In the hot lands of the Khaliphate of the Sphinx, even the rains were different from those walking through the lands of the empire. Changing winds drove the storm clouds wandering over the ocean to the shores. The local savages called this season “Mavsim”. He came once a year and lasted until the clouds got tired of their tears, turning into a barely noticeable haze in the sky. At this time, trade, pilgrimages, even wars stopped. A dense, heavy wall of rain made it impossible to see more than a few steps, and the roads turned into impassable swamps.
Even in these conditions, the Templars in the citadel of Tartus had something to rejoice at. The ubiquitous sand that clogged into every crevice receded under the weight of water and wind. Coolness and calm came. The troops of the Khaliphate did not attack during the Mavsim, the robbers hid in the mountains, and civilians did not leave their homes. Only heavy drops of rain drummed on the roofs of the citadel week after week.
The triumph of calm is the best moment for a secretive killer. The Assassin of the Khaliphate arrived in Tartus a few months before the start of the storm season. He pretended to be a traveling merchant, asking the locals about the city; then beggar on the wharf, eavesdropping on gossip; later as a monk, of the church of Emrys. The last role was the most convenient for the spy. Even too much. The cassock hid the figure and most of the face, the scarlet rope instead of a belt eliminated the need to talk to anyone, because it was a symbol of “silent brotherhood.” And of course access to the citadel. No one checked or searched the monks. Especially those who took a vow of silence. Only one tall monk in an old cassock often followed the assassin with his eyes. Some parts of the stronghold were closed to the monks, but the rest could be walked without barriers, studying the enemy.
When the rains began, most of the guards were removed. The guards from the city streets disappeared, the Templars at the gates of the citadel resembled sleepy flies. They did not even look in the direction of the monk hurrying about his business. The monk brought death. A poisoned dagger hidden in a sleeve. Hands are folded as if in prayer, so that a blow can be made at any second.
Near Master Baldwin’s bedchamber his path was suddenly blocked by another monk. The one whose eyes often followed the assassin in the citadel.
– Where are you going, my brother?
The spy got nervous. He bowed, opened his hands, discreetly hiding the dagger deeper into his sleeve, and carefully pointed to the scarlet rope with which he was girdled.
– Oh, you took a vow of silence. But here’s the problem. – Half-hidden by the hood of his cassock, his face was distorted into a sinister smirk. – There is no “silent brotherhood”. I invented it myself to lure out spies. The temptation to take advantage of such a role is too great.
Realizing that he had been exposed, the assassin drew his dagger, but the sword of the Templar disguised as a monk was faster. A second later, the assassin was lying on the ground, dropping his dagger, and grasping the deep wound with both hands. The Templar bent over the defeated assassin.
– You were a monk for such a short time, but you did Emrys a great service! The tricks I’ve learned from watching you will serve the cause of the Order well.
smith (verified owner) –
A sense of urgent movement is perfectly captured in this miniature, from the flow of the robes, the hood and even the beard. Love it