• nicolasakmakjian

6: Assassins From Shanaar - Part Four

Behind them stood two men dressed in black garments and leather boots. Both were slender with dark hair. One was a good head taller than the other. The shorter man had a scar running down his left cheek. In contrast to the controlled demeanor of the guards, these men were anxious and alert. They approached the throne with deference and bowed nervously, staying about ten feet away. The flames of the torches flickered against the wall as they waited and the crow squawked softly. The man on the throne did not move. His eyes did not shift nor did he in any way acknowledge the presence of these two men, who shifted back and forth on their feet as they waited nervously. Finally, the occupant of the throne spoke, his voice emanating from deep within his cloak and spreading through the room with a marvelous resonance.

“Leave us!”

The guards, to whom this was addressed, quickly backed out of the room and closed the heavy door behind them with a clang and a shudder. The two men in black glanced at each other and then back at the dark shape before them, who now raised his head slightly and peered at the men with dark, intense eyes. Again his voice rumbled forth, deep and harsh:

“There is a job I require of you.”

Both men bowed again and the taller one responded, “Give the word and it shall be done, my lord.”

“Will it?” replied the voice. “So I have been promised before and yet see no results. Even now I have not achieved my goals.” He paused and the echoes in the room died down. “Now I entrust to you what has been failed by others. See to it that you do not fail or you will suffer their fate!”

The men bowed a third time, more nervously than ever.

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