A dark figure concealed in a cloak let himself into a shadowed room, closing the door behind him. A small lantern on a table in the center did little to illuminate the room. It did, however, reveal most of the face of a man sitting close by. He was not quite middle-aged, with a full beard and a weary expression on his face. A very quiet conversation followed the entrance of the cloaked man.
"Does anyone know you came to see me?," the man in the cloak did not sit down, though there was a chair across the table.
"No. I followed the instructions in the ad. Not sure I'd want my family knowing anyways- they're like most folk- don't trust magic."
The man in the cloak turned away then, and the light of the lantern caught his profile. A forlorn expression played on his features.
"They're justified in doing so," he said softly.
"What was that, sir?"
The cloaked man turned back to his guest, once again shrouded.
"Never mind. Have you thought that it might be dangerous, coming here?," he said.
"Mister, you know how it is these days. Dangerous going most anywhere. There's something unsettling folk, makin' 'em question the Queen's silence. Something brewing."
The cloaked man made a small noise of acknowledgement.
"Ne'er mind that, eh, I believe you promised information through your ad. Magical protection, if I may be so bold as to remind you."
The cloaked man stepped closer beside his seated guest, slipping a piece of parchment from the folds in his cloak. He showed it to the other man.
"This is the cause."
"That?," he stared, incredulous, "is this some sort of joke? That's a-"
He stopped speaking and let out a small gasp. A knife protruded from the bearded man's chest, and he looked at it in disbelief. His eyes followed the hand at the hilt and up to its owner.
The cloaked man pulled his dagger from the man's chest, causing his body to slide out of the chair. He wiped his blade clean, sheathed it, and slipped off his cloak. Stepping into the light, he laid the cloak over his victim.
The lantern's light now exposed the killer's rusty hair and cast shadows on his pale face, making his brown eyes look nearly black. He was young, too young to have killed a man.
"Last one," he whispered to himself, stepping over the body and closer to the lantern.
The rust-haired man started mumbling an incantation and the lantern blew out. The glow of the candlelight was replaced with an eerie red glow. A sudden wind rushed into the room, howling incessantly. As soon as it started, the chanting stopped. Darkness came in through every crack.
The red-haired man was swallowed by the darkness before it scattered. He stood there, only a silhouette in the absence of the red glow. After several seconds, he lit the lantern once more and left the room.
A small breeze stirred the room, and a corner of the cloak lifted. The corpse had been reduced to a skeleton.