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This was at first just a random story I wrote for the character of Veil/Onasis, but it turned into a collabaration with Caileath, who wrote the companion pieces to the story, filling in some of the gaps, and it ended with some in-game RP. Unfortunately it seems the forums have eaten the thread that it was originally posted in, and I haven't saved what she wrote, so this will only contain my contributions.

From the collected fiction of Iyokus Shatterstar


The killer settled on his haunches beside his prey, one gloved hand snaking out to stroke the once beautiful now ruined face, the other sliding under his coat to silently unsheathe a thin-bladed knife. It was one of the first things he had learned under the Master; you can never have too many blades, and he was a keen adherent, his body decorated with a variety of knives and daggers, each different in purpose and design, all strapped tightly to his looming frame, so as to rest quietly as a leather glove as he moved.

He did not want to linger here too long. Too much delay and someone, maybe just some beggar or street urchin, but –someone- would spy him or the body and that could lead to complications that he could not well afford. But the boy was unique and the killer could not help but tarry and gaze upon his prize.


He had first spotted the young bravo strutting through the Trade District, shoulders flung back, a cocky grin on his handsome, monstrous face as he shoved past glowering townsfolk and the middling wealthy. The killer could instantly see he was a fighter, a roguish popinjay whose only way to make a name for himself was in futile duels over half-imagined insults – the nights of Stormwind were littered with poverty stricken, parentless youths like him, running in feral gangs, going no where with their purposeless lives (the killer could bring him purpose). The bravo’s hand rested casually on the hilt of a poorly made yet well maintained dueling saber and his brightly coloured rags fluttered in the brisk breeze. Many eyes had followed him as he walked.

The killer stalked him for two days. He was adept at the art of becoming invisible in plain sight – his features and demenour encouraging disinterest, his large, muscular body made slight and unimposing by ill-fitting clothes and deferent posture. The shadows hid him and apathy masked him – and he watched.

He learned that the boy’s name was Uther – whether a mocking tribute to the great man, or some matron’s wishful hope that the boy would grow to emulate the Lightbringer, the killer did not know nor care, and Uther disdained his name, preferring to be hailed as Cutter (his stalker had allowed himself a wry grin upon hearing that for the first time). He learned as he had suspected (known) that Cutter was an orphan, brought up in the shadow of the holy Cathedral, and like so many of his kind, lost to the streets before even his voice had a chance to break. He learned that the boy was more than a canny brawler and duelist, winning more than he lost and only twice being beaten so badly that he had to be dragged to some drunken backstreet healer. He was also an experienced lover for his age, his looks making him an exciting rebellion for young debutants and a delicious treat for the wealthy of both genders.

All this and more the killer learned, but it was he had known as soon as he had looked at the boy that had lead him to choose Cutter; the boy’s rare heritage.


Half-orcs and half-elves were strewn throughout the kingdom, squat and beastly or willowy and brittle, the former caused repulsion in most and the latter the vague distrust afforded elves. Much more uncommon was an elf-orc crossbreed, almost exclusively the result of a violent union, but in Cutter the two bloodlines had come together beautifully into a matchless physiology. The habitual hunch of the orc straightened into the tall posture of the elf, the broad, powerful shoulders, wrapped in muscle tapering into a narrow, sculpted waist. The thick, corded arms leading to large hands with long, graceful fingers. Certainly, the arms seemed a little too long, and the greenish cast of his skin was off-putting to some, but his face was a perfect marriage of the two races, the feral power of the orcs tempered by the ethereal refinement of the elves (and the killer’s thoughts flashed inescapably to the features of the Master) – eyes with a hint of an inner, blue luminescence. Yes, Cutter was, for all his devastating poverty, one of the more fortunate of the half-breeds that muddied their way through the city’s underbelly. The half-orcs and half-trolls (and worse), at best, if they were not too noticeably twisted by their parentage, were rudely ignored, and at worst, for those with jutting tusks and the wrong coloured skin, or too few fingers, were preyed upon.


