Note from Shadow: Yes, I know, finally, right? Well, I'm writing longer chapters now so it takes a little bit longer to write them. Plus I've been sick for the past few days. Read and review!



I cursed under my breath. Maybe the blade wouldn't kill me, but having your throat slit is not fun.

"Who the hell are you?" I gasped as he tied my hands behind me expertly. I guessed that he had been doing things such as this for a long time by the way he tied the knots.

"Now, now, little lady. Nothin' personal, but I'm gettin' paid a handsome sum to capture you and deliver you to someone."

He dragged me through alleys invisible to anyone who wasn't a local. I soon lost track of where we were but felt sure that sooner or later I could find my way back if I got away. My majick was often handy for things like that, when it was in a good mood, anyway.

The man continued leading me along for hours through disgusting alleyways that smelled almost as bad as he. I tried to find a weakness in his grip, but it was too strong. Despite his decrepit appearance, he was quite strong. My craft was stealth, not direct conflict with men who were much bigger than I.

"Here we are," he said stopping in front of a rather big house. I cursed myself for not paying attention. He knocked on the door in a strange pattern that was obviously a code. 2-3-2-1-1.

A stout woman opened the door for us and ushered us inside. She smiled gently at me, but I didn't smile back. My senses were in overdrive due to the number of people milling about the house. I saw potential threats everywhere.

"I thought I'd never see you again," a slightly accented voice said. I froze for a moment before placing the accent. It was Eastern and powerful, like a storm in the mountains.

"Jadin," I greeted relieved that it was him and not someone else.

"Lady," he returned almost mockingly. He moved into my sight and grasped my arm in the strange salute that his people gave to warriors and majick bearers. I happened to be both. I'd known Jadin before I'd even joined the team and had wandered the lands like a gypsy.

"It's good to see you," I said carefully. This was only the second time he'd seen my face, and the way he was staring was disconcerting.

"It's good to see you without that damned cloak covering your face."

"Yeah, well, they wouldn't let me in otherwise."

He laughed good-naturedly at that and led me into a smaller room where only three people sat. I observed them carefully. The first was a woman. She was slender with hair like gold and glowing amber eyes that were beautiful if a bit shallow. She wore a dress that reminded me of the color of spring grass. Sitting next to her was a burly man. He had brown hair and eyes like the people in the town, but his expression was one of cunning, and I felt that even as I examined him he was examining me. On his fingers were gold rings with strange inscriptions on them. The last member of the group sat away from the rest. When he caught my gaze I had to gasp because his eyes were the green of royalty and his hair was black and long and held back by a piece of twine. I knew him immediately because I had been hired to kill him.

            "Chandra, these are my guests," he motioned to the woman, "This is Lady Lily von Hendrix." The woman stood and curtsied in the way of elegant ladies. Jadin motioned toward the burly man, "This is Sir Ernest Tinsley Briar. And over there brooding in the corner is Prince Kylian, son of King Durian who rules these lands."

            I froze, feeling searching majick violating the air around me. I pushed it away with all of my might and finally felt it retreat. I guessed that it came from the prince.

            "Is this truly who they sent to kill me. Why, she is but a wisp of a woman," the prince said laughingly. He quit laughing when a dart landed just above his head. I was sure that he had felt the wind from it as it brushed his hair.

            "Never underestimate me," I said giving up all pretense of being a helpless woman. I let the power whip around me. I knew I wouldn't complete this job and somehow that was okay. I would never kill someone who Jadin thought of as a friend in cold blood. Besides, I felt the entanglement of all of our fates.

            "Perhaps I should not," he said smoothly.

            "Chandra, calm down," Jadin said as if I were a vicious animal who had just been stung by an arrow. I tried to take his advice and finally felt some of the tension drain away from me. I hardly ever used my powers like that, so I was slightly drained. I usually try to ignore my powers whenever possible. Now was not one of those times.

            I knew that the side effects of using my majick this way would soon appear and I was not disappointed. Blood began to flow from my nose and ears, and I was helpless to stop it.

            "Are you alright?" Lady Lily asked handing me her handkerchief.

            "Consequences," I muttered angrily. My healing majick was different from the violent majick I had just accidentally created. Violent majick had consequences for anyone whether you could see the damage or not. I cursed myself for getting into an ego contest with this man, but there was nothing I could do about it now.

            "She's violent to be noble born," the man said critically. I glared at them. I hated it when people acted as if I were a child and always had. It had been a long time since that had happened, however, and I attributed it to the fact that I wasn't wearing my cloak. They also didn't know how deadly I really was since the rumors hadn't stretched this far. I was always relatively quiet about my killing and tended to make it look almost like a random attack or accident.

            "You haven't seen violent yet," I hissed angrily. I was used to people leaving me alone, not scrutinizing me. What did he mean noble born, anyway? It would be a cold day in Hell before anyone could mistake me for a noble of any kind.

            "Chandra, harness your anger as you learned," Jadin admonished.

            "Why?" I asked petulantly, "I have quite enough of it to go around now."

            "I suppose becoming a murderer will do that," Kylian said arrogantly.

            "Not a murderer. An assassin. There is quite a difference," I reminded him. He snorted as if challenging me to prove it and quirked his eyebrow.

            "A murder feels joy in killing. An assassin feels nothing."

            "Ysan tharnis neptis hess," Jadin murmured making the sign of prayer, "I knew I shouldn't have let you leave my sight."

            "How would you have stopped me?" I asked.

            Jadin sighed and collapsed into a chair in complete exasperation.

            "Jadin, why did you bring m here?" I finally asked figuring it wasn't to socialize.

            "Your majick," he answered. I backed away from him. What did he want with my majick and what did these three people have to do with it?