The elf must simply be pompous.

Duty, honor, integrity, code.

The elf must simply be pompous. This was the thought that Simver kept rolling back to in his mind, try as he might to suss out an alternative answer. In the short time he had spent with the elf, he had shown himself to be neither naive nor desperate. Neither craven nor crazed. Any of those would have been explanation enough for his actions he supposed. But in their absence only one conclusion could remain, and that conclusion was that the elf must simply be deluded to believe that he could definitively control his would-be assassin.

In his life as a gladiator, Simver had been called many things, most of which he did not care to remember. Mercenary, killer, villain, thug. He knew these things not to be true because he lived by a code. Duty, honor, integrity, respect. Simver knew that these were the only true currency that could be trusted. The only currency that mattered in the end. A true assassin however knew no code. He was simply a killer who could be bought by the person with the most gold. A self serving profiteer whose allegiance went to the highest bidder. To be sure, the elf had made a mistake in letting this man live. There was simply too much risk in letting a wild card like this remain part of the fragile equation that comprised this motley group. But it was a mistake that could be corrected. And Simver knew that correction was part of what he did best.

Picking the right moment was paramount. Simver knew from experience that the hours past midnight were a suckers bet. It was actually the hours just before dawn that were perfect purchase for errands such as this. He concentrated his focus and mumbled the secret prayer he had been taught that allowed him to be alerted if someone undesirable approached without his knowledge. Then he slipped through the door and silently closed it behind him. With a press of his thumb on the lock hole, he magically sealed the door, locking him and his target safely inside. He moved across the room, determined to complete his task quickly. He did not want to give this man more consequence than he deserved.

As he approached the sleeping assassin in the dark, he almost felt sorry for the man. He lay fast asleep on a pile of straw. The shoulder of his good arm was hunched up under his chin as a make shift pillow while the other mangled arm that Simver had hacked off awkwardly slumped off to one side. Oh well, no matter. There was work to be done.

As Simver moved in to place his knife on the mans throat, he noticed something he had not noticed before. Peeking out from under the mans shirt collar was the tell tale sign of a familiar looking scar. A symbol Simver had seen before and knew all too well. It was a branding of the Principate. A mark denoting noxii status of the gladiatorial.

How could this be, he thought. This man was surely no gladiator, was he? Confused, Simver quietly sheathed his knife and backtracked out of the room.

Back in his bed, Simver’s mind raced trying to piece together what had just happened. Did he know this man? Had he fought against him? Or even more horrifying a thought, had he fought along side him? Was this man tracking him or was this all simply a freakish coincidence? How could he have been so wrong in judging this mans character? Or was he wrong? Too many questions, not enough answers. Simver did not know what to think. Duty, honor, integrity, code. These were the only things he knew for sure as he lay three in a cold sweat, listening to the morning rooster crow. Duty, honor, integrity, code.



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