Two nights and days the killer hunted his victim, taking his measure, before at last, in a secluded alley, he had stepped forth from the shadows and hailed Cutter, choosing those insults that he knew would anger the young man to violence; ‘Motherless son of a orc’

‘Yer muther took one look at yer and tossed yer inna canal din’ she?’

‘Greenskin, animal brain. S’all you are’

‘Not even half a man’


The fight was quick and violent. Cutter had come at the killer with the oddly honourable code of the street bravo, wanting to lay on nothing more than a beating on the apparently unarmed man, and he had kept his saber sheathed, fists raised into a brawler’s stance. He had fought well, utilizing his abnaturally long reach and twinning his prodigal orcish strength well with his inhuman elven grace, punches flashing in the dim light. But he was a fighting looking to fight, and he faced a killer, who was looking to kill. The bald-headed man stepped into the young bravo’s reach, and, shrugging off the youngster’s powerful hits, launched a series of devastating blows to his body, his bulging muscles belying his frightening speed. Cutter tried to defend himself valiantly, but his nose was crushed against a leather-clad knee, but when his assailant began to work his punches across his face, the realization dawned on Cutter that his night would not end with him drinking some dubious healing potion and hoping to find a priest with a pinch of faith. It would end with him dead. That’s when he began to keen mournfully.

He was silenced with an inevitably grip around his throat, the arms implacable rods of steel, and Cutter looked up into the face of his killer and saw, as his vision tunneled, a flicker of...compassion? Selfless joy? Then the painless embrace of darkness.


The killer broke from his reverie, his bruises and bleeds paining him in the awkward position. He had waited almost too long. He swiftly brought the knife to the body and worked some careful, long practiced movements. In a short moment he was done, and he flicked the waste into the detritus stuffing the alley. He stood, admiring his handiwork, elation beginning to fill his body, spreading from his bloodied knuckles, the gloves wet with Cutter’s blood.

He grinned, turned, and vanished into the night, his departure from the scene unseen by anyone but the vermin that plagued men everywhere.

He had done good work this night. Cutter, Uther, had been a worthy warrior, a brave young fighter, but now he had become something more –


He had become an offering.



Officer Brady dragged his hand down his face, sighing deeply. And his day had started –so- well. His wife had been happy for once this morning and made him his breakfast; she had even given him a goodbye peck on the cheek. Not only that, but Simons and he had stopped a mugging on a little old lady who had been so grateful that she offered a discount at her shop for the two of them – a new dress for the missus and he might even get a cooked dinner! Things were looking up.


And then this.


He and Simons had been doing their regular patrol around Old Town when Shambling Morris had sidled up to them in his distinctive way (looking more like a kobold than a man). The beggar had been more paranoid than usual, and it took the gentle touch of the back of Simons’ hand to get the stuttering old man to cough up his information. He had led the two guardsmen to a dank, stinking alley and the secret that rotted within, the body of some punk kid that Brady could almost recognize, despite the obvious difficulty of such a task.

He had immediately sent Simons running back to the Guardhouse with instructions to send some men for crowd control – after the Scourge attacks on Stormwind only weeks ago, citizens did not need rumours of another ghoulish killer roaming the streets.

He had also told Simons to find Pomeroy. The older officer would be on his winding rounds by now and probably impossible to find, but in his own grouchy way, he was the most experienced officer in Stormwind and in all his years, seen far worse than this.


A small crowd had gathered by the time Simons returned with Pomeroy, the younger man puffing for air, the granite faced older man not a touch out of breath, despite the heavy (battered) armour he wore. The guardsmen that Brady had pulled on to the job did their best to keep curious eyes from the entrance to the alleyway, but the persistent stole a glance here and there, and the murmurs began their insidious spread. Brady even saw a Night Elf staring intensely at the body, which was unusual – the treefolk rarely took an interest in the everyday affairs of regular people, and this one seemed to be mightily concerned. Brady shrugged, and when he looked for the tall elf again, the figure had disappeared.

Pomeroy took one look at the body and swore solidly for a good half-minute.

‘Not this bull!@$* again,’ he said, slowly picking his way to the body.

