I smoothed my hands over the fine silk, feeling uneasy in this costume. The dark blue material complimented my eyes, the greys made my dark hair look even darker. My hand slid across my knife belt hidden on my right thigh. Its presence was comforting, even under the layers of material. I’d had to sneak it in place when Mari wasn’t looking. She wouldn’t have approved.
They had stripped me of all my other weapons, stuffed me in a dress, and demanded I parade around smiling – I was keeping the knife.
I looked around the room. The other women in their fancy dresses gathered in small groups, looking around at the other people and whispering. Most of them found her eyes as she swept the room, and went back to furious whispering. Other couples graced the dance floor, spinning and twirling in intricate patterns with smiles lighting up their faces.
How I once wished that was me out there. The love shining from the eyes of the man holding me, gazing at me with such tender care as I smiled back under lowered lashes. How we would spend the night dancing and drinking and laughing, then retire, grateful for the time together yet anxious to be with our family again. How the children would laugh as we told stories of our night away.
No. I shook my head, clearing away the fantasies lurking in the dark corners of my mind. No, there will be no gayety tonight, only forced laughter and smiles while I lured my target away from the crowds with the hinted promises of more intimate times together.
Tonight, I had a mission.