drastic change of temperature. His before heated skin had gone from almost too hot to endure to cold as the rest of the room.

Annoyed with himself for forgetting to close the shutters in the first place, Tharon closed his eyes. As his own body heat was somewhat trapped underneath the covers and he slowly stopped shaking, Tharon slid into a light dreamless sleep.

***

He woke early, but wasn’t woken by the inkeeper’s wife with food as he had requested. It was too early for that, he decided, as he heard no birds.

“Early bird gets the worm, unless the worm is earliest,” he mumbled to himself before getting out of the bed. He got dressed before heading downstairs.

As he had suspected, the inn was still sleeping. He went to the kitchen and put some bread from the day before in his saddle bag. After a bit of concideration he also packed some cheese. He left some coins on the bread’s place to cover his stay before walking to the stables.

The grey stallion stood from where it had been lying and whinnied a greeting as soon as it recognized it’s owner.

Tharon chuckled.

“One of these days you’ll grow too old to get back up in the morning, you silly horse.” He brushed the horse clean from straw with a hand before putting on saddle and bridle. The horse ate the hay he gave it as he made sure everything was ready.

He patted the stallion’s neck to let him know they were about to go and grabbed the reins when the horse lifted it’s head from the hay.

The sun had yet to start it’s way across the sky when the horse and rider left the sleepy inn, but there was enough light for the horse to see where it set down it’s hooves. Although, the rider wisely chose to keep to a walk until the sun breached the horizon.

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