Berek stood up and loosened his shoulders. This will be nice and quick, just as Sobeil suggested. Berek made his way through the common hall of the tavern. Even though he was a Dwarf Berek had a light step and an uncanny ability to remain unseen, even in plain sight. A talent that served him well in the profession he had chosen for the pasty twenty summers.
He reached the foot of the stairs without a single patron noticing his passing and grinned to himself. Berek Throatslitter, that’s what they’ll call me, a name to put fear into the hearts of even the bravest and most secure Lords. No throat will be beyond the Throatslitter’s blade. Berek’s grin widened.
Berek began his ascent and when he reached the top there was a half rusted key sitting in the alcove behind the banister where Sobeil said there would be. Berek quickly retrieved the key and then drew one of his daggers while taking in his surroundings. The upper story of the tavern was dark and empty. The stench of woodsmoke from the common hall was stronger up here, though Berek rather liked the smell of woodsmoke. The hallway of the upper story was narrow and had four sturdy wooden doors to the left-hand side. To the right there were small windows looking out over a back alley strewn with detritus. There was no moon in the sky tonight so very little if any light shone in through the windows.
Berek made his way gently down the narrow corridor, careful not to step on any creaky floorboards. His dagger held ready to get messy. He stopped in front of third door and let out a slow breath.
Quick and brutal, that’s the plan.
He gently pushed the key into the lock and turned it slowly. The door unlocked with barely a sound, another of Berek’s talents honed over the decades. He did not bother to remove the key from the door as it was too risky and unnecessary.
Taking three deep breaths to psych himself up Berek burst into the room to see a rather large form stir from the bed next to the door.
Oddly large for a mage thought Berek but he did not have time to muse on it.
The figure began to rise but Berek was lightening quick with the dagger and it passed effortlessly into the Mage’s throat. The Mage let out a guttural whimper and knocked Berek to the side forcing him further into the room and he fell with a crash over some heavy armour that was on the floor.
Heavy armour? Since when do mage’s wear heavy armour?
The large figure was still shrouded in shadow as it swayed on its feet, hands trying to stem the torrent of blood gushing out from its neck. A few seconds passed in which Berek thought he had not done enough but at last the giant mage toppled backwards and onto the bed, this time never to rise again.
Berek picked up his knife which had fallen from his grasp when he fell over the armour. He examined the pile of armour and upon closer inspection ice began to flow in Berek’s veins instead of blood.
Noise from the hallway caught Berek’s attention.
‘Berek!’ it was Tis, back from whatever mischief it was him and Horvak were getting up to.
‘What are you...’ Tis’s attention was drawn to the dead mage. Only, it wasn’t a mage.
‘Berek you fucking traitor!’ Tis roared, the white of his human eyes clearly visible in the gloom. He let out a shout of rage.
‘Get up here now boys! Berek just knifed Titus!’
‘You’re going to die slowly for this Berek you fucking bastard.’
Tis drew his short sword and advanced on Berek. This was not good, not good at all. Berek needed to get out of here. Sobeil, that conniving little rat shit, he had set him up and Berek had played his part perfectly. With Titus out of the way Sobeil was now the number one.
Berek will survive this, he swore to himself. If only to see Sobeil roasted alive over a smith’s forge. Berek quickly threw his dagger at Tis, striking him point first in the shoulder which elicited a scream of agony from Tis. Berek felt no sympathy for Tis, he was a rapist of children and Berek had long wanted to hurt him. Berek quickly shouldered Tis out of the doorwar and hurled himself out of the second story window with a shatter of expensive glass.
The fall to the ground seemed impossibly slow yet not too soon the ground seem to rise up and punch the air from Berek’s lungs. It took a second or two to clear his vision of the stars that now twinkled in his peripheral vision. He picked himself up off the cold ground and brushed off some shards of glass. Being short and sturdy had its advantages. Looking up at the shattered window he saw Tis looking down at him.
‘I’m going to fucking kill you real slow you short arsed cunt!’ He shouted it through clenched teeth.
Berek simply replied by sticking up his middle finger at him before turning around to put as much distance between him and the tavern. Berek had to abandon all his possessions to the Highway. It made him sick inside that Sobeil would now likely claim his father’s knife, he should have kept it on him, the fool.
As Berek fled into the night he could hear the Boys exiting the tavern and begin tearing the village apart looking for him, though not one of them will find. By morning the village would likely be a smouldering ash pile. Berek felt little sympathy. Such was life in these parts. Though as he ran, he swore to all the Dwarven gods and even the gods of the other races that he knew the name of that he, Berek Throatslitter will one day glide his father’s blade across the rat faced Sobeil’s throat, nice and slowly.
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