I belong to an Underground society of assassins. Though, we didn't just stick to the art of murder. We did the tasks no one wanted to do; and yes, they did generally involve killing, but that wasn't always the main task – just the carnage left in our wake. People of all races, religions and beliefs gather in the Underworld, as we have nothing to prove to each other other than that we are worthy to be there in the first place. People from all around the world hire us, knowing that if we got a mission we would get the job done. For a price, of course. We consisted of social outcasts, orphans, victims, miscreants, or people who just wanted more from their boring, day-to-day lives. I had been tasked with an unknown mission, which I had to travel over half the continent to get meet the contractor. I didn't mind though. As a nomad, I often just popped into the local Underground hideout, accepted the missions I wanted to do and did them in bulk, only to end up wandering once more, seeing the sights of this beautiful world. I knew nothing about the mission, apart from that it required me to deliver a package. It would probably be as boring as hell, but it was good pay. I bet the package contained something extravagant, like a chest of jewels or the crown of a forgotten King.
The village wasn't what I expected. I knew by the fact that it wasn't on a lot of maps that it'd be small, so I expected very few people; but this place was bustling. Markets covered the streets, even on this early Sunday morning. I felt quite out of place seen as I was in a really bad mood, everyone here was so...cheery. I almost felt obliged to feel the same. Almost. It was quite the difference compared to the other human villages of this size; they were nearly empty, and the ones who did live there were crippled, ill or dying. Everyone was moving to the larger cities in fear of a Fae uprising. The people who stayed true to their heritage were being left to rot. Speaking of Fae, this area was renowned for Fae sightings, maybe I may see some of my distant cousins. It'd be a nice change. I wondered through the village, buying the odd fruit or trinket. There was a lot for sale; jewels, agricultural wares, fine craftsmanship...I wondered why this place wasn't on the majority of maps; it'd make a great tourist destination. I shook my head. I was getting caught up on the little details, as always. I needed to focus on the bigger picture. I was here for a reason. I needed to find the Mayors house.
“Excuse me,” I said, gently placing my hand on a local trade-woman's shoulder. She turned around, a shocked look on her face.
“Not a Fae. An elf,” I sighed. The woman's features immediately relaxed, as did the expressions of all of those around me. The must've been watching me closely, just to make sure I wasn't Fae. How cute. We share similar features, the Fae and I. Especially seen as I was quite short for an elf, more around Fae height, but not quite as small. I was around average height of a human girl of my age.
“What do you need?” the woman chimed, “Some bread? Or maybe some exotic spices?” She was much more chirpy now.
“No, no I'm fine for now, thank you. I'd just like some directions to the Mayor's house,” I smiled. The woman smiled back, but there was a glitter of something in her eyes; something...wrong. I glanced around me quickly, the rest of the villagers that heard my request shared the same odd expression...I'd seen it before, somewhere receding in the depths of my memory, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Oh well. I wouldn't be here for very long.
“It's that large farm house over there darling,” she smiled, suddenly even more happier than before, if that's possible.
“Thank you,” I said, bowing by head in respect.
I wandered through the streets, up towards the Mayor's house. It was a beautiful farm house, made of a marble like material and colour, with ivy growing up and around the door. It was stunning. I walked over to the guards that were situated around the elegant gates to the house.
“State your business,” one said. I sighed, pulling the notice I had received out of my pocket. The guards read it over, then curtly nodded at me. As I entered the grounds, I wondered why on earth would this Mayor need guards...Did they really fear the Fae that much? I distracted myself from the thought by looking at the beautifully trimmed hedges and the quaint little fountain in the centre of the lawn. Cute. When I settled down once I retired, I wanted a place like this. The butler was stood at the door, as if he'd been waiting for me for a millennia. He was old, his skin prune-like, yet his features sharp and sure. His suit was immaculate, as were his manners. He bowed and opened the door, pointing up towards the stairs in the house. I entered the house, opening the simple, yet attractive red door.
“The Mayor is on the floor above, in his study. Second door from the right,” the butler bowed deeply. I nodded and walked up the stairs. I didn't look at the exquisitely hand sewn rugs on the floor, that flourished with summery colours. I just focused on the door. It was plain and made of oak. I knocked. No point in hesitating now.
