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snippet from today's writing that was too fun not to share

It was a moon later when he heard the clatter of his shutters against the walls. He'd been certain to latch them, so someone must be in the room with him. Taking a moment to adjust his eyes to see in the dark like an owl's, he sat up very carefully, trying to see who was here. There, in the corner near the door, was a shadow that he couldn't pierce clearly. "It won't do you any good to attempt to kill me. Even if you succeed, the Lady will still go to trial." He tried to keep his voice as neutral as possible, and wondered if the person here knew of his shifter's abilities. They could be countered, by someone who knew them. But, at this point, he wasn't certain exactly how much he'd fight for his own life.
"I'm not the assassin who intended to visit you tonight." The voice was female, but low enough to almost be mistaken for a man's. "That one is at the bottom of a well not too far away, waiting to be dealt with by someone who has taken offense at their temerity. It would seem that the Lord of Serpents is rather unhappy with her."
He didn't move more than to gaze around the room. "If you weren't sent to kill me, why are you here?"
"At least you're thinking. I had wondered if the one I serve made a mistake. Usually she doesn't interfere when someone makes such mistakes as you have."
"I don't know who you're mentioning, but again, I have to ask, why are you here?"
There was a rustle of papers then the sound of a heavy sheaf of them tossed onto a nearby shelf. "I was instructed to acquire these from the assassin, and make them available to you. The question is if you are worthy of the other item I was told to offer you."
"I don't know if I'm worthy of any aid from you, no matter who your employer is. But I am grateful if those papers include information that's missing from Lady Keske's notes. If that is what you gave me, I'll put them to use, according to what is in there. You indicated that Lord Vythen is interested in the assassin. Would this assassin be named Firial?"
"An appropriate question, but one that I'm going to let you find out the answer to another way. The fact that you asked it indicates that your mind might just possibly be trainable enough to be of use. Because of that, I will leave the other gift." There was a sound of metal being dropped onto the table near where the unknown woman stood. "I'm not going to tell you what the gift means, or who meant it for you. That you're going to have to wait on, to determine if you are indeed what the one I serve wants. I'm less than impressed, but it isn't my job to decide this."
He couldn't help but laugh. "I doubt I impress much of anyone at this point. I have no idea why your employer would be interested in me, but hopefully they know that I won't be treasonous myself. In fact, the artifacts that I was studying here before are no longer in this place at all. I had them safely taken away a moon back."
The room seemed to echo back his laughter at him. "The one I serve has no interest in treason, though she might ask nearly anything of those who serve her. I will bid you good even, and suggest that you find better ways to guard your sleeping quarters. It was far too easy to get in here."
He tried to focus on the shadowy spot she was in, but after a long moment, he could tell that there was nothing there anymore. He fumbled at the table at his side for a lamp, brightening the room enough to see what was left for him. On the shelf near where his visitor had stood was a stack of papers almost as thick as a small book. On the table to the right of that shelf was a dagger, unsheathed, and reflecting his lamp's light.
He examined the dagger first, trying to see if there was any mark that could explain why he'd gotten his nightly visitor. Outside of a very faint tracery of what looked like a web wrapped around the hilts, there was nothing distinguishing. The blade was very well made, wires wrapping the handle, each one etched faintly to cause that hint of a spider web. Without a mage, he'd not know if the blade had any magic on it. He could find no reason for this night's visitor.
The papers appeared to be missives from Lady Keske to some unknown recipient. They detailed payments to be offered, and assignments needing fulfilled. Several of those seemed to be assassinations. At the bottom of that stack was a set of instructions that chilled him.
If I do not contact you before the end of the fourth moon from now requesting more time to work with my intended visitor, you are to find opportunity to remove him. The usual reward can be acquired, even without my presence, by presenting the ring I'd given you to my steward. He has instruction on what to do if that ring is presented. The name of your target, if something goes wrong, is Telin Calasti. I do not expect to need him past the fourth moon, but depending on how long he takes in determining the nature of the things you acquired for me, it might be necessary for him to live somewhat longer.

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