Untitled Story

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DITF-Ninja, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    I sat there looking at the human across from me. A mere boy, pretending to be a man. I could see the arrogance in his eyes, a look that was all to familiar. I made a useless motion to wet my mouth, more muscle memory than conscious decision. "So run this by me again." The raspiness of my voice reminding me of my age.
    The tales of The Bloodied One. I want to know the truth about him." the man replied. The inner child in his voice was not as dead as he wished it to be.
    "So you went through all this trouble to find me, a frail old changeling in hopes of what? Hearing the stories anyone on the streets could tell you?" There went that motion with my mouth again, just as useless as the first time.
    "I've read all the stories of the Justicars. Most talk about the original four; Victor, Issac, Fallian, and Aurora but nothing more. However there are a few older stories that point at an unspoken fifth member, one who shunned the title and hid from the public eye." he snapped back. His determination was starting to irritate me.
    "Yes yes the Justicars! Everyone knew there were more than the original four. Even as skilled of warriors as they were they could not save a realm by their own strength. So what of it?" The retort was that of a grandfather snapping at a child.
    "I'm not talking about Olivander or Valaer. This fifth member was described as a deadly assassin. That when the diplomacy of the Justicars failed his shadows would envelope their enemies and they would be no more." It was becoming more and more obvious that this underling was not going to stop.
    "So you are implying that this illustrious fifth member of the Justicars was a deadly assassin so that must mean that he was without a doubt the Bloodied One that you speak of? Your idiocy has become taxing young one." I started to take my leave but as fate would have it some people just refuse to take no for an answer.
    "Please sir I beg you, I have been searching for the truth about the Bloodied One because I believe he served a much bigger purpose than just to terrify people and give a new boogeyman story for the children. I want to know the truth about him, I want everyone to know what he truly was." You had to give it to the kid on this one, he knew how to hook one's attention. Turning back I reassessed him.
    "And what makes you think I know more about this Bloodied One than some Joe Smuck on the street?"
    Without speaking the boy produced a small bronze badge. It was greatly worn by time and touch but the coat of arms on it was still visible to those who knew. House Deneith. The only other bit to the badge was a gouge in the metal across a single length of it. How this boy found it I would never know and my surprise at seeing it after so many years didn't go unnoticed. "This was yours once, wasn't it?" he asked.
    That damn kid, he had a terrible ability to pry and what made it worse was that it was working. Fighting back the desire to touch it I conceded. "Well you best get comfortable boy, your in for a long story." The look of success filled his expressions as he sat down.
    "So you did know the Bloodied One?"
    "Son I am the Bloodied One, or at least I used to be. Back when I used my birth given name, Vor." At my age it was hard to fight the blissful feeling of reminiscing but this however was one of those few time I accepted it with a little bit of joy. After a moment of silence I collected my thoughts and began. "To fully understand the Bloodied one as you desire let us start from the beginning. Long before I ever held a sword..."

    If I were to claim a place as my home town I would have to say Korth because it is where I spent a large part of my childhood. A massive jungle of concrete and life, even during the Last Great War That city was an epicenter in Khorvaire for great technology to be birthed and many a great hero to rise. It was also however a pit where many atrocities were committed and skeletons buried. At face value if you had the right blood, it was a haven to grow and prosper. However if you were one of the unlucky batch, like myself, Korth was a prison, threatening to erase an unlucky fellow should they ever try to reach up from the mud. Me being a changeling on one of the lowest social rungs on the social scale. I think the only ones really below me were warforged. In that city for as long as I can remember it was only ever me and my mother, Mia, and even though we had no home or friends and commonly went days at a time without a proper meal, things weren't really that bad. Hell considering the life I have lived I would still consider those the good days. The Days of peace in a world of war. Now I won't bore you with the mundane details but know this, everyone hated our kind, even changelings hate other changelings. We stole what was necessary to get by and commonly had to pick up and move for a bit or even lay low. With all things considered though having my mother, someone who cared made things much better than it seemed, even on the nights when we went hungry.
    I even recall times when I tried to play with other children similar in social status to me. It generally didn't end well because when your in a social pit it didn't matter if someone was above you by one rung or the whole damn ladder, they wanted to make sure that they were better than you and that you knew it. That usually led to me getting run off of play grounds, and in some cases if I was unlucky it would get more... violent to say the least. And before you ask yes I would run to my mother crying but honestly any child that age would do the same thing. Her being the mother that she was would coddle me and tell me stories of how I would change the world and people would regret the day that they looked down upon me with disdain. You know the typical shit people use to get your hopes up. And of course because I was a naive child it worked. You see the problem with times like that is that you have to rely on that one person to pick you up, dust you off, and set you straight. You have to rely on them always being there...
    Then finally the big day hit, and before you interrupt no it was not the day that I became a murderous sociopath, but rather the day that I turned 13. Why was that such a big deal? Well for homeless thieves who survived off of what they stole that meant I would finally learn the tricks of the trade. Yea I know not every 13 year old's idea of the greatest birthday gift but it meant that once I learned we would have the opportunity for twice as much food and hopefully half as many hungry nights. So yea a big day. Anyways my mother had been scoping out several places, waiting for the food to reach the end of its shelf life. Why the shelf life you ask? Its simple, we stole to survive, not to be assholes, so we took food that would have only been on the shelf for a day or two more so it wasn't like the store owner would lose out on tons of money. We needed them to stay in good business to ensure that we had a supply of food. We knew we were stealing from honest folk trying to make a living, hell some of them we had actually bought food from once or twice when my mother was able to take an odd job to make some coin. Yea the food we stole usually tasted like dirt sprinkle with shit but you get used to it when you've gone a week without eating. But on that big day she had finally decided to teach me her secrets of stealth and thievery and she had already scoped out the next place, Daylight Bakery on Crown street.
    As you have probably guessed we waited until dark. As I waited underneath the porch of the bakery I watched as magelight after magelight on the street near the shop go dark. My mother was like a cat, fluid and with purpose. It was actually really hard for me to follow her movements with my novice eyes. We never stole from the rich districts because the guards patrolling there were too tight of intervals and we never stole from poor town because that was just plain wrong. The middle class areas was where it was safest. As she finished the last couple magelights my eyes struggled to adjust as she appeared beside me. I jumped a little from it but that part to the fact that it was still had to watch my mother work and be this master sneak thief but yet be so gentle and kind. It made me question where she learned such talents, surely not from the streets. She was pretty handy with a knife too. I remember once when she protected us from a drunken orc, a few quick slashes and he was nothing more than a pile of meat.
    Look at me again, getting off topic. I'll try to keep that to a minimum, now where were we... Ah yes the break in. So that same knife I was telling you about well she stuck it into the lock of the door and with a few quick and unnaturally silent jiggles the handle turned. Before she opened the door and the adventure began she stole one last look at me, those silver eyes... Well she whispered for me to be quiet and follow her. When she opened the door I expected the usual squeak but its unnatural silence was yet another display of her amazing skill. As we moved in she closed the door and then began looking through the bread, trying to find the loaves that were just on the edge.
    My eyes however had caught a light coming from a back room, that and a bit of humming. After my eyes and ears adjusted I was able to conclude that it must have been the baker in the back burning the midnight oil. Then it hit me, the sweet aroma of a fresh honey loaf. Now I have to say after not eating for a couple of days controlling yourself around such a smell was nonexistent. I could also smell cinnamon, sugar, fresh flower, and yes even cheese. I had lost myself and became entranced by the smell. I made my way across the rickety floor with a large amount of luck, my mother too busy examining the bread on the shelves. When I was close enough I peered through the crack in the door and saw a fat man huddled over a small table, kneading bread while a few more glazed in a nearby oven. I leaned on the door more to get a better view but lost my footing, slipping and slammed the door open. The instantaneous fear was felt by both me and the baker as I scurried back and he threw that bread he was kneading up in the air. Before I could get up the fat man stepped out of his back room with a magelight floating at his shoulder and a large bread knife in his hand.
    Now the man was by no means impressive by sight, he was short and round enough to roll better than a wagon wheel but when you are 13, on the floor of a house that is not yours, and with the owner of said house looming over you with a large knife it takes all you have to not piss yourself in terror. Before either one of us could process what we saw my mother had already intercepted him with deadly silence. With her knife in hand and in a defensive stance between me and the baker she must have been something scary to look at. She was ready for bloodshed but what came next surprised us both. The fat man dropped the large bread knife and let it clatter to the floor and instead of being angry or scared he looked sad. He motioned for us to wait for a moment and let the mage light float in the air as he waddled back into his backroom. In those few moments I know my mother was torn between taking me and running or waiting to see what he was doing. I however was caught in a sense of awe. Just as quickly he disappeared the fat man returned with a fresh out of the oven loaf on a plate. As he waddled out my mother retook her stance which forced him to stop a few steps shy. He made up for that by setting the plate on the floor and sliding it across to us. Even though I had never tasted one at that point in my life I could tell the bread was baked with cinnamon and sugar. I instinctively reached out for the food but was stopped by my mother. After she had felt that I would not move and further she took her free hand and tore a small piece of the bread off and popped it into her mouth. I would later come to understand that she was checking for poison. After a couples of rounds of chewing she swallowed, paused then slid the plate over to me. Then as if all at once her defensive posture ended and we both tore into the bread. The baker stood a few steps over the entire time, with a look of joy over his face.
    Over another loaf of bread we had found out the baker's name to be Cameron and he offered my mother a job. His assistant had left to go fight in the war and Cameron couldn't keep up with the baking to keep the store full of merchandise. He asked my mother to assist him in baking at night and as payment he would give her two free loafs of bread a day plus coin for her work. He even offered the extra room up stairs to us. When my mother questioned him with why in relation to us being both changelings and thieves he replied, "Labels are society's way of limiting not the person in question but their view of the person. Only the labeled one defines their own limitations." After a little more conversing my mother had agreed to baking bread at night provided he leaves a list of what needs to be done but she turned down the free room. She still had deep rooted trust issues but who could blame her, the world was a cruel place. Reluctantly he agreed and gave her a key to the shop and another loaf of bread. After a shaking of hands we took our leave. It was obvious that my mother's mood had greatly improved because she was humming a melody that she used to use to sing me to sleep. Life finally let us have one for a change, or so we were led to believe.
    Before we had made it far several guards called out to us, demanding that we halt. My mother shoved the bread in my hand and told me to run to our spot and not stop. I didn't have much time to protest as the guards were closing in. I took off running because I was a weakling and a coward and did what my mother told me to. As I started running I stole a look back and saw that they had her surrounded with weapons drawn, it was unlike the guards to act so violently.
    After the longest run of my life I made it to our spot, a bridge on the north edge of town. The bridge was over a large water run off designed to prevent the city from flooding. In my hysterical state I barely avoided tumbling down the deep slope as I got under neath the bridge. I moved a stone aside to reveal our little cubby we had been living in. Then I hid. That hole was where I stayed, for a week. I ate half of the loaf of bread and only went out to piss and shit.

