Brynn waited impatiently in his private quarters for Kerris’s return. The woman, his own bastard daughter, was a loose end that he refused to leave unattended to. He could try to twist and mold her into a woman he could use, despite everything her mother had already done to stop him from doing just that though. He had no desire to put forth the effort, however, and so had decided that she would make an excellent test subject for the pen. Brynn could have done it himself, but he needed to ensure the pen still worked even though he had fulfilled his contact’s list of targets. He was told he could keep the pen as a form of payment for finishing the job, but he was always wary of the generosity of others.
He was anxious for answers, and so he waited, tapping his fingers against the arm of his throne, before sensing something at the open doorway. It wasn’t something he had seen or heard, but something he felt, like a gentle breeze moving through the room. A goblet of wine that had been sitting on a table nearby splashed to the ground with a loud clang.
“Who’s there?” he asked as he rose ungracefully from his throne. He turned and glared at the goblet, as if the thing itself was the cause of all of this, then turned his glare back to the door. He started to walk towards it, before it slammed shut as if by its own volition. Brynn gasped in fear and shrank back.
“Come out, whoever you are!”
He took a step back and stumbled over the edge of a rug on the floor. Landing on his bottom, he began to cry in fear. Only able to roll to his hands and knees he began to crawl across the floor to the back of the room, before he heard the whisper, “Brynn.” He paused, trying to find where the whisper had come from. He cocked his head up and looked around as the wire and hands swung over his head and around his throat.
* * *
The assassin felt the wire slam against Brynn’s throat, and he pulled back until the fat man’s body was pressed up against his. Crossing pommel over handle of the sword, he turned the wire into a snare around Brynn’s fleshy throat. Brynn thrashed and clawed over his head searching for some hold on the assassin that would enable his release.
“I have a contract that needs to be completed, Brynn, but I want you to know one thing before death takes you. Your fate is carried on the wings of all the lives you had me take these last seven years. For seven years, I have relived each of their deaths, over and over. The time to pay has come, Brynn. It is neither the contract nor my malice that brings your end, but those dead souls’ desire for revenge.”
With those final words, the assassin closed tear-filled eyes and gritted his teeth with a mix of determination and rage. He relived each of the deaths of each of the targets. Every kick and thrash from the fat man’s body brought a new wave of faces rushing to the surface, eager to lend the strength of its memory to the assassin’s grip. He let out a primal anguished scream as he felt the last of Brynn’s will give. The man slumped back against the assassin and only then would Grehem release the vile man’s body.
* * *
Kerris sat upon a stool holding the woman, who had fainted upon seeing the dead guards after he had removed her blindfold. He had used his robes to wipe away her sweat and tears, to reveal a gentle and beautiful face. He surveyed the bloody scene laid out before him and shuddered. To think that one man could cause such destruction. Yet, something told Kerris that releasing Grehem was the right thing to do. A noise outside the stable stirred him.
He gently lay the woman down in the straw and walked to the doors. There standing on the balcony that lead to Brynn’s private quarters, stood Grehem. His face was turned up to bask in the light of the sun, and his robes and ebon hair swayed around him as a gentle wind whisked through the grounds. There stood a free man. Then Kerris remembered the pen. He pulled it out and studied the black quill and the silver tip.
No he thought. Not completely free, but free enough for at least today.