“Get back!” a hoarse whisper screamed beside me. I felt myself suddenly pushed to the ground, and pressed tightly against the wall in the shadows of the arch. A silence fell, and I felt someone lying over me, holding closely and breathing harshly.
“Who are you?” I whispered.
He answered: “Lay still.”
Then hooves of two horses came clopping down upon the cobblestone. About the corner they swerved, hidden under the sky of the Darkness. They snorted and their riders spurred them under the arch where they swept past us, stirring the air in a death like breeze. I heard them halt; the horses slowly breathing in echoing gasps. Then whispers passed between their riders, raspy and fading into the nearest word.
A banging and thundering upon the door came. I watched melancholy at the trembling door. I let whomever pounded upon it do so for many quickly passing moments. Then a voice shouted:
“Open this door, I order it!” And who is it that orders it? I thought. I stood, relaxing my cramped limbs. I leaned against the door and said calmly: “Who are you?”
The man only shouted back: “Open in the name of Lord Dorwar!” A chill passed through me at his name. Then I felt my hand grasping the edge of the door’s knob, but my fingers then curled back. I whispered beneath my sharply cut breath: “None can enter here.”
The owner of the voice stood with an axe in his hands.
“What sort of rouge are you?” he shouted, stepping forward, “Declare yourself!” Stationary I gazed upon him, but I did not answer. Behind me I heard the sound of eight feet scrambling over the wall. I stepped forward. Then I was flung harshly upon the ground. Two men had leapt upon me, and my sword had sprung from my hand. Soon I rolled over and flung myself back, and four men and I fell into a mêlée.
“Do not slay him, you mindless men!” he called out. But to me it was a blurry sound, for the men were ruthless fighters. Then I found myself pushed face down to the ground. It took all four to hold me there, for I fought back with a great will. Then they pulled me up and made me stand. I looked down for a moment and saw my knife lying upon the ground before me. I planted my foot upon it and gazed steadily forward.
“What rascal are you?” the man came forward and held his axe under my chin. “Name yourself.”
“I have no name I could give.”