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The demon Evillian sat astride his hellsteed waiting for the human to come through the Hold. The demon formed the
interdimentional rift in the middle of the meadow, because he knew how much Luke loved this part of the country.
The wide-open spaces always seemed to please the young assassin.
Evillian as a Higher Demon could not tolerate the intrinsic, almost God-like beauty of the land. But sacrifices must be
made in these special cases. The human was becoming more viable every year; he had won favor with the Demon
Lord in a maneuver that still surprised Evillian. He had even become an influence in the kingdom of Vollyn Sar and
the Guild where he had trained.
Lucas Israel was surpassing all of his expectations.
The young man fell out of the sky and landed neatly on his feet. The sixteen-year-old Earthean saluted the demon in
true Vollyn Sar fashion, then walked over to Evillian and a second hellsteed outfitted with saddlebags and the city
colors of Darvin Sar. The youth opened one of the bags and then began changing into the Pril clothing waiting inside.
Weapons would come later, when the two reached the gates of Darvin Sar. All assassins outfitted themselves with the
tools of their trade at the Guilds where their assignments were given out to them. So for the moment, the Demon and
the assassin would have to rely upon other skills.
"Whatís the job Evillian?" The now half-naked teenager asked.
"I am here on the behalf of the Vollyn court." Evillian replied from his horse, watching Luke undress with an
expression of minor disbelief.
It amazed him to see this once weakling of a youth, rippling with solid, capable muscles that could kill with even the
slightest of movements.
"And they trusted you to deliver the orders? My, how times change." Luke said pulling on a pair of dark gray
trousers, smiling wryly.
Evillian frowned, "Not too much Iíd wager. Truly, the politicians running the day to day goings on in the kingdom
have had a falling out with the Guild in the capital,"
At this Lukeís attention was caught to the quick. "What happened?"
"Nothing very serious, just the predictable changing of the guard that happens every twenty years or so. I would not
worry overmuch. It happens."
"Evillian, I do worry. Now tell me how the Guild lost favor with Court." Luke insisted looking up at the demon;
buttoning up a dark gray, double layered tunic in-lined with wolfís fur, over another vest of chainmail.
Sighing deeply, as if he was being greatly put upon, Evillian complied.
"Very well, Lucas. First, it was not the Guild that lost favor with the Court, quite the opposite. Since you were last
here on Pril the assassin guilds have gained real power in Vollyn Sar.
"The trouble is that the warrior guilds from the boarders have succeeded from the Crown."
Luke shouted as he interrupted Evillian,
"Unfortunately, King Sar Magnus was struck down by illness and his heir apparent is not favored by the outer
guilds," Evillian paused, more sensing Lukeís emotions then seeing them on his dark brown face.
"Is something wrong?"
"Kal Rann ... is dead." Luke said gently to himself. His eyes closed tightly.
"Oh yes, thatís right, you were friends with the boy he once was. I had forgotten," said the citizen of Hell, sounding
Had Luke been paying attention to Evillian he would have seen a pleased, little smile on the demonís prim, red face.
The assassin waved off the demons false emoting. "Never mind. Tell me about the Guild."
"Certainly. When the warrior fringes declared their opposition to the new monarch, the court advisers quickly made a
draft for all guilds, including the assassins. As you say times had changed and the assassins, having gained the respect
of the other guilds, gave no descent. Until the Ukase took advantage of the current climate and tried to coerce the
court into disbanding the assassin guilds and absorb them into the Royal Guard."
"Did it work?" Luke asked when the demon paused, having regained his composure.
"Nearly. The Ukase still has pull with the warrior guilds and offered to diplomatically unite the rouge guilds back into
the fold. Only if the court modified their policy on the assassin guilds in Vollyn Sar."
"The Assassin Guilds in Vollyn must have gone ballistic when the Court tried to sell them out, and I bet they burned
those draft cards." Luke added as he straddled the royal steed.
"If you infer that the guilds refused to ally themselves with the court? Yes, indeed, and it is only a matter of time until
the warriors start the next civil war. With the court woefully undermanned and enemies on all sides."
