6: Assassins From Shanaar - Part Six
The assassins climbed back down the vast set of stairs. Finally reaching a landing far below at the bottom, the short man huffed, “Curse these stairs! What need does a man have of being so high above everything? He sees enemies everywhere, I tell you.”
The tall man gave him a sharp look and hissed, “Hold your talk! We’re not the only spies he has employed and it wouldn’t do to have your words repeated in his ear, would it? Keep walking. I hate this castle and the sooner we take our leave of it the better.”
Down they went until they finally reached the main level and the path to an exit. It was night as they walked through the massive metal door and out into the cold air. Horses were given to them by servants from the stables and they rode these horses down the twisting mountain path toward the three defensive walls below. Upon reaching the third and last wall they were stopped by the guard of the gate.
“State your business. Why should the gate be opened? I’ve heard of no one who is to cross through the gates tonight.”
The guard who challenged them was fierce-looking, tall and powerful, his features shaded by his helmet. He also wore the insignia of the crushing dragon on his leather armor, and in his hand he held a mace. Behind him stood two more guards, and another half dozen were standing by the gate. All looked at the assassins with distrust, clearly suspicious of anyone being allowed to leave the confines of the castle grounds.
“Our business is our own, but it comes from Him. Open the gates if you value your neck.”
The chief guard suspiciously eyed the tall assassin who spoke. He glanced down at their horses and said with a glint in his eye, “These are official horses, but who’s to say you didn’t steal them in your attempt to escape the dungeons, hmm? Maybe you’re desperate criminals and I’ll be rewarded for preventing your escape, hmm?”
The short assassin spoke up now with indignation. “Or maybe you’re too stupid to realize when you are interfering with your master’s business. Since when do criminals escape the dungeon? Think what you are saying, you fool! Now open the gate and let us go about our business.”