The Shadow (part 3)

Mount Artentis, cold and snowy at this time of year.

Moludri traveled for three weeks, through different weather patterns, stayed at local inn’s, gained intelligence and gossip from patrons and workers alike. He bumped into some of the Kings 5th army and tried to get more of a picture as to what could have happened.

He knelt down in the snow during the winding path up the mountain next to a skull, analyzing it with his eyes. Lifting the skull up carefully with both his hands. The blood had clotted and due to the weather conditions, some of it had congealed under it, leaving a jelly puddle.

The jaw was missing, no eyes, and the back of the skull had been broken, revealing a cavity the size of his fist. Moludri turned it around to inspect it further.

“Hard to tell if this was an unlucky traveler, or one of the scouts. His or hers brain is completely gone. Jaw severed.” He thought to himself.

Moludri stood up, after placing the skull back where he found it, and began the trek up the winding path into the mountain. Fresh snow crunched against his boot soles, looking around for more clues.

After about a half hour, he found his next clue.

It was an arm, severed at the shoulder as he pulled the arm out from the snow. It too, unfortunately, wasn’t enough to convince him that it was the remains of the scouts. It was just flesh, frozen and rigid from rigor mortis. Whatever did this, it wasn’t a blade.

“Someone ripped his or hers arm off. But where was the body?” He thought to himself.

He stopped and scanned the area as best as he could through the frozen tundra. The trees and bushes were beautifully dusted with snow and ice accents. Blood would be easy to show up in white. Then, he saw through the snow, the unmistakable crimson splatters. Or was it a red berry winter bush? Moludri walked up closer to see.

And there it was. The biggest clue of them all.

A scouts mutilated body was impaled through the chest and abdomen from the front, shoved into a wide tree trunk, and with both arms and legs ripped off. The scout wore the King’s colors for their regiment. The snow camouflaged the scout and his blood.

As he looked past the tree, he saw the rest of the scouts, or in this case, what was left of them. Moludri approached each tree, slowly, visually examining each mutilation. All various, most of them kept their heads, few were decapitated.

Moludri stood still, examining the last corpse he found, and he heard a crunch.

At an instant, he drew his katana and went into an immediate battle stance in the direction where he heard the sound. Waiting for movement. Something shifted not too far from him. A shape perhaps? What moved?

Then it blinked.

Moludri stood stiffly, and watched for it to blink again in case he was hallucinating.

It blinked again.

It’s white fur was an excellent natural camouflage in the environment. Once Moludri moved slowly forward, the frost troll then roared ferociously, showing his bloodied set of teeth. His hot breath deployed a mist in the cold air.

It rapidly closed the distance as it ran on all fours towards Moludri before leaping in the air to tackle him, and presumably remove his extremities as the troll did with the others.

As the troll leapt into the air, Moludri ducked and rolled under the gap between him and the angry frost troll. Immediately getting up he slashed at a diagonal fashion against the frost trolls back. The creature roared in pain as blood splattered on its fur and the snow. The troll turned around and swiped with its right arm to snatch up Moludri.

With a high kick, Moludri’s foot met the arm of the troll to deflect it, as the troll turned completely around to face him. They were at an arms distance, and Moludri knew this was dangerous. Moludri dropped and rolled back and left to gain distance as rapid as he could and went into a defensive stance with his sword to block an incoming attack.

The troll wasn’t slowing down, it wanted nothing more than to rip Moludri apart.

The trolls right arm came down with a swing, and Moludri met it with cold steel, slicing the flesh of its forearm. In return, the troll clawed the back right shoulder blade of Moludri leaving him stumbled and off balance. The claws sheered through his hardened leather and exposed flesh.

With a surprise, the troll kicked his injured side and sent him sprawling into the snow, katana still gripped in his hand.

Moludri rolled on his uninjured side through the fresh snow, and was on his feet again. Feeling the sting and his hot blood trickling down his cool skin. He sheathed his katana and prepared two daggers.

He had a plan. And it was going to be risky.

Dagger in each hand, he kept his stance low and aggressive. The troll roared in anger as the pain from its two injuries began to slightly blind its judgement.

“I guess you don’t like it when food fights back.” Moludri said to the troll.

“Let’s dance just a little longer.” Moludri finished.

The troll charged again and went to grab Moludri to wrap him up in its arms, to squeeze Moludri to death. He found an opening between the trolls legs and dove between them, he then got to his feet and stabbed both daggers straight down into each side of its neck. The blades sank deep with a wet chunky sound as the troll roared, grasping behind it to grab Moludri.

It grabbed Moludri by the arms and flung him like an insect about ten feet away into a tree trunk, slamming his back into it. The wind knocked out of him, gasping to regain himself. He was used to being beaten badly in training, so he could handle it in a real fight – for his life.

The frost troll roared and couldn’t reach the daggers well with its clunky arms, but Moludri had a secret. The dagger blades were poisoned, and since he introduced the blades into where he suspected the vital blood flow of the troll (assuming it resembled close to a human), it wouldn’t be long until the troll would die. Eventually, the troll removed both daggers after it gained its composure, blood leaking from two fresh new holes.

Moludri scrambled to his feet and drew his katana again. The troll began to stumble, whether the poison or the blood loss was significant enough to disrupt proper function, something slowed it down.

