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Chapter 1: Cynthia

I hid in the darkness of an unlit corner. I felt the cold, hard stone pressed against my back as I listened to the sound of footsteps. I could hear the dull echoing sound of metal boots on the hard stone floor. If they saw me, they wouldn’t hesitate to strike me down with a heavy steel sword; and that simply wasn’t on my agenda for the evening. The shadow of a guard's face moved along the wall across from me, advancing slowly. Silently, I wrapped a drenched cloth around the tip of an arrow and nocked the arrow. I pulled back my bow and held my breath as I fired the arrow straight into the torch, instantly dashing away the safety light promised. Bright lights and armed guards were often enemies for people in professions like mine. The torch, struck with the force of the arrow, toppled to the ground and quietly rolled some into the grass field across from me. Guards began to ask questions as the area emerged into the darkness of a cloudy, moonless night. One guard unsheathed his sword, a string of curses echoed throughout the small courtyard as he began searching for me, but I had already slipped past him as soon as the light went out. Ha! To think those guards could stop me, Cynthia Sorinthia, from getting past them. Those guards are no threat, do not worry, they lack any sort of training to deal with someone with my set of skills. I’ve perfected the noble art of stealth and trickery since I’d been forced to leave my home so many years ago…

 

The guards were still desperately searching for me in the darkness of night as I gracefully ran and pulled myself up the large stonewall on the opposite side of the courtyard the guards had been. My pointy ears that all elves had were chilled by the breeze I felt as I crept along the top of the wall. I pulled my black hood closer to me, trying to keep to the shadows as I approached the wall of one of the compounds two towers. I pulled out a small jar of tar I kept in a small satchel I carried around with me and spread a small amount on my hands and the bottoms of my shoes before I leapt up to grab the railings of the balcony just above me.

 

I shook my long, straight, light brown hair out of the way of my blue eyes and began scaling the tower, grateful for the tar that helped me hold on to any kind of surface I could get my hands or feet on. I often found myself climbing all sorts of structures all the time for my different jobs. I used to fear the consequences of what might happen if I made one mistake, scaling these buildings, I suppose in a way I was still afraid. However, as I accepted more and more contracts, it was hard to deny the strategic advantage of being able to track targets from the outside, without fear of being spotted.

The guards had relit the fire I had put out making me slightly visible, even in my dark attire. Shit, I couldn't risk being seen, no matter how small the chances. I leapt left from my position and grabbed a railing on the far side of the tower. From here, I hung over the city street, but there was no one in sight, it also kept me away from the courtyard, and away from the guards. The jump sent a jarring force through my arm as I grabbed onto the railing, but I managed to stay quiet and hold on. I had lost about ten vertical feet with the jump, but it was better than being caught or killed by the guards. Out of sight, I quickly scaled my way to the top of the tower, silently as possible. I moved as swiftly as possible without risk of falling to my death on the streets below. One step at a time. I told myself as I grabbed another handhold and continued up the tower.

At the top, I looked out over the city of Cyphol and it looked strangely beautiful. I could see every light in the city from the top of the tower. I quickly forgot about the beauty when I remembered the corruptness and hunger that still existed within the city. Cyphol was recovering, but it had been drained during the kingdom of Werdyn's war with the neighboring orc kingdom to the west. I’d seen paintings of a golden age in Werdyn, where the streets were full of life and song, rather than Captain Christopher of the city guard running around, chasing criminals through the streets littered with homeless and starving souls. Whether or not the paintings depicted a real time, or just an idea, it didn't really matter to me. I couldn't call the human kingdom of Werdyn home, even if I had lived here for several years. The Elven kingdom, and Evanuan, would always be home in my heart. I longed to return to it, to live peacefully, but my parents had taken me from the country when the Chammelons, or as we called them 'lizard folk'. The Chammelons invasion had come as a surprise, their armies unnatural and dark magic running through their ranks. What remained of the elves dispersed into the surrounding kingdoms, living as refugees, always on the run. The invaders hunted down the surviving elves, worried an elf blessed with ancient elven magic would come back to Evanuan. We were living in a small town in Werdyn when they found us, my dad and I. I hid and watched as they entered and struck down my father without a thought, dark bolts of magic energy tearing holes in his body. I was seven at the time and had been training from that moment, for the past ten years, I'd trained myself to become the lethal, stealthy, machine I was today. I vowed to avenge my parents and help take back Evanuan, with or without magic, a vow I still intend to carry out…

