Knives at Dawn (Being Part 2 of "Night of the Grey Wolves"

(Part 1 is here:

The group stayed in their corner and talked and caroused for some time longer before Rising as one and making their way out into the squalid backstreets of old Dakat.

It was in that held breath of the moments before dawn that they emerged from Stanich's. Cock crows could be heard as Ahmo and Jaesper followed by Ahmo's two sable cloaked confederates made their way toward the central market, picking their way through the narrow alleys. Ahmo's attention was drawn by a huddled and sniffling figure squatting in a doorway. The pathetic mewling of an infant could be heard in the early morning stillness.

Ahmo stopped abruptly, causing Jaesper to double-take in a moment's confusion. As he looked down he made out the haggard features of an old crone. A hideously deformed infant suckled at her withered breast, scarcely obscured by rags. “Alms for a poor woman?” croaked she.

Ahmo held out a shining golden sarmkis to the crone, who whispered drily, “Five men await with steel in hand around yon corner, m'Lady.” The crone then cackled softly to herself and the horrid mannikin at her bosom opened one eye to regard them all balefully. Jaesper could scarcely suppress a shudder. He knew his employer was steeped in sorceries but what this blasphemous thing may be he did not care to dwell upon overmuch.

Ahmo was quick as lighting. She snapped her fingers once and motioned. The two big figures who had played at dice all evening shed their cloaks in an instant. One was revealed for a golden haired elf, his broad chest bristling with knives.he other a giant of a man with a black bushy beard. Both had blades in hand before Jeasper thought to look to his sponsor for guidance. “You three just wander on toward the gate and don't worry about a thing,” she said. Jaesper was not reassured but in a flash Ahmo had darted down a side alley. He spared a glance back and the old crone was gone.

Laicamiril the mystic swordswoman pushed her way into an old warehouse. Scattered around the interior courtyard were the figures of squatters who slept huddled in tattered blankets round dying embers of fires. Broken crockery crumpled under her boots causing her to curse inwardly. Making the opposite side of the courtyard she slipped through a space given over to a cooper's shop and slipped out the door as she heard the voice of Grimhearth, who loudly laughed in feigned drunkenness. Jaesper had cottoned on and joined in, making a jest at the expense of an invented wife.

Rounding the corner, Ahmo saw the back of the mercenaries who had accosted Jaesper back in Stanich's. One had an arbelest at the ready. The others carried naked steel.

The elf had a throwing knife in each hand in a flash. One was deflected by a mail shirt concealed beneath the Arbelest man's cloak but when he turned in reflexive reaction the other sprouted from his eye. Then her broadsword was in hand and she was on them.

The wiry man who had mocked Jaesper brought his blade up to parry but Ahmo's brand had taken off his arm. The sword rattled on the ground as the elf's momentum carried her through the group. Two down, she thought as the other three ringed her round.

She had a long knife in her right hand and parried the first slashing attack as the third mercenary went down with Grimhearth's sword cutting downward into his neck. The blade was a short sword meant for stabbing but such was the man's strength that his victim's head lolled grotesquely as he fell. Another found Jaesper's forearm over his mouth as a practiced hand drew the jewelled dagger across his throat. The last would be assassin turned and fled but Hrangach's elven knife punched through the concealed mail, sending him sprawling into his face.

Jaesper was astonished at the rapidity with which Ahmo and her people dragged the corpses into an ally and divested them of their gear., which they dumped into an open ditch privy.

“It'll take them a little before they miss this bunch,” Ahmo said tersely. She had taken a token from one of the men, a cloak pin

“This is familiar,” she said, stuffing it into a pocket for later examination.

Jaesper looked exasperated “May I go now? I'll be missed if I am not at my post by sunrise,” he pled. Ahmo nodded, shooing him with wave of the hand. “Go.” she said and he was gone.


Hurry! Rush to Part III now! -> (