Here's the latest chapter. Hope you enjoy it. Don't for get to review!
Gath stumbled to the great doors of the council chambers, stopping briefly to lean heavily on the doorpost. He was exhausted, mentally and physically. For a moment, his vision threatened to black out, and he felt nausea rising in his stomach. He forced it back down and took a deep breath. Behind him, the carnage was appalling. Dead men lay everywhere, frozen in differing poses of agonized death. On the dais, the council members, once leaders of the most feared group of assassins on Vulcan, lay dead, now no more than broken bodies. He used his last remaining strength to shove the heavy door open and staggered out into the corridor, using his right hand against the wall to steady himself as he lurched toward the mouth of the giant cave in which the council chambers was secreted. Images, flashes of memory invaded his mind, forcing him to use his dwindling reserves of strength to force them away, trying to focus instead on simply being able to walk upright instead of crawling. Of all the dead men in the room behind him, only the master had proven a worthy adversary. Gath's mind still reeled from the impact of the Master's psychic onslaught. He felt moisture trailing down his cheek and brushed it away, looking at his hand. Why am I crying? He thought, and whipped his hand downward, dashing the tears to the sand covered floor. A shudder wracked his frame and he stopped for a moment, attempting to gather himself. His legs began to shake and darkness shrouded his vision. Reality disappeared and he found himself falling into blackness…
Gath awoke slowly, swimming toward consciousness, fighting to breathe, like a man caught in a sandstorm. He struggled momentarily, thrashing in his semi- conscious state, until he felt strong hands grasping his shoulders, shaking him, a male voice telling him to wake up…He opened his eyes slowly, the lids sticking to his eyeballs, and tried to focus on the shadowy figure kneeling next to him. "Who are you?" he tried to demand but his voice emerged as barely a whisper. His mouth was dry as dust, and his head had begun to ache terribly. "I am V'eth, do you not recognize me?" came the reply, and the kneeling man put a hand under Gath's shoulders to help him sit up. He pressed a water skin to his cracked lips and Gath tried to sip slowly, remembering his training, but a raging thirst overcame him and he gulped the tepid water. "Slowly lord Gath," V'eth warned and pulled the skin away. "You will founder if you drink too quickly." Gath nodded stupidly and tried again as V'eth offered the water once more. He was more successful this time, and managed to force down the raging thirst long enough to sip. With the help of the water, Gath felt a little strength returning, and he spoke again, his voice still a whisper, but no longer a dry croak. "Where am I?" V'eth sat the water skin down and eased Gath back down onto his back on the bedroll. "We are north of the Sanctum, in a cave." He stood and turned away, moving to the small fire Gath had not noticed before, and began to feed dried d'mallu vines into the flames. He turned to Gath once more, his eyes hooded and a quizzical expression on his young face. "Perhaps you would like to explain to me why the council is dead, along with most of our clan, and we alone remain alive?" His gaze bored into Gath, and the other looked downward, his mind racing. There was danger here, and in his weakened condition, possibly death as well. While V'eth was young, he was still the most promising apprentice Gath had ever seen. Carefully he felt for his mental shields, found them weakened but still in place, and raised his eyes once more, meeting V'eth's gaze with an icy stare of his own. "It is simple apprentice. An enemy has done this. One of whom we were not aware, and a very formidable one at that." He shifted his aching body to a more comfortable position and sipped more water, gathering his thoughts. He could feel his strength returning, but too slowly. Guile nor weapons were not the tools he needed here. Subtlety, yes, subtlety. His mind whispered. You are in no condition to fight this young one. Physically or mentally. He reached out with his mind carefully, just touching the surface of V'eth's mind, searching the younger man's emotions. There it is. Fear. And fear can always be exploited. "V'eth, we must not tarry long in this place. Those responsible may still be about. Perhaps we should move on as soon as possible."
The younger man regarded him from beneath slanted eyebrows hooded with shadow. "But what of our clan?" He stood and moved to the mouth of the cave, his expression troubled. "Should we not seek them out and have our vengeance upon them? Is it not cowardice to run away and leave our brother's bodies unburied, as their murderers go free?"
Gath looked sternly at the youth and answered sharply, as he intended " Is this the way neophites are being taught today? I would never had questioned a master assassin when I stood where you stand! No, we are not slinking away from a fight, nor will our vengeance be denied. However, if our enemies are capable of killing so many of us in so short a time, perhaps prudence is our best option."
V'eth bridled for a moment under Gath's harsh words, his Vulcan blood rising, and then he slumped a little. Returning to the fire, he bowed his head, "Forgive me master, I allowed my need for revenge to cloud my judgement. You are of course correct." He cast a few more pieces of dried vine into the fire. "What then are we to do?"
Gath smiled and softened his tone a bit, "We shall wait, and strengthen ourselves. I am in no condition to do battle at present. Therefore we wait, and when the time is right, we will hunt them, find them, and destroy them."