[RP Episode] The Bloody Ballad


#161

Pushing his way through the snow drifts towards the darkened sentry post, Halatir peered into the darkness, holding his torch aloft. ”Xi-Wan?”


#162

Coming up to where Xi-Wan was supposed to be, there was a blood stain in the snow right below Halatir’s feet, and footsteps leading away from the spot, and in to the hall through the back door. Xi-Wan’s torch was now completely cold. There are blood drops following the footsteps inside and show the way over the wooden floor in the dark interior.


#163

There was a scraping sound, as Halatir slid his sword from his belt. Holding the blade in one hand and the torch in the other, he advanced slowly down the trail of blood, moving into the hall. All he could see was more blood, his eyes roving around the room in search of danger.


#164

There was nothing. The trail lead across the hall, past all the unoccupied wooden tables. As Halatir advanced, more of the room came in to view before him, the fireplace was dead cold, and a slight draft went through the door at Halatir’s back and up through the chimney. The blood vanished underneath a slightly hung open door at the far side of the hall, where stairs descended in to the cellar…


#165

Hesitating at the head of the statue, Halatir debated his options. He could either follow the trail while it was still warm, alone into the cellar, or he could retreat, find Liang and the others, and then scout out the building more throughly. He opted for a third option.

Moving quickly back to the hall door, and keeping a wary on on the inside of the building, he shouted again. ”Liang! Xi-Wan is gone! Come, quick!”


#166

‘‘What!?’’ he shouted back, and pushed through the unsavoury weather, came down the steps on the barrack’s side of the road, and crossed over to Halatir. ‘‘What do you mean ‘‘gone’’?’’


#167

”He was not at his post, his torch is out, and there is a trail of blood leading into the hall and down the cellar steps. If we wish to find him, alive, we have to move fast. Come!” He raced back into the hall.


#168

‘‘Blood?!’’ surged through Liang’s mind, and before he knew it, Halatir turned and raced off. Liang quickly came back to his senses and followed him.

The blood lessened considerably down the stairway and in to storage, meaning the bleeding lessened. In the cellar, there was a silhouette of an elf, their back turned towards Liang and Halatir, with a candle lit in front of them. They were doing something with their hands, interacting with their face in a panicked manner.


#169

With a rush of movement, Halatir placed himself opposite the elf, trapping him between himself and Liang. He hefted his torch higher, casting light on the elf’s face.


#170

‘‘Whoah!’’ panicked Xi-Wan, who had blood on his face and running down over his mouth, ‘‘What the-’’ he began abruptly turning around, realising that he had been cornered, ‘‘What are you two doing?!’’


#171

”Xi-Wan? Why have you abandoned your post?” said Halatir sternly. ”And why is there blood on your face?” he demanded, continuing with confusion. ”We thought you were attacked or injured.”


#172

‘‘What? No!’’ Xi-Wan replied, and held out a bloodied tissue towards Halatir, ‘‘My nose started bleeding.’’


#173

The white elf narrowed his eyes. “And this caused you to abandon your post? I don’t believe you. There is too much blood on the floor to come from a simple nosebleed.”


#174

‘‘It was a very bad nosebleed.’’ Xi-Wan argued, ‘‘Besides, there wasn’t that much blood. Just drops.’’
’‘What a waste of time…’’ Liang yawned, and in that moment, the door Halatir left opened upstairs slammed shut it was heard all the way downstairs, followed by swift footsteps overhead.


#175

The sentence in Halatir’s mouth died, as he froze, looking up at the ceiling. He unconsciously spun his sword blade around in a circle with his left hand, waiting.


#176

The footsteps didn’t descend down the stairs to the cellar, but vanished further up.


#177

Advancing up the stairs, Halatir peered around the hall, torch and sword in hand.


#178

Liang followed him up the stairs, while Xi-Wan remained downstairs, panicking. Two shadows moved up the stairs at the far end of the hall and on to the second floor, they were swift, they held themselves low, and they definitely weren’t one of their militia.


#179

”And who might you be?” asked Halatir warily. The torch illuminated the room, letting him see the features of the strangers. ”Who comes into this camp with stealth like a snake?”


#180

The two shadows moved off from the light, continuing along their path towards the stairway on the second floor that leads to the tower. Clearly enough, Halatir and Liang were not worthy of their attention, and were not in their way. However, once they reached the door to the tower, it was locked. Just as every other entrance to the hall, except for the rear, which Xi-Wan left unlocked.

Suddenly, the guards on the bottom floor gained significance…

The two shadows jumped over the railing right off of the second floor and expertly landed in the dining hall, in clear sight of Halatir and Liang. They were covered in cloth, which in turn was covered in snow. They drew their hooked blades and daggers, and glared at their new foe through their masks, which exposed only their eyes.

‘‘Surrender, and you don’t have to die. Yet…’’