Chapter 1: Beginnings (cont.)

The assassin crept through the dimly lit hallway, taking advantage of the shadows the light created, and he shook his head. In many cases, he’d be easier to spot if the light wasn’t present, but nobody knew that. They always assumed that light was the answer, oblivious to the even deeper darkness it created.

Not that it mattered anyway, light or no light the assassin would still do his job, and he would do it well. Better than well. It would be perfect.

His target was yet another of the rich pompous fools who dared to call themselves leaders. As if they emulated something the rest of the world should try to follow. It would be a sad day indeed, if humanity did follow it’s masters, and Lieran knew that any of them would if given half a chance. What man wouldn’t choose wealth over poverty, regardless of the consequences? The assassin sighed, he had promised himself he wouldn’t start this debate again while he was working. Getting philosophical on the job led to mistakes, which translated to imprisonment or more likely, death at the hands of some amateur.

What would be worse? The assassin wondered, The death, or the fact that it came at the hands of an incompetent fool?

Probably the fool, he told himself. It wouldn’t be fair.

And Lieran was all about being fair.

When he was 12, he killed the boy who was responsible for raping his sister. An act that ultimately drove her to take her own life. So Lieran repaid the life with a life. When he was 15, his father’s employer, the Governor, refused him his pay for that week because “finances were low” and some areas had to take a cut. Apparently the Governor’s flamboyant wardrobe, and exquisite meals were not one of those areas. So Lieran broke in and set fire to the Governor’s quarters, as well as his kitchen. If his father couldn’t eat, neither would the Governor. And when he was 18, he punished his own father, payment in full for all the times he had beat Lieran’s mother. It didn’t matter that it was his own father, all that mattered was that it was fair.

Some called him a revolutionary, one of the few who dared take a stab at those who abused their power; but that wasn’t the case, he didn’t have any plans to overthrow the current rulers, because inevitably, harsher rulers would just take their place. Others called Lieran an avenger, but he didn’t agree with that either, it made his job sound poetic, glorious, the product of some higher calling.

No. Lieran was an assassin, a mercenary, he took jobs, he killed people, he did what he was told, and he was well paid for it.

Lieran came to his target’s room, and carefully tested the handle. It wasn’t even locked. No matter what his true intentions were, Lieran was an assassin, and assassins always appreciated a challenge. It was what made them who they were, it was what distinguished them from a mere killer. It was the basis for their exorbitant fees. Not unlocked doors.

But then again, how many guards had Lieran dealt with so far? Seven? Eight? The target apparently had saw no need for extra protection. Not that it would have stopped Lieran anyways.

He inched the door open, and immediately began to catalog the items in the room, before he closed the door behind him and extinguished the feeble light source. The room was very neat, through no feat of the target though, probably a servant. He silently thanked the servant, a neat room meant less things to trip on. Stepping fully inside, and closing the door behind him, Lieran began to make for the bed. Then he heard a low rumble.

Crouching low, and then freezing in place, Lieran searched the room for the source of the noise. He found it laying beside the bed, a dog.

It was still asleep, and Lieran hoped it would stay that way. But when he approached, he heard the dog begin to stir. Drawing a knife, the assassin stood over the dog, begging it to stay alseep.

Its eyes shot open, and Lieran rammed the knife home.

A pang of sorrow filled him, he didn’t want to kill the dog, it wasn’t fair, but he couldn’t dwell on that now. Standing up, the assassin now leaned over the target, and without a second thought, cut his throat. He had slept with another woman, a woman who was now dead, beaten by her husband, who subsequently had hired Lieran to kill this man as well. In Lieran’s mind, the former target was partly responsible for the woman’s death. Without him, it wouldn’t have happened. So it was only fair that he died as well.

Lieran made to leave, unlatching the window and peering out into the night, but stopped and looked back on the scene, the man… the dog. A few minutes later, walking a little lighter, he vaulted out the window onto the roof below, leaving behind a dead man, with his dead dog curled up next to him, as close as could be. Lieran figured any dog would want to be with their master at the end, and he owed it as much as he could possibly give.

It was only fair.

~~~~~****~~~~~

The End

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