In tenth-era Eldrin, two young boys, orphaned at a young age, are mentored by a wealthy man to become assassins. Then, after the tragic murder of their adopted father, the boys, now young men, seek to demolish the insurgence of ten years earlier, La Vigilantanos. *Note*: Graphic Violence. Not for the faint of heart. P.S. This series falls into multiple categories, and each book will most likely have its own genre.

Cover courtesy of TheFuzz


4. The Price of Cowardice

Chapter 4

The Price of Cowardice


I kept up my pleasant facade until Isabella was out of view. I then plunged myself into the sea of vibrant colors that those who attended had donned themselves in. Quickly and gracefully, I slipped through the massive crowd, apologizing all the way for bumping into people as I darted to the front of the dining hall.

As I reached the front of the room, I searched for Alder. I scanned the entire population of the dining room to locate my towering brother. I knew he would be well over six inches taller than any other guest at six-foot-three, and yet I still could not find him. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and Alder was standing right next to me, two handkerchiefs in his hand, both black, with a green a on one and a blue one on the other. He handed me the green one, whispering, "Tie this around your head so that it covers up the bottom half of your face . This will be a public execution."

I climbed the short staircase, and saw my brother on the other side. I flicked my hood up, and he did the same. We were now virtually unidentifiable. I gave a signal to move, and we strolled onto the stage slowly, trapping Fareno. We heard gasps as I pulled out my dagger, and even more when my brother unsheathed his pistols from his chest.

Fareno saw me first, and sprinted towards the other staircase, running into Alder, with a pistol pointed at him. I heard the guards shouting at the entrance, trying to get up to the stage. Alder, without looking away from Fareno, shot a guard in the heart across the hundred yard ballroom. Fareno paled, and I think I saw his pants become a shade or two darker between his legs. Alder pushed Fareno towards me, and I grabbed his arms, held them behind his back, and put a knife to his throat, facing the crowd. 

"I'll give you one chance Fareno," I whispered into his ear. "Who are the leaders of Le Vigilantanos?" 

"Uh-I-I-I don't know!" he whimpered, bursting into tears. "My father is the one you want! He stays secluded in his manor! He's the man, just please, Missero, don't kill me!"

"I do not tolerate cowards, Mastanto. You are better off dead," I spoke grimly. I swiped the blade across his throat, feeling his blood cover my hands as he gasped for air. I felt him go limp, and dropped him on the floor, a pool of blood gathering around his corpse.

I looked to Alder, seeing dead guards strewn along the dance floor by the hands of my brother. The guests were all cowering across the outer wall, terrified, and unable to escape because the guards locked the doors. By now all of them were dead, so Alder and I re-sheathed our weapons, and hopped off the stage to the ground a few feet below. We sauntered through the ballroom, stopping at the center to address Fareno's guests. 

"Fareno Taredicci was the benefactor to those trying to overthrow the government. He was an instrument in the downfall of our family two times over. This is why he needed to die," I announced to them. Some calmed down a little, while others remained on edge. "Know this, ladies and gentlemen. We do not harm innocents. You are all safe. Go back to your homes."

I walked to the front doors, locked shut by the foolish guards, and kicked them open, wood flying everywhere. Alder and I strolled out of the building to be met by a plethora of Fareno's personal guards, spears aimed at our hearts. The moonless night was illuminated only by the lights behind us. I realized that all the guards saw of us were silhouettes. Alder and I put our hands behind our heads.

As one of the guards slowly approached us, I leaped up, kicked his spear out of his hands, knocking it ten feet away. I spun around, planting a round house kick in his ribcage, knocking him over. The other guards advanced on us, half at my brother and half at me. The first of the six guards attacking me I disarmed with a chop to his wrist as my other hand gripped his spear and spun it around, pointing it at him. I ran him through with it, exploiting a small gap in his steel armor plating, causing him to cough up blood.

I threw the first guard into the next two, causing all three to fall over. Another came at me, and I leaped up, planted my hands on his shoulders, and landed behind him. I spun around, and let loose a well placed punch to the small of his back. I heard another clanking around behind me, and as I sensed he would stab, I spun, slid under him, and punched him in the groin as I did so. As I leaped up from off the ground, the last guard dropped his spear and bolted away. I quickly pulled out a throwing knife and launched it right into his neck. 

On the ground around my brother and I were fourteen dead and unconscious armored men. "Alder," I said to him. "Let's get out of here." With that we sprinted away, to where we tethered our horses. We rode home quickly at first, slowing more and more the farther we got away. At this point we were had taken off our cloaks and handkerchiefs, left only in our shirts, vests, and pants.

