Marle Winston. Legorii repeated the name in his head - a name that had been echoing in his mind since Marick’s voice had gone silent and he had been left alone to figure out how to carry out his mission. Trained as an assassin, the Archpriest never worried about taking down a target, but this particular assignment was different. This time, he had to run a public relations campaign as well.
“I know that name...” he muttered to himself as he made his way toward the Blind Rancor Pub. This particular pub was shadier and dirtier than most watering holes in Port Ol’val, but the Anzat had been there twice before, and he knew the barman - though there was no love lost between the two of them, as a nasty brawl had ensued the last time he visited. The man he sought was known to frequent the bar, but Legorii’s motivations for visiting the Blind Rancor were twofold: he wanted to find his target, and he wanted to ask the barman about the Twi’lek girl, Marle Winston.
The Entar’s hood was pulled up, and he wore discreet, mundane black robes and a travelling cloak. He was well-acquainted with Port Ol’val, and had served for years on intelligence missions in the city, first with Oblivion Brigade and more recently with Shadow Gate. He had endured many a disgusting pub - often only with the aid of a yet-more-disgusting drink. Making his way through the small door that served as a grand entrance, the Archpriest headed straight for the center of the bar and sat down.
Pulling back his hood, he flashed a dark grin at the barman, who did not return it. “A wookiee on the rocks - no, make that two,” Legorii declared with a glance at the woman next to him, who was clearly already drunk. The Krath assassin was controversial in his intelligence methods, as he eschewed the snooping and spying that most of his allies utilized, preferring instead to use his charisma and persuasive techniques to coax information out of his contacts. His easy smile hid the roiling anger and distaste for those around that Legorii had in his heart, and his temper occasionally shone through his elaborate tales and jokes.
As the drinks arrived, Legorii launched into a tale of intrigue and mystery from his time on Anzat, gradually drawing in the rest of the denizens in the bar. As he spoke, the words rolling easily off his tongue, the Qel-Droman scanned the faces of those around him, failing to recognize any of them. Finishing his tale with a flourish that elicited a smattering of applause from those assembled, Legorii drained the rest of his drink and got down to business.
“Gentlemen, and ladies, I’m looking for a bounty hunter - but only the very best bounty hunter you know! No doubt you have heard of rumors swirling lately that Dark Jedi are running the city. I shudder at the thought. I have a lead, a woman who I think may be involved, and will supply you with her name - provided you can lead me to a suitable bounty hunter willing to assist me for a handsome fee, of course,” Legorii finished, leaning back on his barstool as the patrons looked at one another.
After a few whispers amongst themselves, one of the men spoke up. “Well, I reckon Track Ryder’s the one you want,” the man spoke evenly, and a few others around him murmured their assent. “Track comes here often, and he been harpin’ about the, uh, whatcha call em? Dark Jedi, those folk, for quite some time now.” The Anzat’s eyes flickered as he hid his delight, excited at the prospect of his prey being led to him.
Nodding slowly, the Entar agreed. “Yes, I’d love to meet this man, he certainly seems like he could be just the sort of bounty hunter I need. Where can I find him?” As the final syllable left the Krath’s lips, another man stepped from the shadows. Of above average height and build, he carried himself like a trained killer - Legorii knew he had found his man.
“I am Track Ryder,” he stated simply, his brown eyes locked on the Arconan’s peculiar crimson. A smile lit Legorii’s features as he stepped forward to shake hands with his newest business partner.
Marle Winston. Still the name danced in the Qel-Droman’s brain, but, unlike earlier, he now had an idea. He had consulted with the records keeper at Black Water Cleaning Services - a corporate arm of the Entar family - and learned that the Twi’lek girl had formerly been an employee. She was one of the first hired when Black Water had expanded into the new Arconan dominion of Port Ol’val, and had left the company suddenly a year previously.
Reputed to be a skilled diplomat with a quick tongue, at least according to Marick’s intelligence, Legorii had rolled his eyes when he first heard back from the Black Water administrator - most likely the bitch had learned diplomacy in Timeros’ bed, and it was now coming back to haunt them. “We’ll forever be cleaning up your messes, Tim...” the Anzat muttered, mildly resentful of his new assignment of correcting his brother’s misdeeds.
As he made his way through Jerem Plazza, the Entar scanned the crowd continuously, searching for a Twi’lek. He found none. Redoubling his efforts, Legorii knocked on the doors to shops and apartments alike, searching for anyone who had seen the woman - his favorite dancer, who had recently left the cantina down the street. The sadistic Arconan took particular delight in describing Marle Winston as such, knowing how demeaning it was to her diplomatic skills.
Eventually, he was pointed in the direction of a homeless shelter where she was believed to have been staying - a women’s shelter a few blocks away. With no other credible leads, Legorii set off towards the shelter, not altogether optimistic that he would find his target. In his questioning, he learned that the woman would be addressing a crowd later, delivering a speech of sorts, in Jerem Plazza. He realized that tonight would be the greatest opportunity he could hope for.
