Assassin’s Path Ch. 03

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I was woken up by a loud banging on my chamber door. I stood up and unlocked the door for the servant who was apparently charged with my care.

“Good morning mi’lord,” the woman said to me, “is there anything I can get for you?” I nodded my head as I stood up and stretched. I tried to ignore the pain in my chest as best I could, focusing instead on this new person.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Aiska, mi’lord,” she said. She was slightly shorter than me, her short messy blond hair was held in place by a handkerchief tied at her neck. I would guess that she was maybe a year younger than me.

“Aiska, that’s a lovely name. First, don’t call me mi’lord, my name is Myr. Second, can you get me some warm water to bathe myself in before I have my meal with the Queen?” Aiska nodded and walked out of the room. I looked down at my clothes and tried to conjure another set of clothes over Madame Ludwen’s masterpiece. Even with the illusion covering it the silver threads shone through it like pearls or diamonds. I dropped the illusion and started pacing around the small room, I decided to utilize the glowing silver by just changing the black fabric into a white instead. The silver glowed slightly but was muted by the lack of contrast.

“Mi’lord? The Queen will be taking her breakfast in the solar, it’s in the north tower,” Aiska said as she returned with the water.

“Call me Myr,” I said, “I’m no one important.”

“I’m sorry mi’lord, I mean Myr,” Aiska stammered slightly, “but we were instructed by Prince Aiden to treat you as a noble.” Even behind my illusion she must’ve seen my eyes flash with the rage that was brewing just below the surface because she moved away from me with a start. I looked at the fire, took a deep breath, and then looked back at Aiska.

“I’m sorry for startling you,” I said to the slightly shaking servant, “but I have no desire to be treated as such, please inform any other person you come across of my lack of nobility.” Aiska nodded and hurried out of the room. I washed my hair in the water then set out to find the Queen, this was going to be an interesting morning to say the least.

When I exited my room Ser Jentreth was there to greet me. The Knight was dressed in armor again and had the same dour expression on his face as last night.

“Are you to escort me to the north solar?” I asked him, he nodded and began walking away. I closed my door and quickly followed him down the hall. There was a surprising amount of sunlight in the castle shining through the multitude of windows that I had failed to notice the previous night. It made the palace almost seem happy, with the brightly colored tapestries and portraits hanging from the walls it was almost an enjoyable stroll. Ser Jentreth said nothing as we walked down the corridors until we reached a flight of stairs. He stopped in front of them and turned on his heel.

“The Queen awaits you,” was all the Knight said. I nodded to him and headed up the stairs. When I arrived at the top of the tower I knocked on the door politely.

“Enter,” came the regal reply. I pushed the door open and looked around the room. The solar was astonishing, the ceiling was completely glass so the sun could shine through it. Some of the glass was colored so the room glowed with the orange of the sun and the blue of the eastern glass. The furniture was completely made out of wood that looked like it had been purposefully burned around the edges. The Queen was sitting in a high backed chair in front of a small table that had three place settings on it. After I recovered from the room I remembered to use proper etiquette.

“You’re Majesty,” I said, falling to a knee before the Queen.

“Stand up, my boy,” the monarch said, “no need for such formalities here. You are a welcome guest in the castle.”

“As you say you’re Majesty,” I replied as I stood up. The Queen rolled her eyes and indicated that I should sit to her left. I approached the table and sat down in front of the lovely flatware. There was tea and biscuits set out as well as bread rolls and sausage.

“Now I wish to first thank you for singing at the ball last night, I wish you could’ve performed more,” the Queen said, picking up her tea and sipping it gingerly, eyeing me over the cup.

“I apologize for leaving early, Your Grace. I was, unfortunately, exhausted from my travels and required sleep,” I explained, leaving out the part where her son lied to me and I wanted nothing to do with him. I, of course, saw the hypocrisy in this as I wasn’t about to tell him what I had been before meeting him, but I couldn’t tell him who I was or else the Guild would have a contract out on him as well as me.

“I completely understand, my dear. I do hope you will consider staying here as our guest and perform at Court more often, my husband and I adore your lovely voice,” the Queen’s compliment was unexpected, as was her offer of employment. I briefly artemisbet yeni giriş considered my options, I could stay here and sing for the Court, get meals, a room, some money as well, having armed guards at every entrance was a plus, and the walls of the castle had repelled more than one attempted assassination before. All of that sounded better than living on the run, constantly wondering where my next meal would be, or if the person sitting next to me was an assassin. I tried to leave my feeling for Aiden out of it, vowing to be professional.

