Gender: Male Age: 53 Location: Las Vegas, Nv
|Introduction: Facing Assassins|
It was over a week before Kendra appeared at the inn. The rumors ran wild about her appearance with me. Just the day before, a column of Imperial guards rode through the city and whispers said an Emperor’s Voice rode with them. An Emperor’s Voice was a type of mage that could speak with the Emperor’s voice and what he witnessed could be seen by the Emperor.
I was returning from bringing wood into the kitchen when Kendra appeared. I ignored the guards around her and the richly dressed man as she smiled a radiant smile and bowed, “You look much better.”
She grinned as she stepped closer and held her hand out, “Since you haven’t come to check on me, I decided to come to you.”
I smiled as I took her hand and kissed the back before releasing it, “How can I help you?”
She looked at the richly dressed man, “This is lord Ericson.”
I nodded, “The Emperor’s Voice.”
He bowed, “The Emperor listened to his wards story and wanted to thank you.”
I sighed, “You can tell his majesty that I was…”
He held up his hand, “The Emperor is listening. He said to tell you that the Imperial warrant on Peacemakers has been withdrawn.”
I smiled, “Does that mean he finally believes what we told him about his brother?”
He tilted his head as if listening and nodded, “His majesty said it didn’t matter.”
I sighed, “It matters, his brother arraigned his older brother’s death and was going to try to kill his father. Peacemakers are guided by the gods of the Empire and bow only to them. My mother did what she had to so that the Empire would remain standing as the gods intended. If his brother had been innocent my mother would not have acted.”
I looked at Kendra and sighed, “I do not serve the Emperor, I serve the Empire.”
She smiled, “Sometimes it is the same thing.”
I nodded, “Most of the time it is.”
The Voice cleared his throat, “His majesty said he will think on your words.”
I bowed slightly before looking at Kendra again, “Have you had a chance to look around the city?”
She nodded, “I asked his majesty if I might spend a little time here.”
I liked the way she looked this morning and gestured to the inn, “Would you like something from the inn?”
She smiled and stepped forward to put her arm through mine, “That would be nice.”
I nodded to the Emperor’s Voice and turned to lead Kendra into the inn. Ms Peace looked up when we came in and looked surprised. I smiled, “Would you make a cup of tea for Miss Brigham?”
She smiled, “Of course.”
When we came through the doors into the common room I knew there was trouble. There were a few of the Imperial guards just inside the door but a man sitting alone at a table stood out. I moved Kendra behind me as I looked at him. He smiled slightly and stood to leave. I watched until he left and then turned to sit Kendra at a table. She glance towards the door, “Who was that you were protecting me from?”
I sat beside her, “An assassin.”
She looked startled and looked at the guards. I shook my head, “It was a notification.”
She looked at me again as the kitchen doors opened and Ginger came out with a cup of tea. I sat and watched her sip tea and talk quietly. Surprisingly she talked about styles of fighting and the ways they could be countered. She was almost animate about it and I finally stopped her with a smile, “I better return you to the ambassador before he comes looking.”
She actually blushed and then laughed as she stood. I glanced at master Hoard as we headed towards the door and he smiled and bowed slightly. I nodded and led Kendra out with her guards falling in around us. We walked back through the city talking about this or that. She asked when I was going to be back at the guards practice yard and said she might come by to watch. When we reached the ambassador’s keep she turned to face me, “Thank you Edward.”
I bowed and watched her enter before turning back. This time I noticed the assassins as I started for the gate through the Curtain wall. They moved with purpose and I noticed they weren’t junior masters. I had just passed through the Curtain wall when the first moved. I side stepped a dart and moved down an alley. I was half way down when two moved out of the shadows.
I pulled knives and moved into them, blocking a thrust from one and back stepping to avoid another poisoned dart. I twisted and stabbed through the wrist of the assassin attacking me. I twisted my knife as he screamed and slid in front of him as my other knife sliced across his throat. I spun, using his body as a shield and shoved. I moved after him as the other assassin slid sideways smoothly.
He pulled a short sword and a dagger and lunged. I don’t think it was supposed to be a real attack but it brought the hand with the sword close enough. Like with the other assassin, I turned sideways and stabbed through his wrist. This time I yanked straight back towards me and he screamed as he stumbled forward. My other knife stabbed up under the ear and twisted before I was pulling it free.
