Amira ran through the trees, branches slapping against her cheeks, leaving little welts on her face. Every now and again, she looked over her shoulder to make sure that those that were pursuing her weren't close behind. She didn't know what she would have done if they were because she couldn't run any faster. Then again, she still had her powers and she could use them if they set upon her. She wouldn't be able to kill them all, but she could at least she would be able to take down a few of them before she died under their cruel hands.

She knew that she was close to the Aryan border, but she could only hope that that would mean safety instead of death. She'd heard of the good hearted nature of its ruler and its people, but then again, people often embellished on stories that they'd been told. If this went about enough, then something could be completely different than told through their stories. However, this was one of those times where she hoped that those embellishments were true.

She needed safety and she knew that she was only going to find it in one place: Aries.

A ray of sunlight poured through the trees, exposing her features to any that might've been able to see her. She was tall for a woman, standing at six foot even, and slender though toned with muscle. She had long red hair that fell to the small of her back in a single thick braid and bright orange eyes that glowed out of a deeply tanned, almost golden face. She wore a long sleeve red tunic with golden embroidery around the cuffs, tight black pants, black leather boots, and a red leather belt with a single dagger sheathed at her left hip.

One might ask why she didn't use her dagger to fight off her attackers. However, she was no fool. Amira knew that her dagger would do nothing, and besides that, there were just too many of them. If she stopped to fight them, she would be killed, there was no doubt about that. The only hope she had was to keep running and hope she ran into an Aryan patrol before the one's that were chasing her got ahold of her. If that happened, she would be dead. There wasn't a doubt in her mind about that.

The only real question would be which way they would choose to kill her. There was slowly and painfully. There was quick and fast, though she doubted that would happen. The beings that had attacked her and her people seemed like the types that enjoyed giving out pain. She couldn't afford to allow herself to be captured. If she was, then all that had be done to get her out and away from the one's that wanted her dead would be in vain. She couldn't let her people down like that.

If only I could use my powers on them, Amira thought to herself, gritting her teeth, wishing that she hadn't exhausted herself the way she had. Otherwise, she would have roasted every last one of the bastards that had come after her. And with all of her magic, it wouldn't have been that hard to do so, but she had to have it within her, active, to be able to do it. If her magic was dormant as it was now, then there was nothing that she could do about it.

More than tired, the red haired woman forced herself to stop at one of the trees. She panted hard as she pressed her back against the trunk, sliding down it into a crouch. The tree was thick enough so that she wouldn't be seen from a long distance, but she would be able to hear someone coming. While she waited, she could rest a little bit.

While she rested and recuperated, Amira reflected just how she'd gotten into this situation in the first place.

It had started a month ago. She and her people were living in Sunfire, the Elven nation that catered to the Sun Elves. Because her and her people - Fire Elementals - were a peaceful and trustful lot, the Sun Elves allowed them to stay within their borders. The Fire Elementals had gone about building themselves a small village that would house all fifty thousand of their people and began to foster fields of grain. Fire Elementals didn't have much of a green thumb - that was usually what Earth Elementals did - but they'd managed to pull enough together so that they could eat at least. They'd lived in peace for a very long time.

Then, they had come.

A small contingent of fifteen soldiers walked up to their village, and even though the Fire Elementals had been ready to strike them down, they hadn't done so right away. They probably would have if they'd shown any outward signs of aggression, but they hadn't. In fact, they'd only asked for a place to stay, and feeling generous, she'd allowed them to stay for a night. She should have known they would betray her generosity.

They were Demons after all.

The next morning, the Fire Elementals had awakened to screams of their brethren. The Demons had waited until every last one of them were asleep before attacking the village in the middle of the night. They could have done so quietly, but they hadn't been able to keep themselves from torturing their victims before killing them. Because of this, the entire village was alerted and every last man, woman, and child had begun the struggle for their own lives.

