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What is the closest way to get to a king? Maybe a dance at the ball, or posing as a guard outside his room while he slept? There are a thousand different ways to get close to a king, but Talbin had chosen the ball. Not for any other reason except he liked to work within crowds. You wouldn’t think it in his line of work, which of course was assassination.



Although Talbin had taken many jobs in his long career he had never done royalty, it was a thought that got his blood moving. He had waited specifically for this night. It was the night of the young kings wedding. Nothing else promotes an assassin quite like a good tragic high profile death, and a clean get away. Afterall what is more tragic than the death of a king before his wedding night? You simply couldn’t buy that kind of publicity.

The young king went by the name Esclon; although they where all king Esclon as far back as anyone could remember. This was Esclon the twenty sixth. The young king wasn’t much to look at. He was plain boy of no more than fifteen years, with a close cropped hair-cut and drool on his chin. The drool fit the rumor which was he was a moron as well as a king. Generations of inbreeding had rendered the family line quite incapable of running a nation. This done all in the name of keeping the line strong. This wedding was to be a different wedding than his forefathers marriages to their sisters. The boys’ mother had died during the young kings’ bloody ejection into this world, and sadly their where no more heirs to the throne, and subsequently no wives to be had. He was to marry a distant cousin from a neighboring country.

Talbin knew this arrangement was not looked upon with any sort of pride by the girls parents simply because they where the ones who hired him. A small irony that brought a smile to Talbins face. The motive was quite evident; if the boy died than their daughter would inherit the throne, and the two countries would merge into one great nation. That is how it had been put to him anyway, all Talbin cared about was heavy pockets and the promise of more on the way.

Talbin had used nearly half of his heavy pockets very wisely; he procured information from several sources about the security set up around the young King as well as an invitation to the festivities.

Two body guards at every entrance, and three more around the king at all times. He had black mailed two of the guards, and was confident he could maneuver around the third. After the job was done he would simply disappear into the distraught crowd and make his way to his employers room. Just a quick jog up the stairs and down a hall. From there Talbin would be smuggled out as a hand servant of the new royal family. Then when the crossed border disappear until he needed work again. It was just so simple, too simple really.

That is what Talbin had thought until he heard about a fourth body guard; last minute information from the bride to be. The news had come to close to the festivities to rearrange anything so now Talbin had to improvise. This was the only reason Talbin hadn’t made a move yet. He had spen the last hour trying to spot the fourth guard. It had to be someone close enough to the king, but far enough to not be conspicuous. As of yet Talbin had narrowed it down to two people: A front row musician that played the cello badly or a built noble who sat behind the throne with a knife on his belt and a solem look on his face.

The noble almost seemed to obvious with the knife on his belt, but the cello player seemed too distracted to be of any help in a situation. His mind flipped back and forth in indecision, and finally decided upon the cello player after he watched him drop his bow on a backstroke. Tlabin began to move, the musicians where to the kings’ left hand side. Talbin made his way to the right hand side to put as much distance in-between the cello player and himself. He would rely on his speed and the players’ distraction.

As Talbin pushed his way through the dancers the music abruptly stopped, and following suit so did Talbin. The musicians had stood up and the dancers where clapping as they gathered there things to leave the area, after the clapping ceased a new form of entertainment melted from the now chatting crowd. It was a fool dressed in red and black motley. The crowd grew quiet and the fool began to sing and juggle. Talbins’ mind switched into high gear, if the Cello player wasn’t the fourth guard it would have to be the noble with the belt knife. After reassesing the situation Talbin continued to the right, speed would still carry him through. The noble was too far away to make a difference if Talbin was quick enough. Even if the noble threw the knife it wouldn’t be enough.

After moving out of the line of sight of the noble Talbin began to move towards the front of the crowd careful to reamin in the nobles blind spot. He slowly removed his favorite killing device, a thin long needle that when inserted into the left or right eye would pierce the brain and cause the desired effect. Talbin moved it from his right to left hand in a practiced motion, and prepared his muscles to lunge. A countdown started in Talbins’ mind, five, four, three, two, one—--the fool moved directly into Talbins’ way a Cheshire grin splitting his pale face. Tugging at Talbins shirt sleeves and pulling him out of the crowd he began pulling him around the room singing an ancient ballad at the top of his lungs:


“The good king Esclon was an honest man--


Directing Talbin from corner of the room, and back again the whole time eyes locked with his dance partner.


--He loved the grass and treasured the sand—



Talbin attempted to break away from the fool, but the grip upon his shoulders was far too tight.


--never did he want an end to his reign—


The crowd cheered and began to sing along with the fool, it was a cheerful chorus that seemed all to wrong to Talbin.


--so he set his fool to handle his pain—


White fire flew up Talbins’ spine, and he cried out, but the choir of guests drowned it out.



--From beginning to end you shall carry my name—



The fool spun Talbin, and he could feel his warm life flow down his pant leg.


--Said the good king Esclooooon—


As Talbins heart raced faster and faster pumping blood out Talbin became weaker and weaker.


--Oh fool he said you shall be me and I shall be you—


A second sensation rose up from Talbins left kidney, but he now lacked the energy to cry out.


--So dress in motley shall the good king do—


A second spinning and a dip at the end. The fool looked deep into Talbins’ eyes and his face grew grim.


--The fool will protect me from and early end—


His situation was all too apparent to Talbin; he had misjudged his quarry and now knew he would pay the ultimate price.


--and always shall his wounds I mend—


The fool removed the needle from Talbins' hand and slid it deftly into his left eye.


--said the good king Esclooooon—

------
"It is considered rude to silence a fool, but cruel to let him go on."



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The following comments are for "Good King Esclon"
by SoulShade





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