Excerpt: Sureshot the Assassin

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Off in the distance he heard a commotion. He did not know exactly what it was all about, but he sensed it was something bad. He snatched the ax from the stump and ran towards the inn. He was glad to be running towards a problem instead of away from it finally, it just felt better to him. He covered ground quickly and decided that the commotion coming from the inn were sounds of battle. Rothan had not escaped his assassins it seemed, and his pursuers had caught up with him. No doubt they closed the gap during the night.

Maklar leapt over rocks and trees and reached the inn in only a matter of seconds. From inside he heard the shouts of Rothan as well as other men. He came around the inn from the rear and outside stood two men guarding the door. The axman rushed toward them so fast that they had little chance. He came at them from their flank and dispatched the first before he knew he was in peril. The second reacted as Maklar drew his ax from the first man’s chest but was too slow to stop the crushing blow that Maklar delivered. With the door to the inn clear, he kicked it in and quickly assessed the situation.

There were ten of Warren’s assassins in the room. They had surrounded the prince and his guards who were behind an overturned tabled wielding chairs because their weapons were in their rooms. All of Rothan’s men were engaged with their improvised weapons as was the prince. Tynek was on the ground against a wall with blood dripping from his head. Just before Maklar attacked the assassins, Glik was struck with a sword and fell to the ground. The axman had reached them just in time.

A few of the men noticed when he burst through the door but were still taken by surprise. Maklar dispatched two of them before they could react to his entrance. Three of them faced him while the other five continued to try and kill Rothan. Maklar put a foot back and held his ax up ready. They paused to consider him a moment and then attacked in unison.

The man to Maklar’s left thrust his sword at him, but the axman dodged to his right. At the same moment the center assassin slashed his sword at him, but he blocked it with the shaft of his ax, and then swung it back to his right and struck an attacker with the blunt side of the ax. The man stumbled back but did not fall. Maklar swung his ax back toward his left and forced the center attacker to block his blow. The assassin to his left thrust at Maklar again, and again he dodged the attack but countered with a kick which caught him in the leg, not inflicting much injury, but stunning him for a second. Maklar punched the opponent in the face with his left hand as he drew his weapon up for an attack with his right.

The assassin to Maklar’s right regained his stance and slashed at him simultaneously with the attacker in the center. Maklar held up his ax to block both attacks, and then pushed them back with a mighty heave. While they were falling backwards, he swung his ax from above his head with both hands straight onto the enemy to his left. The man tried to block the blow but Maklar was too powerful. The force of the ax broke the block attempt and hacked the man; he fell dead. Before the other assassins could muster an attack, Maklar swung his ax from his left toward the second man who managed to block the attack with his sword, but again the axman released the ax with his right hand and punched the assassin square in the face dropping him to the floor.

By now the third man had regained enough composure to resume attacking Maklar. His opponent attacked with fury, slashing and thrusting and he had Maklar on the defense. The axman blocked with his ax and dodged but he was moving backwards, something he did not want to do. Just as the attacker was getting the best of Maklar, Dusan rushed from around the bar wielding a meat cleaver and struck the assassin in the side. The man, surprised by the attack, quickly backhanded the boy in the face which sent him reeling backwards. It was enough of a distraction for Maklar to regain the initiative and he began to unleash heavy blows to his opponent. After three strikes, his enemy could not defend quickly enough and Maklar struck him in his side ending his life.

By this time, Taras and Wolski were too wounded to continue fighting and only Pazdan, Tyton and Rothan continued to resist the five remaining assassins. Maklar quickly struck one from behind before he knew he was in danger, and then struck another with the shaft of his ax, pushing him back. His enemy tried to regain his footing but was unable to do so before Maklar struck him with a fatal blow. Immediately, the axman drew his weapon from the fallen foe and spun around, his blade gaining momentum, and then landed a vicious blow to another attacker, dropping him immediately.

By now the remaining three men who were trying to get at the prince halted their attack to engage Maklar, but it was too late. Maklar the “madman” would not be stopped. His movements were fluid and powerful and he could not have been beaten. He swung his ax upward from the floor and struck the first enemy in the arm forcing him to drop his weapon and clutch his wounded appendage. Maklar kicked him to the side and attacked the second man. His enemy struck at him, slashing and thrusting, but he could not beat the axman, and shortly after they engaged, Maklar struck him in the face with the butt of his ax forcing him to fall backwards, but before he hit the ground Maklar’s ax was in his chest.

The last man took the opportunity created by the defeat of his companion to attack the madman wielding an ax. He struck Maklar in the side, but it did not stop him. Maklar turned to look into the eyes of his attacker, his own eyes burned. There was fear in his enemy. They considered each other for a moment. Everyone else in the room simply watched the two. Then Maklar dropped his ax to the floor, grabbed the man’s sword arm and his throat. He squeezed his throat and held his face only inches from his own. As he choked the life out of his enemy he thought of his friend Durbar and all of the injustice dealt him by Duke Orthan and now prince Warren. The final assassin dropped his sword to the ground and coughed his last words which were too garbled to understand. When it was finished, Maklar released him and he fell lifelessly to the ground.

The scene was gruesome. Maklar stood in the center of the inn with blood spattered all over him from his hair to his feet which were nearly stained black. He himself bled from his side, as did the other wounded men. Rothan, Pazdan and Tyton stood from behind the overturned table and stared at Maklar the madman for a minute. He had a smile on his face and crazed look I his eyes. Slowly, as he surveyed the room ad failed to find more enemies, the smile faded and his eyes returned to normal. They were shocked but relieved for his assistance.

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