“How could I refuse such a generous offer?” I responded after mulling it over for a minute or two. The Queen smiled at me and made a ‘come hither’ motion towards the door, I turned to see Aiden walking into the room with Ser Jentreth. I stood up and bowed to the Prince, trying desperately to ignore the urge to run into his arms.

“Myr please-” Aiden began but I cut him off as I straightened up.

“I apologize you’re Majesties but I have duties that I need to attend to. I will have another performance ready for the banquet,” I turned around and walked out of the solar. I felt the tears building up and about halfway down the stairs I had to sit down because the tears in my eyes were preventing me from seeing clearly. I don’t know how long I sat there crying, but eventually I felt a soft touch on my shoulder. I looked up and saw Aiska standing across from me, her hand resting on my shoulder.

“Come,” she said. She took my hand and led me down the stairs. We went through the servant’s passages, much more direct than the normal corridors, to the training field on the palace grounds. Aiska led me to a barn-like structure that had straw training dummies inside. She walked me over to stand in front of one and nodded at it.

“What?” I asked.

“Hit him,” she replied, pointing at the target on the straw man’s chest. I walked up to the dummy and punched it lightly. The dummy responded to my touch and hit me square in the chest, it took me by surprise and I landed flat on my ass on the floor. I looked from the dummy to Aiska, she just shrugged at me.

“Did you do that?” I asked.

“No, they all have enchantments on them. Helps to train the soldiers against moving targets. The harder you hit, the harder they strike back,” she explained. I staggered to my feet, still trying to get the air back into my lungs. When I had recovered my breath I went at the dummy with full force. I punched it in the chest, then blocked its strike from the right. I spun under the strike from the left, slamming the back of my tensed hand where the spine would’ve been. I crouched, ducking under the spinning arms, and then jumped up, spun in the air, and decapitated the dummy with a round-house kick. I stood there panting for a few seconds, my shoulders rising and falling with each breath. Aiska walked over to me and put her hand on my shoulder.

“Thank you for that,” I said to her.

“Do you feel better?” She asked.

“No,” I replied, “but it’s a start.” Aiska just smiled at me.

“I knew you loved him,” she said. I just stared at her with a confused look on my face.

“Who?” I asked, but then I remembered, “You were at the ball near the balcony.” The servant beamed and nodded.

“I heard what you both said,” Aiska told me, “and only someone you care about can hurt you that badly, and if you love someone beating up on a dummy won’t take away the pain.” This woman was as insightful as Madame Ludwen.

“Please don’t tell him,” I asked, barely louder than a whisper. Aiska nodded and then hugged me.

“Come,” she said, “there’s only one way to work out your frustration.” She took my hand and led me out of the dummy barn. As we left I shifted my clothing illusion into a dark brown that looked like leather, the glowing silver looked like iron studs inlaid in the armor. The doors opened onto the training field, soldiers were fighting with dummies and each other, all while an old man yelled at them from the center of the training grounds in a sparring ring. He was large and had grey hair that was slick with sweat and a short yet bushy beard. The armor he was wearing was polished yet showed signs of extensive use, it had seen many battles, both victories and defeats. Aiska led me over to him, some of the soldiers were looking at the two of us, and we obviously didn’t belong on the training field.

“Uncle Fen!” Aiska called to the arms master. He turned around and a smile spread across his face.

“Aiska!” He hugged the servant, nearly enveloping her in his massive arms. He chortled as he squeezed his niece, when he set her down he looked at me inquisitively.

“Hello Ser,” I said, bowing slightly to the older man.

“You’re that Bard that got here last night right?” I nodded at his question, “Well I’m the arms master here, Fen Eth.” He extended his arm, I reached out and clasped it.

“Uncle, Myr here needs to vent a little bit of…frustration,” Aiska told the old man. Fen nodded artemisbet giriş slowly, before looking around the yard.

“Mathers, Undith, Yen! Get over here!” He shouted, the three men he called came running over right away. They stood at attention, awaiting their next orders.

