Shadows of the Enlightened

Valcrest

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a part of Shadows of the Enlightened, by Blackbird26.

Anywhere outside the cities and camp (This was supposed to be default location)

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Setting

The land of Valcrest currently consists on the cities of Newhaven and Blackpond. Almost every piece of land that doesn't belong to any of the cities is mainly forest.
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Valcrest

Anywhere outside the cities and camp (This was supposed to be default location)

Minimap

Valcrest is a part of Shadows of the Enlightened.

3 Places in Valcrest:

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Theron [1] "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

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Character Portrait: Theron

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#, as written by Sibrand
Destruction, agony and aggression. These were just a few of many feelings this lone wanderer would feel, see and understand after the last piece of life would leave his body in the moment of truth. But this was not his moment, no. This was the moment of these three filthy monsters in front of him. Would they survive his ambush? Would they survive his arrows of death? Would they survive the "Shadow Hunter"? If they would, then it was truly their moment of truth and they would have be known as the slayer of the one last thing that has kept the assassins on their toes for so many years. He didn't do it for the people of Valcrest for he knew that most people deserved death for their actions. He did it out of vengeance. They had taken everything away from him and now he would do the same to them. He would not stop until the leader of their wretched clan was begging in front of his feet for mercy. Only then would he stop all this killing, only then would the world have peace.

His prey was now in position. The moment of Truth was upon them. He took the shot.


--

Last night had just been like any other night. Three more assassins was dead and the man who had killed them was now heading for Newhaven, a city of fancy fools in his own opinion. The only thing that separated the people of Newhaven and Blackpond in his opinion was that the people of Blackpond was poor fools while the people of Newhaven was fancy fools. Nevertheless, He had no time to help this war come to a closure just yet. First he had to take out "The WolfPack"; the clan of assassins in Valcrest.

The man made his way into a cave nearby with firm foot steps after been walking through the forest the entire night without any kind of sleep. He immediately picked up that horrible smell that inhabited this cave. You see, the cave lead down into the Newhaven sewers where the man could easily get into the city without having his weapons and equipments taken into custody by the city guards.
Soon enough he reached a small hole by the end of the cave and after climbing through that he found himself standing in dirt up to his knees. Just a regular day for the man. He had done this too many times before and so he knew the quickest path to his destination by now. The smell had been a hugh problem at first but now he was getting used to it and he knew that once he reached Newhaven he would miss it, but only a little bit.

Then finally he reached the wall where he had painted a small red "X". He swiftly tried to get his trousers clean again before moving into a unusual stance, facing the wall with the red "X". His right right arm was hanging above his head while his left arm was below his waist. He focused and then he pulled the right arm down and the left arm up. The wall moved swiftly down into the ground, revealing a narrow alleyway that lead into a much larger street. He was now in Newhaven.


--

"Theron! So good to see you!" The young shopkeeper almost yelled in joy as the man entered the shop filled with scrolls and birds. "I see you're still alive. What can I do for a humble man as yourself?"

Theron looked up at the shopkeeper and gave him a small smile. "Ezio, my old friend. I have a package for one of your birds to deliver."

Ezio's smile grew slim as he heard his old friends request. He moved out from his shop, looked around quickly before he closed the door and locked it. Then he moved up to one of the many cages and pulled out a black hawk. Then turning to face Theron he asked his usual question.

"To the same location?"

Theron only nodded to this and handed Ezio the small package which contained the fingers of the three assassins he had killed before. The leader of the WolfPack would recognize them because of the rings they wore. This was the one thing he had always done; Killed one or more assassins, found the finger with the ring and cut it off. After that he would travel back to Newhaven and send them to the assassins camp which he knew where it lied. He couldn't attack the camp just yet because he had to weaken them first and then create a distraction so he could easily take them by surprise. There was still much to do but while he waited he could keep on sending the leader her assassins back in peices.

Theron was about to leave the shop when he was stopped by Ezio's next words.

"You saw the large bounty the king has placed on any information about the location of the WolfPack's camp. I don't know if I can afford to pass up on this opportunity Theron."

The man stood still. Was it going to be betrayal after everything he's done for Ezio? Was that how he repaid him? With disloyalty? Theron faced Ezio and gave him a disappointing look. Ezio didn't look at Theron because he was ashamed that he had even brought it up, but he had to say something.

"You know how important this is. You cannot do this. I'm so close!" Theron said with a firm tone. Ezio didn't say a word and returned to his duties in the shop. Theron let out a heavy sigh. Even though Ezio was his friend and almost even a brother to him he couldn't afford loose ends at this point in the plan.
With that he quickly pulled out his crossbow and placed an arrow in Ezio's throat. The man gave away a faint sound that would have been a scream if the arrow had not penetrated his throat before falling to the ground, dead. After that Theron picked up the hawk from the counter, attached the small package to it's left leg and then after walking out he whispered something in it's ear before he threw it up in the air.

With a face expression of heavy sorrow he watched the hawk grow smaller in the sky before it disappeared amongst the clouds. This was another death he blamed on the WolfPack for their actions. He would make them pay. Walking back to the alleyway where his secret entrance lied he thought about what he had written in the letter that came with the package.


"You cannot protect them forever. Soon enough they will know of me and then there will be hell on earth for you.

- Shadow Hunter."

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#, as written by Sibrand
The lake was still and undisturbed while the girl just sat there, doing nothing. Maybe she was deep in her thoughts but that was not why he was watching her. Theron had scouted around the assassin encampment for a couple of minutes now and discovered that there was almost no scouts out in the forest. They were in a Lockdown. This would also explain why his contact had not meet him in Blackpond to deliver him some news. She was too afraid to try and sneak out from the camp during a lockdown.