    I stayed in that hole for another five days. The other half of the loaf went bad.
     
  2. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Just let me know what you guys think or if you want more of this?
     
  3. Emerlas

    Emerlas Emerz

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    This is very good Ninja
    I am curious to know what happens next, with the boy (the one telling the tale), what happened to his mother after he ran?
    life seemed to be going so well for them after the bakery
    I'm curious, what is your take on what a changeling looks like?
     
  4. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Talk about timing lol I believe that changelings would have a multitude of different appearances, from nearly human facial features with just excessively pale skin to having pinkish skin, silver hair and pupil-less eyes. Vor I would say looks more human like with grey-ish hair, extremely pale skin, and yellow eyes.

    Twelve days of being in a tiny cramped hole like that will leave muscle pains on even the youngest of kids. And before you ask, no my mother never did show up. That did not deter the younger me however which was quite odd. Any who we had plenty of spots we used to hide from the common folk all across the massive city so there was a large chance that I had simply picked the wrong spot and she was searching for me under the cover of night. I waited one more agonizing day before losing my patience and going out to find her. I disregarded the no day time travel rule and just moved around under a poly-morphed guise. Over the course of a day and a half I had checked every single spot we had across the city but to no avail. The fear was boiling up inside of me, tearing at my mind and threatening to reduce me to a cry baby. Despite the obvious I remained strong and positive, she had to be out there somewhere. I searched for her for another two days...
    After that second day I was a mess with fear. Coherent thoughts we non-existent as I haphazardly made mental decisions in an attempt of justifying her absence. To fend off the terrible hunger that had grown along side the fear I had stolen the occasional piece of food here and there in the downtown market during the busy hours. One of the merchants was almost successful in cleaving off one of my hands when I tried to steal an apple. Then when things looked darkest an idea spawned upon me, the bakery. As I ran towards that bakery I had very quickly put all of my hope into that, praying that when I arrived the door would swing open and there she would be. That the arresting that night was a terrible misunderstanding that had long since been straightened out.
    I had made it there as the sun was falling beneath the horizon and the shop door was closed. It didn't stop me from banging on the door anyways. I heard a little bit of tussling and the groaning of the wood floor before the door swung open. Cameron's facial expression went from irritation to sorrow in an instant as he looked down at me. Silently he ushered me inside.
    Cameron was the closest thing we ever had to a friend but that did nothing to help with what he had to tell me. He said that when we left that night she had been arrested by those Korth guards and after a very one sided trial she was sentenced to death. I was no stranger to anger but what I felt then was probably the first instance of full blown rage. It also did not help that he told me that she was to be executed after sunset tonight just outside of the Deneith tower in Korth. Needless to say the fat man was unable to stop me from sprinting out the door and off into the growing night.
    I knew I was closing in on the right place because the shouts and jeers of the mob was becoming increasingly louder and before I knew it I witnessed a collection of probably a hundred people or more, all gathered to watch a most horrendous event. I did not have to get a full view of the event to know what it was and who it was directed at. The racial slurs gave that away pretty quickly. The fear from before was now overwhelming terror as I scrambled up a gutter pipe into a shop roof, from that height I had a perfect seat for the show in store. I watched as my mother was being escorted to a block. As she walked the yelling got worse and even a few people lobbed stones or rotten vegetables at her. Most miss by a long shot but one rock struck her in the temple. I was in a true state of panic as I frantically tried to come up with some sort of plan. Terror obscured my thought process and fear held my body in a tight grip as she was knelled down at the block. She had to have had a plan, a friend in the crowd, something. I had seen her escape some sticky situations before. This however was not one of them...
    Before the axe her eyes scanned the crowd vigorously until they locked with mine. Her fear and panic seemed to melt away. She gave me a look of comfort as she mouthed the words, "I love you."

    That was the day that started it all. The day I was thrown into a pit.

    I sat on that roof, even after the crowd had subsided. Even though I was locked up mentally as I struggled to process everything that had transpired since that night I remember someone trying to get me down off of the roof. I remember seeing blood drip into my had after he threw an empty bottle of whiskey at me. It wasn't until the sun started coming up that I regained the ability to move but even then it was more of an action of self preservation rather than conscious thought. I walked for what felt like an eternity, taking random twists and turns and without consciously making it so, found myself at the Daylight Bakery. The shop was still closed but I remember the faint smell of the ovens at work. I still to this day have no clue what provoked me to but I curled up underneath his porch, unable to cry or make a noise.
    I wasn't sad or angry, I couldn't scream or cry. All I felt was nothingness. The day went on and people came and went but not a single soul noticed my presence or my misery underneath that porch. Cameron even stepped out a few times, I assume to look for me. I didn't believe it yet but Cameron was all I had left in this world. When the sun was finally starting to set he walked out onto that wooden porch once more. After pausing for a moment he walked over towards the edge and set something down then returned to his shop. I waited several minutes after hearing the soft click of the door closing before I attempted to move. This time it was the sorrow that caused my body to flare in pain as I sat up and looked up through the gaps in the wood. I was looking at the bottom side of a plate and as I reached around and brought it down I saw the large chunk of bread and several pieces of cheese. Even though I felt no hunger my body acted anyways, another act of self preservation, I scarfed the food down. That seemed to be what I needed because what came next was the flood of emotions. It was a good thing a loud storm came though that night. I didn't want anyone to hear my screams.
    At some point in the night I had screamed out all of the energy I had and passed out. When I came too it was an over cast morning. As I stepped out from underneath the porch I was startled by Cameron, "I figured you were the one under there. I had left the door unlocked because I hoped you would have come inside last night, especially with that storm raging on." It was obvious he was trying to distract my thoughts.

    "I hate to interrupt but what the hell does this have to do with the Bloodied One?" the boy asked. Like clock work there went that useless motion again.
    "You know had you done that in my younger days I would have ended your life without even having to think about it for doing something like that."
    "Provided you are who you claim to be, which I seriously doubt right now, what does any of this have to do with the Vor?" he retorted, clearly he thought I was no longer a threat in my current state.
    "You little arrogant shit head, you came to me. You asked for what I knew. Now I dare you to call me a liar again, I'll prove who I am first hand." My voice may have been raspy and a former shadow of what it once commanded but I could see it had done the job either way.
    "I'm sorry I just don't understand how you go from being a sniveling momma's boy to the most vicious murderer in all of Khorvaire." The arrogance absent in his voice, for now.
    "No sane individual drastically changes their life based on a singular event. The actions we take are the products of a collective past. To understand the here and now you must understand the collective as well. Now where was I?"

    Cameron had invited me in and did his best to break my silence but the only thing coming from me was the occasional tear. The hours turned into ramblings of significant event in his past and some of the lessons that they taught him. All the while I was zoned out, caught in a never ending nightmare that existed while awake and asleep, the loop of her death. At first it was torture, her eyes, the blood, the people, but as it kept playing over and over my awareness to something else grew. I could see something in the crowd, I didn't understand what it was then but it would become significant much later in life.
    Then to break me from my trance Cameron had set something on the table in front of me, I recognized it instantly. Its heavily worn wooden handle and black tarnished five inch blade, it was my mother's knife. He said that in the morning he had found it in the road when he opened shop in the morning and got worried. After not seeing either of us for a few days he had grown increasingly worried. That was all until he had heard word of the changeling thief that had been arrested. He said that he wanted to try to find me but had no idea where to start looking so he would leave his door unlocked at night, hoping I would return.
    "I am tired and am going to bed." I said as I picked up the knife and started for the door, my facial expressions void.
    "You know I have that extra bedroom upstairs. I'll bet its way more comfortable than the underside of my porch."
    "Thank you Cameron, I'll think about it."
    "Can I at least know your name?" It was obvious he was very un-approving of me sleeping outside.
    "Vor." Before he could ask anything more I closed the door.
    That night as I slept under that porch I felt something new, an emotion I had only heard common folk use in conversation, primarily against me. Its weird because I never remembered the name of that emotion, it just sort of bubbled up as it did. Hate. That day marked the first day of the rest of my life, a life ruled by hate.
    I was up long before the sun, traveling through the city like a ghost, I was looking for someone but who it was and how to find them I was at a loss. I started by visiting the square where it all took place. I climbed back up that shop and sat on the roof staring out as I did that night. You would be surprised how quickly emotions can dull or distort a memory no matter how tragic. When I slept that previous night just as the night before her execution played over and over I noticed a grey figure next to the executioner. As I sat on that roof and continued the endless replay the grey image took shape. It was a human who was as tall as he was fat. He wore armor but it was obviously custom, and decorated. It wasn't the kind of armor that was worn by guards or warriors but rather high ranking officials. Now don't ask me why I was interested in this man or what I planned to do when I found him because to be quite frank I was truly lost at that moment in life.
    Being deceptive was more than a skill to my kind, it was a way of life. Polymorphing was just the start of the vast skill set my kind employs across a wide array of events. Employing those skills I had learned that the fat man was a Captain Armand Ortiz, commander of the city guard of Korth. I had also discovered that he was a glutton of a man, clear corruption and abuse of the system he had sworn to up hold. Before you ask remember the Last Great War was still raging on around us so due to such a distraction a man like him was able to act unopposed. Thanks to the level of confidence granted by such a position I was able to learn his weekly routines and vices that held his sway.
    About two weeks in total had passed since my mother's death and my plan was beginning to formulate. I would appear at Cameron's every few days for food and to work off the last bit of food I had gotten. The baker was far too nice of a person, caring for a child that was neither his nor someone that he remotely knew. I listened to his ramblings but usually offered very little to the conversation. I was usually busy pondering my next move and letting my hate fester and grow. I could feel the strength that emotion granted me and I wanted more of it.
    My mother and I used to travel a lot, mostly because of the lifestyle we were forced to maintain. Any time our thieving had started to attract attention we would pick up and move to another town. We had a rotation around most of Karrnath. That's how we kept anonymous, no one knew us except each other. The fact that another living individual knew I existed and my name was a faint glimmer of light in such a dark world. That glimmer threatened to extinguish my hate and made me feel the need to apologize to him. I came to this conclusion while I was out scoping out the residence of our corrupt captain, which was a nicely built mini-fortress at the heart of town. I decided to call it a night and head back to the bakery. As I traveled I decided that I would take Cameron up on his offer for the spare bedroom, hell I was in such a mood that I was considering giving up on all of this hopelessness and just help him at the bakery full time. That was until I arrived at the bakery.
    The front door was half open which was highly unusual for this late in the day and there was no visible light from the outside. After my eyes adjusted I witnessed the bakery in a mess, smashed and overturned stands, bread everywhere. There was no aroma of fresh bread or atmosphere of whistling joy but rather the distant sobs of a man. Without any of this making a damned bit of sense I traversed the mess to the back room and there I saw the source of the sobbing. Cameron was hunched over a table and I could see a mostly finished bottle of wine. I pushed the door open and attempted to call out to him but was cut off.
    "Get out of here." his voice was low and half filled with spite.
    "Cameron wha-"
    "You heard me you plague! I said get the hell outa here!" he roared as he turned and launched the bottle. Had it not been for his drunken state the bottle probably would have not smashed harmlessly against the wall. Now getting a full look at him I could tell that someone had roughed him up something fierce, a fresh shiner and some cuts over his face. He started to roar some more when I didn't move immediately as he struggled to stand. Then I noticed why, he had a large bread knife in his left hand and I was pretty sure I knew what he was going to do with it. I jumped back out of the door way just before I heard the unmistakable thunk of the knife embedding itself in the door I was just standing beside. I had had enough and tore out of that place. "That's right! And I don't want to see you or your kind here ever again!" he screamed as I left that bakery for good.

