Shadow Dagger Ch. 01byaustin_erotica©
This story begins my epic fantasy series. I am a huge fan of fantasy and I finally decided to write my epic. I tried at first to write a simple story but my brain wouldn't let me. So I have an outline of where I want to go with this series. I did a massive edit as I originally crammed too much information into this first chapter. So bear with me if you don't understand every aspect of this world. Everything will be explained in due time. Please leave me feedback so I know I am on to something. Enjoy!
The guard slumped to the ground noiselessly. Jon stepped over his limp body and grabbed the doorknob. He put his ear to the door and held his breath. Silence. He nodded his head and reached down to his right side. His dagger was as silent as death as it slid from its sheath.
The blade was darker than the shadows in the hallway. The blade wasn't just black; it was as though the metal was devoid of light. It was as long as his hand and the grip, as always, felt as though it always belonged in his hand. He set the tip of the blade against the door. A silver light began to shine slowly from the base of the blade as it wound its way up, tracing intricate patterns along the way. The blade flashed brilliantly for a split second and then darkened.
Where a second before the blade was as black as pitch, seven silver runes were now etched along the length of the dark blade. It looked like the blade held room for a few more runes. Jon nodded to himself and removed the blade from the door. The silver runes faded fast.
It looks like he has the room heavily warded; to the 7th tier, no less. He should know my reputation by now. What was the point?
Shaking his head, Jon brought the dagger up over his head and drove it into the middle of the door. There was no need to be subtle; he was Magi Victus and when someone was marked, they knew it was coming. The runes on the dagger flashed brilliantly.
Instantaneously, silver runes that covered every inch of the door burst into life. The dagger darkened but the door continued to shine brighter as the runes flared.
Jon watched with fascination as his eyes drank in the light. Magecraft was a thing of beauty. It held the power to reveal sights and colors never glimpsed in the dullness of reality. The runes flared even brighter but Jon did not look away, even though his eyes watered and tears streamed down his cheeks. All too soon it would be over. But for these brief few moments Jon's soul sang in harmony with the flashes of power. Cracks appeared suddenly in the midst of each individual rune. The dagger appeared to grow even darker, if that was possible.
The runes on the door faded slowly. Silver bled into gray and finally into black. The runes reversed in on themselves and flowed toward the greater darkness in the middle of the door. The light disappeared from the empty hallway. It was quieter than before, as if darkness held sway over sound as well as light. Sighing, Jon pulled the dagger from the door and sheathed it back on his hip. He turned the doorknob and swung open the door.
He braced for an attack but was disappointed. Across the bedroom the balcony door was open. The night's breeze fluttered the curtains and the robe of the man standing with his back to Jon. He entered the room silently and closed the door.
The man did not turn to face him. He continued to stand with his hands behind his back as he gazed out into the night. He was a tall man, from what Jon could make out in the dim light cast by the moon. He had broad shoulders and shoulder-length hair. He wore only a deep blue robe that continued to flutter around his feet.
"Braxus Marridon, mage of the 7th tier of the Order of Magi, nobleman and warrior, counselor to kings and queens, you have a death-mark placed on your head. I am here to collect," Jon spoke into the stillness of the room.
The mage finally turned. His face was hard and weathered. His hair was dark with white streaks on the sides. His goatee was mostly white with some splashes of black and was kept neatly trimmed. He was a man of impressive stature. Blue eyes glinted coldly from the shadows of his sockets as he stared down his would-be assassin.
"I trust my guards are still alive?" His voice was gentle and not what you would expect from a man of his presence.
"The Magi Victus have very specific targets, as you should know," Jon replied coldly. The mage continued to stare at him with absolutely no trace of fear. Jon sighed and said, almost apologetically, "I am an assassin, not a butcher. Your men are unconscious, nothing more."
The mage nodded his thanks. Some unknown tension seemed to drain out of him. He even smiled. "That was some impressive work," the mage said, nodding to the door behind Jon.
"I hope you are not thinking about putting up a fight?" Jon replied.
The mage's shoulders sagged and he suddenly seemed a man twice his age. He looked at the door and whispered, "Why would I bother? I have already failed in my duty. The King will-"
He looked up and his eyes widen in surprise. Jon was standing right in front of him, his dagger barely an inch away from his chest. Braxus' gaze had flickered toward the door for only a fraction of a second. "Incredible," the mage said, his voice filled with awe.
