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An Assassin’s Tail

By Geoff Sheehan

Kersh, the Clan Eshin Assassin, slipped past the sleeping guard, who was dozing quietly against the haft of his spear. He had been successful so far and he had found no difficulties in penetrating the Empire camp. In the distance, he could see a flag flying on a tent, signifying it as the tent of the enemy General. His beady eyes narrowed as he paced onwards. His furred hand gripped the weeping blade tightly as he heard voices ahead. He had just passed the outer perimeter guard and knew that the guards would only be present in patrols of two in the main camp, as was standard with the armies of the manlings. Kersh moved forward cautiously towards the only such patrol in view. He took the first with a throwing star, and as he went down, his weeping blade found the gullet of the other. The guard slumped to the ground beside his fallen comrade. Kersh grinned evilly as he stepped over the corpses.

The Clan Eshin fiend made his way through the camp. As he was passing a tent, a man emerged and almost walked into him. In a lightning quick movement, Kersh’s blade lashed out, cutting the mans throat before he could scream. He gurgled as he fell to the earth clutching his neck. Kersh concentrated on his goal once more and set off for the General’s tent. He arrived at it and peeked around the stone he was hiding behind. There were two guards, in full armour with halberds. One was asleep and the other was staring intently forward. Kersh’s hand drifted to his belt and removed two throwing stars.

Gareth watched in front of him, looking for anyone approaching. He glanced sideways at his fellow guard. Jonas could never handle the night watch without falling asleep. He decided to let him rest, for tomorrow they were facing the skaven horde. The Skaven had unified under some warlord and were becoming bolder, attacking isolated villages and harassing farmers. General Heimlich had been sent to stamp out the Skaven threat. Gareth turned. He thought he heard something to his left. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a glitter and, reacting to the possible danger, he dived to the ground. A dull thud came from behind him and he turned over to see Jonas grasping his chest, an absolute look of confusion on his face. Blood trickled down his breastplate as he fell to the ground.

"Guards!" yelled Gareth.

Curses! thought Kersh. How had the human seen his throwing star? He had no time to ponder that at the moment and he leapt forward to complete his finish his job before the area was swarming with soldiers. His first target was the second guard. With a weeping blade in each hand, he made for the guard who was now facing him, his halberd held in front of him. Kersh could hear others shouting and running to his aid. Time to leave, he thought. But first…the guard lunged at him. In a trained move he ducked and rolled towards the guard, coming up with his weeping blade and ramming it into the weak human’s midriff. He didn’t even stop to see his foe go down but whirled around to find himself face to face with General Heimlich. Kersh’s arm whipped out and his other blade screamed through the air before piercing the General’s heart. He grunted in satisfaction and turned to face the oncoming guards.

A group of three soldiers were the first to arrive and Kersh readied three throwing stars in his clawed paw at once. As they turned into the torchlit clearance, he whisked them at his assailants. Two missed but the other took one of the soldiers in the eye. The other two stopped dead in their tracks as their compatriot screamed in pain. Kersh used this moment of hesitancy to run full pace at the soldiers before somersaulting over their heads. The astonished men turned and Kersh’s paws moved in a blur. He caught the first one with a swift blow to the windpipe and the other with a heavy kick to the groin. Both men went down and Kersh spun around in his black cloak and sprinted away into the night’s eerie shadows. Hmm. Six guards and the enemy general killed in one night and Kersh had still to report to the new warlord of these parts for orders. He was glad he had decided to go the long way now.

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