Brady cautiously made his way to his colleague’s side, ‘Guess we know now that it wasn’t a ghoul?’ He said quietly. Pomeroy gave him a withering look, ‘We always knew that the first one wasn’t a ghoul - we just hoped it was.’ He spat disdainfully by the blood dark body, ‘Poor #@!&ing Cutter.’

Brady pointed to the body, recognition finally filtering through, ‘That…is Cutter?’ It was hard to believe that the grinning fleshy thing that sprawled almost lewdly was the self-assured young man who had sent Sedrin Markos squealing from a duel and had taken the subsequent beating with barely a yelp.

‘Well damn,’

‘Yes, ^&*%ing damn,’ Pomeroy said, kicking the body as if it were the boy’s fault he had been murdered.


The investigation went on, officers and specialists coming and going from the scene. The Guardhouse chaplain was summoned and quickly determined that Cutter had died from strangulation, that the most obvious wound had come after death, the blood pooling sluggishly. Armoured officers crawled over the alleyway, searching for something to point towards the killer while their peers questioned the locals.

Nothing was found, and nothing was said, though one young officer threw up over his hand when Pomeroy lifted a shred of skin into view, its providence obvious to all.


Brady’s feet were attempting to murder him by the end of the day, the sun had rolled behind clouds long ago and the transition from day to night was as subtle as the growth of a tree from one year to the next.

Brady sighed, his wife always berated him when he tried to wax poetical. That was when he stumbled into him.

He was small and immediately forgettable, but he held Brady’s angry look with a passionless authority that choked the words in the officer’s throat.

‘SI:7, get Pomeroy. We must talk,’ the agent said, flashing a badge before coolly walking over to the wall of the alley, out of hearing range of the more curious officers.

Brady wasn’t happy about being ordered around by some slim desk-hugger, but the Intelligence wasn’t to be jerked around. He had heard what happened to watch boys who stood in the way of the dark suited agents and did not want to join their ranks. He hailed Pomeroy over.


‘Shaw is not pleased,’ the agent’s gaze flicked from one man to the other. They were huddled together in the dark recesses of the alley, their bodies almost touching. ‘He wanted this handled with far more discretion. A panic now is very much unwanted.’

Pomeroy chewed his jaw angrily, ‘Shaw can stick his wants and needs-.’

Brady interrupted him before the older man could get them both demoted to latrines, ‘We found a homicide and dealt with it in the regulated manner. Shaw wants things done differently, he can come and take over hisself.’

The agent stared impassively at their irritation, ‘That is exactly what he is doing Officer Brady – we will be taking the body,’ he raised a hand to silence their complaints, ‘there is information that you are unaware of gentleman that makes this a matter of some concern to us.’

The agent stopped talking and took an almost theatrical look down the alley and up at any windows overlooking them, before lowering his head once more and talking in a hushed whisper.

‘This is not just the second body.’

Brady and Pomeroy looked at each other and Pomeroy swore.

‘You are Stormwind guards and you have done a commendable job (Pomeroy sneered at that), but the Kingdom is bigger than Stormwind, and our killer has been busy. The first victims we found were Defias scum and we thought nothing of it – an adventurer with the taste for the macabre perhaps. But recently his peccadilloes have run to citizens, a paladin and a mage at the latest count. Murdered in a variety of ways, but all with -,’ he pointed at Cutter’s face, ‘that done to them.’ He looked solemn, ‘Gentleman, Uther is at least the seventh victim, and Shaw is not pleased. I will be responsible for finding this…deviant. You just make sure it doesn’t happen in these walls again.’


Brady looked at the slight gray haired man, and then to what had once been Cutter, and he found himself silently wishing the agent luck. Cutter had lived a short, violent, largely pointless life, but it was his and he didn’t deserve to lose it like this, murdered in some dingy alley with only SI:7 to avenge him.

He trudged home, his emotions falling inexorably into the morass of depression and melancholy, just the mood that pushed his wife further and further away. The discount dress he had planned to buy the last thing on his mind


The body of Cutter moved like a ghost through the streets, a sheet tied tightly around it and hastily bundled through the twisted streets and back alleys of Old Town, always towards the imposing stone front that hid SI:7.

