Blood red hair
Silently get rid of one girl and a woman, Ethana Bloodrain and Ikana Heartbeat. Two females that’s easily spotted by their blood red hair. Kill them and take proof of death with you, without anyone noticing. That was the order from the Gathering. Sounded easy enough. The order had been sent out and executed perfectly by Theodore and his band several times before. Never had they failed. Failing meant years of humiliation and living as one of the servants in the Blood city. Though, never had they before tried to kill another assassin. At least not without knowing that the target was an assassin. There are no records of assassins in this village.
The girl sat over one of his men like a predator protecting its prey and looked around the rooftops. No… not like a predator. The body language seemed uncertain. Her head twitched from side to side and probably unaware she patted the dead body’s chest.
Was this her first time killing someone? Surely not. Her extremely silent moves and forms must come from years of professional training. The only disturbing sounds from the fight had come from the first dead man falling to the roof and the gurgling sound from the second kill. Whilst dodging his third man’s sword swing she’d managed to lower the dying body towards the ground without making any sound. It took no more than seven seconds from the moment the first knife struck to when her curved long dagger pierced the heart of the third man. He’d never seen such beautiful wind dance before. She’d moved like part of the wind, with it not against it. He wished he could see her eyes.
The blood from the bodies started to cover the roof, fortunately the roof door seemed to be a bit elevated. There would be no blood dripping into the house.
Theodore shook his head slowly.
He could not report this, no one would believe him and he would be punished harshly for failing and lying. The tolerance towards lying was even smaller that for failing.
Theodore grinded his teeth. He needed to overcome this stupid awe and confusion about this girl and think of a plan to kill her before she made a ruckus and warned her warders. Letting anyone find out there were White masks in the village was out of the question.
As Elthana started to gingerly push the dead bodies together Theodore darted around three houses to reach her house and started to climb up on almost invisible ledges on the wall behind her. Black as a shadow he moved, the close fitted fabric of a mixture between leather and grass fibers kept the night’s cold away, made no sound when moving and gave good camouflage during the night. Slowly he eased one of his swords out of the scabbard, the dull black metal gave off no shine in the moonlight.
He imitated the move she’d made on his assassins and threw a small stone high over the roof and waited for the small sound it made on the ground on the other side before he sneaked up.
With a stinging cut on his cheek a small grey knife flew by his head. Not fooled by the stone, Elthana had instead assumed that the source of the sound came from the opposite direction and thrown a knife before actually seeing an enemy. Fool. He was a fool for thinking she would fall for her own trick.
As he rolled onto the roof his right hand threw three thin throwing knives at her that scattered in the air. She ducked low with one leg spread out and her hands clasping two curved long knives. Her form was exquisite, her long leg stretching out for miles.
Coming up in a crouch he took out his other thin, short sword. For a fraction of a second they faced each other. Both down close to the roof, both with a weapon in each hand. Then they threw themselves forward, the steel on steel screaming in the silent wind that pushed at their bodies.
The two dark clothed assassins danced around in the music of clashing swords. Elthana’s light grey eyes stared coldly and followed his every move. Behind the white mask, his face was set determinedly. He would not fail this mission.
One of his swords manage to cut her over the waist, but apparently it was mainly fabric he cut loose because the air filled with brown smooth cloth. Elthana took advantage of the situation and flung up the released fabric in his face like dark water and suddenly he was airborne, his feet kicked away from underneath him. Theodore blindly swung his sword forward as he fell and must’ve at least almost hit her because nothing sharp pierced his body. Catching himself hard on the roof with one elbow and a knee he grabbed hold of the dark cape pushed himself backward, using his own body weight as leverage he pulled at the fabric as hard as he could. First he could feel pulling her body towards him, he could see her bending forward from the force. He readied his sword for another swing. Then abruptly she cut the cape off and they both stumbled back. The small amount of head cape still attached to her fell down around her neck and the wind tugged her long red hair loose, flowing in the wind like a river of blood.
Theodore gaped and could do nothing but stare. Her face, the fierce stance, the flowing hair in the wind. She looked exactly like the statue of the thousand year old blood queen standing in the hall of the history’s most dangerous assassins. Why did they look so much alike?
She looked at him with disgust.
“What, you changed your mind now that you see I am a woman? You disgust me” she snorted.
“That’s not it” Theodore started to say as he rose to standing up. “You…” Theodore and Elthana froze as they heard voices from down in the house.
“Elthana, is that you?” a male voice shouted worriedly.
Theodore pointed at the startled girl, or woman as she actually looked his age.
“You, you get down there right now. Keep this quiet and I might let your warders live out their lives” Theodore whispered between clasped teeth and was ready to push her down if necessary. First she looked like she was going to object, but after a glance at the dead bodies she pointed one of her blades towards his neck and narrowed her eyes to thin lines. Without saying a word the red haired woman made it perfectly clear that she didn’t like his threats. To his relief she jumped smoothly down the door in the roof and closed it shut after her.
Theodore bent down by the wooden planks, ready to kill if anyone popped their head out.
“I heard noises” the man said.
“I couldn’t sleep so I practised my forms on the roof” Elthana said and loudly put down her weapons on something made out of wood.
“But you never make this much sound” the man said doubtfully.
“I tried something new. I thought I’d have some dummy sword to practise against.”
“Oh, how’d it go?”
“Flawless” she said and drew out on the ‘s’. Theodore wanted to cut her throat for being so complacent. She knew he would listen in.
After the male warder finally left Theodore made sure to bar up the small door with his most insignificant small dagger. He didn’t like being out in the open but he needed to make sure no one saw the bodies and he needed to wait for Elthana to go to sleep.
Never had he expected this outcome when he came to the village two days ago. His scouts had located the target, followed her and found out where she lived. Theodore had kept it low key as usual. He was the leader of his small band of three assassins, or had been, but he liked them to do the research on the target. He himself kept an eye on his assassins and learned how to read the village if something went wrong. It never went wrong, but Theodore always made sure to have a plan if it did. The last two days had given him time to find the good hiding places, where to easily dispose of a body and where you could sneak in the shadows.
Theodore placed a hand on the chest of one of his fallen assassins. He thought that he should feel bad for them, wouldn’t a normal person feel bad with the death of another human? Though, the white masked assassins wasn’t normal humans. Trained under unthinkable conditions, tortured to keep secrets, brainwashed with the good of The Blood City. Besides, he barely knew them, they’d only worked together for one year.
For hours Theodore sat silently on the roof. The thin slice of moon gliding over the canopy of starspotted darkness. He glanced through his mask at the dead bodies for the hundredth time and then at the barricaded door.
What to do next?