There is only one rule, accomplish the task. This single rule is the epitome of The Guild. In all of Leoros, they are the most feared assassins. There is a mutual respect among the assassins here. The work of the guild is all contracted. The guild itself is morally grey in terms of politics. If there is coin, there is work. Those who fail their task are to be eliminated on the spot. This is the oath all assassins sign within the guild. Failure is not an option. “The Black Oath” shows no mercy.
Raven is the daughter of “The Black Oath’s” leader, Catherine. Although she is only seventeen, she is a skilled assassin. Raven shares similar characteristics as her, from the way they dress to their choice in using magic instead of traditional weapons. Being the leader’s daughter, Raven has always been surrounded with a lot of love within the assassins guild, but there is one particular person who she can’t gain acceptance.
“Can you teach me a new spell today?” Raven questioned her mother,
“No, I’m busy” Catherine coldly responds.
“You’re always busy though…”
Her eyes furrowed as she commands “Here, I have a new task for you, this is your next target, now get out of here.”
“... Yes Mother.”
As per usual, Raven accomplishes her task with no issues. Returning back to headquarters with the mission report, Raven wonders if this time she would please her mother. No acknowledgement. No Praise. No words. This isn’t new to Raven. She doesn't even need her mother to teach her spells, Raven just wants to spend time with her. In fact, Raven is very skilled at watching other sorcerers and emulating them to learn spells.
“How about today?” Raven asked again not expecting much.
“No. I actually need you to go talk to this Assassin for me. He has important intel about your next target.”
Her eyes opened up as she inquired “Hm, is it that important?”
“Yes, now go meet him at the abandoned house next to the river in town. His name is Roark.”
Roark. He has many nicknames. The Grim Reaper. The Silent Blade. The Red Shadow. The list goes on. He isn’t much older than Raven, but he has built a reputation as the perfect assassin. He has been on more assassination missions than anyone else within the guild. Raven was both excited and unnerved as she waited for him at the abandoned house. The door quickly opens and closed as Roark enters the house. He was bloody all over and severely wounded.
“Here’s the intel…” He mustered before collapsing.
Raven quickly wrapped him up and set about taking care of his wounds. After Roark regained consciousness, he was in bewilderment. Raven had stayed with him the entire time. He had expected her to take the intel and leave him to die in the house as he had done to others before. Those who were weak were left to die in the guild.
“Why did you help me?” He investigated.
“I couldn’t leave you to die like that.”
“You’re an assassin aren't you? The unsung rule is that you leave the weak to die. I was weak.”
“You accomplished your task, that's the only oath we are obliged to follow.”
“... You know, I have been killing all my life… I have always been alone…” His shoulders dropped as he leaned back against the wall. “Thanks.” he responds blankly.
“Come on, let’s get back to HQ” Raven replies with a smile.
Immediately upon return to headquarters, Roark immediately went to seek medical attention. The site was a grand manor in the dense forest of Leoros. It was the perfect spot for an assassin’s guild since it was so isolated. Raven rushed to give the intel to her mother, but once again, no acknowledgement. No praise. No words.
A few days had passed by since and Roark is seen running errands already. It seems that he has made a quick recovery. In the meantime Raven continued to comply with her mother’s orders. As Raven entered her mother’s chambers for another mission, she was surprised to find Roark there waiting for her.
“...” Roark is silent.
“If I accomplish this one, will-”
“Yes. I will be” Catherine Interrupted. “Your mission for today is to assassinate the upcoming King of Leoros. The details are enclosed in this document. Now don’t disappoint me, Raven,”
“Yes, Mother.” Raven sighs as she paced out the room.
“Roark. Before you leave, there is something else about today’s mission.”
“Yes ma’am?” He responds looking at her.
“There will be a scapegoat for the murder of the young prince. You will also be killing Raven. She will be the scapegoat.”
“... Your own daughter?”
Infiltrating the young prince’s castle was quite easy. There were no guards or knights defending the castle. Once Raven and Roark reached the prince's chambers, they heard him praying.
“Lord, all I ask is for my family to live in happiness. We have been divided for as long as I could remember. My mother, the queen, and my father, the king, are always fighting with each other. I am not allowed to see my dear sister, and my father hates having me around. More than anything I wish for my father’s acceptance…” From their hiding place, they could hear the young prince crying.
Raven and Roark sat in silence as they listened to him. Sitting in the dark, she starts to become visibly uncomfortable. Roark kneels next to her waiting for her next move.
“You want your mother’s acceptance right? You have to kill him yourself.”
“So why haven't you moved?”
“I don’t know…” Raven’s hands start to tremble. “There’s too many similarities between him and myself. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“If you can’t accomplish your task, I have to kill you. You know that right?” An ominous silences passes between them in the dim hallway.
“... Then so be it” she buries her head in her knees. “It would make this a lot easier for me. I can’t kill the prince, so please kill me for being weak.” Roark grabbed her hand and aggressively pulled her up.
Looking into Raven’s eyes while still holding her hand, “Run.” Roark asserted softly.
