Humans were weak. They were frail and easy to kill.

Even a lithe Hurg like himself could snap their necks with his bare hands. It was the advantage of being born Hurg, a race bigger, stronger, and tougher than humans—and indeed most races—and in almost every way.

Though as an assassin, Urah was under no illusions that the Hurg were superior in magic skill. The Urghamandran possessed many magical secrets, mainly aggressive destruction magic, but was out-classed in every other form.

The Hurg were too aggressive in their thought to learn the finer points of magic. They were, by most accounts, stupid and arrogant. A thought that would have the skin peeled from his body had he been found out within the borders of the Hurg empire.

Urah cared not for loyalties to race or leader. He served himself. He was a rare learned Hurg. That was why he had become an assassin. His specialty, that of the martial arts. He rarely used weapons to kill his targets—he didn’t need them. His strong arms and hands were his weapons, and tonight the emperor of the Mikuma Empire would feel Urah’s hands around his neck before he perished.

It would be the largest sum of coin he had ever been paid. Of course, he had never been contracted to kill one so important as an emperor or other ruler, though he had darkened the eyes of important members of royal houses, one such being a duke, very likely to be in line for kingship. That eventuality never came to pass, and had Urah not silenced the man, his ascension proved a thing that would not have come to pass.

But still. A duke with potential to become a king had been a high target, taking him to a new plain. Now he was to assassinate the Mikuman Emperor, Kurosawa.

He sat in the back of the theater. He couldn’t see the Emperor now, but that was not a problem. The drums were beating fast, an aggressive tempo that was coming to a high plane. The dance, he couldn’t see it properly, was nearing its end. The first one at least.

He couldn’t make out her face, but the lead dancer was wilting to her sides, spreading her fans to cover her face from the audience. Her feet moved in complex steps in sync with the beat of the drums.

Urah was too refined to smile like a savage while sitting alone in an audience of learned nobles. But he wanted to laugh. The danger he posed just by being Hurg was so great.

Some challenged the new idealism of Mikuma held by the new emperor and his father before him. The Kurusawa dynasty had, quite foolishly in Urah’s opinion, decided that Mikuma would be a culture of cultures where all were welcomed and given the benefit of the doubt in equal fashion—the fools.

It only makes my work easier.

He felt like sneering, but cut the emotion away. It was unrefined to sneer while within one’s own private thoughts, no matter how preposterous.


About the author


Bio: "I’m a businessman. My family has a seat in the Dwarven Merchants Guild. Merchants buy and sell goods. Businessmen buy and sell stores. In my spare time, I manage a spy network. And occasionally, I write books."--Varric Tethras

Wakiagaru is complete.
The Reconnoiters is complete.
More stories on the way.

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