It’s roar became faint, as it dropped to its knees. Moludri noticed the face was turning into a dark green, and blood poured from its eyes and mouth, and the ear canal began to ooze blood. The poison was working it’s way through and killing it.

Moludri stood and watched the frost troll die slowly. Without providing it mercy by removing its head.

After the poison took full control, it’s eyes burst like bubbles in boiling soup, blood spurted from its nose and ears. The troll fell onto its right side, as the poison seized its brain and stopped all functions.

Moludri stood over its corpse, bleeding slightly still on his upper back, making sure the troll wasn’t breathing. He stuck the flat end of the katana blade next to the entrance of its nose, to see condensation indicating breathing. Moludri saw none, but wanted to make sure.

He lifted his katana up and came down on its neck, severing the trolls head completely from its body. Moludri used the dead trolls fur to clean his katana before he sheathed it back, and had to make the trek back to report the mission being completed.

As Moludri made his way down the path, he knew he needed to stop somewhere to properly inspect his wounds, and ensure no infection took place. It would be a day or two until he got somewhere to be seen, so he cleaned it the best he could with the snow. He headed to the previous town he stopped at prior, and checked himself into the inn for much needed rest.

The Portal Queen (part 2)

Bravo Five was still in a state of unconsciousness, still in his equipment. The villagers of Heem carried the young Private into one of their junkyard homes littered in scraps of metal. There were dim lights hung above by copper and bulbs intertwined in the wires. One of the females, with long purple hair and big pointy ears, wearing a plain tunic, was dabbing the forehead of the Private with a damp rag.

It seemed the majority of the village of Heem was spectating, not knowing who this person was. What it was. A lot of confused looks were shared amongst the crowd.

She spoke to one of her male friends, in their language, and he got up to grab a special fruit from the other room. He cracked it over his pointy eared head, and as it split, the fruit juices flowing like rain, he opened the Privates mouth gently and controlled the little bit of the juice flow as to not choke him to death.

The Private immediately came to, and sat up abruptly. The fruit was knocked out of the Heem villagers hand, startling both the villagers that tried to resuscitate him and the room that was full of Heem. Everyone backed up very rapidly with their gasps and concerned glares.

He scanned the room, and everyone was similarly looking, all slim and healthy looking, various different hair colors, but all had the same ear size and look. Their eyes varied from shades from blue to green to even yellow and orange. They all deeply stared at him.

But he felt invigorated! It wasn’t the adrenaline. He knew what that felt like. This was something different. Was it the fruit?

A little Heem child walked up to him, fearlessly, and offered him the half of the fruit that was untouched. He made a sound, in his little voice and motioned it up for the Private to pick up from his little hands. The Private reached down and grasped the fruit in his hands. It felt hard as a coconut on the outside, but it’s inner texture reminded the Private of a watermelon like consistency.

He bit into the soft juicy layer of the fruit, and he could feel his throbbing headache start to vanish, his stomach was filling up with each bite to curb his appetite and thirst, the aches he felt began to disperse from his joints.

The villagers began to relax a little bit, not clutching their loved ones close, seeing as this stranger wasn’t going to harm them. The little Heem child smiled and laughed, turning back to his parents. The female who tended to him started to slowly approach him.

She spoke her language to the Private, reaching out to the Privates arm. She held it gently and looked at him, as she pulled him to motion him to a different room.

“Well, if they were going to kill me, it would have happened a long time ago.” He said out loud, taking a chance that they wouldn’t understand his language. She looked back at him but changed glances to look forward.

She led him to what appeared to be a pieced together bathroom. Many of the bathroom tiles didn’t match, or were in excellent condition. But there was what resembled a shower, and a half oval and half square bathtub they rigged to make it a one piece. No mirror, or sink for that matter.

Most of the villagers went back to their homes and talked amongst themselves about this strange visitor that literally fell from the sky. This young Heem lady was taking charge of ensuring he was well looked after.

She motioned to the shower by pointing, and making hand gestures to indicate water on top of her head.

The Private turned on the water, and the shower head spewed water from it.

“Well, at least they know basic hygiene.” He said out loud again. Without hesitation, he started shedding off his body armor, pants, boots, his MP5 propped up against the tub, his Glock 19 still in its holster, and was standing naked. He stood under the water, it was a perfectly warm temperature, as it hit his sweaty dirty skin.

He forgot she was still in the room. He turned to look and her face was blushing. She walked up to the Private and gave him some form of a bar soap, it smelled decent enough. The Private wasn’t picky, he figured a shower was more than a blessing. He nodded to her and used the soap to clean himself and wash his scalp.

She attentively watched, with her hands clasped at her front. As if she needed to supervise the stranger. She secretly admired him, curious about him at the same time. Her focus changed, and gathered his clothes while he was distracted.

The young Heem lady threw his dirty uniform in a 25 gallon silver barrel, turning on a faucet connected through another pipe in the other room. She poured some ingredients and the water began to change color from a clear to a smoke grey color. Scentless, but a strong detergent to clean. After dipping his uniform in the barrel, she left the room and went back to the shower room where the Private still was, grabbing a stack of clothes that might fit him for the time being. A simple tunic and pants that everyone else pretty much wore.