 

I couldn’t stare at the corrupt city’s skyline forever though, I still had a contract to complete. I snuck past all those guards and scaled this tower for a reason, believe it or not. I was about 100 feet above the ground now and I looked across the chasm of a road below met at the other tower. If I remembered correctly, the nobleman slept three floors down from the top. I didn't even know the poor guy's name! Someone wanted him dead though, and they knew Cynthia Sorinthia had just the skills to make sure he didn’t live to see tomorrow. I looked through the window three floors down from the top of the tower to see nothing. Well this day just gets better and better. I'd have to sneak in and assassinate him in his sleep. It was four o'clock in the morning and the nobleman should be asleep. I pulled out what rope I had and tied it to the end of an arrow. The arrow was built with special barbs so it could go between or through objects, but not back out. It made an excellent arrow for attaching ropes to things to say the least. The rails on the nobleman's porch looked to be a little over fifty feet away, I just hope I have enough rope, scaling back down the tower and sneaking up the other tower was, once again not exactly on my agenda for tonight.

 

I aimed my bow at the nobleman's porch and fired, the rope trailing the arrow like a shadowy serpent in the night sky. The arrow slid through the railings of the porch with impeccable accuracy, the barbs on the end of the arrow stopped it from popping back out. I gave the rope a few tugs to make sure it would hold, the last thing I need is for the arrow or rope to break before I'm across. I tied my end of the rope to one of the ramparts that protruded upward from the top of the tower. I wrapped my arms and legs around the rope, facing the sky, and quietly began to scoot myself towards my target’s porch, careful to make sure no arrows fell out of my quiver. I could walk across ropes upright on two feet, believe me, I'm a professional, but it's better not to take any risks, especially when it's not necessary. I don't want to risk slipping to my death. I don't need to show off to get the job done, especially when no one sees what I does, and the only person who might see me gets a knife or an arrow put through them… In theory, anyway.

I dropped onto the nobleman's porch and cut the rope with one of my two daggers. I'd had the daggers for ages. They were elegantly crafted elven daggers each with a curved blade full of beautiful marks, cuts, and patterns on the blades. I’d acquired them back in Evanuan, before the city fell. They were each about twelve inches long and made of a rare, very sharp and dense ebony like rock found in Mt. Epsilon, next to Evanuan. The handles were black with a metal gold lacing through them, the blades were a shiny black color polished with gold and silver giving the blade an ambiance of the two colors although the blade remained a metallic black. The daggers fit perfectly in my hands and I could be devastatingly lethal while wielding them. I preferred the dagger to my bow which was given to me by my mother while she was alive. The bow was still a beautifully crafted weapon that I was just as dangerous with.

 

The rope fell away, dangling from the building I had just come from. I pushed down on the handle of the door and tried to open it, locked. I sighed as I pulled out my lock picking tools. I inserted the tools into the lock and quietly moved them around and listened until I heard the sweet click of the door unlocking. Ha! If they didn't want it open, they should've bought a better lock, right? I’d opened locked doors all over Cyphol at this point, now there was rarely a time I came across a door I couldn’t get open. I pushed the door open slowly and felt a rush of warm air as I entered the heated room. There were beautiful works of art on the walls that must cost a fortune. I looked at the nobleman's bed to find it empty. Assassinations tend to get difficult when you can’t find the person you’re supposed to kill. I heard a sound from the bathroom and walked to the closed bathroom door. I'd just wait for him to leave the room, and then end it quickly.