    Last time I ran in fear, this time the fear was consumed by my new friend. Hate.

    As before tell me what you guys think and/or if you want more.
     
  5. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    As per the norm, let me know what you guys think as well as any questions. I will post chapter 3 soon.
     
  6. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    I sped off and decided to run some more. When I finally wasn't capable of running I found myself at the base of that bridge, where this nightmare first started. I coiled up in that hole, I wanted to cry but I was beyond tears so instead I closed my eyes so hard I believed the pain would absolve me of my sins. Unfortunately my mother remained dead and Cameron still the abused baker he was. Yes even then at my naive age I could see he was being used and abused by other bigots in Korth but that did not absolve him of his sins either. With the damage still done my path became set in stone, an absolution by my hand. I would become a nightmare by Khorvaire's own design. After letting this new level of hate take such a deep root in me I picked myself up and realized what needed to be done. Blood must be shed.
    To be able to put this into proper context for you I must explain it this way. Hero's and villains really aren't that different. They are both individuals who operate outside the boundaries of social normality. They both believe their goal absolute and just, befitting of a new, appropriate world order. The labels of light and dark are dependent on the historians of that day. Hero's and villains are one in the same. If you don't believe me go ahead, ask them about the nightmares, about the atrocities they had to commit in the name of preservation. Take in your confusion, let the questions boil to the surface, accept the dark reality. The truth is this, monsters exist. They are both what you call hero's and villains.
    Take this into consideration as I say these next words, I was cast into a pit. The fall kills 80% of its victims. Of the 20% 15 lay there and accept the reality, the rest defy logic. I was in that 5%, I refused to accept death as my absolution. I could feel the chaos swirl in my being. But the numbers continue to shrink from there. 2% would ever attempt the climb, the return to the light. Before I would ever grip that dirt and begin my ascent I had to rebuild who I was, down to the very finest fiber.
    I re-examined that day, the faces of the crowd. There was always a hint at something more, something missed. I would lay face down in that pit for an eternity before I learned the Truth. It wasn't hate in their eyes but rather something more.
    I had absolved to just destroy that which I could not currently understand, and that began with the unshakable Captain Armand Ortiz. He was the glutton, the festering wound that dragged this society down, he would become the target of my spite, the beginning. Little did I know at the time but these thoughts were the beginning of a great revolution, the orientation of an idea referred to as The Balance.
    After an unmeasurable amount of time I emerged from that hole once more. Pain coursed through me in many forms to include hunger and thirst. The brisk night air against my skin was a sign of the transition to Fall and oddly enough the cold air felt nice, it felt appropriate. I started making my way through the city, at first my movements were like a calf trying to walk for the first time. I guess that was to be expected when I remained still for that length of time. As I moved deeper into Korth I passed the occasional late night shoppers and they regarded me like the plague, steering wide around me and whispering slander when they thought themselves out of ear shot. Continuing on I found a man who was wrapping up his stall outside by carrying the food he hadn't sold back into his shop. As he brought a load into the shop I walked over and started picking at some of the food. After testing it with a couple small bites I started grabbing handfuls of the various meals and shoveling them into my face. As expected the shop owner came back out and began yelling at me.
    "Hey! What the hell do you think you a-" I stopped eating for only a moment as my eyes shot over to him. I imagine my current appearance was a little frightening because just that alone got him to be quiet for a moment. Then he opened his mouth as if to try to stop me but that too was cut short as my left hand snapped up. In that hand was my mother's, my worn knife and it was now pointed at the man's throat, only an inch or two from the skin. I scooped up a few more handfuls of food into my mouth and then snatched a bottle of wine. Keeping the knife pointed at him I slowly started backing away before sprinting off. He made no attempt to follow me so I stopped running after only a few blocks.
    Finally with my body stretched out and my thirst and hunger sedated I could focus and formulate my next few moves. I had to learn more about Ortiz and then find an opportunity to strike which believe it or not would take me almost a full year to do so. Over that year I had learned that Ortiz was married to another human, had two children, one a boy and the other a girl. I had also discovered that when Ortiz wasn't busy drowning himself in alcohol he gave in to his more carnal urges with the tavern wenches. He used his position and power to get whatever he wanted in the city and because of the Last Great War those above him were too distracted to see what he did on a daily basis. Ortiz would also bed tavern whores in his own chambers at least 3 nights a week, even with his wife in the next room. She was a prisoner. His treatment of the children was just as bad. They were handled as if they were dogs and only taught the worst ways to act. His behavior was infectious because I started noticing other guards behaving in similar fashions. Next to the massive castle that was in the center of the city was a mini fortress where the guards operated out of, and where Ortiz and his family resided. Then finally the night came.
    I had gotten the guard schedule down to an art as well as understood every aspect of Ortiz's daily actions. I knew the way in which I would get in and the path I would use to leave. Shadowing him at first was hard, but over time I learned how to be faceless. I learned how to become but a shadow cast on the ground.
    The castle was the tallest structure around and was done so that it would always have the advantage over an invading force. The mini fortress however did not follow by that rule. With several large buildings nearby it gave me a perfect perch. I pulled out some stolen supplies I would use to get me in, a bow, a single arrow and some thin rope. At about 2 in the morning during the terribly long guard turn over I was granted a large window to launch the arrow with the rope tied to it. The arrow embedded itself deep in the wooden deck that was the top of the wall. I used the bow to slide down the rope and landed silently on the deck where I snapped off the shaft of the arrow with my foot and then proceeded to toss out the items I used to get in. The arrow head was the only thing I could not get but it was so small and buried in the wood that it was almost unnoticeable. Making it to his chamber was uneventful due to the three sleeping guards I found along the way. It was a good thing Korth wasn't currently being invaded because these 'guards' would be useless. After stealing a heavy dagger from one of the sleeping guards I made my way into the bed chamber.
    There he was, snoring away with a whore on either side of him, a gluttonous pig just waiting to be gutted.
    You know taking a life is actually quite difficult. Ask anyone else who's done it, they will say the same thing. There life is not the only thing you take. You also take a part of them and keep it with you, whether that be something good or bad all depends on the circumstances. You also lose a part of yourself which is another reason why most never kill more than just a few people. It also takes an iron resolve which is also very difficult to come by. I lacked that resolve and because of that I could not take his life. Instead out of anger I stabbed the dagger into the headboard just above him and tore out of the room. He shot up from the noise but because of his drunkenness he was far to disorientated to see me before I closed the door.
    I made it out of there just before the alarm was raised. I watched from a roof top as guards poured out into the city and arrested and beat every person they came across.

    "So you are Vor the Bloodied One? The changeling assassin who has killed a thousand people with his own hands? And you failed to kill the man who was responsible for your mother's death? Your not doing a very good job at convincing me." This time he waited for me to pause before interrupting. However there was something in his eyes that bugged me. That twinkle that he has never lived through hardship and so he more than likely lack balance within his own life.

