“To end this line of skirmishes I must die killing Xander, then you shall be safe from this unrelenting curse. Nothing else shall stop our family’s legacy from continuing down this dark path.”
“What happens if you don’t die killing Xander, father?”
He sighed, the noise exiting his mouth sounding more pained then frustrated. “Then my mission will be a burden you must bear, which is why I’m training you now, in case I fail.”
“I won’t be an assassin when I grow up, no matter how hard you push me. I believe you will win.”
The older man studied his son, anguish and fear lurking in his hard grey orbs. He didn’t respond; leaving the boy to hope in his foolish dreams. Dreams he had once himself entertained.
“Why didn’t you squash my foolishness then?” I sneered, whipping my sharp arrow heads into the target fifteen feet away. “It would have saved me the anguish of chasing your murderer.”
I doubt my face could have been any more deadly, the snarl enclosing my features was just a show of the rage that pounded through my bloodstream, threatening to destroy everything I had worked for. I had lost Kaden again. Still, it wasn’t like this was the first time, but I had to exploit my wrath on something. Most times it helped me to calm down.
I breathed deeply, my eyelids fluttering shut as I pretended to be calm. “All right Flint, what do you know?”
Stalking over to my half-dead fire I sat down beside it, cursing the curling smoke for existing. Preparing to excavate my mind of it’s information I picked up a stick, beginning to mark things in the soil. “#1~I have twenty days left to live. #2~Kaden lives in a town called, Operdam about twenty miles away. #3~He knows I’m stalking him. #4~He has an heir to carry out his family’s mission. #5~He may have two or three partners.” I paused writing as I considered that last note. If Kaden truly had partners then my job just increased in danger and importance.
I smiled grimly as a bird chirped in the distance, then another started a song. At least I had the clumsy fool narrowed down to one location. My gaze drifted back to the scratches in the dirt, and I picked up my stick again, intent on finding every single advantage I possessed. “I have knowledge, history, training, motive, anger, and cunning.” Murmuring softly to myself, I flicked papers from my torn pocket into the dancing flames.
A twig snapped nearby, and the birds stopped singing. I nearly gave myself away by jerking into an upright position, but instead I ignored the alarm pinging through my body as my heart started pumping adrenaline into my limbs. I breathed out slowly, calming my body. “It’s not time yet.” I whispered, focusing on the stick in my hand.
My keen ears picked up soft foot steps whispering in my direction. They stopped about five feet from me. “Your ten minutes late.” I rasped dryly. “I’m disappointed.”
The intruder didn’t move, he only let out a chuckle. “Leave it to the son of Wraith to put a time on things.”
“What can I say.” I taunted, spinning to face the man in dark green robes. “It helps me catch the bad guys.”
“Isn’t your own clock ticking, Flame Master?”
I couldn’t see his face, but instincts told me the intruder was Kaden. He was the only one stupid enough to insult me by dubbing me Flame Master. “All right Nedak, who’s in charge of you and why are you stalling for time?”
He laughed harshly, “I’m my own master.”
“Sure, and I murdered my parents.” I daunted sarcastically, my tone of voice leaving no doubt in Kaden’s mind that I wasn’t playing games.
“Why would I need to stall for time, Flame Master? Your the one who’s losing it.” Kaden raised his hood, confirming my guess at his identity.
I rose, unperturbed by his sudden comeback. I wouldn’t underestimate him again, the dog was just playing me. “I wish to speak with your master, Nedak.”
“What do you wish to discuss? Your father’s ill-timed death?” He grinned, reminding me of a fox who had cornered his prey. “Or perhaps how that death came to be?”
I snarled, losing my temper for one brief moment. “Bird calls are easily understood.”
“Your getting off topic, Flame master.”
My stern features nearly gave way to a tiny smirk. “I think not.” I whispered, glancing behind me to check on the flame’s health.
A shrill whistle pierced the air, and Kaden lunged for me as if directed by a signal. I sidestepped lazily, causing the foolish man to go plunging into my fire. Three men flipped out of the trees immediately after, circling me. I laughed, whisking my invisible arrow heads into their abdomens in one smooth movement, and turning to watch my adversary struggle. The whole attack was very Kaden-like and expected.
Kaden flopped about in the dirt, struggling to rid himself of my undying flames and the choking smoke. His head whipped back and forth, while his arms and legs writhed about attacking the searing pain that slithered across his body.
“Nedak!” A sharp voice snapped out behind me before I had time to enjoy the show. Kaden jerked to his feet, and ran toward the voice, a look of misery on his pale face. As soon as the assassin stood the flames died out.
I turned around slowly. Of all the things I had prepared myself for, meeting Kaden’s leader today wasn’t one of them. My mask fell into place, and I stood stiffly, awaiting this new intruder to pull back his hood so I could memorize his features.
Kaden and his commander exchanged harsh words before my father’s murder went to stand behind the stranger. Two slim hands appeared from the cloak and pulled the hood back, revealing a pretty face.
Long, raven hair twisted down her shoulders, highlighting her midnight lashes and eyebrows. Her full red lips twisted into a haughty smirk as our eyes locked. She had deep purple eyes that turned the color of a stormy night the moment I whispered her name. “Vicidy.” I was shocked beyond the possibility of my survival.
Her hands clenched by her side, while the perfect mask on her face never faltered. “Brother, I hear you have earned the name Flame Master.” Her mask twitched momentarily. “Perhaps you could explain father’s death?”
I hardly had time to grasp what she was saying when something hard slammed into my skull, and my vision grew cloudy. However, before the darkness could drag me under I glimpsed her mysterious eyes, and just how shattered she was.
To Be Continued…..