I woke to a cold breeze scratching at my cheek. I opened my eyes a crack and saw the room was filled with early morning light. In the distance I heard bells sounding. Surreptitiously, I slipped my hand under my pillow and wrapped my fingers around the hilt of the dagger I kept there. A shadow fell across the bed; I jumped up, swinging the blade in a wide arc.
A man leapt back, a gash across his chest and garrote in his hands. Before he could recover, I charged him, bringing my dagger down into his forearm then punching him square in the nose. I grabbed the man by the collar and threw him across the room, right into an expensive Noan table that shattered like an icicle that had fallen from the eaves. With a moan, the assassin rolled over, blood covering half his face.
“Mercy,” he said, but even as he spoke his hand crept to his belt–towards a dagger.
I kicked the man’s hand then tore his belt off. I fashioned it into a makeshift noose and slipping it around his neck. As I dragged him towards the window, the assassin’s hands flailed uselessly around his throat, trying to slip his fingers between the leather and his skin. I pulled the man to his feet and sent him straight through the window.