She caught herself staring at him.

Blushing, she turned her head and held out his clothes at an arms distance.

“Wait, where is my uniform? My, my clothes? Fuck. She doesn’t know what I’m saying. Fuck.” So he grabbed the clothes and tried them on, they were almost a perfect fit, as his damp skin started to dry off itself.

“Hey! Where is my clothes?” He said to her pulling on the tunic.

She said something in her language and pointed in another room.

He secured his weapons, wearing a tunic and pants, and saw the room she pointed. His uniform was soaking in this container.

“Oh. I owe you an apology. I’m sorry.” He nodded to her and she smirked, looking away.

“Um, how should I ask to rest, sleep, uh bed… fuck this is gonna be rough to communicate. Uh..” he made a hand gesture by placing his hands together, laying the back of his hand on his cheek and leaned.

“Sleep! Rest! Where can I do this?”

She spoke in her language and gently guided him into another part of the home. It was a decent full size bed, a giant foam mattress anyway. She sat him down and grabbed him a blanket from a trunk at the foot of the bed.

She spoke again in her language, and she briefly left the room.

“I guess she was saying to rest? I have no idea. But I should relax.” The Private kept his pistol and his MP5 very close to him, just in case he needed to defend himself.

He didn’t know who these people were, or where he was, but the Private knew they meant him no harm. In fact, they were very friendly. Especially this woman, who invited this stranger into her home, and has been taking care of him.

Before he settled down and drifted off to sleep, the young Heem lady walked back into the room. She looked at him and smiled a little, as she began to take off her tunic and pants in front of him. The Private’s mouth dropped and was staring at her beautiful perfect naked figure. Her long colorful hair that was kept well behind her ears flowed down her back.

She joined him in bed and laid next to him.

“Well, this is interesting.” He said out loud, but yet to himself. She snuggled up close to the Private, and began to drift off to sleep with him.

The Portal Queen (part 1)

“Bravo Team, check in.” Staff Sergeant Stanley said into his headset. Double checking his body armor plating arrangement, his magazines for his MP5, adjusting his knee pads over his solid black crisp uniform pants, awaiting for confirmation.

“Bravo Two is up.” Sergeant McNeal responded as he racked the Remington 870 tactical shotgun loading a slug round into the chamber, echoing in the back of the dark red lit van. His helmet branded the riot shield attachment, lifted up to not affect his vision.

“Bravo Three up!” Corporal Peterson replied as he slammed the feed tray down on his M249 light machine gun and pulled the lever to load a round with a chunky clink sound. He wore the same uniform with a special moisture wicking black long sleeve.

“Bravo Four is ready!” Corporal Jackson spoke as his M4A1 bolt carrier group slammed forward loading a round into the chamber of his rifle. He reached down to his side and retrieved a special suppressor attachment he started to screw on the end of his rifle.

“Bravo Five, ready!” Private Gillespie perked up into the headset, also sporting the MP5 that Staff Sergeant Stanley had, except he added a suppressor at the end of the short barreled submachine gun.

“Bravo One acknowledged.” Staff Sergeant replied to the team. Flicking the switch on his radio, he spoke again “HQ, Bravo Team is ready. We are in the AO (Area of Operation). Deploying in one mike, over.” Static was heard.

“Roger Bravo One, you have a green light.”

Bravo One stood up and faced his team in the dark lit room, switching back to local channel on his radio.

“Okay, we need to destroy the portal, this is the last one. We all know the risks and dangers. We could very well be separated. Or worse. Let’s finish this bitch and her antics.”

Bravo One turned to the back door of the van, and pushed a green button. The van door dropped down from the top, and the daylight temporarily blinded everyone. Their visors were activated immediately and dimmed the brightness from the sun to protect their vision.

One by one they exited the van, weapons up, sweeping left and right through the dense forest. The soft crunch from their leather black boots paraded through the pine needles and broken branches of the trees.

Bravo Five constantly scanning from behind to avoid a surprise attack, keeping his back to the team.

Bravo Four scanning the trees through his holographic sight to catch any threats.

Bravo Three kept his finger close to the trigger to unleash belt fed fury into anything or anyone.

Bravo Two kept to the right of the spread out formation, aiming down his sights. Sliding his riot shield down.

And Bravo One, aiming his MP5 and looking through his HUD to follow his GPS.

Not a creature stirred, not a single bird chirped, and the wind was dead. The team moved like a well oiled machine, focused and ready.

Bravo One’s GPS directed them to change course from North to North West. The team shifted to the adjustment and slowly converged into an open field in the middle of the forest. And at the center of the opening, was a rectangular object into the dirt.

It emitted smoke around the outline, the grass around this portal was dead as if it wasn’t watered in weeks. Crunchy and dry. The team made a 180 degree arc to avoid cross fire and had their weapons aimed.

Then she appeared.

She wore a black cloak, her sleeves passed her palms, her eyes were a sharp gray. Skin was pale as the clouds. Her smile was sharp and demonic.

“Pathetic mortals,” she spoke as drool oozed from the corner of her lips as if she was eyeballing food for the first time in weeks. “You know well aware you cannot destroy my existence! But yet you persist!”

