One eyed Tafas strolled into a riverfront tavern known for its motley assortment of thieves, brigands and assassins.
“I’m looking for snake charmers, and I have gold to pay,” he pronounced.
At first, his words appeared to fall on deaf ears. But then a raspy voice from the farthest edge of the room spoke up:
“My name is Pentu, and my brother is the finest snake charmer in this land. He can deliver whatever you want!”
The voice belonged to a small elfish looking man with long greasy hair and an equally greasy grin that displayed every crooked tooth in his seedy head.
“Take me to him,” Tafas replied, “and you shall have your gold.”
“Ahh,” Pentu responded, “gold is good. Come, follow me.”
He then led Tafas out into the night air through a dark twisted maze of paths and alleys. As they walked, a hooded figure emerged from the shadows, following behind at a calculated distance.
One eyed Tafas sensed that he was being followed. He’d seen this sort of tactic played out many times before.
He drew out a dagger and pressed it deep against Pentu’s throat.
“It was you from whom Tantus obtained the snake, you pathetic wretch. Confess or I’ll cut you to pieces! “
“Yes, Your Eminence… but he never told me what he wanted with the snake.”
“Liar,” Tafas scorned, “why else would you bring me to this place if not for Tantus?”
Tafas then held the blade tight against Pentu’s right eye.
I’ll pop out your eye, just as mine was!” He then pressed the blade tighter.
“Please spare my eye… I’ll tell you what you want to know… the house that stands before you belongs to Lord Tantus.”
Tafas pressed further. “Is he presently within, or is he the hooded one following us?”
“That, Your Eminence, I do not know!”
Tafas kicked Pentu to the ground then threw a piece of gold at him.
“There’s your gold. If you value your life, run away now.”
As Pentu fled, one eyed Tafas entered the open front door to Tantus’ house. The interior was dimly lit. There was a hallway on the left side and another to the right. Cautiously, he proceeded down the right corridor, looking out for trip wires and traps. A room at the end of the hall treacherously beckoned his approach.
Tafas stooped down low as he entered.
SWOOSH! The assassin’s sword barely missed Tafas’ head. The blade was so deeply embedding in the door-jamb that its owner was unable to pry it loose.
Tantus stood with a dumbfounded expression on his face suggesting disbelief that he had missed his mark!
“Never bring a sword to a knife fight you blundering fool,” Tafas scoffed as he plunged his dagger deep into Tantus’ heart.
Tantus’ massive body slumped to the floor as blood gushed from his mouth and he choked on his last breath!
“That’s one down,” Tafas thought, “now where is the hooded one?”
Tafas had no interest in looking for other assassins within the house. He had gotten the murderer he was after.
Quietly he exited the house back to the streets where he could more easily observe any other threats.
He began to wonder if the hooded figure had been deliberately following him, but a sudden stinging sensation in his neck confirmed his suspicion was true.
The hooded one stepped forward from the shadows carrying a bow.
Tafas stumbled to the ground. The arrow lodged in his throat had cut through his carotid artery.
“Now I’m finally rid of you” whispered a familiar voice.
Ptahmose pushed back his hood. “Before you die priest, I’ll have that precious leather pouch.”
As Tafas began to sense that he was drifting from one world to the next, he defiantly laughed “I don’t have the pouch, for I’m no longer its Keeper!”
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