Jon shoved his dagger home. Silver runes flared momentarily as the dagger met magical resistance. Protective runes glowed all over the mage's body for the split second it took for Jon's dagger to break through the enchantment and drive through his chest. The mage spit out blood and collapsed over Jon's arm. He removed the dagger and the mage's body slumped to the floor.
Jon squatted down next to the mage's head as blood gurgled out of his mouth.
"I thought you said you weren't going to put up a fight?" Jon whispered.
"I...thought...I...should...at least...try..." the mage gasped. He smiled a red smile.
The corner of Jon's lip twitched up in what could have been a smile. "Graf's 7th Tier Spell of Protection...impressive," he told the dying mage.
A glint of pride shone from the mage's eyes and then quickly faded as the glossy film of death descended down. Jon reached down and checked his heartbeat for an entire minute. Satisfied, he closed the mage's eyes.
"Of course," he whispered, "I have penetrated better spells...but still, it was quite impressive. May you know peace, Braxus Marridon of the 7th Tier."
A strong breeze blew the curtains into the room for a moment and then abated. The curtains floated gently back to the wall. There was no living presence left in the room.
Jon stood atop the seawall and closed his eyes to the strong sea breeze. His dark cloak fluttered out behind him and pulled at his neck; he didn't mind. He knew life was full of aches and pains so he took what peace he could when he could.
A lesser man would have never heard the silent approach of a dark-clothed stranger upwind along the seawall. But Jon Laurent was not a lesser man. Still, he gave no sign that he was aware of the stranger's presence. He took one last moment of peace from the sweet tang of salt on the air before he broke the silence.
"It is done," Jon said, without ever turning to face the stranger.
"I know," came the cool reply.
Jon hid a smile. He knew the man was perturbed that he had been sensed. Always testing me, aren't you? You will find no chinks in the armor I wear. Greater men than you have tried.
Jon finally turned to face the man. He was clothed exactly like Jon; dark tunic and leggings, supple black leather books, and a dark cloak. The hood of the cloak was pulled up to shadow his face. In short, it was the perfect clothing to sneak about under the cover of Mother Night. At least on most other nights, Jon mused as he glanced up at the full moon.
"It was a flawless kill...as always," the man said, bowing to Jon sardonically.
Jon made a slashing gesture with his hand, his mood suddenly dour. "Enough, Sanje" he whispered.
The stranger, Sanje, pulled down his hood to reveal a boyishly handsome face. His light brown hair blew across his face from the strong breeze. His eyes were so dark they were almost black. His face was clean shaven; Jon doubted if one hair had ever sprouted on that dimpled jaw.
As always, Jon was amazed that this boy had risen to the rank of Master Victus. Technically speaking, Sanje commanded Jon. Sanje was wise enough to know if he ever tried to command him, it would be the last thing he ever did.
Sanje's eyes glittered with malice at the commanding tone in Jon's voice, but wisely bit his lip. Instead, he grabbed a heavy drawstring bag from inside his cloak and tossed it Jon's way. Jon snatched it out of the air with a speed that was unnecessary; unnecessary to any casual observer, but a very important reminder to the man tossing the bag.
Jon glanced at Sanje and saw hatred and admiration flash through his features. Sanje nodded at the bag in Jon's hand. "Your cut of the contract price. Do you need some time to count it?" Sanje sneered.
Jon hefted the bag in his hand and judged the weight. "Oh there is no need for that," he said lightly. Sanje's sneer turned into a smile and then slid off his face as Jon's expression hardened instantly. "We both know if there was one copper piece missing, you wouldn't live out the night."
Sanje attempted to keep the sneer on his face but couldn't help the slight tremor of fear that made him lock his jaw. "One day," he rasped, "I am going to see the light leave your eyes as I stick my dagger straight into that black heart. Of all the members of the Magi Victus, you are the only one who does not show the proper respect for the Master of the guild that you so loyally serve. For the life of me, I do not know-"
"I am done with this conversation," Jon cut in. He turned back toward the sea and closed his eyes. He could almost picture how red Sanje's face just turned. He could see how his hands moved toward the dagger on his belt and then stop. Instead, his hands would curl up into fists and the skin would whiten around the knuckles with suppressed rage. The roar of the waves smashing against the rocks masked the near-silent departure of the Master Victus. But Jon didn't need his ears to tell him that.
