The Shadow of Winter (Open)
It had been a long time since Ohanzee Nightshadow had been as far north as Blackriver. He hated to be so close to Syrea, the county from which he had fled so many years ago. But work had led him to the north, and Blackriver was the closest village that he felt safe to rest at. Blackriver was a not a bad town by any means. But like most small northern villages, it didn't see much growth, and the citizens were much less than trustworthy of strangers. Ohanzee had passed through the town before during his flight from Vadim and his soldiers. It had not taken him long to realize why the town was named Blackriver. The water of the small river than flowed past the fields appeared black because of a dark kind of shale that littered the bottom of the stream.
Ohanzee sat alone at a table in the main hub of the village's sole inn. The inn, entitled the Fiddling Cricket, seemed to be a gathering place for everyone in Blackriver. Farmers, who seemed to be the majority of the population, stood at the counter discussing the harvests and what they were going to plant when next season came around. Most of the beasts kept away from Ohanzee, but fortunately no one seemed to be talking about him. The pine marten was not wearing his mask, since it was the rather noticeable garb of an assassin. However, this did leave him exposed to anybeast who might know his face.
Ohanzee was only partway through his small meal when an odd creature sat in the chair directly across from his. He had trouble seeing what manner of beast it was, for it was wearing brown hoods and robes. Ohanzee could tell that it was male from its distinctly masculine build. Ohanzee first dismissed him as a monk, but he soon realized there was something odd about him. He didn't appear to be in the inn for food or company, as he merely looked at Ohanzee. The pine marten gave the strange beast a distrustful glance and asked, "can I help you?"
"No sir," replied the hooded figure, "you already have." That having been said, he rose from his seat and walked to counter of the inn. Ohanzee's heart beat fast as he took in this strange turn of events. Something was off, he just needed to figure out what before it was too late. His fear only compounded when the hooded beast turn to one of the farmers, a hedgehog, and said, "how oft is it that you see a summer sun rising on a winter's morn?"
The hedgehog, a tough and worn looking creature, replied in a remarkably well bred tone. "Never, for the great sun in the sky knows the seasons and its place," he said. After this strange exchange, both beasts left the Fiddling Cricket in unison. Ohanzee was trained assassin, and he was now quite certain that the strange passage had been a code, and that someone was after his life. But exactly who he could not be certain. He went over the strange words again and again in his mind, "how oft is it that you see a summer sun rising on a winter's morn? Never, for the great sun in the sky knows the seasons and its place." The verse seemed so familiar to Ohanzee, but he just couldn't place his finger on where he had heard it.
Suddenly, it struck him like a ton of bricks. It was a phrase from a play he had once seen. "That was a line from The Shadow of Winter," Ohanzee muttered to himself, "Lady Ania was the lead in that performance." The pine marten was no great patron of the arts, but he would occupationally attend Ania's performances. He had always fond of the girl, since he had no family of his own. Snapping out of his fond memories, Ohanzee rose from his seat. The Shadow of Winter was an old Syrean play, and the only ones who would know it would be Syreans. In that case, he had to get out of the inn, and fast.
Ohanzee knew that it would be madness to leave the Fiddling Cricket by the front entrance. The imperial agents would obviously be waiting there to ambush him. So Ohanzee decided it would be best to leave the back way. Pushing past patrons, the pine marten leaped over the counter and headed for the exit behind it. The innkeeper shouted something at him, but Ohanzee didn't stop to hear what it was. He threw the door open and ran out onto the snow filled street, letting the door slam shut behind him. However, it seemed that his quick thinking had done little to help him.
There was a group of about half a dozen beasts standing in a half circle around the inn's rear exit. In the center of this partial ring was the hooded beast who Ohanzee had run afoul several moments ago. But the pine marten was no so worried about him as his companions. The other beasts in the blockade were Syrean soldiers, easily recognized my the insignia on their shields. In their paws were small axes and swords, all leveled at Ohanzee. "So, Ohanzee Nightshadow, the former assassin of the king," the hooded beast began, "did you think you could outwit the empire with a simple trick like that?"
"By the hammer and serpent," Ohanzee growled, "since when was Blackriver an imperial town?"
The hooded beast gave a cruel smile and spoke, "it came peacefully under the empire's control several months ago. Now, come peacefully and perhaps King Vadim will spare you life." Ohanzee knew that this was not true. The king had no mercy for those that failed him. The pine marten's paws went to his blades.
