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The Orlesian Murder Mystery Short Story Entry

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Normally Orlesians can’t spot an assassin through the cloud of pompousness they exude from their every orifice or hear one over the rambling of their ridiculously exaggerated accents, and having sent more than one of their kind to meet the Maker in the past I expected as much on this assignment. However, as soon as I set foot on the target’s estate I realized that this time I was quite mistaken.

You see serah, the noblemen’s late wife was not a native born citizen of Orlais. Rather she hails from Tevinter, a fact that was omitted from the background information I had received. Although not a mage herself , magical blood evidently runs in her family as I soon found out thanks to the number of Shades that attacked me the second I set foot within the grounds. They had evidently been summoned by the nobleman’s daughter who was an apostate, sheltered from the Chantry by the standing of her father.

The girl had summoned the demons to protect her should any overzealous Templars come calling. She had trained them to sense their presence and attack on sight. As you know I was in part recruited into the Coterie due to my past as a Templar archer. And though I many have left the order behind me long ago, the beast still smelled the Chantry’s stink upon me.

From a top the wall surrounding the manor I felled the creatures one by one with my arrows, sending the blighters back to the void. I had not expected to face such defenses, so when the last Shade fell to dust my quiver was nearly empty. It was then that the mage made her appearance, dressed in a black-market Circle robe and bearing a staff of Tevinter make.

I gave up shackling mages long ago. Even the memory of what I was forced to do in the name of Andraste fills me with disgust, at the Chantry and myself. But here was this young woman, one of the very people I had harmed standing in my way. She believed I was there to drag her to the Circle and was ready to kill me first. Would she fight any less fiercely to defend her father’s life?

Her sorcery had been self taught, and it showed. She had enough raw power, and if the girl had been taken to the Circle to hone her talents she might have one day become a highly respected enchanter. But she had not. Her form was sloppy, and her spells lacked the necessary precision to even stand a chance against me.

I tried to make it quick. The last thing the young mage saw as her barrier shattered around her was an arrow on a direct course for her skull. After it was over I couldn’t even look at her. I just wanted to get in, kill the Orlesian mark, and collect my reward. But as I was about to enter the house and make the kill, the mark came to me.

The Lord had heard the battle and watched it unfold through his gilded windowpane. He saw me slay the demons and the girl who had summoned them. I had unwittingly slaughtered his daughter before his very eyes.

He rushed out onto the lawn and threw himself down next to her body. Through broken sobs he cried for her to get up, begging the Maker to say it was not so. The look on his face…I have seen it many times in my former life, the face of a parent losing their child to a Templar. Until you have lost something you have brought into being this weight, this feeling of having all the joy and color drained from the world as your child lays dead before you…it can never be understood.

When I saw that…I couldn’t do it. I have killed many people for the Coterie, men and women of all nations in Thedas, but when I saw what I had done to this man…I lost my nerve. I had taken the one thing in the world he truly loved, a fate far worse than death. So I fled. And he lives.

I will understand if my services are no longer desired, but if it is any consolation know that I have checked with the client who paid for his head and she is more than satisfied with the outcome of events. If there is one thing Orlesians like more than elaborate galas, smelly cheese, and opulent footwear it is revenge. And our client has gotten hers. She wanted him dead, and now he has nothing to live for.

-Assassin X

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