The Scythe

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The Fine Art of Entering an Impenetrable Castle

One of the new arrivals was weaving back and forth behind the throne. Eying Disseus. Lowering slightly, he struggled to see beneath the hood.

Dammit. Dissues knew that look. He’d seen it enough times before.

Moving back to the group, the anxious man whispered to another, whose eyes grew huge.

They know it’s me.

Taking the steps quickly, that one whispered to the king.

That man rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “My men seem to think you’re a mercenary of some reknown.”

“Do they?” A slow smile made white teeth visible under his hood.

The king sat straighter. “I think it’s fitting a man of such character should kneel before the king that defeated him.”

Defeat is a strong word for a man in your position. Dissues’ head lowered as he gave the king an ominous look from beneath dark brows.


Lonnix was shaking his head fervently at the king, in warning.

Disseus’ voice hit a dangerous note. “I bow to no one.”

“He doesn’t!” Lonnix assured.

“Perhaps you could just surrender the throne?” He suggested hopefully.

That would be wise. Disseus watched the king. Awaiting the royal’s answer.

Scoffing, the King said “I should keep your fat friend to entertain me.”

“As a maiden?” Lonnix squeaked.

Brows drawing together, the king tossed him a confused look. Shaking his head dismissively, he focused on the problem.

Me.

Disseus was the taller of the two. And his strange blue eyes could glint hard as steel or glow brightly.

Annoyed he couldn’t see the mercenary’s face, the king jerked his head. “Make the fool bow.”

Yes. Do try.

Several men stepped forward. Kicking him in the back of the knee yielded only a slight jerk as he lifted his chin. Staring at the king who’d obviously become impatient. Shifting in his seat.

They hit him again. And again.

One man pulled a club from a tether on his belt. Stepping to Disseus’ side, the warrior brought it hard across the back of his thighs.

Lonnix winced.

Disseus did not.

“I said” He growled. “I bow to no man.”

The same guard caught his arm and stepped close to whisper. “I’ll cut your damn legs off. Kneel!”

He shook his head slowly.

The knight drew his sword.

Turning abruptly, Disseus caught his hand, twisted beneath it and wrenched the blade from his grip in a smooth motion.

“Thank you.” He murmured, shoving the king’s guard aside to face the king. Going as still as a statue.

Growing flushed, the king shouted. “Kill him! And get that hood off. I want to see the man’s face as he dies.”

Moving forward, one boldly tore the hood back and retreated sword lifted.

Disseus’ pale hair and startling eyes were exposed. He let his mask fall away and the square lines of his face reassert themselves.

There were gasps and someone muttered. “It’s the Scythe.”

“No one’s seen him in years!” Another voice.

“The hand of death.” Another whispered fearfully, backing from the Receiving Room.

Smart man.

Scattering, servants vanished.

White hair was held back from his forehead by the leather Paladinian circlet, only awarded to their most ferocious warriors. Against the striking snow white hair, his skin contrasted dark gold.

He spun the sword he now gripped.

When the six commanders charged, he stole another sword. Swinging both in rapid concession, he cut them down like wheat. Striding to the throne.

The king sputtered until purple. “Im-im-impossible. No man can wield Paladinian swords one-handed!”

“I’m no mere man.” Taking the steps purposefully, his leather pants creaked as he stepped through the folds of his broad cloak. “You’ve no idea what I am.”

Whispering, he leaned down as he approached. “I’ll take your castle tonight with no more than a bruise to my forehead...Your weak kingdom will be your only legacy.”


Killing the king was effortless.

Cleaning his blade, Disseus was startled to catch faint movement out of the corner of his eyes. A flash of billowing cloak and the bright shade of long ruby hair as someone rounded the corner in a flash.

His eyes narrowed.

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