PrologueMature

Just a story I'm playing with... And the origin of my user name.

"House General Rauk, I have a missive!"

The large man turned from where he had been looking out onto the city below. "Private Holsey, was it? Give it here." 

The man complied and soon Rauk was reading through the words he recognized as written by High Lord Genshin himself. So, they were to move on to take down the territory owned by Rose? It was about time. Battle had eluded Rauk for far too long. He missed the thrill of his massive army marching toward the glory of combat. 

"You're dismissed," Rauk told the messenger. The smaller man saluted and headed back the way he had come, gazing at the paintings on the walls as he passed. Gawking would normally be punished, as it disrupted your efficiency, but Rauk ignored it for now. He needed to plan. 

High Lord Shinatos was the head of the House of Rose and owner of roughly fifteen percent of the kingdom of Bastion. The man was clever about his actions and had avoided joining in the Succession War due to his House's inferior force, instead relying on pitting the other High Lords against one another. 

Well, Lord Genshin had been smarter. Rauk smiled widely as he resumed staring out at the expansive city under the night sky, thinking on how good it would feel to finally wipe out that smug High Lord and amass more land and power for his Lord. This war would end with House Kemon rising to take the empty throne.

A faint laugh caught in Rauk's ears. At first, he thought it to be some of the House's maids wandering around the mansion, but something in his gut... Metal rang as he drew his large sword and turned towards the end of the hall. The laughing had come from there, he was sure! Why was no one...

"You sure are lacking in the head, my friend."

Rauk jerked around. There! A figure in a long black cloak was leaning against the wall near an open window. An assassin? "Name yourself, intruder!"

The figure laughed once more. "General Rauk, cousin to High Lord Genshin and sole tactician of House Kemon. You are very important to your House."

A growl escaped the general. "Fine. Name your purpose here!"

The cloaked man - based on his deeper voice - stood up straight and turned toward Rauk. No... That white mask. The black cloak. It couldn't be... 

"You know my purpose, General Rauk," the man said slowly, raising a large sword with a flat tip. An executioner sword. "By that missive, your High Lord sentenced you to death."

"No..." Rauk went over his breathing, calming himself. Those were rumors and legends at best. No way could this be the real one. "You sentence yourself to death. Men! To arms! Men! Intruder!"

The assassin looked toward the walls and doors through the narrow eye holes in the plain mask. "I do love these halls. They were always so lovely to just walk down and sight see..." He touched a portrait - the same one Holsey had been transfixed by - and chuckled. "The Courting of Fiosa. A fine portrait made back in the first King of Bastion's time. It is said that is brings bad luck to those near it."

Rauk realized the man's point. He had chosen this wing to ease his mind in due to the fact that it was rarely used. He hadn't an inkling of an idea as to the reason. But, did that mean that there were no guards..?

"I see you have discovered my point," the assassin said. "Now, please make this easy for me. I do tire of cleaning blood from this cloak."

"Have at ye!" Rauk shouted, then charged. No way was he going to lie back and accept death! This man he faced was probably underestimating the strength of House Kemon's General! 

"A foolish move." 

The assassin dodged Rauk's blade and vanished. It only took a few split moments to realize what had happened, but when the general had figured it out... it was too late. Pain and wetness covered his gut and he collapsed onto his side. No, not like this... 

"Who... are you?"

The man looked down on Rauk and laughed, his voice becoming distant. "You know who I am... I am the one they call..."

Ah, yes. So they weren't myths. The assassin of House Rose was real. Dethnus Ackearose was real. Rauk would have to tell Lord Genshin about...

-

Dethnus smiled widely as the life left his target's eyes. It was not for the success, though he did relish in ridding Rose of another threat, but for his reward. See, there was something Dethnus wanted more than anything else... 

Bones.

Pulling a carving knife, the assassin started cutting into the general, making sure to watch for servants. He had made sure to have the nearby rooms and halls cleared even though it was a rarely visited wing of House Kamen's mansion. 

Blood was left in puddles on the floor as he worked. Hours passed and the sun was almost up before Dethnus had his stash in a large leather bag. Ah, what a wondrous catch. He only hoped these bones would work better than the others had. His Residue resonated with the bones, keeping them strong, so maybe it would. Time would tell.

Dethnus smiled. For now, his job was done, his reward collected. It was time to return to Rose. Peace would last a little while longer now and the bones would rattle once more.

The End

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