"Pathetic child." Theron had thought before making his way away from the camp. Earlier the Black hawk had returned with a message from Daniela, the leader of the Wolfpack. She wanted to meet him in a certain location outside Newhaven around dusk. He had plenty of time until he had to meet up with her so he decided to sneak around their camp for a couple of minutes. There was some commotion amongst several assassins but nothing that was too important to dismiss. He was just about to leave when he saw one of the male assassins walk out from the camp, heading towards the lake. Theron followed the man with great interest, not letting him get out of the hunters sight.

The man had lead him to the lake where a girl had been sitting quietly for herself. The hunters eyes was now fixed at her. There was something odd about her that he just couldn't point out. Now he could clearly hear what the male said and this was actually interesting news to Theron. Dani was letting this guy and this girl out on a mission during a lockdown? Must be something important... But never the less, nothing was more important than the meeting with Dani. Who knows what she might want with him?

With that, Theron left the girl and the male assassins at the lake and made his way towards the location of the meeting. At least he could set out a couple of traps if she were to attack him on sight or during the meeting.

--

The sun was growing ever smaller in the horizon and Theron stood unaffected between two trees at the meeting spot. It wasn't too far away from the spot where he had killed the three assassins a couple of nights ago. All he had to do now was to wait for Daniela to arrive.

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#, as written by Sibrand
The dying sun in the horizon threw long and thick sun streams between the ground where the leader of the Wolfpack stood and the last survivor of the Wolf Hunters stood, gazing upon each other. They've been enemies for centuries and still there was something that kept Theron from attacking Dani on sight. She looked almost the same as the night he had murdered her innocent sister in panic of being discovered. It was not one of his most proud achievements but at that very moment he had no choice but to silence her. The assassin before him stopped almost where he had predicted that she would stop. He had hunted them for so long and they were getting easy to read and understand at this point. And with that knowledge comes the ability to swiftly kill them as well, if you might wish that. Dani looked confident, she surely thought that it didn't matter if he would attack her because she could take him down too.

Theron cracked a smile and the sun was almost down now, throwing it's last desperate streams of light at the earth before them.

"It's been quite some time, hasn't it?" Dani said. Theron wasn't caught off guard yet he was surprised that she had chosen to be polite, ell at least for the time being. He was just about to answer when a small shadow moved in his eye sight and it was not Dani moving. The shadow moved up a tree and there it remained. He could easily have been fooled that it was an animal, the shadow had been nimble and elegant yet still clumsy enough to be recognized as another assassin. Therons smile grew larger. Was this part of Dani's plan to finally get rid of him? No, she would probably not deprive herself of her own moment of truth. Then why had this assassin joined their little meeting? Only time would tell.

"Indeed." He replied shortly and threw a quick look up at the tree where the other assassin sat. Hopefully she would now know that he knew of her presence. Returning his eyes to Dani, he continued. "I believe that there was something you wished to speak with me about?"

Therons voice and eyes remained cold as ice for the time being.

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Allison nodded taking the bag Evin had dropped on the floor. She had barely slept, but it didn't matter now. She was wide awake as if she had been resting for days. As they made their way out she made sure to follow Evin, since he hadn't yet said what they were doing, or where they were going. As she passed the two guards she raised her eyes to the male guard and said in serious tone. "I heard what you said. For your sake, I better not hear it ever again."

She passed not leaving the man a chance to reply. She knew he would make excuses, and it didn't matter. Allison never disrespected a superior, and she wouldn't let anyone do the same in front of her.
When they were, out of hearing range, almost, she heard the man comment to his partner. "What a psycho."
Allison smiled, her hand holding the grip of her bow tightly. Crys wouldn't like her to do this, but she stopped, turned, knocked an arrow, and fired in the direction of the male guard. The arrow landed inches away from his head.

She turned her back at the guards, smiling. And as they stood further away from the Pack's territory, she finally broke her silence towards Evin. "So, what is this about?"

-----------------------

Dani flinched as she heard something move behind her. Something fast and agile, still... Too noisy to be an animal. A slightly discontent expression spread across her face for a split second, considering the possibility one of her own had followed her. Allison and Evin were in an assignment, Crys would know better... There was only one other person foolish enough to take such risk.

She thought it would be best to ignore the intruder, since Theron seemed to be doing just that. Dani didn't want to be accused of being dishonest, since she had given her word that she would come alone. She could be many things, but she was never a liar.

She nodded answering Theron's question. "You know what bothers me about hunters? You are all hypocrites. You judge us as being monsters, still... No one under the command of my family as ever hurt a child, can you say the same for yourself?" She crossed her arms in front of her chest and smiled, getting to question at hand, she was in a hurry to leave and do something about that dumb child the had followed her. "You dared my men to demand the truth from me, what do you know of the truth yourself? You know how your father was killed, have you bothered to ask yourself why he was killed? You should know by now that we are hired assassins... There's always a reason why we kill people, even if we don't usually bother to know it."
She added the last sentence lowering her arms near her weapons, as she expected a reaction. "I am sorry to inform you... Your father was not the respectful man he appeared to be. He was quite a rat, in my personal opinion."

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#, as written by Sibrand
The sun was now dead and the night rested heavily upon them. Theron stood still at the same point he had been standing for the entire conversation. There had been a small yet uncomfortable silence between them before Dani had spoken once more.

