The Story of Xel

By Slide

      There stood twenty soldiers in and around the Enoch church in the heart of Sigil. It was one of the most grand churches, one that was home to the preacher and was open at least 50 feet above the pews, where dark rafters sat below stained glass lights that well-illuminated the week's main two sermons--the midweek and Sunday ones.

      Today was the Wednesday sermon and the preacher was not doing his usual Aramon and brimstone speech, and even stranger, he seemed quite not himself. This was more true than any of the commoners to the church knew, for it wasn't the normal preacher who stood before them, but rather an impostor. This was per the orders of Sdil who anticipated that an assassination would be carried out today, a story originated by a partially-reliable Shadow Masters spy. The soldiers were waiting outside dressed as patrons and commoners. Inside, they sat in the pews with their weapons well concealed. Some had crossbows hidden underneath their seatings.

      The assassin was rumored to be a famous criminal named Xel. A human that dabbled into anything profitable, he was known throughout many cities as a man who gambled, murdered, served as bodyguard, and it is even rumored he even ran a prostition business based out of Sigil itself. He had yet to be convicted for something justifiable by death, but he was the hate of all Sigil authorities, who could identify him only by a very distinguishable scar on his right cheek caused by a fireblade. It had cut open his cheek and torched the flesh around it, causing an unsightly discoloration of his cheek.

      It was anticipated that he would either be in the pews or he would be waiting near a window, ready to arch the preacher who apparently had a hit put out on him. It was a likely conviction that the one who put out the contract was a lower priest, as the heirarchy of positions often caused unpleasant feelings and there was a widespread desire to move up, whatever the cost be. Any of the people hoping for this preacher's position might have put the money up.

      The sermon went well, though the entire time the soldiers were on very high alert. It was almost over, even, when the first woman screamed, her finger pointed straight up in the air. People began glancing upward, following the path of the pointing woman until several people saw a dark figure standing in the rafters, and there followed many gasps.

      Before anyone could act, the figure dropped from the rafters suddenly, falling rapidly, with two large identical knives pointed downwards, knees bent. Eyes followed him with shock as he descended down just over the preacher's head, blades glimmering brightly off the sunlight which casted through the overhead glass.

      Though taken by complete surprise, the first wave of the defense to stop this assassin came through. Two robed men in the back of the church stood up, and with an archaic doing, they both stunned the assassin in midfall. But the blades were still pointing downward, and not even Xel could stop it at this point.

      While the preacher was but staring at his audience, trying to figure out why they were ignoring his sermon, the long steel blades tore into his flesh, the tips sinking into the soft spots on either side of his neck, piercing the soft areas just behind his collarbones. The blades forced themselves deeper even, tearing down straight behind the ribcage, both knives buried over a foot inside of the man's body, criss-crossed like scissors. But it didn't stop there. It all happened too soon for anyone to witness the blades as they were, for Xel was still continuing in his descent unable to control himself by the stun. The blades sank to their handles, then, his hands locked around the handles and his body tearing him even further downward, the blades were forcibly ripped forward out of the preacher's body. But both the preacher's body and the well-crafted blades refused to yield, and so the man's ribcage was literally torn out of his body, ripping open the flesh of his belly and spilling his bowels out across the screaming crowd who ended up soaked in blood and insides. The ribcage and its insides tore backwards, connected only by the spinal cord, and followed Xel to the floor. The legs of the body fell backwards lazily, carried by the spine.

      When Xel recovered himself, he found himself holding two blades which held the preacher's torso. The head had forcibly torn back and rolled off somewhere. The blades, stuck solidly inside the flesh, would not give.

      The shock of the room, including the guards, was subsiding. Xel, his entire body tingling of pins and needles as the blood began to flow in his body again, realized what a situation he was in. Originally, he had intended to land on his feet, slit the man's throat and escape. But that had turned into a nasty mess, but a completed job nonetheless.

      And so the first crossbow bolt was shot up at him. It sunk into the pulpit before him and settled there. Having nothing better to wield, Xel tore the bolt from the wood, and then found a splintered bone from the man's chest. Bearing a weapon for each hand, he looked to the soldiers who stood and drew their weapons.

      And so the chaos began.

      With the rush of the people trying to leave, and the soldiers trying to make their way through the crowd, there was mass confusion. Before the soldiers knew it, Xel had blended into the crowd. And before the place had settled, three innocent patrons were slain by soldiers. The black trenchcoat Xel had worn was found under a pew. No one had seen anyone leaving with the distinguishable scar. Later, inquisitors investigating the crime concluded that it was impossible to naturally scale the wall to get outside. No warrant was put out for Xel's arrest because no one knew anything but that it was a human in the trenchcoat.

      Xel was never caught for murdering the impostor.

      Two days later, the real preacher fell from his chair at dinner minutes after drinking a glass of ale. His entire body entered convulsions and he violently foamed from the mouth. No one had witnessed anyone putting anything in the drink.

      A lower priest's bank account was 50,000 coins less the next day.