    Yes I failed to kill him but I learned a great deal about myself that night. I learned my limitations without risking my life, which very rarely happens. I also saw just how much of a repercussion I can cause with a single dagger.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  7. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Ortiz continued to live but his reign of corruption would not last. My attempted assassination sent him into a rage. He had all of the guards on duty when it happened arrested and sent the rest into the city. For a week he terrorized the people of Korth as he turned the place upside down to try to find who was responsible. I hid my tracks well enough that he was doing this blindly which I think only added to his rage. In the end however he had made so much noise with his investigation that people from within the castle started to tear their eyes away from the war effort to see what was going on. This led to an internal investigation into the captain. Their investigation was very thorough and in no time at all they uncovered almost everything Ortiz had done to abuse his position of power. One year after that night he was arrested, stripped of his rank and position, and thrown into prison. I'm fairly certain he was also beaten to death in that prison by some of the people he wrongfully put there.
    I however did not stay in Korth. For the next year I spent it drifting around the areas and cities surrounding Korth. I had no goal in mind, hell most days I wasn't even sure if I wanted to live anymore. I was just too chicken shit to take my own life. It was quite pathetic actually. Part of me hoped that I would stumble across a battle or something and that would be my end but the funny thing about death I learned that year is that it never shows when you really want it to.
    Moving on, so on one of those drifting days I found myself laying in a pile of hay outside of a little inn about half way between Korth and Loran Rath. I was listening to some people being a little too rowdy inside while I just watched the clouds pass by. As expected the commotion spilled out into the street as a dwarf and two humans stepped out of the inn, laughing. The dwarf had leather armor that was covered with bronze plates with a short half axe at his belt. The two humans were covered in full plate armor with tower shields and swords. A frail old human stepped out as well, his body shook from old age or fear, I couldn't tell the difference.
    "Sir, I apologize but you haven't paid your bill." the old man said in a voice that was shakier than his frail body. The laughing from the three stopped but they still held grins on their faces.
    The dwarf, while twirling a finger in his long black beard spoke, "Consider what you provided to us as a service to the war effort and an acknowledgement of your country's debt to the armies of Deneith. Sound good?" The old man backed down from the confrontation as I went back to looking at the clouds. I cared very little about the whole altercation because I had seen it countless times over this past year. This Great War managed to drag out the worst in people. It was sickening.
    "Get up grime." It was that dwarf again but this time it was directed at me. I hadn't noticed it but the were next to me now as the old man scurried back into the inn. I didn't sit up or say anything, I just turned my head so I was looking at them. The dwarf drew his half axe, "Wipe that look of your face and do as I say grime." My primal fear took over as I did what he asked.
    "What do you want?" the weakness in my voice was obvious.
    "Good you understand common, now tend to our horses and get them ready. I want to leave this shit hole."
    I stood there for a moment, confused, then he waved his hand as if he were dismissing me to complete the task he had given me. I wanted to defy him, maybe I would have gotten the death I wanted but my fear kept me in line, it reminded me of my weakness.
    I checks the saddles on the three horses then one at a time untied them and brought them over to the group. As they mounted up and began to take their leave the dwarf stopped his horse after a few steps and looked back at me.
    "Your not done yet grime, keep walking with us. I may find more work for you between here and Karrlakton." I didn't think it possible but I was certain I had found someone I'd hate more than Ortiz.
    It took the entire day of walking to make it there but it was an uneventful trip. Nothing but the three of them talking and laughing and the occasional racial slander at me. As the House Deneith tower came into view its size amazed me. It was a dark grey cylindrical tower was close to 40 stories tall with two sets of walls surrounding it. When we were closer I was able to see that this wasn't just a tower but rather a fortress that was damn near impenetrable.
    Once we were inside the section of the wall that was the gate cranked closed and it looked as if it were all one solid piece once more. The outer courtyard was filled with tents, warriors, and fire pits. The majority of races was a split between human and half elf and each person was adorned with their own unique equipment. I even saw a small gathering of drows passing around what I assumed was a bottle of liquor. The atmosphere in here was also different than what I expected. Even though all of these people could get orders at a moment to march off to death they were unusually happy. I guessed that's how they deal with the stress of immanent death. At first when we entered no really batted an eye at us but quickly after they saw me several large fighters walked over.
    "Darth I see you got yourself a pet there. Where did you find it?" Asked a large brute of a human. He wore almost no armor or clothes for that matter as I assumed he was a barbarian fighter.
    "I found the grime at an inn south of Korth. If you stick around we are going to have ourselves a little entertainment." the dwarf replied. The barbarian did not reply, he and his group only chuckled and walked along with us. We went only a little further before the three dismounted and stretched. "Hell if you hadn't walked so slow grime we could have been here hours ago."
    "My name is not grime." I knew where this was all going so there was no use being submissive anymore. He just chuckled and gestured for something from one of the other that had begun to circle around us.
    "Come one! Come all! Gather round for tonight's entertainment!" Darth yelled out to the crowd as one of them handed him a short sword called a gladius. He then tossed it at my feet and despite my best efforts I still flinched. He ordered me to pick it up before explaining the game he had in mind.
    "So this is how this works. We are going to have a little sparring match. Land a hit on me and you walk with this bag of coin. Impress me and we may put in a recommendation for you to join the Deneith army. Then of course if you fail you die. Sound good grime?" The bag of coin he held up had probably 50 gold pieces in it which was a lot for me at the time.
    "Something tells me that I don't have much of a choice." The crowd jeered and laughed at my reply. The sword I held was terrible in every aspect. The blade was too short so it had no real reach. The blade was also too wide and too heavy so I would be slow with it. It was also very unbalanced, my wrist was already starting to hurt just holding it. This fight was terribly one sided, his words were a facade that was meant to make the target feel as if they had a chance.
    "Guess what, just because you gave us a good laugh I'll let you have the first swing." He stood there with his axe in hand, arms spread apart as if it were an invitation. Lunging forward I gripped the hilt with both hands to alleviate the weight of the sword. I swung the sword wildly as I tried to quarter his body. It made contact with one of the bronze plates on his shoulder and bounced off. The vibrations of hitting the armor shook through my arms as I almost dropped the sword.
    "You call that an attack? I hardly felt a think grime!" he roared out with laughter, the crowd reignited with jeers. For being a short built person he moved pretty quick as he knocked the sword out of my hands with his axe. I took a few steps back in fear as he planted a foot on the gladius. "Well it pains me to say this but I believe you have lost. Better luck next time." As he moved in for another swing I fell backwards to avoid it. He let out another roar of laughter before bringing his axe up for the final swing on me. In those moments I doubted my desire to die and crawled into the crowd to avoid his attack and to hide. I became a shadow in the gaggle of people and because of that no one knew where I was. After a few seconds Darth yelled out, "O.K. grime get your ass out here! I was going to kill you quickly but if you keep pissing me off I am going to take my time. Cut you down, toe by toe!"
    I was terrified. It was only a matter of time before I was found. I tried thinking of an escape plan but between the panic and the crowd of warriors around me I was drawing a blank. Then the jeering stopped all at once. There was some movement off to my left as the crowd started to part. Then that is when I saw him, a revenant with jaw length black hair in a long black cloak.
    "M-m-master Braddock!" Darth stammered. Braddock had a very serious set of eyes, ones that would be just as deadly as any sword, and they were focused on the dwarf.
    "What do you think you are doing?" His voice had a commanding presence like a father talking to his children.
    "Just showing off some moves." Darth lied.
    Braddock then looked directly at me and pointed. The fact that he found me with such ease only added yet another layer of fear. "Come here boy." As I stood the crowd around me parted and I silently walked back to the opening. "What was really going on here? And don't lie to me like this dwarf has."
    I swallowed my fear and explained the sparring match.
    "Commander Drax will hear about this so I suggest you start coming up with a way to apologize dwarf. What is your name changeling?" I heard Darth drop his axe.
    "Vor."
    "Walk with me Vor. We need to get you settled in for tomorrow."
    "Tomorrow?"
    "Tomorrow your training starts." he said as he started to turn and walk.
    "Training for what?" I asked as I rushed to catch up to him.
    "To become an assassin."
     
  8. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Before you ask no I was not able to ask him anymore questions, at least not that first night. He had taken me to a windowless bedroom with a hot meal and a jug of water then left, locking the door on his way out. So since I was a prison to yet another game I ate the meal and then slept. It was the first time I had ever slept in a real bed. It did little to stave off the nightmares.
    He collected me in the morning then led me to a training ground in the inner court yard. There were several striking dummies made out of a combination of wood and hay all around the area. That was also when I noticed Darth approaching. Knowing that my nerves had betrayed me I remained on edge then asked Braddock why he was here.
    "I invited him here to bare witness." Braddock replied as he reached over and picked up a gladius from a table of weapons. "This was the exact same weapon you used last night. Take it and hit that dummy the same way you went at Darth, with all your might."
    Taking the weapon from him I was at a loss as to what this would prove. I could not damage him through his bronze armor last night so what would me wasting my energy on a wooden dummy prove. I took a second quizzical look at Braddock where he met my gaze with reassurance and gestured for me to attack. So taking the terribly unbalanced weapon in both hands I took a deep breath then charged at the dummy. I went for the same quartering slash at its left shoulder and brought the sword down with everything I had. The hallow thunk echoed throughout the immediate area as I fought against my arms, struggling to hold the sword. There was no damage to the dummy, not even an indent.
    "Well done Vor. Not bad technique for a amateur and excellent power as well." Braddock started. I held my questions as he continued. "Especially seen as how that sword has no edge. Go ahead, take a look for yourself." He was right, I ran my hand along where the edge should have been and was met with rounded steel. "I've seen him play this game a few times, with that exact sword. He would bring in some poor little shit and torture them for their entertainment. The lulls in this war seem to have given him too much free time. Darth." When he called the dwarf's name he flinched.
    "Yes Master Braddock?"
    "Swing your half axe on that dummy over there. Give it all the power you can muster."
    "Yes Master Braddock." The dwarf squared off with a neighboring strike dummy, taking a moment to draw his weapon and take a deep breath. He let out a battle cry as he brought the axe down with both hands in a similar quartering fashion that I took. The axe sunk in about 4 inches before it stopped.
    "Good, now leave your axe in the dummy." Braddock started as he turned back to the weapons table where he picked up a short sword with a slight curve to the blade. "Take this Vor and strike the dummy again, maximum power." I was still clueless as to what this would prove but the sword he had given me was leagues ahead of that gladius. It was just as heavy but better balanced so there was no need for me to two hand grip it just to hold onto the damn thing. As I squared off and placed my left hand on the hilt Braddock told me to do it with just one hand. So readjusting my grip I took a deep breath and charged again.
    I was rewarded with blade digging almost 6 inches into the chest cavity of the strike dummy. I tried to wrench the sword out at first and failed, it wasn't even moving.
    "Look closely Darth, see that with just one hand on the weapon the level of destruction he can cause is beyond anything that you can match. I suggest you apologize for your behavior lest you want me to give him another sword and then turn a blind eye." I now understood why the dwarf was invited, it was to put an end to any rivalry or revenge. After a gushing wave of frantic apologies Braddock spoke once more. "Now that we have settled this you should leave. I seem to remember Commander Drax assigning you to stable duties as punishment for your actions." Darth scrambled out of the area with more apologies, abandoning his half axe to the strike dummies.
    "Why did you pre-split the dummy?" I asked.
    "I did no such thing Vor. That was entirely your doing."
    "But then how did you know I would hit harder than him?"
    "I saw your... fight last night. Had that blade had any edge to it you would have hurt him bad. I doubt you noticed it but there was a bruise on his left shoulder where you hit his armor last night. You lack only 2 things to be a powerful fighter; technique and resolve. I can teach you techniques which you can use to develop a resolve. That is if you are interested." His face was hard to read and his red eyes seemed to pierce right through me.
    I don't know what made me say yes. My best guess was that I had nothing else going in life for me so why not. That tower became my home. That training ground my life. The sword my friend. I would train over the course of the next four years learning sword techniques only. Braddock refused to teach me shadow magic because he feared it would dull my natural skills with a blade. On multiple occasions he referred to me as a prodigy to the assassin world. We never really developed a friendship but he was more than just a mentor.

