“Shall we?” The other man hesitated, then nodded, breaking the almost perfect stillness that lay between the two.
“This is a poor way to repay such loyalty.”
“Yes,” said the other, simply, “but this is necessary. Has always been necessary.”
“There should have been an other way.” An old argument this, and the other man shrugged. Doubt, he knew, was ever his friend’s companion. The argument was moot, now, and it played itself out in silence between them. Finally, the doubter sighed, and the spell was broken.
The two men slipped from the room into the antechamber where a uniformed woman leant over her paperwork. The taller of the two, the one who had been reluctant, looked down at her, sadness in his eyes. Moving quickly, he was across the room, grabbing her and sliding the blade of his long knife into the back of her neck, angling it upwards into her brain with one graceful thrust. She died instantly, painlessly. He glanced up at his companion, his face unreadable, a fact that shook his companion, so used was he to seeing everything the other man felt. He gave an almost imperceptible shrug, to cover his disquiet, to move them on. They left the tent, stepping out into the overcast night.
Their guards were the next to die, each with a rustle or the gentlest of sighs. The two men crouched over them for long moments, heads turning slow as they scanned the camp they both knew so well. They moved again, shadows within shadows. The night was cold, both the Twins remained hidden behind their veils, their faces turned away from the world below. The third moon, The Sister, alone shone, her mercurial darkness a blessing this night.
They moved onwards, death accompanying their every step, bodies left unmoving and peaceful as they went. Theirs was a growing silence that moved outwards, radiating slowly and methodically from the tent at the camp’s centre. In time their arms grew heavy, their knives slick with gore, weighed with blood and death. Yet still the silence spread and spread until the edge of the camp lay quiet, the pickets dead, over a thousand men and women sleeping the last sleep.
They stood facing each other, stained, bloody, weary.
“You left the one?”
They were silent for a moment, listening to the quiet aftermath of their endeavours.
“His will be an awakening most unpleasant.”
“Yes,” said the tall one, his voice tired, fraying slightly, "It will mark him. Another crime for us to bear."
The shorter man simply shrugged, as was his way when there was nothing more to be said.
Each placed their knife on the chest of the woman first slain, her eyes closed as if asleep, her face oddly peaceful. They gazed down at her for a long time, then at each other. Then, as one they turned away, each alone with his thoughts, and were gone.
The night settled as, in the midst of that vast slaughter, one soul still dreamed.