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The Assassin and the Thief

by Shera Prague 5 years ago in fantasy
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A sample from a book I will one day write.

The moon is high, almost in position, by the time I get where I need to be. My target should be walking back into town any moment now. If all goes to plan, this hit should go down without a hitch. I shift in my position slightly, careful not to rustle the branch I rest on too much. The stiffness in my bones has set in now, but I can’t leave my position. I have a mark, I have to carry out the mission.

I tighten my grip on my bow, roll my shoulders back, take an arrow from my quiver and knock it. I sit, patient, waiting, ready for the kill. And eventually my elven hearing picks up the sound of footsteps. I perk up, honing in on those steps, readying my bow. It’s not long until I see my target walking down the stone path back toward the city so I lift my bow, pull back the arrow, take aim, and then….

“Hey.” A whisper from the ground behind me startles me and causes me to miss just as I set my arrow loose.

My target startles, looks around wildly, and I swear under my breath. I wrap my bow around my torso and leap from the tree, landing gracefully. The person who interrupted me moments ago watches me with a look of amusement on her face. I glare at her before making a swift escape- not wanting to stick around for my target to realize who I am.

To my surprise, the girl from before follows me.

“What do you want? Who are you?” I ask.

She’s human, wearing a mismatched amalgamation of different pieces of armor. Some leather, some furs, some steel bracers. If I didn’t know any better I’d say she was just a traveler, low on her luck and taking what she needed from those she either killed or found dead. But I do know better, and the mixing of the strongest bits of the armor you come across is a telltale sign of a thief.

She doesn’t answer my question.

“You’re an assassin from the Brotherhood of Blood.” She states, as if it’s not a question but a known fact.

“And you’re a thief. Are we done here?” I cross my arms, focusing back behind me to see if I can still hear my target. It might not be too late to take him out if I hurry.

“Did I interrupt your kill?” She asks innocently, even though she clearly knows that she did.

I sigh, “Do you want something?”

She smirks. “Not really.”

“You interrupt my work for nothing, then?” My hand reaches down to the dagger strapped to my belt, “Did no one ever teach you that messing with an assassin was dangerous?”

She tsks and shakes her head, “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I would.” I narrow my eyes.

She giggles, extends her hand to me, and says, “I’m Lysa. And we need to talk.”

***

I’m wary about following a stranger, especially when that stranger is a thief, of course. But my kill has probably long gone by now and Lysa, after dropping her act of the innocent and coy human who just happened to interrupt my kill, reveals her true nature. So I follow her back to a campsite, keeping my wits about me and my hands near my weapons.

Lysa lights a fire before sitting down near the flames, taking off her gloves to warm her hands. I sit down too, near enough that we can talk quietly, but far enough to defend myself against an attack if it comes to that.

“So?” I ask when she doesn’t speak up, “What is it we need to discuss?”

“Right.” She says, looking up from the fire to meet my eyes, “The Shadow Guild has sent me to discuss with you your target.”

“You’re with the Shadow Guild?” The surprise leaks through my voice as well as the admiration.

The Shadow Guild is an organization of thieves, similar to my own guild of assassins. But where the Brotherhood of Blood chose its members by who can kill without being caught- the Shadow Guild was more selective, taking only the best of the best thieves and to get in you had to have a personal invite from the Guild Master as well as go through a series of tests.

She nods in pride and then continues, “I am. And we have to discuss your mark.”

“Right. Why, exactly?” I ask.

“Because he’s a client of ours.” Lysa explains.

I tilt my head, “And you’re discussing this with me, why?”

“We would have gone to your Guild Master but he’s been known to be…” She comes to a loss for words, not wanting to be offensive.

“Irritating, hot-headed, difficult to work with, vexing.” I offer her.

She smiles, then giggles, and then composes herself. “So you can see why we decided to talk to you instead.”

“I do. But someone wants your client dead, and the Brotherhood of Blood isn’t known to drop a contract.” I remind her.

“Of course,” She nods, “But you see, if you don’t drop this one- at least for the time being- we’ll be forced to come after you.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“I’m threatening your entire guild.” Lysa corrects.

I think that over for a moment, run the idea through my mind, “This client is important to you.”

“Very.” She confirms.

“So if you had to put a price in gold on that worth, how much would it be?”

She smirks, “Are you trying to get me to bribe you?”

“I need to bring something back to appease my Guild Master.” I point out.

She nods. “Of course. How does 10,000 gold coins sound?”

“Like an amount of coins you don’t have.”

She smiles, “We’re thieves, we have all the gold we could need and then some.”

I shrug and then stand.

“Where are you going?” Lysa asks, “Stay here for the night. I’ll get you the gold tomorrow and then you can be off to speak with your Guild Master.”

I glance around, my hand instinctively going to my blades as I think about her offer.

“Don’t worry,” She says, noticing my hesitation, “I’m not going to stab you in the back while you sleep. It would be bad etiquette.”

I look at her, and despite my initial distrust of her, I smile. And then I concede to stay the night.

fantasy

About the author

Shera Prague

Just a writer trying to bring the LGBT+ community the stories we deserve. <3

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