    A week after my 18th birthday I was given my first mission as an assassin of House Deneith.

    Let me know what you guys think so far/if you like it.
     
  9. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    About a week after my 18th birthday was when I was first given that exact Deneith badge that you are holding right now. It was a symbol of the D'Deneith family accepting me for my abilities with both the sword and stealth. I was hard to believe at that moment that only 5 years ago I had been a recently orphaned street rat and now here I stood on the path to becoming one of the deadliest names in Khorvaire. All because of that one night... I never let the pain dull or the memory fade, I replayed it over and in my mind as I trained as as I slept. As I did I applied some of the lessons I had learned from Braddock and I finally understood what I first saw. I was correct in concluding that the people jeering that night were not swayed by hate or disgust. Instead what filled their eyes and forced their actions was fear. Now whether they feared the late captain Ortiz or my changeling mother I was unsure, it would take me several more years to come to that understanding.
    After being given the house badge and the title of Assassin I was given the rest of the day to myself, to prepare for the new role I was to step into in this world. I took that time to wander through the old archives in the basement of the tower. Some of the lessons and stories Braddock had shared peaked my interest on a philosophical level but I did not yet have enough pieces to be able to see The Balance for what it truly was. Unfortunately I was not given enough time to really search at that moment for the answers due to an uninvited guest.
    "Hey grime, whatca doing?"
    Instinctively my hand went for my sword but I stopped halfway through the motion. I had left both my sword and shield behind in my room, no matter killing the dwarf with my hands was doable. However when I turned to face him I saw that he was not alone. The two other armored human solders were there as well as a half orc barbarian with a great axe and a duel sword wielding half elf rouge. Darth was bouncing the flat of his half axe in his hand as he admired the situation.
    "You know Master Braddock is going to be less than pleased to hear this shit has started up again." It was my pathetic attempt at defusing the situation.
    "When we're done with you there will be no trace. As far as they are concerned you ran away. Sound good grime?" Letting out a sigh I picked up a nearby candle stick, plucked out the candles, and set them on the table. "Oh this is good, your going to fight us with that?" There was no time for a response or for them to even enjoy the chuckle. Even though I had not learned any shadow magic, to include teleports, I had covered the distance with incredible speed, speed they weren't prepared for.
    Darth was my first target, with the candle stick in my right hand, I moved out and low to his left and hit him with an upward quartering swing that sent the small dwarf tumbling sideways, end over end. The only thing that could be heard was the clatter of his half axe hitting the floor followed by the thud of his body. No he wasn't dead but the force and suddenness of the hit had rendered him unconscious. By the looks of shock on their faces I knew the fight was over. I stood up straight and looked them over for a moment to see if any of them would change their minds.
    "Are we done here?" My question seemed to hang in the air until I watched all of them sheath their weapons and hold their hands up apologetically. I handed one of the armored humans the candlestick and pushed past them. "Clean this mess up." was all I said as I exited the room. I would have to try for that information another time.
    I ascended from the basement to the ground level and was rewarded with a beautiful day of sunlight pouring in through the many open doors and windows of the tower. The only shadow in the room was Braddock.
    "How long have you been there?" I asked.
    "I watched them descend." he replied.
    "Did you know I was down there and unarmed?"
    "Yes. To both."
    "Then why?" It was hard to hide the irritation in my voice.
    "I have faith in your ability to fight. If I did not I would not have given you that badge. Had you died down there it would have been proof that you were not the assassin I thought you were." It was a terrible excuse. Letting an unarmed person fight off against five fully armed and trained individuals was like watching a cow struggle against the butcher. This was just one of the many instances where Braddock would test me, as if he needed re-validation of my skills and my hate. I would say that instance would be where my seed of hate for him grew.
    The next day I was given my first contract as an official assassin of House Deneith, a contract I have come to title Defection. The war was still 3 years off from its cataclysmic conclusion but the majority of the fighting was already done. Country lines were being redrawn and Khorvaire was in a bit of a lull as every country licked its wounds and collected the dead. My contract came from a high ranking general of the Karrnathian intelligence division. They had been in contact with a scientist in Aundair that wanted to trade some new technology for a free ride into Karrnath. They had no available personnel to put towards this so that is why they reached out to Deneith with the requirement that full confidentiality be maintained. The dossier described the man as a halfling with thick glasses, grey hair and a half moon scar on his left cheek. It had also said that he was in Fairhaven which meant that I would be traveling through both the new Thrane territory as well as a large part of Aundair.
    The trip there was a boring one which given the current state of the world was a good thing. Getting into the heart of Fairhaven was a bit difficult because the gates remained locked almost all the time. You see Aundair had suffered greatly during the Last Great War, so much that currently Breland was in control of everything west of the Wynarn river and Thrane was pushing the south eastern boarders everyday. After finding a merchant cart that was going to be accepted in I hid myself in a cavity on the bottom side of the cart and got a free ticket inside the city.
    Once inside I checked at several taverns and pubs and was met with no success in finding Morton, the halfling, or anyone who had ever seen him. After shadowing through several areas on the streets I still had no luck. The dossier did not include any sort of address or work location so I had to get a little creative. I went to the worst possible place, the Fairhaven palace. Now this was different than the Aundairian Queen's moving castle, this was a facility in which she had many of her officials, generals, and other various workers operate out of so there was a good chance Morton would be there.
    In lieu of shadow magic I had become very skilled at two things, sword play and becoming a shadow, the latter of which was extremely useful in this situation because if I were found out no amount of slashing would get me out of that palace again. After most of the day I had finally located Morton as he was leaving the palace. I fell in behind him and spoke my half of the pass phrase. "Technology brings great gifts with one hand." I watched as he stiffened up for a second, turned his head a little so as to keep his voice low.
    "And with the other horrendous destruction. Follow me." His voice had a slightly lighter pitch than I had expected, probably due to his short stature. I followed him down several blocks of twists and turns until finally we went to a small living flat that was above a clothing store. After getting inside his demeanor changed as he rushed from locking the door to checking and covering all of the windows. After ensuring the security of the place he turned to me and assessed me through his thick glasses. "Took you long enough. How are we getting out of here?" He seemed unusually rushed and worried.
    "I was going to try to get an airship out of here. There should be one leaving tonight with supplies for troops. After it lands at the camp we can sneak our way out and be in Karrnath by sundown tomorrow." I could tell from his facial expressions that he unapproving of my plan but was unable to come up with a better one.
    "Fair enough. I'll head back in here in a moment to collect everything I need and will meet you back here in an hour. Just to give you the heads up we won't have long before they notice something is wrong. Can you fight?"
    I drew my blade out halfway, "This isn't just for show."
    After about 45 minutes he came bursting back into his place in a panicked frenzy. He started darting around the room, grabbing seemingly random possession and shoving them into his satchel. "We need to go now! They know!" Thankfully the sun was at the horizon so I had a better capacity to hide. There were solders everywhere in the city and right after we had left Morton's place it got ransacked by a group of them. To say they wanted him back was a drastic understatement. After almost 30 minutes of sneaking around we made it to the ship yard where the air ships were docked. After a quick scan I confirmed the air ship we were going to use was still there as well as 15 solders combing through the place. There was no way that air ship was taking off legally.
    "O.K. change of plans. Once we are on board we are commandeering the ship, can you operate it?" I asked.
    "Of course! Who do you think helped design the newer control system they all use?" he said a little louder than he should have. As you probably already concluded Morton's voice echoed loud enough that the solders were alerted to our position. In no time a massive fight had broken out, I was fending off five of them at once while Morton was being tackled and forced into shackles. Holding my own against these solders was easy because they had very little skill with the weapons they were using. Except there was a problem, just as the last time I tried to kill I couldn't bring myself to do it. I don't know what it was, maybe fear of losing a piece of myself, but I couldn't make myself take advantage of their openings and cut them down. Soon I was fending off seven of them and being backed into a corner, Morton was still struggling against that last cuff.
    "Looks like you picked the worst time to get up out of the mud face thief!" one of the solders growled.
    I lost it. The mud part of that sentence triggered the memory of my mother's execution and everything went red. I could see and recall everything that happened but it was like watching a mover. I had no control as I watched solder after solder get cut down as if they were nothing more than that cow, fighting against the butcher.
    When the rage ended I was standing in a collective pool of blood from 23 bodies. Yes Morton was dead. In my rage induced state I hacked down anything that lived, even the few air ship owners who poked their heads out at the commotion. Not having the chance to properly analyze what just happened I wiped the blood off of my sword and grabbed Morton's satchel. I abandoned the airship idea and moved back into the city. After an entire night of searching the solders had concluded that the assassin had escaped. The city gets opened for business at dawn as usual but the security at them was much harder than before. I polymorphed into a human male and followed a group of merchants out of the gate.
    When I finally made it back to the tower in Karrlakton with no further incident and presented the satchel to the general when he arrived, I also apologized for failing to bring Morton back alive. He had told me not to worry about it, that he was going to kill him once he handed over the documents anyways. Those documents held plans for a weapon called the Helix Cannon, let me tell you this it is a devastating weapon.
    Finally with a moment of peace I assessed the fighting that took place in Fairhaven. I replayed every slash, every kill and came to one conclusion. Not only was I capable of killing with efficiency, I loved killing. That however unleashed a flood of questions, most that would go unanswered. Was I doing right by my mother? What would I become? What was I fighting for?

    This was my orientation into the world of espionage.

    Attached is a map of Khorvaire for those who haven't seen it.
     

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  10. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    I stood there waiting as Braddock looked through the papers once more. After tapping the papers on the large redwood desk he set them down then relaxed in his chair. “I don’t like being lied to Vor.” His voice echoed throughout his large office.

