“Its important, you must come!” interjected Raven, before Ohris had a chance to answer.
“I agree, I’m worried Ohris, I heard the Masters talking, they have plans for us, and I can’t imagine they are good for us.” Adroit calmly stated.
“Alright, alright I’ll come, but for now I have my last advanced combat lesson with the Bloodied” Ohris replied with an audible level of contempt.
The Bloodied was a monstrous man, notoriously know to have endlessly committed vile acts for the lords of the Houses that any sane man would have refused. He was a remarkably skilled combatant, undefeated from a young age. He towered over most men, the majority of his face hidden behind a mane of black matted hair and a mask of a fully grown entangled facial hair accompanied by web of scars. A fearsome sight for anyone, especially a child. He had been travelling the country in search of work after slaying the newborn twins of Lord Gost from House Bask under the order of Lady Unna from the House Redrock. Unfortunately for the orphans of Black Wood the Masters desired the services of such a remarkably skilled combatant and had hired him to assist in a level of combat training unseen at the orphanage for some time.
Ohris had left the great hall and preceded left through a small door hanging desperately to its hinges, he continued down the dark corridor, the floor was littered with the remnants of what was once a dark velvet red carpet that had been worn and withered to its current state of disrepair. The floorboards wearily creaked as if they were unhappy someone was calling them into action. Ohris was accustomed to the complaints of the old orphanage, his legs lead him through the twists and turns of the aging building without a thought until he emerged into the light of a pale morning. Before him lay a small square field, at the far end stood the Bloodied and his four assistants. These assistants were old companions of the Bloodied, men who had at times fought by his side.
As Ohris approached the low voice of the Bloodied boomed “you’re late”.
“Fractionally” Ohris murmured.
The Bloodied looked over the boy disapprovingly, a turn of irony Ohris thought to himself, “Your task is to defend yourself against these four, succeed and you will have passed your training.”
“Very well” Ohris replied coldly, he walked over to the side of the field picking the wooden practice sword he had always favored before taking his place in the center of the four assistants and adopting a stance he deemed appropriate. Holding the blade in his left hand he it raised above his head, placing his left foot behind the right allowing his weight to rest predominantly on the left, compressing it like a spring readying himself for the battle to come. For the first ten minutes no one moved, Ohris had decided to react rather than engage, he was surrounded and outnumbered, throwing himself at his opponents would only spell disaster.
Patience was not a virtue possessed by the first two who made their move. From opposing corners two assistants rushed forward sprinting toward Ohris. Ohris seemed unfazed by their charge unnerving the assistant approach his front, this assistant made his first and only mistake, hesitating within striking range, Ohris seized the opportunity with dizzying speed. He launched his attack unleashing the force held within his left leg. He spun around bringing his blade down in an arch crashing into the knee of the assistant bringing him to the ground in a wave of agony. Ohris continued through one swift movement stepping behind his incapacitate opponent turning to his right, he effortless removed the crippled assistants training blade and threw it with expert precision, the blade connecting with the neck of the second assistant who collapsed were he stood.
The other two assistants were stunned, unsure of what to do next, they had just witnessed two seasoned warriors disarmed and disabled by a sixteen year old orphan. Ohris, not one to pass up opportunity capitalized on their confusion. He bore down on the remaining assistants, closing the distance between them rapidly, he slid the last few remaining feet, unleashing his left arm he drove his blade into the stomach of the first assistant, rolling over his back landing in a crouch, spinning the blade before thrusting it behind him into the second. With the blade still facing down in his grip Ohris took a step forward rising as he did striking the first assistant in the jaw, throwing him onto his back. With a sense of finality he turned behind him to face the last of the Bloodied’s companions bringing the practice blade to bear on his neck. As the dust settled Ohris remained the only man standing, dispatching his foes in a flurry of strikes lasting a matter of moments. The occupants of the field remained silent as the minutes passed, Ohris had not moved, starring quietly at the ground before him, reflecting and contemplating his every action. The Bloodied’s mouth began to move, before it was able to form a word Ohris threw down his sword, turned away and walked towards the orphanage.
“I assumed I passed” he shouted back without so much as turning his head.
The Bloodied’s blood boiled, insulted to the point of humiliation by a mere boy. Surprisingly, and entirely out of character, the Bloodied kept his rage in check, after all he would not receive his payment if he struck the boy down.
As Ohris arrived back at the orphanage Bison was waiting for him. A boy of small stature, Bison held a stout physique due mainly to the fact the masters of Black wood had deemed him talented in the manipulation of metal and had sent him to the orphanage’s forge shortly after he arrived. Bison was rare, at least in the eyes of his friends and the other orphans, he had fleeting memories of his parents, arriving at the orphanage shortly after his third birthday. His parents had died in the siege of castle he did not know, nor could he recall the name of it or its whereabouts, he had been sent to Black wood as no one had come to claim him.
“Everything is ready for tonight!” he exclaimed enthusiastically, obviously excited by the prospect of escape.
“Not so loudly” Ohris barked back, “do you want the masters to catch wind of it?”
To the orphans surprise Master Crothos answered in Bison’s stead, he had obviously been expecting Ohris’s imminent return, “catch wind of what?” his voice pierced the air, as if his very words were daggers trying to penetrate their secret.
Bison began to tremble, but Ohris remained calm, he was constantly dealing with the masters in one way or another, this encounter was nothing new to him.
Ohris once more was faced with a choice, allowing him to take his destiny into his own hands, will he tell the Crothos of the planned meeting, betraying his friends in return for favor with the Master? Or will he do what he can to mislead and trick the Master, protecting himself, his friends and the meeting? Vote below in the comments to decide.