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The Pits Of Jhelom (part 6)

Discussion in 'The Hooded Crow Inn [Fiction]' started by Trillin, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Trillin

    Trillin Guest

    The Pits Of Jhelom
    The Red Hood, Chapter 6

    Thanatos stared at the scrap of fabric in his hand. The contrast of the almost black blood against the white of the fabric startled him; and as the spectral being stood among the resting place of so many dead, he surveyed the cold tombstones with a smile on his face. How many had he sent to this place? How much blood had he spilled? His gaze dropped to the cloth in his hand. Not enough. Yet. However, before he could continue with his favourite pass time activity, there was the issue of this constant throbbing in his veins. There was no pain, just a subtle discomfort. It still annoyed him.

    The fabric crumpled beneath the force of his hand and Thanatos tossed it away. His gaze followed the bloody material to the ground, but movement flickered in the corner of his eye. Thanatos leapt backward as the blade of a sword crashed down before him. While the fabric had drawn his attention, five armed guards had ventured onto the cemetery grounds. He had forgotten about the patrol.

    Cold steel slammed against his chest as the first guard thrust the face of his shield at Thanatos, knocking him backwards. Thanatos nearly tumbled over the headstone behind him, but caught himself before his balance was lost. He used the momentum to launch back over the headstone and plant a fierce kick to the knee of his assailant. The bone fractured with the force of the kick and the man dropped to the ground. He had little time before the other guards were upon him, and with that thought Thanatos brought his foot down on the wounded guards knee again. Bone punctured flesh and cries of agony echoed through the graveyard. The guard passed out from the pain. Thanatos scooped up the other man’s sword and made his way toward the other guards. Two more on foot had followed their leader into the cemetery, but had ended up too far behind to help their comrade. Though he was positive their numbers would not change the outcome, he would prefer to have as little attention drawn to him as possible.

    Steel sounded against steel as Thanatos met the other guards. He drove the point of his blade into the chest of the closest man, giving it a fierce twist for good measure before pulling it backward and letting the man drop. Moving on to the next target, Thanatos met him at full speed, bracing his forearm outward at the last second, letting the steel of his muscle collide with the mans neck and collarbone. The soldier collided with the ground and immediately began convulsing, trying to draw air into his lungs and failing. With the wind knocked out of the man, and terror filling his victim’s gaze, Thanatos brought the sword down upon him, shoving steel through the heart. His prey lay dead around him, blood staining the grass, turning the blades of green to a lacquered black.

    Thanatos felt the throbbing in his veins. He needed to head south east, to the moongate. There was something important waiting for him there. But of course, the short journey wouldn’t be easy for him, as Thanatos spotted two mounted guards coming in his direction. They eyed the bloodshed around him and kicked their horses into a gallop. Thanatos spun and launched himself in the general direction of the moongate, refusing to part with his stolen blade, as he was sure he was going to need it to remove the blemishes now following him. He tore through the crowd, moving as quickly as he could without pushing the crowd out of the way. Leaving the masses intact would make it more difficult for the horsemen to get through and catch up to him. He knew he had to make it to the woods. Cover and near invisibility would make ending these two quite simple.

    The smells of the city followed him. He could smell the fresh baked goods at the bakers shop, the yeasty smell made his stomach growl, but there would be time later to sustain his body. He kept running, passing the scribes, the healers. He could still smell the herbs they used, the scent of them clinging to the inside of his nose as he broke into the woods. Thanatos could hear the horsemen crash into the bush not far behind him. He had little time. The moongate must be close, the humming in his blood was ebbing, becoming more pleasant the closer he got. Why? What could this mea-

    The thought was cut off as white hot pain lanced through him. The arrow jabbed into the ground, the end swung back and forth with the force of its landing. Thanatos glanced downward and watched a trail of blood cut its way along his calf where the spear tip had grazed him. A shallow parting of flesh, but Thanatos could feel the anger bubbling up in him none the less. He dragged the arrow from its nest in the ground and spun to meet the guards now coming through the woods at him. Wood splintered easily in his grip and the pieces landed around him. The man in front lined up a spear and charged. Thanatos braced himself, he spread his legs, letting his center of gravity drop to better prepare for the force of his retaliation. Thanatos had let the pilfered sword drop to the ground in preparation, and seeing this the guard continued at his speed, thinking it a sure kill, that the prisoner had given up.

    Steel tipped wood passed by him narrowly, as Thanatos shifted subtly to allow the spear to pass close to him. He dropped, bringing one hand up underneath the spear, and using the other to push down on the killing end. The fierce grip the guard maintained for the killing blow made it easy to pop him out of the saddle and dump him on the ground. The other guard was not far behind. Thanatos scooped up the sharp end of the arrow he had broken and dashed for the guard. He dropped to one knee and smiled at the semi-conscious man before cramming the sharp end of the arrow into the man’s eye socket. With the tool firmly embedded in the skull and the man now screaming in horror beneath him, Thanatos stood and leveled his foot over the jagged protruding shaft of the arrow.

    More pain, radiating from his shoulder as another arrow embedded itself in Thanatos’ shoulder. He almost screamed, nearly losing balance with the shock of this common filth actually landing a shot on him. He growled in frustration, quickly regaining his balance and dropping his foot to the end of the arrow, shoving the arrowhead deep into the brain. Thanatos launched into the woods, leaving the soldier behind to twitch until finally expiring.

    The moongate. It was close. Thanatos burst into the clearing. The moongate stood before him in the cleaning. An oval mirror surrounded by several large stones. He could feel the blood trickling over the muscles of his back. No time to lose. As he ran for the gate, he reached around and snapped the shaft of the arrow, tossing the leftovers behind him. The action obstructed his vision and Thanatos failed to see the rock that was now bringing him to the ground. A flash of disbelief coloured his features. A tiny piece of stone would be his undoing. He hit the ground with a grunt of pain, landing on his wounded shoulder. Muscle and sinew tore with every movement, and Thanatos was slow at recovering. The guard was upon him.

    Wood creaked and groaned as the archer drew back the arrow resting on his string. A smile broke through the concentration of the mounted soldier and he spoke before taking the final shot.

    “I can’t imagine the notoriety I shall receive for ending you. I’ll be a hero. You, however, will die the nameless scum you have always been.”

    With that he let the arrow fly, and Thanatos closed his eyes, and prepared to meet the one after which he had been named.

    But the pain never came. Thanatos cracked open one eye. He had been perfectly prepared to meet death, he had been calm, unusually so…But the blow had never come. His gaze revealed a cloaked figure before him, and in its grasp was the arrow meant for him. The figure had caught the projectile in its fist, stopping it dead. The arrow fell to the ground.

    The archer made to string another arrow, but the pure intimidation of being outnumbered made him clumsy. The figure reached out to the soldier, each movement was flawless, graceful. Like a….Woman.
    Thanatos watched the scene in awe. The soldier stopped, his eyes opening in shock.

    “Vas Ort Flam.” Whispered the cloaked entity. The soft voice only confirmed to Thanatos that a woman was now rescuing his hide. More disbelief flooded him. How had she gotten here?

    The train of thought was interrupted by the prompt combustion of the former archer. The mount shied and took off into the woods, and as flesh and blood rained down around them the figure turned to Thanatos and offered him a hand. The great hood of the cloak covered her features, leaving only the bottom half of her pale face visible. The shape of the mouth only confirmed Thanatos’ suspicious of the sex of his rescuer.

    Immediately Thanatos took the offered pale white hand. He only had a moment to ponder why he would even consider letting another help him up before the figure spoke.

    “Follow me, Brother.” Before she disappeared into the reflection of the moongate.

    to be continued...