The Great Winged Assassin Aleen sat like a large boulder perched on the side of Mount Bastion across the valley from where The Castle Ur stood. His vantage point overlooked the Sea of Rife and the Companion Halls of Medore. He took a deep breath in and listened as his leathery skin expanded and then exhaled slowly, meditatively. Then, again, a slow inhale, then slower exhale.
He had been practicing this form of breathing for years before a kill as it relaxed him and placed him in a state where little affected him. He drifted outward and inward at the same time moving away from his central core to a point where he was no longer attached in spirit. Time would pass and he would breath in deeply and then slowly allow his wings to unwrap from around his bat-like body startling those nearby at the unexpected exposure of a muscular frame hidden there concealed beneath a skin so black that he could stand silently and without movement during the night next to a victim or military guards and never be seen until he struck.
He was deeply feared as an assassin and plan for his removal had been in place for over a year, but he had struck first leaving not one council floor covered with spilled blood, but three of them. He had moved so quickly that those killed were never able to leave any message to alert others of his actions. He was a master of treachery and his intended kills sat nearby completely absorbed in a juvenile conversation about how famous they would all become in the near future. Not one realized their future would end that night
Chapter one: How do I love thee, let me count thy bruises.
He stood in front of her rubbing the knuckles on his right hand staring down at her where she sat on a wooden chair in front of him. He growled as she reached up to where blood trickled from the bruised flesh below her right eye. Touched it, saw the blood, then lowering her arms clasped her hands in front of her on her lap. Slowly she looked up at him with tears racing down to her chin. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he voice trembled. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
The year was 1926. She was just 19 and he was 27.
He slapped her hard jerking her head to the left. She slowly recovered. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“So, my mother and sister are liars?” Blood stood against the vows of marriage. Sometimes blood is stronger, and in this case it was. “They saw you at the theater”
“No,” her voice wavered, “no they, if anyone it was Virginia and all I did was acknowledge an old school friend.”
“Who you then went into the movies with.”
“He had his girlfriend with him”
“You sat with him.”
“I sat with them, not with him,” she said her face hurting her badly. Her tongue slipped sideways and found a tooth had been dislodged.
It was just an hour before dawn when a lone figure slowly picked a path through a field of boulders that lay at the base of what was called by some to be the South Tower of The Castle Ur. As the figure went slowly walking there approaching the outer wall of the tower, a second slipped out of the dark and approached the first.
“Nadine?” the second quietly spoke, almost in a whisper. The voice was deep and rumbled like the sound coming from the distance thunder storms that never seemed to leave the land all around the mountain upon which sat the castle itself.
The first stopped walking and from beneath the hood hiding the facial features of the person there within a higher pitched voice answered simply and quietly, “Yes, Great King Mont, it is me.”
Mont flipped back the heavy dark hood exposing his rounded and bearded face. “Nadine,” his voice took on a degree of excitement. “Nadine, my sweet and dearest friend, how I have longed to see you these passing months.” He opened his arms and took several steps to close the distance between himself and Nadine.
“As have I.” the other answered softly and raised arms beckoning the first openly to be embraced. “Come to me and hug me like we have in the days past. Show you still care for me and rub my back to relieve the pain from the slow climb from below to here.”
Mont stumbled on the loose footing of gravel and stone but recovered and began to close the distance when he suddenly caught the glimpse of a steel blade concealed in the other’s hand. He stumbled again but came to a stop less than five feet from the other there in the slowing ebbing darkness as the Sun was coming up bring dawn and announcing a new day.
Nadine stepped forward and thrust the blade deep into Mont’s body as the man looked down in shock and then up as the assassin pushed back the hood to reveal their face.
Mont stepped forward and grabbed the shoulders of the other party as she pulled out the knife and reinserted it back into Mont’s body again and again and again until he dropped to his knees and then fell over quite dead.
TWISTED: FAIRY TALES FROM A DARK WOOD
(This isn’t your basic children’s book so beware.)
The land of Darkwood was bathed in a constant drizzle. It had been so for over a hundred years. Once the island had been a place of beauty, but then….the terror came. It arrived in the middle of the night and when it did it came as a destroyer, touching all that was beautiful with an angry curse. There was nothing that could be done, or so it seemed, for anyone who even looked as being opposed to the rule of Talia was imprisoned or executed immediately upon her request. How strange it seemed, she had been the most loved Princess in the land and then the change took place and she went from being good to being the most evil woman ever known. There were sections of The Castle Ur that reeked of the smell of blood; some said she bathed in the blood of young women believing it was good for her skin. There was always a parade of girls coming but never leaving. Even the Seven Dwarfs that were always by her side seemed a bit, er, put out about the whole issue but they too risked their lives if any insolence was determined to have occurred. As it was the King of the Dwarves was a prisoner in the South Tower and had been there for six months. But on this day he was allowed to go for a walk…..alone.