In case you missed the last few entries in the Grand Vizier series, catch up on Part I and Part II here!
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The Grand Vizier rolled up the scroll on his ebony desk and sealed it with a black sealing candle, stamping it with the brass skull that was his signet. Someone was going to be poisoned. Or at least they were supposed to be poisoned. It never worked. Inevitably, an animal sidekick would knock over the glass, or a hapless goon would drink it, or some wholly random and unforeseen circumstance would prevent the intended from attending the right party and somehow they would discover that far away in his black tower someone wanted them dead.
It worked the same way with knifing and sniping and trapping and ambushing and even lacy silk pillow smothering. Somehow the hired murderers, no matter their grim credentials, always managed to fail in some manner. A dozen times they’d killed the wrong person. Another dozen times, they’d missed entirely and managed to get captured, inevitably managing to implicate the Black Spire in some manner. They managed to implicate him even if they died before falling in love with the target and using their now fully functional skills against him. No wonder Evil Emperor had been bald.
He had occasionally considered changing assassination firms, but The Dark Brotherhood had a long standing contract and going elsewhere was not to be heard of. It appeared that the standard ineptitude clause did not apply to bad guys.
Not that the Vizier really wanted to see masses of inconsequential citizenry murdered. Far from it. The Vizier prided himself in practical efficiency. If you were an evil grand vizier and your job was prodding heroes into heroism, husbanding dungeon ecosystems, and machinating evil, you put on the black, rallied your ghouls, and did your work like so many burning villages. It was only right. Somebody had to do it.
Sitting back the Vizier handed the roll of parchment to Carlisle who toddled across the room and dropped it into the horse hair mailbag. It was black. The Vizier planted his chin in one hand and drummed his fingers. If only it didn't seem all a little pointless. There were some games you couldn't win for losing.