Chapter 18:

The Assassin

Reverie's End: Blades of Malice

Date: 6/28/991; Time: 10th hourBookmark here

In the far east of Shima resides a black tower called "Demon Bell Tower". It is a place few would dare to go; Many claim to have heard demonic wails coming from the tower, but this is of course foolishness. Demons don't exist on Ethos; no one even knows how to define such a thing. But nonetheless, the legend persists, making Demon Bell Tower a great place for outlaws to hang out and hold meetings. Even during broad daylight, it was not uncommon to see a gathering of thugs and hoodlums. Such a meeting was about to take place.Bookmark here

Lita had just arrived at Demon Bell tower; she was here to collect payment for a previous job she had already completed. Lita was an assassin by trade, although this was not the career path she had thrust upon her as a child, it was one she decided to take later in life. Her story was not the usual "Became an orphan at age 5 and trained to kill from a young age" situation that was quite common in West Ethos.Bookmark here

She was taller than most women, had black hair, and dark hazel eyes, which were slanted. Lita was also slender, athletic, had olive skin, and wore tattered lightweight clothing. Unfortunately, she had also sustained some injuries due to her line of work: several small scars throughout the body, and a large scar on the left arm. Lita certainly looked like someone that had "seen it all". Sympathy was not an emotion to be found when she was about to slit someone's throat.Bookmark here

There was a man in a red cloak already waiting for her outside, standing just outside the tower under a tree. He was Lanis, a Blade-level member of the organization planning to take over Ethos. "Good morning!" he said cheerfully, as Lita drew closer.Bookmark here

Lita simply stared at him with her cold eyes, showing no emotion. "What a pleasant day isn't it? I love this rain! But seriously, can't we talk inside?" said Lanis, trying to plead with Lita.Bookmark here

"Outside is fine," she responded bluntly.Bookmark here

"So, the rumors are true. You really don't like confined spaces. Kinda un-assassin-like if you ask me," he remarked, teasing Lita.Bookmark here

Lita gave him a death stare and drew a knife, pointing it in his direction. "I want my money," replied Lita, in her typical cold and alto voice.Bookmark here

Lanis got scared for a moment, but then responded, "I see you're all about business. Here you go then," he replied, as he threw her a bag with sixty silvers.Bookmark here

"I'll be going then," Lita replied bluntly, as she turned around, ready to leave.Bookmark here

"Wait, I have another job for you. One that is worth your time" said Lanis, in hopes of piquing her interest.Bookmark here

Lita turned around and gave Lanis her attention. "I'm listening," she said, still in her cold and merciless voice.Bookmark here

"It's in Balassar. We're going to take it over. And we need you to assassinate the king," replied Lanis. He knew that if he tried any of that 'suspenseful build up' and 10 minutes "epic speech" nonsense with Lita, she'd slit his throat for wasting her time.Bookmark here

Lita was rather stunned at this news, and she was not easily surprised. She almost wanted to smile, but she forgot how to do that a long time ago. "When?" she asked.Bookmark here

"They ride out in 14 days from Elder Vale; meet Commander Dart before then and he will fill you in on the details of the mission. I hope you consider our offer."Bookmark here

Lita stopped for a moment to think and nodded in agreement.Bookmark here

Lanis responded, "That's good to hear. I'll send Commander Dart word of your agreement to help." He then got on his horse and left the tower.Bookmark here

Lita was about to leave herself, but then she noticed a hawk in the corner of her eye. She looked at it more closely and noticed that it was staring at her. The hawk seemed as if it possessed some kind of intelligence, almost as if it had understood their conversation. Lita dismissed the thought as mere fantasy and got on her horse, riding to the west. The hawk flew away at that moment, flying south into East Valis.Bookmark here

The female assassin rode west for several days and stopped in Scorched Castle. It received that name after being razed to the ground eight years ago by the army of King Shima VI himself, all in the name of "keeping the peace". There were many people in Shima that would love to see the king get overthrown; the Blades of Malice had picked a good first target for starting their revolution.Bookmark here

The Scorched Castle, formerly "Chakra Castle", had been partially rebuilt, but there was still much to do. Lita had a good reason for coming here; it was to pay a visit to some people she knew.Bookmark here

Near the outer wall of the city was a wooden house in a partial state of disrepair. Lita walked over to one of the open windows and dropped the bag with sixty silvers on the table inside. She peered inside and found what she had been looking for; a baby in a cradle, positioned in the back of the room. It was her one-year old son, Andar. Even Lita, who showed no mercy to her enemies and carried intense hatred around with her everywhere, had a soft spot for her family. It was the only thing she still cherished.Bookmark here