“Can it, bitch. Your tricks are over. You’ve kidnapped and murdered god knows how many innocent people! It’s over.” Bravo One replied.

“Oh no, I didn’t kill anyone!” Her laugh sent a chill down each of them, it was a horrific screech.

Bravo Three pushed the trigger back and unleashed his belt fed weapon, and the others began to open fire. Hot shells from all of their caliber weapons were dancing off their chambers and hitting the ground, as their weapons continued to cycle.

The Portal Queen sealed herself against the portal outline and laughed demonically as their rounds were being absorbed into her cloak. At an instant, she reached out with her left arm as it became a rope, and snatched up Bravo Five’s left ankle. Whipping him forward dragging him towards the portal.

Bravo Five grasped his boot knife and slashed at her arm to cut himself free, but her grip tightened. And at a blink of an eye, she sucked him into her cloak.

“I’ll be taking him!” She cackled as the portal exploded into several pieces of metal shrapnel and blasted back the entire team several feet.

Unharmed, Bravo One screamed into the radio to Bravo Five, and was only met with static.

Bravo Five careened through different colors, streams, stars, galaxies, and floated through what he interpreted was a version of space rapidly falling. His MP5 still strapped to him, as it fluttered against his body, as he went tumbling like clothes in a dryer.

Suddenly it stopped and he slipped through a stream, and landed in what appeared to be a junkyard on his back.

Staring up at the green sky, his eyes adjusting now as he was no longer spinning out of control, he breathed heavily trying to control his rapid heart rate. His vision became blurry, and just before slipping into unconsciousness, he saw a female with pointed ears and blue hair, and a male with pointed ears and dark purple hair kneel down next to him. A language he didn’t know as she spoke to him.

The Shadow (Part 2)

Moludri woke up from his deep tranced slumber on his bed, wearing his undergarments. Unable to understand why he snapped to, he sat right up and started to scan his dark windowless dorm.

His room was small, but efficient. In his stone walled and rugged floored cube, he had his armor, weapons, and clothes in the wardrobe. A small wooden desk and chair in the corner. A locked chest at the foot of his bed.

A shadowed figure was near the doorway.

And the door was closed.

“Don’t be alarmed, it’s just me.” Cerlith spoke softly.

Moludri sighed and put both his bare feet onto the rug beneath his bed. Propping himself up by holding the edge of his bed.

Cerlith opened her right hand, palm facing towards the ceiling, and a small ball of light emitted. She controlled the ball as it floated upward towards the ceiling, and slowly increased its intensity.

Cerlith wasn’t donned in her armor, just wore a long sleeve and loosely fit pants over her minimal shoes. All black of course. She walked over to him as he sat on the bed still, and gently caressed the side of Moludri’s face with her hand.

“How are you feeling? I know your mind and heart weigh very heavily.” Cerlith said as she began rubbing her thumb over his cheek.

“His death was avenged. I have no weight to bare.” Moludri responded with his dark eyes looking up at Cerlith.

“Now I don’t believe that one bit.” Cerlith replied as she smiled slightly. “But that’s the answer I’d expect from The Shadow.” She sighed and stopped caressing his cheek. She walked over to his desk, grabbed the wooden chair, and moved it closer to Moludri to sit.

“Let me guess, you’re here to tell me that in my best interest, I’m not to leave on a mission for awhile.” Moludri looked dead at Cerlith.

“Partly that, yes.” She replied as she folded her hands into her lap.

Moludri had an irritated look and grunt sound as he shook his head.

“By the Divines, I’m perfectly fine. I will speak with the council.” Moludri said as he got up to go to his wardrobe and sorted out his uniform without his armor. He started to dress himself, and while he was distracted, she wrapped her arms around his waist and her face buried into his shoulder blade. He froze.

“Moludri…” she said with the side of her face into his back. Her voice vibrated up through his spine and ribs.

“Just take a break, please? Even if it’s just a day. Just one day.”

Moludri sighed.

“Is that a yes?” Cerlith smiled holding him tighter.

“For the love of the Divines, yes. Yes! Fine. I will take a day!” Moludri annoyed that he easily gave in, but perhaps, a day couldn’t be bad.

“Good. I knew you’d come to your senses! You’re so stubborn, and thick headed.” Cerlith said as she let go of Moludri, and took a step back to give Moludri some space.

“You’re the absolute worst person to take their side. I hope you are aware of this!” Moludri still annoyed at her.

“No, I don’t think so. I’m looking out for you because I love you, you blind idiot!” Cerlith yelled at Moludri as if she was scolding a child for stealing candy from a shop.

Moludri winced and grunted at her angry shrieking voice.

“I appreciate the sentiment, but I think it is you that is blind.” Moludri said bitterly as he was fully dressed. He physically moved her off to the side and left his own dorm to head to the council. Cerlith sat back in the chair, her eyes watered up.

“I wish you’d believe me. I am so madly in love with you.” Cerlith whimpered as she sat alone in his dorm.

* * *

Moludri approached the Supreme Council’s chambers as he could hear a rough, highly volumed argument behind the doors. There were Red Blade guards posted, along with the King’s 5th Infantry guarding the door.

He started to walk up to the door, as the room was well lit with torches. One of the King’s guardsman held out his hand.

