Mulmaster was always bitterly cold this early in the morning, cursed Ceriv. The thirty year old man had a black cloud hanging over his head, and his knife hand almost was hoping that someone would stop him, maybe try to mug him. But either the cutpurses and thieves recognized him, or recognized his face. No one approached. No one tried anything. Most days, it was good to be a Zhentarim at home, but today he just wanted to see some blood. Instead, the pristine white snow fell from the dark sky in light, fluffy snowflakes, a gentle beauty completely at odds with his fierce scowl.
His handler has told him no more wetwork. His knee was too bad, shattered twice in two weeks. The organization didn’t have the cash to help out with a killer who botched one job and and nearly botched another. It wasn’t his fault, though.
Ceriv’s scowl deepened further. He was all but certain that that bastard Kanret had tipped the marks. But Ceriv couldn't prove it, and Kanret had made friends inside the middle crust of the Zhentaren hierarchy… at least around Mulmaster.
There was some shouting, and what sounded like a scuffle in the predawn hours, breaking through Ceriv’s bad mood. Might as well see what it was about, though it likely wouldn’t be all that interesting, though the man.
A few moments later, Ceriv looked down at a sad sight. Jarlal was beating one of his whores, and the man was obviously drunk, being cheered on by the sadists he called friends. Ceriv rolled his eyes as the fat bastard’s fist connected with the exotic looking woman’s chin, driving her to the ground.
Ugly, balding, and far more overweight than anyone should be, Jarlal ran a few of the brothels in Mulmaster with an iron, bloody fist. Ceriv looked at the woman, who was trying to crawl away. She looked familiar (Oh, right, the latest exotic beauty from the Way South. A tiefling), but it honestly wasn’t all that interesting. Jarlal did this every few weeks with his friends, people could set their calendars to it, almost. Ceriv knew that everyone hated Jarlal, even his friends, but the fat coward managed to always weasel his way around problems.
The woman’s tail lashed as she crawled through the snow, whimpering. One of her horns was broken, and darker than normal blood steamed in the snow.
One of the pimp’s friends laughed, an ugly sound. “Nice one, Jarlal. Make the bitch pay. ‘S’ what they deserve, right? Fuckin’ devils.” The woman let out a choking sob.
Ceriv spat, and started turning to go. Waste of time, effort, and a good looking woman. The devils weren’t usually his thing, but Ceriv could tell she was beautiful even through the bruises and blood. Then he heard something surprising.
“Fucksh… you… Jarlal. Didn’t… sheat one… copper,” the woman slurred. Ceriv almost laughed. At least the woman had backbone, though that would get her a worse beating. “You… and your diseased… co-” The word was cut off as Jarlal’s foot buried itself in her stomach, and the man kept kicking her, shouting.
“Fuckin’... FUCK… fuck you, you stupid FUCKING.. FUCK.” He wound up another kick, and despite his weight, the man was strong. Ceriv blinked as he realized where the woman had accidentally, or perhaps not accidentally, rested her head.
Jarlal kicked the woman hard in the chin, snapping her head back against the hidden granite step into the next building. There was a sickening crack, and the woman’s head split open.
The pimp blinked, then swore as he realized he’d killed the woman. One of Jarlal’s friends laughed, and the others looked a little sick.
“Shit… stupid cunt! Look what you made me do.” Jarlal spat.
From the shadows, Ceriv sighed, and shook his head. What a waste. Well, at least his day wasn’t as bad as the Tiefling woman’s, he supposed.
Behind the man’s friends, a tormented wail, high pitched and full of suffering, growing in volume. A small form with a long tail ran towards the corpse, crying hysterically. The whore’s kid, apparently, and probably watching the whole time.
Ceriv tried to turn away again, until he saw Jarlal walk up and kick the kid, who couldn’t be a day over seven, in the side. The kid flopped away, driving up a small furrow in the snow.
“You fuckin’ brat! This is your mom’s fault! Now you’re inheriting her debt, and you’re… you’re gonna fuckin’ pay me back for her shit that she stole! Every FUCKIN’ copper, you stupid shitstain!” The large man backhanded the kid as he swore at the child, driving him back to the ground.
The Zhentarim agent might have been a cold bastard, he’d be the first to admit it, but before the killer even realized it, he’d drawn his dagger. Quiet steps even in new fallen snow, Ceriv was stalking towards the pimp with cold anger in his heart. Then it happened so quickly he almost didn’t catch it.
There was a flash of silver in the snow, and then the little tiefling had his hands around a kitchen knife’s hilt, buried all the way to the hilt in Jarlal’s stomach. The fat pimp looked shocked, as if this couldn’t happen, and grasped at the kid, but the tiefling ducked his head away, stubs of his horns just out of reach, and drew the blade through the man’s stomach, stinking entrails and fat spilling out onto the snow. The kid stepped back, as the fat man fell to his knees, and the drew the knife back, slick with blood, and stabbed Jarlal in the eye, driving it deep into the bone, the knife sticking.
The pimp was dead, and it happened so quickly that even Ceriv was only standing there, looking shocked. The assassin laughed, once, quietly.
The little kid looked back at him, black eyes confused, hurting, angry, afraid but then looked back to the other men. A few of Jarlal’s friends had fled, but three had stuck around, shock turning to anger and ugly hatred.
“Fuckin’ kid. You’re dead,” said one, a burly man with a nose that was broken far too many times. The kid tried to back away, tried to get his knife out from Jarlal’s head, but it was stuck well and good inside the skull.
“No, he ain’t,” Ceriv said. He grinned blackly, as he came up behind the little tiefling. “The Zhentarim are claiming him. I’m claiming him. If you want to dispute that…” The assassin chuckled. “C’mon then.”
The three men blinked, as if they’d just noticed Ceriv for the first time. Which it was possible.
“Wha-” the dark night flashed silver once more, and the three men were face down, blood pouring from their open throats.
The little tiefling shivered and widened his eyes in shock, as Ceriv wiped down his dagger, and pulled two of his throwing daggers out of the other men’s skulls.
“Pre-emptive debate. So. Kid. You going to make this a contract for me, or is this going to be even more messy?” The little tiefling blinked again, looked around, confused, then back up at Ceriv. The assassin sighed, if he was that quick with a blade, but dumb, this whole night would have been wasted.
Ceriv nodded. Good. “What’s your name?”
“K-Kairon’astas Carrion Demos.”
Ceriv frowned. “I’m gonna call you Little Devil. Welcome to the Zhentarim, kid. Life only gets more interesting from here…”