    “What are you talking about sir?”

    “I’ve read your mission report. You stated that your cover was blown when Morton talked too loud and alerted the soldiers in the area. You also stated that you were overwhelmed by 15 soldiers which consequently led to the death of the target. I don’t believe it.” His eyes were locked on me; I could feel the pressure he was imposing.

    “What about it do you not believe?”

    “My sources said there were only 15 soldiers in the area of the ship yard but after this unknown assassin was finished with his blood bath there were 23 bodies. They also said based off of the autopsy reports all 23 were killed by the same person. Now explain to me this, why would you kill civilians? And more importantly how could those soldiers with as little skills they possess overwhelm you?” He leaned forward and placed his elbows on the desk. The eagerness on his face to hear the truth. With a sigh I finally explained everything, the inability to kill followed by the rage. He replied with a sigh of his own then stood. “Walk with me Vor.” We started making our way down the tower. “The Assassin department of House Deneith is a recent addition to the services this house provides, like within the last 100 years recent. We do not have a vast network of spies and assassins spread out everywhere, that’s the job of the Emerald Claw, House Thuranni, and House Phiarlan. We have very few in numbers in reference to assassins and spies but they just as the name Deneith implies, are the best of the best. It is what this house is known for and I will not tolerate anything less than the best from anyone. That means even you Vor.” By this time we had made it downstairs and were making our way out to the courtyard. “It is no secret that you are brilliant with a sword, one day you will surpass even the best swordsmen in history no doubt. However sword play alone is not enough to be the best assassin. I told you that you had a necessary trait to being an assassin, do you know what that trait is?”

    “Aside from the sword skills I am afraid I don’t know the answer.” I was doing all that I could to think his next words and next move but as usual failed.

    “Draw your sword Vor.” I did as instructed, he and I squared off then he came at me with his own curved sword. The sword I had at the time was just a straight double edged sword of a standard length. The speed and power behind his swings was unreal, and even more so when he continued his lecture. “That first day when I found you and even up until now your eyes have been filled with hate. Now I know nothing about your history nor do I want to, but I can tell that the hate you hold inside is great in magnitude and ferocity. If fully unleashed it may wash over the world.” At this point we locked swords; it was difficult to focus on both his words and the attacks. “Because of your inability to form a proper resolve you had to rely on a lesser emotion, rage, and that makes you weak.” The fury of blows that followed was a spectacle to see. “I told you I would give you the techniques required to become great and that meant all you had to do was create your own resolve. Which obviously you failed to do.” Between his last words and the power of his last strike it knocked my sword from my hands. All that was heard for that moment was the noise of it sliding across the ground. “Surely with that much hate you have an adversary you wish dead? A rebellion of your people you want to start? A Land you wish to free or control?” I shook my head to all of those. “Then it makes sense why you failed like you did, that much hate and yet nothing to point it at. Do you have a goal in life?”

    “No.” My reply was flat as I watched him lower his sword.

    “Well then why not this, live long enough to have a meaning. Grow stronger for when your adversary, and trust me with skill like that one will rise, you will be ready. Kill so you may live and one day you will see your own destiny, carved by your own hand.” I did not reply to his words, only took them in and applied them to who I was. I started to make for my sword. “Leave it, that blade reeks of pity and self-loathing. The fact that it was able cut anyone is a miracle. Take this,” he started as he held out a sheathed sword to me. The hilt was small and rectangular with some intricate designs, the handle wrapped in blue and black leather that was tied off at the bottom, leaving a small tassel. I started to reach for the sword as he continued, “Only draw this sword if you wish to fight, only swing it to kill.” After pausing I continued and drew the blade slowly, admiring each segment as it was revealed to me. “It is a reforged steel blade that has had the edges tempered. During the cooling process the essence of an ice elemental was sealed into the blade. I had the blade modeled after the one you used to scare the dwarf. The sword smith who made it for me called it Winter’s Hand.” I turned the sword over and back, the metal of the blade looked more like ice and even though it was a slightly curved blade it had edges on both sides. It felt heavier than my previous sword but it was a weight I liked. “This sword is yours under two conditions. The first is that you never swing this blade with anything but your hate. The second condition is that when you build your resolve, whatever it may be based on, that you will never falter again.” I peered into the blade and saw more than just my reflection; I felt an icy grip that was all too familiar. This blade like me was created with hate.

    “I agree to the terms.”

    “Good. Bring them in.” There was a commotion as several Deneith warriors walked in and in chains with them were the five members who had made an attempt on me several days before, Darth included. In an organized precession they were marched in a line, stopped, and then forced down onto their knees. “These five before you have proven that vanity is more important than their oath to Deneith. Their attempted assassination of you a few days ago has not gone unnoticed. I had hoped the display of power four years ago would have been enough to get this dwarf to let go of his anger. Apparently I was wrong. Now he has dragged four other members down with him so this must be stopped before is escalates anymore. You showed them mercy before, you shall never do that again.” Braddock looked from the five to me, then to the sword, and then back to me. “Prove your words to me. Execute them.”

    I looked at them for a moment, only Darth dared to look up at me with spite in his eyes. I had to give the dwarf that much for staring his death in the face and not begging for mercy. “No. Unshackle them and give them their weapons back. Let them have a fighting chance.” Braddock grinned then nodded to the warriors, confirming the order. In a bustling musical of clanking metal the shackles were removed and their weapons returned to them. Braddock and the warriors stood back a distance but only the warriors remained at the ready while Braddock sheathed his sword. The five stood all in their ready stances in a semicircle around me. Each and every one of them had some mixture of fear and anger in their faces. I looked at my new sword, then back across the five of them.


    “You killed them didn’t you?” The boy seemed to be enjoying the tale much more now that there was blood in it.

    “It was an execution indeed. Only the dwarf survived past the first cut but it didn’t matter. Those who watched referred to my movements as a dance and the streams of blood, art.” Only an adolescent like him would be wowed by these tales of blood and death. I only hoped that before this tale’s end he would see the truth behind my actions. “That day the child in me finally died. Remember that metaphorical pit I told you about?”

    “Yes.”

    “Well that day was significant because it marked the beginning of my ascension in that pit, and as I would climb the bodies and destruction I have wrought over my life would fill in behind me. If I faltered it threatened to consume me.”
     
  11. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    With change there are three significant events everyone involved go through. First there is of course the trigger event that is the root cause of the change. Second is the aftermath, the fallout from the trigger event in which the world seems to stand still as a flood of questions boil to the surface. Then finally comes the actual change within the person or people involved. At first the change is voluntary even though it appears drastic, however the longer you resist it the worse the change becomes. Unfortunately there is an unspoken rule about change within one’s self. That rule is when part of you dies off it becomes replaced, you choose what dies off. What you do not get to choose is what rises to take its place and sometimes what rises is darker than what you let go.

    That execution gave me another taste or rather a confirmation if you will of my opinion to killing. What I felt in the aftermath in Fairhaven was no fluke, I didn’t just enjoy killing, I craved it. That slaughter in the ship yard unfortunately was impure in its nirvana due to my enraged state. The execution at the training grounds however was more than enough, for the moment. It was not only an opportunity for me to reassess my feelings towards killing it was also an excellent chance to see that power difference Braddock was talking about, the difference between rage and hate. Though before I could spend much more time dissecting and understanding this new me I was given yet another contract because well there was still a war going on.

    Whilst still deep into their investigation of the failed defection of one of their top scientists Aundair had noticed a new threat amassing from its eastern neighbor Thrane. With that lull slowly coming to its close Thrane was on the brink of a civil war that it had done a fairly decent job of covering up, until now that is. Thrane politically has been ruled by the 12 cardinals and the Speaker of the Silver Flame for some 150 years now but that is not to say that they have always held all of the sovereign power within that country. Before the war ended the power was split evenly between the religious side of the house and the Thrane royal family. Now before you go and jump to conclusions no it was not the Silver Flame against the royal family, it was actually an internal power struggle within the royal family. The oldest prince, two dukes, and a legionnaire commander were slowly and silently staging a coupe to seize the royal family and the Sliver Flame simultaneously. Now where Aundair worked into this was less than complicated. If this coupe were successful the prince wanted to lead an all-out assault against Aundair that would have left tens of thousands dead on both sides with Aundair lying in ruins.

    The Queen’s intelligence apparatus had a better plan however. Along with a request for a stealth specialized assassin they sent a box with specific instructions as to how the killings must be done. Inside the box were four daggers, from four different nations. The first dagger had a wide double edged blade with the Karrnath emblem etched into the blade on both sides. The second dagger was ceremonial kris with an unusual waviness to its blade and upon its hilt was symbol of Aundair. Next was a heavily serrated hunts man’s knife with the symbol of Breland burned onto the blade. Finally was a viciously curved dagger with an irregular half-moon of steel missing from its edge at the base, on its pommel was the goblin symbol from Darguun. It was an odd request but one that would not make much of a difference because in the end four men would be dead. So off to Flamekeep I went.

    This contract included more information than the previous, so detailed that the exact locations each target that night was also written down. This contract came with a time limit because the rebellion was only a few days off so I wasted no time making it to the first location. It was a house in the middle class district with a great view of the castle of Flamekeep but from the outside there was nothing extraordinary about it. All of the lights had been extinguished by the time I had arrived and all of the windows and doors closed. After carefully and quietly climbing up the alley side of the house I opened and entered the house as silent as a ghost.

    In no time at all I had silenced the first target, one of the dukes, with the dagger from Darguun in his sleep. The guards were downstairs enjoying the drink and a game of cards as I did my deed, oblivious to the creeping death. I knew they would find the body soon so I sprinted off to the next location. This next place was a little more decorative on the outside and it still had some lights on the ground floor. Just as before I climbed up the most hidden side and found a point of ingress and just let myself in. As I sulked around I discovered this was the place the prince was staying at. As I peered into one of the dark rooms on the second floor I started hearing mumbling coming from the room beside it and was rewarded with the naïve prince knelt down at his bed praying. He never finished that prayer.