Jon breathed in the salt-tinged breeze for several silent minutes when he heard the shuffling of numerous feet. He turned his back on the ocean and glanced down the wall at the street ten feet below him. Numerous beggars emerged from shadows in the alleyways and along the sides of the warehouses.
"Master Laurent," one old beggar cried as he approached the silent figure on top of the wall. The beggar held out his hands. "Bless us."
Jon opened the drawstring on the bag. Gold and silver glinted in the light of the moon. He removed a few choice coins and then tightened the string. He dropped the bag to the waiting hands of the beggar below.
The beggar dropped to his knees and looked up. His face was soaked in tears and his shoulders shook. "Bless you, Master Laurent! The blood on this gold is washed off by this act of generosity! The God forgives you!" The beggar got to his feet as the crowd of beggars, whores, children, and the other sad souls on the bottom rung of life walked toward him.
Jon watched the beggar open the bag and begin dispensing the coin. The fact that no one attempted to steal it was a testament to these people of Astuari. Jon knew they wouldn't be back on the streets for a long time.
The beggar felt a strong breeze from behind. Confused, for he was blocked by the ten foot high seawall, he turned around and looked up. "May the God always watch over you," the beggar whispered to the abandoned wall.
Daminus watched the rise and fall of his wife's chest as she slept. He knew the sun was rising on the horizon but he didn't have the heart to wake the beautiful woman next him.
The God knows why she married me, but I sure in the nine hells don't. Daminus never stopped thinking this, even after nearly 80 years of marriage.
He reached out and stroked the smooth, pale skin of his soul-mate Evelyn. He closed his eyes and began his morning prayer. Thank you, my Lord, for blessing her with the magical energy that has sustained her beauty and life for these past 100 years. And thank you for blessing me with the same ability so that I may watch over her and protect her.
He opened his eyes and saw that a beam of the rising sun had come through the window to bathe Evelyn in its magical glow. He felt a tear slide down his cheek. It was a good sign.
The sun woke Evelyn as he could not. Her eyes opened and blinked at the early morning light. The sunlight captured the red tint in her light brown hair and made it shine. She focused on Daminus and frowned. She reached up with a pale, delicate arm and wiped the single tear from his cheek. "Why are you crying?" she asked.
He smiled and brought her hand up to his lips. "Because I am constantly reminded that I am the luckiest man upon The God's good green earth," he replied as he kissed her hand.
She chuckled. "What else can you do with that silver tongue of yours?" The glint in her eye implied her meaning.
He smiled wide and said, "Why don't I show you? We have a few minutes left until we have to be drawn away."
"Well, you should hurry then, shouldn't you?" she said huskily.
He pulled the blanket from her, revealing her nude body. They always slept nude together. There was no better feeling in the world, mundane or magical, that could match the feel of her body pressed against his while he slept.
Silver light of unfocused magic glowed along his fingertips. He traced his fingers down her chest and around her nipples. She gasped and arched her back at his touch. The magic on his fingertips traced a circle around each nipple. He watched, enraptured, as her nipples hardened before his eyes.
He knew the sensation the unfocused magic caused; she had done the same thing to him several times. It felt like miniature lightning storms contained in each finger. It made the tiny hairs on the person's body stand up as the feeling of intense heat swept through their body. Each area touched by the magic became the focal point of the body's pleasure. So when ten fingers traced lines down her body, he knew she was overwhelmed with lust.
The index finger on his right hand trailed a line of silver from between her large, pale breasts, down past her stomach, and to the top her of her womanhood. He looked up at her and smiled teasingly. He saw intense heat in her eyes as she nodded her head. He brought his finger down further into the slit of her vagina. The power in his fingers flared as he inserted his finger into the wet opening.
She instantly orgasmed as her body shook and her back arched into the air. He didn't let up the magic in his finger until she trembled and collapsed back to the bed. The glow faded from his fingers.
