Sythril stepped onto the rocky overhang just as the moon floated above The Mountains of Teslanar. Maybe he had overestimated himself, after all, killing a king was no small matter, especially when this particular king happened to preside over the most powerful empire the world had ever seen.
Shaking his head to clear his doubt, Sythril jumped down the overhang and easily landed the forty foot drop, well inside the king's property. He smirked. The king's defenses were more than enough to keep out normal men but since when had Sythril been normal? Silently, he crept through the lord's outer courtyard keeping well out of the the torch lights the sentries carried as they did their nightly rounds.
Prowling through the shadows Sythril reached the first of the four towers circling the inner wall. Gathering his strength he leaped twenty feet in the air and managed to grab the lip of the first level window. Heaving himself onto the sill Sythril balanced on the balls of his feet. Taking a deep breath he reached outwards with his mind and found the sphere of energy hidden within his thoughts. Carefully, he entered the sphere and accessed his weapon, one well known across Tol' Solie, from within his cerebral arsenal he withdrew The Cardinal's Shield.
The familiar tingle of energy ran through his arm as the fabled shield formed in his hand. Few people had the power he possessed. Those who did were called magicians, ruler's of the arcane. For a time they were tolerated in the cities of Tol' Solie but ordinary men and women began to fear them and their powers. Soon, riots broke out in the street. The people grew more afraid of magic, they knew how to kill with a sword or a spear in honest combat but when they saw magicians taking down legions of men with naught but a few words, then even the boldest of men would drop his weapon and run. Thus, magicians were banned from the cities of Tol' Solie. Doomed to roam the barren chasms between cities. This was where Sythril had grown to manhood and perfected his forbidden practice.
Grasping the jet black leather handle Sythril put one of the spikes on the shield to the glass and soundlessly cut a hole through the window.
Slipping through the hole he landed in the well lit halls of the king's servant's quarters. The lustrous quartz walls almost blinded him as they reflected the light from the bronze lantern hanging at intervals along the hall. Silently, he padded his way down the velvet carpet which adorned the floor and through the hallway until he found the door leading to the servant's lounge. Smiling Sythril strode through the portal and was met by the surprised stares of a dozen servants, all wearing their traditional black and white aprons. Sythril eyed their clothes, taking a mental note of them, they would be important for the second part of his plan.
With a single bound he closed the distance between him and the servants. Holding his shield to his side he swung in a wide arc cutting through the necks of the first four servants. Taking another bound Sythril turned his elbow and struck the next servant in the cheek with savage strength sending him crashing into the wall ten feet away. Following through with his blow he turned and decapitated three more servants as they desperately scrambled backwards.
By this time most of the other men had drawn the daggers hidden within their clothes and, with a desperate cry, charged their attacker. Parting his lips in a vicious grin Sythril leaped into their midst and bisected his first few attackers with inhuman speed. Raising his shield, he blocked a knife as it raced to fulfill it's deadly purpose and returned the favor with a quick blow to the throat. Dodging another dagger, Sythril ducked behind his assailant and slung his arm around his neck, turning him to block the last three men who lunged forwards in a futile attempt to gut him. Their knives slipped into their comrade's chest, instantly killing the man. Throwing aside his meat-shield, Sythril quickly minced his few remaining enemies as they stared in horror at what they had just accomplished.
Finally, the room was empty, devoid of life. Sythril stood in the midst of the carnage. He began undressing, slipping out of his jet black tunic and tossing it aside he donned the white apron of the servants casting it over his angular head. His slit like eyes held a sense of malicious purpose. Sythril had not taken this job on his one volition. No, someone powerful enough to remain anonymous, even from him, had put him up to it for a certain something Sythril had been searching for for the last twenty three years. This certain something held the power to make him the most powerful warrior in the history of Tol' Solie. Once he had this...particular object he would be able to bring order to the world. He could bring peace, prosperity, perhaps the longest golden age Tol' Solie had ever known. Sythril had never known peace. He wanted no one to go through what he had experienced. That was why he must do this one thing, this one act of violence so unimaginably powerful that it would tear the nation into pieces. Slowly Sythril slipped out of the room leaving nothing but death behind him.
Closing the door softly he turned and again delved into the sphere of energy within his thoughts. Drawing upon his inner magical aspect he spread his hands out to his sides and cried, "Shadar Xythil!"
The hallway suddenly darkened as the words of power took affect. Sythril's shadow seemed to grow until it covered the entire hallway. Slowly, the wall of darkness churned and weaved itself into a mass of human shaped figures that steadily gained definition until a line of two dozen clones stood beside him. Reaching into his network of shadows, Sythril gave them the characteristics of the king's servants, what each of resembled, their likes and dislikes, even recent memories. Withdrawing, Sythril sent his servants to the main hall were they would be needed and, once they had dispersed, set off towards the castle barracks.
The trek from the servants room to the barracks was easy yet tedious. Many times he had to duck into an empty room to avoid being detected or silently murder the people who were quick enough to catch a glimpse of him. Finally, a tense and aggravated Sythril threw aside the most recent body who had detected him. Grumbling to himself, he halted outside the door. Did he have to go in there and kill all the guards? No! No more killing, there had to be a better way. Fumbling around in the language of power he finally muttered, "Uerthe"
A film of magic slowly encircled his body until it was if he was looking through a blurred window. On the outside of this bubble, Sythril knew he looked like the captain of the guard, a tall, muscular man with a block like face and only one arm. Grimacing, Sythril stepped inside the guard house and feverishly prayed for the real captain to not be there. To his surprise, and immense relief, he was not. The men who were immediately jumped to their feet and saluted. He stepped in, surveying the guards then growled with a commanding tone, "I have news that there has been a security breach in the outer wall. We need to double up on the perimeter and make sure no one goes in or out till i say so. Think you swine can handle it?"
