• Chapter Two- The Bane Assassin

    Penarie sat, arms draped over his bent knees, on the balcony. He could see down to the end of the street, where his target lay. He had a perfect view of the balcony on which the various nobles addressed the public. Which a noble just happened to be addressing the public today.

    He turned his gaze behind him, into the house. His officer was standing next to the open door. The officer looked down at him, and then the cross bow sitting next to Penarie. The dragon skull brooch of the Dragons Bane shined in the morning sun, keeping up his crimson cape that fluttered in the light breeze.

    "The wind is blowing to the west, towards her. Hopefully it will keep that up. Will allow for a better shot at her. Don't mess this up Penarie. This is the most dangerous assassination since the killing of Lord Hemas" The officer smiled when he saw the young mans eyebrows draw down in worry "Have no worries. You are my most skilled assassin. Other then the Bane Lords themselves"

    Penarie nodded. The officers wrinkled smiled brought him ease. The officer was an old veteran. Skin wrinkled with age, face scared by years of fighting, eyes alight with determination. Lord Benoth had been like a father too him. Teaching him the way of the sword and bow since he was nine. He shook his head in disbelief. Benoth had taken him into his household almost fifteen years ago.

    The young assassin turned his eyes back to the balcony. There were now guards walking onto the ornately marble carved structure. And a small crowd was massing down below. But soon that would grow. His target was due to show up on that balcony in a few minutes.

    His attention was moved to a group of guards moving away from the crowd. They were not ordinary guards. They were that of the royal bodyguard. The Dragon High Knights. The strongest, cruelest, biggest soldiers in the Dragon Empire. Hulking beasts of men. Wearing black obsidian helmets, formed to look like the various demons who were said to guard Fieryns Hall of Dragons. Their breast plates and chain pants were also made of the same black obsidian. The men didn't wear much else for armor, allowing their massive muscles to show, and too intimidate.

    Three of them had crossbows, with the butts of them carved to look like a dragons mouth. The other guards wielded long swords, and shields emblazoned with the ancient symbol of Fieryn. These royal guards weren't just patrolling. They looked to be looking specifically for a certain danger. He glanced at Lord Benoth, who shook his head. Looking again, showed Penarie that the guards had gone to the west, off down other streets. They were safe here, for the time being. They could be a problem to escapes routes later.

    Penarie stood up, and faced towards the balcony. Propping his crossbow against his knee, he watched and waited. It would only be a couple of minutes now. The assassin took a deep breath. The wind still blew to the west, but it was starting to blow to the south too. Only slightly though. Which meant he had to take his aim towards her left shoulder.

    Lord Benoth gazed over the crowd assembling in the small plaza below the Royal Balcony "I know you have noted the change in wind. You know what to do. Keep your aim true. Anticipate any change of wind. Take the shot only when your ready, keeping her actions in mind" The old Bane squeezed Penarie's shoulder, before turning into the house they were occupying.

    The assassin picked up his crossbow, and sighted down it. He quickly set its aim towards the door that went from the Royal Balcony in. He could attempt to fire as soon as she came out. But what if there are guards in front of her? He could wait until when she starts her speech. But what if she is in a bad area, or her chest is blocked by a guard? He calmed himself from these thoughts. He would know when the time was right.

    The double oak doors upon the balcony opened up allowing a pair of guards, shoulder to shoulder, to come out. Penarie sighed in anger. He should have had his bolt in by now. He quickly reached into the small quiver tied at his waist. Slipping out an iron bolt, he hastily nocks it. The head was barbed, and coated with a poison that would make the victim very sick, and they would die from trowing up there insides, if the bolt didn't kill them. Penarie had always personally questioned the use of this poison. Seemed inhumane. But he was a assassin, he went with his job.

    The wind kept it's course, blowing south and west. He watched patiently as a few more guards filed out. Then the doors closed, without sign of the noble. Penarie was confused. Where was that woman, his target, his pray.

    He scanned all around the plaza and balcony. He could see nothing strange. Then a closer look at the guards who had come out of the door, took his attention. One of the guards was much smaller then the rest. The figure looked to be less then six feet tall. When compared to the guards of around the figure, it seemed pretty womanly. The figure was also unarmed. His pray trying to hide from him.

    He needed to wait. The small figure had to be her. But taking action now would be stupid. Her breastplate covered, well, her chest. He needed a clean shot for her heart. These bolts could not pierce the black obsidian of the Dragon High Knights. And taking a shot now, could mean possibly hitting a flanking High Knight, exposing their cover, for nothing.

    She needed to do something. Move away from the guards. Take off her helmet, he could take a shot between the eyes. A kill is a kill to the assassin. As long as the target doesn't live.

