*

King Edelero sluggishly sauntered into his darkly lit chambers. His key advisor, Azael, followed and slowly closed the large, golden etched door to the room behind the both of them.

"King Edelero, how—"

"Enough of the formalities," The silver and blue robbed man dragged along, waving back to his assistant, "I've heard enough of that speak in the past weeks. I am tired, so let us keep it simple."

"Of course my…Ramiel, sir." Azael nodded, carefully watching his king glide along in what looked like a trance, "I was just wondering how the talks with King Oringard went. You have been quite silent since you arrived."

Ramiel languidly approached a chair, to which Azael quickly rushed to assist his aging friend. There was a lengthy pause for a response as King Edelero removed his golden gemmed crown, placing it at the end of a small rectangular, and exquisitely garnished, table. He ran his fingers through his curled and greyed hair, reaching to its tips at his shoulders and flung his locks outwards.

"The treaty, you mean?" Edelero slowly reached into his robes and removed a folded sheet of paper. Azael accepted it and opened it up to see a long scripture detailing a series of agreements between the kingdoms of Oringard and Enrid. Oringard's smooth and gracious name accompanied Edelero's jagged and sharp signature at the bottom of the page.

"This isn't everything, is it?" Azael peered over the paper, his bright blue eyes gazing at Ramiel as though he was expecting more.

"Absolutely not," The king shook his head, the absence of energy seeming to disappear from his frail body, being replaced with a youthful excitement. "This is simply the beginning. The final formalities will be taking place in the coming weeks once the kingdoms of Fylenth and Shy`annd agree to the same terms. Once that is complete, then the dream my father dreamed, and his father before him dreamed, shall become a reality."

Azael saw the flames of hope in Ramiel's eyes, understanding what it was and what it truly meant to him.

"The unification of the mainland continent," Azael spoke the words that were lingering on Edelero's tongue.

It was something that the king spoke to his good friend day in and day out; the unification of the mainland continent, the unification of the major powers. The inclusion of the kingdoms of Oringard, Enrid, Fylenth, and Shy`Annd was only the beginning, and the king sought to continue such negotiations with some lesser kingdoms in the following years.

"Yes." The proud man brightly smiled, his whole face seemed to glow in the dimly lit room. The alliance was something his father – and his father before him – dreamed about. To unite the whole continent and create a great peace amongst the greatest nobles of the Shard was now not only a dream, but it was becoming a reality. No longer was the threat of a lingering war, nor the threat of an invasion (such as the recent incursions that occurred in the regions of Fylenth, led by demons that spewed from the peaks of Mount Koth) so much of a worry as it had been. With such an alliance, the king believed, the mainland continent would truly become the utopia that he hungered for.

"Let's just hope that no actions are taken by either kingdom that might compromise this dream." Azael straightened his cloak and pulled over his hood, bowed to his king and left Ramiel to bask in his ambitions.

* * * * * *

The shadow of a quick figure passed swiftly across the plains that enveloped Enrid in its cool hands. It seemed to glide across the tall grasses, not making a single noise. It was a silent wind, a calming breeze that carried a voice that would speak the final words of life. It was a voice of death, a shadow of death, a shadow that carried a message that needed to be delivered.

It was quick to reach the walls of Enrid, clearly avoiding detection by straying away from the gates. To the figure - to a voice - a wall was no more difficult to pass than a large fortified gate.

The silhouette of a man danced up the stone, deftly climbing the perimeter of a seemingly impenetrable city. It made a brief halt atop the walls, gazing down upon the elongated city, a single cobblestone road running down the centre that connected the fortress' doors to the gates to the plains. It was the main path used for the carriages, coaches, and horses that passed through the city each and every day. Whether they carried cargo or people, they made their stops at the various shops and houses that lined each side of the street.

Smaller walkways and alleys passed through and behind the multitude of buildings, and it was these passages the assassin preferred to wander. The road was much too large for him to travel, considering it could easily fit thirty people, evenly lined up from one side to the other.

The black figure dropped down and passed into the darkness, becoming completely invisible, its wingless glide taking it to the gates of the fortified castle.

Two guards were stationed on either side of a steel barred gate, the emblem of the Edelero family – a simple E surrounded with a flowered border – on its centre. They seemed to be impressively trained, their status ranking around that of a royal guard. Full, golden plate covered their bodies - most likely supported with another layer of a stronger metal - and their faces were concealed by great helms etched with the emblem of Edelero.

Giant zweihaenders accompanied both soldiers, which they both let casually rest up against the walls. The large two handed swords seemed to gleam in the moonlight as they rested, just as the guards seemed to be. They were certainly well armed warriors, but their range of motion was greatly limited. An easy kill, the assassin thought, but the voice of death was not to be spoken here.