Cutter’s eyes were open, surprised and glassy and he grinned widely at the white wrapped world.

He could not help but grin, could not help but glide through Stormwind with a morbid, rictus smirk.

For the entire bottom half of his face, from the nose down had been shorn of skin, the wet, red flesh underneath for all to see – a mask of blood.



Gloved fingers tapped an irregular tattoo onto the worn surface of the table, the marks of a thousand past patrons scarring the thick, dark wood in meaningless expressions of emotion. He sat in full candlelight, a half-drunk mug of ale stood before him. It tasted of rat’s piss and likely was, and he had been nursing the current pint for well over two bells.

The Stormwind underworld was as welcoming as the embrace of an old lover to him, but it was a welcome embrace that he was not ready to fall into and so he avoided all his old contacts, not a very difficult task, he had changed and they were not curious folk by habit. He settled back into his chair and risked another sip of his drink, he could almost see the lines of information connecting people; he, in the corner, he was an SI:7 informer and everyone knew it; him, standing menacingly over a frail woman (who was a puissant warlock whose cat was no cat at all), he was a thug-for-hire, but would not kill, his inconsistent faith in the Light barring that one indiscretion; and her, talking loudly to the barman – only his eyes crinkled in amusement – she actually was SI:7, and she was on the trail of a killer.


He sighed and stood up, turning over his mug as he got to his feet, letting the foul tasting ale seep through the wood, though it could not possibly still be thirsty after all the years of alcohol abuse. He had seen enough, knew who he had to talk to if he wished to return to the Trade – and he would not wait much longer. He had uncovered one of his stashes upon his escape, but it had not lasted long, and the dock work he was jobbing was tedious and unworthy of him. He breathed the cool night air outside the Pig n’Whistle, and frowned at the stench of Old Town, the stench of poverty that he knew he was above, that he was completely removed from.

He wandered the streets of Old Town aimlessly, keeping to the torch light, as any ordinary citizen would. He was a creature of the night, and he relished every moment of darkness he could steal and resented that he needed to work the docks to earn his keep. He watched the small, trivial dramas of the nightscape, detached from them, but observing – the nonsense bluster of the street gangs, the weary husky invitations of the xenian prostitutes – until he turned into narrow, dark street (a different one to that he had so recently sanctified) and was confronted by a rusty, chipped knife.


The girl, and she was only a girl –though her young blue eyes had been bled of all their innocence – was shaking, the tip of the knife weaving through the chill air. She was strung out on something, thistledust maybe, all bleeding nose and pinprick pupils, or perhaps visiontea, lolling tongue and then spasms of sightless blabbering. He did not care, and he crushed her effortlessly, pulping her face on the slumbering cobbles.


As he climbed the creaking stairs to his lodgings above the harbour, he regretted his actions somewhat. The alley had been dark, and he was as certain as he could be that we was not observed, but even so, it was unlike him to indulge himself as he had and almost blasphemous to think that pathetic waif worthy. He lay down on his hard, narrow bed and closed his eyes, quickly finding sleep. Unlike the nights after his sacrifice, he slept a dreamless slumber, and thoughts of the girl did not trouble him.

***

Nat moaned, blood gurgling in her throat as she heaved herself to her hands and knees, teeth, already loose from malnutrition, pattering onto the stone road. The pain from her face and wrist was already a dull ache, so destroyed was her brain and nervous system from her fizzwallop addiction, the gnomish produced drug burning out as it electrified. She sat in a forlorn heap, her only concern not the rapidly chilling night, nor her broken wrist or ruined face, but that she had failed and that Slippery wouldn’t extend her any more credit. As despair settled on her confused mind she brought her good hand up to her face and absentmindedly touched her broken nose, following the faintly stinging line that ran from the bottom of one ear, over the bridge of her nose all the way to her other ear.

Nat had not heard of the Mask Maker Killer (as the Stormwind Times has so dryly dubbed him) and had no notion of how close she had come to her death.

It made little difference; she was dead three days later, killed trying to steal from Slippery. Her death did not stir up much interest in either the Watch or SI:7.



