The sentry walked down the wide hall on his regular patrol. At this time in the night there was little going on, most were asleep, and the few that remained, like him, roamed the castle without the interruptions that might come in the day. It was comforting, in a way, to be surrounded by quiet. Peaceful, almost serene.
In the main hallway, heading toward the treasury and weapons chamber, the lamps flickered with their strange glowing energy, as they always did, day and night, without fading or needing tending. The sentry continued, drawing closer to the huge double doors that stood at the end of the elongated chamber, which marked the end of his path. He stopped just before them and glanced around, checking the shadows that dropped behind the arched stone supports along the wall, each rising up and around to the ceiling, making the hall look like the inside of a ribcage. Peering to the right and left, and spotting no one and nothing hiding in the shadows, the sentry started back down the hall.
He felt the intruder before he saw them. Perhaps it was the almost imperceptible sound of breathing, or the sudden shift of air beside him. Either way, the sentry’s sword was in his hand, and he was swinging low, only just dodging a swipe to the face. His blade missed its target, the intruder stepping out of the way so fast it almost seemed he was fighting a ghost. As the sentry spun around, he had only a second to see his adversary.
The flash of steel caught his eye before his opponent’s sword cut across his belly and he fell to his knees. Pain shot through his body. He tried to breathe in, and opened his mouth to cry out, to warn the others on patrol.
His hands grabbed for his neck and tried to hold it together as blood streamed out of the terrible split in his throat that made it impossible to breathe. Immobilised, the sentry fell to his side as the life drained out of him. It was all he could do to stare directly ahead, as his vision quickly faded, blurring around the edges. Two black eyes stared back, watching coldly as the god of death claimed his soul.