Amira - leader of her people that she was - had gone into battle as well. They'd been doing well against the Demons, striking hard and fast against them. Many Demons fell, but then, something happened to shift the tide of the battle. A portal appeared behind the fighting forces of the Elementals, and before they could do anything about it, they were surrounded by Demons.

The Fire Elementals had continued to fight on, but by now, the battle was starting to look useless. They were going to lose and there was nothing they could do about it. Fire balls were thrown back and forth between the two forces, striking against one another strong. However, the Demons were stronger, faster, and had more will to kill than the Elementals had to survive.

It had been a losing battle all along.

One of her best friends and the only General of the town had forced her to flee, giving her no choice. She'd argued with him for a few minutes even while they were battling, but he gave good reasons why she should flee. Finally, he did the only thing that he could do to convince her: he summoned magic and he hit her with it. The spell hadn't been a physically harming one though. It was only meant to bind her powers, at least long enough until she was safely out of the danger zone.

She realized even now that had been a reckless move by her friend, but it had accomplished what he'd wanted: she'd fled. With no magic and absolutely no ability with blades - of which they had none save for knives for their food - she'd had no choice but to leave. Even now she felt like she'd betrayed her people, but at the same time, she knew that wasn't true. She was living for her people, pushing on so that she could get revenge for them later on. And if she was dealing with Demons, she knew that there was only one person that she could go to to deal with the problem.

The Assassin King of Aries, Acheron.

Amira knew his reputation well. He'd been the Command Assassin of Dalkia nearly a century ago. He'd been loyal and faithful, the average Demon. Then, the Emperor of the time - his own brother - had ordered him to assassinate someone that Acheron knew and secretly loved. The Winged Queen, Trissieal. Acheron had refused to kill her though he didn't tell his brother that. Instead, he'd entered the Wilds where she was, and after five years, he managed to draw the five provinces together into the nation of Aries. Shortly afterward, there was a war between the newly formed Aries and the Demon Empire of Dalkia.

Somehow, against all odds, Aries had won and Aries had established its supremacy in the area over the past one hundred years. It was a nation of hope, kindness, liberty, and justice. Or so the stories about Aries went anyway.

Been here too long, the Fire Elemental thought to herself and she quickly rose to her feet. Checking to make sure that no one was around, she started running again, this time a little bit more careful. Her face hurt enough as it was and she didn't want anymore scratches on her face if she could do that. She wasn't a vain person, but she would rather not look like a scratching post on her face if she could help it.

Up ahead, Amira saw the whiteness of snow. She smiled widely, her body already warming to adjust her body to the temperature so she wouldn't freeze to death. As she stepped through the trees and into the cold beyond, she smiled.

Her freedom was just on the horizon. It was so close that she could almost touch it. If only she could get her fingers on it enough to grasp it, she would never let it go no matter what. Freedom was what she was going to attain and no one was going to take it from her.

Snow blew hard down onto hard packed earth. Creatures move here and there, going about their daily lives on the Tundra. For those that had lived there their entire lives, they were more than use to it, but for anyone that might have been an outsider, the cold was a hard thing to deal with. The Barbarians of the Tundra had little issue with dealing with the cold and the Ice Demons that lived there were the same. In fact, the Ice demons thrived in the environment, but they were rarely ever seen out on the Tundra by anyone.

The figure that walked through the snow was neither Ice Demon or Barbarian. He was somewhere in between all of that actually. He was a Dragon and not just any Dragon, but one of the Metallic caste of Dragons, a Silver Dragon.

The figure was an operative of the Aryan government, Drako, and very important in the Aryan government. He was the second in command of the Shadowblades, the Aryan intelligence and assassination group. The only one above him at the Shadowblades was the Indifferent Prince of Aries, Nykrian, but he didn't mind that at all. The two men were the best of friends, and even though they were as different as night and day, they got along very well. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time that they'd had a real argument about something.

Then again, the mellowing out of the Indifferent Prince might have something to do with his wife and equal, Princess Mystra. She was tough and stubborn just like her husband. She fit in well with the entire family when it came to strength of character and stubbornness. And it hadn't gotten any better ever since they'd had their first son, Maverick.

