Tales of the Killers- ch. 1
by, 6-19-12 at 7:42 PM (140 Views)
Prince Kaspyar had never thought about death before. He’d had no reason to. He had everything a young man his age would want. He lay asleep in his bed of silken sheets, lost in a dream of the events that would transpire the next day. His coronation was early in the morning, and in the afternoon he was to be wedded to his love, Jeniva.
Unfortunately, he will never see his beloved Jeniva again, nor will the ancestral crown of his family rest upon his head. Geltarc thought as he crept down the hall toward the prince’s suite. His black robes fluttered back around his belt as he walked, revealing the shining hilt of a silver dagger sheathed at his waist.
Geltarc’s soft leather boots made almost no noise on the stone corridors in the castle, but at this hour of the night there was nobody to conceal himself from besides the night watchmen.
With his rough face hidden deep in the cowl of his black cloak, Geltarc rounded a dark corner into a hall. Out the row of windows on his right, the entire valley lay shrouded in a strange dark mist and even the moon had hidden her face on this cold, shady night. His hand brushed the stones of the wall and even through the thick cloak, he felt the icy touch of the night chilled stones.
Geltarc walked to the end of the row of doors and softly pushed open the one leading to the prince’s suite. He navigated his way through the parlor and into Kaspyar’s sleeping chamber, where the prince lay dreaming all about events that would never come to pass.
Slowly and silently, for the prince was a light sleeper, Geltarc crept up on the right side of the prince’s bed and drew back the gossamer veil that encircled the Prince of Lanamund himself. Then, he drew his dagger with a muted hiss.
It was a beautiful weapon Geltarc had to admit, with a teardrop shaped ruby set into the silver pommel, a sapphire star set in the crosspiece, and an intricately etched dragon on a slender steel blade that seemed to glow faintly with its own eerie white light. The metal of the guard was elaborately woven into a strong, yet delicate looking pattern, which tapered out to a gleaming leaf on either end of the guard.
He lowered the sharp tip of the blade right in the soft spot behind Kaspyar’s right earlobe and he let the dagger cut its way through the tissue, veins and throat below the prince’s jaw. As soon as Geltarc felt the dagger cut through the windpipe, he pulled the blade out of the prince’s neck and stared into the piercingly green eyes of the dead royal. Geltarc ripped a piece of the fine linen sheets and cleaned the crimson stain off of his precious dagger. He sheathed his weapon and walked out the door, without bothering to close the eyes of the man he had murdered.
* * *
By the time Geltarc was back on the streets of Bastilon, the capitol city of the empire of Lanamund, the sky was already turning gray with the early light of dawn. He rounded a corner and slipped into a tavern called the Wolf’s Den and took a table at the very back corner. All the other tables were empty due to the early hour, but the tavern was always open all night, which made it the perfect place to go after the deed was done.
The tavern was warm, there was a fire burning in the corner opposite him, but Geltarc left his cloak on and his face in the constant shadow of the dark cowl. People were starting to know and to recognize him lately; he’d been in the city for far too long. He needed to leave soon; carry on work in some other city in the kingdom. His work was different from most peoples, Geltarc killed people for a living, so naturally the city guards were getting familiar with his work, although they didn’t know that it was him committing the murders. Being an assassin, Geltarc was especially careful about not leaving any clues about who the killer was, and so reason stands that he should be the one to assassinate the prince.
Well, well, well, what do we have here? Two men in farming attire strode into the tavern and started for his table. They weren’t supposed to come until later. Well I guess the sooner this is over the sooner I can leave. The men sat down on the opposite side of the table from Geltarc and one of them beckoned to the scullery maid that had been cleaning mugs behind the counter.
“Three mugs of ale,” the man who had beckoned to the maid said. His voice was young but his face was that of a man years ahead of his voice. Geltarc had never seen this man before but he guessed that the man was in a line of work that had him under extreme pressure.
“Two.” As Geltarc spoke the single word, both men lifted their heads to stare into the dark shadow cast by the cowl of his cloak. “Only two mugs for them.” His voice was quiet, he did not try to sound intimidating, but the other men across the table still felt a cold claw of fear twist in the pit of their stomachs. They knew Geltarc was a highly dangerous man, they also knew that if they were to anger him, they might not wake up the next morning.
As the scullery maid hurried off to fetch the ale, Geltarc took the time to study the men closely. The man who had ordered the ale had chocolate brown eyes and hair to match that fell almost to his shoulders. His face was heavy but handsome with a slightly crooked nose, which, Geltarc reasoned, he had broken recently in yet another fight. The man’s companion looked as if he had just left home for he was young and fresh, but Geltarc knew that this was not the case. This man was a vicious fighter with many scars marring his face, hands, and arms to prove it. He had short, sandy hair, eyes as blue as a winter sky, and his skin was almost the same color as his hair. His name was Malcolm and he was known to have killed just about as many people in street fights as Geltarc had assassinated.
“So how’d it go?” asked the brown eyed man.
Malcolm shushed him and Geltarc glared at him so piercingly that he flinched.
Just then the maid came back with the drinks and set them in front of Malcolm and his companion, then she scurried off behind the counter and through the kitchen door.
As soon as she left, Malcolm took the opportunity to speak, “Sorry about Thanin, he had no clue.”
“Obviously,” Geltarc remarked.
“So how did it go?”
“How do you think it went?” Geltarc grumpily replied. He had a short fuse and absolutely no patience for stupidity.
“I don’t know how it went. I wasn’t there.” Malcolm retorted tersely.
“Have I ever failed on a mission before?”
“Well, no.” admitted a put out Malcolm after a momentary pause.
Neither man said anything for a while, making the tension in the room skyrocket. Thanin even excused himself from the table mumbling something about getting some air.
It was Thanin who finally broke the long silence, “Okay I get it, you never lose and they will have no clue about who killed him, as always. Anyway, I have another -“
“No” Geltarc cut him off before he could finish.
“Well why not? I thought you loved your job.”
“People are starting to recognize me.” The look on Malcolm’s face as Geltarc spoke was one of shock and fear. “Not for what I do, but me as a person.” Malcolm relaxed slightly. “You know I can’t stay, I can’t lie about who I am because I’m too easily discernable from others. It would cause controversy, confusion and then the law would get involved. You know that’s never good.”
“Okay I see your point. But this job is not in Bastilon, its in Syllwin, the city closest to the mountains,” Malcolm reasoned. “Would that work for you?”
Geltarc was intrigued. The last time he had been in Syllwin, the Lord Weyrhen had him thrown out of the city for starting two different fights in the same tavern.
“At any rate, I’ll be coming with you,” Malcolm continued, “This is more than a one man job.” Geltarc was about to speak when Malcolm headed him off, “I know you like working alone but I don’t think you can slit the throat of every member of Weyrhen’s family in one night.”
“Every member of Weyrhen’s family,” Geltarc echoed, “Alright, you’ve managed to intrigue me into yet another job. We’ll leave for Syllwin right now.”
With that, both men stood up and strode out the door of the tavern just as dawn broke over the horizon.