Chapter 4: Induction (part 3)

“Demien, would you mind disposing of, this” Lieran asked, gesturing at the corpse, that had fallen atop the desk. “I would like to converse with our halfling friend here.” The other man nodded, and hauled the body over his shoulder with a grunt, then left the two in peace. Lieran nodded at the door, and Racieus closed it softly, before turning back around and sitting in one of the chairs in front of the large desk.

“Do you mind explaining what’s going on?” Racieus asked. “And maybe what you’re doing here? And while we’re at it, why that guy tied to kill me after he read your note?”

Holding up his hands in admission to the accusations, Lieran fell heavily into his own chair. “Yes. I believe you have earned that much Racieus. The short of it is that I, am the guild master of Tri Triocha Tri.” Lieran put up a hand to forestall Racieus’ inevitable question, “It is in an ancient tongue, long since dead, but it literally means “Three thirty three.” In our language we would say three hundred and thirty-three, which is the number of the official members of this guild.”

Lieran saw the note laying where Vance had dropped it on the desk, and he grabbed it before handing it to Racieus. “You recognize the name now I presume,” and Racieus nodded, finally making the connection to the name on the note, now that his life wasn’t in peril. “Now see if you can guess at the number and the symbol” prompted Lieran.

Racieus studied the number, which was “one,” or rather two zeros followed by a one. “Your rank in the guild?” He asked.

Lieran nodded, “A signature of sorts. One that means something only to those in the guild.”

Turning his attention back to the note, the halfling then looked at the symbol. “Is it… a code? A symbol denoting me as a recruit?”

“It’s simpler than that” Lieran replied. “It is my own mark.”

Racieus was confused, “But you have the number on here already. Why would you need the mark?”

“Merely as a confirmation that the note is from me. It makes it harder for people to get lucky. Now,” Lieran clapped his hands together, “Back to the matter at hand. I’ve been aware that Vance has been eyeing my position, but I didn’t expect him to move in quick so, recklessly. Several weeks is not an unusual amount of time for any guild member to be away. I can only assume that all he saw was power and that blinded him to all else.”

“What if he was merely stepping up to fill your position when you returned?”

Lieran nodded, “A good question, but even if that were the case, and I doubt it, he directly disobeyed an order from myself” the assassin said, having no doubts that he had done the right thing. “Either way, his death will serve as a good example to the other members, and recruits. Whom you will be joining tomorrow if you are ready.”

The halfling nodded eagerly.

“But first,” the assassin cut in, “I want to hear your account of what happened after you reached the city. As you are probably aware, I was following you most of through the forest.”

Again Racieus nodded, holding up the note in agreement, and then launching into his story. Lieran frowned when Racieus told him of the robbery, but the dark glance was mitigated slightly when it was revealed that that very theft was responsible for bringing Racieus to the guild.

“Well I can’t really punish the lad,” Lieran mused, rubbing his chin. “He wasn’t aware of the letter, and even if he had been it wouldn’t have meant anything to him really, but still, if you think about it, he stole my money!”

Racieus grinned, “Well I don’t know that it was still your money at that point, but I would enjoy a chance at getting it back.” The halfling looked eagerly at the guildmaster, eyebrows raised and begging for permission.

“I will give it some thought” Lieran said with a smile of his own. “Now, about tomorrow. You are aware that up until an hour ago, this guild had three-hundred and thirty-three members. One of them is now dead, and we must find a replacement. Tomorrow there will be a free-for-all tournament, the circumstances of which will be drawn and announced in the morning. So you should get some rest.”

Nodding, the halfling stood up and turned to leave, but, in a move that had become too familiar of late, stopped as his hand touched the door. “Lieran?”

“It’s guild master now young halfling,” the assassin said with mock severity, “And if you get emotional on me-”

“I don’t know where my room is” butt-in Racieus, with a roll of his eyes.

Cut short, Lieran closed his mouth and rose from his chair to guide the new recruit to his room. They traveled down one, and then two flights of stairs, to the second floor. Seven doors down, on the left, was Racieus’ room.

“Why the second hall?” he asked as he inspected the place. “Why not the third? More walking and all.”

“Well, if someone were ever to attack the guild, the ones of the third floor would most likely be the last to be reached, and would have more time to prepare.” Racieus started to laugh, but realized that the assassin was being serious. Lieran nodded once in closure and turned to go, but not before he heard Racieus softly say,

“Thank you.”

The End

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