The scent of blood was still fresh in the air. Sunlight filtered through the dense foliage evaporating the morning fog that concealed the horrific scene. A caravan of wagons slowly rattled down the dirt road. Roads that ran through the deep woods usually contained highwaymen and bandits. None the less, these roads were cheaper to travel and less monitored by the tyrannous royalty.

"Papa, when are we going to be in the next town?" a young girl's voice asked from under a large blanket. The reins snapped, causing the horse to gallop.

"Another half a day darling. We'll be there soon enough." Her father said sweetly. His eyes were filled with worry; the deep shadowy wrinkles around them emphasized his concern. An arm slowly emerged from out the blanket, accompanied by a small groan.

"That's good Papa, I'm tired of all this traveling." His daughter threw the cover down off her face and stretched some more. Easing her eyes open she smiled as she saw the sun glisten through the leaves as they passed over head. The caravan rattled around a bend in the road and came upon a young man, injured lying on the side of the road. Stopping, a man jumped off the lead wagon to check on him. Once he kneeled down, the injured man stabbed him in the chest with a knife he had hidden.

"Now!" exclaimed the injured man. Men began to jump out of the bushes surrounding the road. Some chuckled and grinned.

"Get down Cheryl darling." Her father said in a harsh whisper. He threw the blanket back over her, "be quiet for your own sake." The bandits that had ambushed their caravan slowly walked around them. They seemed to be looking for something. Turning over barrels, tossing blankets.

"Hurry up you fools" a man with an eye patch proclaimed. "You're taking too long." He slowly walked down the length of wagon after wagon.

"Boss!" the injured man, yelled. "Someone's coming this way!"

"Well if he gets too close, kill 'em!" he yelled back laughing. Continuing he slow walk down the caravan. The stranger continued to walk towards the halted caravan without falter. The injured man crumpled down as if he was hurt, he waited pretending to be in agony. When the stranger got within earshot he began to groan. The stranger continued his apathetic trek forward.

"Sir, please, help me, please help me." The injured man pleaded. The stranger knelt down like the man before him. The injured man again pulled out his knife to stab him. The stranger grabbed the knife and instead stabbed the injured man in the heart. At that point he pulled back his hood to reveal his ice blue eyes.

"Hey boss, look what we got here" said one of his men, pulling Cheryl from her hiding place. "she sure is a pretty one, ain't she?" two men were restraining her father on the other side of their wagon. He trashed futilely against their strength.

"Let her go…" he growled furiously.

"Oh? And what're you going to do old man?" the boss said laughing, his men joined in. "we're just going to have a little fun with her." He grinned as he ran a finger along her jawbone. She bit his finger in quick protest.

"Get away from me you bastard!" Pulling his hand back he said, "she's a feisty one." He slapped her in the face with the hand she just bit. "what say you boys? Who wants to have a little fun with her?" he turned around and his eyes grew wide. The bodies of his men lay haphazardly on the ground; their bodies' bloody messes. Slowly he turned back around, the old man was kneeling on the ground, blood staining his clothes; the bodies of the men slashed on the ground.

"What say you now about having your way with this girl?" the stranger said slowly in a low tone as he licked the blood off the blade of his long black knife. His arm was exposed revealing the legendary ankh.

"D-d-did I say that? I-I-I was only joking" the boss laughed weakly, looking down at the girl who was sitting on the ground curled up. "P-please forgive me ma'am I'm terribly sorry." She looked up with tear filled eyes at his statement and then looked up at the stranger. "I had no idea that you knew Umbra, had I known I would have let you pass." At first he began to back up slowly, then he turned and ran. Suddenly the man fell on his face, a blade protruding from the back of his neck.

"Umbra?" Cheryl spoke slowly and cautiously, looking up at him.

"Yes young lady?" Umbra replied looking down at her with a faint smile on his face.

"Why did you save us?" she asked curiously. He smiled a little wider.

"I couldn't have a girl like you be ruined by men like that." Extending his hand to help her up, she grabbed it pulling herself up.

"What do you mean by 'men like that'? She asked looking into his icy eyes. Umbra looked back into Cheryl's and said.

"Men, who are like demons." He smiled sweetly at her. "What is your name young lady?" he asked kindly.

"My name's Cheryl." She smiled wide back at him. Hugging him tightly she said, "thank you for saving my papa and I. If you hadn't shown up, we would have been in real trouble." Her father stood up slowly, weak after all his struggling.

"Yes, thank you Mr. Umbra." Her father took off his hat in thanks.

"Call me Umbra, just Umbra." He smiled at Cheryl's father. Cheryl still wrapped around his neck.

"You truly have blessed us with your appearance Umbra." He said putting his hat back on.