By the age of twenty, he had mastered the basic skills of the artistry of assassination. For four years, the masters in the Black Circle had devulged unto him all the training and techniques of the black arts. Now he was eager and ready to prove his worth to the guild.
            This mission, their first, was the hardest mission for many of the initiates, for failure and death were the same thing. If you failed the mission, you had better make sure you were not seen in a civilised area for the rest of your life.
            But it was the lure of success that made the young assassin shrug off any doubts or fears he had about his own abilities, because success meant a title and induction into the appropriate branch.
            There was also the lust for revenge. Revenge against the world. Against the pain it had dealt apon him. And of course...the rewards.
            The Black Circle cared for its loyal and successful members like royalty.
            The headquarters of the Black Circle was situated deep inside of an underground prison. Forgotten and abandoned long ago to the history books of Britannia. And below the ground of the great forest of Yew it lay.
            The old warden's quarters had been redug and refurbished into a large meeting hall, designed by Darkblade, supreme potentate of the Black Circle. The hall itself rose high up into the dark depths, concealing the roof in a veil of darkness that the light from the lower candles could not reach. This in itself, impressed apon the members the depth of this abandoned dungeon.
            But dungeon would be a harsh word to use, the design of the place, the throne room, the assassin's quarters, the armoury, the treasure rooms were designed and decorated to a degree that would make the designer's of Lord British' castle envious.
            The master assassin slowly ran his finger along the blade of his dagger to test it's edge.
            Looking up, he fixed his eyes on his apprentice. "Tis a simple task. Prove your worth and prove to us the time we have put into you has been worth it." he whispered.
            The assassin master was one of many within the guild, and Avatus was his apprentice. His small luxurious quarters was dimly lit by a single torch that caused the soft shadows to flicker against it's smooth walls. He sat behind his desk and stared across at his apprentice.
            The young assassin bowed his head slightly. "Master. What you ask will be done."
            "You sound confident." commented the master with a wry smile.
            "Trying to scare me, master?"
            The assassin laid his dagger apon the table and then sat back comfortably into his chair and smiled. "What would be the point, I've never succeeded in doing so before?"
            Avatus did not smile, or nod or flinch, but continued to stare at his master with cold, emotionless eyes. Oh how the master loved those eyes. Born of one without conscience or remorse.
            The perfect assassin.
            The master explained to him, the details of his mission. On the mainland section of Skara Brae, just east of the suburbs was a small wood where lived two rangers of the forest. Jackoth and Salome. The target for him would be Kally, daughter of these two. He explained to Avatus that she was a threat to their dealings in Skara Brae and had to be silenced. Immediately.
            The apprentice looked across at his master and raised his head slightly. "I will find their exact location and do as you ask...I will not fail you."
            The older assassin stood up from his table and turned toward the wall as if to admire the small portrait that hung there. He put his hands behind his back and stood there staring at the portrait for many minutes, testing his apprentice' patience.
            Avatus returned his silence with more unmoving silence.
            Eventually the master spoke. "Remember this Avatus...and remember it well...."
            He then turned to face his apprentice. "..she can see your heart, she will know your motives. You must avoid her, you must not speak with her, you must not let her even see you, avoid eye contact at all costs and most of all, do not walk close to her, even in a crowd or in a town, in fact, I feel the best way for you to carry this out is that she never sees you at any time whatsoever until you are prepared to strike...if she does...she will know who you are and what you come for..."
            "And so will my life..." the young apprentice thought to himself. He then pushed any thought of failure from his mind, he knew without a doubt that nothing less than success would be his.
            The master continued "You must strike without her knowing of your existence. THIS......will be your test."
            Avatus bowed slowly "Consider it done my master" and turned to leave.
            Before he left the room, his master spoke again "Avatus..."
            The young assassin stopped and turned "Master?"
            "You may feel this is a bit more difficult test than most apprentice's receive for their full membership. And you are is. However, I selected you for this as I truly feel you are different from the other young apprentices. You have a gift of perception, it is as if...." he paused and shrugged off the thought. "..we shall discuss that another time, but suffice to say I have never seen such a depth of perception among other apprentices...I know you will succeed against the girl. be her weakness."
            Avatus felt honored that his master felt that way, but a part of him also knew it wasn't just an encouragement talk, it was the truth.
            The master gestured for Avatus to leave and the young assassin closed the door behind him as he left the master's quarters.
            The master sat still at his desk, still staring at the door.
            Another dark form in a similar robe melted out of the shadows silently and stealthfully, even the candleflame held still and upright without flickering any with his movement. The second darker figure, his voice cracked with age spoke. "Do you think he suspects who is he is, or who his father was for that matter?"
            The master in the chair shrugged and replied. "Of course, he is quite aware that his father was one of Lord British most beloved Paladin's"
            The figure from the shadows shook his head. "No I mean, do you think he really knows who he is. Does he ever show any signs of his bloodline's inheritence?"
            The master looked back at the door. "Ah, I see what you mean. But to answer, no. He is aware of his perception but I have assured him it is due to his training here with us."
            The dark figure laid his hand apon the master's shoulder. "Very well my friend. Keep me informed of any changes in his personality, no matter how trivial. He must not know of who he is and he must not find the other four."
            The master smiled. "Relax my old friend, that was another world and nigh on a millenia ago, that world would probably have forgotten all about it by now, let alone anybody or anything in Britannia knowing of it."
            "Good, good. I suspect you are correct." agreed the second dark figure and he then slipped out the door like a shadow moving through shadows.
            The master slowly laid back in his chair again, hoping that the necromancer could not tell he had just lied to him.

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