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In the darkness there is always light, but in the light there is never darkness...
Ajani Kai: The Half-Breed

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"The price of your head, ha! Don't make me laugh!"

"Swords are like dance partners, while one leads, the other follows effortlessly to complete the job."

"Call me a Half-breed, I dare you, because no matter what blood flows through my veins; your already dead, you just don't know it yet."


~ Ajani Kai ~





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Ajani Kai: Mercenary
{Part 3}

Wiping her swords with a piece of torn cloth, the blood came off cleanly. Her green eyes examined the swords in her hand. Not even a scratch, they could hardly have been in battle moments before. Gently brushing her thumb cross the edge of one of the blades, a grin broke out on her lips. "Such a waste..." Her purple hair hung behind her in a ponytail, it had grown long and graceful. Ajani Kai smirked at her victim, now dead, laying at her feet. "Rarely do I get to fight a worthy opponent. *sigh*, at least your head is worth a price." Ajani picked up the dead body and hoisted him over her shoulders.

Several years had passed since she had been thrust out into the streets again. Now, she was a full grown woman. A woman with a talent in great demand. The life she lived now, did bring her peace, in a way. She knew that by killing others, she could live comfortably, enjoy life, but what she wanted most, was a family to love her despite her profession and half-breed status. Ajani looked down the road, she didn't care about other's anymore, she only cared about them when they could offer her the money in which she used.

After training and practicing swords and potions since she left the Blacksmith, she had become an expert at both. Her blades when used, were soaked in poisonous toxins. So that when she cut her victims, they were killed without even realizing it. Her first killing happened shortly after she'd been sent away from the Blacksmiths. A vagabond man had tried to take her and she fought him with every ounce of strength. His blood still stained her memory. He had begged and pleaded until she had removed his head. Shaking her head from her memories, she focused on the tasks at hand. Pulling out a rolled up scroll of paper, she read it over and over.

"WANTED: Dead or Alive
The bandit and crook Atai Noven.
Denaria Reward: $300K - alive and $500K - dead.
Wanted for:
Rape, murder, theft of property belonging to Madam Seline Governess of Tyria."


Ajani thrust the dead man from her shoulders and onto her horse. She had made sure to bring one, knowing she'd possibly need help carrying her victim back. With ease she hoisted herself on to the saddle and took off towards Tyria.

***

Ajani placed a log on the fire. One more day and she'd be in Tyria, the city of towers. The only city in all of Falangia that held such splendor. Looking at her horse, who munched pleasantly on the grass and tree leaves, she sighed. She hated the silence during her trips, but then, it did have it's moments. As she looked into the sky, the stars above her twinkled brightly. Who needs a boring domestic life anyway? At least now, I can travel and I make decent pay, even if I have to chop off a few heads to get it. Ajani thought to herself.

She got up, went to the horse and pulled off her bed roll. It was a clear night, so she felt like sleeping under the stars tonight. Plus, it was a new moon, that meant she was at risk of losing her human side and destroying her only refuge in a fit of bitterness and rage. Her vampire blood boiled within, begging for release. It was a curse that she was born half human and half Vampire. It was a curse she'd grown to live with. She had to drink blood only on a full moon, so it wasn't much of a hinderence to her.

She could smell the sweaty blood of her victim, but she didn't dare taste it. The toxin she used had fully entered his blood stream, making it deadly to drink from. Quickly she unrolled her bed and lay down. She listened to the night as she usually did, but her mind wandered.
She thought of her parents, the ones who had abandoned her to the orphanage at birth. She thought of the orphanage, who had treated her cruelly and abandoned her to the streets over something she had never done. She thought about the Blacksmith and his wife. A sadness covered her as she looked at the stars. "I promise, I'll catch that mad man! I'll gut him like a fish then make him writhe while I rip apart his family just as he did you." Ajani said aloud to herself and to the darkness around her.

As she drifted off to sleep, her dreams became a nightmare as she recalled the horrible memory of the Blacksmith Alfred's death.

