Laurent had reached the opposite bank; but Damen was only halfway across the stream when he saw a hint of red in the undergrowth close to Laurent’s horse.
That was all the warning he had. Laurent had none at all.
The man lifted a crossbow and shot a bolt straight at Laurent’s unprotected body.
In the awful blur of motion that followed, several things happened at once. Laurent’s horse, sensitive to motion, to the hiss of air, the rustle and swish, violently shied. There was no sound of a bolt thudding into a body, but that would not be heard anyway over the horse’s scream as its hook skidded wrongly on one of the slippery, water-smooth river stones, so that it foundered and went down.