She opened the window to welcome the morning sun. It was early and the sun was just rising above the mountains around the small village she was staying in. She took a deep breath of the fresh air. She had finished her last assignment earlier than expected four days ago and had enjoyed the free days. It had been a while. Seeing the raven on the roof opposite made her smile. Like clockwork as always. Seems that the holiday was over. She whistled the short melody and watched the raven take off and shortly after land on her window sill. Niema took the small cylinder of its leg and the raven followed her with a few jumps to the bedside table where she gave it a biscuit. Taking the magnifying glass from her pouch she started reading the encoded message on the parchment. After a few minutes she looked up and stared at the raven which, suddenly aware of the attention, stared back at her. "We both didn't think the easy jobs would continue forever, didn't we?" The raven rolled its head to the left and, deciding that the current situation wouldn't end with another biscuit, continued eating the first. Niema took a small piece of paper from her pouch, heated it slightly over the fire and pressed her signet ring into it. The raven holding out a web with its wings was clearly visible in the soft paper.
The winged messenger had left a few moments ago with her answer and Niema looked at her notes she had taken while studying the parchment again. This one would take a lot of preparation but the parchment already contained names and locations of contacts to get started. Ever since she got promoted and initiated into the current circle, the offered assignments were all long term. She sometimes missed the assignments she got on the lower levels. You left the building at dusk and were back before dawn. No preparation. No infiltrating complex organizations to even get near the target. Life was easy back then. But admittedly also boring once the excitement of the adrenalin rush made way for experience and routine.
She closed her small notebook and stepped over to the fire where she watched the small parchment burn until only small black flakes of ash were left. She turned around and looked at her naked body in the mirror. Her gaze went over the tattoos stretching from neck to ankle on her right side. Over the years, the black-inked pictures and symbols had become more and more numerous and intricate and had merged together over time to form a complex web of icons and scenes. She touched the picture of a raven taking off from a branch just above her waist. It was one of her first but still her favorite.
Putting on the black leather vest and the skin-tight shorts, she checked the position of the dagger underneath her left arm and made sure the quick release was working. While she was thinking about the first steps for the assignment she washed her face and the horns that curled back from the top of her skull to underneath her ears. She looked into the mirror. A cult of Orcus. It won't be easy to get in.
She took the silken black cape from the hook and looked at the prayer to the Raven Queen that was embroidered all along the edging in intricate silver letters. Her grandmistress had given it to her in the initiation ceremony. Brushing over the fabric with her hand she could see the shadows dancing over the surface between her fingers. She closed her eyes to feel the connection, feel the shadows. A calming feeling was spreading out though her body while she interacted with the shadows in the room, touching them, forming them.
A knock at the door pulled her out of the peaceful state. "Mylady? The breakfast is ready as you've requested!". She smiled, threw the cape over her shoulders, adjusted her long black hair to fall over the black surface of the cape which emphasized on the blue shimmer her hair always had and opened the door.
"Good morning, Liseri! Could you please ask the stable boy to get my horse ready? I'll be leaving after breakfast."
"I will tell him right away, Mylady! May I ask where you are going?"
"Winterhaven. And I won't be back for a while"