As the newborn Prince of Aries and the future King, he was heavily doted upon by everyone in the family. It was quite the amazing thing to see really how Nykrian would put aside everything else just to play with his son and Nykrian would laugh when his son laughed. Mystra was always playing with their daughter, having nothing to really do. However, it was their grandparents that amazed him the most.

Acheron was far from what anyone would call warm and kind. In fact, most people thought him to be cold towards everything, but they didn't know everything about him. They didn't know the kind person that he was on the inside. When he was with his grandson, Acheron would do anything to make the boy laugh, even going so far as to make funny faces at the boy.

Trissieal was different of course. She had always been the warmest and happiest person that anyone had ever met. That was amplified when she was with her grandson. She happily baked cookies, cakes, and other things for the boy upon a moments notice. And Maverick loved all of the attention, but he wasn't spoiled. He was a kind, sweet tempered baby who was more prone to laughter and cooing than to temper.

Nykrian was fond of saying that his son took after their mother in temperament and he didn't make it any secret that he would prefer it if his son turned out more like his mother than him. He wanted his son to be kind and open with his feelings instead of withdrawn like he himself was. Of course, he would never admit that to anyone out loud, but it was obvious from the way he acted around the boy that it was the truth.

Drako stopped in the middle of the snow storm, looking up at the sky. He couldn't see any sight of the sun overhead, but he never would. On the Tundra, snow would fall all day until the night would come and then it was simply moonlight. There was no sunlight to speak of, and because of that, there was never any change in season.

He shook his head and looked down at the snow under his feet. He could see his reflection in it and he took in his own features. He was tall, standing at six foot five, and lanky though toned with muscle. He had long silver hair that fell unrestrained to the middle of his back and feral, golden eyes set in a tanned face. He wore a long sleeve black tunic with a silver breastplate over the top of it, black linen pants, calf high black leather boots, and a black leather belt with a longsword sheathed at his left hip.

However, the longsword wasn't the only weapon that he had on him. He had a dagger sheathed at the small of his back, three side by side. Also, he had throwing needles within the cuffs of his tunic, allowing for easy access. Also hidden from the naked eye was the thin garrote wire that was held within the buckle of his belt.

Being a Shadowblade meant a lot. It gave you power, prestige, and respect. However, one would never be openly adored by everyone for being a Shadowblade. That was because the identity of the Shadowblades were kept strictly confidential to keep the assassins and spies safe from anyone that they might have come across. He was one of the better known Shadowblades though because of his high ranking within the institution.

The only one better known than the Silver Dragon was the Director of the Shadowblades himself, the Indifferent Prince, Nykrian.

Shaking off his thoughts, the Shadowblade decided that it was time for him to get to work. It wouldn't do to hang around here and not finish his job as quickly as possible. After all, he was well known for finishing his missions and leaving no loose ends in only a matter of days. This was the first day of his new mission and he wasn't about to put it to waste. He still had to track down his targets, but that wasn't going to be that hard. He already had their scents, and even in the snow, they weren't going to be much of a problem.

As he set off through the snow again, he began to ruminate just what he was doing in the Tundra. The Shadowblade headquarters had received a notice from the Barbarians that made their home in the Tundra. The Barbarians were asking for their help with a nuisance that had recently cropped up. Apparently, the Barbarians had come under attack recently from Bandits and cut throats. Where they had come from or why they were attacking the Elk tribe, no one had any idea, but they'd attacked more than a dozen times already. Because of this, many of the Barbarian numbers had died, and in revenge, they wanted the Shadowblades to handle the situation.

Fair enough.

Nykrian hadn't been sure that they should do any such thing though. After all, the Elk tribe had plenty of resources and that included trackers that could find the hideout of these bandits and cut throats. That much he had to admit was true, but Drako had disagreed with him that the Barbarians should fight on their own. Besides, they had more skill, and after all, the Barbarians were just Humans. Sure they were tougher than most Humans, but they were already a short lived race as it was. Why make the Elk tribe - allies of the Assassin King himself and the entire royal family - suffer losses when they could handle it for them?

