The second people lay eyes on my blood splattered clothes and the haunted, determined look in my eyes, they immediately scuttle out of the way, running into the nearest building and slamming the door behind them.
The night air is cold, a layer of mist coiling up the streets and wrapping its cold grip around my body like a blanket. Me and Cassie always loved this kind of weather; we'd curl up in front of the fireplace with warm mugs of tea and talk for hours about anything but murder, pretending for a little while that we were just normal girls.
I spin, pulling two knives from their sheaths and brandishing them before me. But what I see in front of me has my heart shuddering to a standstill.
It's the Assassins.
Aeris stands in front, a grim smile settled onto his features. Davos and Luther stand to either side of him and behind them is the entirety of the Assassins Guild. I look into each of their faces in turn, noting the same determination within them that is in my own. All of them are dressed for a battle, armed to the teeth with an assortment of weapons.
I may have lost my sister in the fire, but I certainly haven't lost my family.
Aeris gives me a low bow. "You were right, Alex, my dear. They must pay for what they have done."
I'm fighting the smile that is desperately trying to force its way onto my face.
"You don't have to. I can do this myself."
Davos gestures to the Assassins and shakes his head. "We wouldn't dream of letting you."
The collection of men and women that make up the Assassins Guild murmur in agreement and I feel a lump lodge itself in my throat, tears threatening to fall.
I cough, clearing my throat before I flash them a grin.
"Let's give them hell."
We scale the huge iron fence with ease, landing silently on the grassy earth on the other side. The Forsaken's Manor stands massive and foreboding in front of us but I don't feel fear, only excitement at the revenge to come.
The trees conceal our presence as we stand staring at the manor in silence, each of us reveling in the calm before the storm. We've already shot down the members of their night watch, so nothing stands between us and the sleeping Forsaken.
"I have one request." I whisper to Aeris, who inclines his head in question. "I want Ivan."
Aeris reaches out and places a hand upon my shoulder, gripping it in a comforting gesture, showing me that he understands. He turns to face the Assassins, not needing to raise his voice for the weight of his words to be heard.
"These people destroyed our home. They are the reason we lost so many members of our family to fire. Do not pity them, for they have brought this on themselves. Kill them all. Alexandra has claimed Ivan as her own kill but all others are fair game." He looks to me and nods.
I take a deep breath, readying myself for the slaughter that is about to commence. "Let's do this."
We move as one, advancing on the manor at a sprint. Davos and Aeris break down the door, smashing through it and allowing us to spill into the house.
And straight into a bloodbath.
The Forsaken had been ready and waiting, just as Aeris had feared they would be. The second we step inside the house we are met with the clash of swords and arrows flying at us. I leap aside and land in front of a woman, slicing my dagger across her throat before she's even turned to face me. Leaving her body to crumble on the ground, I turn and immediately find another Forsaken waiting to meet their end.
All around me there is the thick, coppery scent of blood and the wailing screams of the dying. I sidestep an attack from a Forsaken male and come up back to back with Davos. Both of us lash out at the advancing Forsaken, blood splattering our faces as our swords slice into their skin.
"You okay?" He shouts in my ear, adrenalin lacing his words,
I grunt and lunge forwards, slamming my blade into a Forsaken's stomach and ripping it sideways, sidestepping as their insides fall upon the floor. "Oh yeah, I'm having a grand time!" I yell back at him in exasperation, sweeping a woman's feet out from under her and dropping to a crouch to deliver the killing blow.
An arrow soars above where my head had been just seconds before and my head whips around to find the archer. I meet the panicked eyes of a Forsaken man who immediately turns and runs into the heart of the house, dodging the blows of the Assassins as he flees.
I grab at one of the daggers at my belt and don't even aim before I send it flying, throwing it with everything in me. The blade slams home and I watch as he drops. An odd feeling of deja vu washes over me as I remember shooting down the Forsaken men earlier. The vision reminds me of the whole reason I'm in this house; I'm here to kill Ivan.
I barrel through the house, leaping over bodies and cutting through the Forsaken as I make my way to the stairs. They are wet and slippery with blood but I take the steps two at a time, forcing myself to remain upright.
More Assassins and Forsaken fight upon the landing and no sooner have I set foot upon it than I am rushed at, swords swinging and arrows loosing.
I let out a growl and launch myself at the closest Forsaken, pinning them to the ground and holding a dagger against their throat. The other advancing Forsaken are taken down by more Assassins who have reached the landing. The woman beneath me snarls and tries to knock me off but I press the blade of my dagger deep enough for beads of blood to appear and she soon stops.
"Where is Ivan?"
She glares at me and presses her mouth into a thin line.
"I don't have time for this." I remove the dagger from her throat and slam it into her shoulder, pulling it out and replacing it back at her throat before her whine of pain has left her throat. "Don't make me ask again."
Her eyes are glistening with hateful tears but this time she has the sense to reply.
"He's not here. He left the minute you attacked, through a secret passage in his study."
I force myself to refrain from slitting her throat in anger.
"Where has he gone?"
"To the docks. He's sailing for Erober."
Dread washes over me like a wave, threatening to drown me. I fall completely still, my mind detached from my body. It's only then that I notice the silence that has descended upon the manor. I look up and see the Assassins gathered around me, each of them breathing hard.
I rise to my feet and the Forsaken lady jumps up and attempts to launch herself at me. She doesn't make it a foot before countless arrows and daggers pierce her body, killing her instantly.
"Ivan's gone." My voice is hollow, portraying the dead feeling spreading through my veins. "He got away."
"No, he didn't." I move to the top of the stairs and look down, my eyes glazing straight over the mess of blood and bodies and finding Aeris standing in the doorway, holding his knife at the throat of the one I've been looking for. "Look who I caught trying to run away." He removes the knife and kicks Ivan forward, watching with anger blazing in his eyes as Ivan stumbles over the body of a Forsaken.
Ivan's eyes are wild as he drags himself to his feet and stares into the faces of the Assassins surrounding him.
Someone comes up behind me and taps my shoulder. "Go on Alex. This is your kill."
I descend the stairs in a trance, my eyes never leaving Ivan. His head whips up to stare at me as I come to the base of the stairs and move to stand in front of him. He is dripping wet and the gasoline that soaks his clothes burns at my eyes.
I raise an eyebrow at Aeris and he tosses something at me. I catch it one handed and look to see he has thrown me a box of matches.
Ivan looks from the box to me and then back again and I see the dawning realization that he is not going to escape his fate cross his features.
I flash him a deadly smile as I remove a match from the box and strike it. "None of this would have happened if it weren't for you. You decided your fate the second you gave the order to burn our Keep. Allow me to repay the favor."