Hidden in the Light

A fanfiction by Velkyn Karma

Summary: It is ironic that my talents lead to this. Volke's point of view.

Note: I've been contemplating the absurdity of Volke's job in Path of Radiance. What kind of assassin gets hired to kill his own employer? So I wrote about it—the story takes place from Volke's point of view.

Disclaimer: I do not own, or pretend to own, the Fire Emblem game series or any of its subsequent characters, plots or other ideas. That right belongs solely to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. The only thing here that's mine is the idea for the story.

------

"Amn't I a businessman myself? For what's a crook, only a businessman without a shop."

--The Quare Fellow, Brendan Behan

------

Sometimes I still wonder how exactly I fell into my lot in life.

In the more shadowy depths of the realm, I'm renowned for my trade. Willing to take on any task, no matter how dirty, no matter the risks involved. I've gambled, lied, stolen and brawled with the best of them; my intelligence network and contacts know no peers; any living being I've been paid to eliminate doesn't remain living for long.

It's a pretty nasty line of business, and I don't make any pretenses about it. I'm an assassin, an expert in killing people, snuffing out lives in pure darkness and absolute silence. The jobs I take aren't meant for the weak of heart, nor are they meant for the light-hearted souls of the realm.

In my moments of moral weakness, I occasionally still remember this.

That doesn't happen too often anymore, though. Quite frankly, in this line of work you can't afford to have morals. They don't do you much good when you're wiping out lives left and right.

I honestly don't worry myself over it anymore. Used to, in my younger days, but that was a while ago. Hell, it might be a job on the darker side of the law, but it's a job, and somebody's gotta do it. If I weren't out here killing for hire, somebody else would be; it's just how the world works.

Trying to justify your actions in this line of work doesn't do you much good, either.

By this point in my life, I've seen it all, done it all, taken every imaginable job there is out there. My skills have become legendary in the darker waters, and whispers of my 100 percent accuracy rates flow through the channels of both the lower class and the aristocracy alike. Needed information is guaranteed to get to you through me. Objects of value can't resist my nimble fingers, will find themselves suddenly in the possession of excited employers, all too willing to shove vast amounts of gold into my hands for their desires.

Aaah, the gold. Always the gold. The clink of the metal coins in my hands and in my pouch is drawing to me, always has been; and looking back on it, with the increase of my skills and the larger pool of potential employees, my prices skyrocketed. I wasn't in want for gold, and at the rate I was growing at, I never would be again.

Still, the jobs that pay the best—and did back then, as well--are the assassination assignments.

A part of me, the younger, more naïve part, is still amazed at the amount of people that want others dead, and always for the most selfish of reasons. I have been hired to kill young men, women, children, babies even, all for the sake of rival families vying for power, for the accumulation of wealth or rare artifacts, for attention, for jealousy, for rage, for disgust, for revenge.

Not that I can truly be one to judge them. I am the very weapon that brings about these deaths, and all for the sake of the clink of gold. Perhaps a younger me would be ashamed. The me of today can barely afford to care.

The jobs are never pleasant, really. I'm not a sociopath who enjoys killing for the pleasure of it. It's just a job, just like any other, and when the deed is done my targets won't be waking up again, and I collect my fee for another successful kill and bolster my accuracy rates still further.

I take no enjoyment from it, but I've been at my job too long to worry about morality, either. Living as I do, I've seen far too much of the darker side of humanity to really care about such things. Only black ambitions exist in my shadowy domain.

It is ironic that my talents lead to this.

When I offered my services as a personal assassin to Ike years later, under the same conditions as his father, he accepted with little hesitation. Perhaps the boy matured faster than I expected, understood the necessity of the job. Perhaps he simply trusted Gawain's judgment. Whatever the case, I once again assumed the role of the shadow accomplice, the splotch of darkness hidden in the light.

I, the man of shadow who will never be spotted if he does not want to be seen, the man who can tread over the loudest carpet of dead leaves without emitting a sound, the man who can end a life before the victim can even recognize the danger, would be neglecting all of these abilities.

My target would not be unaware of my future attempt on his life; he was the one who had hired me for the job. My victim would not see my face as little more than shadow; he had seen me in broad daylight. My quarry would not be overwhelmed by utter silence before the end came for him; he had heard my voice, spoken to me as an equal.

My employer would not fear. He would accept what must be accepted, including even death.

My profession takes a certain amount of courage, to be completed successfully. Few have the steely determination to take another life in cold blood, to steal lives for little more than an exchange of gold. I do not consider myself a coward, and will determinedly take on any challenge within my limits.

But watching that boy, the son of Gawain, the young man who has hired his own assassin and stared into the face of his potential killer daily, unflinchingly...I have to wonder which of the two of us has more courage.

A part of me regards the boy with interest, with curiosity. He, like his father, has employed an assassin for something other than greed or revenge, something I have never seen before in all the years at my questionable profession. It is intriguing, something I never would have thought possible of the human spirit. But life seems determined to confound me, to put a crack in my perfectly situated views of the world and try to tease my long-barren morals to the surface once more.

It's funny, really. But it won't stop me from doing my job.

The boy—no, Ike--has hired me for an assassination, and I never fall through on an assignment. And while the very conditions of the hit defy every aspect of an assassin's lifestyle, I will remain a shadow hidden in the open, in the light, and await for the appointed time to kill.

And when that time comes, if it comes, I will strike quickly and truly, ending my target's life as painlessly as possible. His contract never specified the cause or conditions of death, but--

Assassination for the good and safety of all--

--I owe him, at least, that one small gift for his courage--completely free of charge.

-----

Eh. S'alright I suppose. Unusual for me in that it didn't really have a goal to get to...just contemplative rambling. But what the hell, who doesn't love that on occasion.

If you review, do kindly tell me what you liked, what you didn't, what you thought was done well, what could be improved...that sort of thing. I greatly appreciate constructive criticism. It helps me grow as a writer.

--Velkyn Karma