Nykrian had listened to his argument, and with a pensive looked on his face, had agreed. Years ago, the man never would have caved in like that, but the Silver Dragon suspected he knew why the other man had done so: it was because he wanted to spend time with his adorable son. For everything that could be said about Nykrian, no one could deny that he was a doting father. The Silver Dragon smiled at that thought and he wondered if the man was with his son even then while his best friend was out in the snow, looking for killers.

The Shadowblade shook his head to clear his mind. Then, he raised his nose into the air and began to sniff. Despite the falling snow and the gusts of wind, he could smell perfectly in the fresh snow. If anything, the snow actually helped him to deviate scents that weren't suppose to be there. And the scents that he was looking for today weren't far away from his current position. Before the day was though, he would find them, and if all went well, they would be greeting the God of Death this very day.

He walked through the snow until he came upon an entrance to what looked to be an underground cave. There was snow over the top of what had once been a rocky hill and it nearly hid the entrance to the cavern, but he'd found it following his nose. If only the rest of the job would go that easy, but he doubted that was going to happen. If there was one thing that he'd learned over the years, it was this set rule that seemed to apply to anything and everything no matter what: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Drako looked around, searching for sentries. He saw none, but that didn't mean that they didn't have a way of detecting his presence. It was odd that a criminal element like this one wouldn't have some kind of alarm system. They had to have some kind of alert system unless they were completely ignorant and thought that someone wouldn't come after them and possibly find them without being seen.

Might as well go in, the Silver Dragon thought to himself as he narrowed his golden eyes on the entrance. They could have some kind of alert system in place, but even if they do, it won't help them. In the end, I'll be walking out of here and every last one of these damned bandits will be dead.

With that thought in mind, the Shadowblade walked through the entrance and into the cave. It was on a downward slope, and the more that he looked at the walls, the more that he judged that it was no natural formation. No, this tunnel had been created, though by whom he wasn't sure. He assumed that it was possible that the Bandits had carved it out, but it looked a little age worn to be the work of the Bandits. This had probably been a hideout of someone else long ago that had been abandoned and the Bandits had found it, choosing to use it as their hideout now. Whatever the case may be, their scents were heavy in the tunnels which lead him to believe that they'd been there a very long time.

He was going to find them in this place, that much he knew for fact.

Drako moved deeper into the tunnels, his boots making no noise on the rocky ground of the tunnel. That was because his boots were enchanted with magic to keep them from making any noise. The boots that every Shadowblade wore were enchanted to give them the same stealth skill. Otherwise, they wouldn't have been that good of assassins. What good was an assassin that couldn't sneak up on their target?

Not that the Silver Dragon couldn't face someone in open combat. He had his own skills in head to head combat. He didn't need to sneak around. He could defeat nearly any enemy that he came across. In fact, the only people that he knew that he couldn't defeat in battle was the Assassin King and the Indifferent Prince. Luckily for him, he would never have to do battle with either man.

The Shadowblade narrowed his eyes on the tunnel before him. It had straightened out long ago, lending a level feel to it, but he had a feeling that it went deeper down. It just wasn't doing that right now. He reached a landing of sorts and he looked one way before looking the other. There were two different tunnels on each side, leading deeper into the tunnel. He didn't know where the leader of the Bandits was in this place, but he could smell that there were more targets to the left than the right. So, to get this over quicker, he turned and went down the tunnel to the left.

He saw torches on the walls above him, illuminating the tunnels. That made sense to him. If someone was to live down here, they were going to need light and what better light than burning torches? However, they were counterproductive to his reason for being here. They couldn't be allowed to continue burning.

That thought in mind, Drako drew on his magic. Then, he focused on all of the torches in the tunnel and he began to draw on their power, sucking the flames from the actual torches. The flames came back to him and entered his body, illuminating him for a second before disappearing all together. He opened his eyes into the darkness and he smiled. This was exactly what he needed to operate well. Darkness.