The woman he met at the front desk of the shelter was helpful - eager to help the intimidating man who stormed into the shelter looking for its most controversial tenant, most likely motivated by fear. Legorii was lead to Marle’s personal living space, where he found a collection of garments and cloaks, as well as a few trinkets of no great value. As soon as the attendant left him, Legorii slipped an armory saber hilt into the a small pack that also contained a password-protected datapad and a few credits. Satisfied, he left the shelter, and prepared himself to meet with Track Ryder ahead of the big speech.
At 1830, Track met Legorii at their appointed meeting place, a shadowed ally just minutes from Jerem Plazza. Quickly, the Anzat briefed his hired gun on the plan. “Okay, I don’t know if you’ve heard of her or not, but Marle Winston will be delivered an address tonight in the square, in approximately,” Legorii paused to check the time before continuing, “twenty minutes. She claims to share your fear that Dark Jedi rule Port Ol’val, but my friends and benefactors suspect differently - we believe she is herself a Dark Jedi.”
Despite this bold proclamation, the bounty hunter gave no reply other than a curt nod. Legorii glanced over his weapons, noticing an array of knives and other small blades, along with a pair of blaster pistols and a rifle. “Confront her. Demand to see her bag. And when she gives up evidence that she is a Dark Jedi, show it to the crowd - and then kill her. While you do this, my friends and I will ensure that she and her suspected “allies” do not interfere; we will be monitoring their reactions to tonight’s events as well.
Legorii was sure that Track knew the plan, and he trusted him to execute it. The Entar liked to keep his hands clean when he could. Together, the two killers moved out into the square, with Track taking up his post near the materializing crowd. The Archpriest entered a building in the square and made his way slowly up the staircase until he found a suitable window, settling in with a sniper rifle, taking aim at the people gathered below.
Sure enough, Marle Winston showed up, waving around her datapad as she launched into a speech about the corruption of the city and the influence of the Dark Jedi. Just before she reached a crescendo, the bounty hunter finally stepped up.
“You claim Dark Jedi influence this city, and I agree, but how do we know you, too, aren’t a Dark Jedi?” the man called, stepping up onto an elevated spot, facing the Twi’lek girl. Flustered, Marle shot back with a biting insult and insisted she was in no way affiliated with any Dark Jedi, and wanted what was best for Port Ol’val. The crowd was clearly on her side, but Track demanded she empty the contents of her pack, and eventually she was forced to relent.
The crowd fell silent as the lightsaber hilt tumbled from Marle’s bag and onto the ground, a shocked tension coming over them. Track smirked, grabbing the girl as he shouted to the crowd, “Your Dark Jedi!” Without a word further, he slit her throat, spilling blood in front of the assembled crowd. “Little girls playing with weapons beyond their understanding are not Dark Jedi,” he declared.
The events in the square proved almost fatal to the movement for the deposition of the supposed Dark Jedi rulers, as skepticism ran high and scandal accompanied the movement’s every action. The following morning, Track and Legorii again met in the alley in order for the Arconan to deliver the credits.
His eyes cold and emotionless, Legorii stepped forward, close to his partner. “As promised, bounty hunter, your payment...” In a sudden burst of movement, the Arconan slipped a vibroblade from within the folds of his traveling cloak, thrusting it into Track Ryder’s navel, and then jerking it up to open up the man’s torso to the putrid Port Ol’val air. As blood and organs splattered the Archpriest’s robes and the bounty hunter slumped forward, Legorii stepped back and allowed the dying man to fall to the street below, lying facedown in a rapidly expanding puddle of his own bodily fluids.
Stepping over the mess, Legorii slid his commlink from his robes. “Marick, I’ve cleaned up your mess and made one of my own,” he said evenly, glancing at the dead man beneath him. “What’s next?”
Grade: "Excellent" [3 pts]
Comments: Short, simple, and sweet, yet engaging enough to keep me reading the entire time without having to stop or backtrack. Fluent and easy to read, you clearly demonstrate a comfort with your character and knowing exactly how he moves, smells, smiles, turns, and thinks. It makes for a good read, and makes it easy to feel like we are his shadow, following him around as he does his work. A little on the short end, the task was still accomplished as should. I think what's missing from this to make it into that next tier is more conflict, or a monkey wrench of some sort. Everything seemed to go to smoothly, which worked for the piece, but I feel like in a shadow port filled with smugglers, I would have loved to have been taken off guard by the introduction of a third party not mentioned in the contract I originally dished out. It simply missed that "oh shit," or "damn" factor that I look for when giving out the Superior tag.
Overall, at this point I don't need to comment on your syntax or grammar, as it was all clear and concise and easy to read. I know from writing with and against you for so long that you can get into that Superior tier, just need a little more umph to the story. Still, very impressed and enjoyed reading the piece.