    The time it took at the prince’s made me slightly worried that they would discover the body at the first location so I used the close rooftops as my pathway and closed in on location number three which held the second duke. This place however had an open window which I dove through from a nearby building and landed without a sound. I was rewarded with heavy snoring and the distant laughter of the guards disregarding their duty. As I approached the target I drew the Breland hunting knife but stopped just before I plunged it into the fat stomach of the duke. The laughter downstairs had suddenly stopped. I held that position for much longer than I should have as I struggled to reacquire their sound. Finally the silence was broken by the closing sounds of feet marching up the stairs. In a panic I stabbed down into the man, forgetting to use something to stifle the noise he would make. That only accelerated the approach of the guards. Once I confirmed his eyes were glazed over with the embrace of death I made for the window just as they burst in. Wood splinters scattered everywhere as I threw myself out the window. It was a hard landing but I tore out of there anyways.

    By the time I had made it to the final location the alarm had been raised. Lights were on all throughout the final house and the commotion of their frenzy could be heard from the street. Since stealth was more or less lost I simply knocked on the door. When a guard cracked it open he saw a flash of my new sword just seconds before the violence unfolded. As I leapt from guard to guard they had little to no time to react which only made killing them that much easier. It was hard to suppress the joy I felt at cutting them down. It seemed that with each cut I somehow managed to enjoy it just a little bit more than the previous. It was exhilarating. Finally with the last of them dead I wicked the blade down as I entered into the legionnaire commander’s room. He wasn’t what I was expecting to see however. It was just some old wrinkled up human who was uselessly scribbling on a paper with a mage light floating above him. He had no weapon nor showed any signs that he knew his life was in danger, it was actually a little insulting that he regarded me with so little.

    “I figured those guards would do little to stop you. There is something about your presence that reminds me of the cold. We can build up our fires and our walls but inevitably that icy grip will hold us until we are no more.” The old man spoke without turning.

    “If you knew I was coming then why did you not run?” I will have to say this, he knew how to capture my attention.

    “This rebellion was doomed from the start really. We were dreamers with no real conviction.” He turned to face me, I could see the years had been unkind to him. “I see the Flame sent a mercenary to put an end to us, how ironic.”

    “Wrong both times old man. First I was hired by Aundair and secondly I am an assassin.” It was impossible to hide my grin as I sheathed my sword and drew the ceremonial kris.

    “You are no assassin, only a mercenary with silent feet. An assassin fights with more than hate and ambition. To them fear is just as sharp as the blade. You have barely scratched the surface on such a title." Every word in that statement was true, I was just too ignorant to yet realize it.

    “Generally people start groveling when they are about to die, not philosophically berate their killer.” I started to close in.

    “Heed my words child and one day you will do what I failed to do. You can restore balance to this world.” There were no more words after this, only the sound of that kris slitting his throat. After the blood and life finished leaking out I pushed the dagger into the dead man’s chest.


    “So why the four different daggers?” Good he was starting to think, maybe there is hope for him yet.

    “The daggers were symbols, facades. This new rebellion threatened to reignite the war in full swing. The other nations never knew it but the Queen of Aundair saved them a great deal of bloodshed. By using daggers from four different nations for the kills not only did they maintain a level of anonymous involvement but they also used fear to break the will of the royal family. You see based off of appearances it could be concluded that four different assassins were used from four different nations which leaves a scary assumption.” I let it hang there to see if he could draw the conclusion by himself.

    “That it was possible the nations had all worked together on this, or at least there was some network within each nation that allied together for this one purpose?”

    “Yes. Just as that old man had said, fear was just as sharp as any blade.” So this is what it felt like to sit on the other side of that fence, gently helping another understand something bigger than them self.

    “What did you do after that?” I grinned.

    “I went back to Deneith. I was beginning to like my new role in this world.”


    By the time I had gotten back word of my actions had already spread across the land and as I walked through the outer courtyard some people even began to regard me with a shred of respect. I did not stop to revel in this milestone because I had a mentor to brief on my mission results.

    “I see you took my words seriously, well done Vor. Your actions I believe have exceeded the expectations of the employer.” Braddock began after I finished filling him in on the details, it was obvious that his demeanor was much better than that of the results of my previous contract. “Even though you have only begun your journey as an assassin you have already drawn new lines in the sand with your blade. You will receive no praise nor will your name be engraved in stone for what you’ve done but know that you have saved thousands at the expense of a few. You have brought honor upon Deneith.”

    The words were both uplifting and encouraging. I would even go as far as to say that very complement is was made me bring back up that old question. “Have I brought enough honor to be taught some shadow magic?” The soft smile of gratitude he held on his face quickly melted back to stone.

    “I had thought we had laid that topic to rest.” a hint of irritation in his voice.

    “What have I done that has made you so unwilling to teach me even a basic teleport? I could easily be ten tim-“

    “I have said no!” he snapped as he slammed his fists down. The world seemed to go quiet as his irritation evolved into anger. “You will learn it when I deem it necessary and that is final. Never ask me again.” I stood there silent, boiling inside. “You are dismissed Vor.”

    That seed of hate that I had for him was very much still there, and now it started to grow.
     
  12. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    “So let me get this straight you were developing hate for the man who took you in and taught you how to fight because he refused to teach you shadow magic?” The look on that boy’s face gave me the immediate desire to skin it off of him.

    “I guess I haven’t done the best job of explaining why I hate Braddock. He took me in against my will and instead of helping me rise from my pit and overcoming my hate he decided to add to it. It was like an infection, festering and growing inside of me and he possessed the ability to rid me of it and yet he did the opposite. Then instead of helping me rise he limited me. He gave me just enough to wet my lips but not enough to rise to the level I was destined to reach.” I let my hands part, I hadn’t even known I had squeezed them together as I explained things. Sitting back I continued, “Braddock was scared.”

    “Scared of what?”

    “Of what I would become.”


    About 10 months had passed since the Four Daggers contract and the rift between Braddock and I had only grown. It was obvious then that something would have to be done to divert the current course of fate lest he and I clash with more than just words. I had gone on five different contracts since then and had started building a name for myself in the name of casualties. Normally assassins would avoid combat and only take the lives that were required. It was also usually a measure of an assassin’s abilities based off of only claiming the lives of the mission targets. I didn’t agree with that line of thought.

    The addiction of killing had taken a deep root inside of me much like the drink grips the common folk. Very few warriors possessed the capability to match my speed with a sword and even less my technique. That created an ego that grew as I did. I started by taking on multiple people at once then progressing up from there. I even remember one mission much later in life where I was to eliminate a target and I had become so bored that I sent the target a letter announcing that I was coming to kill him.

    Back to the name I had built, I had quickly gained a name for achieving maximum casualties when working. However before you ask no I had not been called The Bloodied One yet, though I was getting close. The public had started to become suspicious of the spike in violent killings across many countries, so much so that the war couldn’t even mask it. On my last mission I had killed 27 people and I won’t even lie, I was trying for 30. While I was enjoying racking up a body count Braddock continued to scold and punish me for being so careless about life, and to be honest it was just as much his fault as it was mine. I was the monster he molded me into.

    One that day I was in the inner courtyard, practicing a new attack I had created. With all the different blocks and strikes I had learned from Braddock I was beginning to plateau out in my strength as a swordsman. So I decided to create a technique of my own. One of the unique advantages of using a one handed sword was that you sacrifice armor splitting strength for incredible speed. In most fights that increased speed greatly over compensates for the drop in strength behind the blow however I knew a day would come when I would have to fight someone that speed alone could not overcome. That is where this new technique comes in. I stood adjacent to the strike dummy with my back to it. Taking my left arm with the shield I brought it up and tucked in at the ready, and then I took my sword and laid it parallel to the ground against the shield. After a few deep breaths to mentally and physically prepare I started the technique. I threw my left shoulder forward while simultaneously pushing out with my shield. Sweeping my right leg behind and out I arched my sword in a circle above me and as that foot reached its final point my sword was coming down in a left to right quartering slash. Everything about that attack was developed to accelerate my blade to such a speed that it would create its own armor shattering force. The result was the blade cutting 16 inches across the strike dummy, from shoulder to hip. I was still trying to perfect the technique so as to completely quarter a body as if it were cheese. Looking around at the other used strike dummies I had set a new record on distance for myself but it wasn’t enough. As I assumed the stance one more on another dummy I was interrupted.

    “I would hate to be on the receiving end of whatever the hell you want to call that.” The voice was not one I recognized so I lowered my weapons to see this unwanted guest. That soft voice of silk belonged to a half elf with a figure that would draw the eyes of any man to her. Her jaw length jet black hair only complemented her entrapping green eyes. “I thought you were an assassin. Vor right?” Her stance suggested that she was more skilled than her appearance led me to believe. I could tell then she was dangerous.

    “That’s me and you are?” I looked her up and down. She was wearing a rather revealing dark leather jerkin with black leggings and forearm guards. I could also see the weapon she had on her back by the handle sticking out of her right side at her midsection. Even when I picture her now her beauty still entrances me.

    “Calm down big boy I’m not here to hurt you. We are on the same side.” The playful grin on her face did little to answer the situation or ease my demeanor.

    “Then how come I haven’t seen you around before? And I am still waiting on that name.” I sheathed my sword but didn’t move from my spot. I stood there defiantly like a dog guarding its yard. The woman started walking towards me as her hand went to her weapon. I had just started to see a hint of the blade before in a burst of shadows she was upon me with a hand and a half hilt-less sword poised for a thrust at my chest. I had barely managed to swing my small arm shield up in time to deflect the attack.

    “So you are as fast as the rumors say. Not many can keep up with the shadow step teleport.” She released her stance and stowed her weapon, I however remained hesitant to relax my stance. “My name’s Anissa, I was a freelance spy until Deneith brought me on.”

    “I wasn’t aware that Deneith was hiring more spies and assassins.” I was slowly beginning to relax my stance as she looked at the damage I had left on the recent strike dummy.

    “Apparently there has been tremendous success with this department’s ability to bring in coin and since there are only a small few of you they felt the need to expand. Is that a good enough answer your highness?” She stressed that last word with a great amount of sarcasm.

    “You mock my questions but yet you were the one that just attacked me. If you ask me that seems a little two faced.” I hoped the words had the desired stinging effect.

    “Sue me then. I had heard that Deneith had a changeling assassin that was almost as fast as a teleport so that along with steady income got me interested. And I have to say you didn’t disappoint. So tell me what are you hoping to accomplish with an attack like this?” She ran her hand across the split wood then gestured to the other damaged dummies.

