...suddenly there was a loud shout followed by a blinding glare. From out of the shadows there appeared seventeen infiltrators, several minstrels and two reavers. Jerrod was awestruck! There, in front of him, was the legendary and elite First Cohort! He had heard tales of the fighting prowess of this guild but never gave it much credit. According to the many stories he had heard in the local taverns, these warriors would creep around in the shadows waiting for lone enemy spies and then they would attack en masse! The enemy would be so overwhelmed by the sheer number of attackers appearing out of nowhere that they rarely had time to react. Many people whispered that this was a cowardly way to fight but never spoke outloud for fear of retribution from the elite fighters. Naturally, Jerrod was not about to begrudge the timely appearance of this attack force. He turned around to see what effect the guild's sudden presence had on his two antagonists and was surprised to find that they were standing still, staring vacantly into space. This was his chance! He pulled out his two dirks and leapt at the shadowblades. His first thrust met its mark and pierced the wounded shadowblade in the throat. Huge black gouts of blood gushed out of the wound and splashed all over the forest floor. With a groan the shadowblade collapsed to the floor and as Jerrod bent over him to finish him off he was pushed roughly to one side by an arrogant and horribly disfigured reaver. "Fack orf, kid! These two are our kills. We wuz 'ere first!" slurred the reaver. "Wha...wha...what do you mean? We are on the same side. What does it matter who kills them?" panted Jerrod. "It matters to us, ya little whelp! GET OUTTA HERE!!" With that, the reaver dealt a powerful kick to Jerrod's side, winding him severely. At that moment the rest of the guild drew their weapons and pounced on the remaining shadowblade and tore him apart. Jerrod was sickened by this behaviour and was appalled that this guild could even be associated with his beloved land of Albion. It wasn't long before the two norsemen were reduced to mere fragments of bone, flesh and armour. The members of the First Cohort were drenched in blood and gore. Most of them were laughing and patting eachother on the back whilst others searched through the debris for anything they could steal. One of the minstrels came across the wounded cleric and looked at her for a while, debating on whether or not to carry her back to Camelot with them. It obviously struck him as being a waste of time because suddenly the minstrel pulled out his rapier and plunged it into her chest and then stooped over her to remove her jewelry. Jerrod quickly realised that these people were barely human and there was no way that they were going to leave him alive to report what he had seen to the authorities. He quickly pulled himself to his feet and crept back into the shadows as fast as possible. He was relieved to find that nobody had noticed him. As he began to slowly make his way from the gruesome scene a sudden shout startled him. "Oi! Tildoi! Where's that runt you kicked outta the way? Find 'im and stick 'im like a pig or he'll squeal on us!" This was no time to be careful. Jerrod bolted off as fast as he could in the direction of the Sauvage gates. He could hear the disfigured reaver grunting and panting behind him but he focused all his attention on running and soon the sounds of pursuit dwindled into the distance. His heart and lungs felt like they were on fire but after what seemed like an eternity he finally saw the Sauvage gates and he slowed down to a jog. He had made it back to safety. ...or had he? The First Cohort guild wouldn't be willing to take the risk of letting him live after what he had seen in the forest and they could stroll past the Sauvage gates whenever they wanted. He would be safer in Midgard than behind the giant walls of Castle Sauvage. Jerrod kicked a rock in frustration. What could he do? He couldn't go to the authorities, the so-called G.O.A. Their motto, 'Justice - Right Now', was one of the biggest jokes in the realm. Their idea of justice was pathetic and only the truly desperate would turn to them for help. People in real danger usually wound up dead before the G.O.A. finally got around to contemplating the case. There must be someone he could turn to...someone who had enough power to protect him from his pursuers. Then it struck him! His father had often mentioned an old family friend, a dark wizard who, despite being malicious and evil, was indebted to Jerrod's family. Jerrod made up his mind to pay a visit to the wizard and plead his case. He was pretty confident that the sorcerer would provide some help and protection and the vile members of the First Cohort would think twice before attacking Jerod whilst he was under the protection of such a powerful and feared wizard. Quickly, Jerrod ran up to the horse merchant and purchased a ticket that would take him deep within the swamps near Adribard's retreat for it was there that the wizard practised his dark arts, away from intruders. As Jerrod mounted his horse he failed to notice that the reaver, Tildoi, had caught up with him and had overheard his destination. The journey took several hours but it was not long before Jerrod had spied the high walls of Adribard's retreat. He veered off the path and headed deep into the swamp land. As he urged his horse on he spied undead warriors shambling about in the mist and various other creatures which he could not recognise. He kept his eyes forward as he rode to avoid looking at any of the abominations that were wandering around in the swamp land but if he had taken the time to check behind him he would have seen that his pursuer was still hot on his trail. Suddenly, the fortress of the dark wizard loomed out of the mist. Jerrod had only been there once but he had no trouble in recognising it. He just hoped that the wizard would recognise him because tales of what happened to intruders were so ghastly that grown men often turned white when they heard them. Jerrod dismounted and led his horse to the archway. "STRANGERS ARE NOT WELCOME! MAY WHATEVER GOD YOU PRAY TO HAVE PITY ON YOUR SOUL!!" boomed a loud voice. Jerrod was startled. "Please, Lord Sissyfoo! It is I, Jerrod, son of Hamiy Lecter!" Jerrod yelled back in a wavering voice! "Well, well, well! Young Jerrod! How are you, my boy? You'd do well to send me a letter next time warning me of your visit; I almost reduced you to ashes and I sincerely doubt your mother would approve of such a thing!" Jerrod breathed a sigh of relief. "Please sir, I need your help! I think someone is trying to kill me!" "Oh dear. That's not healthy. Sad times when a boy of your age already has enemies. Come up, my boy, and tell me all about it." Jerrod passed through the archway and it seemed as if he had walked through a curtain. The fog had completely dissipitated and the sun was shining down brightly into his eyes. A door on the otherside of the courtyard opened and out walked the dark wizard himself, clothed in black robes, wearing a black steeple hat and carrying a mean looking staff. Lord Sissyfoo looked harmless enough, despite his staff, to the casual observer. He was fairly tall and skinny and his hair and long, flowing beard were white as snow. It often amused Jerrod to think that someone so gentle looking could be so feared by grown men. "Hello, my boy!" said Sissyfoo with a smile. "Now what's all this about someone trying to kill you?" Jerrod took a deep breath and explained his situation. "Hmm...yes, yes. I've heard rumours of these savages. Pathetic creatures really. Well, don't worry yourself. You are safe with me. I sincerely doubt that any of them would be so inbred as to attack you he..." The wizard paused and sniffed the air. Jerrod looked on, puzzled. Suddenly, Sissyfoo's eyes flared up as if there was hellfire burning behind his eyesockets. "I do so hate being proved wrong!" he growled. With a sudden sweeping motion he whirled his staff in a horizontal arc and in response the reaver, Tildoi, who had been hiding in the shadows, came flying forward as if he was being yanked by an invisible leash. Tildoi fell in a heap at the wizard's feet. "If you wish to be stealthy then might I suggest washing once in a while? You are a positively vile creature. I shall take much pleasure in destroying you inch by inch!" muttered Sissyfoo. Tildoi could do nothing but whimper. "Please, m'lord, have mercy. We will call off the hunt! Only spare me, I beg of you!" "Oh, I agree, the hunt will be called off but as for sparing you? I do hope you have a high pain threshold because nothing infuriates me more when my victims pass out before they die."