One of the soldiers stepped forward, his face hidden by his helm. "Drop your weapons traitor," he snarled, " or I'll smash in your skull." He menaced Ohanzee with his mace. Ohanzee's mind raced as he tried to think of a way out of this situation. He was a skilled assassin, and he thought he could take out any imperial soldier one on one. But he stood no chance against five of them out in the open. Had he finally fallen into the Empire's clutches?
OOC: For reference, Syrean soldiers have equipment rather like the chap on this page: http://xenophon-mil.org/rushistory/medievalarmor/parti.htm
OOC: I have an assassin character I've never used and you know what's really funny? She's also a pine martin ROFL
BIC: Kilena the Assassin saw what was happening and wanted to help. Not only was the beast a fellow assassin but a fellow pine martin. A rather nice looking one at that too. Kilena allowed herself a rare smile as she slid on her black leather gauntlets. Protruding at the end of each knuckle was a spike an inch long. Kilena silently slid up behind the soldiers and curled her lips up and then down over her teeth again at Ohanzee. It was an assassin gesture to be silent. She flicked her wrist and a stiletto slid into her hand. Almost calmly, but with practiced ease, she proceeded to attack the soldiers and the cloaked beast. Kilena snapped a kick at the small of the back of the cloaked beast, trying to snap his spine. She then whirled around and stabbed the stiletto into the chinks of armor of two guards. She rolled under an axe swipe and came up with an axe in hand. She threw it and caught the guard between the eyes. If the pine martin was any good, he would have taken care of at least two by now. Kilena was pleasantly surprised when she realized she had taken out three guards. She had had the element of surprise though. She turned around but was felled by a blow to her shoulder. She raised her hand as she saw a guard stand over her, mace upraised to crush her skull.
Ohanzee had no idea who the beast was who suddenly attacked the imperials, but he wasn't going to let this chance go to waste. He drew one of the long katana-like swords from the sheath in his belt and faced a nearby soldier. The soldier took a swing at Ohanzee with his own blade, but the pine marten ducked beneath and kicked his legs out from under him. While the beast was down, Ohanzee slew him with a deft strike. He then turned to the last soldier, the one with the mace. To Ohanzee's dread, he saw the soldier standing over Kilena, mace raised high.
If the soldier had stuck his opponent down there and then, it probably would have been the end for Kilena. As fast as Ohanzee was, he was too far away from the Syrean guard to reach him in time. However, the soldier paused for a fatal moment to shout, "the Empire will stand forever!" By the time he had finished this declaration, Ohanzee was upon him. The soldier never knew what killed him before the pine marten stabbed him from behind.
While Ohanzee knew that he should check on his rescuer, his assassin instinct caused him to head for the beast in robes first. The robed creature seemed to have lost control of his legs, for he dragged himself through the snow using only his arms. As Ohanzee approached him, he began to panic. "Please, let me go! I'm only a simple monk!" the beast pleaded, "the imperials forced me to do this! You've already paralyzed me!"
Ohanzee stopped and stared at the wretched creature. "I do not kill monks," he said simply. The robed beast continued to drag himself away, muttering, "thank you, thank you…" However, as soon as he had gotten a safe distance away, he leaped to his perfectly uninjured feet. "Bah, you are a fool Ohanzee," the hooded beast growled, "the Empire will stand forever!" He took off down a side alley and disappeared from Ohanzee's sight. The pine marten inwardly cursed himself for being fooled so easily.
Ohanzee quickly returned to Kilena, offering his hand to help her up. "Thank you for your help. Are you hurt?" he asked, "we should get moving. If I know the imperials they have a second group in front of the inn." While he said this Ohanzee carefully examined Kilena. It was simply his assassin instincts that led him to assess each new beast he met in this fashion. Here assumed that she was a rebel against Syrea, since she had attacked the soldiers suddenly.
Kilena's green eyes flicked up and down Ohanzee, assessing him. He was obviously an assassin by the way he fought. She flicked her wrist and her stiletto slid back up her sleeve. "No, I am not injured." She motioned with her hand. "I haven't a good lay out of the land, as I am a stranger here. Like you, I am a fugitive, but my story is….complicated. Anyway, I suggest you lead the way."
Ohanzee found it too be a very strange coincidence that he had met a fellow fugitive assassin in a little village like Blackwater. Truly, whatever powers ruled from above had been with him today. Kilena's close To Ohanzee, Kilena looked like a far too young and pretty creature to be a trained assassin. But her prowess in combat he could not deny.