The wall was scaled once again, leaving the guards to die another day.

The assassin seemed to crawl across the castle grounds. Like a spider or an insect, it was a pest the kingdom never knew was there. It was a parasite that was cautiously penetrating the very defences that were tenaciously constructed to prevent such musings as this.

It became such a pathetic attempt to ward such creatures. It let the voice pass through with no objection.

The black figure knew where it was going. It knew what it was stalking and where it could be found. Around the back it dashed with lightning quick speed and deft leaps to avoid the debris of a sparing tournament held earlier in the day.

Finally, it had been found. A window was just above, purple drapes dancing so peacefully, seeming to welcome the assassin as they waved it in. No difficulty was met to this point, and no difficulty would further be met as shadow passed up the walls.

* * * * * *

Complete relaxation washed over King Ramiel Edelero. He had not had a decent sleep in the past few weeks due to processes needed to be taken for the finalization of the new treaty being conducted. His eyes were heavy, and he did not tempt to object as he passed into a sleep. Yet, something mingled in the air that prevented him to enter that peaceful serenity of a deep slumber. Something felt uneasy since Azael made his departure.

Ramiel struggled to open his eyes; weariness seemed to make everything a blur. The purple drapes danced in the midnight winds, seeming to lure him back into sleep. His eyes began to get heavy again and he did not object.

That lingering uneasiness returned, creating an impenetrable barrier for him to reach the tranquillity of a forgotten rest. And then coldness, a thin line of coldness brushed up against the bare of his neck.

Weariness left him at that point as his eyes shot open to briefly glimpse the shine of a daggers blade pass under his eyes. The coldness on his neck was replaced with a warm flow of blood.

Ramiel tried to call out for the guards, but nothing came. He tried to call for his daughter, Myrianna, but still the blood continued to flow, drowning his voice. His vision was nothing but a blur, but he could view the outline of a man standing before him and what seemed to a grim grin that snuck out from beneath the assassin's dark hood. A turn toward the lights revealed the figure's eyes, eyes that Ramiel recognized.

A shock of horror flashed through the king's weary body, the feeling of a gloved hand passing over his dripping neck and slamming into his chest. His final feeling was that of himself falling, and faintly, he heard a crash that he barely comprehended as his own body smashing into the floor.

Weariness began to take him. His sight began to vanish, the last view of the black figure standing above him holding a dagger at his side, his blood still dripping cleanly from its point. With that, he passed the barrier of uneasiness that prevented him from dropping into a deep and peaceful slumber.

* * * * * *

The assassin wiped the blood off his blade and neatly tucked it under his cloak as he made his way for the dancing drapes that beckoned him to escape. He stood on the window's sill and gazed at the long drop to the courtyard grounds.

He bent his knees and prepared to make the drop before his sensitive ears picked up the sound of steel on stone.

Guards were approaching, most likely royal guards. The assassin saw this as an opportunity to make up for the voice of death that did not speak just moments ago.

The guards at the gates would have been fun game, but at the time there were more important matters to take care of. With those matters now dealt with, it was now time for the assassin to pursue his entertainments.

The door to the room violently swung open and, just as the assassin expected, two royal guards marched in to the horror of their dead king swimming in a pool of his own blood.

One guard stepped back, raising his arm to his eyes trying to compose himself while the other approached the heap of lifeless flesh, kneeling down to it to gaze at the pale and expressionless face of the king.

The kneeling guard straightened himself and removed his helmet, paying his respects to the fallen king. The second followed suit and moved his eyes passed the dancing drapes.

A shadow stood in the window with two small daggers at each side.

Both guards saw the figure and went for their swords, but they were not quick enough. The daggers found their targets, each one protruded just above the gorgets in each guard's armour.

Two more bodies now decorated the floor, both of them grasping their neck and swimming in a now larger pool of crimson delight.

A simple snicker echoed throughout the room, and then the shadow was gone.

* * * * * *

Myrianna was shaken awake by darkened dreams and a sudden worry for her father. She stumbled out of her room and strutted to her father's room. To her amazement, the door was open with the sounds of thick cloth violently being shaken about being emitted from the room.

Slowly, she turned into the room to see three bodies sprawled across a great red floor. Her face dropped, a stream of tears began to flow and she lost all strength in her knees. She leaned against the frame of the door and troubled herself to gaze at her dead father.

Myrianna could only bellow the sounds of sorrow, could not even cry out the name of her father. She could no longer bear to view the carnage that lay before her, could not see the man in the corner near the door.

Azael was silent as he paid his respects, a grin sneaking out of the corner of his lip, as he gazed upon the newly slain king, a torn slip of paper lying in his palm.