Bonds of Freedom Prologue

Piercing wind swept through the quiet city. Residents of the elegant town took refuge in their homes. The dark sky loomed over the land, veiling the sculpted stone buildings. Lights littered the cobblestone streets, illuminating a safe path. A large clock towered above the rest of the white walled homes, visible to everyone, even those looming in the shadows. The second hand ticked faintly, bringing a constant noise to the otherwise silent area.

Another gust of wind passed by, the chill air penetrating her clothing. The cold nights never made her work pleasant. Despite the turning of the weather, she could not neglect her duties. To live the only life she chose to know. This was the last opportunity to complete them before returning home. Her orders were clear. Eliminate anyone who threatened his empire. If only the suppliers that went against her boss knew what fate was about to befall them.

Too late now.

She gripped the smooth hilt of her blade tighter at the sound of shuffling footsteps approaching. The textured grip wrapped around the base of her weapon rested comfortably against her gloved hand. There would be no second chances. The person walked into her view, but she remained still since he was still easily visible to the main streets. He drew nearer. She stood in the darkness, inwardly laughing at his pathetic state. The man swayed from side to side, occasionally reaching out to the walls for support. She moved from the shadows, falling behind her victim. She matched his clumsy steps, following his movement so not to alarm him.

The stench of alcohol wafted toward her, and she felt bile starting to rise in her throat. This was another reason as to why she hated such missions. They always reminded her how much she disliked drunken stupor.

However, it makes my job easier.

Aveline lifted the blade to his throat. Her free hand covered his mouth. He tried to pull away from her. Her heels dug into the ground to keep her body steady against his attempt to struggle. To regain control of the situation, she pierced his flesh. The man stilled. “You should have known better than to break your contract,” she whispered. “Honestly, did you think that my boss wouldn’t find out that you’ve been stealing his merchandise?”

His elbow swung toward her body. Aveline saw the movement a bit too late in her peripheral. She could not stop the blow now. Moving her entire body to the right, she dodged the blow. However, she had also lost her grip on the victim. There was no avoiding that. Turning her head around, she looked for sight of her target in the dark. A heavy body slammed into her, knocking her back. She bent her knees slightly and pushed against the unfamiliar weight, bringing the two of them to a standstill. He had a height advantage over her, but she had sobriety.

His body shook against hers as, a sign that he was folding against the pressure she was putting on him. Aveline took advantage of that, bringing her free arm to grip his throat. She pushed him against a pile of wooden crates, while squeezing his neck. His fingers clawed at her hand, but she held firm. He tried to gasp for air, but she continued crushing his larynx. The man twitched and tried to fight her off, but each blow continued to weaken. Bringing her blade to his chest, she pressed through his breastbone, relieving the pressure on his throat as she perforated his chest.

He fell forward. Aveline took a step backwards to bear the full weight of the corpse. She bent her legs to begin lowering the body to the ground. The muscles in her arms groaned from the unfamiliar weight.  Once he was on the cobblestone, she pulled the blade from his chest. Red began to spill from the wound.

Aveline pulled a black cloth from the pocket to her coat and cleaned the blade. Once wiped free of the red liquid, she sheathed the small weapon.

Aveline strode far from any of the places she had visited that night and into a house nestled in the darkness. Few dared to venture to the shady area. It was the perfect place for her to stay. She found herself standing in front of the entrance; her hands searched her pockets for the key. Upon finding it, she inserted it to the handle and turned the metal knob.

Finally, I’m out of the miserable rain.

Aveline closed the door behind her and lit a lamp. She took off her scarf, letting her hair lay flat at her side. On the desk, a creamy envelope rested. The red seal caught her attention. It seemed that there was no need for her to write the report after all. She picked up the letter and opened it. Scrawled writing filled a single page.

Congratulations are in order again. You did well in completing your tasks. I require your presence in Kerenth immediately as several branches have broken down. The rapid rate of deterioration is alarming. The King is plotting to destroy all underground operations. This must not take place.

A carriage awaits your arrival that will take you back to Kerenth. Once there, I will inform you of the additional details regarding your new post.

Aveline smirked. She grabbed the lamp that she had lit and moved over to the fireplace. She dangled the letter over an open flame. The fire caught the edge of the paper and began to creep upward. She tossed the blazing parchment into a pit of ash.

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