The Wolf And The Crow

~o~

Part One

~0~

Faceless

It was hard to believe one simple name could make even that of The Crows feel a chill down deep in their bones, yet there they were. A group of well hidden assassins which so effortlessly could end one's life and vanish without so much as a trace. Those who were more superstitious than logical were fully convinced they were spirits well hidden in the form of men. Other would tell you they were shapeshifting blood mages with abilities beyond human expectations. That could appear as a number of different people and mock their very voice, movement and ,oddly , their scent.

What was real, and what was myth? Who can say, all that was fully known of this shadowy band was that their were quick, officiant and none of their agents had yet to be killed. Or, at least they had no physical body left to show they had been killed.

Never had Zevran even heard of this hidden group, even with his contacts not until his blade met her..

A simple assassination, a Lord spurned by a woman he was suppose to wed, a " Lady" of Orley whom seemed to make profit out of seeking older husband's for money and than all to suddenly kill them off before moving on to their next prey. Said Lord had aided her blindly for along time, until the agreed arrangement for her wed him after they had raised "their " wealth was reached. Only for her to reveal that her heart had been claimed by another. That should the nobleman tempt to turn her in she would drag him and everything he had worked for down with her. Thus, she left with half of the riches and their daughter in toe. It was simple enough, slip in knock out the young girl to prevent the child from seeing anything that would mar her innocence than slit the dishonest bitch's throat.

Clad as a servant named Ferran, he slipped into the throng of those she hired to serve her. Followed the woman all the way to Ferelden where like a chameleon she changed her name and that of her child before sending word to her lover for him to join them. Selene Monroe, quite the interesting woman, the type of fiery passion Zevran would love to feel for between the sheets but alas this job left little leasure for such joys. Those sort of talents would be held as a last means to keep his name off of my lips that may reveal who he was. Thus, he tarried away with tedious labor of a servant as he watched both daughter and mother's movements learning her routine. Never expecting that the eyes of the sweet young child to find him, curious soft gray almost far to old of eyes for a child of mere eight. Maria, she was called far to sweet and innocent for the dark lonely world that she would face with the death of her mother, for the first time in years within this job the elf felt a twinge of guilt. One that grew with each day he was drawn to spend with the small one, entertaining her with stories, and a few tricks he had picked up on the way. Even gifting her with a small carving of a wolf, a creature she was quite taken with it seemed, on her nineth name day. An action that seemed to draw him more into the fold, and catch the bright emerald greens of her golden haired mother.

''A very kind act, it is a marvelous carving. Did you do it yourself?'' Selene's, honey sweet voice asked as her painted nailed finger's danced marveling over the child's gift, taking in every single detail.

''Sì my lady, just a simple little hobby I picked up under my last employ. He always had a taste for carvings, mainly toys. Quite an eye for art at such a young age of eleven I must say. For him to admire my small bit of work was quite a large honor.''

Soft grey eyes gleamed with happiness, yet oddly mixed with a suppressed emotion the assassin could not read. How odd really considering reading people had became near second nature in his line of work , normally children were the easiest to read. At the time Zevran would not even come to question it, not until later much later.

"It's like the wolf in your story...she's beautiful…'' Her voice wavered with that very same emotion, pleasant child's joy mixed with a hint of nostalgia and an even deeper sorrow far more than a child her age should know. Yet as quickly as it came it vanished leaving the elf curious as to what tragedy may have invoked such a saddened response .

"Maria, remember your manners." Selene softly lectured her daughter,"What do we say to Ferran for the lovely gift.'' For a moment a spark of irritation and rebellion flashed in the child's eyes again not matching the sweet gentle spirit that the young child was known for, it almost looked as if Maria was about to snark a rather nasty comment only for the young girl's face to go erriely blank as a white sheet of paper. All emotion erased from her heart shaped face, gray eyes almost equally blank nearly soulless with a gaze that could cut to your inner core and find every secret a person's heart could hide. Inscints flared, one Zevran had gained over the years alerting him of a possible threat. But from what, a young child whom more or less was far to delicate and lady like to ever be of danger or touch anything sharper than a butterknife. So what was causing him to stiffen, muscles and limbs ready for a fight?

Grayish eyes turned their gaze on him, the look of pure genuine child innocence once more dawning the sweet tender features. "Sorry mama. Thank you Farren, I will treasure it always.'' Small hands held the carving close to her heart, as if to embrace it, than beaming quickly wrapping her arms tight about his neck. The elf instantly stiffened again, feeling his hand reaching for the slim dagger in a hidden part of his sleeve only stopping when fingers met with cold metal, mentally registering at the last moment what the child was doing. A hug nothing more, not a move to snap his neck and his life. Zevran forced his form to relax quickly, making it seem as though he was simply taken by surprise before returning the hug with a soft smile.

