In The Night

Banar stood frozen at the top of the staircase, his breath held deep in his chest. He scanned the room below him, using all of his senses to detect if a trap was afoot. The door to the outside creaked softly as the night wind blew past it. A candle, burning low and fat, sat on a small table, only slightly illuminating the area. The meal from the evening still hung softly in the air; Banar caught fleeting odors of charred meat and stale beer. All seemed quiet and serene, yet keen awareness told the old warrior that it was not so. A small rivulet of sweat rolled lazily down his arm, into his fisted hand, dampening the hilt of the broadsword he held.

A soft, almost imperceptible, scuffing sound came below him, just out of the candle’s soft glow. His muscles tensed and his eyes darted to the sound, although his body stayed perfectly still. Banar knew the darkness was his friend. Only a beast or a demon could see him perched atop the stairs. He knew if he waited long enough…

There! A shadow moved along the floor, albeit briefly. The soft scuffing noise flashed, then was gone again. Banar knew whatever creature was in the room would be broaching the stairs soon. His breath became stilled, his eyes narrowed and his muscles gripped the hilt tighter. He heard the blood pump in his veins, and it angered him.

A figure, a small man it seemed, drifted into the halo of light at the base of the stairs. Banar could see someone walking slowly up, but he heard not a sound. The stairs in the hovel were old, and should moan when tread upon. But this man, this creature, made no sound as he ascended. Despite himself, Banar scowled in the darkness.

The man was about half way up the old staircase. One pantherish leap and Banar would be atop him. He closed his eyes for but a heartbeat, and then leapt suddenly down, his broadsword slashing fiercely. Banar expected to feel the bite of human flesh, the crack of bone. But his quarry had been quicker. A lithe shadow pirouetted over the handrail and landed softly on the worn wooden floor. Banar, surprised by the quickness of his adversary, lost balance but for a second. He quickly righted himself and stood. The twang of a bow pierced the night. Banar felt the arrow bury itself deep in his throat. Warm, thick blood began to fill his mouth.  He dropped his broadsword. The last sound he heard was it clanging down the stairs, the sound echoing in the silence of night.

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Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

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