Insight: Kristoph Rupandil

Here’s a section of chapter 16 of Kingless Country.   –Enjoy

Kristoph climbed the eastern wall of Browarda’s fortress along a deep divot.  His gift of wind held a dusty cloud in place, giving him cover from prying eyes.  Coupled with the hard shadow cast by the midday sun, he would be near invisible.

The city’s inhabitants bustled beneath him, unaware of his presence.

Thanks to the information squeezed from his lady guard companion, he knew the layout of the building.   He established a firm foothold and approached the desired window.  It was a thin slit far too slim to pass through.  He rested a hand on the stone and the gift of earth softened the wall.   A gentle push slid the muddied block inward, giving him space to move.

The block collapsed with a quiet squish and he leaped through with his dagger bared.   Kristoph landed on a thin bed of wind, to muffle the noise.  Weapon racks and armor lined the walls of the room.  The sound of a steel running on stone filled the air.  He crept to the doorway, spotting a man tending his sword.  A single candle illuminated the room.

Kristoph relaxed and stepped forward, twirling his dagger across his palm.  “Hello.”

The guard turned quickly, sword at the ready.

“Milton Thursan, I presume?  One has need of your armor.”

“Identify yourself.”

“Kristoph Rupandil, here to intrude your fortress,” he said with a deep bow.

“Choose your next words carefully, Mr. Rupandil.  They may be your last.”

“You have three choices, Milton.   First and preferred, cooperation and surrender.  Second and less desirable, a call for help.  Third, attacking me.”

Milton raised his blade and charged.  Kristoph thrust an arm forward, directing the wind to contain his opponent’s battle cry and wrenched away his helmet with a flick of his wrist.   Kristoph dodged the clumsy lunge and drove his dagger into Milton’s exposed throat.

Kristoph caught the flying helmet and let Milton fall, gasping and choking on his own blood.  “Wrong choice.”

With a gesture, Kristoph pulled a wisp of wind from the helmet.   It contained Milton’s final cry.   He studied it, listening to the inflections of his voice.  He cleared his throat and mimicked the guard.  “Identify yourself.”

Close enough.

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