Chasiel stopped and stepped backwards to look down the narrow street deep in the Weavers Ward in the city of Khamda. Night cast shadows all about the mottled-stone corridor but she could see the two men easily enough.
Smoke from her exhale curled around her face, pipe bowl glowing as she sucked in soon after. A hum of sound in her throat followed.
The men faced each other, one slapping at the other in obvious intimidation fashion. Chasiel would never think to intervene in such a common scene in the gloomy wards of Khamda but the slapping man’s attire drew her attention upon recognition.
Smoke continued to drift from her mouth and caress her face as she approached the abuser and his victim. The sweet scent of the sigda leaf filled her nostrils.
“Help!” the bloody-faced man cried, hands raised to protect his face from further injury. Common by his appearance, he did wear at his waist one of the leather kits used by runners to keep writing supplies on hand and ready at a moments notice.
With a twist, the other man turned to see who approached, as Chasiel did not change her footing to a quieter step. Dark hair and beard hid his features but the three intersecting silver rings sewed into the sleeves of his jerkin marked him a mercenary belonging to the Silver Way Band. “What’s this–”
His question could not be finished as Chasiel lashed out with a combination of punches to his lower back, aiming for the kidneys, and finishing with a grab and throw technique she had recently learned from Fenroe who would receive a well-deserved “thank you” the next time they saw each other.
The bruised runner trembled in shock at witnessing his attacker being bested by a woman no doubt. Once he came to his senses, he began to sputter thanks.
Chasiel waved him off. “Give me whatever contract he had been offered.”
The man winced. “What?”
She blew smoke in his face, ignoring his coughing. “The contract. Give it here.” She snapped her fingers at him. The humming sound in her throat followed and the runner’s eyes widened before dropping to her throat where he finally noticed her choker and the pendant that rested cold against her skin.
“Damned whore,” the Silver Way mercenary growled as he rose to his feet, still in pain but reaching for a dagger at his waist.
Chasiel reacted in kind, pipe stem pinched between her teeth, as her hands shot for the hooked blades sheathed behind her back.
Dead men screamed, grunted, and/or pissed themselves when the clutches of the Hallowed seized their soul. Men of the infamous Silver Way were no different. Blood flew from her slashes and pooled on the old cobbles at her feet.
“The Bloody Dove,” the runner whispered.
Chasiel nodded. “I’ll have that contract. Then you can go.” Placed in her outstretched hand, she unrolled the thin paper and read, finding the details both interesting and enticing. “Hallowed be Praised,” she said through smoke and leaving the runner alone with the dead.