As Ayen had expected, a single guard stood at the back door with a lit cigarette in one hand. They had dropped from the rooftop into the garden and were now crouched beside a tool shed. They watched the smoking man and the other guards as they passed by the windows above. Then at just the right moment, Waylon darted out from their hiding place. He grabbed the guard and with only the soft snick of his blade, the man dropped into the grass.
Ayen waited until it was clear, then he joined Waylon at the door. The guard was dead, his blood black in the moonlight as it poured from a deep wound in his neck. He had no reason to be surprised and yet he was. He was shocked, horrified. To kill so easily... to take a life without regard for life... it seemed cruel, but hadn't he learned already that Waylon was not the angel he appeared?
"Squeamish?" Waylon scoffed.
Ayen rolled his eyes. "Just open the door."
"But my hands are all bloody." He faked a pout while Ayen wondered why his nickname wasn't Waylon 'The annoyance' or Waylon 'The deeply irritating'. He crouched in front of the door and started to pick the lock. Waylon stood guard, faking a dramatic yawn. Ayen did his best to ignore him until the lock clicked open.
They slipped inside and went to the stairs where they watched from the shadows for the guard's lantern to pass by. Just when Ayen thought they were going to slip past unseen, Waylon went after the guard. He stood rolling his eyes in the dark while Waylon dispatched the man and tucked his body into the shadows.
"You're insufferable," he whispered. Waylon shot him a wink before carrying on to the third floor.
Their target was an amethyst the size of a dinner plate. Their employer claimed that it 'rightfully' belonged to him. Ayen didn't really care either way. He said that the amethyst would be on display in the game room and that was exactly where they found it behind a glass display.
Ayen went to the amethyst and carefully lifted the glass. "Hurry up," Waylon hissed.
"It's only twenty seconds since your last kill, surely you're not ready for the next one."
"How about you focus on the rock instead of judging me?" Waylon hissed, keeping an eye on the door.
"I didn't realize you were so sensitive." Ayen lifted the gem from its place and instantly he became frozen. He tried to move, but there was no struggling against whatever spell bound him.
"What are you doing?" He heard Waylon ask. "Quit fooling around." He felt warmth as though a hand reaching out, but it stopped short.
"Dammit," Waylon groaned. The man walked around where he could see him. "Of course there would be a trap on the damn thing." He looked around for the source of the magic. His eyes scanned the room until they stopped at something on the floor. He crouched out of Ayen's eye line.
"There you are." He heard a scraping sound, then the spell lifted. He wobbled on his feet and Waylon caught him with a hand on his shoulder.
Ayen sucked in a heavy breath. "Fuck, that was horrible." He pressed a hand to his nauseous stomach. "Thank you."
Waylon blushed, staring at him a moment too long. "Of course." He swallowed and turned away. "We need to get out of here before you find another way to screw everything up."
Ayen followed behind, holding back a laugh. How he'd managed to fluster a cold blooded killer twice in one evening he didn't know. Perhaps Waylon simply wasn't used to people being nice to him, but Ayen supposed that was just how it was when you were likely to kill anyone you're left alone with.
They made it back outside with the amethyst in a pack on Ayen's back. He had to admit that Waylon's killing of the first floor guard was a good move as it made it almost too easy for them to slip back outside unseen. They crossed from the door to the edge of the fence. Waylon jumped up, grabbing the edge of the tool shed's roof. He pulled himself up then turned around and offered his hand. Ayen spared a look over his shoulder, but the guards hadn't yet discovered anything amiss. It wouldn't be long now, though.
He took Waylon's hand and let him pull him up. He couldn't say he wasn't impressed by the man's strength. They were both left unable to look the other in the eye, a first for Ayen who considered himself both confident and charming. Waylon's vulnerability exposed a similar discomfort in him that he didn't want to think too deeply about.
They returned to the same disreputable tavern where Ayen had met their employer. The man clapped delightedly when he saw them. Waylon cut his eyes at him, barely seen under the hood of his cloak, and he stopped noise making and cleared his throat.
"Well I'm glad the two of you managed not to kill each other."
"It was a close call," Waylon said.
"Did you get it?"
Waylon scoffed and rolled his eyes. Ayen handed over the backpack. With only a small peek inside he confirmed that the desired amethyst was inside.
"Very good. Here's payment for each of you. No offense, but I hope to never see you again."
He scurried off with his prize in hand. The pair slipped back out into the night with heavy pockets.
"Well, Waylon, dear," Ayen said. "It was a pleasure spending the night with you, but rest assured the next time we meet one of us will be in handcuffs."
"I'm not much of the bondage type."
"Too bad. It would suit you," Ayen grinned.
Waylon tucked his head yet further into his hood. Ayen could just picture the way he blushed. "Sleep with one eye open, elf," he said. Then he walked off into the shadows of an alleyway. Ayen was tempted to follow and discover where the man sleeps, but the truth, whether or not he liked it, was that he didn't want to spoil what had been an oddly pleasant evening.
Big news! Coming on Friday is a bonus episode of Try Your Luck! This episode will be Ayen's backstory and give some insight into who he is and where he comes from. If you want to read more bonus episodes like it, such as Waylon's backstory and how Keyleth met Smudge, you can find them on my Patreon.
Ayen Fenfir is no common elf, but that won't stop him from pretending to be one as he tries to hide from his past. Life as a criminal isn't easy, but when Ayen sees the bounty for turning in an assassin, known as 'The Angel', he finds himself caught between romance and a chance to retire from his life of crime. 'Don't try your luck in West Catoig' is what they always say, but Ayen has yet to discover just how unlucky West Catoig is for its more humble citizens.