A horrifying vision of assassins invading Ikanas home played over and over in Elthana’s head as she sprinted and jumped on top of the houses. The darkness was heavy over the village with no lights on in the houses and the sky covered with clouds as far as you could see. In the back of her mind she frowned at the clouds, they were a rare sight this time of the year. Usually the night’s were lit by millions of stars and the travelling moon.
It took her less than one minute to reach her mother’s house, her feet barely audible in the silent night. It felt like an eternity and she cursed her legs for not being faster. She reached the house to the left of her mother’s and her heart stopped in time with her legs. On the way over she could just spot one white masked assassins by the door as guard and one sat on the roof opposite to her. It was two meter of open space between them, an empty alley.
She mirrored the assassins sitting stance instantly and the white mask in front of her nodded slightly. She wasn’t in view of the assassin on ground level.
Elthana snapped her head to the left pretending to hear something and this time she was mirrored by the person… thing… in front of her. A sharp thrust forward with her right arm and a snap with her wrist produced a small knife from her sleeve that flew through the air straight towards the assassin’s throat. The mask really must be see through because it had time to react to Elthanas sudden throw and moved to the side. Not fast enough though and the blade hit it’s shoulder.
Elthana had not counted on the assassins dodge and she’d already started jumping down, her left hand steadying on the edge and her feet in the air.
The assassin stumbled by the blow but managed to throw a similar small knife towards Elthana. Luckily for her the aim wasn’t towards any big part of her body, and with the fall she could dodge it by bending her right shoulder back. With her shoulder going back she felt like she flowed on the wind and lifted her left arm to repeat the sharp thrust and flick of the wrist, but with the other arm this time. Her second knife flew and hit its target right under the edge of the white mask.
Elthana did a half turn in the air focused on the ground rushing closer. She landed hard on her feet and did a somersault forward to lessen the blow, but the impact still vibrated through her body. The dead assassin had made both a thump sound and low choked gurgling noises. As expected the assassin on guard in front of the door came around into the valley with daggers drawn.
“What are you doing making so much noise for?” a female voice barked quietly.
Pure fear and rage oozed out of Elthana, her hands clenched into fist shook at her sides. The female put away her daggers into almost invisible scabbards strapped around her thighs covered under cloak fabric.
“Report” she ordered. Trying not to limp Elthana took a few careful steps closer. She pretended to look around for eavesdroppers. The assassins eyes flickered around as well, starting to be on her guard – but not towards Elthana.
When Elthana had reached striking distance she lifted her left hand as to show something, getting the attention she wanted directed to her left. Her right hand moved instinctively on it’s own to grab one of the curved daggers she kept at her waist. With no delay and a quick thrust Elthana thrusted the sharp end of the dagger up under the white mask into the head of the evil female assassins.
The assassin tried to pull at Elthana’s arm, but the arms quickly fell limp to her sides, the body became a dead weight that Elthana lowered to the ground. She looked at her blooded dagger as a female voice from inside called out. Not her mother’s voice. Elthana’s heart sank.
She pulled out her other dagger out and swirled them around once and waited for the other to come out, she waited almost one minute but no one came out. There were no time for waiting. She replaced her copied mask with the real one from the female she’d killed. Her heart ached only for one second when she saw the very human face behind the mask. Small strands of light brown hair, closed eyes and blood coming out from the corner of the mouth. She looked peaceful. Then she remembered that the female wasn’t a woman, but an assassin that probably murdered who knew how many people.
Elthana took of the assassin’s cloak and other easily removed garments that wasn’t too soaked with blood, she also helped herself with the daggers, knives and some special looking thin steel needles. When she was ready she flapped the black cloak in front of the door opening. Three needles in a vertical line flew through the fabric and silently got stuck in the wall of the opposite house. She did the same thing a short moment after and three more needles went through piercing the cloak. She did it again, and then again. But there were no more needles. She threw a shoe inside the house, but that was a mistake. To throw it inside she’d had to expose her arm and one needle scraped the skin and the other got stuck in her forearm sticking out on each side. She hissed and pulled it out, she noticed that the needle was hollow. There’s no time to wonder about the assassins weapons. She needed to trick the assassin, barging in would only result in her death.
With the cloak on she ran away with loud footsteps. Three houses down, three houses left and then three houses left two times more and she was at her mother’s house again. After waiting as long as she could stand and catching her breath she spoke out quietly but confidently.
“I got the red haired girl, but I need help to dispose of the body.” She stepped into the doorway, heart in her throat beating violently. In the left corner of the first room behind table and chairs stood a white masked assassin, ready to throw more needles.
The assassin watched Elthana with distrust as she walked into the room with fake confident.
“What team do…” Before the white mask had time to finish the sentence Elthana did a spin as she threw a knife she’d been holding. The assassin threw the needles before the knife hit home in her chest. Thanks to her spinning movement the needles didn’t hit her throat, heart or stomach. One missed, and the other two hit her left shoulder and her left thigh. Catching herself on the kitchen counter Elthana scanned the room for more assassins, but she couldn’t see or hear anything except her breaths.
The steel needles clattered to the floor when Elthana pulled them out and she swayed for a moment, putting her hand harder on the counter to stabilize herself. She looked at the almost invisible holes from the needles, they shouldn’t have done much damage. No major blood vessel or organ was hit. Fighting the fog that was forming in her head she walked into the backroom. If there were more assassins they should’ve showed up already.
“Ikana?” she said faintly, then again louder. No response. Her feet shuffled on the floor the short distance between the kitchen and the back room where she hoped her mother would sit. She prayed to the winds that she’d been fast enough, that she wasn’t too late. What was all this practicing for if not to protect those she loved?
There were no one in the room. Why would the assassins guard her mother’s house if her mother wasn’t here? Maybe to set a trap for her? Her mother must be somewhere else.
“Mother?” she whispered weakly as the stinging feeling of tears filled her eyes. Surely her mother wasn’t here or she would have responded.