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For Fame and Fortune VI:Regrets

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Samual turned slightly as he heard soft steps approaching from across the roof. Without a word he handed the skin to Dorcas as she settled down next to him. She drank silently and passed it back.

“Friends of yours?” she asked as she pointed at the departing figures.

“Everyone needs friends, Dorcas. Even the two of us.” He smiled and looked into her eyes.

She returned his gaze, her face expressionless for a few moments before a smile slowly turned up the corners of her mouth. “I can not believe that you were going to keep this from me.” She shook her head, her smile remaining.

“And I can not believe that you used Drogan as a tool to force me to become your hero.” He took another sip and passed it back to Dorcas.

The two sat in silence for several moments. No words were necessary so none were spoken.

Finally Samual broke the silence. “Everyone involved in the attack is now in danger. We will be hunted down and slain. I suggest that you and Sililva stay close to me until further notice.”

“The safest place is in the midst of danger?”

“The safest place, at least for now, is with me. This will get ugly. They are hurting, but believe me when I tell you, that was not the sum total of the cult in this city. There is no telling when an attack will take place. They will seek to catch us unawares.”

The sun had begun to rise, bringing the city to life. The streets slowly filled with merchants on their way to their shops. Children swarmed out of their homes in search of trouble. They could already hear the faint laughter.

“Samual, do you ever have regrets?” Her smile had faded and she reached over, both hands gripping his arm.

“My philosophy has always been one of self-forgiveness.”

The two laughed for a few moments before he started to speak again.

“In all seriousness, life is full of regrets. Drogan became paralyzed by his; unable to act except in response to the most extreme situations. I fear that with out the love of Estirias—“

“But this is a moot point, my old friend. The gladiator and his paramour both perished in your unwarranted attack.”

Dorcas quickly turned at the sound of the voice. Samual smiled slightly, seemingly unsurprised and calm as usual.

“How long have you been standing there?” he asked as he stood and turned to face the gruff-voiced man.

Before him stood a man of average height with a wild shock of red hair, a ruddy complexion and fierce green eyes. He wore a black hooded robe with red trim. The hood was pushed back.

“I only just arrived, Blackstaff….Old friend.” He came forward and the two men embraced warmly, clapping each other on the back. “Well met,” both spoke with genuine friendship.

“Samual Blackstaff,” he began with a smile, but there was an edge to his tone. This was a man to be weary of. “We have missed you. You left before our true glory was realized.”

“Glory? I would beg to differ, Firehawk. The people of Ancaria, whom we swore an oath to protect would beg to differ, as would all those who have tasted the sharp end of your sacrificial dagger.” His face flushed, a visible sign that he was barely in control of his emotions.

“Same old Samual. No time for niceties; direct and to the point as always. Very well. As the founder of the Shadow Society you are owed a certain respect. But know this. In three days time you and your companions will be destroyed. No one will touch you before that day, but on the third day you will die. Leave the city if you wish. Flee to the farthest corners of Ancaria. No matter where you go, I will find you and you will breathe your last.

“Or, you can face your fate like the man I remember. Stay here; enjoy your last few days with your two lovely women. On the third day I will come for you all and we will dine together before I painlessly send you into the next life.” He took Dorcas’ hand and kissed it lightly. “I wish that we could have met under happier circumstances. We are still in need of silver blood, but with two of you present one could have lived.”

Without another word he phased to the ground, raised his hood and walked toward the center of the city.

The two sat again and remained silent for a few moments.

“I am starting to think that the safest place may not be with me after all,” laughed Samual.

“Samual, we can handle this. Right?”

He remained silent.

She grabbed his head, forcing him to meet her gaze. “Right?”

“Dorcas,” he said as he leaned forward. “We have not a chance in the world against Firehawk.”

“Wait! I saw what you did against the priests! You can not be—“

“Not a chance.” He smiled sadly as he stood, pulling her to her feet.

Regrets, he thought to himself. Yes I have regrets. I try not to let them bother me or I wrap them up in laughter and smiles. There are so many things that I do not know where to start. But most of all I regret that I may not be able to protect you.

He sighed heavily.

“So what do we do then?” she asked.

“We stay in Braverock and enjoy ourselves for three days. And then we dine with Firehawk. Everything else is up to fate.”

“I never did like you,” laughed Dorcas.

“I hate you even more,” answered Samual. He put his arm around her and phased to the ground. The two walked slowly toward the thieves quarter to meet up with Sililva.

“So, now will you tell me how you did it?”



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