The man scrambled into an alleyway with his hands and one good leg. The relentless pursuer followed him, deftly avoiding the sprawled figure of the woman and the light which poured out of the open doorway. Turning the corner, both saw the high walls close in on either side and in front of them. The man turned and picked up a heavy length of wood from the ground.
As her prey held the makeshift club in front of him, Shadow caught sight of the twisted wood and sharp splinters protruding from it. It was an evil-looking weapon. Shadow lifted the heavy sword and lowered its point towards the man. The two drew closer to each other. Shadow lifted her head to look into the eyes of her prey. The man saw his attacker who had been no more than a black shape until that moment.
His eyes took in the attractive figure, slim build and soft facial features. The man’s eyes were hooked, however, on the determined and pitiless expression which those features held. Her dark eyes held no promise of mercy. The clenched jaw and tight lips expressed more cruelty than words or weapons could deliver.
Caught in Shadow’s trap, stunned by the realisation that his assailant was a woman, the man’s surprise was an invitation for the bloody work to begin. The heavy sword cut through the air in front of his face. The air sang as it was parted by the blade. He pulled his head back and lifted the club to defend himself.
In Shadow’s hand, the sword spun and changed direction. The point darted downwards into the man’s exposed leg. A wet tearing noise followed and the sword passed through the limb before dancing upwards again. Dark rivers of blood ran down the blade. A red mist and heavy dark drops sprayed across Shadow’s cloak. The man swung the club wildly at her, teeth clenched against the pain.
She swung her arm downwards and the sword followed it. The man’s forearm was cut through to the bone. Blood flowed heavier than before from the open red gash and his strength failed. His head tilted backwards, exposing his neck. The sword was pushed into the throat and pulled back in an instant. A dark waterfall fell down the broad chest.
Shadow did not linger with her victim any longer than the time it took to watch the life drain from him. She made her way to the Temple District through the bitterly cold wind. The rain had stopped. In the darkness of that black night nobody saw the dark shape passing along deserted streets. The wind stung her eyes as it hadn’t done before the excitement of the hunt had passed. She shivered as the cold wind penetrated her light cloak, now soaked with rain and blood.
Pillars of marble and polished stone rose up on either side of the wide road. A steep cobbled alleyway led uphill and she turned off onto it. Shadow knocked on a heavy wooden door reinforced with iron bars. It opened to reveal an emaciated old man. The doorman took the soldier’s sword from her. In Shadow’s private chamber she removed the black cloak. A broad red stain had spread across the front of her white tunic. She tore it off and searched anxiously for a wound. There was none, the blood was her victim’s. Relieved, she fell on the bed and into a deep sleep.
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