The Assassin

An assassin learns that sometimes following her heart, rather than her orders, is the best thing to do.

The cloaked figure moved silently through the city, nothing more than a shadow among shadows. If anyone had been there, all they would have seen would have been a patch of blackness moving through the shadows. However, the streets were deserted, the only movement besides that of the figure being the flickering of the lanterns casting pale circles of light like islands in the darkness.

            The figure stopped upon reaching a large mansion, its tall, stone walls black against the sky. The figure pushed back her hood to reveal a small, pale face framed by short, ragged black hair with her green eyes hard and cold. Reaching up, the girl then pulled a rope hanging beside the gate of the manor, stepping back to face the gate.

            The sound of a bell could be heart faintly from inside the wall next to the gate, and after a moment a man came out of a door in the wall behind the gate, rubbing his eyes and muttering sleepily. “What is it?” He asked, his words slightly slurred with sleep. “Let me in.” She answered simply. The man frowned, wondering what kind of person walked up to a gate in the middle of the night and demanded entrance without explanation. “Tell me your business first.” He said firmly, crossing his arms over his chest. “No admittance to strangers except on confirmed legitimate business.”

            “I have business with your master. If you need confirmation of my legitimacy, tell him that the raven has returned.” Surprised, the gate guard nodded, and hurried away, his mind working furiously. The girl had said the raven. The raven! He had heard rumors that the master had an assassin working for him called the raven, but he had dismissed them as nonsense. Even if he hadn’t, to think that the legendary assassin was such a small, young girl!

            The guard reached the master’s quarters and rapped quickly on the door, ignoring the curious stares of the guards. “Enter” came a voice from inside, and the guard quickly entered, shutting the door firmly behind him. Turning around, he bowed low before speaking. “The raven has returned, master.” He said, straightening. “Is that so? Send her here immediately.” The master said coldly, dismissing the guard with a wave of his hand. The guard hurried off, anxious to get away before the master became displeased with him.

            In a few short minutes, Raven entered the room, and like the guard, bowed low before the master. “Report.” The master said, leaning back in his chair. He was interested to hear how the assignment had gone, given that it was somewhat unusual. “I am sorry master, I failed you.” Raven said, her head bowed, trembling. He would punish her. He had to punish her. It was the first time she’d failed since finishing her training, but she could still remember the beatings she had been given as an apprentice every time she messed up.

            The master raised his hand, and she cringed slightly, expecting a slap, but was surprised when his hand fell lightly on her head. “Good job.” He said, and Raven’s head snapped up in surprise. He was smiling! “But… but master, I failed you. I didn’t follow your orders.” She stuttered, confused. What was going on, master never smiled, and he certainly never praised her for an incomplete mission!

            “No… you did exactly what I wanted you to.” The Master said, his smile growing wider. Raven just looked at him in apprehension, wondering absently if the Master had gone crazy while she was gone. “Do you really think I would send you to kill a child if I actually expected you would do it?” He continued, and Raven hung her head, for she had thought exactly that. “But you did not, following your conscience, even at the risk of your own life. You have proved that you have morals and can think for yourself. Well done, my daughter.”

The End

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