Being an assassin could be difficult but for Mestra Galerunner it was just another day.
Despite having lived for over 700 years it was still momentous visiting cities throughout Adalor. She was currently living in Nottinglot Square, one of the finest cities not just in the land, Hayward, but in all of Adalor. It was a ravishing city filled with the wealthy and the powerful as well as some of the finest Haywardian architecture found anywhere.
The skyline was filled with towering steeples atop grand castles crafted from marble or white granite. These castles were then covered in mosaics, intricate paintings, or the finest stones mined from the Glittering Caves found in the deep gorges located within Toldan.
Citizens rode along the gold-lined white stone streets atop striking steeds covered in glittering armor and fine velvet or in gilded carriages pulled by various exotic animals. Such as the large cats with their shimmering, golden fur from the lush grasslands of Toldan or the massive horned Elki from the deep forests of Asrana.
The citizens of Nottinglot Square were all about image. There was not a beggar in sight or a poor peasant anywhere to be found. It was often referred to as the “City of Royals.”
And in this “City of Royals” lied not only the wealthy but the wicked, and it was the wicked that Mestra was hired to dispose of.
Mestra Galerunner was at a thriving affair within a magnificent garden bathed in the varying range of colors brought on by sunset. Citizens in their finest clothes and jewelry milled about with their shining glasses in their hands filled to the rim with sparkling spiced cider. Laughter filled the air as these people frolicked among themselves as if there wasn’t a care in the world. They had no idea a predator was in their midst.
Galerunner was an invisible threat in her golden dress with its plunging neckline and high slit, revealing her toned brown-skinned right leg. Her wavy hair was pulled back beneath a shimmering golden veil and her eyelids were powdered heavily with a glittering green powder.
The attendants of the party often glanced her away as she seemingly floated by, their eyes widening as they beheld her. She understood their surprise at seeing her, for elves usually chose to remain in the majestic forests of Asrana. Yet here she was, far away from that dreamy land. living within the cities of men.
She glanced at every face, looking for the man she was here to assassinate. And then she saw him; a tall, young fellow with sun-baked skin, golden hair, and deep green eyes. He was all teeth as he stood in the throng of beautiful, smitten women surrounding him, laughing and grinning at everything they said.
He was soon to be the heir of a wealthy family named the Talls, a fitting name for the young man who had to have been at least 6′ 5″. They gained their fortune off of skins and furs that were taken from wolves, bears, and more exotic creatures in the Great Alten Mountains in the north.
Unfortunately for him, his cousin who was older and who thought of herself as much wiser was determined to make sure that her family’s legacy would not be tarnished. But the only way to gain ownership of the business was to have him killed.
It was a heartless act but it had to be done and Mestra Galerunner was going to be the one to see it through.
She grabbed a glass of the sparkling spiced cider and approached the young man, sliding her finger delicately across the rim of the glass. Her finger was covered in a colorless, tasteless substance that would poison the young man’s bloodstream and kill him within a couple of days. It was the perfect assassination.
When the young man saw her approaching his eyes lit up as if he was beholding the finest jewel in all of Adalor. The women turned their gazes away from him to see her, their eyes widening. They were no match for her beauty and the scowls that they directed toward her made Galerunner’s full lips quirk upward in a knowing smirk.
The young man pushed past the jealous ladies to approach Mestra, grabbing her hand and kissing it as he bowed before her.
“It is rare to see one of your kind here in Nottinglot Square,” he spoke fluently in Elvish.
Mestra was impressed. She almost felt bad she would be the one to kill him. “I hear this is your party,” she responded in Elvish. It felt nice to speak her native language which rolled off the tongue like wind sifting through leaves.
They began walking away through the garden, much to the chagrin of his female admirers.
“It is. I wish it could’ve been a smaller shindig but…” he laughed, “my family does nothing small.”
“Oh yes, the Talls. And aren’t you…”
“Averon Tall, the up-and-coming heir of my family’s estate? Yes.” He seemed proud of himself when he said.
They rounded a corner, distancing themselves away from most of the hustle and bustle of the event.
Mestra presented the glass of cider to him. He cocked an eyebrow at her. “Are you a waiter now?”
Galerunner smiled as she revealed a vial from a hidden pocket in her dress. It was half-full with a red liquid. She uncorked it with a simple flick of her finger and poured the liquid into the cider, transforming the drink into a rapidly sparkling maroon beverage.
“What was a simple drink is now something you’ll never forget,” she said.
The young man took the drink from her, their fingers momentarily touching. She could see his pulse quickening from the veins in his neck. Oh, she had him severely smitten. She watched him with a smile, her eyes twinkling.
When he put his lips to the glass and downed an impressive gulp of the beverage her smile widened. Her work was done.
He gasped, taken aback by the potency of the drink as well as its scrumptious flavor.
“Oh my, that was good,” he said, this time in the Adalorian dialect.
“That was Felwinkle Liqueur from my homeland. It is very hard to extract from the delicate Felwinkle saplings in the Asrana Forest. It is an elven delicacy.”
He finished the drink, his eyes widening in delight as the taste coated his tongue. “Wow. I-I thank you, madam. I’ve only ever heard of it and it is as delicious as one might hope it would be.”
Mestra curtsied. “I must be on my way now.”
The young man seemed shocked at her swift departure. “Wait…but I…we just started talking…and it’s not even nighttime yet. The party, my party, isn’t close to over.”
Mestra smiled at him, inwardly relishing the boyish look of disappointment on his face. “And I have a daughter who I promised to take to a show tonight. Enjoy the party.”
With that, she left the young man standing baffled in her wake. Mestra speedily hurried through the garden, a mirthful expression on her face.
When she exited the garden and therefore the party, she entered her carriage–a deep brown vehicle gilded with gold–which was waiting for her front and center. Her coachman, a muscular man with dark hair and slanted eyes by the name of Harter who resembled a guard more than a driver, knew exactly where to take her: home.
As she looked out of the window with a smile on her face she thought about her day. She had just finished one of her missions and now she was about to take her twelve-year-old daughter, Pil, to see an acclaimed play called “The Red Sparrow” in Nottinglot Square’s Amusement Quarters.
The thought of such a contrasting change of events made her chuckle.
“All in a day’s work.”
You can discover more about these characters in my first short novel, PIL, which is available on Amazon and Kindle. Just click the link here.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.