|Chela: Chapter II|
|Chapter II: In which Chela hides and awaits her lover and how she woos herself into his bed and then his heart. Also her late night swim in the Undercities.
She watched from the crack in the wall as he moved towards the window. For three days straight she had lain between the walls, waiting for him to arrive. A man would never have fit, but she was thin and willowy, and fit just so. The guards searched the apartments daily, so any chance she had to kill him was to get in and stay. And stay she did. Her escape afterwards would prove just as difficult, but her namesake said it all, 'Chela' the Rat. Rats being known to live within walls, and even more fitting would be her escape into the Undercities, the sewers, were they lived and bred.
I shouldn't get ahead of myself, she thought. Kill him first.
She went over in her mind what she knew of him. He was known for his strength, his cold nature. He could easily kill her in a fair fight, but she never intended the fight to become fair. Soon he would retire to his bed, where his girl for the evening already lay. She had thought of that as a possible approach. To masquerade as one of his girls, until that is, she heard more of his passions and the unfortunate death of a girl by his hand a year ago. That idea was abandoned. Malthrin had even agreed that the risk was too great.
‘Never leave anything to circumstance. The longer you practice that,’ he paused, ’the longer you live’. She nodded to him, and a few days later showed him her plan. She was sure he had been impressed although he didn't show it. But he did read through the plan before commenting on it, which was a first. A few minor changes and questions later he approved and she began her hunt. That was a week ago. And her preparations had brought her here.
She could barely move within the walls, and her muscles ached from the strain. But she was a woman on a mission, and her lover (assassin slang for the target) awaited her.
She stretched her legs. It had taken her an hour to pry herself from the wall and crawl through the wardrobe back into the apartments. She had done it without a sound. The long dagger poised in her hand, she had moved into the bedroom, and heard the sounds of soft sobbing. The girl it seemed was still awake, the heavy breathing of her sleeping master beside her on the bed. The quandary was how to silence the girl. She would probably scream, alert the guards, and the entire household if she killed the target. ‘Oh well’, she thought and sighed, ’It seems the girl will have to die first.’ She couldn’t help but feel a pang of regret for at once time she had been the girl in the bed. She forced her mind to clear. ‘Focus, calm’, she thought.
Just then the covers lifted off the side of the bed and the girl got up and went into another room. She walked right past Chela who stood stark still, her black painted knife not glistening in the little light there was in the room. The girl would have never even noticed barely being able to see through her tear streaked eyes. How would one know that death is standing near until it was too late?
The dark shadow followed her from the bedroom. The girl bent over the washbasin in the dark, and then stabbing pain enveloped her neck. Her startled eyes flew wide as her body shuddered. The splash and then drip, drip, drip of her own blood falling into the basin. The torn throat muscles tried to tighten and form words but no scream ever came as her air left her. There was only a slow gurgling as she died. The shadow slowly lowered the body to the ground.
Chela came back into the bedroom and thinking at first to just slaughter him and leave, she heard shouts, and then running feet and a door open in the next room. A light flickered on the walls and approached. Thinking fast she leap over the bed and slid under the covers in a motion even a dancer would envy.
The master of the house came awake, in the commotion, and just caught her move into the bed. His fuzzy thoughts tried to ponder what he had seen for a second, and then dismissed it entirely as the captain of his guard entered his bedroom. The sheer audacity of someone coming into his apartments, let alone his bedroom unannounced was enough to enrage him, and turn his focus away.
Chela hid under the covers and the master got up from the bed, closing his robes about him just as the captain entered the room.
‘M'lord, we have had rumor of an assassination attempt,’ he said abruptly before he could be chastised. Chela's hand clenched the knife under the covers. ‘Damn! I’ve been found out,’ she shuttered. ‘Someone one else will be paid a visit soon,’ she reasoned as the implications of being betrayed entered her mind.
The captain went on, ‘One of the court spies, has just informed me of this. Your life is in danger.’ The master was very awake at this point. He knew then that the captain was only doing his duty for which he paid him a handsome wage. He nodded his head in acknowledgement.
‘Very well, we leave the house immediately. We can head back to the estate, since I can be better guarded there,’ he reasoned aloud as the captain nodded back.
‘Remove the girl from here,’ he ordered. He began to gather his clothes from the floor as the captain sprang to his task. The guard was glad to be given orders and a plan. The news of an assassin about had visibly shaken him.
Chela waited her body clenched and her heart pounding, and then the covers came off of her and she sprang to life. The captain’s throat was cut, his head nearly severed by the blade and he hit the floor dead before he even knew what had happened. The master looked up from where he stood putting on his clothes. His mouth fell open in surprise and he saw the spray of blood. He dropped his leggings and with nothing else near to defend him he grabbed the corner of the bed and lifted it. He had always relied on his strength in the past to protect him. He thought himself cleaver to try to startle the assassin by throwing the bed on them. But Chela was faster than that and certainly more agile then most people would ever be. Sliding around the edge of the bed and behind him like a snake, she cut the hamstring on the back of his left leg. He howled in pain as his momentum slammed the bed into the wall and windows. Staggering forward he felt the knife slammed between his outstretched legs from behind. The pain was like living fire and he screamed and dropped to the floor, his body refusing to listen to his commands any longer. About all he could muster was the momentum to roll onto his back. His eyes tried to clear as above him loomed what surely must be the Goddess of Death herself in human form. The knife entered his chest and his heart and he left the world a better place in his passing.
The cold water tingled over her body and she felt alive. The pursuit had never really begun, as without leadership the house fell in chaos. She had slipped into the Undercities and left no trace she had been there at all, unless one counts the dead she had left behind. A pity she thought, to have to kill so many who were not her target. But then she was not like most assassins who killed with honor. She killed for Malthrin, and Malthrin had no honor to teach. She watched the rats screech on the ledges as she swam down the tunnels. The overpowering smells of human excrement mingled now and then as a dead animal floated by. She ignored it all. She had taken her first true lover and she had felt more power than she had ever known. The sewers just added to the crazy insanity of her feelings. The rats scurried past her body and for the first time in her life she felt at home and well named.