Daughters Of Nyx
The girl walked into the lonely alleyway, the dim moonlight casting her soft shadow across the dusty path. Her small slim figure flitted between the shadows as she silently made her way towards the back of the mansion. She was barely of age, a sweet young thing of sixteen, yet prowled the dangerous streets in the depths of the night. Her straight shoulder length hair was tied back into a tight ponytail and it swished gently as she climbed smoothly over the wall. Her eyes were bright and alert and her face calm; only her soft quick rapid breaths gave away a hint of her emotion, excitement.
The girl jumped and landed lightly on the grass. A twig snapped and she stiffened in response.
Breathing through her nose, she rose gently, keeping her body pressed against the wall, always in the shadows.
A cicada chirped softly.
Taking care not to step on any fallen branches, the girl made her way towards that one particular room. She ran lightly across the garden as a cloud passed the moon, bathing the flower garden in a pool of darkness.
Slipping her slim fingers underneath the wooden window, the girl pressed the latch and pushed the window slowly upwards then slid herself expertly in. She could see the faint outline of the two figures on the large bamboo thatched bed. Reaching for her katana, the girl advanced slowly towards the couple.
Hair stood up the nape of her neck as she jumped back instinctively. The bodies rose.
Two men both buff and beefy flung off their disguises and raced towards her in union. She jumped lightly on a table and leapt into the air and crashed one elbow into one man’s skull and then drove the knife through the other man’s head.
They didn’t even know what had hit them.
The girl flew across the room and escaped through the window. She had to find her target, wherever they were hiding.
The alarm had been set off; the entire household seemed to have risen from its slumber. Men were shouting, lamps were lit and the whispering of women could be heard. Suddenly, everywhere you looked there were men holding knives, spears and swords. However, no one saw the small shadow that slipped artfully down the kitchen. No one heard the silent scream of the kitchen maid as her throat was swiftly slit. No one saw the new kitchen maid with her small smile and soft voice enter the President’s spare bedroom.
It was only a few hours later a maid ran screaming for help; the President of the Thousand Flowers Inn, the man with the power and money to control the town of Sangju and his wife had been murdered.
The only evidence they ever found was the tray of supper beside the President’s bed and in his hand, a single stem of a fresh red rose.
Daughter of Nyx; the most feared female assassin clan throughout the land. Throughout our history, many warriors and soldiers have tried to locate our base, but to no avail. The rare few who did manage to find us never lived to tell the tale.
Skill, beauty and cunningness are the trademarks of a daughter of Nyx. We are all orphans; either born here or brought here at a young age to undergo a lifetime of intensive training which would mould us into the perfect killer. Reading, writing, martial arts, sword fighting, archery and poison study were some of the compulsory training classes that we attended. However, apart from these normal training classes, we had the battle sessions. Battle sessions were held by Nyx at random times and it was to test our strengths, resilience and technique. Most of the time it was semi or full contact, but it was never more than a few broken bones. However, something was dangerously wrong with our battle session that day.
Nyx walked into the junior training room followed by three senior daughters. Silence seeped through the room almost as if she had turned us all into ice. Our shock was understandable; Nyx never visited the junior training room; it was always a senior daughter who passed on her message. This only amplified the strength of her presence. Leadership in our clan is only achieved through dueling and killing the previous leader. The stories of the duel between Nyx VII and Nyx VIII had run abound, each more outrageous than the last. Whether or not I believed that the woman before me had fought 3 polar bears bare handedly in order to get to Nyx VII was irrelevant. What I did believe in was that the woman before me was a killer; in every definition of the word.
We formed two straight lines and bowed as Nyx walked to the end of the training room. Picking up a small dagger from the equipment table, she weighed the small knife in her hand. “You will all gather at the battle ground in 3 minutes.” She said, talking more to the knife than to us. Perhaps it was the shock of seeing our master in the junior training room, no one in the room dared to move. Suddenly, the girl beside me staggered and crumbled onto the floor; a dagger buried deep in her chest.
“Everyone MOVE!” I screamed as I dashed out of the training, adrenaline pumping throughout my body, encouraging my legs to move faster. My hearing seemed to expand and sharpen as I heard the thunder of footsteps of my sisters behind me. The image of my dead sister was etched on my mind. I did not know…
None of us had known what to expect when Nyx stepped into the training room that day. The more foolish ones perhaps hoped that Nyx had taken an interest in our particular group. I guess in retrospect, it’s easier to say that she was sending us running towards a massacre.
I have received various comments during my many missions about how different I am from any other girl so and so has met. I receive these comments with a small smile. After all, what other girl these pampered and bloated men know was assessed on her skill at locating the particular position on the spinal cord in order to break their neck? What other girl was commanded by the only mother figure she knew to kill or be killed by the girls she grew up with and regarded as her closest friends and sisters?