 

No one would miss the man, he lived alone and he was hoarding all this wealth Cyphol desperately needed, his death also meant money for me. Yes, I'm an assassin if you haven't figured that out by now. I kill people for money. Sometimes I wondered if I was being hypocritical in my line of work, taking other people’s lives after I’d witnessed so much death myself. I tried to only target people whose death could benefit the city, rich men, hoarding wealth, serving the city no purpose. In such a sense, I imagined myself as a sort of robin hood, but perhaps it’s just a lie I tell myself to justify my life style. However, in this line of work I was able to utilize my skills. Anyway, after elves had spent so long in isolation in their kingdom to the east, most people were weary of the elves, making it difficult to find work. Besides, a normal job meant a predictable lifestyle, and if you stay in one place too long… It’s only a matter of time before you’re found and killed at the hands of the Chammelons. I refocused my attention to the bathroom door. This nobleman isn't what I’d refer to as a ‘good person’, I need money to buy food and a place to live. I prefer I live than some snotty nobleman.

 

The nobleman emerged from the bathroom and I held up a finger to my mouth and one dagger in the other hand. "Shhh."

I don't know why that works on people, doesn't he understand I have to kill him? I guess not because he stood still with his arms raised as I pressed my dagger against his throat. I don't mean to seem like a psychopath, which I'm not, but I couldn't help smiling. It was child's play! The nobleman didn't even resist as I slid the dagger across his throat. Blood poured from his throat as he collapsed dead upon the tile floor of the bathroom. Another target down. I bent down and used the dead man's shirt to wipe the blood off my dagger before sheathing it at my side, no point in getting my own clothes dirty. I dragged the body to the center of the room, hopefully it would be found by morning. I know what you're thinking, 'why would an assassin want her victims to be found?' Well, assassins are masters of deception and our employers like solid evidence that their victims are actually dead before they pay us.

Don't worry though, they won't know it was me, even when I leave this note for the captain of the local guard who's been trying to track me down. Don't worry, he hasn't gotten far at all. I love messing with him, I can't help it. I can just imagine his face when he finds the note on the body. I've never actually seen the captain, but I imagine Christopher finds my notes extremely flattering.

I quickly tucked the note into the dead nobleman's shirt and fled the room quickly. I scaled down the tower into the street and fled the area to an inn I was spending the night in. Tomorrow the body would be reported and I'd collect my reward.

2: Christopher

There was another body. I rode up to one of the nobleman's compounds with several guards under my command. I was captain of the guard of Cyphol at 17. Most people thought I was too young for the title and often didn't take me seriously. I usually proved them wrong with my masterful swordsmanship and ability to effectively command. I had led this city's guard effectively and would continue to lead them so. The body had been found by a terrified young servant early this morning who had come to bring the nobleman a hot cup tea.

The body was found in pajamas leading me to believe it was killed last night, which they already assumed. The body was untouched except for a single, long cut across the man's throat. There was a short trail of dried blood coming from the bathroom. The body had been killed near the bathroom and deliberately placed in the center of the room.

I looked for any other signs that could point to anything about whoever was responsible for this… Wait, there's some kind of note tucked into the man's shirt. I pulled out the crumpled piece of paper and began to read what it said… I sighed at the immature content expressed on the small piece of paper. I couldn’t tell if the assassin was extremely psychopathic, or had some strange sense of humor. Oh well, I didn't really expect a criminal to appreciate the captain of the guard, but to insult me on a dead body. Repeatedly. Anyway, the note says, "Kiss my ass, Captain! Love- C.S."

 

C.S. I've seen those initials before on and near other bodies found dead in the night. C.S. was who I've come to know as the assassin I just could not locate. We have nearly no information on who he or she was. We didn't know his or her name or gender. We've been unable to trace the assassin to any sort of organization. Hell, they weren't even sure what they were? Were they a human? An orc? An elf? We were so lost and clueless they may as well have been tracking the assassin blindfolded.