    A dog barking in the next street over, to the north, caught his attention. But the dog was soon silenced. With a yelp, of an apparent beating. Penarie shook his head. No animal needs to be beat. He sighed. No reason to be distracted by an animal. There was no reason to be quieting a dog in the day. He one would have been bothered. Unless...someone was being sneaky.

    Yelling pulled his gaze to the plaza. Then he looked to the balcony. The figure had moved to the balcony railing, and had removed her helmet. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her blond hair, pale skin, perfectly smooth face. He shook his head. She was his prey, he had to concentrate. The crowd sounded angry. They had not expected a woman to be their new reagent.

    The time was drawing closer. He needed only a good shot now. The chest or between the eyes. The eyes looked to be his best bet now. He needed for her look this way. She had her gaze set upon the crowd. He needed her to pull her attention away, look this way. He needed her to be distracted. He needed to stop needing. An assassin should not need, he should just go with what he has.

    Penarie waited moments, while she was addressing the crowd. His finger ever ready for that right opportunity. Then she looked down this street, straight at him. He lost all thought of what he was supposed to be doing. He eyes were that of pure red. She gazed straight into his. He could see them clearly from this distance. He had seen them before, in a dream almost eighteen years ago. How he remembered that, he had no clue. But her eyes kept him enthralled, entranced, but also cautious.

    A crash was heard behind the house, to the north. They came a crack as wood was splintered. The sound of swords being unsheathed rang throughout the building, and made to his ears. But those eyes kept him from recognizing the fight at hand. He knew she could see him clearly, see him as her murderer. He needed to take the shot now. But he couldn't control his fingers. They just rested on the trigger, motionless.

    He sucked in some air, willing his fingers to move. A shaking of the house finally caused his fingers to fire. But he knew as soon as that bolt left the crossbow, it would not hit its target. She would have time to move. He could do nothing now but run. He dropped the crossbow. They had been found, no point in hiding who they were now. He grabbed his long sword on the ground next to him and turned to duck into the building, closing the door behind him.

    She watched the young man on the balcony. She knew he had a crossbow, and knew it was aimed for her. But she didn't care. Those deep brown eyes. She did not know this man. Had never seen him in her eighteen years of life. Yet those eyes, they were something she felt, as a young child. She did not remember her mothers touch, but she knew the feeling of those eyes gaze.

    She knew she had to move. That shot was meant for her. He had been sent to assassinate her. But why that man, with those eyes.

    She heard a small whizz, and some instinct told her to turn a little. She obeyed that little instinct, turning, just as she felt the bolt graze her cheek. If she hadn't listened to that instinct, that thing would have been in her head, instead of sticking in the oak door behind her. Her heart was pounding hard and fast. She should have died. He had had plenty of time just have fired and killed her. That bolt could have made it that far, while she had been trapped by his eyes.

    Suddenly she fell to the floor, crying. What was happeng? She wondered. The bolt had only grazed her, yet it felt like her heart and stomach were being pounded upon by a rock. Unless this was poison? Which easily could be. She had heard from other nobles, that the Bane used poison. And that man was clearly an experienced assassin, not some lowly peasant rebel.

    Guards all around her formed a barrier, watching the roofs. But they didn't look worried. They had known there was gonna be an attempt on her life today, and they had known exactly. WHy they dan't stopped it sooner, she could not understand.

    She slowly slipped onto unconsciousness. She could still hear voices. Those of her guards, that of the crowd, and somewhere distant, she heard swords clattering and ringing. Before she lost all grip on reality, she heard the voice of her High Knight Lady "What has happened. You bafoons. Get the Lady Belane up, and into the palace. This poison does not take long to kill it's victim. A Cleric Of Fieryn is already standing by"

    His brown eyes slowly opened, and stared into dim darkness. His head was buzzing, and his back was yelling. All he remembered was the obsidian helmet of High Knight in a stairwell, then blackness.

    He attempted to move arms and feet, but they wouldn't. He looked at his arms, and gasped. They were surrounded by large iron shackles. Looking at his feet showed the same thing. Then he realized, he felt wood under him. He was chained to a table. His vision became less dim, allowing him to see the room. He was in a small dungeon.

    A man stood a few feet away, holding something in his leather gloved grip, that sat in a fire pit. The man gasped again, knowing that what the other man held, was an iron brander. Being heated for use, on him.

    The man by the fire began to speak. "One other has told me you are known as Penarie Brons. Force Commander in the Dragon Bane Army. Quite a high rank. Highest next to that old geezer...Benoth. He is a very wanted man. Unfortunately, he has passed on to the fiery pits of Dakku's Hell" He pulled the brander out and walked over the Penarie, setting the red hot poitned end to the young mans left shoulder, and began inscribing a symbol...