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Dark Journey Chapter 1 Part 2
Kerri slipped through the dark streets, her feet making no noise. Dressed all in black, she hugged the walls of the rickety buildings that lined the narrow, cobble-stoned road. She heard the tramp of feet and quickly darted into one of the many alleys, pressing her back against the cold, slimy wood.
A guard walked by, swinging his bat and whistling. Kerri caressed her knife hilt, longing to jump out and sink it into his jugular. But that might raise the alarm, and she needed to get Vixen’s hit done tonight.
Unaware of how close he had come to death, the guard walked on. Kerri slipped out of the alley and ran quickly through the streets. The only thing that moved in the night was a mangy cur, hunting for scraps. The city was blanketed in contentment. Kerri could almost taste it on the air, that sickly sweet peace. She grinned crookedly. It wouldn’t last for long. She would make sure of that.
The towering white marble of the Temple loomed over her, a beacon in the night. Kerri ducked into one of the alleys, her heart beating quickly with excitement. She pulled a long robe from the bag on her back. It was pure white edged in yellow, the robe of a Disciple of Life.
Kerri grinned as she pulled it on over her black clothes. No one paid attention to a disciple. They were little better then servants in the big temples. Unwinding the black cloth from her face, Kerri shook out her hair, letting it fall in waves past her shoulders.
She drew a book on astrology out of the back and opened it. The pages had been cut out so there was an empty space inside it. Thin black rope, made of the finest silk, lay coiled in the book. Kerri snapped the book shut and, leaving the bag on the ground, proceeded to walk confidently towards the temple.
“You, girl, what are you doing out here?” asked the guard at the door. He was a tall, meaty fellow, but Kerri could tell that his bulk didn’t come from muscle but from too many nights sitting in the pub drinking beer and eating greasy foods. But she cowered like any good little disciple would, silently sneering at the guard.
“I’m sorry, Guardsman,” she said, her voice soft and frightened. She looked pleadingly up at the man, her blue eyes sparkling with innocence. “I had to go get a book for Brother Brian, and I got sidetracked watching the street dancers.”
“Who are you?” the guard growled.
“I’m Disciple Cara,” Kerri said, her head hanging demurely, looking beseechingly up at the guard. “Oh, please, please don’t tell Mother Rebecca. This is the second time I’ve been late getting back and if she finds out…”
“Alright, enough babbling,” the guard snarled, just like she knew he would. Kerri felt a stab of satisfaction. It was so easy to trick him. No challenge at all. “Just get inside and don’t let me catch you out this late again!”
Kerri scurried past him, thanking him for his kindness, promising to think of him in her prayers tonight. The guard waved her on, her face already gone from his memory. Kerri grinned and walked quickly towards the private rooms.
“Disciple, what are you doing here?” It was a priestess who had just come out of her room.
“Brother Joseph asked me to bring this to him,” Kerri said, deliberately changing the name to confuse anyone trying to follow her trail. She rolled her eyes and shrugged, clearly saying you can’t ever reason with scholars. The priestess looked skeptical.
“Who are you?” she asked, looking closely at Kerri. “I haven’t seen you here before.”
“I’m Rhea,” Kerri said, flipping her hair to the side causally. “I just moved down here from Barong.”
“Hmm,” the priestess said, glaring at the girl. “Well, hurry up and go see Brother Joseph. And don’t linger in his room!”
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” Kerri said sweetly. “I like girls.” With a wink she turned and strutted off, leaving a very scandalized priestess behind her. Kerri grinned. That lie got the priestesses every time.
As soon as she rounded the corner, Kerri took off at a run, looking for number nine. Then she saw it. She stopped and listened. There was no sound but light, steady breathing. She tried the handle. It moved easily.
That’s the best thing about temples, Kerri thought as she eased the door open. There’re no locks! It’s an assassin’s delight. Kerri slipped into the room, closing the door softly behind her. She looked at her soon to be victim, blue eyes cold.
He lay on his back, one arm hanging off the bed. The other hand rested on the book that lay open on his chest. His hands were slim and delicate, much like the rest of him. The candle on the table beside his bed cast a pool of warm golden light over him. His dark red hair was mussed from sleep, framing his young, smooth face. He looked so young, so innocent.
Kerri crossed the room and, pulling a length of cloth from her pocket, sat on the edge of the bed. The boy stirred, moving in his sleep. Kerri reached over and stroked the side of his face, running her fingers through that baby-fine hair. She leaned down, her breath tickling his skin.
“Brynn,” she whispered, her lips brushing his warm cheek like delicate butterflies. “Brynn, wake up.”
The boy stirred. Kerri leaned back, her hand still caressing his face. Brynn opened his eyes and looked at her, confusion flickering in those dark blue spheres. He looked up at Kerri, still half-way between dreams and reality.
“Who are you?” he asked, his voice soft from slumber.
“Shh,” Kerri murmured, placing her fingers on his soft lips. “Just stay quiet.” Brynn looked at her, sleep fading from his eyes. Kerri smiled, her eyes cold, all gentleness gone.