“How many can you handle?” Aiska asked, giggling slightly.

“Three can be a challenge, but I think I can manage,” I smirked at the arms master.

“We’re talkin’ about fightin’, boy,” Fen said, “Are ya sure ya can handle ’em?”

“Oh this is a fight?” I asked with feigned surprise, “Then you’re going to need to call over some more. These three wouldn’t last five minutes with me, on the field or anywhere else.” Fen burst out laughing as the three soldiers blushed at my lewd comments. I winked at them and smiled enticingly.

“Let’s get ya started with these three, they’re the best I’ve got,” Fen said, a hint of pride creeping into his voice.

“Poor sods,” I said as I turned around and walked to the middle of the ring, “any limitations?” I asked the arms master.

“No killing, no Magic,” he said, “That’s it.” I smiled like a cat who had just been presented with three gift wrapped mice.

“This’ll be fun,” I giggled, I was looking forward to the distraction. I set myself in a defensive stance, placing one foot behind the other, the back foot facing in a perpendicular fashion from the front foot. My hands came to my center and I took a deep breath before looking at my sparring partners. Mathers was large but lean, he’d be powerful and quick, and his brown hair was cut as short as possible. Undith looked thinner and had less muscle, but he when moved it looked well thought out and almost graceful, his brown hair was longer in the back than the front. Yen had black hair that covered his forehead, with muscles upon muscles I figured he would be a ‘rush in’ kind of fighter.

“What weapons would you like?” Fen asked me.

“I’ll use my hands and wit, they can use whatever weapons they desire,” my response was laced with innuendo and the soldiers could tell. I saw Aiska rolling her eyes as she handed out twin swords to Mathers, a spear for Undith, and a mace and shield for Yen. They all seemed very comfortable with their selected weapons, all looked to be well-practiced and used to their weight.

“What do ya think of your odds, Bard? Want a weapon now?” Fen chortled lightly.

“This might be tougher than I thought,” I replied, “still no weapons for me though.”

“Alrighty then,” Fen said, “Begin!”

Yen charged first, a battle cry erupting from his chest. His right hand was raised with the mace ready to crash down on me and his shield arm was slightly in front of him but loose. I spun to my right, turning around in a half circle, and the warrior ran right past me into the fencing of the ring. My back was exposed to the other two now and I knew they wouldn’t let that opportunity go. I pivoted to face them and expertly knocked Undith’s spear to my right by crossing my left hand in front of my body hitting the spear just below the tip, bringing my right hand up quickly to push the weapon up and away. I pivoted again and slammed my left elbow into the fighter’s chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him staggering back slightly, I then kicked him squarely in the chest with my left foot pushing him back even farther. I returned to my original position just as I saw Mathers rush in, his swords dancing together, and I heard Yen’s heavy footfalls and battle cry as he charged again. As they closed in I dropped into a crouch and spun myself around, my foot connecting with Yen’s calf, tripping him and causing him to collide with Mathers.

I stood up as the two fell to the ground in a heap. I looked at Undith, who had recovered from my kick, and he came at me slashing his spear. I dodged the three slashes then he slammed the butt of his weapon into my chest, I fell back over the other two and rolled into a standing position. All three were now back on their feet, slightly bloody but still moving.

“Alright! That’s enough,” the arms master shouted. My three opponents stopped in their tracks, standing at attention. Mathers had a trickle of blood running down the side of his face from a cut above his right eyebrow. Yen had bruises forming on his arms and calves, and he was favoring the leg I had kicked. Undith meanwhile was breathing heavier than the other two, I would have to check on his chest to make sure I hadn’t broken anything.

“So arms master Fen, how’d I measure up?” I asked, a cocky smile on my face. The older man looked grim for a few seconds before bursting out laughing.

“That was the bloody best show I’ve seen in quite some time!” Fen boomed loudly. Aiska was laughing and applauding, almost falling off the fence around the arena.

“You were fantastic!” Aiska said, “Feel any better?” she asked, still chuckling. I nodded and looked at the skilled fighters I had just sparred with.

“Thanks for the fun times artemisbet güvenilirmi gents,” I said, “If you want to get some drinks tonight after the banquet I’ll be in the tavern, I’m buying.” That got the solemn faces to smile slightly. Fen shook his head, chortling some more.