"You know what bothers me about hunters? You are all hypocrites. You judge us as being monsters, still... No one under the command of my family as ever hurt a child, can you say the same for yourself?" Dani said. Theron didn't move, he remained still knowing that what he had done that night had been nothing but justice for his fathers death. Dani continued to speak.

"You dared my men to demand the truth for me, what do you know of the truth yourself? You know how your father was killed, have you bothered to ask yourself why he was killed? You should know by now that we are hired assassins... There's always a reason why we kill people, even if we don't usually bother to know it."

The hunters fist clenched with violence behind his back. If she so much as spoke ill of his father he would not care about his so called moment of truth anymore. Daniela's hands grew closer to her weapons and then the sentence which changed everything came.

"I am sorry to inform you... Your father was not the respectful man he appeared to be. He was quite a rat, in my personal opinion."

The split-second after that wretched fool had uttered "opinion" Theron's rage took a hold of him. What seemed like a blur to the assassins was actually Theron cutting of two small ropes that had been concealed close to his feet before he swiftly threw himself to the ground, rolled and pulled the trigger on his crossbow, sending a quick and perfectly aimed arrow towards the assassin in the tree. If that didn't hit the sneaky little thing in a blind spot then he would be surprised. The ropes he had cut of in an amazingly swift move unleashed three bear traps, sending them towards Dani's position from three different places. He was sure that it would not kill her but not even the hunter himself was quick enough to destroy all three bear traps before they reached him. If she would not die, then she would surely be severely damaged.

There was not a second to spare and Theron took advantage of every single one he was given. As a final he threw a smoke bomb into the ground and once the smoke had disappeared he was gone as well.


--
4 hours later, in Newhaven
--

Scroll after scroll, they were all teared down from the wall. The keeper of the vault lied dead a couple of meters away from where Theron was now insanely tearing through scrolls to find a city record about his father. That scroll would give him all the reports and information he wanted about his father. It could not be true what Dani had told him. His father had never treated him badly, hell he raised him to be a good man, a decent law following man. The only reason he became the man he is today is because of those wretched assassins. He would have his revenge soon enough but first there was things to do.
With nothing else on his mind but finding the truth he kept on searching.

After many screams of anger and frustration he finally found the scroll he had been looking for. It had been buried deep down below a Hugh pile of scrolls about the history of Valcrest. His eyes landed on the old words on the scroll and they kept on moving all through to the end of the scroll. After that he dropped the parchment of paper in his hand and feel to both of his knees. How could it be true? How could his father had done this to Valcrest, to all those people and most important of them all; why did he do it to him?

Several flashbacks flew through his mind. His 16th birthday when he had asked to tag along with his father to Blackpond, the joyful moment before everything crashed down before his eyes. His father lied in a blood pool and there was nothing he could do. In front of him he now saw all of his old Hunt comrades. Sarah, Johanna, Gerald, Kyle and Sebastian. All but one of them was covered in black blood where they lied on the ground surrounded by dead people wearing assassin robes of highest grade. And then came almost all the faces of his victims over the years of hunting. The old woman, the twin brothers, Dani's sister, the group of men and woman patrolling in the woods.

His thoughts about the Pack, his judgement and his actions had all been tainted by lies, lies told to him by his own father and kinsmen. He was a broken man without a destination. He felt ease in his heart as he forgave the Wolfpack for each second he remained sitting on the ground. He had no choice, he would have to face judgement and justice for his crimes against a group of people who had done him nothing wrong. With that he rose up from his sitting position and began to make his way back to the Wolfpack's camp.

The scroll that he had learned the truth from rolled into the pool of blood from the keeper and was for ever destroyed. In it Theron had discovered that his father had been smuggling food and weapons from Newhaven to Blackpond. He had been one of many sources to fuel the war and take advantage of all that death. His death had saved thousands of other lives and this, this was justice.

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Dani expected Theron to move towards her. Since he didn't, she move from where she was standing as fast as she could not waiting to see what he would do next. Not fast enough, she felt something pierce through the armor plates at her leg, she didn't stop to see until she noticed he had gone. She sat on the ground under the tree Takei had been hiding on. A bear trap had caught her leg, but no serious damage had been done due to the metal armor. She laughed. "Bastian... God bless your paranoia." She released the trap and removed the armor plate to see the puncture wounds had no gone too deep, she took a deep breath.

Had Theron stayed, and had she willed it, she could have killed him. Maybe she wouldn't have survived doing so, but she could do it. Still... She had hopes that her message had gotten through to him. She remembered clearly, soon after Bastian arrived, he mentioned that he was shocked that she hadn't shot him in the back. He said he knew he is on the wrong side, because he would have done it for sure. She hoped Theron would open his eyes, she didn't want to kill him, mostly... She didn't want Crys to feel what she had felt in the past...

She couldn't stay there much longer, she needed to go home, and wait for the hunter's next move. She smiled at the night air and called into the silence, a serious tone in her voice. "Takei Chu. If you are not dead, you are in one huge deal of trouble right now!"

