Before the Storm By Amelia Capretta

I whip my head around as I see the glint of metal reflecting the sunlight. I thrust my own blade forward to block his. He stumbles and I take the opportunity to push him to the floor.

“Told you” I whisper mockingly in his ear.

“Oh, I know, I just wanted to talk to you”

“What about?” I ask, eyebrows raised.

“A job,” he pauses, “from an anonymous employer.”

“Interesting, I'll take it.” I turn to leave, but I can tell that Sam is still watching me.

“What?”

“They asked me to do it with you”

“This keeps getting better” I grin, “meet me in the southwest tower at 12:30”

As I walk people turn away, or decide that they have something much more important elsewhere. I enjoy it, it means they know what I’m capable of doing, what I am.

I enter my room and lock the door behind me. I check the windows just to be sure, they are more than a few people who would like me dead. I uncover my favorite dagger from its’ place beneath my pillow and begin to sharpen. I don’t know what I’m up against or even if weaponry is required, but it's better to be prepared.

I enter my room and lock the door behind me. I check the windows just to be sure, they are more than a few people who would like me dead. I uncover my favorite dagger from its’ place beneath my pillow and begin to sharpen. I don’t know what I’m up against or even if weaponry is required, but it’s always good to be prepared. I braid needle sharp pins into my medium length silvery blue hair and tuck it under the black hood connected to my dark cloak. I strap twin daggers to my legs, and a long sword onto my back. As I walk out the door I slide a few throwing knives into a concealed pocket on the inside of my cloak.

The near empty hallways provide a peaceful quiet to my sensitive ears. The clock tower strike 12:30 and I quicken my pace. I slowly pull open the door to the tower and climb up the steps.

“Hello” Sam says.

I’m caught by surprise and I almost punch him in the face, “Shoot, you startled me!” He shrugs and leans in to kiss me. I return the gesture and then pull away slowly.

“So, what’s this job then?”

“Someone wants Lord Starly dead”

“Ohh, an important one. This'll be fun” I open the window behind me. “I assume you have a plan”

“The guards switch at 1:45, they're gone long enough to slip in the maid’s entrance and they're all off work today”

“Lucky us, a bit too lucky don't you think”

“And when has a little lord’s defense ever stopped you?”

“Nothing is too difficult for the…”

“The Great Assassin of Wendlyn” he says in a mock royal voice.

I roll my eyes and climb onto the window sill. Placing my hands on the century old stones. Sam climbs out after me and loses his footing. I lose focus and my hand slips leaving a long red scrape along the palm of my hand. Keep it together! You’re an assassin. Oh god, why did I let myself fall in love.

After a short walk to the center of the city Sam and I approach the back of Lord Starly’s estate.

“In three, two, one, now” Sam points at the metal door as the two, heavily armed, guards move from their position.

“Let’s go” I whisper shout. We make our way to the door and pull it open. Sam closes it behind us.

The kitchen is in fact empty. The pots and pan neatly on shelves and every surface literally shining. We make our way through the house.

“Did you hear that?” I pull out my dagger. I turn to Sam except he's not there. A cloth is placed over my mouth. I black out.

Where am I? What happened. Sam! Where's Sam. I struggle to escape the bindings around my wrists and ankles. A man in a dark mask emerges from the darkness. “No use struggling”

“Really? I ask raising my eyebrows. Breathe, you've done this a million times. This is what you spent all these years training for, “Well, why am I here?”

“We are here to protect the lord.”

“Oh, how exciting!” I give him a wicked grin. “So, would you kindly untie me, I promise not to come near Lord Starley ever again.”

“It's not that simple. We will make you pay for what you've done”

“Worth a try”

I move my eyes around the room scanning for any sign of Sam. “What about my companion? Where is he?”

“Sam Terence is to be used as a,” he pauses. “A bargaining piece.”

I keep my face in a perfect mask of disinterest, but I'm screaming inside. If they hurt him, I swear, I SWEAR, I will kill every last one of them. I hear a scream in the distance.

“What are you doing to him?” I ask. It takes so much willpower not to rip out his throat as he sticks his face in mine.

“None of your business”

I hear Sam scream my name. I have to do something! I reach for the pin at the bottom of my braid swaying my hair toward my awaiting hands. It takes too long, but I eventually get it. SNAP

I launch myself toward the man and take him down in seconds. I throw my twin daggers toward the two approaching guards. I don't turn to see if I hit them and I don't really care. I'm coming for you Sam.

Sam grins, but I can tell he's in pain. His eyes focus on the door behind me. They widen and his mouth opens,

I'm grabbed by the waist before he can warn me. I kick and scream like a wild animal. I'm tied to a chair and my weapons are taken all except the concealed one in my cloak. The men approach Sam. A new man says, “Tell me where Wendlyn’s assassin keep is or we kill him”

“I'm not worth it Celena” Sam shouts at me. His eyes are as big as a full moon. I can see the panic too.

“Don't do it! Let him go! Take me instead” I beg.

“Celena! Pull yourself together!” He makes quick hand signs, the language of the assassins. Let them kill me and bring back an army, avenge me.

“I don't have time for this. Just kill him” the man says.

I’m picked up by the shoulders and dumped out the kitchen door. It slams behind me. I stand up and run. I don't care what I hit. just need to get away. Anywhere but here.

***

I throw my door open. I don't check the windows or lock the door. I just fall face first onto the bed and I cry. I cry until I no longer can and it's at this moment I know what I'm going to do. I will avenge you and I'll do anything it takes. I'll do it for you. No more pity parties. I stand up and head straight the Arian’s office.

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