As soon as I knocked I heard a voice from within call me to enter. It was smooth like butter, despite it being muffled. I entered the room. I stood in a medium sized study; filled with book shelves and cabinets and paper work. A sturdy desk was in the middle, placed upon a luscious red rug, and sat at the desk was a fair haired man. He was in his mid-thirties, his skin tanned and glowing, his hair soft and curly, his features set and gentle. He was dressed finely and wore an approving smile. But those things weren't what caught my attention. In the corner of the room sat a boy, around my age. He had white blonde hair, his skin pale as snow. His eyes were a beautiful grey, like an early morning sky. But his looks weren't the only thing that attracted my attention. Around his neck was a black leather collar, with a thick, heavy chain coming off it, which was attached to the wall. His clothes were tattered and worn of colour, and his wrists were discoloured and grey – probably due to them being tied. His beautiful eyes looked up solemnly at me, his posture gentle, yet in pain. I tried to force my eyes off him but couldn't. And that's when it hit me. His elegant, pointed features, his frosty hair, his poise and grace, his pointed ears...He was a Fae.
“Hello. I believe you are the one whom I have summoned to complete the contract,” the Mayor's voice dragged my attention away from the boy, who shuddered as the man spoke.
“I am,” I replied, keeping my features and voice neutral.
“I've heard you're the best for your age, and your race,” he said, “Seventeen, so young...”. His voice was sleek, yet straight to the point.
“You're lucky to have me; I'm always fully booked,” I smiled, and the Mayor laughed.
“I only want the best,” he smiled. I heard a scoff from the corner of the room, and then the Mayor tut. An obvious tension, if the fact he was keeping the Fae as prisoner wasn't tension enough. It wasn't my job to ask questions about my clients, but it wasn't half intriguing. And normally I'd jump on the chance, but now...It just seemed wrong to.
“I want you to deliver this package. I will tell you in private where to. It may seem like a meagre task, but this means the world to me and this town. I would implore you to take good care of it – it is extremely delicate and requires care,” the Mayor said gently. Yeah, this mission would be boring.
“As you wish,” I replied. The Mayor nodded approvingly.
“I see you have brought a lot of tools for this mission,” noted the Mayor, gesturing at my duel Scimitar's and my backpack full of supplies. I shrugged.
“I'm a Nomad, Sir. I can carry my own weight,” I replied. The Mayor nodded.
“I am fully convinced that you can. However I want you to focus completely and utterly on transporting this package, so I shall have him carry your things for you. It'd be of great use to me if you were to relieve me of him for a few days, and I am willing to pay you extra, right now, if you so wish,” his voice suddenly became harsher. He glared over at the Fae, who glared back at him, his back straight up against the wall.
I didn't need anyone to carry my bags, but when I looked at that poor Fae, I couldn't refuse. He needed to get out of here. He needed to be free, if only for a few days. Slavery in any case is wrong, but this just made me feel sick.
“If it will please you,” I nodded my head. The Mayor smiled gratefully.
“Thank you,” he grinned, getting up and walking to the Fae. He didn't even look at him, he just unlocked the chain off the wall and passed it to a waiting butler, not even noticing as the boy winced when he sharply pulled the chain.
“Here you are,” the Mayor said, “I'll get him cleaned up for you.” The butler bowed and walked off with the Fae, who reluctantly followed, looking back at me with distaste. I don't blame him.
“Now that he's out of the way,” the Mayor continued, “I can tell you the ah, more pressing details of the mission.” I just looked at him,waiting for the information.
“I need you to deliver the package to very centre of the Thanosian wood. I want you to place it on the top of the waterfall and leave it there,” I tried not to look too confused. I was delivering a package to a waterfall? I mentally sighed. The people who lived in far out areas of the world didn't half have strange traditions and beliefs. Well, at least it was good money.
“I know this may seem confusing, but it is as I wish. The...people I wish to receive the package will find it easily enough,” he nodded at me, sensing my confusion. He smiled kindly.
“Of course, I don't expect you to head out straight away. I have a small hotel room booked for you to gather your thoughts and gain your strength. And don't worry, your food and rent is all pre-paid for. I will pay you your first instalment for taking my...Fae of me as soon as you arrive in morning, at eight, if you don't mind,” the Mayor gestured to the door for me to leave, smiling kindly. I nodded and exited. Silence speaks a thousand words, but, as in the case of this mission, leaves a thousand questions unanswered. I wasn't mean to be curios of my clients, or question their motives, but my request was odd to say the least. I guess I'd just find out more in the morning.