Michael had seen plenty of dead bodies in his time. it was part of the life of a trickster and thief, but never one so hideously mauled, nor with so much blood shed as this one. He clapped his hand over his mouth to stifle the gasp rising in his lungs. He skirted aorund the body and tip toed to the table, sickened. But his curiousity was arousened. How could such a thing happen in the very palace?
Spread across the table were many scrolls, pinned down so the edges wouldn't curl. Most were maps, old and faded, and labled in a language of runes he hadn't seen before.
A code, maybe? He somehow doubted it. The runes looked like some remenants of an ancient language. He unrolled a scroll that had fallen to the floor, and inspected a long message in a slanting script. It, too, was written in a strange language.
He inspected the work, wondering how much such a mystery wold get in the theives market. He brushed the thought away. His friend had once told him, "Gold and silver are all that count for anything here, and most stolen." After placing the scroll in the exact position it had been, he inspected the contents of a crate in the corner. ..Whisky? It was. but from the dust on the bottles, it hadn't been touched in a while. He moved to the wardrobe standing in the corner and opened the doors.
Within it, about seven shelves held an assortment of weapons, from daggers and arrows to swords and spears. He whistled in a low tone. These people weren't just scholars. He noticed a small box in the back corner, and leaned in carefully and brought it out.
It held a large ammount of silver coins. He decided though, that it was probably carefully counted out and that he could be in serious trouble if he took any. He placed the box back in the back corner and closed the wardrobe's doors.
Behind him, voices echoed up the hallway through which he had come. A single moment of panic cost Michael time, but he quickly glanced around the room, and found the only possible hiding place; a tapestry hung on the wall. He whisked himself behind it, and found there was a hole at exactly eye level, so he could watch the happenings in the room. He flattened himself against the cold stone wall, and saw a man in a black robe come into the room, leading a girl dressed completely in black, from boots to pants to shirt. Her eyes were strangely distant, and a deep navy blue, and she had brown hair strewn carelessly over her shoulders.
An evil smirk crept over the man's face as he saw the corpse.
"You did well, Jeanine," he said, quietly. "You have proved you can kill with caring." The girl seemed to not hear the words, almost as if she were entranced.
"Even your own father," the man said, smirking his evil smile. He turned the man over with his foot. "I thought you would struggle against my power.' he laughed again, a sound that sent chills up Michael's spine. 'it seems not so." He strode over to the girl, eyes flashing, and pulled a pendant out from around her neck. it was a light green emerald set in a silver chain. He bounced it on his palm, smirking again.
"Soon no one will be able to resist me," he crooned, placing the necklace back as it was.
He strode back to the table and pulled the pins out of one of the maps. He shoved it into Jeanine's arms. "Study that well," he said commandingly, "You kill tonight." A blood red stamp was placed on the map, only two letters.
They were 'A' and 'C'.