“We’re running from this guild. I was meant to kill you tonight after you killed the prince. I can’t bring myself to kill you. We. Are. Running.” With no words from Raven, he pulls her down the hallway.
Unbeknownst to Raven and Roark, one of Catherine’s scouts watched them leaving the castle. The scout saw that Raven was still alive running with Roark into the woods. The scout returned back to Headquarters and has declared Raven and Roark as traitors. Catherine ordered that they are to be killed on sight. She was not particularly upset about this. Infact she is quite ecstatic. She now had a reason to kill them both.
Raven and Roark took refuge at a nearby pond in the dense forest. Sitting together at a makeshift table, Raven stared at her cup. Roark sat in silence.
“Is it true? Mother ordered you to kill me?” she voiced softly.
“So why didn’t you do it? Aren’t you the cold blooded Angel of Death? The Reaper? The perfect assassin?” she sought for an answer.
“In my entire career, I haven’t had anyone shown as much humanity as you have when you saved me. I couldn’t bring myself to kill you.” Silences passes between the two of them once again. “So what are you planning to do now?” He said sternly.
“I… I want to confront my mother” she hesitantly declared as she clasps the cup tighter.
“... I suppose I can’t change your decision on this matter?”
“I can’t hide from her forever” she her voice slightly shaky
“I’m coming with you.”
“You don’t have to. This is my fight.”
“Well then, take this as my final oath. I will protect you no matter what.
There was one passage that only Raven knew about. It was her own personal passage to her mother’s chambers. Roark followed her intently without making a sound. Every step closer they got, Raven’s heart raced quicker. This was unnatural for her as an assassin. Roark himself was cold as ice. No fear in his eyes. Before entering Catherine’s room, Raven took a deep breath. Roark put his hand on her shoulder trying to calm her down. They entered the room finding Catherine... She didn’t seem surprised, but rather she seemed amused.
“So you two came back? Huh. Guess this makes it easier for me this way!” Catherine laughed mirthlessly.
“Is it true? Were you trying to kill me?” Raven holds her composure.
“That is a true statement. You were nothing more than a pawn waiting to be sacrificed. And you, Mr. Angel of Death… you didn’t have the heart to kill someone? What a shame.”
“...” Roark stood in silence.
“Why would you do this to your own daughter?” Raven’s voice rose with an unnerved tone.
“I can do it because you’re not my own daughter.” I killed your family and took you as a trophy. As a pet. Your family was a long line of powerful archmages. I knew you would have great potential. In truth, you really are capable of great things. At this rate I wouldn’t be able to control you. That’s why I wanted you dead, but I still had important contracts for you. But atlast, you didn’t kill the young prince nor are you dead…”
Tears began to run down Raven’s cheeks. They weren’t of sorrow, but of animosity. Sensing that the conversation was at a breaking point, Roark slid his two daggers into position and readied himself for the incoming fight.
“I thought for so long that you were my real mother…” The two women began to move orbiting each other.
“Haha, your parents looked so much like you, Raven. They were so naive.” her face contorted from a smile to disgust.
Without a warning, Raven launched a fireball at Catherine. Roark moved to follow the vlast, hoping to strike her while she was distracted. Roark stays close to Catherine, pressuring her to constantly move. Catherine deftly eluded both the fire and Roark’s advance, launching an ice bolt back at Raven. Enchanted fire grew around her in a protective ring, pushing Roark and Raven back. Catherine creates an ice sword to keep up with Roark’s close combat and continues to cast various spells at Raven. Raven and Roark regroup to catch their breath. The battle continues throughout the night with spells being thrown back and forth. The sound of steel clashing against hardened ice rings through the room. But Roark missteps and slips on the icy floor. Seeing her opportunity to kill Roark, Catherine casts her strongest spell.
“Fimbulvetr!” Catherine shouts as icicles begin to stab into Roark.
“Roark! NO!” Raven yells. In an instant, Raven begins to recast her mother’s ultimate spell. At the same time she casts another spell “FORSETI!”she shouts. Wind rushes around Catherine and pushes her off balance. Raven uses the existing ice and redirects it towards Catherine.
A tornado of one thousand needle sized icicles begin to strike into Catherine.
“I’m surprised you managed to live through Fimbulvetr” Raven said softly.
“I’ve been through worst.” He coughed. “... You know, I’m supposed to be the one protecting you… yet here I am being nursed again.”
“If you’re going to protect me, then MY final oath is to also protect you.” Raven smiled as she kneels over him tending to his wounds.
“Not any assassin could’ve done what you did.” He grunts.
“...It was easier than I expected.” she says slowly while looking down.
“Howso? Even if she was horrible, she did raise you.” He attempts to sit up while resting his arms on his knees.
“I realized during the fight that it was physically impossible for her to love me. To accept me. When she almosted killed you, I didn’t want to lose someone who actually cared about me.” She confessed as she sits next to him. A period of silence passed between them.
Unsure of what’s to come, Roark tilted his head up gazing straight ahead. “We’re going to have to be on the run from here on out you know.” He turned his head towards Raven. “Assassins will be constantly looking for us.”
Gently while looking into his eyes, she answered "That's okay."