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A few hours had passed since they had left the camp. The woods all looked the same, but to Evin, each individual tree was a marker to where he was. Certain patterns in the very wrinkles of the tree gave an exact position of he was in. He had been through these woods so much that he thought it would be dire to know everything about them. During his missions he had time to study the details and moss on every tree. After a while, he started taking notes on the trees so he could have a written reference to it. Then he slowly memorized it and created a complex map that had every single tree and it's exact location. Although the map wasn't to scale, he knew exactly the distances from certain land marks. After a good ten years of careful study, he could navigate through the woods without even thinking about it.
Two hours distance was far enough for him to start explaining the mission. He had taken time to make sure he wasn't being followed by anyone and even if someone was and he missed it, he had set up a few traps very inconspicuously as he was walking. He was sure that no one would be able to have followed them. It was time to explain.
"I would scorn you for not asking questions, but what you did back at camp with that arrow impressed me. Now, I would like you to be a little more curious for now on. That is why I picked you for the mission." He looked at Allison and smiled, "Now that we are far enough out, I guess I should tell you what our mission is. But first I think you should know the history that has lead up to this mission."
"You see, several years ago, probably before you were born, a friend of mine and I were out on a mission. His name was Parry and he was the only person in the camp I really felt close to. The mission was to assassinate a young merchant man, but that doesn't really matter. While on the mission, we found the camp of a certain man in the forest. This man's name was Theron. I'm sure you have herd of the name."
"Parry wanted to stop our mission all together in order to kill him, but I knew that this was not a good idea. We didn't have any backup for such a high level threat and we were specifically told not to get sidetracked on this mission. Of course, Perry didn't listen to me and he made his attack, but it went horribly wrong. It turned out that Theron was aware of Perry and I. He attacked us without remorse. I knew that if we didn't get out of there, we would die. I created a diversion, though it didn't quite work. My diversion distracted Perry as well, but by this time, I was long gone. I don't quite know what happened to him, but I have herd rumors that he is still alive. While on missions, I had discovered that Theron never got hold of the ring that Perry had. Basically, we need to find Theron before he is found and killed by Dani. He is the only one who knows what happened that day. I know that he does go to Newhaven often. Hopefully we can intercept him there. Do you have any questions?"

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Allison shivered slightly in fear, not to hear the Shadow Hunter's name, but to hear where they were going. It only lasted a second though, and she hoped it would go unnoticed. She tried to remember Dani's words exactly... She smiled quietly. She didn't quite see how Dani would have authorized them to go after someone she said she would deal with herself. She wondered how Evin had managed to get her permission to go on an assignment without telling her what it was... That was quite impressive, coming to think of it. Still she had understood it perfectly, so she had no questions. "No, no questions."

She didn't speak as they made their way to the city. It was quite obvious to her that it would be more tricky to catch the hunter alive than it would be to kill him. Ali had no hopes to approach him peacefully, she knew he would easily identify them as assassins, or in the very least... He would recognize Evin.

Sneaking into Newhaven was a rather easy task if you knew where to go. Being in the Wolfpack, you would have to. The tricky part was not to draw the attention of the many soldiers roaming the streets at all times. No matter how much Ali hated the city, she had to admit, their leader did a good job in keeping it safe. Except for the soldiers, the streets were very much empty, so they made their way straight to the safety of the Inn. Allison smiled as she saw a familiar face behind the counter. The boy working there looked at her slightly shocked. "Allison? You here?"
She sat in front of the counter and nodded. "Yes, Justin. So, any important news?"
The boy shrugged. "It's been rather quiet actually. Except for the little stunt the Shadow Hunter pulled in Blackpond earlier today. You guys heard?"
Allison nodded. "No, was anyone hurt?"
Justin laughed. "No, not like that at all. He paid this kid to go into the Inn and make threats. Bastian was there, he didn't seem happy about it at all for what I heard. Specially since the boy mentioned Dani's name."

Allison looked at her friend in a shock. No one outside the clan should know the name of their leader... Who the hell was this Hunter? "What did he say about Dani?"
Justin hesitated before answering. "He said... He told the messengers there to ask Dani for the truth."

Allison laughed. "The truth... Right."

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"Takei Chu. If you are not dead, you are in one huge deal of trouble right now!" Dani River's voice called out to her in the dark.
She groaned in agony of being found out, after bandaging her arm she waited a few seconds then crouched into her previous position.
Again she counted and swung back on the branch, her good hand grabbed the thick wood and she twisted her body so that she was only being suspended by her hand. Forward then back, she swung slowly timing it out so that she didn't land on a branch. One swing forward then she let go, free-falling passing thin branches that marked her cheeks in white.
A perfect landing on her two feet she got up and walked to Dani masking the flinches of the quick shots of pain. Inhale then Exhale it was alll that her mind could function on besides walking. When she looked up at Dani's face it looked angry and then there was a flash of another emotion she didn't recognize.
"Do you realize in how much damage you could have been in?! You left camp grounds then proceeded to follow me this far, I could take you back right now and name you as a traitor." Dani walked in a steady pace towards camp without glancing back at Takei.
"There's no reason to label me a Kei in any time soon, I was more than an earshot away and you know it." Takei knew it wasn't right to argue but she didn't want to be judged by false details.
Dani nodded her head in agreement to her statement but her tone was stern, "You have been an Active for more than a few years and the missions we've tested you on showed us your loyalty. I believe that you won't be a traitor but you will still get punishment. You will not be allowed out for the night until sunrise, then I will assign you a mission. I'll send you to follow a certain person's trail, track him then come back."
Takei agreed with this then asked, "My wound? Will I be able to carry weapons and the person I saw before?"
Dani paused shortly then continued, they were almost at camp, "You'll only have a scroll and ink, as for your wounds tend it with herbs."
They walked in silence, she noticed Dani hadn't answered her question.

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Newhaven Inn

Allison smiled when Evin said she could kill Theron. But the smile disappeared when he mentioned sleep. She hadn't slept in quite some time, and that was sure to affect her, if it wasn't affecting her judgement already. She simply nodded and let him leave for his room.