“You aren’t authorized to enter. Please stay back.” He said in a stern voice. He was stocky and chain mailed up with a plated chest. One of the King’s elites. This guardsman was armed with a pike.

Moludri ignored his command and kept approaching.

The guard drew his pike and pointed it at Moludri.

With a blink of an eye, he turned into his shadow form, a wisp. He floated and darted past the guards and entered the Supreme Council’s chambers.

Moludri re appeared in full form past the door which put the argument to a screeching halt.

The room was full of the Senior Members of the Red Blade, and a Captain with his Lieutenants of the King’s 5th. Captain James Tyson, a human, a decorated warrior, stood straight with his bald head and sharp blue eyes. Plated armor with short spikes on his left shoulder armor piece. A green lion on his tabard indicated his branch of service. Infantry. His Lieutenants similarly dressed in the same fashion, except their helmets were still on.

“Moludri! You are not supposed to be in this room. What is the meaning of this?” Raelgae responded sternly.

“Lucky I didn’t kill your guards Captain, I’m in the mood to hurt people.” Moludri looked at Raelgae. “I want another assignment.”

“Request denied, I need you here.” Omnoc spoke up.

“I wasn’t asking!” Moludri snapped back.

The room was in a dead silence.

“Moludri! I’m going to look past this childish outburst from you, and assume you are stricken from grief. Leave these chambers, without further incident.” Raelgae responded to his temper with calmness.

“I could use him.” Captain Tyson said.

The council turned their heads and faced Captain Tyson.

“Absolutely not.” Omnoc replied.

Captain Tyson stared at Moludri, Moludri stared back, and then looked at the council members.

“Assassin, some of our scouts went missing in the mountains, I am here requesting help from the Red Blades so I don’t need to send a detachment. I need to know what happened to them. Report back to me if you find anything. And if anyone raises so much as a sword or a glare at you, you are to kill them.” Captain Tyson said to Moludri.

“Senior Raelgae and Omnoc, I’ll be heading to the mountains in the early morn. I will be swift.” Moludri said as he turned on his heels.

Omnoc immediately spoke up, “You are to remain here, Moludri.”

“Again, I wasn’t asking.” Moludri said as he walked out of the council’s chambers.

“I like that young man, what is his name?” Captain Tyson said with a smile.

“Don’t encourage him. But his name is Moludri, The Shadow is his nickname. One of my best assassins. I suppose you get your way, Captain.” Omnoc said with a sneer.

“The King appreciates your kind assistance, Supreme Council.” Captain nodded as his Lieutenants and himself excused themselves from the chambers.

“We are spread thin as it is.” Raeglae said to Omnoc.

“If there is a real threat, Moludri can handle it.” Omnoc shrugged.

“It would look bad if we turned the Captain away, and his detachment was slaughtered.” Omnoc finished.

* * *

The sun barely rose over the horizon, there stood Moludri with his battle armor on, katana strapped to his back, and his beautiful crimson scarf around his face and neck. The birds chirped, the wind whistled around the plains and trees, fluttering his scarf. He opted to walk instead of take a horse, and headed for a long journey to Mount Artentis.

To find out what happened to the Kings 5th’s scouts, and eliminate anything that crossed his path.

Cerlith watched him leave from above in a tower, and sighed.

“Come back to me, don’t be a hero, Moludri.” She whispered into the wind.

The Shadow (part 1)

(If you have not read The Four, this story may confuse you slightly with details that come from that story. I RECOMMEND reading “The Four” before continuing)

The sun had settled over the land of Yagos, north of Briewell, creatures four and eight legged of the night came about to hunt for food. The wind was still. The beautiful crescent moon appeared through the clear night sky with the stars shining bright.

Moludri, carrying the severed head of Tadena the Evil, walked at a leisurely pace back to the Red Blades sanctuary. He met no dangers from the path he took. He pondered as he walked, hoping in his mind that Khodesh and Haezid made it safely with the King’s children.

Past the forest, through rugged trails and hilly plains, he approached the secret society of assassins. He was in an area, far north of the castle where the King lived in Briewell.

Yagos was mostly Elven and Human inhabited, the dense town was developed well, using the ingenuity from both formidable races. Houses and storefronts made of brick and stone. Sentries from the 5th Infantry armored up and well armed with various swords to uphold local laws. They were too far from the main capitol (Briewell).

Moludri walked down closing store fronts, the wind came from the south, pushing into his back gently. He concealed the bloody head in a sack on his back. People who recognized the Red Blade bowed their heads in respect, some would wave. They may be the workers of evil, but they performed dark arts for the good.

“A fine evening for a stroll, Red Blade. Is it not?” One of the armored sentries spoke to Moludri as they crossed paths. The sentry was in full armor set, carrying a torch in his right hand, and his sword sheathed at his left hip. Moludri was cordial to the sentry.

“Yes indeed. I bid you peace tonight good sir.” Moludri spoke over his crimson scarf.

“Aye, same to you.” The sentry replied and nodded.

Walking up to the town windmill, he approached the wooden door, opened it, and walked down the spiral staircase to the sanctuary. His soft leather boots made little sound as they made contact with the wooden planks.

A metal door with a red outline of a diamond, dagger pointed up in the center, was pasted on the peep sight.