Sythril was greeted by a loud "SIR YES SIR" from the men in the barracks as they quickly filed out into the night. Sighing, Sythril released the spell surrounding him and allowed himself a pleased grin. His diversion wouldn't last long but it would be enough to keep security out of his hair until he murdered the king. Sprinting back to the grand ballroom took only a matter of minutes this time for there seemed to be no one in the halls. As he neared the ballroom, Sythril heard the sounds of laughter and music, the signs of the king's anniversary party. A perfect time to plan an assassination, when all the lords from across the empire whether friend or foe were invited and all placed into one room. No one would possibly suspect an outsider when all the king's enemies were in the same place.
Striding down the side stairwell, Sythril entered the grand hall. The noise hit him like a physical blow, paralyzing him as his mind took in the cacophony of sounds surrounding him. Forcing himself to think, he took in his surroundings. He was standing in an enormous chamber shaped like a huge square. The walls were of marble and lavishly decorated with bright red banners bearing the royal crest . Sidled around the side of the party, Sythril caught site of a hallway to the far left of him.
Making a note of this as well, Sythril delved once again into the sphere of energy hidden 'neath the folds of his thoughts. Casting around, he found his trusty bow and summoned it to his hand. The next few seconds were a blur. Somewhere to his left, Sythril heard a man shout, "waiter!" Without turning, Sythril had shot him between the eyes. The crowd of people gasped and cried out as the man slumped to the floor but Sythril payed them no mind. He fitted and loosed an arrow at the king himself who sat on a mock throne encircled by a half moon table of his most prominent guests. The king shouted, "Rehvindr!" and Sythril's eyes widened as the word of power took affect and sent him and the arrow spinning backwards.
Sythril growled as he pushed himself out of the rubble of a destroyed table. He had not counted on the king being a magician, especially one strong enough to destroy his wards along with pushing him back. Casting his thoughts towards his shadows who were in the room this very moment, cowering behind tables like the body they impersonated would have, Sythril erased their identities and replaced them with his own. He watched as the shadows abruptly stood and walked to his side. Grinning, He launched himself towards the king, sending his shadows off to kill every other person of prominence in the room. His mysterious benefactor had ordered him to assassinate every other lord and lady as well as the king. Hating himself for it, he had excepted the condition and convinced himself it was for the greater good.
Drawing another arrow, he loosed it in the kings direction and was startled by the king's show of swordsmanship as he deftly flicked the bolt aside. Allowing the bow to disintegrate in his hand Sythril once again summoned his shield. It's spiked triangular form appeared in is hand and he quickly slashed at the high king's chest. Parrying, the lord struck back, forcing Sythril to avoid the deadly blade.
In this manner the two warriors fought, exchanging brutal blows as chaos reigned around them. Suddenly, Sythril flinched as one of his cerebral connections was severed. Realizing one of his shadows had just died. he shouted, "Favindr!" sending the king crashing down the marble hall. Sagging slightly, He turned and surveyed the battle now raging across the grand hall. The guards, having heard the commotion, had returned to fight Sythril's shadow's. Turning back to the king, he saw the tails of his cape slip around the corner and out of sight. Snarling, he lunged forwards and turned were he promptly stopped and stared dumbstruck as the the king drew an Arch-blade from his mind.
The Arch-blades were one of the rarest, most powerful swords ever created.They were crafted by the ancients and utilized one of the four elements found on Tol' Solie. In this case, the king's sword held a steely gray aura matching the description of ice. Slowly waltzing forwards, The king waved the huge blade in front of him. Suddenly, he struck the ground, sending a burst of icy spikes towards Sythril, intending to impale him. Nimbly stepping aside, he leaped forwards but was again driven back as the Arch-blade sped towards his throat.
Sythril, did not attack again. Instead, he and the king stood circling each other like rival cats, both seeking the best way to kill the other. Slowly, the sky brightened above as dawn broke the chaos of night. The rays of weak light filtered through the skylight over looking the two warriors and illuminating the glorious marble walls. Sythril's breathing slowed and his muscles, previously tense, now relaxed. This was the way he had won every one of his battles, by examining his options. He knew the Arch-blade was to long for him to get within striking range, he also knew that the Arch-blade was stronger than his shield, he would be hard pressed to over power it. That left Sythril with one option. Speed.
Moving faster than the eye could see, Sythril feinted left then spun right and raced forwards. The slate gray edge of the Arch-blade followed him as he sprinted towards the king's side. At the last moment, Sythril jumped sideways and watched as a line of deadly spikes raced by him, a hairs breadth away from slicing him in two. Leaping upwards, Sythril cleared the wall of ice separating him from his prey and with a roar, drove his shield downwards. As he anticipated, The Arch-blade was to big to move at a quick pace. The heavy stroke the king had dealt had left him unbalanced and with his guard down. Looking upon his victim, Sythril saw the king's face pale as he looked up. That was the last thing the king ever saw before his life ended. Extinguished by an assassin wearing an apron.
Sythril came down on top of the king. His shield had sliced through the lord's skull. Bile rose in his throat and he looked away quickly. Sythril's remaining shadow's, having dispatched all the guards and nobles in the area had returned to their master. With a quick word he dismissed them and stood shaking as physical and magical fatigue took it's toll. For a while he stood there, then, with a sudden movement, grabbed the Arch-Blade by the hilt. And added it to his arsenal. Turning, he walked out of the hallway, through the gore splattered dance floor, and out the main entrance. And thus, a new age came to pass and the sun rose into the sky to reveal the night's chaos.