Taithleach was always great at getting into places that she wasn’t supposed to. She was also really good at taking things that she wasn’t supposed to. At first, this was limited to helping fellow urchins in Rentaz, the capital of Zentar. Eventually, in order to get more money and set herself and her friends up with a better lifestyle, she started to take on more and more shady jobs.
One day, in her early teens, she was tasked with taking someone down. The payout was ten times the amount that she made from taking documents and other sensitive information and that made the offer irresistible.
– – –
“So, who is this guy?” Taithleach asked, dangling her legs from her top bunk. She was holding a sketch of a man with a very large beard. “He looks kinda familiar.”
“It’s probably best you don’t know too much about him.” The contact pulled out a few parchments with information on the man. “This is the same information we give you when you go liberate a book or scroll. Use the information to find the most likely place for him to be alone. Think of it as the item that’s being stolen is his life.”
Taithleach took the loose parchment and skimmed it. “Right. So there’s the amount upfront still, right? I need some different equipment for this job.”
The contact smiled. “The equipment will be separate.” He tossed her a sack of copper equivalent to five gold pieces. “Don’t spend it all in one place. Small purchases.” He pulled a sheathed knife from a pocket. “This is probably the best option for killing him. The contractee wants people to know it was a hit. I don’t know why, but we don’t ask questions.”
“Do I have a timeline for this? I assume if it’s supposed to be known it’s a hit that there’s a certain time it needs to be done.” Taithleach pulled the knife from its sheath and played with it.
“Right. It’s laid out on the third sheet. We chose to give you this hit because it basically asks you to be an amateur.” The contact smiled a wicked grin then turned and exited the room.
– – –
Taithleach had the man with the beard in her sights. He was alone in his study and his window was open. One of the items that Taithleach had obtained, with a five-finger discount, was a blowgun. She had used one once before and had practiced a little before heading out for the hit.
Her finger wet with her saliva Taithleach lifted it into the air. The wind was coming from the wrong direction, and she couldn’t make the shot from here. She weighed her options. The other side, where the other window was, was more exposed creating a greater risk for her to be captured. On the other hand, it would be fairly easy for her to get into the room without anyone noticing.
“I hoped to be able to do this from a distance, but I guess not,” Taithleach muttered as she put the blowgun away. “Gotta get a little messy.”
Moving silent as the wind, which was easy in the outer city, Taithleach prepared to jump to the roof of the building the mark was in. Forcing herself to breathe more calmly she jumped and grabbed the edge of the roof. For a moment it felt like she was losing her grip, but she held on. Then she carefully lowered herself to the window, careful to make sure the man was otherwise occupied.
She felt for the blowgun, realizing she could take the shot from here and remove any need for entering the building. As she did so she remembered what the contact had said when he handed her the knife. ‘This is probably the best option for killing him.’ She realized that was code for ‘use this knife’. She steeled herself and moved in through the window and took the knife in her hand.
There was a squeak as Taithleach’s foot hit the wrong floorboard. The man stood up and turned to face her. In a split-second decision, Taithleach hurled the knife at the man and it landed in his throat.
The man was unable to utter more than a gurgling noise as he collapsed to the floor. Taithleach didn’t bother collecting the knife. There were no marks on it that she could find and she certainly could do without getting covered in blood. She was already sick to her stomach. She carefully exited the way she had come and was able to make it to an alley before she lost all the contents of her stomach.
– – –
The scene of her first kill always flashed in Taithleach’s mind before a kill. As she raised the blowgun to her lips she heard someone say that they expected more to happen. Why would you think that? All you’re doing is putting the pieces of a gem back together. What could happen? Just as the thought flashed through her mind a blast of force hit her and dropped her from the rafters. She broke her neck in the fall.
An hour later Taithleach awoke. She was outside in the snow. Her neck was completely fine and she cursed herself. Her mark was probably just fine and she needed to get out of there.
Wait, why am I in the snow? Wasn’t I inside when I fell? What the hell is going on?