"My pleasure mi bella angelo, I am glad you like it,"

The rest of the small gathering went without another strange incident, Maria acted like any other young girl. Chatting with friends, mingling with adults and children even dancing with a grace of one who had been well trained in the art.

"Your fingers are quite well skilled, it makes one wonder what other talents you possess ."

That silken warm voice but inches from his pointed ear, as though his lady were demurely requesting something trivial yet years being raised in a brothel and his own experiences Zevran knew far too well what the woman was implying. A smile slowly spread across his face as he turned, dipping a humble bow.

"My apologizes my Lady, but my talents are hardly worth noting to your noble ears. I have a bit of a gift at poetry, singing a few other arts I could attempt to entertain you with.."

Another smile, though partly bored, a gloved hand rouse ever softly tracing the inner side of his arm in a slight subtle movement. "As intriguing as that sounds, I had a bit of a different bought of entertainment in mind.''

For a heart beat the elf allowed a bank clueless look to cloud his features before blinking, eyes widening in awe and dismay, "Lady Selene, as honored as I am to such a request, you are soon be married no?"

An almost exasperated sigh and the woman forced a saddened smile,"Engaged, are wedding day was to be tomorrow.'' Her gaze traveled off forlornly to the lovely roses growing along the garden pathway,''sadly it seems that business keeps him distracted. Maker I miss him so, my bed is so lonely and cold without the extra warmth of his arms..'' Slender arms wrapped about her shapely form shuttering emphasize the words. Zevran would be a blind fool if he said his eyes were not drawn to that shapely form. He could go with a sweet taste of ripened fruit, yet oddly he did not find himself overly attracted. The simple fact he would have to leave this sweet young child without a mother disturbed him more than it should. Yes , he had left probably quite a few children orphaned in his line of work but never once had he gotten so close to them as he did Maria. Seems he had weak spot for young innocence, Maker help his soul.

However, in the end he was a Crow, an experienced one, the punishment for failing, well it was not a pleasant thing to think of, Zevran had failed to take ou a target once before, the pain that came at the cost and the humiliation was more than he could bare to think of. Best to play along, than when the woman was stated and slumbered, he would slay her mercifullly and whisk the girl away and back to her father.

"Well than mi sweet bella rose , we can not have that.''

Hands grasped, his lips touching to fragrant sweetened skin, sparing Maria but a moment of a glance before following his ''mistress '' through the garden to her bed chambors. Sweet spiced wine, the shedding of clothing. A touch of silken skin, than unnatural darkness. His hearing perking for but a moment catching the sound of choking and gurgling before everything of the waking world seemed to vanished.

Metallic, the scent of strong salty metallic assaulted his nose finally bringing him back to the waking world, crimson, it coated his body and hands bright nearly warm and wet. His daggers that had been hidden for so long gripped limply in both hands . A shadow moved silently, hovering over him and the limp pale form of his now dead bed partner. Maria still clad in her lovely dress ever slightly tainted with red. Gray eyes looking from the deceased female to himself before dropping a single bag of coin.

"Your payment, no worries Maria has been returned safely to her father, he is very pleased. You will have full credit on her death, I have what I need.'' Hands grasped at the young deleciate face, slowly pulling until the face of a child fell away to that of a woman in her teens, the gray eyes of a wolf blank and reflecting as the waters of a lake peering into the elves drooped ones. ''Sorry for drugging your wine, you were meant to not wake this soon, I guess I should not be surprised you're not an easy one to fool."

Slowly those gray eyes glanced to the slim blade in her gloved hand, raising it ever slight as though to run him through before sheathing it. Pausing mid step as she neared the cracked window, the carved statue withdrawn from the young woman's pouch, fingers tracing it slowly before speaking in a near low whisper Zevran could barely hear.

''I meant what I said,'' slowly those strange eyes once more to him, reflecting barely suppressed emotion, ''I will always treasure this, it means to me more than you can understand.''

A slim hand rouse, voice whispering softly as the world once more began to fade, the elf's body growing limp as the deep drugged slumber pulled him back into the dark abyss.

~~0~~

Keeping any token was wrong, the girl knew . Any peace that may hold her to the young noble girl that once shadowed her father's footsteps. The one which dreamed in weilding a sword in place of a sewing needle. One that had a sister far to dreamy and lady like that it made her gag. Brother's she adored a teacher of the blade she hoped to pattern after.

A girl that long ago died in a mixture flame and blood. The girl was no longer Arya Stark, yet the spirit of the once happy child haunted the adult woman night and day. The girl had been so sure she had finally shook off her hold, only or one small statue stirred that soul once more. The right thing would be to toss the carving into the lake, but just like with precious sword her elder half brother had gave her, the girl could not raise the hand to do so. A shift of rock, the gleam of Needle in the the wolf joined the blade, gray eyes glancing at both of her treasures before reburying them. A small tear following down her face as the feminine form turned to vanish into the night.