Darkness was the best friend of the assassin. Besides that, the darkness would confuse the Bandits and put them at a disadvantage. They wouldn't be able to see what they were doing, where they were going, or who was directly in front of them. He could walk right up to a bandit and stand there for several minutes without the Bandit even knowing it.

The Silver Dragon began to move once again, the halls illuminated perfectly to his eyes. There was a light sheen of green, indicating his night vision ability and he grinned widely. This wasn't going to be easy, but it was going to be fun. It was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel. True he liked a challenge, but when it came to Bandits, he knew that he wasn't going to get a challenge, even if they were fighting to full capacity. They were just Humans after all and no Human stood a chance against a Silver Dragon.

Reaching the end of the hall, the Shadowblade heard curses from up ahead. Obviously the Bandits couldn't see and they had no idea what was going on. That kind of fear he could work with, and ultimately, capitalize on. If they were scared and couldn't see, there was no way that they would be able to work together as a cohesive force.

Basically, they were screwed.

He moved further down the tunnel, and as he approached the end of the tunnel, he saw a man. He was dressed in leathers and carrying a handaxe in his hand. He looked less scared than the sounds that were coming from within the tunnels behind him. It was obvious that this man was more authoritative, though he doubted that this was the leader. He looked far too young to be the leader. Maybe the Bandit Leader's son or lover.

Either way, he's the first to die, Drako thought to himself with a wide grin on his face. The man moved into the tunnels, coming right towards him. Drako continued to stand there, looking at the man and waiting until he got close enough. The man walked right past him and he smirked as he watched the man begin to make his way up the tunnel towards where he'd just come from.

He wasn't going to make it.

The Silver Dragon reached down and touched the buckle on his belt. He popped it off of the belt, and with a twist of one side, he pulled the two pieces of the belt apart, revealing a razor thin wire. A garrote wire.

Wire held in hand, the Shadowblade leaped to just behind the Bandit and he slipped the wire around the man's neck. He tried to cry out, but with the razor thin wire wrapped around his neck, he couldn't. The wire bit through the flesh of his neck and right back into his throat, blood flowing freely as one of the arteries in his neck was severed. The Bandit stilled and he released him, watching as he fell face first to he ground, still in death.

He twisted the wire and placed it back inside of the belt buckle. Then, he placed the buckle back in its place. That done, he reached down and picked up the body of the dead Bandit in one hand. He leaped back down to the end of the tunnel, and looking into the tunnel beyond, he saw three men gathered around. They wouldn't be expecting this at all.

He threw the body down the cavern and watched as it landed right between the three men. There was a loud thump as it hit the ground and the three Bandits reacted by turning on one another, drawing their weapons.

"What the hell was that?" one of the men asked, nearly making him laugh out loud. He would like nothing more than to scare the hell out of the men even more. However, he had no time for that. He needed to get this over with and quick. That meant that he couldn't dawdle with these fools for that much longer. They weren't worth it anyway.

"I have no idea." one of the others replied, sword in hand. He bent down where the thump had come from, reaching out with his hand. He slid his hand across the back of his comrade, touching it with his hand before grasping the back of his leathers. He could see the Bandit's face was scrunched up, obviously not understanding what he was touching. "What the hell is this? It feels like a man, but it's not moving."

Tired of this, Drako reached down and wrapped his fingers around the hilt of his longsword. He walked down the tunnel quietly towards the three men and stepped into the middle of them. Then, he drew the longsword, the sound of steel sliding against wood filling the cavern. Just as he'd expected, the three men began to panic and they struck out with their weapons where they'd heard the sound. Unfortunately for them, by the time that they'd began to attack, he'd already leaped back out of the way of the attacks and he watched as the three men began to butcher one another.

As the last man fell, the Silver Dragon shook his head. Humans could be such fools. Striking out in the dark against a foe that they couldn't see even though they knew that their allies were so close. There wasn't another race on the planet that he knew of that would have done the same thing, not even the Elves and they could be just as bad as Humans when it came to their own fear.

