I stepped into the inn and immediately eyes turned to me, though they were unable to see my face a few men leered at me, knowing only a woman would be so small. I threw back my hood and scanned the crowded room. Men and women sat around drinking away the night after a hard day’s work.
“Looking for something dear?” The wench asked wiping at the bar she stood behind with a dirty towel. I walked up to the bar, my heels striking the wooden floor, and took a stool. She handed me a mug of mead and I took a long drink before setting the empty stein on the bar.
“No, just here for a good time.” I lied, no one could know what I was really in town for and the less attention I brought to myself the better, not to mention the guild I worked for preferred to keep our business out of the limelight, “Can I get a room?” I reached into a pouch tied to my belt and slapped a few gold coins onto the bar. She swiped them up with a practiced precision.
“Sure thing, it’s yours for the night,” She answered, “Up the stairs, second door on your right.” I nodded my thanks and stood, making for the stairs when a man stumbled into my path holding a mug of mead, some of it spilled out and sloshed onto the floor. He didn’t even seem to notice.
“Wherrrre do you thiiiink you’re goin’ prettty lady,” He slurred, “The parrrty’ssss jussst getting ssstarted.” I made to move past him and he reached out as if to stop me. I grabbed his outstretched hand, spinning him around so his back was to me and pinned his arm high up his back, the bones popping as they readjusted to their new position.
“Don’t even think about it.” I hissed applying more pressure, until I heard the bones creaking. He squealed and I pushed him away, he stumbled and fell to the floor, his mead spilling all over the ground. I glanced around and found all eyes on me. Damn. I turned and bolted up the stairs, disappearing into my rented room. Leaning against the door, I reached up and undid the lily shaped clasp at my throat and pulled off my cloak. I hung it on the hook next to the wooden door before glancing around the room. It was small consisting of only a bed and dresser, but the only thing I cared about was the window above the bed. It was small and would be a tight squeeze but thankfully I was tiny and would fit. I slid the straps off my shoulder and reached into my pack, pulling out a different set of clothes, a black tunic, soft leather black pants, boots made of the same leather that never made a sound on any type of floor and a black cowl. I quickly changed and stuffed my pack behind the dresser; it wouldn’t do well if someone found it. Lastly, I slipped on my belt, making sure I had my lock picks, gold, and twin daggers. I would need all of them. Now all I had to do was wait for night to descend on the town.
After what felt like hours but was probably no more than thirty minutes at the most, I glanced out the window and breathed a sigh of relief. The night had finally taken full hold of the world around and the street below was deserted, the torches hanging from posts the only lights. I opened the window and slipped out feet first, almost getting stuck but managing to squeeze out. I landed on a small wooden awning that covered the entrance to the inn. I made my way to the side and used the lattice by the door to climb down, sticking to the shadows. If I was seen then it was blown. I moved silently through the streets, ducking into the shadows whenever I heard footsteps and waited for them to fade.
Finally I found the manor I was looking for. I paused at the gate –making sure to keep out of sight – that would grant access to the grounds that the manor was sitting on. I kept to the shadows as I surveyed the land from the outside, seeing a few moving shadows, the mercenaries my target had hired. I continued walking until I came to the sewer drain I had found a few days prior. It lead right under the fence and connected with the basement. It was meant for an escape route, but no one would be escaping tonight. I easily removed the grate, having pulled it up earlier for quicker access and dropped into the sewer, landing in a few feet of water that I’d rather not know the contents of; I reached up and replaced the grate, making sure it was secure from this side. I took off at a brisk pace; following the path I had marked earlier. I made it unnoticed to the door that would lead into his manor. I knelt down and pulled out my lock picks, picking the lock in record time. There was something about the action of it that made me think of a time when it came harder to me.
“You’re doing it all wrong!” Vanya, the guild leader, stated sounding annoyed. She moved over to where I stood trying to pick a lock that for some reason wouldn’t open, “You have to actually try. You can’t just expect the lock to open.”
“Instead of yelling at her, why not tell her what she’s doing wrong?” A voice stated, we glanced over to the doorway that led into the training room and saw Tyrael standing in the doorway. He was wearing the same black tunic, pants, and boots that we all did, stretched tight across his chest, showing off his muscles.
“Stay out of this Tyrael.” Vanya ordered; her eyes still on me.
“I understand that you want to train her yourself, seeing some part of you in her but if you don’t train her right and expect her to just know what to do you will get her killed.” He stated moving into the room.
“Tyrael…” It was a warning; a clear threat in her voice but he made as if he didn’t even notice coming to stand by me. Turn it a few degrees to the left,” He stated and I obeyed and the lock popped open. I smiled up at him, “There you go.” He turned to look at Vanya, “See?”
