The misty fog brought the rain clouds low; effectively blocking off any light from the waxing moon, whilst the rain would ensure the townsfolk stayed in their houses, and out of the way. It was a suitable night for an assassination.
None of this concerned the assassin as he darted in and out of the shadowy fog, unnoticed. He paused briefly in the shadows of a doorway as a wagon rolled past; hooves and wheels churning up the muddy track like butter on milking day. He snuck past the loud, raucous inn, where he could hear a piano being played, badly. There was also the screeching laughter of serving-women; coaxing the last bit of coin out of already inebriated customers. One such guest was the town’s reeve, but that did not concern the assassin either. He soon reached the gate that marked the boundary of the estate belonging to the town’s reeve. His target for the night.
Using a lock pick, he crouched down and began to work at the lock on the cast-iron gates. Tweaking it here, a slight turn there. A small twist to the left, a little nudge down… Click. The iron gates swung open, silently. That was a relief, now there would not be any watchmen drawn by the squeal of gates opening. On a night like this, they would likely be in the guard house; keeping as warm and as dry as they could. Good. It made his job easier.
Moving quickly and quietly, he flitted amongst the shadows of the trees. Ducking beneath bushes and hiding behind walls, he soon made it to the red-brick walls of the reeve’s home. Back flat, he skirted round the edge of the house; crouching to avoid lit windows as required. He turned a corner, and came face-to-face with a guard on patrol, whose green eyes widened in fear. Leaping forward, knife in hand, he placed his hand over the guard’s mouth, to silence any cry, the stiletto blade easily pierced the thin man’s throat. The assassin sheaved the dagger at his waist and dragged the dead man into the undergrowth. Making sure the body was concealed, the assassin moved on. When he was directly beneath the reeve’s bedroom window, he paused and retrieved a grappling hook from the leather satchel at his back. Swinging the hook, he threw it up to the roof where it clunked into place amongst the tiles. The assassin then gave the rope a sharp tug, in order to make sure it could sustain his weight. He started to climb the rope; pulling with his arms and pushing with his legs. To anyone below him, the assassin must have looked like a rat climbing a pipe. Well, he was a murderous rat, as the shire-reeve would find out. He soon reached the reeve’s window which was wide open; a cleaning maid must have forgotten to shut it. Not his problem. Tucking and rolling into the room, a study on closer appearance, the assassin made a brief check of his surroundings. Good. It was empty. The assassin blew out the candles that lit the room, and hid behind the door so that he was concealed from sight. Now he would wait.
It was not long before the lord returned from his night of drinking at the inn; he stumbled up the stairs noisily, making enough noise to wake the dead. The reeve paused outside the door, the assassin heard keys jangle and the sound of a key being inserted into a keyhole. The door opened and the reeve left it open. His mistake. He cursed that the candles were out; muttering that the “good for nothing whore” he paid to look after his house would get it in the morning. The assassin scowled behind his mask of darkness, he liked this man less and less. There was the sound of a match being struck and the room was lit. The assassin silently drew his longsword, and nudged the door shut. The sound of the door being shut caught the reeve’s attention. The sword pointing at his chest sobered him up.
“Who are-” The assassin raised the sword to his neck and gestured for him to be quiet.
“Silence!” He hissed, “I’ll do the talking or you’ll die sooner than we’d both like,” he whispered, his voice dripping the threat of death. “You’ve made enemies with your laws, you know that?” He asked the trembling man, who looked nothing like a reeve now.
“I h-h-h-had to,” he stammered, “Lady Anor ordered me to do it. She said the assassin scum were getting too powerful and must be stopped.” He gasped. The assassin looked at the man coldly.
“She said no such thing,” the assassin snapped. “Lady Anor is more scared of us than you are. Now tell me who told you to outlaw my organisation!” He was angry with the man and did not have the time to talk with his sort. The assassin pushed the tip of the blade harder into the reeve’s neck drawing blood.
“Alright! It was…” The reeve paused, thinking hard, “It was Lord Devkar, I swear!”
“Lord Devkar, who in the Four Seasons is he? You had better not be lying to me!” He was getting impatient and this name was strange to him. The assassin had never heard of such a man.
“I swear it was Lord Devkar! On my life I swear it!” The man begged.
“Your life is forfeit now, anyway,” the assassin spoke coldly. He applied force to the well-honed tip of his longsword and pushed it sharply into the man’s throat. The reeve crumpled to the floor, blood gushing from his throat like a burst dam.
“Sir, are you alright in there?” A thundering voice, presumably the reeve’s manservant, was accompanied by an urgent knock on the door. When there was no answer, the voice at the door began ramming the door.
Finally the door gave way and a burly, bald-headed man burst into the room. He looked around and saw his master sat in his desk-chair, the window open behind him; curtains blowing in the wind as if he was enjoying the night-time breeze. But the jagged hole in his throat, was seeping blood into his shirt.
“Assassin!” He roared, alerting the household. He dashed to the window and momentarily glimpsed a dark figure running off into the foggy night. While alarms sounded and guards hurried about the grounds in an attempt to capture the assassin, the manservant noticed a blood-stained note on the desk. It read:
We are strong.
You hope to defeat us Lord Devkar?
Think again, we are unstoppable.
In night or day, we are the Silent Blades.
You can’t find us. We find you.
And when we do?