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Aboyfalling Orlesian Murder Mystery Short Story

I hadn’t thought about it much, really. How every bone-chilling aspect of it made my lips curl upward into a detestable grin. How, without it, I would still be living on the streets with no family. How death was the only thing keeping me alive. The Coterie was now my family. They fed me, clothed me, and even gave me somewhere I could call home. We are the most powerful group of thieves and assassins to ever have its grip around Kirkwall’s very throat.

I had been given a trivial task. Bringing down entire kingdoms was nothing short of what we did every day. I was to assassinate an Orlesian noble- who, by no slight chance, had double-crossed one of our higher-ups- and make it quick. It was clear to me, as it always had been, that failure was not an option. Failure meant not coming back, or you would be tracked down. Either led to your own demise. I gathered my essentials and began my short trek.

My first task involved collecting information on my target. Where he lives, what his daily routine is, what he likes to eat and drink. All easily accessible at the local pub, where everyone has loose tongues once a round is bought. He lived in Hightown, the richest part of Kirkwall, of course. His house was on a well-guarded road, along with many other nobles’ homes. He had only recently moved here with his small family of four from Orlais.

His room was on the third floor. This could have proven problematic, as there was no simple way to scale his walls up to his window. I would not have had time, because the guards would have made their rounds and come back by the time I was halfway up, in plain sight. Fortunately for me, I knew their paths by heart, so I would not be caught in this fashion. Although, if you cannot go up, you must go down. As it was not so easy as to walk through the front door, I could break into the cellar. It was not seen from the street, and so I could take my time breaking in.

My plan was ready. I waited in the shadows silently for the guards to pass, and ran quickly across the street and behind the soon-to-be-deceased noble’s home. I readied my lock picks, and pulled on the cellar door handle, only to find that it was already unlocked. I was perplexed. Why would an incredibly wealthy man’s cellar be unlocked this late at night? I soon marked it up to forgetfulness on their part and entered.

It was too dark to see with no light source, at least for a normal human. Fortunately for me, I had become accustomed to the dark, as that is when my jobs take place. I took my time to stay quiet, because being caught meant compromising everything, and that meant my death. I saw a tripwire ahead. I did not know what it was attached to, but I did not want to find out. I leapt over it effortlessly. The door ahead was also unlocked. I thought it a strange coincidence and moved on. I thought I saw a dark figure as it headed up the stairs and around the corner, but it must have been my eyes playing tricks on me. All was silent.

I treaded carefully across the room and up the stairs to the second floor. What awaited me there, I had never anticipated. Sweat dripped down my forehead and my mouth ran dry. If it weren’t for the stair railing I would have surely fallen over in shock. My own brother in the Coterie stood with a bow aimed straight for my heart, surrounded by a few of his men. I had been betrayed by the one who had given me the task in the first place! I was forced to the ground and bound by some strong rope. He put down his bow as I demanded an explanation.

He worked for this noble he told me to kill. He had planned this all along, to have me killed because I had been garnering the favor of all the higher-ups in the Coterie and had been receiving all the most rewarding tasks. The tasks he wished for himself. Not to mention the large amount of gold the noble would have paid him for protection. He and his men brought me back here, to the Coterie hideout, and told you they caught me as I was deserting. Never would I dream of running away from my home. But believe who you will. What fate is more suitable for an assassin than death at the hands of those who pay him to kill?

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