As is most often the case with my targets, the Steltian Elyxis hadn’t been expecting it. He stood not ten bio away from myself, exposed in the narrow corridor of the alleyway we stood in. With a nervous darting of his eyes, he looked around and warily held his sword aloft as though he could and would slice the very air itself to shreds if it dared so much as shift. He took each step with only the most immeasurable concern belonging to one who had just been alerted to some unfamiliar presence, a presence most likely belonging to the assassin who now watched from the shadows.
Of course, it wasn’t some clumsy action or fatal mishap that had set him on edge. Such an act is for the amateurs. In my profession, I am an artist, each stroke performed with unequivocal mastery yet accentuated by an enviable ease. I perform every little detail of what I do with a purpose in mind. I sent the set of tablets crashing to the floor because I wanted to see the way he reacted to fear. It was my desire to find out which of his instincts would kick in first. Fight or flight? Honour or preservation? Surrender or run?
It would seem that, for now, honour had won out.
For the time being I lurk here on the shadow’s edge, just out of his sight and yet always present. He knew I was here. He would know me as the shiver down his spine, always there yet never quite detectable. I was at one with the shadows, letting its claws envelop me until I was no more than a conscience resting in the dark void.
Now, I’m well aware that it’s a cruelty to taunt one’s prey like this. But how can I resist? I thrive on the electric tang in the air that fear, and only fear, can conjure up. That waiting tension, the atmosphere of uncertainty as the Steltian sends out a searching eye for his predator, leaves a sweet aftertaste in the mouth. As the prey expels fear, I gorge upon it. It’s mine to consume and devour until I have had my fill and finally relent with a swift and merciful blow. I suppose if anything, they should be thanking me.
I don’t know who this Elyxis is or why they have to die. This fleeting interaction in the rivers of time is the only point in which our paths will cross, in which our lives will mingle. His will be extinguished and I will continue mine as free to roam the world as ever. And frankly, that’s how I prefer these matters to remain. My client had attempted to relieve their guilty conscience by explaining to me why this target had to die. I had held up my hand and silenced him. The only information I need to convince me to join a side is just how heavy the buyer’s purse is.
Elyxis finally sighs and lets his guard drop. I close my eyes and count to ten, controlling my breathing and letting my mind clear into the form of a cloudless night. There will be no distractions. I will let my mind be mine and mine alone, never allowing my emotions a moments purchase. My feelings have no place in this business. They have no place in my life.
My prey’s eyes widen as the shadows unfurl from around me, unveiling me to the light. He raises his sword again in a vague attempt at defence (From what? My vision?) but it was too late. I had already predicted his action and a well-aimed throwing knife saw to his grip on that hilt. The sword clattered to the floor, drowning out the obscene curses as he cradled his hand to his chest. He looked at me with eyes of fear. I looked at him with the eyes of a killer.
The tension provoked by my first warning had fed me well, but now came the feast. This was the part of the job that delighted me most, this one moment where the prey understands the predator has come for him. “What will you do?” I whisper.
The Steltian gasps and stumbles backwards. I have presented him with the very same decision once more. The choice was his now but I know the outcome will always remain the same. His fate will belong to me. With a cool gaze, I advance forwards, unsheathing two more blades as I march.
Fight or flight?
Each step I take echoes in the still night air.
Honour or preservation?
His eyes glance from the lifeless blade to the hungry darkness behind him.
Surrender or run?
The decision is made. He runs.
With a bitter laugh, I follow.
Edited by The Tolerable Automaton, Feb 24 2013 - 07:52 PM.