He sprinted along the wall effortlessly, his footfalls making barely a noise on the wet stone. His thinly gloved hand found cracks in the wall almost without thought and he vaulted quickly onto the roof, his quarry still in sight. He allowed himself a grin under his mask – only his eyes visible in the moonless night – he was closing, he was certain of it. The assassin was good, one of the best the city had to offer no doubt and the chase had been punishing for the both of them (his body throbbed in a way that was hard to ignore from their silent, brutal clashes). He had almost lost the greyclad figure near the Cathedral, but his victim must have known by then that his hunter was no unblooded cub, that he would not lose the trail.

But despite the long missed thrill of the pursuit, and a lingering notion that he and his prey were not the only two running the Thief’s Way this night (flashes that could have been legs disappearing behind a chimney stack caught in the corner of his eye, muffled footsteps on the edge of his preternatural hearing. Neuroses? He didn’t have any, but he did not think he would miss a watcher) it was time to bring it to an end, to continue his holy work.


He had been patient, over the weeks he had wheedled his way back into the Stormwind underworld, selling his services to the various powers that styled themselves the Under Barons of Stormwind. He had presented himself as a procurer of difficult to obtain items and quickly found himself robbing rich and poor alike. The work did not interest him in the slightest. It didn’t present any challenge to his skills and there were few opportunities for blessed combat that he didn’t have to engineer.

So he entertained himself by other means.

He observed from afar as his clueless pursuer ingratiated herself with Slippery. He had to admit that she was very proficient at the tasks the corpulent gnome set her to. He idly wondered what her lips tasted like. He had toyed with the idea of letting the dealer ‘find out’ where his new collector’s true loyalties lay. After some deliberation he had decided against it. Whatever Slippery’s pretensions he wouldn’t move against a full-blooded SI:7 agent knowingly and informing him of this pest would just result in her disappearing (which he has admitted to himself that she was very good at, there are times when even he cannot find her when he has wanted to watch her). Plus, it meant that SI:7 could feel helpful despite having nothing to go on (when man eating trolls are the hunters, leaving a trace was giving up on life).


He supposed he could have picked any number of the mercenaries or adventurers who plagued the city, with their brash disregard for the laws and their power which made them so distant from the common man. It would not be difficult to find one that would fight him (they seemed to do little else, apart from rut in barely concealed locations) and a dead adventurer would neither surprise nor excite anyone. But he wanted something more – a contest that would push his own skills, prove his worthiness once more.

Bad Hanry was thus the perfect prey

No one was entirely sure about his past. He had emerged from the ruins of the Third War without a last name and quickly established himself as the premier killer for hire. His training was a mystery (the most popular rumour had him as a Gilnean from over the Wall, a deserting member of the Greyhand) and what he did with all the gold he made was something that interested some very dangerous people.

He had learned that Hanry had been offered a bounty from Johnny Turquoise (a wizard rivalry taken to its inevitable conclusion – he entertained the idea of completing the commission. Mages were interesting targets – that is, until you removed their tongues – there were few things more pathetic) and had trailed the stick thin man since, waiting for him to make his move before he made his own.

He had fired a single bolt from his deadman’s bow and had been well pleased with the speed of Hanry’s reactions. As the bolt had whirred past his head he had instantly dropped out of the line of sight, disappearing from the perceptions of the untrained eye, and the chase had begun – Braided-mage von Shenk entirely unaware that his routine trip to his bench by the well had almost cost him his life (he would catch the next assassin sent to murder him and the uncharacteristic disappearance of the Cinderphage Morrin would puzzle Brady for a few weeks).


He almost missed the caltrops that had been scattered on the narrow gutter but nimbly danced between the sharpened spikes, his pace hardily slowing. After passing though the deadly gauntlet he padded to a halt. His quarry had disappeared from sight and being over eager now would be a mistake he hoped his opponent didn’t honestly believe he would make.