I thought about the girl, Isabella. Why did I keep running into her? It had happened multiple times now, and I was beginning to think it was just bad luck. Well, it's not that bad, I thought. She was very beauti-. I silenced my thoughts. She was the daughter of the man I hated most. I couldn't relate to her. She was part of the contract. Nothing more.


Over the next few days, we stayed at our estate, and were not bothered once, until the third day after the assassination. My brother and I were sparring, hand to hand, absorbed in taking each other down. We trained near the barn, about a mile away from the house, across the pasture. We paid servants to keep the farm for us, and we made sure they stayed away when we trained.

We fought dressed only in our pants, to keep us cool. We were like a blur, moving our hands extremely quickly, and dodging even faster, unable to land a hit. As another punch was launched straight at my sternum, I noticed immediately it was a bit too uncontrolled. I took my chance, grabbed his wrist, stopping his fist in mid thrust. Before he could react, I gripped his upper arm, spun, and used his momentum to flip him over my back. 

As he landed on the ground in front of me with an oof, I smirked, and dusted my hands off. 

"Lucky shot," he grumbled. I reached my arm out to him to help him up. He took it begrudgingly, and I lifted him up. He stood, cracked his back, and sighed. Then, without warning, he kicked my shin, shocking me. I hopped around holding my shin, and he pushed me over. I landed on the dusty ground just as he had, and gave him a death stare. I scrambled up off my back, and he took of running.

He sprinted to the fence into the pastures and leaped over. I chased after him, grabbing my sword scabbard from where it was leaning on the fence, and climbed over, lacking the momentum he had. I chased him all the way from the pastures the full mile to the house, dodging cows grazing and horses roaming around.

Once we reached the house, he ran inside, grabbing a walking stick from the bucket next to the door. He then ran straight to the middle of the foyer, covering the dark wood floor and the red rug in dirt and dust. I smirked at him once I caught up to him. We faced off in the entry hall, causing the maids to grimace and back away, not wanting to be caught in the middle of our friendly fight. This was a common occurrence, in fact, my brother and I facing off somewhere in the house. 

I lunged forward at him, knowing I would easily top his walking stick sword with my technique, and I decided not to drag it out longer than was needed. He hastily dodged me, staying on the defensive, as he knew I had much more expertise in blades. I lunged over and over, never giving him an opening. He swung his walking stick in a parry, which was his first and last move with his makeshift weapon, as I broke it down the middle with a quick flick.

He looked disgruntled at the fact that I just demolished one of Padere's old walking sticks, but shrugged it off is I kept jabbing at him, waiting for his unconditional surrender.  Finally he raised his hands above his head and kneeled, prompting me to place my blade upon the back of his neck. He chuckled at me, and I lifted my blade from him. We were both sufficiently winded by now, him more so from dodging my assault. 

I then heard a slow, rhythmic clapping from the main doorway. Alder and I turned quickly towards the man standing in the doorway. We recognized him immediately as Devone, and sprung to greet him. He smiled at us, and my brother and I embraced him. Devone was almost as much of a father as Padere was, almost like an uncle to us. As my brother and I disengaged him, I saw the happiness in his eyes to know that we still had each other.

"Pardon me, but you seemed busy, so I let myself in," he said to us, smirking. Then, his face quickly turned into a frown. "But now, boys, I am sorry to say we have business to discuss." We nodded, and led him into the study through the door to our left.

I let Devone and Alder in first, and as I was about to close the doors, I addressed the head maid in our household, saying, "Do not disturb us while we are in here, Maria. Grazi." With that, I closed the doors.

Immediately, Devone started speaking in a hushed tone. "I caught wind of the Taredicci assassination. That was very dangerous, boys," he said, scolding us as if we were small children who had just broken a piece of china. We hung our heads slightly. He continued. "Luckily, the Imperial Guard has no leads into who the assassins were, so you are safe. For now. That is wh-" Before he finished, I interrupted him.

"Devone, we cannot stop this now. We have plans to attack Farico Taredicci soon, at his private manor. It is Padere's will that we finish his work, and that we will," I announced hastily, my insistence making Devone smile. 

"Well, Amadeus, if you would have let me finish, you would have no need to say that. I have decided to help you get to whomever you want. I can exploit my contacts for as much information as you need," he told us, surprising Alder and I. Alder decided to take the conversation from me, as he expected I would say something unexpected. 

"Thank you, Devone. Do you have anything on Farico currently? We know he is a very wealthy business mogul, and that he stays in his guarded manor," Alder explained.

Devone nodded. "I came prepared for this. Let's get started shall we?" With that, we worked well past midnight planning our strike against Farico.


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