My families revenge was on my mind as we rode past the gates to the tyrannical city Hortsher. The path was paved with bloodied stones from long fought battles, but the walls stood strong. The walls were formidable against even the most modern trebuchet, and I knew I needed to target the king from within.
We passed as soldiers trained, and blacksmiths hammered their steel weaponry. Pigs in pens of hay and mud lay along the path as we continued through the interior village. The tavern of rebels was ahead, as those that stood watch gave signals of recognition. A simple nod with the left thumb on the right cheek.
The plans were set in motion to take down the king who had destroyed so many families. The tyrant who destroyed only to destroy and show his power.
“What brings you to the tavern traveler?”
The code words were wrong. What has gone wrong with the plan? Why did he not say “What brings you here traveler?”
It must have been a signal that guards were on alert. I continued with the normal code phrase “Nay, just passing through, is this an open tavern?”
The man responded “You should be advised to take your plans elsewhere, we are not welcome to strangers now, it seems there have been plans to undermine the king, might you go down to the inn around the corner.”
At this point we knew that some of the rebels have been captured in our efforts. We turned the corner as the villagers peered through their shop windows. Suspicions were looming in the air, and we knew that those who lived here were mostly loyal.
We rode past beggars with dirtied faces, children running in the streets, and prostitutes with sly flirtatious grins. As we arrived at the inn I noticed our hand signal used by a woman in an alley. I followed her.
We were lead to a dark area below a city bridge where we could speak in private.
“Our initial plans have been compromised” she said, “we must act tonight.”
“Do we still have the element of surprise madam?”
“Yes, fortunately our rebels are still within the castle, the signals will be given within the hour to overthrow the king. The escape is no longer guaranteed as the preparers have been captured, but I understand that means nothing to you, and that you would still continue on with this mission.” she warned.
“You’re right, let’s move onward and get into position, are the rest of our people ready. We originally planned that my partner here continue into the castle for the assassination, but I would like him to take the role of helping the others escape, please let the others know.”
“Are you sure?”
“Then please get to the originally planned position within the sewers, someone will meet you there.” “Please come with me,” she said to my partner.
I left the alleyway as the moon began to rise, and lanterns became lit, visible through the village windows. The shadows of families against their walls reminded me of a time before the tyrant we called the king. My blood began to boil, but I remembered I must stay focused.
The guard at the side entry to the castle was one of ours, and stood as I led my horse to a wooded area behind the castle. He distracted the other nearby guard “Hail, how was your date with Mary Barrows?”
“Ahahahaha, twas quite festive, she has the energy of a horse on fire.”
They laughed together, as I slid past in the moonlight through a grate just below the main door. I could hear shouts, laughter, and drunken debauchery above me. It was time for this to end. At the end of this tunnel beneath the castle sat my disguise. I was to be a butcher alongside the chef who was part of this plan. Poison would not work as the chef was forced to taste every plate in front of the king before serving.
We were to continue with and enjoy the festivities throughout the evening. The attack would begin at half past midnight. Soldiers were distracted by the female rebels. They did their jobs wonderfully, flirting with the guards. I felt bad for them as they despised them as much as I despised the king.
The people within the castle were 5 to 1. At half past midnight the soldiers had become so drunk with wine and infatuation that they had retired to their chambers. The king did as well with his usual concubines, laughing their way up the stairs. I don’t know what happened within, but all we knew was that the women with them would be safe. The only concern was whether a few select guards, the chef, the jester, and I would be able to escape.
The chef and I proceeded up the stairs toward the kings chamber. Two guards had approached “You do not belong here.” The second guard grabbed a dagger and slit the others throat. It had begun.
The guard threw the body out the nearest window signaling those below that it was time. Only the outside guards would noticed, forcing them to rush inside. By the time they had entered the barred doors, the king would already be dead. Originally, the rebels focused on escape were supposed to set up ropes and bales of hay in multiple locations. This time we only had one that my partner would set up. The guards in chambers with the women were gradually awoken, but still in drunken stupor.
We reached the kings chamber.
“For all the families you’ve ruined.” I said as I pulled out my butchers cleaver and brought it across his head as he uttered a syllable “Wh….” interrupted by the sound of the cleaver.
do they escape? who knows….