They had wound their hidden way around Stormwind, over the heads of unsuspecting guards and under the beds of sleeping noblemen, and they had ended up here, the Park District, home to the Stormwind Kaldorei. The ashers were damn nocturnal – he would have to end this quickly. He carefully reloaded his crossbow – like all his blackened blades tonight, his bolts were coated in deadly poison and he could safely assume his opponent had done likewise. All the while, he couldn’t shake the feeling he was being watched. He lowered himself off the roof noiselessly.


The Bad Hanry had barricaded himself in a pool of deeper shadow on top of the derelict tavern (the night elves preferred to do their drinking outside). Despite his recent exertion his breathing was steady and quiet – his esoteric training had taught him many techniques of physical discipline – he was able to lower his body temperature, slow the beating of his heart, even remain absolutely motionless for hours at a time (not quite as good as the ash-faced bastards who lived their inscrutable lives in this place – Hanry had stalked one who had sat unmoving in a chair for nigh on three days – and had snapped to lightening motion in the blink of an eye).

Unlike most people in a similar situation, the Bad’s mind did not race – he did not bother to run through his enemies, or the possible reasons for this attempt on his life – the considerations were irrelevant to the matter at hand, he would have plenty of time for them later. He just waited, mind settled, deadman’s crossbow in one hand, long knife in the other. He had chosen this location to make his stand as the corner was blind - he would see his prey coming a fraction of a second before he would be spotted, and that fraction was all he needed to end this. And moreover, it was a dead end – only one of them (two? Hanry had thrown one of his knives at a shadow almost reflexively. He was fairly certain there was only one victim following him tonight) would be breathing by morning.

There was a whisper of air and the assassin flung himself to the side, jack-knifing in the air to bring his crossbow to bear on where the bolt had come from. His aim was steady as he arced through the night sky, his bolt singing over the edge of the roof to his left – the hooded and masked head he had seen ducking below the eaves of the roof.

Whoreson! He must have climbed the outside of the building, inching along the façade, fingers and toes supporting his entire weight. Hanry dropped his bow and readied his other dagger. Unlike his long knife, this blade actively sucked in the ambient light making its edge an ambiguous blur – there are far worse things than poison in the world. He lowered into stance as his opponent rolled onto the roof and into a crouch, legs splayed wide – twin shadows at the ends of his arms marking his pitched weapons. That moment seemed to hang in the air – the two killers measuring up their distorted, black reflections, but as the second yawned to a close, they leapt at one another and time rushed to catch up with their indistinct movements. Two arms blurred into motion as disks of serrated metal hungrily whirled between them. Perfectly executed twists brought them together and dark showdown begun in earnest, absolutely silent apart from muffled grunts of exertion and sharp hisses of pain. Hanry lunged forward with the Cage…


…He grabbed the thrusting arm in a gloved hand (his off hand knife having been twisted from his grip) and swept his knife down onto the exposed forearm. A clang of metal and he was opened up for a punishing head butt that threatened to send sparks shooting across his vision. Both assassins knew that this fight would end with first blood drawn – each was just looking for one cut on his opponent – the deadly poison coating their various weapons would quickly finish the job. Before he could draw his next breath he was swept from his feet by the stamping footwork of the Bad Hanry. His other dagger slipped from his fingers as he impacted against the uneven roof and he bunched his muscles to leap back onto his feet, but the passionless killer was upon him an instant later, only his upraised hands preventing the nightmare knife from tearing into his neck (and if the rumours were true, using his soul to feed the Bad’s hunger). A flash of despair punched through his mind and he choked on the mental anguish.


Am I unworthy?


Is this…heathen…my better?


The blade dropped a thumb’s length as his strength threatened to abandon him and he could see Hanry’s lips flicker into the ghost of a smile as he anticipated victory.


No


The word was spoken like the roar of the sea, a thousand voices raised in anger, and it shattered his weakness as if it had hammered through his head.

He grinned under the cloth of his mask as he felt once more the certainty of his destiny and that glee thundered from his heart, flooding his limbs with the red fury that was the God’s own strength.


Measure is…


He was stronger – even with Hanry’s weight leaning down onto the knife he began to push him back. Hanry was all about finesse, finely honed skill. He was that, and so much more.

