《The House of Wolves》[The House of Wolves] - Obtaining the Seventh Mask

Aurelia couldn help but to think about the man named Ardos. Their discussion had lasted a mere thirty minutes but even now, two hours later, it remained plastered within her mind.

The two had discussed a variety of topics. From their respective backgrounds, to their roles within the city, and even more personal family related matters. He had been the one primarily asking the questions, and there were points when the conversation even felt like an interrogation.

But strangely, she didn particularly mind that. She didn needed someone to vent out too anyways, and while she had been hesitant, the unexpected conversation had provided some much needed relief. Additionally he was a good listener and when he did share things about himself, was very transparent in doing so.

What stuck out to Aurelia most though, was the way he spoke about his dreams. It reminded her of her brother and the way he asked her questions about the stories she told him, only in this case it was far more eloquent and sophisticated.

What remained constant though was the starry look they both had in their eyes whilst they talked about things like dreams. For Aurelia, simply getting through the day was what meant most to her. She didn care about ideals or fantasies or any of these far fetched concepts, but she did feel envious for those who could.

She had neither the creativity nor the individuality to strive for something so abstract, though she hoped for it, one day…ut not today, she told herself, a thought which made her feel isolated. As if she was a background character in an epic or a drama, forced to watch as those around her went through incredible experiences.

What I am thinking about? Side characters, dreams…I must be losing my edge. Remember, the main reason you even had that talk was for the money, nothing more. Now steel yourself and get back on task.

It took her a few seconds, but once she had gotten into her rhythm she was completely focused. Nothing could distract her now from her objective.

”Tch ” Aurelia said to herself in irritation.

Ardos had been the perfect target. No bodyguards lurking in the shadows, or multiple masked figures in sight, he had completely and truly been alone.

If only hed had a mask! Then I could have snatched it up and been done with this mess!

But now, it was nearly evening, and asked such the masked merchants had clumped up in groups in order to have actual financial discussions. Earlier on in the day, they walked around Bayronds square merely for the purpose of parading their new fashion accessories and to flaunt the wealth they had procured through their respective businesses.

But as dusk approached, the began to act with more maturity. Which made the job Aurelia had been assigned, ie, stealing masks…far more difficult. She had been scouring Bayronds square and even areas beyond, searching for vulnerable merchants she could steal from but she was consistently greeted with dissatisfaction.

She had been granted the assignment of collecting seven masks for a black market trader who had requested her to do the work for them. She had almost felt proud when the mans long bony finger and picked her out amongst the men Raymond had gathered to complete the job…until she remembered what she had been chosen for.

Im a thief…I must never forget that. My job is to kill and to steal for money, Aurelia reminded herself resolutely.

As she thought that to herself, she caught glance of a masked woman in the distance walking along the canal, wearing a mask in the shape of an owl and completely alone as well. Aurelia couldn believe her luck.

To think there was actually someone stupid enough to walk along a canal at this time of day without any sort of company or supervision astounded Aurelia, but also pleased her greatly.

After double checking to ensure that she really and truly was alone, she began to make her way towards the canal. She moved like a panther, her lithe body weaving its way across the tops of buildings and towers. She prided herself on being the most acrobatic employee Raymond had. Regardless, she held back a little when it came to the agile movement in order to avoid dropping the money Ardos had gave her.

And of course to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. It was unlikely that the preoccupied merchants who wandered around Bayronds square would have the observational skills to note anything in their surroundings beyond what was right in front of them, but one could never be certain.

As she leapt, she heard a piercing scream which instinctively pried her attention away from what she was doing. Directly across from her was a window stained in blood. She could barely make out the shop of a masked figure cloaked in black just like her, holding a curved knife above the body.

Come to think of it….Ive seen a lot of assassins here today? Aurelia thought. She had spotted most of them earlier on in the day, for reasons which were self explanatory. Most assassinations in this city took place amidst the streets, or in places away from this. Merchants being killed was certainly no surprise, as they were the main target of these violent crimes…but to kill one of the merchants of Bayronds Square, in Bayronds Square…was rather risky. And yet, this was the fourth time she had caught a glimpse of it happening today.

Perhaps theres some major event prompting this…, Aurelia wondered. But she could not continue that thought process because, as she had so conveniently forgotten, she was currently midair.

As a result of her carelessness she landed against the side of a clock tower with a sharp thud. She quickly wrapped her body around the side of the building, gripping the side of the tower with all her might.

Her entire body was required to be tense as she did this, for if she let herself become even remotely lax, her grip would come undone and she would go plummeting straight down. It didn help that the side of the tower was digging into her recently recovered injury, making it incredibly difficult to hold on.

Eventually, she was able to find a comfortable grip and held herself on the wall for a few moments, observing her surroundings. It would be difficult to make her way to the top or bottom of the tower in her current position, and she had to be very careful in doing so.

Goddammit! Am I really going to lose my target because of such an amateur mistake? she wondered angrily. But the more pressing matter right now was if she had been seen.Thankfully she had been quiet enough in her crash that she remained practically unnoticed.

Around the tower, fashionably dressed figures strode in clusters, discussing in shrill voices a variety of political matters.

She heard whispers of a
oble who arrived here today and some sort of debate; but the discussions were primarily centered around more worldly matters like the state of the mining, ongoing trades with people from different cities around the kingdom, and even some talk of political tension being sparked with the neighboring kingdom of Murgandiel.

I can let Alder get wrapped in all of that nonsense, Aurelia thought to herself.