Chapter 20 | Caught Red-Handed

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*flashback* Continues from "Queen of Deception"
Killian was given five Black Knights to accompany him on his Quest; Before they departed each man was given a sack of rations filled with stale biscuits, dried jerky and equipped with one water canteen.

Blazing through the brush, Killian leads the search astride his powerful steed; Creating his own trail as he closely follows the enchanted compass.
Slowly the hours crawl by and Killian has set a brutal pace, practically running his mount along with the men into the ground.
But he doesn't care.
He can hardly care about anything.

You could say his heart really isn't in it.

He's lost his control on nearly everything, so if he wants to run the Queen's men into the ground taking back a small amount of control.. He damn well will.

The following days pass by slowly, the previous just like the next. With no luck as he relies entirely on the compass to direct their path, holding his leather reins in one hand and this god forsaken thing in the other while their horses canter down the newly beaten path. The hoofbeats causing a thundering echo, the occasional villagers taking shelter inside their homes to keep from unwanted trouble.

Kicking the horses in encouragement, they begin to cross a river that's curving through the forests edge. The horses plunge in, hooves desperately searching to kick off the bottom of the river bed giving them an extra boost as they stretch their long necks, and expand their nostrils keeping their large heads above the Rapids.

After successfully crossing the river, Killian decides they'll make camp here for the night as he notices the Suns beginning to fade behind the hilltops around, taking its warm glow with it. The ground here is flat, grass dusting the forest floor that's shadowed by several oak trees.

The rest of the Knights swing off their horses after receiving their orders, dismounting with ease before tying their steeds up to a tree nearby.

After unsaddling his golden mount Killian carelessly shoves him tack to the ground along with his pack, and with the warm and sweat covered saddle pad that acts as his blanket during the night when the fog sweeps in from along the river banks, creating a chilling and unsettling breeze.

Claiming his spot in the circle of packs around the soon to be campfire, he calmly sets his belonging down. The very thought of another night in the smoke from the fire sure to stain his skin and scorn his lungs; What he wouldn't give for a decent bath.

Just then one of the guards comes up over the bank drinking greedily from his newly filled canteen. Water beadlets dripping down his burly beard; Giving Killian an idea.

Jumping up, he saunters down to the banks of the river. The sound of solitude coming from the crickets and frogs croaking as it graces his ears, Immediately he finds a level of comfort in the sound of the rushing current. After walking upsteam a ways, he reaches behind him pulling his shirt up and over his head, disheveling his already unruly hair as he begins to strip out of his heavier clothing. He works at his boots before discarding his many coats, his under shirt, leaving on only his pants which he promptly rolls up.

Carefully he sets the Enchanted compass atop his clothing so as not to get it mucked up with sand; one grain could destroy the accuracy of its directing.

Turning his back to his belongings Killian walks back to the water, crouching down at the edge to glance at his reflection. He's growing scruff, he doesn't look like himself at all anymore.
He's lost his joy, his excitement for life.
After Going days without feeling, this is the closest he's come to feeling relief? The power of the current pulling against him, crashing against his legs as he wades into the river; the feeling Resembling the war his heart and his mind have waged.

Shots Fired | CS (#Watty2017) Read this story for FREE!