The Assassin

This is the story of Nathaniel who has to travel the world in search of safety from the law who are searching for him. He has a dark gift that he learns to use as the book progresses. please read and let me know what you think.

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3. Chores

Chapter 3

 

 

Chores

 

 

 

Fin woke us up. Everyone was already out of bed by the time I had sat up. We had a quick breakfast of toast and jam then everyone Jogged to the other end of the hall and formed six lines. I joined the third line. I was smaller than nearly everyone my age in the hall except for the young ones, which helped hide me from the many people I saw trying to see me. We were formed in to groups by the older boys and assigned tasks by the man who I was told by Matt before we were separated was to be referred to only as Fin. There were five other people in my group and none of them wanted to talk to me and they whispered between themselves constantly. We were first assigned cleaning the floor so we set about washing the floor with buckets of water brought by another group, brooms and sponges. After about an hour we swapped over and carried water from a pump in a side room. It was hard work and we were soon all sweating and tired. We all got a quick rest then we were told to help cook lunch which involved lighting a fire and chopping vegetables and meat and mixing it into soup. By the time we had finished most of the boys had returned from their outings, some carrying food they had bought with the money that the other groups had “collected”. I commented on this and Matt explained; “We actually make most of our money selling the jam and the honey from our bees and other stuff,” “That you stole!” “Well... yeah alright but we also have groups that work properly for a bit of money, running errands and messages for anyone who pays. We work every day for some people, including one of the city governors.”

“How come no one realizes what you are doing?”

"It’s simple, all we have to do jobs for rich people and they will tell the military they can leave us alone and they and the guards just leave us alone."

Matt Finished speaking and I followed him to some tables that had been pulled from the side of the room. We sat next to each other on one of the benches along the tables and waited whilst some other boys served steaming bowls of soup, which were passed down the table. We were near the end so we got our bowls almost first. The soup was hot but delicious and I ate it quickly. We waited until everyone had Finished then we got up and reunited ourselves with our groups. Our first job was to help get the groups that were going out again get ready. This included filling their water skins and preparing and giving them small satchel that contained some bread and meat. Matt was in one of the groups and I wandered over and gave him his water skin and satchel. “Right let’s go Nathaniel” Matt shouted walking over to his men who were waiting, I packed my water skin and satchel and Matt’s group and I walked out into the street. It was about two o’clock and the streets were busy with people selling and eating foods. We walked through the streets to the river and dropped down onto a ledge out of sight from prying eyes.

“There is a barge coming through soon that is rumored to contain a thousand gold coins heading for the emperor, Alistair the great. Finn wants some of the gold to provide us with better things. We’re going to get it.”

We waited for a couple of minutes before the barge came down the river protected by a small galleon; it was were and covered in cannons. However as the barge docked a few meters away from us the war ship had to sail out of the city and anchor there for the water was two shallow in the port. We climbed stealthily onto the barge and below deck.

In the center of the room was a stack of gold bars. “Wow we’ve done it, let’s get it” Matt whispered quietly as we started loading our bags with gold bars. Once our bags were full we began to leave taking the half of the gold that we stole. As we were leaving we heard a muffled scream from behind us. I spun round to see Carlos, a knife at his throat. The knife man laughed before pulling the blade left slitting Carlos’ throat. He tried to speak but blood just gurgled before spraying out of his throat onto the floor. He turned and fell out the side door and into the water. I yelled and ran towards the man my anger blazing. The man stepped forward but I reacted first smashing my palm into his wrist sending the blade spinning to the ground. He swung his arm but I ducked under bringing my knee up smashing him in the stomach before grabbing the knife and stabbing him in the neck. He fell to the floor a look of pure surprise on his face before exhaling heavily and lay still. We climbed onto the street and ran back to Finn where he was waiting to lock the gold away. He thanked us before assigning us into some groups and giving us jobs. For the rest of the afternoon we sorted what had been brought in that morning. We took the food to the main area where we sorted it in to piles of types; with meats on the left and vegetables on the right. After that was done we took the stolen items and packed into sacks that the rest of my group dragged outside to a stall that they apparently had in a main street a few meters away. I was forbidden to leave the hall for any reasons unless under supervision so my group had to carry my sacks as well.  Finally we helped make supper that was bread and meat, and then pull the tables from the side of the hall for supper. We then waited in the hall for the rest of the groups to return. I eventually saw Matt; he was covered with sweat and all he could do was stagger over to the tables and collapse on one of the benches as we began to eat.

After supper we tidied away then Fin came out and shouted sleep time. And everyone went to bed in silence.

 

The next morning we were woken by Fin ringing a bell. About twenty of the oldest boys ran to the side of the room to grab six large tubs. The rest of the boys set about warming water over the fires that they were relighting. I stood in the middle of the hall looking helpless.

