Even the rains are different from the ones in the lands of the Empire here in the hot lands of the Sphinx Caliphate. Changing winds brought storm clouds wandering over the ocean to the shores. Local savages called this season “Mavsim”. It happens once a year and lasts until the clouds get tired of their tears, turning into a barely noticeable haze in the firmament. During this period, everything is put on pause: trade, pilgrimages, and even wars. A dense and heavy wall of rain makes a few steps distance barely visible, and the roads turn into the impassable swamps.
Even under these terrible conditions, the Templars in the Tartus citadel had some great news. The ubiquitous sand that was seeping into every crevice, retreated under the weight of the water and wind. And coolness and calmness came out. The troops of the Caliphate never attacked during the Mavsim, the robbers hid in the mountains, and the civilians did not leave their homes. Only rain pounded the roofs of the citadel, week after week.
However, a triumph of calm is the best opportunity for a stealthy assassin. The Assassin of the Caliphate arrived in Tartous several months before the storm season began. He pretended to be an itinerant merchant, asking the locals about the city; then he was a beggar on the dock, eavesdropping on gossip; later a monk of Emrys’ Church. The latter role was the most convenient for a spy. Even too much. The cassock hid the figure and most of the face, the scarlet rope instead of the belt eliminated the need to talk to anyone as it was a symbol of the “silent brotherhood”. And what is more important, it gave 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 carefully watched the assassin. Some parts of the stronghold were closed to monks, but the rest could be walked without obstacles, which allowed him to study the enemy.
When the rains began, most of the guards were removed. The guards disappeared from the city streets, and the Templars at the gates of the citadel looked like sleepy flies. They did not even look in the direction of the monk hurrying about his business, even though, the monk was here to bring death only. A poisoned dagger was hidden in a sleeve. Hands were folded as for prayer so that he was ready to strike at any second.
His path was suddenly blocked near Master Baldwin’s bedchamber by another monk. It was the same monk who was watching the assassin while he was hanging around the citadel.
“Where are you going, my brother?”
The spy got nervous. He bowed, opened his arms, discreetly hiding the dagger deeper into his sleeve, and carefully pointed to the scarlet rope.
“Oh, you took a vow of silence. But here’s the trouble.” An ominous grin was seen on a half-hooded face. “There is no silent brotherhood. I made it up to lure out spies. It’s a too tempting offer for spies to not take advantage of such a role.”
Realizing that he has been revealed, the assassin drew a dagger, but the sword of the Templar disguised as a monk turned out to be faster. A second later, the assassin was lying on the ground, dropping his dagger, and grabbing both hands for a deep wound. The Templar bent over the defeated assassin.
“You were a monk for such a short time, but you have served Emrys an excellent service! The tricks, I’ve learned while watching you, will serve the cause of the Order well.”
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