"You said you wouldn't harm my family if I forged you those swords!" Alfred yelled, his voice cracked on the word family, tears making trails down his cheeks as he sat on the ground backed into a corner. His clothes and hands stained with the blood of his wife and son. "Yes, I do recall saying something to that effect, but honestly, I don't care who makes my weapons. You would dare throw me out of your Swordsmanship school, then take another apprentice?! That is foolish, that is where you wrote your own death and the death of your family!" A faceless man spoke, cruel laughter filled the room as he poised to strike. Alfred flinched, knowing that his end was near.
Ajani Kai had come upon the scene just as the hooded man cut down Alfred while he held his dead family about him. His eyes locked on her as she watched the life leave him and he slumped lifeless over his wife's lifeless body...


Ajani awoke with a start, her swords drawn and she stood poised and ready. Her purple hair flowing behind her in the wind. The night remained calm. Ajani's breathing began to slow, "Only a dream..." She whispered as she came to her horse, who stood beside a cypress tree. Ajani gently petted the horse, she had been having those nightmares since she had witnessed the crime. But still the hooded figure had eluded her, she didn't know how she would find the faceless man, but she knew she had too. If for nothing else but to repay him the evil of slaying her only friend.

***

Morning dawned and Ajani had finally entered the city of Tyria. The city was already a buzz with traders, villagers, townsmen and women, children groggily following their parents quickly through the streets and shops began to open. Several people gawked at her as she rode slowly passed them with her victim. Whispers coursed through the people who saw her and her cargo. "There's that mercenary woman, looks like she's got another victim too." "She's so strange, taking on crooks and such - very unlady like." These were just a few words going around the crowds as she passed.

When she reached a tall gate, she called to the gatekeeper, "Hey, open the gate, Mercenary Ajani Kai, here to see the Governess!" Her voice was firm as she spoke, which intimidated many people, especially her superiors. But she didn't care, it was quite nice to be feared, instead of being a common slave. At least now she had some kind of respect, whether out of fear or hatred, she didn't care as long as she was respected.

"Right away!" The gatekeeper called back and dashed off to open the gate and inform the house that a guest would be arriving.

When she reached the main house, several officials had gathered at the entrance staircase, not just to see her, but to see her prize as well. With disgust she looked at each one, she hated government officials. But she couldn't understand why, she just did. They always seemed too pompous and snobbish for her liking.
The Governess appeared among the group of Officals and Ajani, instead of bowing to her as was customary, simply dismounted her horse and turned her back in order to pull the dead man from her horse and lay him at the Governess' feet.

"The bandit, as agreed, I have also found the stolen goods, they are in a warehouse some thirty miles from here as the crow flies." Ajani grunted as she poisted a large bag full of wonderful items, including jewels and other high quality items from her horse. "These are just a few of the items he was carrying on his person." She dropped the bag next to the dead bandit. With a sigh, she looked at the Governess and officials expectantly.

"Well," The Governess was the first to recover from the bluntness of Ajani's words and actions. "I guess you've earned your Denaria. Also, you may stay in my home for as long as you wish - we have a stable for your horse and food. Just let my servant's know your needs." The Governess smiled kindly then snapped her fingers. A group of four men came out of the garden area beside the house and quickly removed the body and bag of precious items. Once the dead man was removed, the other officials seemed to relax. Ajani wanted to laugh at them. Although they would pay me to kill someone, they are too afraid to see the real thing, how amusing. "Actually all I want is the Denaria, I've earned it, so I would appreciate it delivered so that I may return to my other duties." Her curtness was not appreciated by either the Governess or the Officials.

But the Governess had better sense than to show her dislike of Ajani, instead she nodded and snapped her fingers again. A man appeared and bowed. "Fetch me the reward for the bandit, so that our little Mercenary friend can be on her way." She spoke purposefully and with an edge to her words bordering on anger. Ajani smirked when the servant nodded and rushed off in fear. Not of his mistress but of her.

Only the weak smell of fear. That is because they are pathetic and don't have the strength to stand up and be something better! Ajani thought to herself. When the servant returned, he did not look her in the eyes as he set the bag of Denaria at her feet and fled before she could grab the bag. At least he has brains enough to fear me. Picking up the sack of Denaria she placed it over her shoulder. With her back towards the others, she looked over her shoulder. "Pleasure doing business with you, Governess, trust me, it's only your pleasure, not mine." With that she hoisted herself onto her horse, and took off while the Officials and Governess fumed at her words. She laughed.

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