“Yur gonna regret saying that,” the arms master said, “Yen can drink an entire squad under the table, and Mathers only drinks the expensive stuff.” The three soldiers laughed at the old man’s joke. I had a feeling that Fen was only half joking about his underling’s drinking habits.

“Well good thing I just got a lovely pile of gold from the Crown,” I said, “I’m going to staying here for a while, I think it’s best to make friends quickly and nothing is more efficient at doing that than ale. Arms Master, may I utilize these training fields while I remain in the service of the Court?”

“Of course m’boy, but I gotta ask one thing,” Master Eth said, “Where does a Bard learn to fight like that?” My thoughts went directly too my years of training in the Guild, the months of drilling and practicing. The Masters yelling at all the apprentices, berating and degrading the entire group.

“Oh, well, I picked it up here and there,” I said lightly, “got to keep myself safe on the road when there aren’t big, strong, powerful soldiers around to protect me.” I laughed lightly, turning around and walking over to Aiska.

“Stop teasing them,” she chastised me, slapping my shoulder playfully. I shrugged at her as I leaned against the fence, returning my gaze to the three warriors. I will admit, the three men were extremely fine specimens and I was beginning to get other ideas in how to work out my frustration. As I was picturing what exactly would happen, Aiden’s face replaced all of them in my mind’s eye. I shook my head, as if that would dislodge the Prince’s image from my imagination.

“Come on,” I said to Aiska, “let’s let these gentlemen to their drilling. I need to get changed for the performance anyway.” I ducked under the fence of the sparring ring and sauntered back to the castle with Aiska. Before we got too far away I turned around and winked back at the soldiers, I chuckled as I watched Udinth and Yen turn red, Mathers just smirked. I began to contemplate having the brown haired warrior in bed. His hands pinning my smaller frame down as his large cock pushed inside of me, slamming in and out, pounding me from the beginning, taking his pleasure and roaring as he erupts deep inside of me, filling me to the brim.

“Did you know your hips sway more when you think someone’s watching?” Aiska asked me, snapping me out of my daydream. She giggled as I turned red and attempted to keep my ass from sashaying. We made our way across the training grounds back towards the castle. I was heading in the direction we came from but Aiska grabbed my elbow and guided me around the castle instead of into it. She led me to a small garden, it had topiaries as tall as my chest forming a small maze around it. At the center of the garden there was a beautiful tree, it was tall and the branches provided shade for the benches below it. Aiska walked me over to one of the seats and pulled me down next to her.

“What is this place?” I asked. I felt calm and serene while I sat and stared up at the trees leaves.

“The Queen started this garden when she was a just a little girl, or so the kitchen staff says. Her Grace comes out here every day to tend to the garden.” I looked around quickly, suddenly worried about another encounter with the Royals.

“Does the Prince come down here to?” I asked, trying extremely hard to sound nonchalant.

“Sometimes,” she replied, gazing at the sky through the branches, “but he’s mostly at the training grounds. Though I think he’ll be coming here more often now, this place seems to calm people down.” I called the Magic to my eyes and looked more closely at the tree, I noticed faint traces of Magic, calm and collected wisps of energy drifted off of the bark and the leaves brushing against me. They floated down to the ground and seeped into the other plants, making them glow with the same serene light. We talked for a while about mundane things, just enjoying the pleasant serenity of the Queen’s Garden and each other’s company.

“I really should get ready for the banquet now,” I said reluctantly after what felt like a few hours, “Don’t you have duties to attend to?” I added, wondering how a servant had so much free time.

“You are my duties, I’m to see to your every need while you are a guest of the Court,” she replied cheerfully, “and you needed some time to not think of anything.” I smiled and nodded in agreement at her assessment.

“What am I going to sing tonight? The Ballad of the Baboon comes to mind,” I smirked as Aiska just looked at me with a confused expression on her face, “it’s a song about kingdom that decided their prince wasn’t fit to rule so they crowned a monkey instead.” Aiska got a horrified look on her face once I explained it.

“You’d be beheaded for certain,” she said, her expression displaying her aghast feelings.

“Most tavern songs will get you beheaded,” I replied, “that’s what makes them fun.” I winked at the servant which got her to smile. We stood up and began to make our way back to the castle.

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