Hooded Man

Jorrin was staking out the main path through the forest leading to the Snook. He had heard a consignment of goods was due to be delivered. In the afternoon, he saw six men leading horses over the track. They were fully loaded with goods and moved with a lot of noise. Given how dangerous the woods were at the moment, they should have been more careful. Jorrin shook his head. Some movement caught his eye further up a bank of trees. He focussed on the woodland overlooking the path. Men were up there, he could sense it. They moved furtively toward the merchants.

The cut-throats were heavily armed with large swords. They broke out of the undergrowth and stopped the merchants. No resistance was offered, but one man was clubbed to the ground. Jorrin crept through the trees and watched as the merchants were rounded up. The outlaws collected the horses together and one rogue stabbed his sword into an unarmed man, who landed awkwardly on some stones. Other brigands surrounded the defenceless merchants as a hooded figure approached through the trees.

The thieves swivelled around and saw it was just one man. He wore a hood and had a sword. They smirked as the biggest raider ran at Jorrin, screaming a blood-curdling war cry. As the man swiped his sword, Jorrin ducked low. The sword smacked into the earth. Without breaking his step, Jorrin smacked the hilt of his sword into the attacker, who collapsed. Jorrin walked on as another bandit ran in, but his sword was stopped dead. Somehow, Jorrin flicked the other man’s sword away and kicked him in the stomach. As the would-be robber bent forward, Jorrin’s knee smashed into the man’s chin. He was out cold before he hit the ground. The other two brigands looked at each other as Jorrin still moved foward. They ran up the hill and away.

The petrified merchants huddled together and stared at the hooded figure. No one could see his face, but one fell to his knees and pleaded for his life. Another sobbed, “Take it all, just let us live.”

“I don’t want your wares. Get up.” Jorrin leant over the man who had taken a sword strike from the raider. He felt for a pulse. “This man’s stilll alive. Put him on a horse and get him to the village over there for help.”

The merchants nodded and got their man onto a horse. As they were ready to leave, they thanked the hooded man and asked for his name. But he did not answer and just walked into the forest. The merchants made it to the Snook and got medical help for the injured man. In the ale house, they told their tale about the mysterious hooded figure who cut through the bandits. No one knew who he was or why he saved them.

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