There was blood everywhere. It pooled between the gravel in the driveway and stained the ominous stone steps. Ruddy footsteps seemed to lead in all directions and a crimson hand print smeared its way down the white front door. Bits and pieces of who-knows-what were scattered among the body parts littering the ground.
A severed head lay six inches from his feet. Cohn took an instinctive step back and sighed heavily, keeping his breaths shallow to ward off the acrid smell of death that surrounded him. This had been a hell of a fight.
As he registered the sound of labored breathing beside him, he turned to face his head of security. At least that's who he thought it was- hard to tell who exactly was underneath all the gore. “Our men?"
"All alive. These guys weren't so lucky." Ryn swept his bloody sword over the carnage.
"Their luck ran out the minute they stepped foot on my property. Apparently we've just run out of time. It's moving day... again."
"This wasn't a planned attack. I'm pretty sure it was a scouting mission gone awry. If it had been Daniel patrolling instead of Jaroz, we may never have known they were here. Jaroz smelled them, attacked them first."
"Doesn't matter. We can't risk keeping her here any longer- when these bastards don't return, he'll know he’s hit the mark. She has to be gone before he comes for her. And he will come for her, I assure you of that."
Ryn raised his brows. "You have someplace in mind?"
Cohn shook his head gravely. "Not yet, but I’ll work that out. How long do you need to recover and prepare?"
"Three days, tops."
Cohn squatted to sit on one of the steps then, remembering the blood, jolted to his feet. "I won't be attending this move. I've become too easy to track."
The first few raids had been hundreds of years apart, but the gaps had closed in over time. The last assault had been only eleven years ago. "I'm calling in someone to go with you. I need the rest of the men here for round two."
Ryn exhaled and said tentatively, "Do you think it's wise to only send two, especially now that he's upping his game? No offense, but have you thought this through?"
Cohn squinted his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Ryn, for a thousand years, I've done nothing but think this through. Every soldier you take with you increases your chance for discovery, as well as slows you down. And we need defense here. You're an assassin, the best I'd dare say, and this woman is the most ruthless mercenary I've ever known."
Shocked, Ryn spat out, "Woman?"
"Yes, Ryn, a woman. A soldier who has taken the heads of gods, escaped from countless prisons and dungeons, and decimated an army of mortals by herself. Do not underestimate her simply because she wears a bra."
Ryn looked incredulous, but only nodded. "Three days, then. I'll be ready."
"Marchand!" Cohn bellowed into the house from over his shoulder. "Bring me a phone!"
Released May, 2013