The Red Blades, primarily Elven, did accept a few talented Humans to their ranks. Not as often.

Moludri sighed and knocked on the door three solid times.

The peep sight swung open with a loud slide and a click.

“What….is the greatest sound?” The female eyes of an elf looked through the opening asked Moludri.

“Silence, my sister.” He pulled up his left sleeve to show the marking of the same Red Blade symbol past his wrist.

“Very well, Assassin. Welcome home.” She responded and several clicks and cranks resonated, the door opened inwards and Moludri walked past the elf Red Blade Guard.

Down the stone corridor, was their own little underground cave. The Red Blade symbols on banners hanging from the sides, their own Red Blade guards posted in various spots across the cave. Several openings and different paths leading to different spots. Quarters, training area, battle arenas, the sanctuary library guarded by sorcerers and librarians, and the main chambers for the Supreme Counsel members.

The most senior of seniors were part of the Counsel. If Moludri continued his service, he was next to be in charge of the Assassin sector.

But he was also the most skilled killer, which proved very useful.

After passing a few fellow Assassins, greeted elders, he approached the Supreme Counsel chamber. They were in a meeting discussing a situation that has arisen in the mountains to the west, to Kromwood.

“Ah, Moludri brother. Welcome home.” Raelgae, Senior Officer of the Order watched Moludri walk in on the meeting at their diamond shaped table.

Raelgae was dark robed, and wore a crimson sash at his waist. A dagger holstered at each side of his hips. His dark hair past his shoulders was straight and over his pointed ears.

They embraced briefly.

“I have brought the head of Tadena, as proof of his brutal fate.” Moludri replied and removed the sack off his back and handed it over to Omnoc.

Omnoc, Senior Officer of the Assassins smiled brightly, also dressed in the same manner as Moludri, with the exception of the Katana. Donned in light leather dark colored armor, and added more throwing blades to his attire at the chest, shoulder, and a few on his waist. His smile turned into a boasting grin. Setting the sack down off the carpet onto the stone.

“The Shadow does wonderful work, does he not?” Omnoc spoke.

“One of our best assassins, indeed.” Cerlith replied. She smiled at his return.

Cerlith is the Senior Officer of the Warriors. Slightly shorter in stature, she wore heavy leather to give her a combination of defense without sacrificing ability of movement. Her white hair was kept in a single ponytail, and her skin bronze. Her crimson sash around her left arm tied at the bicep.

Moludri looked at the giant world map on the table, with all of the towns and cities labeled. Tiny flags pinned where important areas existed, and where they had sent their warriors and assassins to conduct missions.

“What is next for me?” Moludri asked Omnoc, while looking at the map.

“You? Nothing. You are overdue for rest. We have more than enough people to handle light work. You need time to grieve for the loss of Theodmer.” Moludri’s head snapped up to Omnoc hearing his cousins name.

“May he rest in peace with the shadows.” Raelgae said sadly.

Silence succumbed the room and swallowed everyone’s voice, briefly, except for Moludri.

It hit deep in his heart that he saw his cousins lifeless body as he held him in his two hands. And the fury burned hotter. But that fury was quenched and the smoke simmered with the death of Tadena.

Moludri turned around and started to walk out of the Supreme Counsel room. He fixed his crimson scarf around his face and made his exit as the door closed.

“My heart aches for him.” Cerlith said as her focus was on the door where Moludri walked out of. “We didn’t know he would be dead by the time Moludri was dispatched.”

“None of us did.” Omnoc replied. They went back to the map and tried to break the heavy weight of saddened silence.

* * *

Moludri stripped off his chest armor and sleeves outside near the windmill, gently laid them down onto the damp green grass. His scars on his dark skin were barely visible due to the crescent moon. He kept his crimson scarf around his face, as it fluttered with the nighttime breeze. Holding his katana in both his hands, he began his warm up drills. Going though his defensive stances first, slowly, to ensure perfect form. Strikes. Slashes. All fluid and slow. Moludri’s skin glowed with sweat.

As his muscles and ligaments were loosened up, he went faster. So fluid and precise. His heart beat was calm, his mind was clear. He focused on all of his forms. Placing his katana back in the sheath, as it settled home, he felt at peace.

A ghost of Theodmer appeared behind him, smiling at Moludri. Theodmer nodded and walked away, fading out.

The Four (Ending)

After a weeks worth of travel, stories being told to the children of the Four, after the horrible loss of two of their comrades, slayed creatures and abominations of evil, and had beheaded Tadena, the deranged and dangerous brother of King Udrekving, they arrived back to the beautiful region of Briewell.

King Udrekving sat in his throne room, another somber day without a word from anyone about what happened to the heroes to selflessly volunteered themselves to find his missing children. As time had passed, the great Kings health declined. He no longer carried an appetite, sleep never visited his bedroom, his social life was down to a mere silence. His senior magician had tried many of the certain spells and potions to ease his suffering, but he could not heal his broken heart.

His two guards always posted near to his left and right, loyal to the death they were. The small controlled bonfire burned bright in front of them. One of the King’s advisors sat near him, going through scrolls of information and treaties signed, ensuring documents were filled correctly.

There was a cheer. And clapping.

The King lifted his head off of his right hand. Sat up straight.