"It has been a while since I have seen Blackriver, my memories of it are vague," Ohanzee admitted. He looked up and down the narrow street in both directions, finally deciding to go the opposite direction the Syrean agent had gone. "If we follow this and turn right, we should come out on the main street that leads out of town," Ohanzee explained as he ran, "let's just hone we don't run into any…" Just before the pine marten could finish his sentence, a band of soldiers turned the corner he had intended to traverse. "...imperials," Ohanzee finished glumly.
Ohanzee turned back the way they had come to see another smaller group of Syrean guards led by the hooded beast. They were trapped out outnumbered at least eight to one. Ohanzee looked everywhere for another path to take, but their were none between the advancing walls of soldiers. Suddenly, the pine marten remembered one of his natural abilities. He looked at the simple wooden walls of the houses that lined the street and asked Kilena, "can you climb?"
Kilena knew that Ohanzee would be wanting answers as to who she was, but that could wait. Kilena muttered a low oath that was very un-maiden like when she saw the soldiers. She nodded sharply to Ohanzee, "Yes, I've been around woodland areas quite a bit." Kilena jumped and latched onto the wood of the house, using cracks and sometimes digging her claws into the wood to pull herself up. When she reached the top, she ducked low to avoid any arrows they might shoot. She pulled out two throwing knives for safety and then glanced around to see if Ohanzee was nearby. "Blast it." she muttered, not seeing him. Had she still had her trusty assassins around her, she could've made her way out, but as it was, sadly, they had all been ambushed and killed, she being the only one to survive.
As nimble as a squirrel, Ohanzee jumped up the side of a house and on to its thatched roof. Clambering up the sloped surface, the pine marten realized he was an easy target for the soldiers. He took a quick skip-jump to the side, narrowly avoiding a spear and two arrow's that thudded into the roof where he had been standing. "Either the imperials are getting better," Ohanzee muttered, "or I'm out of practice."
The pine marten was halfway down the other side of the roof when he remembered Kilena. Unlike Kilena, Ohanzee was a lone assassin. He wasn't used to having a partner. "By the hammer and the serpent," he growled, turning around. He went to the peak of the roof again and looked across the housetops until he had spotted Kilena. Knowing that any advantage of stealth was already lost, Ohanzee called for her to follow him. His only hope was that they could outrun the armored guards.
Hoping that Kilena was following him, Ohanzee ran down the opposite side of the roof from the street that was now filled with soldiers. When he reached the edge of the thatched slope, he found himself facing another narrow street. Without stopping Ohanzee went into a flying leap, completely clearing the small road and landing on the roof of the house opposite. Up ahead he could see that the organized houses ended, and the village split apart into a few small farms. He looked back for his companion once again, thrilled that the end was in sight.
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Ooc: is this one still open? I love writing long posts.
OCC: Sure, I actually wrote this when you said that you were looking to join an RP.
Kilena winced when she saw Ohanzee nearly get impaled by several arrows. She shook her head and threw several stakes at the soldiers killing one and maiming two. She leapt from roof to roof with agility and fell into rhythm behind Ohanzee. She bared her sharp teeth in a smile when she saw that they were going to make it. She drew a stiletto just in case and ran with it pressed against her wrist. She quickened her pace to catch up with Ohanzee and whispered urgently, "Where to now? We don't have to worry about them catching up. We're running light and they have armor."
Ohanzee was pleased to see that his new found companion was unharmed and well. Though he had only known her for a little while, he was already quite concerned with her well being. "Well, I was here in the north to meet a supposed client," Ohanzee explained, "but, it was obviously just a Syrean set up. The Empire has too many eyes." He continued running away from the little town, slowly changing his course for the southwest and Mossflower, the land he now called home. The Syrean soldiers began to emerge from behind the buildings in the village, but it was plain to see they couldn't catch up with the assassins.
Ohanzee was quiet for a second. All was silent except the soft thump of the runners' paws in the snow. "Those spies back there, they recited part a play I once knew. It was called The Shadow of Winter, an old Syrean play," Ohanzee finally said, "it reminds me a little girl I once knew, and I wish I could see again. But she is no doubt with the king, in the heart of my former homeland." He glanced back in the direction of Syrea sadly, as if expecting to see Einno Ohto, the Eternal City itself. "Curse you, Yert Rozden," he muttered to himself. Yert Rozden, meaning "born of hell," was a name given to Syrea's King Vadim by the people who hated him.
Kilena nodded and said, "I see. I have a hidden camp in a copse not too far from here. We'll have to ditch the soldiers first though." She gave Ohanzee a mock serious glare. "Language!" She turned her head back to Syrea herself and muttered, "Aye, may all the fiends from Dark Forest haunt you, Yert Rozden." Kilena pulled out three shuriken and jumped high in the air, turning 180 as she did so. She threw the shuriken and killed the last three pursurers, turned another 180 and hit the ground running, only slightly behind Ohanzee. She tapped his arm and pointed. "My camp is this way." And then sped off.