Even two years later, I could still remember the massacre of my sisters and friends, killed by my own hand. I still hear their screams the night I tore open their hearts and feel it tear open my own. It was that battle that taught me what it was like to be a real assassin. I had no life, no love, and no friends. My only purpose would be to fulfill my mission and to kill. It did not matter whether or not I had friends; as the battle had shown me, at any moment, they could become my deadliest enemies. Two years as a senior daughter had taught me a lot of lessons and slowly hardened my heart. I had stopped counting the number of people I killed in my missions, stopped trying to wash the smell of blood off my hands and stopped thinking of anything else but to complete my missions on time. It had not gotten any easier; plunging my knife into innocent people’s hearts, watching the light fade from their eyes and knowing that I am the one responsible, but you do become numb to the pain after a while. Today was just same, a new mission and a new target.
“Good Morning Ker,” Nyx said in her usual smooth clear voice just before I raised my hand to knock on her door.
Opening the door, I bowed politely and gave her my greetings.
Nyx was as usual behind her beautifully flower-carved table, immersed in the piles of paperwork that adorned her tabletop. It was rumored that Nyx was already in her forties, yet none of the Daughters knew her actual age. Whether the rumors where true or not, no one knew, but certainly no one would dare think of approaching her with such a question; death by disembowelment would probably be less painful. Whatever the truth, Nyx certainly did not look forty, on the contrary, she looked barely thirty with her flawless caramel skin and dark eyes framed with long, thick lashes that made her look a lot less dangerous than she really was. Fitted in a pale green dress with her long hair tumbling down her shoulders, a hint of smile played by her lips, it was like looking at a portrait.
“Meet your new teammates, Ker.” Nyx said as two girls walked into the study room. One of the girls was someone I recognized immediately. I knew her as Eris and she was a very close friend of mine before I became a senior daughter. She had changed a lot within the last two years, her hair was much longer than before and she had lost all the baby fat on her face, defining her high cheekbones and elegant jaw line. Her eyes had lost their mischievous twinkle and were replaced by a guarded look that I knew only too well; it was the look that faced me in the mirror and reflected in the faces of most of the daughters of Nyx. I caught her eye and we exchanged a brief nod of greeting.
The second girl was named Lyssa. She was a year younger than me, but her infamous ruthlessness was remarkable even for an assassin. She was also known as the Devil’s Advocate, merciless to all her targets and enemies. I had never worked with her before, but I knew that behind that angelic face and beguiling body was a cruel cold heart that succumbed to nothing.
“Well girls, rejoice! For you three have been selected to perform one of the most dangerous and rewarding missions I have ever assigned. Succeed and you will bring us, all of us, power beyond our wildest dreams. Fail and the very lives of your sisters are at risk. Now, allow me the honour of introducing each of you then. Ker..”Nyx said turning her head towards me. I gave a slight bow.
“Ker, over these past two years, your leadership skills and success rate have been most impressive. Naturally I have selected you as the leader for this mission.” She said with a smile that never reached her eyes. I bowed again to acknowledge my acceptance of the mission.
“Lyssa” Nyx continued as she turned towards Lyssa. Lyssa bowed and looked up. “I have chosen you to assist Ker in her mission because you are one of my best daughters, always there to ensure nothing goes wrong.” Said Nyx and finally she turned to Eris and said, “Eris, you may be the youngest and the least experienced, but you have great potential and… I thought maybe this mission would be one that you would rather not miss,” Eris bowed and looked up with a hint of confusion in her eyes.
“I would like the three of you to obtain the Seal of Power and upon obtaining it, to kill the Royal Family,” Nyx said in a low, clear voice, staring into our eyes.
I was shocked, but my face was well trained to hide my feelings. Steal the Seal of Power and kill the Royal Family? This is not going to be easy, I thought to myself.
“Kill the Royal Family?” Eris asked in a bewildered voice.
“Yes Eris. Kill them.” Nyx replied smiling at her.
Eris looked up at Nyx with a wild expression in her eyes. “Kill the Royal Family? The family responsible for the murder of my father? Yes… Yes Nyx! I would be much honored to take on this mission. I would give my all. I would..”
Nyx smiled in satisfaction and patted Eris on the shoulder. She bowed her head and allowed her hair to cover her face partially, concealing her excitement and shock.
“The Royal Family will be holding a maid selection in three days time. You three will need to pass the selection rounds and be chosen as their personal maids. Get close to the Princes, extract the secret location of The Seal of Power from them, steal it and then kill the Royal Family.” Nyx continued as she passed me a thick envelope.
“In this envelope, you will find the requirements for the maid selection and the tasks that you have to perform in order to pass the selection rounds. I will be expecting reports on your performances every week and I will be sending in daughters to assist you three during your mission and inform me of your progress. However, be aware that the five Princes are highly intelligent, powerful and cautious, so make sure that they don’t suspect you. Make full use of these three days to learn all you can about the Royal Family and the Castle.”
The three of us bowed.
“You have four months starting from today. Good luck my daughters.”
THANK YOU TO MY LOVELY BETA KIRYU!!! HUGGS!