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The Assassin's Redemption
The Assassin’s Redemption
In the year of 1236, the tyrannous Lord Jairon ruled the land of Tierena. He was a cruel and wicked man who ruled through fear and when the circumstances dictated it murder. The king while cruel believed in subtlety and had learned long ago the best way to dispose of his enemies was to do so silently and under the cover of darkness. To carry out his silent vengeance he employed an elite group of assassins. Of these men, one emerged more deadly and loyal than all the others. His name: Dracon Renoir. His profession: personal assassin for the king.
Dracon was a man of twenty five years of age. His hair was jet black. Jade green eyes showed sign of an ancient pain that would never go away. His hands stained a slight crimson color from the blood of his victims. While his existence had never been confirmed, he was the subject of legend among the commoners of the land, although it was not the kind of legend that one often dreamed of having told about him. He was despised and dreaded, all those who knew that he was a reality and not a legend could not stand the sight of him. Dracon spent his life doing the dirty work of his master Lord Jairon. He had slaughtered hundreds of people. He knew as sat in the dark cold dungeon of the king that when his time came no one would shed a tear for him. Truth be told, were his true identity to be revealed, the crowd would most likely cheer.
As he sat in the dark corner of his cell Dracon thought about the last mission his master had given. He’d gone with the king and his soldiers to the rebel town of Terion. Under the cover of night he and the king’s other assassins had captured those in the town who opposed Lord Jairon. The task was all too easy for a man like Dracon who had spent years attacking from the shadows some of the most deadly warriors in the land.
Rounding up a few political dissidents who knew no nothing of combat and stealth was too easy. After capturing his prey and their families, Dracon sent for his master. As the evil king strode into the room, his presence filled the air like a suffocating cloud of evil. The captives began to weep and beg for mercy. As Dracon stood beside his master he saw the wet eyes of a child clinging to his mother, how the way that the men gripped tightly to their wives and children.
Lord Jairon stood for a moment without a word then finally smirked and turned to Dracon, “Kill them all and do take your time, these men and their families will be an example to all people that it is most unwise to speak ill of their gracious king.”
The King walked out of the house where the captives were being held and waited for Dracon to complete his task. He enjoyed watching his enemies die, but he did not enjoy blood on his robes, his servants were never capable of completely getting rid of the stains.
As Dracon drew his sword, the image of all those he’d killed flashed before his eyes. The pain, the guilt, was overwhelming. He shuts his eyes in agony hoping that when he opened them again the specters of the past would have left his sight. As he opened his eyes he found that the faces of his previous victims had faded and were once again replaced with those who were about to become his victims. Dracon almost fainted and his hand began to tremble. He lowered his sword and stumbled out into the dark coming face to face with his master.
“I can’t do it.” he said.
“Do you not have the necessary weapons to make it slow; if you need I can send for more.” Lord Jairon replied.
“It’s not the weapons. I won’t do this anymore. For years I have shed blood in your name. The ghosts of innocents haunt my dreams. My soul cannot bear the burden of anymore needles deaths. The people I have killed. What has it been for? Your honor, so that people might fear you? I will not aid your agenda of violence any longer. I can’t kill a child just because his father spoke ill of you. If you feel these people deserve to die then stop being a coward and kill them yourself!”
“Dracon, you have been my most loyal servant for many years, I have cared for you like you were my own son. After all of my kindness, do you dare refuse my will? Let it be known that I am not without kindness, return into the house and finish the mission and I will forgive this distasteful display of conscience. If you refuse my grace then you will suffer along with these people.”
“No! I have done things that no person should ever do to other human beings. My acts of evil at your behest end tonight. I have enough blood on my hands to last fifty lifetimes. I will not kill these people.” As he said that Dracon tore the symbol of his master from the shoulder of his tunic and threw it on the ground.
“Very well, Dracon, you have made your choice and while I had hoped that you would see the error of your ways, I accept your decision, but know this you have saved no one. All you have done is forfeited your own life. Seize him!” the king shouted.
Before he could react, men had surrounded him and bound his arms behind his back. They had taken him back to the castle, tortured him, and thrown him into the dungeon. Dracon was now a prisoner in the dungeon in which he taken the lives of many who opposed the king as he did now. How long had he been here? Weeks? Months? Time had run together due to the weakness of both his mind and his body. As he sat in the corner of the damp stone room, thinking of his pending death he knew in his heart he was ready. He wanted desperately to be rid of this guilt that kept him up at night and the faces of those that lashed out at him from the grave. What made matters worse was that the men he was supposed to kill were imprisoned just a few cells down. Day and night he heard them weeping for their wives and children. Footsteps sounded from outside his cell. Keys jangled and the door swung open.
A guard stepped in and said, “Time to die, Dracon.” The guard unshackled Dracon and pulled him out the door of his cell. He was placed in a line with the other men and led down a tunnel, up the stairs of the dungeon and out into the courtyard. He and the other men were pushed brutally toward the most foreboding gallows he had ever seen. Dracon and the other men were paraded up the steps of the platform. The guards grabbed the ropes that stood before each man and place the noose around each of their necks. As the guard finished their work the executioner stepped up and tightened the noose of each man, grabbed the lever, and pulled. Klunk! Swoosh!
Before he knew what had happened, Dracon hit the cold, wet ground that lay below the platform. His noose had been cut and an arrow was protruding from the executioner’s head. A group of five men clad in all red from head to toe with bows slung across their backs moved towards Dracon and the other men. Grabbing his arm, one of the men pulled Dracon and they began to run with the other former prisoners towards the city gates. They passed through the portcullis of the keep as it came crashing down to the ground, barring the way of their pursuers.
The men in red led Dracon and the others down a deserted alleyway, opening a sewer grate at the end of the way. One of the men motioned for Dracon and the others to go down into the sewer. Dracon was disgusted, but then again things could be worse, he could be dead. The leader of their mysterious rescuers led them down a dark, damp tunnel, while the muffled sound of horses and soldiers above bounced off the walls.
After thirty minutes of running in the dark, the tunnel reached its end and dropped off into a river below. Before Dracon could catch his breath, the leader of his rescuers shoved him off the edge and into the icy cold river. The fall knocked the breath out of him and the icy water caused his entire body to become numb. Suddenly, one of the men was beside him, pulling him towards the shore. Dracon crawled onto the bank, taking in harsh, shallow breathes. He was all at once grateful to be free, but also exhausted both from his escape and his imprisonment. He did not know if he could go another step if he wanted to. This was not was a question that he had long to ponder as the man who brought him ashore pulled him up by his shirt and whispered into his ear, “There is no time for rest, they’ll be upon us any minute. We must hurry.” Somewhere in the distance, a dog howled. “There is no time we must move now!”