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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Chpt. 1 - Don't Shoot the Messenger

England. 1100 A.D.

Jude Stone wiped the black camouflage painted down his square jaw and forehead, before crawling to the edge of the forest thicket. He flashed a smirk.

Before him, peeking through the early morning mist at the top of the grassy incline, was a castle surrounded by high stone walls.

The static from his two-way radio interrupted his admiration.

“Go ahead, Spider, over,” said Jude, his accent Australian.

“We've secured the North-West and North-East towers. And the detonations have been placed. Over,” replied the voice on the other end of the radio, a husky Lancashire voice.

“Roger. Coming now. Over and out.”

Jude Stone slinked through the fog towards the North West tower of the castle, cradling his M40 sniper rifle. His black boots sunk through the sludge, softening the sound of his approach.

As he came to the castle wall a climbing wire was lowered. He clipped it to his belt and scaled to the top.

There Jude was met by a slim man in a black jumpsuit, identical to the one he wore, and a gas mask. The soldier took the mask off.

“Team B are ready and waiting,” the man said, tracing his finger over an electronic tablet, “and team A have now positioned themselves around the perimeter.” The man looked up from the tablet. “There are only a few life signs in the room with the king at this point in time. Should we move in?”

Jude signaled to the soldier to get low as they heard the clinking footsteps of someone approaching.

Coming out of the doorway of a turret mere metres away was a knight dressed in a green tunic and chain mail, with a broadsword by his side.

The man searched the curling fog.

Jude crept towards the knight on his haunches, taking advantage of the blanketing fog that masked his approach.

The knight put a hand to the hilt of his sword. His eyes flicked back and forth, and he muttered a string of words Jude couldn't understand, perhaps Latin or Old English. Not French.

Jude threw a hand across the knight’s mouth and nose and snapped the swordman’s head around, leaving no time to struggle or call out.

“Green 'A', green 'B', over and out,” ordered Jude into his radio transmitter as he dragged the heavily-armoured man into a dark corner.

Stone's eyes scanned the site once more, positioning himself at the edge of the wall overlooking the castle.

Jude squinted through the sight of the rifle, poised to fire through a particular window in the castle’s keep.

Soldiers dressed in black jumpsuits and black ski-masks abseiled down the castle to another window ledge, before lobbing a stun grenade into the room. They turned away as a violent flash erupted from the room, before then bursting in with their sub machine guns aimed in front.

Through the sight of his rifle Jude saw a red-faced man in purple robes clambering down the stairs blindly and holding a bleeding wound in the abdomen. Without hesitation Jude pulled the trigger, and with a muffled bang, the man's head flew backwards. The figure tumbled down the stairs leaving only a spatter of blood on the wall behind.

Spider's voice came over the radio attached to Jude's belt, “Good shot, mate. King William II is down. Sweet brutal justice for a brutal blood thirsty king. Over.”

“Time to clean up, Spider,” chuckled Jude as he raised the radio to his crooked grin, “Let's grab the bodies and disappear. No witnesses. No more casualties. Over.”

“Affirmative. The diversion explosion has been set for the South towers with a sixty-second counter. Over,” came Spider once more.

“All teams meet back at the designated spot. We'll work on the details then. Over and out,” ordered Jude.

Click here for Chapter 2 of Don't Shoot the Messenger by Daniel Grant Newton

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