He was more


...unceasing


The blood pounding in his ears, he summoned his strength and flung Hanry to the side and rolled on top of him, scrapping the unholy blade across his cheek. The Bad Hanry’s eyes widened and he frowned. The silent murderer made not a sound as he died, whatever dark sorceries that he had enchanted into the knife snuffing out his life

There was no time for basking in the moment of victory and certainly no time for elegance. He quickly deepened the wound on Hanry’s cheeks, ignoring the confused stare and dug his fingers in. A jerk and the flesh was torn away. It was not as smooth as was right but Bad Hanry wore the Mask now and the true offering had been in the assassin’s courage and skill, his last breaths and his last battle.

***


Piryna Halfspear sighed deeply and gazed at the Moonwell mournfully. Even tonight, when Elune had hid her face from the sight of the world, the blessed water shone only weakly, when it should have lit up the night.

She hated it here. She felt trapped at every turn of the labyrinth like city, the humans used rather than worked with and the dwarves’ incessant industry clouded the air and choked her lungs.

But at least the rain yesternight had cleared the air and in the Park where she and her kin lived they had no need of the acrid torches to see and the stars shone strongly, dancing their eternal dance. She looked up and took a breath, trying to find the Balance that her Shan’do lectured on so very much.

To her elven eyes, night was as day and the figure that soared through the sky was immediately visible, looking like nothing more than a giant raven, coming in to roost.

The body lost all semblances of its flight-born grace as it hit the Moonwell. It didn’t quite have the distance to make it all the way to the pool and it bent around the stone sickeningly, the crunching of bone snapping the night’s tranquility, flopping face forward into the water, a red stain spreading from the head.

The holy glow of Elune died completely as the bloody desecration polluted the shrine.

Halfspear spent a moment too many staring speechless at the body, and when she turned her gaze back to the rooftops that circled the park, there was nothing to be seen.



It was the magic hour.

It was the time when the Night, full of darkness and shadow, mystery and mischief, gave way to Day, the bringer of light and warmth, sun and sight. For the morning people, it was the heralding hour of more industry, purpose and life, while the people of the night skulked away to their hide-aways, work finished, rest beginning.

For the two night elves watching the harbour lodging house from a discreet distance is was the right time. Their quarry was one of the night people, and now was the time of his slumber, far too early for him to have woken up, and late enough so that he would have had a chance to wade into the deeper waters of sleep. The two of them had stood silently for some time now when the taller of them, the male, his eyes twin portals to a seething plane of golden fire, turned to the other, the female, and spoke in hushed words.

‘We go in then. I will speak to him.’

She turned to him sharply and Iyokus knew that if her face had not been covered by her tinted goggles he would have seen the silver eyes widen just as her mouth pursed, ‘If you think I’m going to let you just walk into his room, you must have hit your head on that doorframe harder than I thought.’

Iyokus turned back to look at the house solemnly, none of its windows illuminated at this time. He was not in his usual plate this night. Instead he had decided on an armour of supple grey leather and rather than his favoured two-handers, a short sword of some dark red and black metal was strapped to his side. ‘He won’t harm me you know, he can’t.’

Cail hissed at the dimly lit figure, her frustration evident, ‘I’ve seen what that @#$%er is capable of Yoki, and what if it isn’t who you think hmm?’ She shook her head in tiny, quick side to side shakes, ‘No, we do it my way, or not at all.’ She was, as was per her usual way, clad in the tools of her trade – dark leathers that blended in with the shadows and shapes of the night, goggles to sharpen her vision and hide her glowing eyes…and blades, their purpose obvious.

Iyokus grinned at her, the seriousness bleeding from his face, ‘Are you putting your foot down on this?’

She kicked him lightly in the shin, a trace of a ghost of a smile on her lips, ‘Damn straight I am.’

Iyokus stepped back into a pool of deeper shadow, the sun was beginning its dash for the heights, and they running out of time to move unnoticed. Melding into the shadows his voice was a whisper, ‘Then let us begin.’

He watched her nod and move towards the building were their quarry slept, her every move taut with deadly grace. He knew that if she needed his help she would let him know. It was her show for now, but that didn’t stop him worrying after her.

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