The Children of Promise

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Chapter 14

" Again.” Michel said. Sweat beaded on Karim’s brow. He hated this type of training; the level of exertion. He didn’t see the need as an assassin in waiting. It was success or death; nothing else mattered.

“Stop daydreaming” Michel shouted, snapping Karim back to the present. Karim fixed his eyes on the target: a strawman at the end of the training hall. Strung up on a spire between two other trainees, Karim exhaled, letting his body relax. Extending his right hand, he pointed his rapier at the target before is eyes. In an instant, he sprung past the two trainee’s, burying his rapier in the chest of the strawman. It erupted in azure light, the straw crackling as it combusted.

The trainees, slow to react to his speed, turned in an attempt to stop his attack. Turning to his left, Karim drew the pistol from his side. “Cri” he whispered as he fired. Without a sound, the bullet left the gun’s chamber covering the trainee in white dust. There he remained, unable to move. Hearing the step of the trainee behind him, Karim flicked his wrist, removing the blade from the burning doll. “Espir” he whispered. Condensing from the air, azure energy wrapped around his blade before firing into the trainee’s chest. The trainee parried the blast, its power knocking him off his feet. “Cri”

Now he too was frozen.

“Better.” Michel said. “But you need to aim your shot to kill. Leaving a live target makes for messy escapes.”

“It’s practice sir.” Karim replied. ” I really don’t want to hurt my clan mates.”

Michel chuckled. ” These clan mates will be the same ones that will hunt you if you fail a mission. Stop worrying about others and think about yourself. Your first mission is coming up soon. You know that...”

“I know.” Karim cut him off, holstering his gun. Sheathing his sword he turned to Michel. ” Are we done for the day sir?”

“Yes. Practice again at dawn. ”

He walked out the far end of the hall, feeling the eyes of the rest of the trainees follow him out. I still don’t fit, Karim thought to himself, his eyes struggling to adjust to the darkness around him. No matter what I do, I won’t ever fit.

The grass rustled underneath his feet, the clearing rang with unseen life. Karim’s mind wandered, doing anything to quell the thoughts he was having. He had spent the time and done the work. Not one rule was broken, his excellence could not be denied. But, some stains, never come off. It was unfair, and uncalled for but the toll demanded payment, and it could only come from him.

Karim wished he could question him. Ask him why he did what he did, but speaking to the dead was another clan taboo. His memories of him had all faded, some by time, others by anger. Karim held on to what he was told, the invoice of the debt he now owed to those who took him in. He was a traitor, a treasonous man bent on destroying the clan and all it stood for. The same man who tucked him in and kissed his forehead every night.

Why dad? Why didn’t you kill him?

.............

Mathieu entered the training hall from the back . ” If I didn’t sense it was you, we’d be fighting.” Michel said.

“I let you sense me. No need for me to be beat you senseless.” Mathieu replied. Michel returned to cleaning the hall for the next day.

“How was the athem at practice today?”

“He was good.” Michel replied. “Unfocused as always, still doesnt have the killer instinct. But his natural talent. He’s perfect for the job.”

“Let’s hope it happens as we planned. We’ll only have one shot.”

“It’ll work. He wants to prove his worthiness after all.”

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