Todd S. Jones               

8968 Pentecost Hwy.         

Onsted, MI 49265

(734) 260-1535

tjones@myriadminds.com

about 3,000 Words

(Short Story)- ONLY CHAPTER 1

Disposable Manuscript

 

 

 

Hushed Passing

 

 

Tarough Jacob had not seen his brother, Kyrus, in ten years. Family and the Guild was all he knew, and he had lost both! Tonight he would avenge his brother’s murder. If he succeeded, the academy would have to let him graduate.

His source confirmed that tonight his target would travel the winding trail below. A student had never fulfilled a contract against a graduate before. Tarough took a deep breath and let the crisp smell of the valley fill his lungs and steady his resolve.  He crept into the tall reed grass that covered the small vale’s slopes, his forearms brushing against the twin daggers at his hips. The air felt cool on his skin for mid-summer and the wind brushed blades of grass against his black leather armor.

Why the academy would have trained a Dobrinian slaver merchant, like his target Jarn, was beyond his understanding. Dobrinians were known to sell goods with one hand and then slice one’s throat with the other. Honor and comradely were traits of the assassin’s profession, and Tarough recognized after meeting Jarn his first year at the academy, that Jarn possessed neither.

Tarough reflected on how far he had come since entering the academy. At fifteen seasons some would still consider him a child, yet a decade of grueling training had molded him into more of a man than most achieve in a lifetime. He recalled how impatient he had been that first year struggling through the Tarkesh Kata -- one of seven hand-to-hand Tarkasian combat techniques. He persevered, though, and went on to master all the deadly lessons that his instructors offered from blades to evasion and stealth. He knew 22 ways to kill a man with his bare hands and 39 ways of killing him with everyday objects like cloak pins, broken jug shards, and sandal laces.

The news of his brother’s murder spread through the academy just before finals. Reliable information was scarce, yet Tarough never lost the feeling that it felt like Jarn’s work. Graduation exams were upon him and Tarough had to prepare.

The final exams required each student to complete an assassination order of a known criminal. The academy viewed it as a way of giving back to the community. The students called it, “Hushed Passingfor even though the contracts were secret, failure meant more than expulsion; it meant a pardon for the target and potential death of the student during the failed attempt. Tarough’s exam was riddled with treachery…

 

 

{This story is being submitted for publication so I can not post the completed work online.  If you are interested in reading the rest you can e-mail me at tjones@myriadminds.com }