Luke rubbed and patted the white horse on its long, taunt neck and asked,
"So why is Court retaining an assassin of all people. What are they expecting of me, they must know I wonít go
against the Guild? Money canít buy any assassin now."
"Ordinarily, that would be true, except in this case you were one of the few assassins the court bought outright not
only to defend the kingdom, but to protect Sar Magnusí heir."
"What is it about Kalís son that the warrior guilds donít like?" Lukeís voice seemed to get heavy when he spoke the
name of the now dead sovereign.
A twelve-year-old prince, who Luke would never know as the king he would one day become.
"It is not the boy himself that the warriors have taken so adversely, but his sister Donellanor." Evillian said,
telepathically spurring his hellsteed onward.
Luke followed, also mentally motivating his mare, "Sister. Whatís she done?"
"Donellanor wants to be the first Royal to become a Mage. A pure Magician." Evillian said with all the gravity the
Which was a lot.
Evillian grimaced, "Lucas, please refrain from using His name in my presence."
Luke murmured an apology to the demon riding along side him, his mind already racing. Seeing the implications of
what Evillian had told him.
Even though the world of Pril was one of incredible enchantment, it hadnít always been. Nor had Pril always accepted
its relatively new status as a magical society. There were those who longed to rid their world of sortilege. Even if it
meant annihilating every sorcerer, every Mage and user of magic in the land. The Ukase being the main opponent of
The Ukase was what Luke called the religious right of Pril. Their equivalent on Earth was the Catholic Church,
although the Catholic Church was not nearly as zealous as most religious guilds on Pril. Nor were they as powerful.
Even at Christianityís heights in ancient times, during its spread across Europe, Christianity didnít even come close to
having the influence the Ukase had over Pril.
And now one of the royal line has announced she wants to become a Mage. The most powerful of all magic users. The
one sect that could infuse objects with magic forces, and allows anyone to use enchantment even if they had not
drunk demonsí blood.
Demonsí blood being the one true source of human magic on Pril.
Luke himself had taken the Blood of the Damned and could work limited magics, like Mystic Weapon Forming. A
common talent taught in all Assassins Guilds along side martial arts technics, stealth maneuvers, normal weapons
handling, and of course, the thousands of ways to kill someone with your finger.
But it wasnít the killing for money that made the Guild or any other magic user eternally excommunicated from the
Church, but the fact that they ingested the blood of the Abominations of God. Evil begetting evil, and all that. Even
after fifteen years altogether on Pril, Luke still didnít know what to think about that.
Personally the killing made him feel more fallen then any magic he had ever used.
It really didnít surprise Luke that the warriors had gone away from the Court. Even during the best of times the
warriors barely tolerated other magic practitioners, though they also benefited from the Blood. If for no other reason
then to stay competitive. But they would never serve a kingdom with a Mage as heir to the throne. It was what the
Warriors and the Ukase feared more than anything else since the first assassin drank the Blood of the Damned, and
gained her supernatural powers.
Suddenly a frightening notion came to Luke, and he called out to Evillian who had ridden a little ahead of him while he
"Evillian, is it possible that the warriors and the religious guilds are in this together? I mean the events are kinda
"The thought has occurred to the assassins as well Luke, but I doubt it seriously." Evillian answered.
"You have some other theory?"
"Not a theory, but simple deduction. Think about it Lucas. The Ukase could not have swayed the Princess into
apprenticing with a Mage, much less give her the desire to become one herself. Desire, as you know being necessary
to work such magics. Then there is the fact that the warriors are disgustedly noble and would never scheme to
undermine the Court so wickedly."
Luke had to agree with the last point. Warriors refused to use underhanded means of waging war. The more
honorable, the better.
"Okay, say thatís true and the Ukase isnít in cahoots..."
"Cahoots? Really, Lucas."
"Anyway, lets say thatís true and itís like you say, the two arenít involved, the religious guilds are still taking
advantage and they wonít stop at manipulating Court."
"No, I imagine not, but thatís why you are here. The Guild may be at odds with the court, but they see what the
religious guilds are doing and will not stand in your, or the other assassins Court has retained, way. You will keep an
eye on the royal advisors and ensure that they do not betray your guild again."