I generally stuck with Jared over the break, preferring to observe the new recruits as they ate. A subtle elbow in the ribs alerted me to the presence of yet another candidate.
An average-looking guy was following Henry into the room. There was a dusting of grey at his temples which matched the age in his dark brown eyes. He seemed to actively blend in to any situation. I went up to greet him, causing Henry to slope off. I resisted a theatrical shiver at the chill in his glare. I made the fifth mental note to keep an eye on him.
“Hi, I'm Lorna, and you are?”
“Late, so it would appear. I wasn't told to be here by any specific time.”
I lifted my chin slightly, catching a raised eyebrow from Jared. I could hear murmurs from the rest of them.
“Ok then. You missed this mornings little lesson, lets bring you up to speed, shall we?”
As I filled him in, I pulled my hair back, giving off the air of someone who was ready for a fight. I noted a glimmer of understanding in his, responding to my unspoken aggression. He was perceptive.
I initially held back a little, just testing the water. After he dodged the first few blows, I increased the pace, forcing him to parry and block. I noted with satisfaction the slight narrowing of his eyes, belying the "effortless" way in which he blocked my blows.
“You are allowed to hit back, you know...”
A shrug of my shoulders, and a cheeky tilt of his head.
“But, why would I want to hit you, when you're not hitting me? Besides, I don't hit women, no matter how much they like it..”
I narrowed my eyes, smiling at him.
"Jay, show him where to take his things, lessons start again at 2. Everyone meet in the main hall."
I pulled my hair free as I turned. Jared flashed me an amused look at the theatrics, something not usually tolerated by the assassins.
"Nicely done," He spoke in his comfortingly deep voice. "Though you let him get away with lip."
I shrugged, perching on the edge of the table in front of him. "He amused me. And 'get away' isn't exactly the right word."
Jared chuckled. "I guess he'll be finding some bruises tomorrow."
"Of course." I flashed him a slightly evil grin.
"So what's on the agenda for this afternoon?"
I tilted my head, smiling properly. "I think I'll let you take center stage. I'll set out the weapons-basically the same as earlier?"
He nodded "Yeah, swords and hand-to-hand stuff though. No flying bits and peices yet."
I laughed. "Keep an eye on the cold one, okay? Do a weapons check before you start, make sure he's not got that dagger-hopefully giving him something else will put him off enough, but I'll be there anyways."
His eyes warmed at my concern. "Yeah, see you in a while then."
I nodded, feeling his eyes on my back as I turned to leave. I hid a smile. Something about Jared warmed me in a way I'd forgotten as a fully active assassin.
I was setting out racks of swords in the main hall as I felt a presence behind me. In a fluid motion, I pulled a katana from the rack, pinning the person against a column, the slender blade under their chin.
"You should know better than to sneak up on someone here."