The setting sun cast dying rays into the thin forest brush, making the ground dappled with light through which only shadows could pass, like eerie remnants of ghosts.
Through said forest silently strode a sullen, unnaturally flame-haired boy, and beside him a somewhat shorter blonde-haired boy, his partner. Their black cloaks billowed around their ankles with the wind.
Their mission was simple; assassinate a city-goer who had acquired an important document was in need. Easy enough. It would be done within the next twenty-four hours.
The brush cleared and down a lush green hill, buildings could be seen, and lights glimmered faintly in the darkening sky. So as not to be noticed, the two men removed their cloaks and bundled the garments under their arms. Each wore traditional village clothing, allowing them to blend in once they reached the city below. It was a Friday night; the town would be most crowded at this time. They couldn't afford to be spotted.
All that could be heard was the shuffle of grass beneath their feet and the howling wind, mussing the boys' hair out of place. Crickets chirped plaintively.
Finally, after hours of silence, one of them spoke.
“Are you just going to be quiet this whole time?”
The red-haired man glanced coldly to his partner. “Is there any need for conversation?”
The blonde shrugged. “You really don't want to be here, do you?”
“No. I don't.”
“But why? It's your home. You should enjoy visiting.”
“I've never liked it here.”
“I don't understand.”
“If I'm caught,” the redhead hissed, temporarily silencing his alarmed partner, “this will be the end of me. If anyone here recognizes me-”
The blonde waved the thought away with a bony, undernourished hand. “They won't. You haven't been here in what- four years? You left everything at twelve, yeah? They won't recognize you. You've grown up since then.”
His partner paused calculatingly. “Possible. But there is one person who will undoubtedly remember me.”
“None of your business,” the red-headed man replied immediately, regretting he had ever said anything. “It doesn't matter.”
“I'm your partner. Anything you say is safe with me. Not like I have anyone to tell, but...”
The taller of the two was silent for a moment, turning his cold, emerald gaze towards the city lights, which glimmered brighter and brighter as they neared the town; the gates were just minutes ahead now, and the benevolent conversation of city-goers could be heard amidst cheery folk music.
“So? Care to tell me?”
Broken out of his thoughts, the redhead frowned and shook himself. “No. Not at all.”
“If you're sure. Because I-”
“Wakefield,” the other growled, clenching his pale fists at his sides. “That is enough.”
“Whoah-ho.” The blonde raised his hands, palms open. “It's all good. All good. No need to get snarky. And no need to use my full name, either... you know 'Wake' is fine...”
“For the time being, I am your master. You will continue to listen to me until you are paired with an apprentice. And by the looks of your progression, that may be a while.”
“Hey, I just joined a few months ago! Cut me some slack. Just because you're a year older than me-”
“I,” the redhead declared, his tone arrogant, “am the youngest to ever be in the highest ranks of the Tyne Or.”
“A year after joining?” scoffed his partner.
“Yes. At only sixteen.”
“Okay. Now you're just bragging.”
A hint of a smirk crept onto the redhead's pale, alabaster face. He said nothing as the two of them entered the city gates, greeted by the hustle and bustle of inhabitants. A festival was going on; about what they hadn't been informed of, but it was certainly loud. They could barely hear each other amid the good-natured shouting and hollering that was going on, in addition to the deafening music.
So as not to attract needless attention, their movements sly, the two of them checked into their hotel room- small and ratty it was- and discarded their black cloaks on their beds. The blonde slumped tiredly against the far wall, his amber eyes drooping with sleep. The taller man stood standing, staring out through the window, his gaze glazed over and unfeeling. Though other members found this habit unnerving, Wakefield had gotten used to it. He was this man's apprentice, after all; he figured the two of them might as well get used to each other, get along.
Which, he had soon learned, was a very hard thing to do.
This man was mysterious, hard to read; features that Wakefield found very frustrating. In addition to this, the redhead was calculating, cold, and power-hungry. Well, now that he thought about it, how else would he be in the highest ranks, as it were, at only sixteen?
But that was besides the point. There was so much unknown about this man, and Wake just happened to be one of those people who wanted to know as much as possible about everything and anything.
Aside from his outer appearance- his wild, unnatural crimson hair, his shocking, feline emerald eyes, his extremely thin, muscular physique, and his somewhat gangly, towering height, Wakefield knew nothing else about his partner. His past had been dark and troubled, yes, but he hadn't dared to inquire further. He hadn't seen the redhead at his full wrath, nor did he want to. He was frightening enough as it was.
Of course, they'd have to learn to get along eventually. Wouldn't they? They would. Of course. How could an apprentice and his master not get along? They had to find a way.
But then, by the way that man was glaring at him, he wasn't so sure...
This was going to be a long couple of months.