Unexpected Company

This FallenDamen assassin continued to baffle Tor. He did not understand the man's apparent obsession with dancing. But his last remark - about "a sign of respect" - struck a chord with Tor. At least his mysterious ally had some honor. As much honor as assassins could afford, anyway.

"Tor," Kierst said from her bed in a room separated by a single doorway from Tor's own, "What do you think these other assassins are really after?"

Tor was silent for a moment, scanning the area around their rented chambers with his magic before replying to Kierst. "I do not know," he said simply, walking to the doorway of her room. "They speak of some...object. Something they seek, that is important to them. But they have not mentioned what it is just yet." Tor carefully recalled everything he had overheard with the use of his magic. It had been somewhat difficult to hear the two men, but they had certainly underestimated his skill - Tor was sure of it. "Perhaps we can earn their trust somehow. Become true allies. This may even be good for our kingdom - FallenDame could be a valuable friend, indeed."

Kierst laughed at that. "I doubt my father would agree. He has no greater dislike for anything else in Akoraan's realms than he has for the people of that kingdom. Though...he will not tell me why." Tor was interested in this. He had wondered why the King would never speak of the kingdom's neighbors. It had always seemed a curious thing to him. Perhaps one day he would understand the man's motivations; but then again, perhaps it would always remain a mystery.

"Hmm..." Tor was unsure what to say. "Well, at any rate, perhaps these assassins can be convinced to trust us. I have no quarrel with them, only the Emperor. His tyranny must end."

"Of course it must." Kierst touched Tor's shoulder, and he turned to look at her. She was dressed in her evening robes, preparing for bed then. She placed her hand on Tor's cheek. "The Emperor will die. By your hand. And then..." She twirled away from him, grabbing his right hand as she went, as she continued. "You and I will be married." Her smile radiated pure joy as her eyes met Tor's own.

Tor took one somewhat hesitant step forward, still holding Kierst's hand, then puled her back toward himself. She gracefully spun back to him,  and they danced. They danced about the room, their eyes often meeting and hovering ever so slightly when they met, until something drew Tor's attention. 

Tor could feel the presence of someone - a man, he thought, but could not be sure - approaching their rooms. Tor continued to dance with Kierst, but moved toward his bedside cabinet and retrieved a large knife from the top of it, holding it in one hand. He did not know for certain who came at this hour, but the presence did not seem benevolent.

"Tor - what -" Kierst's expression was bewildered when she saw him grab his knife, but then quickly transformed into one of sheer terror. "Is someone coming?"

Tor shushed her, pulling her close and keeping his blade at the ready. "Yes," he whispered, "someone is coming this way. I don't know who it is, but I doubt it's anyone we have any business with." Kierst gasped, becoming even more frantic and trying to run for the door. 

Tor took her by the hand and refused to let her go, pulling her back towards him and trying to direct her into her private chamber. She finally went, just as a knock came at the door. As Kierst eased her chamber door shut, Tor went and cautiously pulled the door open.

His caution was well rewarded. As soon as the door was about halfway open, a long, thin blade swung through the air where Tor would have been standing if he had not been prepared. A figure entered the room, dressed entirely in black. The man turned to glare at Tor, spinning his sword theatrically before swinging again. The man had a face which reminded Tor of a serpent, with its narrow features and flat nose. The man even hissed - hissed! - like a snake, his steely grey eyes locking onto Tor with an insane hatred. 

The stranger's blade swept past tor's head once more, almost striking him on the cheek, but Tor was quicker. he dodged beneath the sword, stepping into his attacker's reach and thrusting his knife forward. The short, flat, double-edged blade burrowed deep into the man's buttoned-up black jacket right in the stomach, and a wet substance soon soaked the black fabric. Tor withdrew his knife, dodging a clumsy but rage-fueled swing from his opponent's longsword, then brought his blade down into the man's shoulder. The assailant sank to his knees, crying out in pain, and Tor stabbed the man one final time directly in the heart. Blood spurted out of the wound, splattering across Tor's face as his enemy fell backward to the ground. Tor stood over the corpse for several moments, out of breath.

When he had recovered his senses, he ran into Kierst's chamber and found her cowering behind a desk and chair, dagger at the ready. She nearly flew into Tor's arms when she saw him, gazing deep into his eyes. She looked afraid, but Tor could not figure out why. Then, he remembered. "Ah... Yes. That's... Not my blood." He looked away, afraid of how she might react to the sudden realization of what Tor did. This was how he lived - paranoid, almost always battle-ready - when he left home, and this was what he did. He killed people. In taverns, in dark alleyways, on the hot desert sands far from civilizations...location did not matter. He hunted, he tracked, he fought when necessary, and he killed.

But, rather than being suddenly horrified as Tor would've expected, Kierst simply nodded. "Good... Good, then. I - I'm glad you're safe, Tor." She embraced him suddenly, remaining in his arms for a moment before kissing him. 

The two packed their equipment and possessions hastily, and Tor led Kierst to Tanz's rented abode. Knocking loudly on the door twice, a few seconds apart as was traditional, Tor and Kierst waited only briefly for a response. The sniper, Reiher, was the one to open the door, quickly bowing slightly and opening the door wide for the two to enter when he recognized him.

"Tor?" Tanz was climbing out of bed, rubbing sleep from his eyes. "What are you -"

"I will explain later, now we must leave the city. Quickly. I will tell you everything as soon as we have departed from here. Quickly now, come one!" Tor added when tanz simply looked at him with a slightly amused expression on his face. The fellow assassin seemed to get the point then, and stood up to begin packing.

The End

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