But that was neither here nor there.

The Shadowblade walked past the bodies of the Bandits and further down into the tunnels. The hallway that he entered next was on a downward slope, leading him deeper under the ground. Luckily for him, he had a good sense of direction or he wouldn't know how to get out of this place. With all the twists and turns to this place, he found it to be quite astounding that the Bandits could find their way out.

He stopped in the middle of the hallway to raise his head and he sniffed the air. Frowning, he could smell more men, but there were more than he'd thought there would be. There were about thirty of them and they were all gathered around one another. A second later, he could hear the sound of them talking with one another, sounding worried, but the main thing on all of their minds was protecting their leader. Apparently they held a great allegiance to their leader, whoever it was. He didn't know who their leader was, but he had to admit that for bandits to have that sort of allegiance to him was astounding. Bandits weren't well known for their caring for other beings, much less someone that commanded them.

Shaking off those thoughts, Drako reached the end of the hall and stopped. He could see that there were three other exits to this hall, and even though they couldn't see, there were men guarding each of them. There only mistake was that they were turned back to back with one another in the middle of the room. That sort of cluster was easy to wipe out if the enemy was fast enough. And he was plenty fast enough.

The Silver Dragon readied himself to plunge in and start slaughtering. However, he stopped when he smelled something else. It was a thick smell, and after a few more light sniffs, he knew what it was: oil. And when he looked for the oil, he saw exactly where it was: at the feet of the clustered together Bandits. Grinning to himself, he realized that he wouldn't have to kill them with his sword after all.

The Shadowblade drew on his magic, and a second later, a ball of fire appeared in his left palm. Before the Bandits could react to seeing it or cry out a warning, he threw it at them, but not at their main body. He threw it at the floor - at the oil that they were standing in without knowing it apparently. They were completely doomed.

The fireball hit the oil, and in a split second, it exploded upwards, enveloping them in the flames. There were cries and screams from the men as they ran around, trying to put out the flames. Because the flames had been created by magic, they wouldn't be beaten out so easily though. He would have to do away with them for them to go out. Otherwise, they would continue to burn and he had no reason to put them out. These men had attacked and killed members of the Elk tribe, people that he knew and respected.

They deserved no mercy.

A minute later, the last of the thirty men fell to the ground, burned to a crisp. No longer moving, they were obviously dead, and thus, no longer a threat to him. He needn't waste time in this room anymore.

Drako walked past the men, his nose a little put off by the smell of burned flesh, but not that much. He could still smell where the other bandits were and he was going to follow his nose to them. He walked down the entrance directly across from where he'd come from, and when he reached about halfway down that tunnel, he was able to see light at the end. Obviously their torches had somehow been protected by his magic, but he wasn't going to question that too thoroughly. It didn't matter after all.

Longsword held down by his thigh, the Silver Dragon reached the bottom of the hall and stepped out into the room beyond. There were no other entrances to any other halls. There was just a single door that was flanked by both torches and two men. The two men in studded leather armor and holding spears stared in surprise as he came sauntering out of the hallway as if he belonged there. They had already been on high alert, more than likely from the screaming men above, but that didn't matter to him. They didn't stand a chance in hell against him and the very fact that he'd reached the heart of their base should have been enough for them to lay down their arms. Apparently it wasn't though.

One of the Bandits - spear in hand - lunged at him, thrusting his spear towards his gut. The Shadowblade saw it coming and he raised a hand, knocking the spear aside before plunging his own blade into the stomach of the Bandit. The Bandit cried out in pain, blood pouring from his wound before he pulled the blade out of him and threw him aside. The second Bandit stared at him, fear in his eyes, but he obviously wasn't willing to give up his post. He stepped in front of the door, guarding it with his life and he raised a broadsword in his hand, ready to die. Once again, he had to admire that kind of devotion to one's leader, especially coming from Bandits. It wouldn't be enough to escape his wrath though. He'd been given a job and he wasn't about to walk out on it now.