Ohanzee watched as Kilena eliminated the last of their pursuers. He was very impressed by the other pine marten's skill. "You are one of the best assassins I have ever met," Ohanzee said, "maybe even the greatest." He sped off after Kilena towards her hidden camp. "I have some questions that I want to ask you," Ohanzee said after a while, "but I shall wait until we reach shelter."
The Syrean assassin was quite pleased to have Kilena's help, but he was unsure of why she had helped him. He didn't recognize her as one of the imperial assassins, but a lot has changed since had been there. Ohanzee was relatively sure that she wasn't a spy, since they had already had him trapped. A spy wouldn't free him from a trap just to gain his trust.
Kilena stopped by a copse and walked into the middle of it. She bent down and pulled a bush to the side, saying, "It is not for nothing I am called the Silentdeath. You probably have not heard of the title, but it depends upon your interactions with Mossflower assassins." She revealed a hole and jumped in. She called up, "Make sure to plug the hole with the roots of that bush when you come down." She lit a lantern and revealed a rather spacious, abandoned mole home. Kilena pulled out some supplies and and set the on the table. She continued speaking when she heard Ohanzee behind her. "My title is Kilena Silentdeath. What's yours?" Kilena turned around and set some wine on the table with the bread and cheese before cocking her head to one side and winking one of her emerald eyes. "And no lies please. I just saved your life so I think I'm entitled to at least your name."
OOC: Is this still open?
If it says it's open, it's open lol.
Stella had been walking for a long time she was going to the Village to try and take out a few, she heard voices and she thought she saw somebeast disappear a short distance away. She listened carefully and tracked it to a bush and listened.
"My title is Kilena Silentdeath. What's yours?" Stella Gasped she had heard of her, in fact she was trying to find her.
"And no lies please. I just saved your life so I think I'm entitled to at least your name."
Okay, she had probably rescued some other assassin she needed to speak to her, it was a matter of life and death. Stella summoned up her courage and whispered.
Kilena Silentdeath are you there? I need to talk to you.'
Stella sat back and waited.
((OCC: Hey Stella, I would appreciate it if you used quotation marks when your character is speaking!))
Ohanzee stopped for a moment before following Kilena into her hiding place. This was a big step for him, trusting somebody other than himself. Assassins were trained against that sort of thing. But, he couldn't live his life like that. After this moment of thought he ducked into the hole and plugged it up with the roots as instructed.
"My title is Kilena Silentdeath. What's yours? And no lies please. I just saved your life so I think I'm entitled to at least your name."
"Ohanzee. Ohanzee Nightshadow," he answered simply, "though I can't be certain whether that was my birth-name, or one the imperials gave me." Ohanzee rather perked up at the sight of food. He hadn't gotten the chance to finish his meal in town, which was only the second worst thing that had happened today. The imperial ambush probably took first place.
"Kilena Silentdeath are you there? I need to talk to you."
Ohanzee froze in surprise at the new voice. The fact that this new voice knew Kilena was not comforting to him. Had he been lured into a trap? "Who are you?" Ohanzee said coldly, drawing one of his curved blades, "show yourself or I will find you myself." He gave a glance at Kilena, looking for an explanation.
Kilena made a show of sampling the food to show Ohanzee it wasn't poisoned. "Ohanzee Nightshadow, eh?" She tapped a dagger against her jaw, absentmindedly. "Nightshadow…it's a good assassin name. Sounds like an earned title to me, though. Much like Silentdeath."
Kilena heard the whisper and immediately flicked a stiletto into her other hand, pointing it at Ohanzee. Had he led someone too her? Was it all an elaborate trap to snare her, the Silentdeath? The very fact that this unknown beast knew both her name AND her title was rare...and dangerous. She glared back at Ohanzee, giving him a silent but defiant "No, I don't know who that is.". She slowly stood from the table, never taking her eyes off Ohanzee and said, "Answer the question. Who are you? How do you know me?"
More quietly, she hissed to Ohanzee, "If you are part of a scheme to capture or kill me, I'll make sure to kill you first, mark my words, Nightshadow." Her emerald eyes blazed cold fury and wicked danger. Her one-inch spikes on her knuckles threatened to punch a hole in the vittles but at that moment all she cared about was her own safety from the unknown past of this beast in front of her.
OOC: is someone going to take Stella if not then I can just curious!