Chapter 11: The Box (part three)

Racieus let the piece of paper fall to the floor, questions tearing through his head. Don’t trust who? And why? Who was warning him? And why? He rubbed his temples, and tried to push the whole thing out of his head, turning instead to the stack of papers Lieran had brought him. He rifled through them, searching for an address or method of contact. He found it on the second to last page, just an address with express instructions to ring a bell, and wait for further orders. It barely occurred to Racieus that this wasn’t usual for an employer, again came that gut feeling that drove him onward, and without a second thought, he made sure his weapons were all strapped on, threw some clothes into a knapsack, and tossed in the small dagger for good measure, then he was off.

His next stop was the stable, the meeting place was in Shanbydder, but it was on the far side, and the going would be much faster with a mount. He was saddled up and ready to go in minutes, and within seconds had cleared the gate the to the guild house, tearing down the road into the heart of the city. The location was in a part of town that Racieus hadn’t ventured into yet. He got turned around twice, and had to ask for directions from squatters who looked like they were about to try and eat the halfling. He moved on quickly, finally spotting the house, recognizable only because of the bell pull on the gate. If there ever was an address on the gate, it had long since disappeared. Racieus dismounted and tied his pony to one of the poles. He took a moment to muster his courage and then pulled down sharply on the bell pull.

He heard nothing, no sound, no sign that the bell had rung. The halfling waited, and the seconds turned into a minute, which turned into five, and soon Racieus began to get impatient, but the job had requested he ring the bell and wait. The question was, how long was he prepared to wait? He stood around for another few minutes and had started to untie his pony when he heard a door open and saw a figure standing in the darkened doorway. He, for as Racieus watched he discovered it was a ‘he,’ walked slowly down the long path between the house and the gate, and with a nod at the halfling, unlatched the swinging door and admitted the small assassin.

“You are from the guild I take it?” asked the middle aged man as he accompanied the halfling to the door. Racieus nodded, and the man smiled, pleased. “Good. Please come in, and wait just a little longer, my master will be here shortly.”

The halfling took a seat in one of the many chairs in the room to which he was directed. He looked around the grandiose room, which betrayed the somewhat rundown appearance of the house from the outside. He wasn’t waiting long when he heard the door open and close in the other room, followed by a brief exchange of dialogue. There were footsteps approaching, until they stopped just behind the halfling who turned in his chair to greet the new arrival, the man who, he assumed, was responsible for the job offer. When he stuck out a hand, the client shook it hesitatntly, turning a critical eye over the small assassin, skepticism evident on his face, but there was something else accompanying it. Surprise, intrigue… even recognition?

“You are, from the guild?” the man said slowly, unconvinced that the child-like form in front of him was capable of the services he required. “I’m sorry, but there must be so-” before the man finished speaking, Racieus flicked his wrists, and launched the two daggers that were suddenly in his hands in opposite directions, each thudding into one of the many decorative plates hanging on the walls. The man’s mouth hung open for a second, as his mind caught up to what his disbelieving eyes had seen. His objections died in his throat, and he took a seat across from the halfling, motion for his guest to do the same. “My uh, apologies. You do not look like an assassin.”

“A quality that is often beneficial in my line of work” the halfling said dryly, and his client nodded.

“I apologize for the cryptic nature of my message. I don’t…” he paused, trying to better lay out his words. “I represent someone who does not wish to be revealed quite yet, and it is imperative that we do not broadcast his intentions. This means nothing will be written down for you, no letters sent, nothing. All instructions will be given to you personally. I hope you have a good memory.”

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The End

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