There are fates worse than death…
Welcome to the serialisation of Accidental Immortal. Chapters will be published four times a week so the serialisation will be completed at (roughly) the same time as on Wattpad, if not a little sooner!
If you would like to start from the beginning, please head over to chapter one. There is also a contents list at the bottom of each post.
Chapter 11 – Rescue
Arkan twiddled the point of a dagger against his finger, testing its sharpness. His feet lay on the window sill and the sun streamed through showing flecks of dust floating in the air. He shuffled in the padded seat to get comfortable. A tiny rivulet of blood ran down the blade and his mouth tightened as he watched it pool, hanging for a moment in the space between the blade and the hilt before dropping to the tiled ground.
It was still hours until the banquet and he wasn’t expected to be on time. No one ever expected him to be, Arkan thought grimly, or if they did, they’d rather he wasn’t. A flash of blonde hair and curious eyes invaded his thoughts. He was thinking about that damned girl again. This was getting ridiculous. It would be sensible to think about the Osiris band. That was power. But it wasn’t the band it was the girl his thoughts kept returning to. The way her hair fell across her shoulder. Those grey eyes – so expressive but not saying anything. She had spirit, he had to give her that. No one talked to him like she did. Almost as if they were equals. That was impossible. She was a nobody and he was the king’s assassin; she was a girl and he was a man. He couldn’t marry her anyway. Why did that even pop into his thoughts? He shook his head. He had to get a grip. Obviously nothing serious could happen but then again what was there to stop him having some fun?
He shot up from the chair. He needed to check up on Lynsey Walker and her friend. The sooner he could solve the riddle of the Osiris band, he justified to himself, then he could have it. She said she didn’t want it anyway. He could leave this life and move away in luxury. The faster he could get that girl out of his thoughts, the better.
Arkan paused at the door, there was something else. He had a hunch that something wasn’t right. Even if no one knew about the Osiris band, Lynsey’s unusual hair and colouring would make her a prize worth having. He wouldn’t be the only person interested. He hadn’t been happy with the King’s demeanour when he talked about her. He couldn’t shake a sense of unease as he left his apartment.
He arrived at Luna’s house to find the household in an uproar. The butler let him in without the usual courtesies and he was ushered in to see Luna within seconds of his arrival.
“What happened?” He demanded.
“We went shopping this morning and I went to my room to get ready for tonight. Tar saw them leave around a half hour after we got back.” Arkan looked to the butler who inclined his head to verify her story as he left the room.
How could she have let them go? Sudden fear suppressed his patience for the woman in front of him. “I asked you to look after her!” Arkan raised his hands in the air gesticulating. “You have enough men here to guard the palace!”
“You didn’t exactly tell me she was to be treated as a prisoner, my lord.” Came the prim reply.
A quiet knock at the door kept him from saying anything more.
Illyara stepped through, ushered in by the butler. She was out of breath but otherwise collected.
“Lynsey needs our help. We went for a walk in the park. We did not think it would be dangerous in this neighbourhood.” She took a quick breath. ”We were set on by some Ne’er-do-wells. I managed to escape but they have Lynsey.”
Arkan took a step closer to Illyara. “Gods alive! Can you tell me anything about the attackers? Did they have any insignia? What colours were they wearing? What did they look like?”
Illyara tilted her body away, glancing back at the door. Her face screwed up in impatience. “We do not have time for this. We need to get to her quickly. I followed the men to a house on the edge of the park. There were guards all round it. I can’t get in to help her!”
Arkan was impressed. This chit of a girl had followed her attackers to help her friend. She was brave, if not maybe a little stupid. She would not have survived if she had been directly attacked.
“Come with me!” He ordered.
He swept out of the door, Illyara. Luna and the butler trailing behind. He whistled once outside the door and a black horse trotted up to stand beside him. It whickered next to him. He jumped on to the horse with one easy movement and helped Illyara in front of him. He felt her body tighten underneath him. Whatever did she think he was going to do to her! He sighed. You can take the girl out of the desert…
“We will be back soon.” He called out to Luna. “Stay here, I will bring her back.”
He kicked the stirrups and they cantered down the road to Illyara’s directions. The path was meandering. She must be pointing the way that they had walked, but of course she did not know the area. He breathed out in frustration. This was slow! He breathed in and out and let the rhythm of the horse calm him. He couldn’t panic, Lynsey’s life was in danger. Illyara was not to know. She couldn’t have the knowledge to get around the city like he did. He ground his teeth in frustration but he was grateful for the help she gave. When he sensed the girl was becoming nervous, he slowed down.
“How far are we from the house?”
“It’s around the corner.”
“Right, I need you to look after Night Shade. Make sure she doesn’t run off and I will be back with Lynsey shortly.” There was no way the horse would leave without his permission but she was not to know that and he didn’t want to have to worry about her as well.
She seemed grateful, if a little doubtful but she slipped down from the horse and took the reins. Arkan jumped off the horse and faded into the shadows.
Arkan had been trained by the best knights and guards that the land held until he hit seven summers. He had the potential to become the King’s personal guard but after his father died, no, murdered, his jaw tightened as he moved through the trees. He joined the Assassin’s guild.