I sighed as I retrieved a quill and parchment from one of the guards who came with me. I wrote another empty report filled with as little information about the assassin as the last. The duke will not be pleased with what little information I've had been providing on 'C.S.'

I handed the short report to one of the guards. "Is this all, Christopher?" The guard asked.

"Yes, it is.” I replied bitterly. "If you can miraculously provide us with information on the assassin that will help us bring him or her to justice, let me know."

“Sorry, Captain." the guard quickly muttered and walked away. I don't usually like snapping at my guards, but after so many failures to find anything about this assassin I wasn't in the best mood. Whoever the assassin was, they certainly knew what they were doing.

I exited the building and my guards followed behind me. I climbed on top of my horse I had left outside and rode away from the compound and towards the city center. I dismissed my guards and ordered them to return to the castle in the city center where the duke resided as he governed the city. I wasn't ready to deal with the duke's complaining about me 'never having anything on the assassin.' If he thought it was so easy he should do it himself.

 

I stopped at a small restaurant and dismounted my horse. I ordered a small meal with a glass of wine and handed the owner a few coins. I went outside and sat at a table by myself. A few minutes into the meal I noticed something peculiar. A few tables away a woman sat at a table with a hood covering her head and face. She sat across from another woman and the two seemed to speak quietly to each other until one woman gave the woman in the hood a small leather pouch. I studied the pouch in the quick second it was handed to the hooded women and, it was a bag of coins! A fairly substantial amount too! The hooded woman quickly fled the area and after a minute the other woman looked prepared to leave but I stood up and walked over to her.

 

"Christopher, Royal Guard,” I said to the women who looked a little nervous. "Who were you speaking with?"

"Just a friend." the woman said a little too quickly for my liking.

"Who was this friend, why the hood?" I inquired, stepping into the woman’s personal space, an intimidation tactic.

"She's just afraid of being noticed." the women said and chuckled nervously. "What about the bag of coins?" I asked suspiciously,” What were those for?" "To buy a dress of course!" The women said with a smile. "She had helped me

 

out with something and that was her payment. Are you not going to the ball this weekend, Captain?" the women fluttered her eyelids at me. I actually wasn't sure about attending this weekend's ball, but that was beside the point.

"What kind of thing was she helping you with?" I asked, afraid this may have been prying a bit too much.

 

"I'm afraid that's my own business Captain." the woman said to me and walked

away.

I briefly thought of following the woman, one doesn’t generally just walk away from the captain of the guard and I could bring her to the capital if I wanted. However, I decided against it, this woman clearly wasn’t going to talk, and it was doubtful the assassin would’ve shown up in plain sight. Still, the hooded women had been mysterious, could she be C.S. though? I wasn't sure. The women may have been lying about the hooded woman going to the ball, but it was the only lead I had. Besides, what else did I have to do, if nothing else it might be a bit of fun! I finished my meal and mounted my horse, more confident in what I had to tell the Duke now.

 

3: Cynthia

I actually smiled lightly as I quickly walked away from the restaurant I had received my payment at. The coins in my satchel seemed to bounce with joy as I returned to the inn I had been staying at for the past few days. I didn't own a house of any kind, a house would keep me too closely tied to an area, I had to be ready to leave Cyphol or wherever I was if things got dangerous for me.

 

Anyway, I had the rest of the day today and all of tomorrow to rest up and celebrate before another job on Saturday. I would be going to a ball in the duke's citadel! Isn't that just lovely? Someone on the duke's council had crossed one of my contractor’s paths and I was going to be paid big for this assassination! This councilman had it coming too. He had been cheating citizens out of land and money just to increase his already sickening amount of wealth. It wasn't a problem a lethal dose of raitwood poison couldn't solve however.

 

As much as I loved the occasional party in one of Werdyn's finest castles, I had never actually been invited to one. You just need an expensive dress and beautiful smile like mine and the guards won't even think as they let you into the ball. I've never stayed for an entire ball either, every one that I'd ever been to ended up with some poor person's body dead on the floor.

