"You are Lance Kairan, I take it?"
The man hid himself in the shadows of the room well; I couldn't see him, not even with my elven vision. "Yes. You have a job for me?"
"I do, but I would like to see your abilities first. Arm yourself."
Smirking, I walked over to the wall and pulled a sword down off of its mount.
The man sighed. "A real weapon, Lance. Show me your abilities."
My eyebrow raised, I replaced the sword and held out both hands. In my right, a double-edged longsword formed, and in my left, a pistol, black as night.
The sword's hilt is similar to wings, the same shade as my eyes. Just below the tip of the blade are two notches, one on each side. Runes inscribe the blade, though only those with magical abilities could see them. The pistol is far more plain, constructed for devastating power instead of comfort of looks. On the side is etched a single word: Ebony.
"What do the runes mean?" the man asked.
"'I am a blade of demons and men. I am Rebellion.'"
"Rebellion, is it? I once knew of a sword of that name."
"I assure you, it's not the same one."
"If you say so...now, to begin your test."
The man raised a hand, and shadows coalesced in the center of the room. I readied Rebellion and Ebony, eyes carefully watching the growing mass of darkness. It steadily grew, until it was equal in height to myself. Red eyes glowed from within, though no other features could be discerned.
"A doppelganger?" I asked, surprised. "How did--"
I didn't get the chance to finish my question before the doppelganger charged, its own Rebellion raised high. I swung mine one-handed, cutting through its midsection. It didn't even pause in its charge, as I knew it wouldn't; I could only harm it if I could get it into the light.
Blocking attack after attack, I slowly backed away, thinking fast. There was a lamp on a small table nearby. If I could light it...
With a yell, I swung Rebellion, accompanying it with six shots from Ebony. All of my attacks found their mark, and it laughed as the bullets came out of its back. While it was gloating, I jumped back and pulled the chain on the lamp.
The doppelganger shrieked in agony as the shadows that gave it my form shattered, and I hit it with the flat of Rebellion, knocking it onto its back. With a booted foot on its black and white chest, I raised Ebony and shot it eight times in the head.
"Good, Lance." I jumped; I had forgotten the man was there. "You have proven your ability to me."
"All right, then," I said, panting. "What's the job?"
"I want you to keep someone safe. He leads a very dangerous lifestyle, so I'm sure you will not be bored."
"Just tell me who it is," I snapped, impatient as the adrenaline wore off.
"Observe." He raised his hand, and a small circle of light appeared on the floor. In it, I could see another man, an elf with reddish-brown hair. I knew his face all too well.
"Thalean," I murmured. "The pay had damn well better be good."
"One million crowns," the man offered.
"Plus six thousand per day. I will give you ten thousand now, to cover preparation costs."
"This can't be happening..." One million crowns, to protect a man I didn't particularly like. "How long am I to protect him?"
"Until his death, until he is out of danger, or until I notify you that your services are no longer required."
"I believe that we have a deal." I offered my hand, and the man slowly reached out and shook it.