“What are you doing boy?” Shouted Fin and I looked around to see the man slap a boy across his face. The boy fell backwards over a bucket that he had probably just dropped on the floor and spilled its contents of water. He ran to the other side of the hall where he grabbed a mop before running back to the spill and proceeded to dry up the floor. The man looked as if he had not slept in weeks and seemed to be in a very bad mood. I decided I had to try and look like I was helping and went and found Matt. He was struggling with a hot bucket of water so I helped him carry it to a tub and pour the water in. Then I followed everyone to a large basket where we all received towels then walked back to our beds and undressed, placing our clothes on our beds. We all then wrapped the towels around our waists and formed lines at each of the tubs, taking turns to wash quickly in the warm water. I took my turn and hurried over back to my bed where a clean set of clothes had been set out and the dirty ones taken away. I looked and saw that a large group of the boys and even a few girls who I had not seen before were taking a clean set of clothes from named baskets and replacing them with the dirty clothes from the day before. It’s very organized here I commented to myself.

“Hey! It’s you Nathaniel who did the thing.” Said a spiteful voice. I turned to see a group of the older boys laugh at me. “Who’s a popular boy then?” Their leader who I instantly called nicknamed fat face because well, he had a fat face. They stepped towards me and I backed away. “Running to mummy? Hu?” They teased so I stood my ground and they came right up to me. “Or do you not have one? Hey guys.” He turned to say to his friends and said, “Poor Nathaniel has no mummy?” They all burst out laughing in a stupid way and fake crying. “Is your savior Mattykins coming to save you?” One said in a babyish voice as they saw Matt who had seen me in trouble was hurrying over. How dare they.

“Matt is a better person than you will ever be!” I retorted.

“Aw he’s protecting Matt how cute.” I exploder inside in anger and felt the energy I had felt before explosion start to pour through me. My eyes seemed to swim out of focus and the energy rushed down my arm which I started to raise. Then suddenly someone barreled into my side and we fell on to my bed. My concentration was shattered and the flow of energy faded. I noticed that the person was Matt so I paused a moment to calm down.

“What was that for?” I asked annoyed and scrambled to get back up.

“What do you mean what was that for, you could have killed them. You have no idea how to control it; you could have done what you did on the street but right here. You could have killed us all.”

“How did you know I was about to kill them?”

“Your eyes went red, every assassin’s eyes change color when they attack, it’s part of the gene.” He muttered before turning away.

“I’m sorry, I was so angry and… and…” The Boys who had teased me had started spreading the word of what just happened and the entire hall was crowded around us. The leader of the teasing boys stepped forward and I stood to face him.

“Why’d your eyes turn red? Freak? Why don’t you tell us? Is it something dangerous?” He taunted pacing slowly inside the wide circle. “We some of us have a few questions for you, wait forget that, we all have questions for you. Don’t we?” He boasted to the boys and girls that had all gathered around. “Question one; why were you dragged in here in the middle of the night and then `slept’ for five days? Yes everyone, you all remember. Five days without leaving that room, no one allowed in but Matt. Matt stood next to me in a flanking position almost back to back.

Wait that is a protective position. Hell! We are going to get into a fight and he is ready to protect me.

“So now they are together they can answer the question.” We all heisted and started acting shifty. “He was completely exhausted after what happened.” Fat face smiled, this was the exact answer he had wanted.

“And what did happen?” He retorted automatically. To that we had no reply just stood there growing more and more uncomfortable.

“That’s strange; both of you were there and neither of you know what happened even though everyone else here does and they were not anywhere near it…” Fat face paused for effect. “In fact I know what happened so I will tell them; there was a fight and you killed five soldiers.” He stopped and turned to the wide circle around us. “And do any of you lot have any ideas of how he could have done it? Anyone? Well in the last few days I have been to the area and asked the soldiers what could have caused it they answered with three words. A… followed by Assassin then assassin!” He said Assassin in a baby voice and a gasp ran through the boys and girls. They all started talking about one thing; Unsworn Assassin’s still alive. “And we all know that a assassin is now an enemy of the empire and when they attack few survive which people were present and survived? Matt and Nathaniel! And some of us will know that when assassins attack their eyes change color. And whose eyes just changed colour when I teased him?” It took the assembled children less than two seconds to realize what fat face meant. I adopted a fighting stance and waited for the crowd to rush in and beat us to within an inch of our lives, closing my eyes in anticipation. Nothing happened.  What? I opened my eyes and looked at the crowd. They were just standing still, thinking. “What are you waiting for get them!” cried fat face but before he could do anything else some small kid at the back shouted;

“Why do you hate the assassin?” fat face paused looking confused.

“What do you mean why do I hate assassin?” He flatly replied.