The two guards posted at the side of the King sprinted past, armed and went straight to the double throne room door. Their armored plated feet made clunks against the red soft velvet carpeted floor, torches down the aisle burned well. The crackles and hisses hymned the empty lot.

The guards looked at each other, nodded, and opened the door simultaneously, only to be greeted by the town mayor, tears of joy as his grin was from ear to ear.

“My King! Your children have been found!” The Mayor yelled.

Suddenly the King’s color and vigor returned at the blink of an eye, and was blinded by his own tears by the time he reached halfway to the door. His heart was in his throat, beating away. His stomach was upside down and housed a colony of butterflies.

The mayor stepped aside as Victoria and Gene grabbed their father and hugged tightly, following their father to the ground as he wept deeply.

Khodesh and Haezid stood behind them, allowing them to have their much deserved time. The cheers were loud and deafening, as the entire town entered the castle and rejoiced in the return of the King’s blood.

Haezid and Khodesh turned around and walked away, walking past the incoming crowd, bringing in fresh meats, fruits, sweet baked goods, wine, mead, and all sorts of fresh juices. There was a feast to be made to honor their heroes.

“We should stay Kho, free food!” Haezid suggested. Khodesh smiled and shook her head, “Food is always on your mind, besides bashing people with your shield.” Khodesh laughed as they both walked down the stairs from the entrance of the castle.

The both of them stood there, after the crowd cleared slightly, and looked into the distance. The wind was beautiful, the skies were clear and blue, the trees bustled with nature and sang their own silent songs.

“Thank you, Haezid. Much gratitude, and respect.” Khodesh said looking at him.

“I am confused, why are you thanking me?” Haezid shrugged it off.

“You could have left me for dead, removed my head, you carried me for a long distance to safety.” Khodesh explained.

“Nonsense. I did what I needed to do. I wasn’t going to lose another person on this quest. And your secret is with me. And hopefully the two children won’t breathe a word.” Haezid replied.

“Good, because I wouldn’t hesitate to eat them.” Khodesh said as she walked down the stairs, smiling so Haezid couldn’t see.

“You’re joking I hope. We didn’t go through all of oblivion to find them, just for you to turn them into a snack!” Haezid followed her with haste down the stone steps.

They walked past the empty shacks and grocery stands, everyone cleared house to get to the castle. Haezid and Khodesh made their quiet exit and left, walking towards the exit.

* * *

The King stood on top of his serving table with a chalice of red wine, sloshing around and spilling some onto the floor.

“We must honor our heroes who brought my children back! Where are they?” The King exclaimed.

Everyone turned and looked.

The mayor looked.

His top advisor looked.

Murmurs commenced in the area.

“Father, they had a rough journey.” Victoria said looking up at her father.

“Would you like to hear their story?” Gene asked.

The common area was quiet.

The King picked his son up and put him on the table next to him.

“Let me tell you all, the story, the story of The Four…” Gene smiles and begins to tell the tale…

*The End*

The Four (part 12)

Moludri’s boots barely touched the pine needled ground, his speed was met with aggression. He gritted his teeth behind the crimson scarf that fluttered like a ribbon in the wind behind him. His Katana beaming with the silver shine like the moon on a clear nights sky. And the stars glittering above in plain sight. His katana blade met Tadena’s warhammer’s shaft in a blocking crossed pattern. The clang was heard throughout the forest. Tadena immediately countered with a clear precision kick to Moludri’s chest to break the lock.

This was vengeance. Burning deep within.

Haezid, brought up his two handed battle axe and growled his battle cry. He indeed felt free from his armored burdens. His vision never so clearer. The wind carried his strength. The fire within him was awake, and wanted to end the very life of Tadena, the man responsible for the death of his best friend. His distance closed with Tadena and the Red Blade in close proximity, to bring his battle axe over his head and sever Tadena in half.

Punishment. Eye for an eye.

Khodesh, with the ash remains of Zrathrum still on her face, was determined. Clear minded and on the defensive. She went to a blocking stance by bringing up her two handed sword to deflect a counter from Tadena. She felt her inner beast blood take over. Her eyes began to transform to amber. Goosebumps flooded her skin and her hair began to stand. Her growl deep, dark, and vicious.

Peace was never an option.

Tadena heaved his warhammer with supreme strength, and expert accuracy. Haezid blocked the swing with his battleaxe and punched Tadena in his heavy plated armored solar plexus in an upwards motion. Tadena felt nothing as he returned the favor by bashing Haezid with his armored helmet in the face. Haezid immediately retreated to gain distance, blood pouring from a laceration on his forehead.

Moludri saw the opening he needed and went to remove Tadena’s leg. He dove and curled into a ball, to launch up like a coiled snake and went to swipe Tadena’s left leg above the knee with his Katana. Tadena moved out of the way, and his armored thigh took the damage from the katana. The gritty sound of blade on plate was loud and sent sparks. Moludri ducked low and brought his Katana up in a blocking stance.

Khodesh drove her sword into the ground with the point facing down, and growled to the sky, bursting though her armor as she bulked up in a furry muscular form of herself. Pointed ears, long snout, fur of darkness, eyes bright amber, and claws that were deadly and sharp. Salivating, and growling as her hair stood up.