Suddenly, the Bandit lunged at him, his sword held in both hands over his head and he swung it down at him. Seeing this, he easily side stepped the attack, and the moment that the sword went sailing past him, he countered with a sweeping slash of his longsword. The head of the Bandit was severed from his body, and even as it rolled across the rocky ground, blood shot out of the Bandit's now decapitated corpse. Then, the body fell to the floor, ending the standoff between the two of them with a thud.

Finished with the Bandit, Drako leaned down and picked up the Bandit's corpse, moving it aside. He turned his gaze upon the wooden door and he narrowed his eyes. There was little doubt in his mind what was behind that door. He could smell no one else in the underground hideout that the Bandits had taken too so there was only one person that could possibly be behind that door.

Their leader of which they paid the ultimate price for. He could only hope that their leader deserved such devotion.

The Silver Dragon stepped towards the wooden door, sword in hand. He reached out and gripped the knob. He turned it as he reached within the door with his senses, making sure that it wasn't trapped. Feeling no trap of any kind, he turned the knob all the way and opened the door, peering inside.

The room was lit just like the outside with torches everywhere on the wall, illuminating the entire room to him. The floors and walls were all made of stone with no wall hangings, plaques, or other wall decorations. There was a simple square shaped stone table against one wall with maps and other papers scattered about its surface. There was a bed in the corner that didn't look like it had been made in a very long time and a throne of carved stone that sat against the far wall.

Sitting within that throne was the leader of the Bandits, and to his surprise, a woman.

From what he knew about Bandits, they rarely if ever allowed women into places of power. In fact, it was rare to see a female even being a warrior themselves. However, for a woman to lead a group of bandits and do so with such faithful devotion, she had to be a good leader. Otherwise they would never follow her and sacrifice their lives so readily for her.

Of course it didn't hurt that she was an attractive woman either. In fact, that was probably how she'd ended up their leader, using her charm and feminine wiles on the men to get her way. Men were many things, but Human men were quite easy to seduce and use without them even realizing that they were being used. It would have been quite comical if it wasn't so sad.

The Bandit woman was petite, standing at five foot six, but she was toned with some muscle. However, her breasts were larger than any muscle that she might have had on any of her arms. She had long dark hair that she wore in a high ponytail at the back of her head and clear blue eyes set in an oval shaped, tanned face. She wore a long sleeve black leather tunic, black leather pants, calf high black leather boots, and a black leather belt with a handaxe strapped to both of her hips.

Just from looking at the seated woman he could tell that she was dangerous. She was likely more skilled than every male that she'd had under her employ. In general, women were faster and more nimble than their male counterparts, making up for their lack of strength or ability to take damage.

"Well well well." the female Bandit said in amusement as she sat there, looking at him. She tilted her head to the side, looking at him as if seeing him through new eyes. There was a smile on her pretty face though why he didn't know. She should have been more concerned with the fact that he'd gotten into her compound, past her men, and was now standing before her. She didn't seem worried at all. If anything, she seemed to have been expecting it. "I see that the jig is finally up. I would have thought they would send Barbarians after us instead of you. A Shadowblade, wow. We must have garnered a lot of attention on ourselves."

The Shadowblade narrowed his eyes on the woman, wary of any tricks she might have up her sleeves. He was no fool. Women were soft and seductive creatures, but they could also be one of the most lethal beings on the planet. Human women were not to be underestimated, not even by a being of his caliber.

"For leading the raids on the Elk Tribe, you have committed crimes against the Aryan Kingdom." Drako replied, his voice empty of all emotion. This was the decree of the formal Shadowblade, come to do a job. This wasn't his personality at all, but that didn't matter. He raised his longsword, pointing it at her. "For this crime, you have forfeited your life. Now rise and meet your doom."

The female Bandit seemed amused by this, but she didn't resist. She got to her feet and stood with her hands down by her sides as she looked at him. He narrowed his eyes, not sure what to make of this woman. Was she simply going to stand there and allow him to kill her? That didn't seem likely, but then again, nothing about this job was turning out in the normal way.

