When Jack and Pete saw her coming down the corridor, they made a ruckus about how she could go out alone at night, which got even worse when she told them she wanted to visit the dungeon. Jack shivered by the thought of what that torturer-dungeon-master could have done to her. But since it was late already, they didn't scold her for too long and let her inside.
Hazel had fallen asleep in a chair next to the window. She must have waited for her to come back till her eyes closed on their own. It couldn't be comfortable with the hard lean and the cold air coming in through the open window.
A warm smile spread on Katherine's face. Silently, she went to the window and closed it before spreading a blanket over the sleeping girl. The bun on Hazel's head loosened and a few strands of red hair fell into her face. Carefully, Katherine pushed them behind the girl's ear. This girl really was like the little sister she always wanted.
With a small sigh, she changed into something more comfortable, and went to bed.
Nathaniel looked over the fields silently. They were glistening with drew in the morning sun like thousands of little diamonds were thrown over them. Of course, there was nothing this rich around here. Only the wheat, barley, and potatoes, the livelihood of regular people. He would need to reimburse them after this. But better their food than their lives.
From where he stood, Nathaniel could see all the way to the village on the edge of the forest. It was an unusual view without the hustle and bustle of the villagers. Just the houses, the muddy streets, and one or two hens picking on the ground. They would run as soon as the noticed something strange, and even if not, it wasn't his problem. The villagers should have brought with them what they needed and the things that was left behind... could possibly be destroyed.
Everything was ready. Only the enemy was missing. The sun very slowly traveled up in the sky. Nathaniel didn't move. His breathing even, the hands in his pockets, and eyes transfixed on the forest, he waited. Now and then a breeze would ruffle through his white hair, but most of the time he looked just like a gorgeous black-clothed stature. The stature of a lonely demon lord.
There was nobody near him, even Sam was forbidden to come, though the old man was not too far away. He was hiding where he could see his lord as a tiny figure in the distance and paced up and down nervously. He kept telling himself that he was still near enough to safe his lord if something went wrong. Nonetheless, deep in his heart he knew that there was nobody who could safe Nathaniel then. He could only safe himself. After all, even that girl could only cope with the after-mess, not the real thing.
Before the sun could reach the central position, there was movement in the forest. Nathaniel's eyes sharpened.
In a matter of seconds, the village was surrounded by soldiers in green uniform, blocking every escape route. On a command, they stormed inside and with that startled the hens that ran away in shock, cackling loudly. It took the attackers not long to realize that the village was empty. The leader again screamed a command, obviously angry.
A small smile formed on Nathaniel's lips, sharp like the edge of a sword. The commander must have noticed by now that their plan had been leaked. He sounded furious. Now they are like startled chicken themselves, Nathaniel thought humorously.
But when his eyes swept over the forest again, they turned serious. The whole forest seemed to move, as more and more soldiers left it's shadow. From the left end of Nathaniel's vision to the right - everywhere new soldiers popped out of the ground and formed into platoons, battalions, regiments rapidly. He didn't bother counting them.
The forming army didn't notice him, or maybe they did but didn't bother with a single person standing amidst the fields. What was one compared to ten thousand? Compared to hundred thousands? He was nothing, a speck of dust they could blow away. And as the Iceland's side already seemed to know about their movements, a scout wouldn't make much difference. Because they could only make out his figure in the distance, some of them even thought he was nothing but a scarecrow guarding the fields.
When they were all in order, the third command rang through the air, making them straighten and starting to march. They didn't use the small path between the fields, as it would only let two of them walk side by side. Instead, they trampled though and over the wheat and potato plants, each person stomping it deeper into the ground, till even street kids would think twice before eating it. Like this, the army marched forward.
When they where within arrows reach, they didn't stop to ask who this dumb person was that stood in their way. Instead, bowstrings whirred and arrows flew through the air, their sharp heads pointed at Nathaniel's heart and face.
The devil smirked. Watching death flying towards him, he just stood there in his dark attire, the red eyes glowing dangerously. Cold air excluded from him. Then, he leisurely raised a hand and waved at his enemies.
In that instant, as if they had waited for his command, shadows shot out of the fields, too fast for the eyes to see, and washed over the arrows before vanishing again. Some soldiers nearly stumbled when they saw that. Damn! Are they human? How could any human be that fast?! It didn't look like a person though... What the hell was that?!
Before they could wonder about it any further, they noticed that the arrows had deviated from their path, hitting the earth all around that mysterious person.
Sam in the distance held his breath, but when none of the arrows hit the lonely figure, he breathed a sigh of release, and wiped the sweat on his forehead with a white handkerchief. This boy, always making him worry! And the fight hadn't even started yet!
The last arrow hit the earth next to the earl's feet, still trembling with the force of the bow. The feathers on one side were missing, and so was half of the shaft. It was not a clean cut, instead the side was riddled with strange holes.
The earl looked down at it shortly, before lifting his gaze again to the army that was nearing him at a fast pace. Two-thirds of them were already on the fields.
The soldiers couldn't believe that none of the archers hit the target and issued another firing order.
Again, arrows flew and missed. The soldiers in the front row slowed down. What were those dark shadows? Was the person protected by some special unit? Or... magic?
All hairs on their body stood straight. A mage was the worst opponent to fight.
A normal soldier might be used to the feeling of death in their neck, but the front rows were by tradition reserved for the newbies to not let veteran soldiers die needlessly. Those newbie soldiers now where shivering in fear of whatever was hiding there in the wheat.
They didn't even know what to hope for. If those were powerful assassins, how much of a chance did they have to win against them? However, if it was a single mage, it was just as bad. After all, every mage had unknown abilities that could kill even experienced soldiers. Fearing their imminent death, their steps got smaller. But the thought of the comrades behind them made them feel enough courage to walk forward regardless.