Making Allies

"Reiher," Tanz called out behind him between movements, "Do you believe in any religion?"

As per usual, the man did not answer, but continued to walk along the riverbank. What a bore. Tanz had tried all sorts of conversational tactics on the man, but he never gave a word unless it was something important. Like the time those creatures from the desert to the west came out and when Tanz nearly killed a villager. Seriously, this man was impeding everything fun. They had run from those things and the villager had likely reported seeing Tanz in his deep blue mask. No one was supposed to see the mask unless they were dying or helping Tanz kill someone.

"Well, I don't," Tanz continued, moving into another form of dance, "Take the Baturan people to the west of us... They believe some void was here or something. How silly is that?" Reiher didn't answer. Silly person. "I can't believe the King wants us to work with the other kingdoms..." Tanz stopped dancing and turned to Reiher. Yes, the man was looking towards the west. Towards the edge of the Baturan's precious desert. He had heard it to.

It was footsteps! But the sound was distinct! Every FallenDamen sniper could hear through the winds. It allowed them to discern the weight, equipment, and, for higher skilled snipers, age. Reiher was the best, so he could hear anything for miles. Tanz, though... The shadows told him everything that happened as well! 

These travelers - or warrior and traveler by the equipment - were two by number. There was a male and female, from what Tanz guessed. The warrior had a many weapons, though his companion only carried a simple dagger. How exquisite! 

"Reiher! Is it them? The assassins from that Batura place?!" 

Reiher nodded slowly. "From the kings spies, we have learned of two sets of spies. The ones from Batura are Tor Aviksson-Vedin, a man courting the princess of the kingdom, and the princess herself. We are to make contact and make aware of our desire to help."

Tanz changed course immediately. He knew why himself and Reiher were chosen to be the assassins of FallenDamen, but he was curious why Tor and the little princess were chosen. Could they read the winds like Reiher? Could they dance the shadows like Tanz? Could they even see Tanz or Reiher coming?

Tanz would see. 

As it so happened, the man - Tor - could see them coming. The two Baturan's were aware of Tanz and Reiher before they even came in sight. 

"Someone's coming," Tor said in the distance. Reiher had to repeat the words said for Tanz, for he could only sense their movement and weight, not their voices. 

"Is it an enemy?" That would have been the princess, then.

"I do not know... but they are trying to mask themselves."

Well, that was enough. 

Tanz ran over the hill at a full charge, Reiher following behind. Tor turned out to be a very well built man with his sword drawn already. Of course, all he saw was a blue mask. Do not worry, Tor, for Tanz would not kill him. No, only test...

"Who are you!?" Tor demanded as Tanz drew near. 

"Me?" Tanz dodged a sword swing, but just barely. This man was fast. "I am but a dancer of the shadows here to test your worth."

Reiher was there in an instant, holding back the princess. Well, then. If she had not been a princess, Tanz might have had to dance for her... But princesses were always  annoying. You break their hearts and a kingdom wants you dead. Too risky. 

This man, from how he swung his sword as a feint and moved to save his woman, was also a risk. Tanz wouldn't be able to play around. "Do not worry," Tanz told Tor as he cut him off, "She will not be harmed."

Tor cursed and swung his blade at Tanz. Dear dear.... This man was TOO dangerous. He might be able to beat Tanz even! Better hold off on fighting... 

Tanz gave Reiher a signal and the man backed off. "See? No harm, my dear friend Tor."

Tor didn't sheath his blade, even after his princess rejoined him. "Who are you and how do you know my name?"

Tanz took off his mask and smiled at the larger man. "I, my good sir knight, am Tanz Von Endungen. Jester of the King of FallenDamen." Tanz bowed deeply.

"Jester?" the princess asked her beloved knight. Oh how good a dance they could do, should they try. 

Tor simply shook his head. "In FallenDamen, the Jester is not a position of jokes, but an assassin. A deadly one, too." He turned to Reiher, then back to Tanz. "Why have you come for me? Did King Liebemorder put you up to this? Is in in league with the Emperor?"

Tanz chuckled at that. Krieg? In league with the Emperor? It was too rich. "It appears you have not heard. Your king is not the only one to send an assassin."

That got this Tor's attention. He lowered his blade slightly. "So, you are after my prey?"

Oh dear, this meant a lot to him, then. The report said if he could kill the Emperor, Tor got something valuable. Well, might as well play a dance with him. "My king simply wishes the Emperor to die, nothing more. In regards to who kills whom, I care not."

Reiher stepped in front of Tanz, then, and pulled a bag of golden coins from underneath his massive cloak. "This gold is to aide you in your slaying of the Emperor. We are to help you get close."

Tanz smiled and put his mask back on. These fools were dancing right along to King Krieg's plan. He wanted the Emperor dead, sure, but his real desire lay elsewhere. By helping these assassins, FallenDamen could get help achieving their own goals. And Tanz was their star performer. 

Let the dance begin!

The End

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