Maybe he didn't have to kill her. Maybe he could just restrain her and take her to the Elk to allow them to deal with her. He shook his head, banishing his thoughts. There was no way that he was going to treat this any differently because she was a woman. She was the leader behind a deadly Bandit group, and even though all of the men that served under her were dead, that didn't matter. She'd committed the crimes and there was only one way to deal with people like her.

It still didn't feel right though.

"Kneel and die, woman." Drako told her in an authoritative voice. He continued to point his longsword at her, his feral golden eyes hard. He didn't want to appear weak in front of this woman. If he did, she might try to take advantage of that and he wasn't about to let his guard down just because she was a woman. He knew the deadly nature of women as well as any man.

The woman shook her head as she rose from her carved stone throne. She stepped towards him, but she showed no signs of kneeling. "I refuse to kneel." she said, her voice strong and rebellious. Then, her hands closed around the hafts of her handaxes. "If I go down, I will go down like my faithful men. I will go down on the other end of your blade, fighting for my life. That is the only way for me to meet my death."

The Silver Dragon could admire her for that. He himself would never kneel down and die at the hands of an enemy. Even if he was surrounded on all sides, he would never just lay down and die. He would fight till the very end, taking down as many as he could with him. For this woman to show her strength of charachter in that way made him feel as if he was facing a worthy opponent.

"So be it." Drako replied and he lowered his longsword down by his side. However, he wasn't giving up on the battle. No, he was continuing, but trying to lure the woman into a false sense of complacency. Not that he really needed it, considering the racial differences between the two of them. He met her clear blue gaze. "I shall give you the first shot."

The Bandit leader quirked an eyebrow at that, but she nodded her head. She freed her handaxes from her belt and she spun them in a tight circle at her hips. Then, without further flourish, she lunged at him, her speed incredible for a Human as she swung her blades at him.

A Human man might have fallen to her axes. Luckily for the Shadowblade, he was no Human man.

The Silver Dragon saw the attack coming and he leaped out of the way of the descending blades. He landed on the rocky ground, and before he could lift his blades, she was thee, striking at him again. Sighing heavily out of annoyance, he raised his longsword and parried one of her handaxes deftly while ducking out of the way of the second one.

Time to end this, the Shadowblade thought to himself, not enjoying toying with the woman. No need in allowing her to feel like she's won before I kill her. That would just be cruel and I don't seek cruelty for my targets. I seek their death and the justice that comes because of their deaths.

That thought in mind, Drako grew still and he watched as she attacked him again. She didn't notice the hardness of his features or the look of complete and utter determination. He was going to get the job done, no matter what it took and this woman wasn't going to stand in his way.

She swung her axes in an X motion, obviously intending to cut him down with the attack. Her full momentum was behind the attack, and if it would have connected, he had little doubt that it would have been a fatal blow. The attack didn't fall on him though.

The Silver Dragon raised his longsword and countered the attack, knocking both blades aside with the vertical base of his sword. She was thrown off balance by this and she stumbled. By the time that she was able to regain her balance, it was too late. He brought his sword up overhead and swung it down on the back of her neck as she was bent over trying to regain her balance.

The female bandit leader's head rolled on the ground and her body collapsed a second later.

The Shadowblade stared at her body for a moment, not feeling anything. Others might've felt regret, but not him. The way he looked at it was simple: don't do things that will bring the wrath of a Shadowblade and you won't die. That was all there was to it and still people continued to test the resilience and resolve of the Aryan government. They were a kind people, but when attacked, they would attack back and in full force. They didn't fight with their hands behind their backs and down on their knees.

Sighing, he bent down and wiped the blood of his sword off on her leathers. Straightening, he sheathed his longsword and he turned back towards the open door. It was time that he returned to the Elk Tribe and inform them that the Bandits would no longer bother them. He'd completed his mission today and he was looking forward to the next one.

It was just another day for the Silver Dragon, Drako.