I spent the next day in the woods, just outside the city, hunting. I was skilled at hunting and it not only calmed me down, but I was generally able to sell my kills to a butcher in the city although, because I refused to reveal who I was, they never gave me a very good price. Have to make a living somehow, I suppose. I shot an arrow through a rabbit and walked over the dark soil of the forest to retrieve my kill. The rabbit was a large gray one whose beady, dead, eyes seemed to be staring at something, but there was nothing to be seen. I returned to Cyphol's center through a path with small wooden houses and larger stone buildings until I came to the butcher where I sold the three rabbits I had killed for a few coins. It wasn't nearly as much as I thought I should receive, not as much as I deserved, but remaining unnoticed was the most vital part of my profession and I couldn't allow anyone to see who I was, or what I was for that matter. With a sigh, I headed back to the inn through small dirt paths in favor of the main stone roads the guards often patrolled. In the inn, I quickly checked to make sure I had enough raitwood for tomorrow before I undressed and went to sleep.

 

...

 

I awoke the next morning to find it was already eleven o’clock. I knew I should force myself out of bed, but I just lay in my bed for another hour anyway. I put on the gray pants and black tunic I had worn yesterday before heading downstairs and buying a few hard-boiled eggs from the innkeeper before heading back to my room.

 

I knew I still had several hours before the ball started, but I'd need all the time I could get in order to look good enough to attend the duke's ball without bringing attention to myself. The first thing I needed was a bath. Between assassinating the nobleman, hunting, and just not caring, I hadn't bathed in about a week. It's disgusting, I know, but I didn't care. I get paid to kill people, not to smell good. Anyway, I stripped down and took a long bath, careful to scrape all the dirt and signs of dried blood off of my skin. I actually felt pretty good after my bath, finally clean after so many days. I grabbed a towel and quickly dried myself off while I walked back to the living area.

 

I slid my personal trunk out from under my bed, out from under the space I had carved from the wall, and unlocked it, popping it open. It was navy blue and inside I kept weapons and money, it held everything of value to me, everything I used as an assassin, if I lost it I would lose everything, that's why I always kept it hidden in the walls of wherever I was staying, often carving into the wall or the floorboard to keep it completely hidden and secure. From inside the trunk, I removed a long, elegant, dark green dress and I held it up to me as I admired myself in the mirror. I thought myself pretty enough, although I had a long white scar from my stomach to my side from a nasty encounter with a dragon from when they still visited these lands. I hadn’t seen a dragon since Evanuan fell, and there was no magic save for those who relentlessly hunted down the elves.

 

The dress shimmered slightly in the light and it complimented my body well. The dress was dark green and laced with thin patterns of gold, it wasn't cheap by any means, but I always need a dress if I have to infiltrate any sort of high class party or ball. I slipped into the dress and looked myself in my bright turquoise eyes as I twisted my hair into a tight elegant bun on the back and left side of my head. I then began applying makeup, which I absolutely abhorred. I hated the 'fake' look it gave me, plus, it took basically forever, applying mascara, blush, lipstick, anything and everything a noblewoman would wear. Finally, after what seemed like ages, I finished my makeup and slipped into my matching green shoes, and long green gloves. I quickly grabbed a bottle of perfume and sprayed myself a few times. Finally, I used two small clips to tuck my ears to the inside of my head, laying them nearly flat against my scalp. They generally didn’t poke through my hair, but I didn’t want to risk being noticed, and believe me, these days there was little that stuck out more than a pair of pointy ears in a crowd. I grabbed my vial of raitwood and put it into a small, secret pocket I had personally sown into the gown's bosom when I bought it. After a second thought I opened my trunk and took out a small knife that I squeezed into the pocket as well, hopefully I wouldn't need it. I locked my chest and returned it to its hiding place before quickly exiting the inn.

