Glenn G. Thater
“How do you know these things?
Who are you Theta?
Who are you really?”
-- Ob to the Lord Angle Theta
The last of them went down – cleaved in half by Theta’s falchion. Geysers of blood gushed everywhere as the Duke’s guards charged into the room. A butchery of flowing blood and spilled entrails. Several corpses soiled the exotic carpet, some still twitching as such are wont to do. The dead wore the Duke’s livery, confusing the guards. The Duke’s guest – a hulking foreign knight stood beside the bed. Nightshirt drenched red as was his face and pants. Bloodied falchion in his left hand. His expression best described as annoyed; his aspect calm. He stood unmoving, staring at the guards with his piercing blue eyes. They all stood there still as the Duke and his personal bodyguards came dashing down the hall to the apartment’s entrance. The guards made way.
Harringgold’s mouth dropped as he entered and took in the sight.
“Are these yours?” said Theta, pointing to the dead with his right hand.
“I cannot tell,” said the Duke.
He motioned to the guards who adjusted the corpses so their faces could be viewed.
“This one has been in my employee some five years,” said the Duke, pointing to a decapitated head at the foot of the bed.
“This one has worked as a guard for a few months I think, perhaps a year. The other four I do not recognize.”
“Nor do I,” said the guard captain.
“Search the bodies,” said Theta, still standing tensed. The Duke nodded to the guards who then began to search.
“Looking for what?” said the Duke.
“A tattoo; a scar, a strange coin, or some such token.”
After some minutes. “Two bear the mark of the Black Hand on their shoulders.”
“Paid assassins,” said the Duke.
“These others all wore a gold coin hung from chains about their necks.”
“Put them down on the bed,” said Theta, as he strapped on his sword belt and wiped the blade on the sheets, then sheathed it. He briefly looked at the coins, wrapped them in cloth and pocketed them.
“I’ll need another room,” said Theta.
“Of course,” said the Duke, seemingly surprised at the request.
“One with a bath, and some bandages, and a few guards at the door that you can trust more than these.”
“You’ll have it. I don’t know what to say, this should never have happened in my fortress.”
You are right, it should not have,” said Theta, giving the Duke an ice-cold stare.
“I’ll stand watch myself,” said the guard captain, “with you permission Lord Harringgold.”
Servants led Theta to another room, two floors up. Ob appeared along the way.
“The bastards won’t stop coming,” said Ob. “Once The Hand has a contract, they never give up. Not never. They took five years to track down old Par Tandar, down in Minco – he was hiding out as a cobbler – but they got him – hung his head from a lamppost right in front of the tower of the Arcane. Not one witness. Theta, your only chance is to head for the hills and not stop until you’re back home – in wherever it is youse hail from.”
“I’ll deal with the assassins as need be – but it will not be by running.
If this excerpt from the story "The Fallen Angle" has caught your attention, you can buy the full story on Amazon.com in the book "Harbinger of Doom" by Glenn G. Thater, available beginning February 2008. Please feel free to leave comments by clicking on the 'comments' button below.