Racieus was in a foul mood from the moment he woke up. Somehow, Taryn had managed to win the tournament and was now a full member of the guild. According to Lieran, this meant Taryn would now be assigned jobs to do in the name of the guild, and would receive a share of the profits that came from a them. He could also live outside of the guild house provided he could afford it of his own volition. And there were the bragging rights among other things. The guild master didn’t tell him a whole lot, electing to have Racieus wait for his teacher to explain it the next morning.
There was one thing that seemed to be changing in the halfling’s favor: he was getting better at waking up when he wanted, a useful skill to have in his soon-to-be new line of work. Racieus rose before the sun and readied himself, pulling on his boots, and strapping on his weapons, before making his way down the hall to the training room. Few others were awake yet, and as the halfling threw open the to the large practice area, he saw a single hooded figure standing inside, waiting for him.
“Greetings halfling” the figure said quietly. He was facing away from the door, his back to Racieus as he spoke.
The halfling was instantly on edge, his hands moving towards his weapons. “Um, hi there. You’re my teacher?”
The mysterious man’s head dipped slightly, in what Racieus took to be a nod. It was unusually cold in the room, and the halfling fidgeted, becoming to question his judgment in joining the guild. There was a long silence. Racieus didn’t dare speak more than he had to, and his tutor had not moved since the young recruit had entered the room.
And then it went completely dark. It only lasted a few seconds, before a solitary candle flickered back to life, revealing Racieus to be alone in the room. The teacher was gone. Racieus backed up slowly, unsure of what was going on. He briefly wondered if was still somehow dreaming, when he bumped into something that definitely wasn’t the door. Racieus yelled, and leapt forward, spinning around quickly and drawing his daggers. What he saw nearly made him drop his weapons.
It was Lieran, and he was laughing.
“What are you doing?!” The halfling yelled, clearly less amused than the human assassin. This only made the guild master laugh harder, and it was couple minutes before he could speak again.
“What I am I doing?” He asked, placing a hand on his chest. “Why, I’m teaching you!”
“How was that teaching!?” The halfling exploded, not even caring that he was probably waking up half the house. Lieran’s eyebrows rose, and he looked hard at the halfling, cautioning him to chose his words carefully. Racieus took a deep breath, fists clenched on his weapons, knuckles bulging. He thought back to his time with Lieran at the house in the woods. Lieran knew what he was doing, and Racieus obviously didn’t. That’s why he was learning. “I’m sorry. What were you teaching me?” It was an effort for Racieus to get the words out. He disliked being incompetent, and his defeat the evening before hadn’t helped much. Part of him wished Lieran would just teach him how to fight like a normal person. But the thing was, Racieus didn’t want to be normal. He wanted to be different. He wanted to be better.
“Thank you halfling. Now, I already have an idea of what you’re going to say, hence the demonstration, but as your instructor, and keep in mind this is something I very rarely do, I need to know what you want to become.” Racieus’ silence prompted the guild master to continue, “Our guild provides certain ‘services’ for the people of Teranore. Theft, destruction, spying, and my specialty, assassination, which, if you think about it, is somewhat of a combination of the other three in some cases. Now, obviously, if you wanted to become a thief, I wouldn’t waste time teaching you the finer art of how to kill people, whereas if you wanted to be an a-”
“An assassin” Racieus said quickly.
“As I suspected” Lieran said with an appreciative nod. “Then this first lesson is a very important one. Many people think assassination is merely killing, and in some cases, it is. But to those who ply the craft, it is an art. The more elaborate jobs require increasing amounts of skill, but, much like a painter or carpenter, you will have the tools you need to complete the task. The first, which you are already gaining proficiency in, is darkness.”
The assassin started to pace as talked, and began motioning with his hands, talking as much with them, as with his voice. “However, you will not always have the darkness, sometimes being required to kill in the day. Your next tool is misdirection. Infiltrating your target’s mind and manipulating it as easily as a blade. In some cases you will be trying to move corral them to a different place, in others you will be trying to make them fear, like I demonstrated for you earlier.”
“And that is your third tool.” Stopping in front of Racieus, Lieran looked him straight in the eyes, “Fear. An assassin must be able to wield fear, just as he must be immune to it.” A smile began to spread across Lieran’s face, “And then there are your final two tools: your body, and your blade.”