“Fine you train her!” Vanya snapped then left leaving me to learn from Tyrael.
To be honest, his teachings helped me more than Vanya’s did, not that I would admit it out loud. I slipped the locks back into my belt and pushed the door open a crack, two men were standing a few feet from the door; neither one noticed the door moving.
“How long are we supposed to be here?” The taller of the two asked. They were both muscular in a lean way and both wore light leather armor with swords strapped to their sides.
“As long as we need to, we’re hired to protect and will do so until we’re no longer needed. Now go get some rest.” The other one ordered. His friend nodded, turned and disappeared down a small hallway. I heard a door open and close then silence. I turned my attention to the other mercenary. He stood there a moment staring after his friend then turned and disappeared from my line of sight. Soon enough I heard another door opening and closing. I waited a few minutes more before pushing my way into the basement, making sure the door shut and locked behind me. It was full of crates and boxes, but no one was on guard. I stayed low to the ground and slinked across the basement to the stairs on the opposite side, careful to avoid loose floorboards. I climbed the stairs and picked the lock of the door at the top and slipped onto the main floor, again making sure it was shut, not wanting anyone alerted to my presence.
The basement door was under the stairs so all I had to do was book it up the stairs and make my way to the master bedroom. A quick glance around showed no signs of movement, but footsteps echoed through the manor sounding far off, but getting closer. I moved up the stairs, pausing at the top as a mercenary, wearing the same gear as the ones downstairs, walked into the entry way of the house and straight through the archway on the other side, disappearing into another part of the manor. I rolled my eyes at his sloppiness before moving on. I snuck down the hallway, past three doors before finding myself at a set of double doors that led to the master bedroom. I tried the door and found it locked. I pulled out my picks and easily picked the lock. I slipped inside, making sure to shut and lock the door behind me and glanced around. Only one person was in the room, the target, who was sound asleep on the bed. I went to the side of the bed closet to him and pulled my dagger, the moonlight glinting off the silver blade. I carefully placed my hand over his mouth, knowing it would wake him. His eyes flew open and landed on me. His screams muffled behind my hand. He made as if to move, but I held the blade to his throat. He stilled and I leaned in.
“If you try and call for help I will kill you,” I whispered, “Nod if you understand.” His head nodded furiously and after a moment I removed my hand.
“Who are you and what do you want?” He asked sitting up.
“I’m here on behalf of a client, the sister of the girl you raped and murdered.” I stated and his eyes widened, filling with guilt. I knew it was him, the client would be pleased that her hunch was right.
“You’re with them aren’t you?” He almost shouted but I waved the blade and his voice dropped a few degrees, “The Blood Lilies.” I gave a swift nod and his eyes filled with terror, “I didn’t mean to kill her! It was an accident. I told her to stop moving, she wouldn’t listen and then she started screaming I had to silence her.”
“And I’ve been sent here to silence you.” I stated before I lashed out, swiping my blade across his throat in one swift movement. For a moment he just stared at me as if nothing happened then the blood started pouring from his throat and he reached up as if to stop it, choking on his own blood, unable to scream. I watched as he suffered staying until well after the light drained from his eyes. I glanced around the room, swiping a few pieces of gold that were left on the night table and leaving a blood red calla lily, or blood lily as they are usually called – a rare flower in the world but not unheard of, most were in the possession of my guild because no one wanted to see them in their homes – in their place before moving to the window. I slipped out of it and shut it behind me, landing on the roof and moved across it, making sure the men below didn’t see me. I walked along the roof until I reached the edge, which at this part of the manor, met with a tree that grew from the other side of the fence. I climbed into the tree and made my way down the trunk, landing on the ground outside the fence.
I smiled at the easy success of the contract and moved through the streets, returning to the inn. I climbed the lattice by the door and slipped onto the awning and squeezed myself back through the window of my room. I quickly changed out of my blood soaked clothes and dressed in my earlier clothes, a red tunic and brown soft leather pants with boots of the same material with a three inch heel. I washed my clothes in the basin and draped them on the dresser so they would dry and stretched out on the bed, allowing sleep to claim me, dreams plaguing my restful sleep.
I walked out of the sleeping area that all the assassins shared when they were home and moved towards Tyrael, figuring we would train some more but he shook his head when he noticed me approaching.
“Vanya wants to see you.” He stated and I froze, was it time for me to get my first contract? I nodded and followed the path that would lead me to Vanya’s chambers. The door was closed and I lifted my hand as if to knock but the door swung open and Vanya stood on the other side.
