The swords themselves weren't distinctive. But regardless, I worked to disguise them, changing the hilts and engraving the blades. When I was satisfied, I finally donned a simple eye mask I had fashioned from black material I had cut from some of the clothes Zelthar had left. The swords went into leather scabbards I'd had a 'friend' fashion for me. Eventually I stood in front of the mirror.
My hair, which I had taken to wearing straight and tied back, now fell naturally in thick curls, longer than it had been when I was human. I was dressed in slim-fitting black trousers, boots and a black tank top. The swords were strapped across my back, covered by a black trench caot that brushed the backs of my knees. The eye-mask disguised my face, my eyes were circled with eyeliner, accentuating their shape. I was satisfied that I looked different enough to go unnoticed in the Council. Several weeks had passed with no sign of anyone who appeared to be connected with the Council. I knew where Zelthar's quarters were and decided to pay him a little visit.
I approached the large building with a sense of trepidation. It was very grand and intimidating to look at anyway, without the fact that I was a criminal according to everyone in there. The air was grey as time hovered between night and dawn. I slipped the mask over my face, supressing the leaden feeling in my stomach. I turned away from the main entrance and moved silently through the forest edge until I had reached my route in. I checked carefully for anything that might show that it was comprimised. There was nothing.
Finally I scaled the wall and landed through the open window with a light impact that would not have been heard unless you were listening for it. I was in a plush, luxurious office, hung with paintings and tapestries. I crouched down by the window and waited. A heartbeat later, a regal vampire appeared, one that was all too familiar.
The candles that littered the room all suddenly sprang into life, although the area where I was crouched still lay in darkness. Zelthar was a pyrokinetic and extreamely powerful.
"I warn you now, stranger, if you do not give me reason to call them off, two rather unpleasant characters will end your life. He indicated a pair of vampires behind them. I recognised the pair who had taken me here originally.
"The Shadow, bounty hunter. I heard that my services would be required." My voice was distorted by the mask.
There was a pause that seemed to stretch forever.
"Leave us." Zelthar, imperious as always, waved the pair away. He turned to regard me. "Interesting..I do indeed have need of your services. However, what reason would I have to give you this job?"
"I am here aren't I? My talents speak for themselves." I replied in the same distorted tone. Zelthar regarded me for a few moments then handed me a packet like before.
"All of the details are in there. One month else you will be added to the list."
"I shall return in two weeks." I replied coldly.
"And if I should wish to contact you?" Zelthar moved to stand near me.
I sprang to the windowsill. "I will find you."
"Fare well then, Shadow."
I inclinded my head, taking the packet and melting into the night. The weeks I had spent in preparation had been spent honing skills that apparently came naturally to me. Within a week, I was back in Zelthar's office.
"Here is your proof." I said, when he eventually entered the room. I tossed a packet of photos onto the table there. Zelthar picked them up, rifiling through them rapidly, seemingly impressed. He handed me a thick packet-my payment.
"A pittance for such fine work, my dear Shadow." Zelthar's demeanour had changed completely to warm and welcoming.
I see a fruitful future here...
I blinked at Zelthar's thought, coming loud and clear into my head. I'd slowly learned to block these, but apparently still needed to work on it more.
"I have another job, if you are willing?" Zelthar held out another, now-familiar packet to me. "Although it is slightly harder than the previous one, I am sure that with your talents, there will be no problem." He attempted a warm smile that failed to reach his eyes.
"The payment will be adjusted accordingly I hope?" I replied, not moving from my crouch by the window.
"Of course." Zelthar affected and air of mild offense.
I fluidly reached up to take the packet and returned to what felt like the most safe position in the room-crouched by the window. Zelthar smiled again.
"As soon as possible please my dear."
I nodded. "As always I assume."
"Indeed." Zelthar seemed genuinely pleased "Fare you well."
I inclined my head in a show of respect and left.
Soon it had become a regular event. I would be given weeks or months depending on the job. Soon I was numb to the fact I was a killing for a living. I was numb completely, protected from reality until I fell to Earth with a bang. Years after I had started working for Zelthar, I dropped into his office as usual, crouching in my position by the window. Zelthar entered, followed by another familiar figure.
"My dear Shadow, let me introduce another dear friend of mine, Lee. He has been very kind in providing a lot of the information you use so well."
I froze, feeling like a yearling all over again. Nausea welled up with a bitter anger. My voice however betrayed no emotion.