A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, Part 1. Character: Jaé
They call me JaéAnJoou, the Arrow’s Shadow. I earned that name after the successful completion of my first mission. I had been tasked with the assassination of of a ‘Nōrian nobleman, who was held responsible for providing abundant resources for the enemy’s vast army. Later, they would also hail me ÚKaRi The First Spark, the trigger of war, but this I still knew nothing of.
I infiltrated the lavish courtyard of his palace on the day of a pompous celebration, smuggling my shortbow and arrows under the disguise of a ragged servant’s cloak. Despite my KanCHo, my commander, telling me to take just a single arrow, to discourage missed shots, the beginner’s nerves got the better of me. I took two.
Worried that my cover would be blown, I rehearsed my story a thousand times over on the sunlit morning of the day, as I walked through the forest, carrying a sack of fruits. I was to say that I was born into servitude, to captured ‘Nairan fighters. There was no way my pale white face and light blonde hair could blend in with the crowd. The people of this land all had skin of dark, earthy tones, and I knew I would attract attention like a venomous snake.
I was correct. The guard had already been notified by the time I reached the gate. He gruffly grabbed my shoulder and jerked me to the side. I feigned pain and fear as he looked me over.
“A slave girl?” He scoffed as he saw my tattered, dirty cloak, apparently a well-done disguise. “How old are you?”
“Sixteen.” I quickly and humbly replied in my best ‘Nōrian. It was a lie; I was only fourteen, and that made me an unaccompanied child, something forbidden by their strange laws.
“I bring a gift to the with the compliments of my master.” I said in the same humble voice, and held up the sack. The guard looked inside it, and, convinced by the disguise and losing interest in me, waved me in. I dumped the sack near the kitchen entrance and made sure to disappear from view in the intricate web of corridors, balkonies and guest rooms, making my way to the top floor windows.
My target walked out into the courtyard soon after I had braced my bow, and nothing obstructed my view. I nocked the arrow, took a deep breath, drew out, took aim. The nobleman, oblivious, raised his hands to address his guests.
The arrow soared over the courtyard and cast an eerie shadow down below with the blazing midday sun. As the shadow passed each startled guest, they gasped, pointed, screamed, but this all happened in the fraction of a short moment. By the time they truly came to their senses, my arrow was embedded squarely between the eyes of my target. He lay dead, and I was making my speedy getaway, sprinting over the rooftops, the soaring away into the sky on the back of a stolen dragon.
My duty was done.
Returning to my KanCho, I was not given much time to rest. The next day I received a new name, a new target, and was off again, with nothing but my bow, an arrow, and the second arrow, which I hoped never to need.