She sat where she was for some time, checking that the bleeding in her hand had stopped. She removed the, now bloody, rag, and pulled a black sash from her bag. She bandaged her hand with the black sash and sighed, considering going off to bed, even if it was just to stare at ceiling. "Justin... Do you think you can get me some tea?"
The boy nodded. The Inn was now empty except for people in their rooms, so Justin had been just sitting there. "Sure thing!"
Ali smirked at the way he jumped up from his seat to go heat up water. Boys were so obvious sometimes...
She laid her head on the counter, only for a second, and felt her eyes closing. She felt ashamed of her lack of self control, as she usually did. Little by little, words started running through her head... Distant memories. Unpleasant ones. Memories of fire, and screaming women and children.

All of a sudden she was startled by a loud sound, which in reality was only Justin resting a cup of tea on top of the counter.
She raised her head and forced a smile. "Thanks"
Justin sat back in the wooden stool across the counter, he had a worried look in his eyes. She really hated that look. "Is everything alright with you?"

She chuckled, and took a sip of the tea. "For the sake of your sanity... Never ask me that. I just might answer."
"I really want to know." He hesitated, but then landed his hand on top of hers.
Ali wasn't really expecting that, so she flinched before pulling her hand away. Other than that, she ignored the gesture completely, and nodded. "No. I'm not alright."
She finished her tea without explaining anything further. The last thing she wanted right now was to talk about this. She paid for the cup of tea, knowing she wasn't really expected to, and went off to bed. It wouldn't be long until morning came. She did have to try and sleep.

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Allison had followed Theron out of Newhaven. They weren't stopped by anyone. Being in the forest already made her feel a lot better, as if she was finally breathing fresh air. Her mind started to clear as well as she recalled Theron's words to Crys. She looked at him with the corner of her eyes... Not pleased with the idea of seeing him killed in front of her eyes once they reached camp. If it was Dani's will... She could do nothing about it, that didn't make it any better.

She broke out of her thoughts with Vilen asking her what he missed. She didn't answer him until he mentioned Theron. She finished his sentence for him. "He is the Shadow Hunter. Or was. I'm not so sure anymore." She smiled at him and added. "Worry about Dani, not him." She remembered the first time she had to face Dani on account of breaking rules. It was not fun at all. "She will probably make you wish you stayed in bed."

All of a sudden she stopped when seeing blood around the trail they were walking. She frowned for a second looking at it, but dismissed it, running to catch up with the others. That could be from a dead animal, didn't mean anything. She sighed walking next to Vilen and going back to his first question. "You missed... Evin and I went to see a friend of his. We found her dead, and the killer was still inside. Which is strange... He, I'm assuming it's a he for the height, threw a smoke bomb and ran. Why not just kill Evin too? I was hiding in the roof so I don't think he saw me, but... I don't know. It's just weird anyway I look at it."

She went silent and looked up. The sun was setting, and it was getting dark. The reddish tone slipping through the tree branches caused Ali to shiver slightly again. She wished she could make her memories go away. They made her weak, and... Useless. That's what Crys had said.

She nodded and realized she hadn't eaten all day. "I'm glad we're going back... I'm starving." She remembered she had apples in her bag... She had left it in her room. She was pleased with herself for never leaving her bow behind anywhere, it was proven to be a good decision. "I also hope Justin and Takei are alright. If she gets killed Crys will never hear the end of it."

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Walking down a dark and secluded trail, Evin had a lot of time to think. And there were a lot of things to think about now. He had never been trained to overcome this overwhelming amount of trouble all at once. It was never anticipated that things would ever become this bad for the assassin's. He told himself that if he ever became an instructor, that he would push his students to new boundaries that had never been thought of to teach. This would be one of those things he would teach. It didn't really matter much what he would do if his dreams ever came true, he had long forgotten about them. The presence of this killer didn't really help Evin to think any happy thoughts though. He had found himself slowly getting more and more depressed as time went on. Maybe I should have killed those guards, maybe I need to release all this frusteration. He thought,Then again, it would have only been temporary relief. His thoughts continued to wander as he pondered the several little messes he had gotten himself into, but then he pushed that all aside. He finally remembered why he was taking this path.
It was the path that would bring him to Blackhurst and ultimately Perry. It was the one ray of sunlight that had managed to get past all the darkness. The path would lead him into a few small villages. Some of the villages were completely populated with people who were enlightened. He was surprised nothing had happened there yet, or no one had heard about it yet. Either way, it seemed like a perfect place for the killer to prey upon people.
A few hours later, he discovered how true it was. While walking past a small village of enlightened people, the body of a woman was being burned. She had been killed just hours before he arrived. He didn't have much to go on, he just knew that the killer was traveling the same way as he was. Evin ran back down the trail to see if he could catch up with him.

**********

A few hours down the trail, The Shadow slowly walked into the next village. He was aware that news traveled fast in this part of Valcrest so he wanted to be sure that no one knew of the murder. He knew he was being fallowed though. He wasn't sure how far away the person was, but he detected the pain that the person was feeling from walking for so long. It was surprising to The Hunter how well he could feel the mans pain from so far away, but it wasn't has biggest accomplishment. Killing second in command of the wolfpack was his biggest accomplishment to date. Although there were a few things that came close. One of those other things was why he was comming this way in the first place. Killing the citizen of the small village was just a bonus for him. He had to lose his follower though if he wanted to carry on with what he had to do. He would have to go off trail...

