New release and excerpt: Dark Assassin — an Andovia Chronicles short story

This week I have another new release called Dark Assassin – a short story set in the world of my Andovia Chronicles. You can get it here on Amazon. This story features Nyx’s long long sister, Niamh, who’s been sent to kill her.

Excerpt from Dark Assassin

Niamh Taliesin knelt in the Temple of Blood and bowed her head. This place had terrified her when she had first been brought here as a child. All hard stone and torture devices. Now it almost felt like home. Well, the closest thing she could remember to having a home, anyway. The Order Of Blood didn’t just kill people, they were masters of torture and espionage as well. Although Niamh had no care for that stuff. She was a mind whisperer. Her gift allowed her to compel others with a single touch and hear their thoughts.

The circular room spread out around her with grey stone walls and an array of unoccupied seats for the other leaders. Torches flickered on the walls, casting dancing shadows around the draughty room.

Her long blonde hair fell over her face and the coldness from the flagstone floor seeped into her knees. She hated bowing before anyone. I’ve been with the order since I was ten years old. You would think after eight years, I wouldn’t have to kneel anymore.

“We have a new mission for you,” her mentor, Master Oswald, told her. “You’re to travel to Andovia and track down the servant of Darius Valeran. Her name is Nyx Ashwood—she is a winged fae. You need to make this mission quick and clean. Once you’ve killed her, leave the realm. Her connection to a Valeran may cause problems.”

Valeran… the name of the Archdruid’s family. Everyone in the upper realm and beyond knew that name. Interesting. Why would anyone want to kill a servant?

She looked up and met his gaze. His grey hair and beard were short and trim. His washed-out blue eyes fixated on her. His weathered face and imposing demeanour had frightened her as a child. Now he looked old and frail. One day she would take his place in the Order and have the power and respect she craved.

Niamh didn’t bother asking questions. She knew better than that. Why someone wanted another person dead wasn’t her business. Besides, Master Oswald would lash her if she dared to question him again. She had learned that lesson the hard way after spending the last eight years training with him.

“I’ll be in and out of the realm in a day or two.” Niamh rose.

“Be careful on this one. Do not attack her when she is with the Valeran. From what I hear, the druid is quite attached to her. That is why you will need to be extra careful.”

Niamh waved her hand in dismissal. “It’s not my first mission. You taught me well.” She flashed him a smile. “What kind of power does this girl have?”

“She’s a former slave and her abilities are unknown, but I have heard she only has minimal power.”

That meant an easy mission then. Good. She was tired of being cooped up in the temple all the time. She craved being able to travel again and see more islands around the lower realm.

Master Oswald held out a bundle of parchment. “These are the details of your mission. I don’t need to tell you what will happen if you fail.”

Niamh had to refrain from rolling her eyes. The price for failure would mean certain death. No one lasted in the Order for long if they failed to complete a mission. She never failed and she wasn’t about to start now.

 

Niamh headed off to the chamber to gather the weapons and supplies she needed.

It would take a day or so to travel from the Elven lands of Ereden but first, she had to find a ship. She didn’t understand why Oswald had been so anxious about this mission. She had gone after kings, lords, and anyone else that the Order viewed as a threat. Not always to kill them. Sometimes just to spy on them and get whatever information the Order needed. A servant would be child’s play for her.

One thing did concern her, though. Why would a Valeran care about one servant? Servants would mean nothing to them.

She took out her best knives. Blades were always something she loved and she took pride in her collection. She included some throwing knives, daggers, and other weapons in her pack, along with some poison. Oswald wanted the job done clean and quick. Poison didn’t leave traces the way weapons did. Not if you used the right poison anyway.

She eyed her crossbow. Another favourite of hers. This was a straightforward kill so she doubted she’d need it. Or maybe she would take it anyway. Perhaps she would find some time to do some hunting whilst there.

Niamh changed out of her leathers into a plain tunic and trousers. Dark travel clothes. She pulled a hood over her head and tucked her hair underneath it. She had a mask too and would put it on once she reached the dock. Keeping her appearance hidden was one of the first things she learnt from the Order.

It felt good to leave the temple and get back out into the real world. The Order had sent her on a mission almost a month ago and she didn’t do well being cooped up with nothing to do.

 

 

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