“Good, I was just about to come look for you.” Vanya stated before retreating back into her room, leaving the door open an invitation to enter. I moved into the room and Vanya was sitting at her desk, her quill scratching across the paper before her, “I have a contract for you. Are you ready?” All I could do was nod, it was finally happening. The scratching stopped and Vanya glanced up, her right eyebrow raised in silent question.
“It would be my honor.” I stated and she studied me for a moment before giving a swift nod.
“Good,” She smiled at me before setting down quill and picking up a sealed envelope, “This is the contract.” She held out the envelope and after only a slight hesitation I reached out and took it from her, “You may discuss your contract with anyone in the Blood Lilies, to gain helpful insight.” She picked up her quill and began writing again, a clear dismissal. I ducked out of her chambers and began my first contract kill, no one in the Blood Lilies could ever claim their first contract kill was their first kill. The only way an invitation to the Blood Lilies was offered was after a murder was committed. Most had a choice, no one was forced into this lifestyle, except me.
I woke to sunlight in my eyes. Squinting I sat up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes. The dream faded to the back of my mind but I knew I would never forget my first contract. It had been years ago, but I still remembered it like it was yesterday. I shook off the memory before it could take hold, knowing I didn’t have time to reminisce.
“Don’t think about it,” I told myself aloud. Just because I hadn’t wanted to kill people for a living then didn’t mean anything. I was okay with whom I was now, I actually found myself smiling and happy on multiple occasions which didn’t happen before I became a Blood Lily…before I had a family. I slipped off the bed and quickly packed my now dry clothes into my pack and slipped it on before draping my cloak over my shoulders, clasping it at my throat. I slipped out of my room and went downstairs.
“Sleep well?” The same wench was behind the bar and I gave her a small nod, “Good thing you did.”
“What do you mean?” I asked taking a seat at the bar. She hesitated before leaning in, motioning for me to come closer. I leaned in pretending to be the curious person she would expect.
“Seems there was a murder last night,” She whispered, “They believe the Blood Lilies were involved.” I widened my eyes and made an O with my mouth as if that news frightened me. I stood quickly.
“Then it seems I must be on my way.” I stated making my voice shaky, turned and walked out, a small smile on my face. I went around to the stables and found Astrid where I left her, the stable boy jumped when he saw me and grabbed my saddle, getting Astrid ready to go. I petted her as I waited, pulling some oats out of a pouch on my belt.
“She’s ready, ma’am.” The stable boy stated a few moments later. I pulled out a few coins and passed them to him. His eyes widened then a smile broke across his face.
“Thanks,” I stated as I pulled myself onto Astrid. I pulled up my hood, making sure all of my dark locks were in the hood.
“No thank you ma’am!” He gushed, “Have a safe journey!” He called after me as I rode out of the stables and on my journey home.
A few days later, I arrived at the stables. I dismounted Astrid and handed the reigns over to a stable boy.
“Make sure she’s fed.” I ordered and he nodded as I brushed past him heading for the city gates. The guards on either side watched as I approached but did not stop me, only opening the doors as I reached them. I walked into the city, the cobblestone streets crowded with people moving from shop to shop. I walked right through the crowd, not even breaking stride as I walked out of the shopping district and towards the church in the center of the city. I ducked into the cemetery glancing around to make sure I was alone before moving to a gravestone towards the back, I threw back my hood and stood before a gravestone that read:
RIP 4E 206 – 4E 256
Her blood will never stop flowing
Blood lilies grew in abundance around the grave. I reached to my throat and removed the gold lily from the clasp and pressed it into the calla lily shape on the tombstone above her name. It fit without effort and the sound of stone grinding against itself filled the air. I glanced up and watched as the stones on the back of the church moved and revealed a black door. I replaced the lily at my throat and walked to the door, pushing my way inside, waiting as the stone moved back into place shutting me in darkness. The door was on a sort of mechanism, that was able to sense when it needed to close or open. It didn’t bother me; I was home when I was surrounded by shadows. I walked down the stairs I found myself at the top of and entered into the Blood Lily Sanctuary. Vanya was waiting for me when I reached the bottom. She was wearing a black tunic, black leather pants and boots, but no cowl, we never wore them in the sanctuary, we had no reason to hide here. Her blonde hair was braided down her back. Her grey eyes sparkled when she saw me.
“Welcome home darling,” She purred holding her arms out as if she wanted a hug, which I knew she didn’t, “I’ve just received word from my contacts in Trispire, apparently a man of great influence was found murdered in his home. The only evidence was a blood red calla lily left on the night stand.” She gave me a small smile, “Well done.”
“It was almost too easy.” I replied, smiling back.