"Come here," she breathed. He joined her on the bed to lie in her arms. She reached down and grabbed his penis and quickly inserted it inside of her. He groaned at the heat he felt in her.
Magic is such a gift, he thought as he began to slowly pump into her. He could never imagine having sex without magic. It increased every sensation felt until your mind could barely stand the pleasure. Her vagina always felt like it was on fire after he played with it. He had been inside of her for 80 years and he didn't think he would ever get enough. He increased his pace and bit down on her neck. Her hands grabbed his ass and pulled him deeper inside of her.
"I love waking up like this," she breathed into his ear. She flicked her tongue out and sucked on the bottom of his ear. He groaned in response. The sun was all the way over the horizon as their lovemaking continued. They were always late in the morning.
"I need to feel you erupt inside of me," she said. "I want to carry that feeling around all day. Hurry, my love!"
He didn't need to be told twice. Her vagina felt as hot as the lakes of fire in the nine hells. He bit down harder on her neck as he felt his orgasm push him over the top. She held on tight to his ass as he emptied himself inside of her. He collapsed on top of her and lay there for several minutes.
"I love you," she said. She wiped the sweat from his forehead and kissed his lips.
"I love you, too," he replied.
ALL MAGI ARE TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY TO THE EMPORIUM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I REPEAT, ALL MAGI ARE TO REPORT TO THE EMPORIUM IMMEDIATELY.
The words of power rang through both of their heads. Daminus sprung out of bed immediately and grabbed a robe from the dresser. "You don't think somebody else has been killed, do you?"
His wife's face looked grim as she began to dress. "I don't like the sound of this summons. It's too soon after the last assassination. The Magi Victus have never moved this quickly before."
"There is always a first time for everything," he replied sadly. His wife threw him a sharp look as she pulled on her slippers. He shrugged his shoulders in apology.
She sighed. "Yes, you are probably right."
Daminus and Evelyn strode the halls of the Emporium with a crowd of other mages. Every mage still in the city of Astuari heard the magical summons and hurried to the Emporium. Sadly, it was becoming a common occurrence as they had been summoned three times in the last month alone. The first two times was because two of their brothers had been assassinated. Daminus feared they had just lost a 3rd brother.
This is getting ridiculous. Never in my 100 years have I had to mourn so many deaths in so short a period of time. He glanced at his wife and saw the worry lines around her eyes. She was thinking the same thing. He continued to follow the crowd as the sound of hundreds of pairs of feet echoed off the marbled tile floor. After several more minutes, they came to the great double doors that opened up on the Hall of Mages.
Daminus and his wife followed everyone inside and the Hall quickly began to fill up. The Hall was a vast amphitheater that was ringed by gigantic statues of the ancient Order of 12, the founding order of the Guild of Magi. Their statues cast long shadows over the crowd as the sunlight filtered in through the glass roof of the dome high above them.
Several younger members made room for Daminus and his wife in the front row facing directly at the podium in the middle of the floor. He waited in nervous silence as the room continued to fill up. By the time everyone was seated, he saw that half the stone benches circling the room were filled.
So half of our guild must be in the city. There was barely a fourth here when the first murder took place earlier in the month. They must have traveled back. That's odd...its almost as though they knew more deaths were coming...
He was distracted from his dark thoughts as a hush fell over the large, chattering crowd. Daminus looked down and saw the Grand Master Boltus stride into the room. His long white robe fluttered behind him at the speed in which he walked. He vaulted up a small pair of steps to the podium. Daminus was always amazed at how nimble that old man was. He was well past 400 years old, which in a normal life span equated to about 80 years old.
Daminus was even more amazed that his long hair had stayed jet-black, despite the wrinkles that webbed his face.
Boltus held up his hands for silence. Daminus wondered if he was even aware that the crowd had quieted as soon as he strode into the room. He must be worn out he thought sadly.
"My brothers and sisters, I have summoned you here in haste to impart very troubling and very sad news." He opened his lips to speak but closed them again and gripped the podium with both hands. Daminus could see that his knuckles had turned white with the force of his grip. An expected hush had come over the crowd. Daminus felt Evelyn grab his hand and squeeze it tight. He squeezed it back.