“Two reasons, one; I bet Nathaniel is the first assassin you met and so far he has done nothing wrong, and two; I thought the only person who hated assassin truly was the emperor, for millennia they have been the emperors best fighting unit until emperor Alistair disowned them.” The crowd agreed, they had probably not been keen on attacking us, and their hatred of the emperor made us instant friends. The boys murmured in agreement and someone started clapping and suddenly the crowed of where cheering and they lifted the boy onto their shoulders and I saw that the boy was no older than five years old and I smiled happily. Soon everyone started asking the same questions, about what happened before and when did you know. I answered as quickly as I could and everyone slowly drifted away.  Fat face ran forward swinging his fat arm at me. He was slow and I ducked beneath it grabbing his arm into a painful arm lock before sweeping his legs away and pushing him to the ground.

He ran away crying and matt and I walked over to the group of people gathered in the hallway.

The man walked out of his room oblivious to what had happened in the last few minutes.

“Into bed all of you.” He shouted and everyone drifted away to their beds except one kid about the same age as the boy who stood up to fat face who just stood there; sobbing.

“What’s the matter?” I asked slowly.

“I’ve had a bad day.” He sobbed.

“What happened?”

“I dropped an expensive vase that someone got and it smashed. Everyone was shouting at me. I was scared that they would throw me out.”

“I’m new here but I don’t think that is going to happen. Everything should be ok in the morning.” The Boy cheered up a bit and sat down on my bed and I sat down next to him.

“I’m sorry I stared. I was… well curious to see you; many amazing stories have been going around about you.”

“Stories?”

“You don’t know? Well apparently you fought many guards to save Matt and you killed everyone but you and Matt. How you do it? You know; the skill and the speed?”

“I’m don’t know… it just happens, I didn’t know I was a assassin.” I sighed, suddenly sad, remembering all the dead people.

A light seamed to glimmer in his eye, he smiled and glanced quickly over his shoulder grinning. “What did it feel like?”

“It felt like a huge rush of energy and it happened.” I said and suddenly felt tired. “Now… sorry but I’m really tired. Do you want to go to bed? It’s late and you need to get good amounts of sleep to work well tomorrow and maybe you won’t drop anything? Huh?” I started to act tired and yawned a few times for effect.

“Ur. Ok. Thanks!” He replied, though a bit disappointed.

“Oh and what’s your name?” I asked.

“Aland.” He replied happily.

“Good night Aland” I called as he walked away.

“Night Nathaniel!”

“See you tomorrow.”

I watched Aland walk away happily then swung my legs up onto the bed and pulled the blanket over me. I listened to the sound of the other boys talking; they were all talking excitably about me. I could just hear four people excitedly talking about an expedition they went on today. Apparently they had been to the area were the fight took place and it was all guarded and there was lots of soldiers in the courtyard but they couldn’t get close as the guards had blocked it off. I decided to wait and see what happens. Slowly the talking quieted down to whispering and then slowly the whispering died out. I turned over in bed to try and get comfortable.

“You’re a skillful fighter.” Said some on my left and it turned to see an older boy looking at me from his bed.

“Skillful? How do you know?”

“My granddad was a Assassin and my dad told me about him before he died. He had been hiding for ages but they found him eventually and when he was caught they came to get the rest of my family and I was the only one to escape.”

“I’m so sorry for you.” I gasped

“That was years ago now, I feel sorry for you; there is a death sentence if you are caught and they find out, it’s ironic as the emperor is an expelled assassin himself. Everyone is scared of an assassin and you can’t imagine what people do when they’re scared.”

The emperor has many assassins under his command that’s why the empire has spread as well as it has. His emporia guards are so well trained they can beat every other guard they could come across and slaughter any unprotected soldiers. My granddad was the last one that used his skills in public.”

“Yeah… I suppose I’m kinda in trouble at the moment.

“Well you’ll be safe here.”

“Maybe, but I can’t stay here forever.” To that he said nothing and a few minutes later I heard his breathing slow and looked to see he was asleep. I closed my eyes and another few minutes later I was asleep to.

I woke sometime in the middle of the night. I sat up slowly, everything was quiet and I seemed to be the only one awake, but when I looked I saw Matt’s bed was empty. I quickly slid out my bed and started looking for him. I saw him sitting on a bench he had drawn up by a small fire in the ashes of the cooking fires from yesterday. What’s he doing? He shouldn’t be out of bed. He had his back to me so I quietly walked towards him. When I was a few meters away he turned his head to look at me surprised. He said nothing and looked back at the fire so I came and sat next to him and looked into the fire as well.

“Thank you.” He said slowly.

“Thank you?” I said quietly

“You know… For saving my life… I’m sorry I couldn’t say thank you earlier, I didn’t know how to start.”

“No you saved my life,” I replied. “If you had not stood over me I would have probably have been killed the moment I regained consciousness. You were trying to do the same for me.”
“Yeah I suppose your right. That makes us even then?”

“Yes.” I said and smiled.

“It’s good that we didn’t have to step in front of a crossbow bolt now!” He joked and we both laughed. After that we said nothing and just stared at the fire. The fire slowly burned down and when it eventually went out we said goodnight and returned to our beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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