She looked at the brown-haired baby, that was sleeping, to see if it was still okay. Lita looked on with amazement; She did not think that she would ever start another family. After verifying the safety of Andar, Lita decided to leave. At that moment, the door creaked and a tall brown-haired man came through the door. He and Lita stared at each other in silence for a minute. It was Charles, her husband, who she had married six years earlier. He stared at her with his green eyes and smiled.Bookmark here

"You should sit down," said Lita.Bookmark here

Charles was assaulted by Shima's tax collectors a year ago and damaged his leg. He now walked with a cane and limped. Charles walked over to a nearby chair and sat down. Despite being a soldier for Shima for many years, the government still wanted their taxes, and peasants could hardly afford to pay them.Bookmark here

Lita had fled Valis during the Civil War and began her new life in Shima. It was difficult, but she had no better alternative. It was there that she met Charles, who was already a peasant at the time, and they fell in love. She had not yet decided to become an assassin at this point in time.Bookmark here

Lita pointed towards the money and said, "This should last you a long time."Bookmark here

Charles nodded and thanked her.Bookmark here

"If only I could work you wouldn't have to put yourself in such danger," he replied regretfully.Bookmark here

"My work allows me to rid this world of evil, in all of its various forms," Lita responded confidently.Bookmark here

"What will make you come home?" he asked in pleading voice.Bookmark here

"Once all three names are crossed off my list, and order returns to these lands. Maybe then my rage will subside. I cannot rest until that day. Valis took everything from me, so it will pay. Shima hurt my new family, so it will pay," said Lita, as she looked away.Bookmark here

"But are the Blades of Malice really going to make things better for us?" he asked.Bookmark here

"Probably not. But I don't care I just want my enemies dead," she replied.Bookmark here

"I guess there is no way for me to change your mind…" Charles replied, with sadness in his eyes.Bookmark here

Lita turned around and, as she was about to leave, replied, "Take care of yourself and Andar. This next mission will take a while to finish."Bookmark here

Charles didn't have a chance to respond, and Lita was gone.Bookmark here

She continued to ride west for a few more days and arrived in the Elder Vale. It was covered with trees and made a good hiding spot for the Blades of Malice. As she approached the camp, a few guards stopped her and one of them asked what she was doing there.Bookmark here

"I am the one called "Death", responded Lita. Commander Dart said he wished to speak with me," responded Lita.Bookmark here

The guards looked at each other and nodded. "You may pass," replied one of them.Bookmark here

Lita was escorted by the guards to Dart's tent. She got off her horse and went inside. There sat Dart, waiting for her.Bookmark here

"It is good of you to come. You shall play an integral role in our conquest of Shima," said Dart, as he smiled, and folded his hands together.Bookmark here

"An assassination?" asked LitaBookmark here

"Yes… you get the main job. I'm surprised our Grand Commander is giving such an important job to an outsider, but you truly do have an impressive track record. You will sneak in and kill King Shima VI. If you want to kill a few guards and aristocrats along the way, then that's fine too. Do what you must… as long as you complete your mission," Dart spoke, grinning at the thought of the slaughter that was about to take place.Bookmark here

Lita nodded and left the tent. The guards showed her the living quarters, and she was later filled in on the particulars of her assignment. They were to leave the following day. Lita was usually cold-blooded and emotionless when it came to her missions, but this time her heart was pounding with excitement. It was not just a regular job; this was revenge for her family. She had a hard time falling asleep that night. Lita slept outside as usual, but that did not help.Bookmark here

The following day, Lita was awakened by a loud roar outside. She ran outside to see what it was and was greeted by the sight of a red fire-drake flying around the camp.Bookmark here

This was her first time seeing Balmung, Dart's battle partner. She was astounded by this show of strength. "Our victory is secure," thought Lita to herself.Bookmark here

She ate alone during breakfast, as was always the case in any kind of social setting. Her appetite was not there; she was too focused on the job. She sat in silence until it was time to go.Bookmark here

There were 1000 red-cloaks alongside Dart, a good-sized force, but Balassar's was still larger. However, the Blades of Malice members were far superior to the disgruntled day laborers of Shima VI. Dart's men had a good chance of seizing the castle or at least stalling long enough for Lita to finish her job.Bookmark here

They traveled south for five days and were finally within reach of Balassar, a city of 100,000 residents. It was a dull-looking city, very gray and dirty. The king did not care much for keeping up with appearances or the wellbeing of the people. It was amazing he had not been overthrown yet. The only thing beautiful about the city was Lake Balassar, a large body of water that was to the west of it. If it were not for that lake, the city would have fallen into ruin long ago.Bookmark here

The Blades of Malice had finally arrived. Lita looked on at the city with disgust, as she listened to Dart's speech.Bookmark here

"Today, we ride to victory! Balassar will be a stepping stone to the world revolution!"Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.