Victoria and Gene watched the very same woman who helped them escape the castle, turn into a horrific creature.

“And that’s why you don’t trust strangers.” Looking over at Gene. “If she wanted to eat us, it would have happened by now!” Gene replied as he pushed her down. She got back up and they both sat behind the log to watch.

Haezid wiped his face, open mouthed, in a deep state of shock, “Gods! She’s a werewolf!”

Khodesh unleashed her animalistic fury and leaped with great height, her strength far outweighing all three of them. There was no stopping this pain train, it was coming right for Tadena. Her claws out and salivating, she lunged forward at Tadena with two hard swipes from her overly muscular arms, slashing his plated armor open in a cross slash pattern. Tadena took two steps back to absorb the power from Khodesh.

Tadena went to swing his warhammer, and Khodesh grabbed it in mid swing. Tadena and Khodesh were grid locked. Her bottom claws dug into the surface, her free hand grabbed the armored left shoulder of Tadena, claws sinking deep past his armor. Tadena did not so much as scream as blood poured from the holes. Khodesh’s brutal strength did not falter. With her left leg, she brought up her claws now caked with dirt, into the stomach of Tadena, disarming him as he stumbled back.

Moludri saw another opportunity as Tadena stumbled back, he dropped his katana and drew his stiletto. Keeping himself low to the ground he got behind Tadena, and his arm and body became like a spear, driving his stiletto into the back of Tadena. First where the heart was, the left kidney, and the right kidney. His trifecta attack. They pierced his armor and flesh. Tadena screams echoed in his armored helmet.

Haezid yelled his battlecry as Moludri was clear from danger, and drove the battle axe into the damaged armored chest of Tadena. It sank deep with a wet sound as it pierced flesh, and blood spurted from the deep gash. Removing the battleaxe, and as Tadena fell to his knees, Haezid timed his next strike at the neck. It came swiftly across his left side and like an executioner punishing a criminal, it severed Tadena’s head with a solid swipe. With a thump, his lifeless body slopped to the crimson colored pine needles.

Khodesh stood, salivating, growling deep and menacing. She scurried forward and began to devour Tadena’s corpse to feed. Digging into his torso, ripping through armor and flesh to get to his insides. A rib cage was tossed over her head, her fur and muzzle coated in blood. Once the rib cage was gone, she shoved her muzzle into his body and began her feasting.

“Should we uh,” Haezid swallowed, “stop her?” Haezid said, as the bleeding slowed from his forehead.

“Not wise. Werewolves are brutal and we would be outmatched. I have never seen one before. Only in literature.” Moludri was watching Khodesh rip and tear into the remains intently.

Khodesh howled at the sky, covered in blood all over her fur. Blood mixed with saliva coated her muzzle giving it a pink color. Bones were scattered across as Tadena’s body was far from recognizable.

She stood up on her back legs, as her eyes began to change colors. She gripped her muzzle and head, growled as she went down to the ground. She writhed and growled, slashing around as her body began to transform back to her human form. Her growl descended to a scream, as her form took hold. Khodesh laid in the puddled remains of Tadena, breathing deep and coughing. She was naked and exposed.

Moludri turned away as not to stare.

Haezid walked around, keeping her at a distance for assessment of the situation. He noticed that Khodesh was still in a daze. He felt safe enough to approach her as he knelt down next to her as she shivered.

He reached for her hand, and held it.

“It seems we all have our secrets.” Haezid said to her.

Khodesh, looking at him wide eyed.

“If you wish to kill me, I will not fight you. I am vulnerable. Weak. I have no strength left. Please, the only thing I ask, is make it quick.” Her eyes weld up with tears. “I am a monster.” Her voice cracked.

Haezid smiled down at her, and moved her hair away from her face with his free hand. “We are all monsters, Kho. You just happen to be better at it than the rest of us.”

Haezid released her hand and lifted her weak body up with his arms, carrying her in front. Her beautiful figure exposed to nature. Khodesh looked up at Haezid, and smiled briefly before she saw darkness. Her weakened state drove her to unconsciousness.

“We have a long journey back to meet up with Krilge, we have to find linens to keep her warm.” Haezid said to the back of Moludri, who also saw the two children.

“I am afraid I have to be on my way. I must bring the head of Tadena the Evil to my masters to ensure the job was done”. Moludri said with his back still turned, holding the severed head. He did not want to be caught staring at Khodesh’s naked form.

Moludri had a flashback of the last time he saw his wife, alive. He shook his head to halt the memory, and store it for a later time.

“You are a fine warrior, Haezid. Your journey will be watched from above, the divines will protect you. You will not see any danger. Should you come across any dangers, I will send my shadow far and wide across the land to your aid.” He walked away from Haezid, Khodesh, and the two children to pick up his Katana off the battlefield.

“What the hell is a shadow going to do for me?” Haezid grumbled.

“I am Moludri, a Red Blade assassin. I am a shadow.” Replied Moludri, as his figure slowly turned into a dark vapor and disappeared as he kept walking.

* * *

Hours passed after scouring though the castle for linens, they made movement back to the Orc village. Krilge stood outside the gate to the village, anticipating their return as he felt their presence come closer. Offering them healing ointments, food, and a place to rest.