Written by Kevin Guthrie
Tribad closes her eyes. She tries to picture her mother. She can't. She
can't remember her father either. Did she have a family? They are only
faceless forms out of a shrouded child's memory. The lights of her real
parents are both lost to history. Instead, her memories transform to those
who raised her from a child. Those who raised her were shadows of her
The guild was her family. Her brothers and sisters would help her, guide
her, and protect her. But just like normal siblings, they would dare her to
do things. It was only childhood rivalry. The first dare was the town drunk.
The second dare was a merchant who sold worthless baubles. The third dare
was a farmer. Tribad had already killed three people before completing her
10th cycle of rebirth.
The assassin's guild is a hard place to grow up, but it has advantages. Food
meant you didn't go hungry. A bed meant you were safe for the night. It also
meant you had the skills necessary to survive on your own. They trained her.
They taught her how to use weapons, poison, and shadow to her advantage.
They gave her a purpose -- a dark purpose.
Tribad had completed all her training and passed all the tests, except one.
She was given an assignment. Complete the assignment and become an official
member of the guild. There was a prominent merchant in a neighboring town
that wanted a problem eliminated. Tribad's assignment was to fulfill the
Tribad "borrowed" a small wagon from a farmer and proceeded to her
assignment. The two-day trip was uneventful. She found a small clearing and
hitched the horse and wagon in seclusion. Proceeding to the manor, she felt
very confident in achieving her objective, a second story window and
eliminate the target.
She waited for twilight and take advantage of the approach of darkness.
Enter the window, no problem. Find the objective, no problem. The lady was
sleeping in bed, no problem. Hear a baby's cry, problem. She muffled the
lady's startled cry and discovered a dark truth. The merchant had hired the
guild to kill his wife, Bella.
Tribad had lost her parents, her family, her heritage. She had been sent to
do the same to another. She couldn't do it. But, she couldn't avoid it
either. The guild looks most unfavorably to failure.
Just as Tribad struggles to resolve her conflict, somebody enters the room.
Swiftly, instinctively, Tribad swings her sword. Bella's personal maid lay
dying on the floor. In killing, Tribad finds her salvation.
Tribad returned to the guild with the braided locks of Bella's hair wrapped
in swaddling cloth. The guild was pleased and commended Tribad with
completion of her task. The merchant was less enthusiastic with the empty
burned husk of his manor. Several burned bodies remained in the building.
All were dead. No witnesses.
Tribad's experience leaves her with a new resolve. As she leaves the guild
in good standing, she leaves with a wry smile and never looks back. Time to
find the light.