Content Warning

Greetings and Salutations.
Because my stories have bite, they can contain content that isn't suitable for work or children. Not a lot of truly graphic sex or violence, but there are some questionable or heated posts. F-bombs are not uncommon, so watch your footing.

Friday, December 27, 2019

#FridayFlash - The Mark

Drevin sat in a corner booth of The Black Starling, alone with a flagon of ale, just as I'd been told to expect. Flaxon hair, pale skin, and a livid scar down his left eye and cheek. Easy to identify. Easy to slay.

I crossed the common room with unhurried steps, moving between the patrons, making my way to his corner. I felt eyes upon me, though nothing of intense curiosity. I was a tall woman, athletic, pleasant looking, but I neither dressed nor acted memorable. As soon as I left, they would all forget about me.

The charm on my pendant might have something to do with that too.

Drevin glanced at me when I sat opposite him, then back to his ale. The dismissal was obvious, but I didn't mind. I didn't show enough tit to be a harlot, not was I scrawny enough to be a beggar. The best targets ignored me until it was too late.

I studied him while the minstrel played and the crowd grew larger. Far better dressed than the normal patrons, though not as flashy enough to draw attention to himself. Clean, well-kempt, good looking even with the scar. Maybe even because of it.

We remained in silence for several minutes, only making eye contact when he took a long drink of his ale. The pale green of his irises was glassy and his pupils dilated. The time to strike was now.

I smiled and rose moving to his side of the booth, hand on one of my stilettos. I'd done this a hundred times, would do it a thousand more. The payment would be mine before midnight.

Drevin turned as I moved, locking eyes with me, and a chill ran up my spine. I tasted magic on the back of my tongue, and glanced to the sparks dancing along his fingertips. No one had told me he was a mage.

Standing beside the table, hand on a hilt, I weighed my options. I was fast. Probably faster than whatever spell he had, though I expected it was merely for show. Slit his throat and be on my way. Messy, obvious, and I'd have to pay off the owner of the tavern if I ever wanted to come back. But it would be done.

The chief wench came over, a matronly woman whose name I couldn't remember, and she gave us both a hard stare. "Everything copacetic?" The low tone in her voice was more warning than question.

I took my seat across from Drevin again, releasing my knife. "It's fine," I said, eyes on my target.

She arched a brow at Drevin. "My lord?"

He nodded once, sliding his flagon toward her. "Another. And one for my guest." Sparks danced brighter along his fingers, then he waved them away and stared in silence.

"What now?" I asked once we were alone, voice pitched just loud enough for him to hear. Magic user and nobility? Someone back in the Guild would be pissed to hear important details had been left out when I was hired. There might even be a blood price for someone to pay.

Drevin arched a brow, eyes no longer glassy but firm as he studied me. "You don't look like a freelancer, but I can't imagine the Guild being foolish enough to accept a contract from me. Unless..." He paused and tipped his head. "You don't know who I am, do you?"

My shoulders relaxed. Any reprisal he felt needed to be meted out didn't appear directed at me. "I'm thinking I would have picked a better venue, better weapons, if I had." I attempted to smile, though I felt no humor. I was too busy fighting off the worry that someone thought I was expendable.

I wanted to believe that no one had sent me here on purpose, but I couldn't know that for sure. The Assassins Guild had honor, but also plenty of shady dealings and its share of internal strife. Each contract went through several layers of control before it was assigned to anyone, meaning there were plenty of opportunities for a rival to try and eliminate me. If I were killed on assignment, no one would think twice. Especially if I overestimated my abilities against a magic user.

The wench returned with our ale. Drevin lifted his for a toast, one brow arched. "To finding the fools who did this."

I smiled deeply, then lifted my drink to join the toast. "I'll even do this one off the books."

We laughed wickedly and drank to the newly formed partnership.