 

Outside, it was still light out, but I could tell evening was fast approaching. I hailed down a carriage and paid the driver to deliver me at the castle entrance. Going by carriage was the only proper way to really arrive. People would be suspicious about an invitee of the duke's ball to be walking to the party. I thanked the driver as I exited the carriage and casually walked by a group of four entering the castle. I strode past the guards confidently and no questions were asked. If only they knew how little security they actually provided. Inside I walked to the ballroom to take in a plethora of well-dressed men and women talking, drinking, and dancing to music being played by a symphony on a raised stage. In the back, I could see the duke eating on a raised platform above the orchestra. I knew what I needed to do, eliminate the councilman, but why ruin such a great party right away? I could have some fun, plus, free food and drink was always a good reason to stick around.

 

As I walked down the stairs I was asked by a gentleman with blond hair and blue eyes to dance, he wasn't ugly by any means, but not the most attractive… What the hell, let's go. I allowed him to lead me to the dance floor where we danced, I knew how to dance of course. I had learned long ago so I could do tasks like this. I wouldn't be able to infiltrate a ball effectively if I couldn't dance and act like a proper noblewoman.

 

I danced with several men before I stopped for to take a break, to carry out my mission. With all the people asking me to dance, I couldn’t help but feel flattered. I knew I should be focusing on the councilman, but I enjoyed the flirtatious elegance of all the wealthy people present. Listening to them talk and complain of things unknown to the majority of people on the street outside. I was about to find the councilman when I felt someone touch my elbow.

 

I turned around to see a young man with brown hair and grayish green eyes looking at me. His face screamed handsome and I was so busy gawking at him that I hadn't heard the question…

"Are you alright?" The man asked me worriedly.

"I'm fine,” I replied slowly. Annoyed with myself for letting my guard down for even a second. "Sorry, what were you saying?"

"I was just wondering if I could have a dance with a lady as beautiful as yourself?" The man said very charmingly, giving me a dazzling smile.

I looked at the man's face, screw it, the councilman could wait, I still had hours to complete the task. "Why of course." The man led me to the floor and as we began to dance I asked. "What did you say your name was again?"

The man smiled his gorgeous smile at me as he replied two words. "It's Christopher."

I knew that name from somewhere and I said softly to myself, "Christopher." It didn’t even cross my mind at the time that this could be the captain of the guard, that Christopher.

Christopher chuckled a little as he put one hand on my back and took one of my own hand with the other,” that’s my name." With that I quickly forgot any doubts I had about the name Christopher and we danced.

4: Christopher

I saw her as soon as she walked through the door. There was no other way to describe it, she was beautiful. Her turquoise eyes shone like stars in the sky, and her dress, just wow. Just the sight made me regret my doubts about coming to the ball.

 

As you know, I wasn't exactly here for entertainment. I was searching for a notorious assassin who I hoped, or didn't hope, was among the people in this room. I was worried, believe me, even as captain of the guard, this assassin was well trained, and knew how to remain hidden. Hopefully, I find them before they destroy the duke's ball. I sighed, hopefully I find them before anyone dies. I quickly scanned the room in a paranoid fashion, worried that any of these seemingly happy people could also have a dagger, or an ounce of poison with them. I'd heard news from other towns and cities of assassins crashing balls and parties, hopefully this didn't end like what I'd heard.

I was wearing black slacks and boots. I stood alone, leaning against a pillar, my eagle hilted sword shown like a cactus spine, warding off any of the duke’s guests. I had inherited the blade from my father , who had also served in Werdyn’s military and was a high ranking official. He gave it to me when I entered the academy, but we had been on bad terms for a while. My gaze drifted back to the woman in the dark emerald green dress, I wanted to go over to her, had to go over. But some bloke had beaten me to her and she smiled as she took his hand in her own, gloved hand.

