There was a lot of space between the buildings, but Bernard could make the leap with a running head start. From building to building he leapt, each time it brought him closer and closer to the gymnasium, and his prey. Occasionally he had to stop and wait as men with lanterns and torches walked between buildings, but he was patient, and not getting caught was more important than getting to the target quickly.
Felix had not joined him on the roof, but that hardly surprised Bernard. Felix was never one for too much physical exertion. It always amazed Bernard that Felix remained as thin as he was, and never managed to get caught, or hurt, despite choosing the easy way out of every situation. Of course, Felix never chose the easy path for Bernard. He encouraged Bernard to kill when running or stealth was the wiser choice. His friend had a decidedly psychotic streak that often caused Bernard to shake his head in wonder.
When he reached the classroom closest to the gym, he laid down flat on the flat roof and watched the space between. There was not much cover between them, and he could only see a couple of guards moving about in the darkness. It was the things that he could not see that worried him the most. All of the stealth he had used to get where he was would be for naught if he was discovered in that vast, open space.
He plotted out a path, using the limited options before him, and prepared for the next phase of his assault. Bernard crawled back to the far side of the building, checked the alley below and dropped to the ground. He pulled a long knife from its sheath, and crawled along the ground, moving only as quickly as he dared. Twice, he was almost spotted; each time he was saved by a twist of luck. Whatever God still existed, must have favored his vengeance to have turned aside Evan’s thugs with the calls of their compatriots. The first light of dawn appeared in the east as Bernard reached the wall of the gymnasium. Time was running late for the assassin. His hasty plan was best undertaken in the dark.
Bernard looked up at the glassless windows thirty-feet above and sighed. It would be a hard climb to it, but it was the best path to take without fighting his way through the guards that remained at the doorways. He reached above his head, and sought out the space between the bricks where the mortar was worn away. The ravages of time, and the inattention of men, had made the buildings of the world Bernard’s play things. He imagined that before the war, the climb would have been far harder, but it was not before the war, so he made quick work of the wall.
The window had fallen out years earlier, and a thick layer of dust had accumulated on the sill. Bernard pulled himself through the window, and carefully stepped onto the catwalk that was just below the window. He was grateful that it didn’t collapse, or creak, under his weight, so Bernard quietly made his way along the catwalks, beams and scaffolding that cluttered the ceiling of gym, until he was above the dais upon which Evan had set his throne.
It had been less than impressive when Bernard stood next to the Syndicate boss, and from above it was simply ridiculous. It was an oddly shaped, wooden chair, most likely built some time after the end of the world. Evan sat upon it, holding a glass of wine, a slave girl on his knee, unconcerned about the assassin that his men could not find. He was either supremely confident or a fool.
There were a half-dozen thugs standing about, but none of them looked to be holding a gun; only a couple of them were holding a weapon at all, but Bernard knew better than to trust appearances. He waited, and watched for a couple of minutes longer before he made his move. He lowered himself with painstaking care until only his fingertips gripped the beam overhead. There was still more than fifteen feet between his boots and the top of the dais, but he had worked with less.
Bernard let go of the beam and fell to the ground below. He landed with a loud thud that echoed in the near-empty gymnasium. Before the slave could scream, Bernard had his short sword out of its sheath and held across Evan’s throat. “Move and he dies,” Bernard said with a quiet, steady, voice. The girl had fallen to the floor and swallowed her scream with a look from the assassin. The guards looked from Bernard, to Evan, and back again. When one of them looked like he might make a move, Bernard lifted the blade, letting it slip against the boss’s skin until a thin dribble of blood slid down his throat. The guard stopped moving as if he had been frozen in place.
“Good. Now drop your weapons and move to the center of the room,” the assassin said. “Evan and I are going to have a little talk here.” Bernard grabbed Evan’s arm and lifted until they were facing each other. “I’m going to ask you once, and I expect the truth. You know me, and you know what I am capable of, so don’t doubt for a moment that I won’t kill you. Do you understand?” Evan nodded. “Why did you try to kill me tonight?” Bernard lowered the blade just enough to let Evan speak without slitting his own throat.
“You are a dead man, assassin,” Evan spat. “The Syndicate won’t tolerate you attacking one of your betters like this. You’re dead, you hear me?”
The blade of the sword cut through the man’s throat with such ease that the boss did not know it until the crimson spray of blood erupted from his throat and covered the face of the assassin. The girl screamed and the men ran back to their weapons. Bernard let them reach their knives and clubs, but he killed them with ease before Evan’s heart stopped beating.
The echo of his boots was muffled by the screams of the slave girl as he walked to the front of the building. The guards who opened the door were killed by a pair of his throwing blades; when the doors closed with a bang, the girl stopped screaming. Bernard looked back over his shoulder, and said, “if I were you, I would run from this place. Flee as if you fear the wind my catch you, and perhaps you will escape and find a new life.” He looked away from her, and wondered if Felicia had escaped. He hoped that she did, but it was all in her hands.
Felix was waiting just outside the doors when Bernard returned to the cool outdoors. “It’s done?” he asked.
“Of course,” Bernard replied.
“Any idea why he did it?” Felix asked as he fell in step with the assassin as they walked away from the gym.
“No, but I don’t suppose it will matter.” They walked to the west, the first rays of the sun striking them in the back as they walked toward the stables.
“What about the Syndicate?”
“They’ll understand, or they won’t,” Bernard whispered. “My life has never been my own, so what they decide is all that matters.”
“You sound like that slave you left in your room,” Felix said, but Bernard had no response.
This is my InMon post for the week
- Apocalypse Runner 03-26-12 (mywriterscramp.com)
- Apocalypse Runner, 03-19-12 (mywriterscramp.com)
- Apocalypse Runner 03-12-12 (mywriterscramp.com)
- The Jews and Bernard of Clairvaux (thetemplarknight.com)
- The Way of Kings – Prologue (chocopal.wordpress.com)