Light flakes of snow drifted through the evening air. Standing on the edge of a low cliff, a tall cloaked figure stared across an open field at a small manor overlooking the nearby town. With the sun setting to his right, bathing the sky in a deep red glow, the man turned to find a safe route down when a motion in the fields below caught his eye.
Someone, a man ill dressed for the cold, burst out from the tree line heading towards the town. Before he could make it more than a dozen yards an arrow shot from the woods, piercing his leg. Seconds later a half dozen other men casually emerged from the woods brandishing swords and axes. With a sigh and a quiet curse, the cloaked figure leapt off the side of the cliff, slid more than 20ft down a near vertical rock face and took off through the woods.
Gerald lay face down in the snow, panting. He could hear the crunch of snow behind him as someone approached. Desperately Gerald pushed himself up, trying to get to his knees, to get up and run. But before he could lift himself more than a few inches a heavy boot slammed into his back, blasting the breath from his lungs.
“Gave us chase there lad” said the man standing on Gerald’s back. “Name be Breck, and I be executioner tonight. But first, we got questions.”
Gerald gasped for breathe as Breck took his weight of Gerald’s back. “What. What do you want?”
“Tell us about old man in manor” said Breck, kneeling beside Gerald’s head. “You give good answer. Quick death. Throat slit. Nice and clean. Yes? Give bad answer.” Breck shook his head. “You not want that. I not want that. No one want that. So give good answer.”
Gerald franticly looked twisted his head, looking for some way out. But all he saw was Breck and the five grim faced men surrounding him. “I don’t know anything about the old man” he cried. “I’m just passing through! Honest!!”
Breck lowered his head and sighed. “That not good answer. Why you make me do this?” Breck asked, standing. “I not bad man. I good man.” Said Breck, as he plunged his sword into Gerald’s shoulder. Gerald screams, tensing with pain, but Beck continues as if he didn’t notice. “But old man make people angry. Powerful people. People who ask Breck to make old man go away.” With a sharp jerk Breck twisted the blade, sending fiery jolts of pain trough Gerald. “And these people. When they ask, you do.”
Breck looked up from Gerald. Squinting, he took a look around the field. Not seeing anyone besides the tall cloaked figure, Breck shrugged. “He alone. Kill him.”
“So be it” the cloak man muttered, slitting the captured bandit’s throat.
The four men charged, yelling at the top of their lungs and weapons held high. Breck turned back to Gerald, ready to continue questioning poor Gerald, but stopped as the field went suddenly quiet. Confused, Breck pulled his sword out of Gerald’s back as he turned again to face the cloaked man.
“Huh” managed Breck before a knife entered his skull, collapsing to join the four other warriors at the cloaked man’s feet.
Gerald groaned, barely conscious, as the cloaked figured carefully lifted him up. Breathing heavily, Gerald couldn’t make out the face under the cloak. “Who are you” he managed, his breathing short and laboured.
“Priest”, the cloaked man replied.
“Priest of what?” he tried to ask, but the siren call of sleep proved irresistible.
Off in the distance, the sounds of barking dogs could be heard. Priest smiled. At least the old man sent some sleds. Now, time to find out what the old man had called him for.