Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 128

“And what could possibly warrant my attention at this hour?” she asked. “Your safety, M’ lady.” Damitri replied. “And who might they be?” she scoffed. “I hope you never find out.” The solemnness of his response took her aback. “Needless to say,” he continued, “tomorrow I will escort you to Reul Na Maidne where I will be able to explain.” His response caught her off guard and for a moment she lost her composure: “And you say my father sent you?” Damitri simply nodded. She groaned and, after “If you think I am travelling with you, then you are taking a step to the side, gestured into the room, “Then very much mistaken,” her hand tightening around the I guess you better come inside.” trigger of the hand bow, “you think that you can come here and tell me that my life is in danger and expect Damitri entered and upon hearing the door close he me to go running north with you at the drop of a hat, turned to find the maiden stood with her back to the do you think I’m a child?” She thrust her hand fordoor, a loaded crossbow in her hand: “I suggest you ward, hand bow pointed at his heart, “and rest assured, talk quickly,” she said. my father will be told of this.” “Please, you won’t be needing that,” Damitri said calmly as he lifted his hands. “I’ll be the judge of that,” she tightened her grip on the trigger, “so tell me, why are you here?” Damitri thought quickly: he could disarm her but that wouldn’t help him earn her trust, or alternatively he could continue the story of her father requesting his aid, though her actions told him she doubted its legitimacy. Even though he could easily withstand the bolt if it hit him, he would rather not have to explain that to her just yet. In the end Damitri decided that a halftruth would serve him better than a lie. “My apologies, M’ lady,” Damitri said soothingly as he bowed, “I did not wish to alarm you with the news I bring.” He took another step towards the fire. “It was true that your safety is paramount to me, though your father is not completely aware of who is hunting you.” He turned and moved to the window, as the barman had said it was adorned with a selection of warding runes. He waved his hand across them feeling the strength of the magic; which surprised him. So Wulfren has learnt some new tricks, he thought to himself. “M’ lady you were brought away from your home and comforts for a reason.” He gestured to the runes that adorned the window frames: “These runes are designed to keep those that are unwelcome out.” Shi’Ara why do you hate me? Damitri thought to himself as he tried to reason with her. # As Damitri argued over the journey a band of men appeared on a nearby hill; their cracked black leather-like skin only distinguishable from their armour by the way they moved. As they reached the top of the hill the air seemed to shift as a lone figure stepped from the realm of shadow where he had lain hidden. “You called for us?” the largest of the men said. “Indeed I did,” the figure responded “The one you seek is at the inn, you will be expected and she is well guarded.” He threw open his cloak revealing the ivory hilts of twin swords hung from his waist. “Your task is a simple one, bring the girl to me alive.” he pointed to one of the larger men .“And untouched. Do what you want with the rest, now be gone.” With that the band descended the hill towards the unsuspecting village. # Wulfren stood behind his bar, a vigilant eye on his granddaughter as she moved amongst the tables. He turned to reach for another mug when he caught sight of the candle that sat upon the bar. The flame had turned green. His blood ran cold and he quickly PAGE 127