He still could not believe that the youngling had bested him. Of course, he knew that he had been caught unawares, and that he had been overconfident as to the outcome of that fight, but the fact remained that he had been defeated and left for dead by his own student, a boy who wasn't even Immortal yet, a boy who didn't even know what being Immortal meant, nor did he know what he was destined to become. Yes, the boy was ready, but he was also gone. He had to find him, it was time for the lad to die so he could live.
He had been training him for years, honing his natural skills and grooming him into the perfect killer he had sought for so long. He had even gotten the youngling to call him 'brother'. Of course, the boy didn't know the meaning of that word, not yet, but someday soon he would know, he would understand. The time was right. They would ride together, mighty, unstoppable.
Soon the boy's soul would belong to him, his loyalty.
It had been at test, but it came close to costing him his immortal life. Pitting a friend, teacher and brother against an oath. He had betrayed the secrets that the boy was sworn to protect, and the lad came after him, as his honour demanded, and fought him with all he had... defeated him even... left him for dead, forcing him to hide behind a mask, a sign of shame and a precious treasure, for he knew that a mask was more terrifying than any face could ever be. In his heart he had always been a masked rider.
He shook his head, as he came back to reality. He had to find the lad, and he had to do it quickly. Every day the lad spent away from him was an unacceptable risk. From what he had heard the boy had gone with a Baron, though he was not sure whether he did so willingly. If this information was accurate, he was probably in Europe now, and so that was the way he had to go.
He knew that the easiest way to follow him would be simply to 'kill' Sarak, to take on a new name and a new identity, one that would enable him to blend in, but being that masked Saracen was pleasant, and safe. He felt more like himself than he had with most of those he had been through the centuries. Besides he was heading to Europe surrounded by his former foes, and Sarak's mask helped him to avoid recognition. He knew he could always make up his mind to 'kill' him later, depending on the circumstances, but it probably would be easier for a Saracen to get word of another Saracen in a foreign land, and he was also aware that it was too dangerous to set out looking for someone who knew him as Sarak with a different identity. Keeping Sarak alive would allow him to put off explaining some details to the boy until he was ready for them.
He had found employment working as a mercenary for Philip Mark, a Norman knight on his way back to England. He had to fight every instinct that he had to accept such a subordinate position, but he knew that the lad was worth it, and he worked doing what he knew, what he loved. The man who believed himself to be his master was ruthless and bloodthirsty, a pleasant company, though he knew that he would probably have to kill him in order to leave him once he'd found the boy. Or he would have to kill him if he failed to find a lead following his current direction. But, for the time being, he enjoyed the killing, as he always had. Playing games with his victims, offering them a hope that his own immortality guaranteed would be a false one, even if that meant risking exposure. He had learned long ago to use his immortality to strike fear in the hearts of mortals.
He had chosen England as his first destination because it was the furthest removed. That meant a longer voyage, and a better chance of finding some sort of clue as to the whereabouts of his student along the way. It was a beautiful journey, surrounded by the smells and sounds of death. They rode leaving devastation in their wake. It reminded him of a time long gone, and a power he yearned to recapture. It wouldn't be long, now that he knew that the lad was worthy. Under his mask, the man the world had once known as Kronos smiled.
He had been stuck in Lincoln for years now, knowing that the boy was indeed in England but unable to go after him. Killing petty thieves to entertain a man who could never know or understand true power. His talents were wasted in striking fear in the hearts of peasants who were worth less than cattle... but, at last, he knew where the lad was.
And then the news came, and he knew that the wait was over. Philip Mark had been ordered by the King to go to Nottingham to hunt and kill Robin Hood, and the boy was with him.
He thought of killing his 'master', but that would have complicated rather than simplified the situation. He knew that the youngling was in the forest, and that meant he was on his turf. No, he had to be patient, he had to put up with that Norman fool for a little longer, though he had to make sure that Mark's hunt wouldn't interfere with his own.
He knew that as long as his 'master' didn't intend to display the boy's head on a stake, the lad should be fine, and he knew that finding the boy in the forest could be difficult. The lad probably knew the terrain, and its people, like the back of his hand, and he had been well trained... he had seen to that himself.
He was well aware that the boy had defeated him once already. He knew just how skilled a fighter the lad really was. No, meeting him under his rules wouldn't do. He had to draw him out into the open. The boy was loyal, and he had friends, friends he valued. He could use that. Perhaps he could issue him a challenge, one that questioned his honour, or one that he would interpret as a threat to his friends. Yes, that would work. He could smoke him out. Perhaps he could even persuade the Norman fool to willingly go along with his plans, besides, the boy's friends had to die. They were precious to him so they couldn't be allowed to live, but for now the boy would probably be more manageable if he thought someone else was responsible for their deaths. He could still use Philip Mark.
His mask allowed him to observe them in silence. For these noblemen he, the leader of the Horsemen, was nothing more than a piece of furniture. They ate and drank trusting Death to watch their backs. They didn't know how easily he could see into their souls. At first his eyes settled on Gisburne, he had seen the man in action, both in the castle and on the field. He was a pitiful man, a servant who wore the attire of a nobleman, crawling at the feet of his new master with less loyalty than a dog. He was a poisonous snake seeking shelter. And then there was the other man, de Rainault, who was even more pathetic. Weak and afraid, a failure. Terrified of his own forest, and his own worthlessness.
Yes, they were petty, but that no longer mattered, at last the challenge had been issued. It was now only a matter of hours, then it would be over. The boy would be his, and he would kill him. He was ready to die, and, after that, he would be what he had always dreamt he would be. He would be what he had made him into... a Horseman.
The boy was lost to him, that was his first thought as he came back. Twice the youngling had killed him, and there wouldn't be a third time. The child had proven to himself that he could best him and, knowing that, he could never follow him. If he weren't in the forest perhaps he could kill him, permanently, but if he were to meet him now, on his turf, the odds would be stacked heavily against him. Even considering the advantage represented by that faint buzz, he knew that the boy would probably see him coming. No, the time had come for Sarak to die.
About this story: Yes, I know that in 'Robin of Sherwood' Nasir is responsible for the scar on Sarak's face, and this is not consistent with him being Kronos (whose scar was already present in the Bronze Age), but since both Sarak and Kronos were played by Valentine Pelka, and there were other obvious similarities between them (including that scar), this crossover felt kind of natural.