**********

Evin knew that a few things were on this trail now, Blackhurst, Perry and a killer. It put him on edge a little, especially when he noticed markings that suggested someone had recently gone off the beaten road.Evin continued to run as fast as he could though. His excitement was beginning to overwhelm him and the idea of seeing his once best friend overweighed all the bad things he could possibly imagine happening to him while on the trail.

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Allison had left before sunrise. As she walked past the gates she realized the lock down had been suspended. She nodded at the guards with a smirk and headed towards Blackpond, well... That area at at least.

Ali actually wanted to talk to Evin. She didn't have the courage to ask Crys how exactly Bastian died, and not knowing that was bothering her a little. After walking a little up the trail she ran into Annie, crouched among the bushes, she laughed. "You should walk a little further from the trail, you know..."
Annie straightened herself up holding a black scorpion by the tail with a pair o tweezers, and looked at her serious. "Very funny. Let's see if you'll laugh if one of these stings you."
Ali shrugged. "I might, actually. Heading home?"

Annie trapped the scorpion in a glass jar and nodded. "Yes. I was leaving last night but... I ran into Crys and turned around. I spent the night in camp after paying my respects. Now I'm heading home, yes. When will you come visit us again?"
Ali continued along the trail, and allowed Annie to walk with her. Healers were usually left alone, walking with Annie would actually be safer than walking alone. "I wouldn't call my stay in your mother's house a visit Annie. I was unconscious most of the time."

Annie giggled. "Oh, well... It was very much fun for me. Too bad you know better now... Wounds like those you had are not very common these days."
Ali nodded, when they stopped walking. "It's nice to know you care Annie."
The fourteen year old girl nodded still giggling. "Sure I care. By the way, did you change your bandages? Anyway, I'll be back with my mother in a few days, so we'll talk then."
Ali's eyes widened a little. "Lena is coming?" Helena (Lena) Turner was at this moment, leader of a not so populated village of healers in the ruins. Ali's one and only encounter with her happened once when she was attacked, a few months before graduating to active, and was taken by Dani to the ruins in a hurry, severely wounded and poisoned. It took Lena only a few weeks to get her back on her feet.
Annie smiled. "Well, my mother is a close friend of Dani's since they were children. It is natural that she wants to come and see her now."

Ali nodded, and began to make her way towards the village Crys had mentioned, while Annie made her way to the ruins.

--------------------------

Crys woke up before the sunrise. she walked to her mother's cabin and entered without knocking. Dani Rivers was asleep in her bed, Crys was relived when realizing that, although even asleep she seemed to be hurting. Crys sat on a chair, and began to play her flute, softly, not to wake her mother. They needed to speak, but Crys would wait until she woke up on her own.
The night before, Dani had screamed, and cursed Bastian for leaving her. She had cursed him for not listening, for allowing himself to die that way. And then she simply collapsed onto the floor, unable to say another word. Crys had sat next to her for hours, until she was ordered to make the arrangements, eat something and get some sleep. She did as her mother asked, and now she had returned. She stopped playing her flute at the sound of Dani's voice.
"You and your music... So, how are things around camp?"

Crys put away the flute and smiled. "It's quiet for now. May I ask what was your decision about Theron?"
Dani smiled. "Oh, yes. You, Evin and Ali or to present yourselves for training."
Crys nodded. "Training? I'm an..."
Dani interrupted. "Not anymore. You're second in command now. You'll be leading this clan one day Crystal. One thing you need to learn... Is that you can always learn more. Anyway... You can recommend any other active you like for this training. This group is to be sent after this killer, so think about it before you choose anyone. Now... I want this person dead, Crys. I want this as badly as you, but this is not revenge. Do you understand me?"
Crys nodded in agreement. "Yes, mother. I'll think about it... I also have a request, well, two actually."
Dani sighed, lightly. "Ask me."
Crys started tapping her foot lightly against the floor while making a pause, Dani might not like her ideas. "I want to promote Evin to instructor, that is the first. The second would be to accept Jake back."

Dani nodded, serious. "Jacob killed a soldier unnecessarily. I can't simply forgive him. As to Evin... Tell me, why do you want to do this? You never seemed to like him."
Crys smiled. "He is insolent, and many times stupid, and for a person who thinks so much before speaking or acting, sometimes he fails to consider other people's reactions to his moves, that's true. It annoys me, but I don't hold it against him. He is smart, talented and devoted and he would be a great instructor. Also... I will have my hands full with other duties now. Another instructor will be handy. As for Jake... He is innocent. I... Should have never let him confess to doing that."

Dani went silent, and Crys could pretty much feel her frowning while putting the facts together. It wasn't the best time to bring up that piece of her past, but it was necessary. "I messed up. I got caught. Jake had followed me and... "
"Why not tell the truth then? If he was defending you..."
Crys nodded. "No, mother. Jake knocked him out, he didn't kill him. I killed him. The moment he grabbed my arm... Rage took me over. I killed, unnecessarily, out of rage. Jake was protecting me, but not from them. I was younger then, had less control over my ability. I failed."

Crys waited patiently for a reply. In a good day her mother would be yelling right now... "Alright." The answer finally came. "Call Jake back, and have him retake his oath. Also... Make room for Lena, she will be stopping by in a few days."

Crys Agreed. "Yes mother. It's better if I go wake up the actives now." She left the cabin, smiling slightly at the news. Lena could be able to take better care of her mother now, with her having to make decisions for the clan. She sent guards to call Theron, and Vilen to meet her in the training area and went there to wait. As for Evin and Ali, hopefully they would be back soon enough.

