Night of the Assassins
The assassins strike late at night after supper, planning to catch the guards with full bellies. The killers have two targets, and are sure they will be found together—they are husband and wife, after all.
The first sentry is evaded, the second and third have their throats slit; but the fourth and final one manages to scream a warning as he dies. The assassins burst into the grand suite through separate doors. Alas, the husband and wife stand in the middle of the floor, back-to-back with swords drawn and ready. Each also holds a thick wand of wood and iron in their other hand. With the advantage of surprise lost, six assassins charge while the others turn against the approaching guards. Knowing their mission is a suicidal one, the killers fight fanatically. Xenograg and Amaltea know that help is coming; they only have to hold out. Their fighting tactics are purely defensive. Like mirror images the two point their stubby ‘wands’ at their closest enemies.
The sound of the pistols firing deafens everyone. Two assassins spasm and fall to the floor. Another trips over his fallen comrade and falls at Amaltea’s feet. A quick downward stab of Tarillion inflicts a mortal wound to him. Amaltea turns to face her third foe only to notice that Xenograg has moved away from her while combating his two assailants. Panic grips her as an assassin begins to cut at her love’s vulnerable flank. Ignoring her own opponent, she lunges at the danger to her husband. Tarillion enters just above the assassin’s hip. The man staggers back in severe pain but remains a threat. Xenograg recovers from his momentary disadvantage but Amaltea cannot. Her own assassin slashes under her desperate parry.
Amaltea screams, the pain in her left thigh like hellfire. The leg buckles and she crumbles to the floor, Tarillion falling from her grasp. Her vision begins to blur.
"No!" bellows Xenograg as he sees his wife fall. He has just felled the assassin Amaltea wounded. His final foe stands between him and Amaltea’s assailant. Her executioner raises his scimitar to deliver the deathblow.
The rapport of the pistols was nothing compared to the thunderclaps that shake the entire inn. The very air smells burnt as Xenograg the Sorcerer discards his scimitar to unleash his fury. With little more than a thought, blue-white bolts of lightning arc down his arms. The bolt from Xenograg’s left hand slams into the nearer assassin. The man flies back two feet and collapses, a black hole in his chest. Xenograg’s right hand takes aim at the last assassin, who is already swinging his blade down at Amaltea’s neck with all his strength.
The blow never lands. Aiming instinctively, Xenograg looses his bolt not at the assassin but at his weapon. The scimitar is blasted out of his hands and lands in two pieces. The assassin staggers back clutching his hands together—the steel having conducted some of the electrical charge before being ripped from his hands. Pain and fear fill his eyes as he faces Xenograg. The wrathful sorcerer delays only to glance at his wife writhing in agony. With pure hatred Xenograg claps his hands together, aiming squarely at the unarmed man. The inn shakes again.
Like his weapon, the assassin lands in two pieces. Seeing that other fallen assassins are still alive, Xenograg mercilessly slays them with bolts to their heads. It is a gruesome sight, and only after seeing what he has just done does Xenograg regain control. He rushes over to staunch Amaltea’s wound with a bed sheet. She is sobbing from the pain. It seems an eternity until the Arran warrior-monks rush into the room. They are followed by Captain Siera Redwin, unwounded but with her sword dark with blood.
"Healer!" Xenograg roars at his bodyguards. A monk runs back to the doorway and yells down the hallway, passing the command. Amaltea is losing blood fast….