I glanced back the way I had come and turned the other way as four more assassins darkened the other entrance. I started for the other end and watched three assassins walk in. I spun and squeezed between two walls and into a tiny alcove. I waited and suddenly one slipped into the alcove with me. He lunged and I brushed the blade aside as another assassin slipped in to join us.
I stabbed low and he blocked before realizing it was a false strike. My knife sliced through his throat before I blocked the other assassin’s blade. I lunged and let him block my knife as my other knife dropped lower and stabbed through his inner thigh and the artery. He staggered back, his face pale as his hand dropped to the gushing wound.
Another assassin slid through and his wrist flicked, I slashed across with my knife, knocking the dart away before closing with the new threat. He slid in and slashed towards my face. I stabbed up into his wrist with my knife as he lunged with a dagger in his other hand. He froze as I twisted and ripped the knife out before brushing his other dagger aside to stab straight up under his chin.
He fell away as yet another assassin slipped into the alcove with two more following. I flipped my knife and threw it, hitting the assassin in the throat. I moved closer to the opening and stabbed through a hand that struck at me with a dagger. I twitched my hand and yanked back before lunging to put the blade through the assassin’s eye. I knelt as the dead assassin fell back into the one behind him. I pulled my knife out of the other dead assassin’s throat before standing.
They pulled back and I had an idea what was coming next. I crossed to the other side of the alcove and drew out a black neck cloth. It covered my mouth and nose while leaving my eyes uncovered. A moment later a sphere seemed to float through the opening and drop to the ground. It broke open and began burning. I moved back and managed to catch the next two as they were thrown in. I don’t think they expected their own poisons to be used against them. I tossed the two spheres I had caught back out into the alley and heard swearing and running feet.
I didn’t even pause and moved back out into the alley and headed towards one end. I wiped my knives and sheathed them before pulling my swords. I swiped one across in front of me to brush a dart aside but didn’t even slow down as three assassins moved to block me. I blocked a lunge and sliced across his throat with my other sword. I spun to block another lunging blade and cut down with my other sword to take the whole hand. I brought a sword up to block a cut at my head and stabbed through the assassin’s chest with the other.
I let the three men fall and continued to walk away. I was headed for the old Assassin’s guildhall. I brushed two thrown darts aside with my swords as two more assassins appeared. They hesitated before coming for me. I was done avoiding them and turned to walk into them.
I slapped a sword thrust away as I sidestepped and stabbed into his inner thigh and ripped his artery apart. The other assassin lunged and then stabbed with a dagger as my sword swept his aside. My other sword easily blocked his dagger before I thrust into his chest. I let them fall as I started off again Three more assassin came running around the next corner and slowed before one threw a dart I brushed aside with a bloody sword.
The city guard and everyone else must have felt the danger because no one else was out but the assassins and me. I continued towards the three assassins without slowing. Another threw a dart I knocked away and then I was within sword reach I blocked a cut and danced sideways and ripped open one assassin’s gut with a sword point. I brushed a lunge aside and cut straight up under his arm to sever the artery. The last assassin pulled a second short sword and lunged.
I parried and his other sword stabbing towards my wrist. My left hand sword brushed it away and the right stabbed into his eye. I jerked it out and started walking again. I was almost to the old guild house when four assassins rushed me from a silent doorway. I moved into them as they tried to spread out. I blocked a sword into his partner’s before using a back handed slice that took out a throat.
The spray of blood splashed into the faces of two of them, blinding them. I moved swiftly, stabbing one through the neck and ripping it out while gutting the other. I turned to face the last assassin and he struck. I twisted and managed to brush his sword away before slapping the following dagger down. I stabbed forward with that sword and sliced through his inner thigh.
I slid back as he jerked and shifted to stand on his other leg. I shook my head and absently slapped his sword away. I waited a moment and he grunted as he slowly went to his knees. I walked away as he slumped down further. The two assassins that stood in the center of the street waiting for me were much different than the others. These were guildmasters, very high quality assassins.
I think they expected me to stop and talk. When I reached them my left sword struck out and sliced across one’s throat before my other sword stabbed into the second man’s chest. They were both surprised and it was to late for them to do anything except die. I watched their convulsing bodies in the street before turning to look back down the street at the assassins that slowly gathered, “Leave this city and do not return.”
They slowly turned and walked away.
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