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Evin walked for a few more hours down the path to make it to the ruins where he would find his friend. He wasn't exactly sure what was there, but he didn't feel threatened at all as he made it to the clearing that lead to the ruins. It was rather nice actually, he wondered why people were so set out to destroy it back then. As he continued to admire the somber feeling that the ruins brought, he noticed a small development that seemed to be untouched by the attack those many years ago. It appeared that there was life there too. He would probably find Perry there! The thought of seeing Perry after all these years frightened him a little. Nerves were starting to kick in as he walked towards the developments. He didn't know how much would be different now if anything. Although Theron had mentioned in his little riddle that he had changed, but what to? Was it change for the good or for the bad. How much of his assassin ways were still with him. Evin would know in a few minutes now that he had made it to the buildings.
Standing there was an old man who looked to be in his mid 60s. He seemed to be a very happy man though. He had very little frown wrinkles which made Evin think that he could even be older than he thought.
"Hello there young man," the old man said, "what might you be doing here?"
"I'm here to talk to a man named Perry Jones." Evin hoped he still went by the same name.
"Oh of course of course! You can find him in the house next to the large tree down there." The old man said humbly, pointing to a tree down the road a bit. "I believe he just got back in town."
Evin nodded and walked towards the home. He hesitated before knocking. It was just so wierd to think that he would see Perry again. When he answered the door, Evin just broke down in tears. He couldn't find any words to express himself, and anything he tried to say just came out as a mumbling mess. Looking up at Perry through his tears, he could tell that he recognized Evin.
"Come on in. It's good to finally see you again."
Evin walked into the house. He had stopped tearing up, but he still had no idea what to say. He was actually rather embarrassed, he would never have let Perry see him cry before.
"So hows everything going?" Perry asked.
"Not so good actually, a lot has happened in the last week. I have been on my feet so much, I think they're bleeding." He said, finally coming to terms with the fact that it was actually happening. "What about you, what have you been up to, and why did you never come back to camp?"
"Oh well, after you left, I really got the shit kicked out of me. I was lucky that a group of healers came along or I sure would have been dead. Since then, instead of killing people, I decided to join the healers who saved me. Now I can save lives instead of taking them." He seemed happy. That was good.
"This is really a surprise to me. Of all the people, I never imagined that Bloodbath himself would ever choose to save lives."
"Well things change."
They continued to talk for a long time, until Evin realised that he had to go. His lead on the murders had went dry now. He had assumed that maybe he was sent out on a secret mission unknown to anyone else except the leader before Dani. At the time, she still wasn't in command yet. Of course that was a long shot seeing how young he would have been when assigned the mission. Needless to say, Perry was nowhere near a killer anymore. Although the thought of Perry becoming a healer was shocking, he couldn't help but laugh at how ironic it was.
With a happy mindset, Evin made his way to the village.

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Ali had been walking for quite a long time, even if enjoying the sun, she wasn't really in the best of her mood. Whistling and trying to hold her thoughts together, she took a little dirt road, that led to the village. She knew every path in the forest well enough. She had a very good eye for details, and a pretty good memory. So, actually, she could pretty much know for sure which tree was which... Pretty much.

She entered the village... It looked a little sad actually, like most things in that area. Blackpond had suffered greatly the effects of war. Ali could never understand why they insisted on it. There was no hope for victory.Of course, in her opinion, Newhaven deserved to fall, but that was very much unlikely.

Upon entering the village she immediately began to look around for Evin. When she finally spotted him, she walked a straight line to him, and greeted him with a simple nod. "So... I've got some books here for you." She should be curious about what she was doing, but at the moment she really wasn't. She just wanted to go back to camp as soon as possible. She was worried about how things were going to be around that place with Bastian gone. Specially since Theron had been admitted as an instructor. Most people were not pleased with that, so there could be some trouble soon.
She handed Evin the two books, and smiled shyly. "The little book is... Some notes Bastian left for you." She shrugged. "I don't know what for, you'll have to ask Crys about that."

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Evin put the medical book in a large pocket of his jacket that he was wearing. He had taken it out a few hours ago when he noticed the weather begin to change. It didn't seem to have happened though. He decided that it would be best to wait to get back to camp before he took a look at anything. The medical book because he thought that maybe someone in the camp could tell him a little more about whatever was in the page and the notes because he wanted to ask Crystal about it like Allison had suggested. The book mustn't have been all that important though. Sebastian made close and personal relationships with everyone in the camp. He assumed that it was just a book notes saying some positive things about him or something. Although the curiosity temped him, he put it in his pocket and looked over at Allison.
"Lets get back to camp. There is a lot I should probably discuss with Dani."
As he said that, the rain began to fall from seemingly out of nowhere.

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#, as written by Sibrand
The very second Theron had thrown the rock at Crystal his mind had immediately frozen to ice and it would remain cold and flawlessly still until the training was over. He was not about to give Crystal the chance of predicting where he was and what he was going to do next, even though that was what she had to learn. But she also had to learn that people usually used this kind of method, freezing their minds, whenever they began to fight someone or something. Hopefully she would learn at least something from this so called 'training session'.
Now seeing as Evin had began to attack Crystal as well, hitting her in her shoulder with a throwing knife, Theron was pleased. She had not predicted that attack, even though she had realized where Evin were. Good, but not flawless. Vilen remained still for some reason and so did Allison and Jake too. If they knew what was good for them they would join in soon enough. The fight suddenly changed into a hunt as Crystal fled into the woods nearby. With a stone hard facial expression across his face, Theron ran after her. He knew this forest like he knew the streets of Newhaven. He had been sneaking around here for years, killing off actives and spying on the camp. This was a foolish, yet strategic move by Crystal.

