Little Death (Rune Dagger):

Merchant Galdron had hired an assassin in a desperate move to deal with his rival. He had decided to not just hire any assassin but instead hire one that was considered to be the best. He had to, otherwise his competitor would have driven him out of business. The assassin was known as the 'Night Blade' and had, according to stories, not failed an assassination in more than two hundred years. The amount the assassin wanted was outrageous and he had no intension on paying even though he had agreed to the price. One hundred thousand in gold was the amount that one payed to kill a king not a rival merchant. He had hired a bunch of extra guards to protect himself but figured he could bully the assassin.

Suddenly the heavy oak doors opened up even though he had them looked to prevent anyone from entering. His guard tensed and put their hands on their weapons. Standing in the doorway was a tall woman dressed in all black with only her face visible. Over her head was a black hood, she wore a black tunic, she wore black leggings, and even her boots were black. While slightly gaunt, she was still fairly attractive and still was clearly female. Her skin was very pale and was almost to the point of being white. The hair that could be seen under the hood was also black with blue highlights. On one side, she wore a long sword and on the other side she wore a dagger with a black hilt. Her hands were covered by black leather gloves. She stared at the merchant with her grey eyes. Merchant Galdron gulped. What had happened to his guards outside the door and how had the Night Blade gotten through the door.

She opened her mouth and in precise tones stated "Galdron, I performed the job you wanted. Ogram is dead. I come here now in payment. One hundred thousand gold in gems." She looked around the chamber and locked eyes with each of the guards. She turned back to the merchant again, "I note that you have acquired a few additional guards since our previous meeting."

Galdron motioned for his guards to either seize her or kill her. He stated in a slightly nervous tone, "I have decided to cancel the agreement. After all, there is no written contract. It is your word against mine that I hired you. You don't even have the assassin's guild to enforce contracts for you." While he sounded nervous, he looked composed if not calm.

The assassin looked at the guards and said "Has he payed you enough to be willing to sacrifice your soul. Maybe you can take me but are you willing to risk it." The guards dropped their weapons and ran for the doors behind the seat which the merchant was sitting. Apparently, the guards agreed with her statement.

She looked back at the merchant "I need no contract. I enforce my own bargains. I will give you one more chance to pay. After all, you would have been soon have been out of business if he had lived." She stepped forward until they were virtually eye to eye.

He gulped and started sweating. The fat merchant looked nervous now but still replied "The amount of money you want is outrageous. One hundred thousand gold is more than any contract other than royalty would cost."

She put her hands on her dagger at her waist and drew it. The blade was unadorned matte black with a Kris style blade and an incredibly sharp looking blade. Galdron yelled "I will pay, I will pay!"

The woman smiled evilly and said very calmly "You will pay." She stepped forward suddenly and pushed the black blade through his throat. "Payment accepted. Ogram's soul escaped before the soul could be consumed. You were not so lucky. Stupid merchant, should have just payed me in coin while you had the chance." On his face was a look of pure horror. She grabbed the pouch from the dead merchant's side and looked in. It was filled with precious gems. "He had the payment right here the whole time."

While there is some information recorded about Little Death, the weapon is talked about little and mostly in whispers. This is due to the fact that the weapon has been mostly owned by dangerous assassins and there are rumors that sages that research the weapon are likely to be killed to keep their knowledge secret. There is also rumor that in a secret vault in the largest assassin's guild within the Western Empire where the entire history of the bane dagger is recorded. Of course, all of this may be rumor but the existence of the dagger is a fact. One fact that is well known even outside of the assassin's guild is the fact that the dagger is ancient. The oldest confirmed tales which tell of Little Death are from the Elf and Dwarf war when using the dagger, an assassin working for the elves killed a number of Dwarf leaders attempting to make peace before wholesale death ensued. There are stories that are even older which refer to the dagger as well. It is believed by some to have been created during the time of the Thousand Magics. There are many stories of assassins carrying the weapon over the ages with some assassins carrying the weapon for hundreds of years even when they are of races which were short lived. The present owner of the weapon, who adopted the name 'Night Blade' soon after acquiring the rune dagger, is believed to have carried the dagger for over two hundred years. She appears to be human but has not seemed to have aged in the time that she has carried the weapon. There are stories that she is in reality a changeling but this is discounted by most scholars due to the fact that there is no evidence of her shape changing. After all, her appearance is fairly well known and changing forms would make her impossible to follow and track. It is well known that the Night Blade is not a member of the assassin's guild yet is left alone. Stories tell that when she first got the weapon, several hits were sent against her. Over a dozen of them were killed along with the leaders which were sent against her. No assassins are willing to try and will probably kill any leaders who try and send them against her. Several lords have also put large bounties on her head but they have all died soon after putting out their bounties. Since then, not another lord has tried.

Little Death is considered surprisingly plain for its reputation by many who have seen it. The weapon itself is matte black and actually seems to absorb light. The only decoration the weapon has are the runes that go from the tip of the blade to the end of the hilt. The blade is in the kris style with a double edged wavy blade and an extremely sharp point. The hilt and cross guard are just as plain as the blade although it is grooved for a better grip.

The presence within the dagger might have been an assassin at one time. Some tales tell that a powerful Lizard Mage imprisoned an assassin who tried to kill him within the dagger. The personality appears to be male and the best way to describe it would be to say that he is dead inside. The personality is close to emotionless except for a hunger to consume souls. He does not care what needs to be done to achieve a goal which is normally to kill and consume souls. Still he is not a psychotic who kills indiscriminately and does not choose wielders who are that way either. The personality is choosy about whom he targets although in an emergency will consume any soul. The preferred fare is that of souls of those with powers including both political and financial. The dagger prefers if it is used for the killing blow so it can consume the soul. As such, the wielder normally will not use poisons which kill but will often use poisons which cause paralysis. Because the weapon wants to be involved in killing, it is not likely that the owner of the dagger will become a leader of an assassin's guild even though many are very skilled and could easily become one. As well, while the weapon is balanced for throwing, the weapon prefers not to be thrown.

The dagger is extremely well balanced and is the equal to finest weapons made by Dwarf craftsmen. Like all rune weapons, it is completely indestructible. The weapon is considered to at least be a greater rune weapon by most sages due to its known powers but might be considered greater than that by someone who knew the weapons full powers.

The best known ability of the weapon is the soul drinking. It is told in most stories but most references indicate that the soul drinking abilities are similar to those of other rune weapons except that it might inflict more pain than most. The reality is quite different and it is likely that assassins not wanting others knowing the full abilities of the weapon are the most likely reason why scholars have been targeted by owners of the dagger. When the soul is consumed, the life force of the person consumed is fed into the wielder and will heal them. The other ability related to soul drinking is that as long as the dagger consumes a soul per week, the wielder will not age. There is an effect of this though. The wielder will become slightly gaunt as time goes on and their skin will become very pale almost to the point of being white.

The other power of the weapon is more normal. The weapon has psychic abilities. The sixth sense ability of the weapon has saved more than one wielder and the telepathy has been very helpfully in tracking down a target. The weapon's owners have been known to create powerful illusions and become invisible in a persons mind.

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Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2002, Kitsune. All rights reserved.