The moment I dropped onto the massive mahogany table, I knew I was in the wrong place. What greeted me at the bottom of the hatch was what looked like the war room of the castle.
Maps, charts and lithographs were pinned on a massive cork board that spanned three of the walls. They were marked with little castles, arrows and Xs, indicating the path of the Advancement. I found the place from which I just returned; Normont, a little village near the Colonies, where two blue skulls were marked. My targets were a pair of revolutionaries who were getting a little too comfortable in their new territory. I never knew who hired me, but they paid handsomely for the kill. It only took a glance for me to know that this was not really the war room; it was more like a study, albeit one which recorded the bloody trails of the Advancement. I scooted to the edge of the table, keeping my body light to not disturb the numerous stacks of reports, raw data, foam-mail transcript and books. This would've been easy if I were in gear; however, the long cloak was more than I could handle, and it swept by a stack of strategy manuals, which tumbled to the floor. Startled, I leapt down, quickly picked them up and placed them in order. A few, however, had fallen face-up, revealing expansive notes written on the margins. Most of the notes were written in a scrawled hand; this indicated whoever spent time here must have been in an epiphany when they were written. However, a few were done in an elegant, looping script. From a mentor, then. And with the presence of numerous valuables, such as a crystal decanter and silver daggers, this room must belong to one of the noble's sons. At that exact someone burst in, and I hurriedly dived behind a shelf of war spoils, the cloak swirling around me. Peering out from my hiding spot, I tried to observe the boy, who set down a pile of documents and flopped onto a wingback chair. High merfolk, from the webbed ears which knifed up the buzzed sides of his head. His hair was a shock of swirling black-blue curls, which bobbed up and down as he fervently began to take notes on a small notepad. The handwriting matched the one in the manuals. So, he must be the owner of this room, then, I thought. After he jotted down what appeared to be an itinerary for the upcoming ball, the boy turned around, and I clamped a hand to my mouth.
His face was regal, all sharp planes and angles. But it was half sheared off, and one could see the bones and sinews beneath what was supposed to be flesh. His eyes, one long lashed and sparkling violet, the other milky white and nestled in muscle, scanned the room. He grabbed a half-mask, pasted it on the missing flesh, and immediately it changed color to match what would have been the rest of the boy's cheek and eye area, making it seem as if he was whole again. The boy strolled out, taking a wicked saber, some of the silver daggers and another massive tome (possibly on how to hack one's enemy's head off), closing the door with a bang. Only then could I sag to the ground. Being an assassin, I'd had my fair share of the gore, so it wasn't the sight of the exposed flesh which surprised me, but rather the one who it belonged to. I grinned, and let out a bubbling laugh.
Looks like Crown Prince Evander has a secret to hide, and someone to expose it too.