He had proved himself early and within a couple of years became the prodigy for the master assassin himself. If Arkan didn’t want to be seen, he wouldn’t be unless you were expecting him and even then, many had died trying to bargain for their lives.
Arkan crept around the back of the house, noting that there were two guards patrolling counter to each other in the grounds of the small house. This was unusual in itself. Why would someone who would live in such a mean house need so many guards? The annual cost alone would be more than the house.
He shimmied up a drainpipe, pressing close to the wall when one of the guards passed underneath. Using his fingertips he grabbed hold of a window ledge, clawing his hand forward so he could fit the entire width into his hands. He hung in space and listened hard. He could hear voices so he waited. His legs dangled freely but he was in no hurry. He could easily hold this position for an hour if need be. Directly above him he identified the voices as two men. Their grating voices and harsh accent told him they were from the Eastern Isles. Interesting. He inched to the right and began to sway from side to side until he had enough momentum to get to the next window with ease. He swung up so he was standing on the ledge. His thin soles enabled him to grip the ledge with his toes while he used a small blade he kept strapped to his ankle to open the window lock. He was in.
The room was large. It had a king sized four-poster bed with rich velvet hangings. This gave him pause for thought. He’d seen hangings like this only that morning. Surely the King would not risk the wrath of such a well-connected family as Luna’s? Unless he suspected that the girl was not a relation. It would not have taken long to find out that Luna had no blond relatives. The birth of a blond baby would have been gossip everywhere. No one had seen one in over a century. He must have made enquiries. Arkan froze near the door. This made him even more uneasy about their morning conversation.
Arkan debated whether he should rescue her. The king may not suspect him if he was careful but if he did then Arkan could find himself on the run. He paused again. He did complain and he did sometimes feel like he wanted to get away but if he was really honest with himself, he liked his life. He had to ask himself, was Lynsey or even the Osiris band worth it?
The moment of indecision was just that, Arkan entered the room and opened the door a crack. When he was sure that no one was in the passageway he crept downwards. He reasoned they would not want anyone to see her through a window so the basement was the only option.
There were no more guards until he reached the stairs leading to the basement. The man was wearing non-descript clothing but Arkan could tell by the man’s bearing that he usually wore a uniform. His lack of alertness showed that he was merely a guardsman, possibly one newly conscripted. Arkan hazarded a guess that the man volunteered for the job because he thought it would be an easy ride. How hard could it be to watch two girls? It would be even easier in his mind, now there was only one.
Arkan pushed some debris from the stairs so that it fell down a step making a small thud. The guard jumped and stepped forward. His brow furrowed and Arkan held his breath, worried that the man wouldn’t take the bait. The guard looked down the stairs behind him but seeing nothing amiss, he moved towards the stairs with his sword upraised. Arkan lithe as a cat, jumped silently over the banisters to come up behind the man and hit him on the side of the head with the back of his blade. He caught him before he fell. Gently he dragged the man to the wall and deposited him, deftly taking some keys from the guard’s belt with only the sound of a soft clink to betray what he was doing.
Arkan pressed his ear to the door and listened for any signs of life behind it. There was no sound so he put the key into the lock and twisted it quietly, there was a soft click and he gently pushed the door open. It was darker in the room and it took him a second for his eyes to adjust. He was almost blind as he stepped through but he spotted the fist coming at him with a second to spare as he ducked and rolled into the room. She came at him using moves he had never seen before. He was amazed. In all the years of his training, he was not going to be beaten by a small girl he could break with his thumb. If – he – could- just -get -hold -of- her. He whirled around, parrying her jabs and kicks easily. She was starting to tire and he was able to get her in a neck hold.
“Lynsey.” he panted. “It’s me, I’ve come to rescue you.” Lynsey struggled for a moment more before she collapsed in his arms. He gently picked her up and they crept back up the stairs to the room where he entered the house.
He set her down on the bed and turned her to face him. He gently wiped away a stray tear from her eyes and tilted her chin up to look into her eyes.
“Lynsey, we need to get out of here. Can you wrap your legs around my waist and hold on to my shoulders as I climb down? I can’t carry you any other way.” She nodded.
“There is the problem of your hair. It is going to stand out.”
Lynsey nodded and bent down to her skirt. She ripped a length off and tied the material around her head turning it into a head scarf.
“Is this better?”
“Perfect.” He replied. “We need to get out. The best way to do that is if you climb on to my back and I’ll get us both down.”
She looked sceptical but clambered on to the bed while he turned around. She jumped on to his back and he hefted her weight on to his shoulders to climb out of the window. Within seconds they were on the ground and within another minute they were with Illyara.
Lynsey halted a few steps behind him and he turned to see what the problem was. She was staring at her friend with a disbelieving look.
“You left me.” Arkan saw she was having difficulty getting the words out. Illyara shook her head.
“I had to follow you to see where they would take you. I brought Arkan!”
Lynsey’s face was pale. She didn’t look like she would be forgiving Illyara very quickly. Arkan stepped between the girls and picked up Lynsey with ease. He held her tight for a moment before depositing her on the horse with Illyara moments later. Mindful that Night Shade would not be able to go far with three weights, he knew the guards would be searching soon. They would assume that Lynsey had escaped but that she was on foot. He whistled and Night Shade trotted back to the Duchess’ house while he easily kept pace jogging beside them.