I sighed as I turned away from her, for now anyway. I wasn't here to flirt with some pretty young maiden, no matter how brightly her eyes sparkled. I needed to find the assassin and bring them to justice before the duke, or anyone was injured. I tried to concentrate, but my mind just kept wandering back to the girl in the green gown, dancing with some perverted nobleman. There's just something about, her I just can't quite put my finger on…

 

Right, the assassin, I told myself, trying to focus my mind, need to find them. I had more guards posted than usual, but we still didn't know who to look for, even if we found an assassin, we probably wouldn't know until they had slit their victims throat. The assassin was well trained, they could simply poison their victim. God this was just getting worse and worse wasn't it.

I kept thinking about the girl with the brown hair and the blue eyes and as Veyron, an officer in the guard passed by I asked him. "Do you think she'd dance with me?" I hardly talked to the man and didn’t know why I sought his opinion. Perhaps nerves, perhaps the older man could shed some light. The former seemed more likely.

Veyron turned around scanning the room before asking me lazily, "Which one?" I pointed her out to Veyron, she was dancing with another man now, and he

 

replied "She's too pretty for you, chap. You're just a boy." He sniggered and clapped me on the back before walking away. I knew he was probably right, but she looked so beautiful dancing, I had to at least give it a shot, right?

She was standing off to the side of the dance floor now, leaning against the polished, marble wall, more beautiful than the room itself. This was my chance, if I didn't try now, someone else was sure to beat me to her. I took a deep breath and strode across the bright floor over to her. Her back was towards me and I gingerly tapped her elbow causing her to turn towards me.

Here, so close to her, she was all the more beautiful, her eyes shone like a light in a dark, desolate cave, her skin seemed to glow almost golden, and she smelled like… I'm not sure what it was but it was a good smell. "Would you like to dance?" I asked quickly, chuckling nervously.

 

She remained silent, looking at me. Was she mocking me? Had I done something wrong? Was something wrong with her? "Are you okay?" I asked nervously.

She seemed to snap out of whatever it was that happened to her and looked me in the eyes,” I’m fine,” she replied. I couldn't tell if she was just responding or if she was annoyed. "Sorry, what were you saying."

"I was just wondering if I could have a dance with a lady as beautiful as yourself?" I said. Nice going Christopher, very smooth. I'll be lucky if she even responded.

"Why of course." She responded with a smile.

 

Oh god, she actually said yes. Well, I can't back out now, she wants to dance with me. At least I hope she did. I took her gloved hand in my own, her fingers were thin and made you want to hold them in your own. We arrived at the floor and I put a hand on her back and took one of her own hands with my other. She asked for my name and I told it to her without a thought. A voice in the back of my head told me I was making a mistake, dancing at the ball when I should be searching for Cyphol’s most notorious assassin.

"Christopher," she said slowly, as if chewing on the name and deciding whether or not she liked it. She looked over my shoulder, across the room, as if looking for someone.

"That's my name,” I said quickly and I chuckled nervously and she laughed softly along with me.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

I have always loved writing, the best part is seeing what you dream up in your mind come to life! I am from Sandy, Utah where I enjoy skiing, hiking with my adorable dog, Strider, and playing the guitar. I find the best writing music to be anything from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Green Day. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, whether it be watching a movie or exploring up the canyon, which is where I get much of my inspiration. I love anyone who wants to look at my writing!

Q. What books have influenced your life the most?
A.
I have always been a fan of Science Fiction and fantasy. I definitely am influenced by books like Sarah J. Mass's "Throne of Glass". But I also love coming of age dark sci-fi like Patrick Ness's "The Knife of Never Letting Go".
Q. Where did the idea for this book come from?
A.
The idea for this book take shape over a long period of time. I drew inspiration from books like the "Throne of Glass" as well as video games like "Dragon Age". Eventually I began to like the idea of a magical fantasy world told from two perspectives, morally good, and morally grey.
Q. What books are you reading now?
A.
Right now I am reading "Gemina" by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It's a phenomenal science fiction book that I highly recommend.

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