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Something in the air didn't smell right. With each pace along the castle walls, his senses heightened straining to locate the source of his discontent. Everything about this night didn't sit well with him. The howl of the rising wind informed him of the impending storm. But that wasn't the reason he was ill-at-ease. A strange scent upon the wind and a gnawing sensation at the base of his brain that something was wrong kept him on edge.
Lightning cut the night sky reflecting off an object in the distance. His best guess set it several hundred yards away. The faint sound of weapons clashing and the minute scent of fear upon the wind sent him jumping from his nightly perch upon the castle walls.
In no way would this land be invaded, not on his watch. Though being assigned to these lands was not of his choosing, he refused to falter in his responsibilities. King Henry granted him this title and properties as reward for years of exemplary service. As Lord of Pantera Manor, it was his duty to protect the people within his realm. But he'd much rather be crusading for the king than babysitting a title and holdings in the fishing community of Sutton.
The king had other ideas for him. What they were, he had not been told. Now, as he raced through the whipping rain and torrid wind, his blood roared though his veins with the need for battle. This was the first discrepancy of any kind to happen since his arrival six months ago and the adrenaline rush felt good.
Closing the distance in record time, Alessandro stalked the shadows seeking his prey. His enhanced eyesight gave him the means of perfect night vision. When humans around him were unable to see, he held the ability topenetrate the dark with a simple glance. A solitary wagon sat disheveled at the roadside. Its horse neighed and tugged violently at the reigns tethered to a nearby tree. An elderly man was on his knees, bleeding from a head wound while another man dressed in black stood over him brandishing his sword as if daring him to move.
How chivalrous Alessandro thought as he bit back his growing rage. The time was not right for attack. Not yet. From his vast military experience, he learned that patience was a great aspect to a good strategy. And at the moment, with the driving rain hindering his sense of smell, he was unable to determine if the one acted alone or if there were other bandits in on this robbery.
"Where is it?" The man with the sword shouted at the injured party.
"I know not of what ye seek," rasped from the man who was shivering as a puddle formed around his knees.
"I believe ye do," the oversized brute retorted as he raised his hand to strike but stopped short when he was interrupted.
"Look at what I found."
Alessandro froze in his hiding place at the sight of a woman being dragged through the mud in the onslaught of rain. Though she struggled and fought, she did not scream. Not a sound did she make. Every hair on the back of his neck stood on end and his muscles tightened. No woman should be treated as such. He hunched into position and waited for the right time to take either of the dark dressed heathens down. Obviously, they were no match for his strength if they had to prey upon the weak and elderly.
"Nay, please leave her be!" The elder man yelled as he lunged at the knees of the man in front of him. When the brute pummeled the back of the elder man's head with the hilt of his sword, Alessandro sprang into action.
Using the shadows as his shield, he tackled the man with the drawn sword, toppling him to the ground. Entwined, he struggled to guide them rolling and sliding back into the shadows as he ripped the man's throat open in one swift grip. Before he could disengage himself completely from the dead man's weight, the other man was upon him. Sword drawn, he screamed and lunged at Alessandro.
In the flash of a brilliant stroke of lightning, a dark shadow pummeled the side of Alessandro's assailant. The two rolled end over end until they skid to a stop beneath the wagon. But from the scent of blood in the air, he knew the battle was over. Both men lay dead in the mud, one in the shadows where Alessandro left him. The other under the wagon where his cousin, Kade finished the bandit without much effort exerted.