    “Think of it as a contingency plan if I run into someone with a large amount of armor. Not all of us know shadow magic you know.”

    “So that part of the rumor was true too. What the hell kind of assassin doesn’t know how to do something as simple as a teleport?” She started, that was when he walked in.

    “One who I have deemed ill-suited for it. Now why did I have a feeling that he would be the first person you would find Anissa?” It was Braddock, as he walked out into the courtyard he looked disapprovingly across my destruction then back at us. His presence seemed to darken this otherwise bright day.

    “Master Braddock” she dropped her head in respect, “I apologize I feel the best way to get settled in is to explore the area. Have I upset you by doing this?” Her sarcasm seemingly nonexistent in place of this new obedient person.

    “No you have not. But since you have not been informed Vor here is still progressing. His swordsmanship is quite impressive and I wish for him to master it before learning our dark arts.” He started to take his leave but then paused and without turning around, “And Anissa.”

    “Yes Master Braddock?”

    “Should anyone teach him a technique I deem him unfit for they will be punished accordingly. Remember this is not your freelance group, this is a respected organization. There is structure here, I am the mentor and you the blade, is that understood?”

    “Yes Master Braddock.” With that Braddock took his leave. There was an usually long moment of silence until she was certain that he was out of ear shot. “So mind explaining Mr. Grim? I mean he seemed up tight during the interview but I never pegged him for a control freak.”

    “Call it a hunch but I think he is scared.” My reply was received with an even more confused look. Then after another moment she started to laugh at a thought.

    “You can’t be serious,” she started but was interrupted from a large fit of laughter. While she was struggling to regain her composure and reign in her laughter I drew my sword and assumed the stance once more. Anissa’s laughter was cut off by the thunderous sound of my accelerated sword striking the dummy. I wasn’t facing her when it was over but I could feel a bit of fear had ebbed into her voice as half of the dummy clattered to the floor. “You are serious… What are you going to do?”

    I just stood there admiring the success of my new technique. The next step was to test it on a living target. “I’m not quite certain yet.” Turning to face her with a smug look of my own I sheathed my sword once more. “I have a question.”

    Her face was a mix of fear and curiosity in regards to my previous words. “Shoot.”

    “Would you be willing to teach me the shadow step?” This time she did not break out into laughter, instead her face was overcome with seriousness I had yet to see before and only a few times since.

    “You want me to directly defy an order just given to me to teach a pretend assassin how to shadow step?” She paused for a moment of thought. “What’s in it for me?”

    “Name it.” I watched as the curiosity clawed its way deeper into her mind. After what seemed like an eternity had passed by she finally had a reply.

    “How about we start with dinner before you ask me to commit treason. Then I will think about it.” I couldn’t figure out if she was trying to flirt or not.
     
  13. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Since then we formed a friendship with only one real commonality between us. Before going freelance Anissa used to work with the Emerald Claw and that is where she spent a good amount of time in the world of espionage. While she worked for them she had a commanding official who was similar to Braddock, a puppet master as she put it. It was a very fitting name and it caught on very quickly to being the normal way to referencing him whenever he was not around. Of course she readdressed the idea of teaching me shadow magic after a time and presented her only requirement, that whatever I was planning to do she wanted in on it. I could tell with that request that she was tired of being the one to take the orders and honestly who could blame her. I agreed to the terms even though I wasn’t quite sure what I was planning, just that I was planning something. For the next six months she taught me in secret, at least she tried to. Between the setbacks from one or the other being gone on contracts I wasn’t progressing at all in my attempts to learn and perform even the simplest shadow magic. Despite my best efforts Anissa suggested that maybe I was incapable of utilizing shadow magic or even any magic for that matter. About a month after that I finally threw in the towel on that idea, but I didn’t give up on my schemes against Braddock.

    Over the course of the next year after I was fast on my approach to my 20th birthday Anissa and I had formed more than a friendship. I would even go as far as to say that we were in love for we were nearly inseparable both on duty and in our off time. Yes we actually had contracts together. As for my scheming I finally had a plan. We were slowly appropriating supplies for our inevitable escape but as for what we would do before we left, you could say it was one of my darker ideas. The plan was for me to kill Braddock while she set the tower ablaze, to cause as much death and destruction as possible to deter them from pursuing us before we vanished. It was one of the few times in my life where that little light of hope had a chance.

    As far as my outward appearance went I had officially been dubbed The Bloodied One, first by the underground network, but it quickly spread around everywhere. I had become a literal boogie man as far as society’s idea of me was concerned. It had actually become a past time of mine to listen in on some of the rumors and stories that had been created because of me. Some referred to me as a demon spit out from the depths of Khyber who only existed to remind the people of the darkness that threatens to swallow them. Other stories said that I was driven mad by war and was nothing more than just a crazy with a sword. The combination of fear and imagination of the common folk had done an interesting job at painting a wide variety of versions of me.

    Where I had lacked progression with the dark arts I had come to a greater understanding of the history of the Assassin. The words of that old legionnaire commander finally made sense when he said I wasn’t a true Assassin. No one here at Deneith was a true Assassin, we were as he put it mercenaries with light feet. The things I had learned also brought to light the truth I had yet to understand from the day my mother was executed. What truly plagued the common folk wasn’t hate, it was fear. They not only feared changelings and what we could become if not checked but more so they were terrified of the former captain Ortiz. When I thought deeper about it that man created peace in Korth through fear despite his clear abuse of power. I applied this new thought to the current situation here at the tower and concluded that the order that is here only exists because those above us have every single one of us cowering under a blade of fear. We were nothing more than puppets and them the masters, ready to throw any of us away to preserve the fear inspired order. That was why he called me a false assassin, because I was a victim to the blade of fear, not a wielder of it myself. After answering all of the questions I had held for so long I had finally saw it, The Balance.

    Think of The Balance as a disc, symbolizing the realm of Eberron, teetering on a pin. Each idea or establishment a degree of angle on that disc. It represented the fact that each idea or establishment has an opposite and that for proper continuation the two opposites must remain whole and in balance. Life to death. Love to hate. Good to evil. Each idea that runs this world down to its very fabric was on that disc, and to destroy one is to destroy both. War could not exist without peace nor vice versa, but yet one threatened to eradicate the other in its natural state. I know it’s a hard concept to understand but in time even you will see what I mean. The living were that variable in The Balance, as we moved and tried to understand and use all of those ideas we tilted or Corrupted the balance by our own accord. But here is the truly interesting thing about The Balance, it will never come crashing down, it always fixes itself with an event referred to as a Repercussion. Think back to the giants and their technological superiority, as quickly as they rose they had fallen. That was because they did not see the truth, that they had corrupted The Balance to such a degree that it realigned itself, by destroying all of them. Now what did this have to do with the Assassin, its simple, everything. The Assassin was developed not to serve kings or establishments but rather was developed to serve that very balance and help maintain it lest we allow a Repercussion to wipe us all away as it did the giants. The Assassin was created to do what others wouldn’t dare, to do whatever is necessary no matter what. Every day since then my eyes opened more and more to this truth that surrounded us all. The truth that people like Ortiz, Braddock, and even the Deneith family are using fear to Corrupt this world, and for that they must be put down.

    I kept this line of thinking to myself partially because I was certain Anissa would just dismiss it as near religious bull shit but also because I myself hadn’t fully understood what I now saw all around us. I saw myself more heavily analyzing everything as it happened around me, struggling to understand seeing the world with no filter on it. Despite the struggle I knew Braddock had to be killed, if not because of my hate and what he has done to me then because of the threat he was to this world. I just needed my own blade of fear.

    Another nine months had passed since that revelation and I was about to receive a contract that would change my life even more. It came from House Cannith in the form of a bundle of papers with me as the requested individual to undergo the contract. Braddock found it unusual to request me and despite his advisement Ashi D’Deneith granted me the contract. I had met her several times during my employment there at Deneith but I had never once seen her with a weapon which was unusual because the Deneith family was known for being noble warriors. Her older brother Breven was the current head of the House and he was a tower of a warrior. He had never seen defeat even in the worst of battles and never hesitated to lead his house to glory. He was respected as the head about the same he was feared on the battlefield. Even as the head of the house it was not uncommon for him to accompany battalions of soldiers and reap his fair share of lives in combat. Ashi however was different, I had never heard of her holding anything but a glass of wine or a pen but despite that the way she held herself indicated something different altogether. The fluidity of her movements as well as her eye’s uncanny ability to see everything no matter how subtle meant she was far more dangerous than she pretended to be. She was the one who oversaw Braddock as the head of the Department of Espionage as that was our new apparatus name since we had started growing.

    The contract details indicated that a Cannith scientists had disappeared under unusual circumstances about a month ago. The human was, according to the dossier, a genius weapons maker that would prove to be very devastating to the world should his designs fall into the wrong hands. They had tried their best to find him but they turned up nothing, they couldn’t even figure out if it was a kidnapping or a runaway but they knew this, all of his designs disappeared when he did which made them all the more insistent that I be the one to track him down. From there we could conclude it was my bloody reputation that had landed me this contract, this opportunity to track down this weapons maker. They did not include any information as to what kind of weapons this Harkat designed which secretly left me intrigued but they did include pictures of some of his older designed equipment to help me in tracking him down. Most of the pictures included symbols tattooed on unidentifiable equipment or complex mechanisms that they said would have only been created by Harkat. This contract would be more difficult than any other I had taken yet because they had virtually no information to help guide me as to where to start looking. Despite that setback I saw something about this contract that secretly made me smile.

    That night before I set out I had spent it how I usually did those days, with Anissa. We had become close, some considered us married even though we were far off from that thought, or at least I thought we were. I told her that night a little bit about the philosophy that I had come to understand and the opportunity that had been presented before us. Her fear was greater than mine but even with that said I still managed to talk her around to my line of thinking. I told her that I wasn’t sure how long I would be gone but that when I returned we would enact our plan, that we would kill Braddock, burn this place to the ground, and then vanish together for good. I told her that when I got back I would have my blade of fear.
     
  14. DITF-Ninja

    DITF-Ninja Chaotic Neutral

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    Don't worry for those who are still reading this. I will post again soon when things get a little less busy.
     
  15. Emerlas

    Emerlas Emerz

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    wow how did you make that amazing map!
    :D