---

Gloria saw how her three arrows were dodged quite easily and then everything happened so fast. Evin joined in, Crystal was hurt and fled into the woods and Theron ran after her. She didn't see Evin anywhere and figured that he had followed Therons example, Allison and Jake was of no interest to Gloria but she saw that Vilen was still standing still. She ran up to him and completely forgot who he was and her major love for him.

"We need to follow the Instructor!" She almost shouted and grabbed his arm with her right hand, trying to pull him with her into the woods while holding her bow in her left hand.

---

Crystal only got so far because within mere seconds she found herself crashing into a stone wall that rose within a split-second in front of her tracks. Theron didn't want her to flee forever and stopping her now was better than waiting for her to stop and fight back. After all, he didn't want the ones following him to grow tired before they reached her. The wall remained up and once the girl got up on her feet once more, Theron launched another large rock at her. This time, he aimed for her legs.

"C'mon now, girl! Fight back!" He thought as he watched the stone fly towards her.

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#, as written by Sibrand
Days came and went as the little group of assassins trained under Therons wing. Blood flowed, scars made and wounds that had been closed for too long reopened. With time the little group almost became a small family of some sort. Theron trained them day out and day in, even Allison with her injuries. He did care for her, but he had the clans best interest at heart when he made her endure all those tasks and challenges with fire included. Evin, Vilen, Gloria and Crystal went through horrible, yet achieving events as well.
Evin was firmly strapped to a stone wall. Once tied up, Theron ordered Gloria and Allison to shoot arrows at him. His task was to use his ability, endure the pain of it while using his time warping skills to dodge the arrows. Sometimes the results were devastating and Evin had to pay many visits to reformatory but with time also came skill. Evin eventually dodged every arrow shot at him.
Vilen was trained to make people not only focus on him but also being under his control. Not much happened, but Theron told Vilen to keep on training and one day it might just come to him.
Gloria was trained to master the arts of close-combat and range combat. She still had some trouble with close-combat but her instructor was sure that with time she would become a living weapon to be feared.
Crystal was the one Theron focused mostly on. He made the same surprise attacks over and over again on her. There were of course times when he faced her alone while the other students trained for themselves. He wanted her to be able to predict her foes every step, every action and every movement before it had even considered it. It proved to be a long and though process but in the end the results were almost stunning. At the last training session, Theron challenged her to a duel and he wanted her to use everything she had learned. The fight was fearsome and she had been close to winning several times, but in the end Theron showed his powers fully potential and won. Nevertheless, they were going to be graduated the next day. Just as Theron had promised Dani.


---

Dawn was upon the camp filled with assassins and one particular figure was heading towards the leaders cabin. He knocked twice before entering. The room was dark thanks to the curtains by the windows. The only thing that gave the room some light was two or three lit candles by the desk where a woman sat. She was writing on something, but the man didn't pay it any interest. He walked up to the woman and bowed slightly.

"Dani." Theron said and looked at her with a firm look when she turned to face him. "I've completed what we agreed on for so many weeks ago. Their graduation starts any minute now and I thought it would be appropriate for the leader of this clan to be at the ceremony. But only if you want to."

Theron couldn't demand anything from his leader, only give her a hint that the rest of the clan would surely appreciate it. When that had been said, he turned around and walked out from the cabin, leaving the door open. The clear light shone through the door and into the cabin. It was beautiful day, with a clear sky and nice weather. The ceremony would take place in the middle of the camp, by the fireplace. Theron would give each of them a ring as a sign of his acceptance and tell each of them why he chose to accept them. After that, things would get interesting. Theron planned to immediately put his team into hunting down their new enemy and bring him to justice. One way or the other.

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#, as written by Sibrand
The road was long, the night was cold and nothing dangerous had been seen. Along the way no creature had dared to oppose the merciless group of assassins that travelled through the night towards a city built upon lies, betrayal as well as politics and discipline. It was a world far too known to Theron and it was not to his liking. In this very city he had committed so many sins and so little deeds to be proud of. Upon reaching Newhaven, Crystal had suggested the old hidden path that the clan usually choose, but Theron judged it too be too far away from the castle and they would not reach it before the guards would notice them. Killing guards was the last thing he wanted to do right now so instead he showed them his own little path that went through the sewers. Both Allison and Gloria had complained but they had quickly been silenced by Crystal. Once they were through the sewers, the suns first beams shone at them. Dawn was upon them at last.

Time was running short, because in day-light they would easily be discovered as assassins and unnecessary blood would be spilled. So as the soon rose up towards its rightfully throne on the sky, the group rushed between the many houses, shrouded by the little darkness that was left.
It didn't take long for them to reach the castle and by that time, the sun shone with all it's powers down on the city of Newhaven. The group had exchanged a couple of looks and quietly decided that it was worth the shot. They had rushed out from their hiding, straight towards the castles gates. Guards noticed them almost immediately because of the groups outfits and the very fact that they were running. They shouted for the group to stop, by nothing could stop them now. They threw themselves into the castle and Theron sealed the doors quickly with two big boulders.

Now they had to reach the king before things got out of hand.


"I suggest we hurry. There is probably other ways to get into the castle other than the main entrance." Theron said and turned to face the group.

cron