New Fantasy Times: An Assassin’s Handbook

Kirin, umm, acquired a handbook not long ago. More like a pamphlet, giving tips to assassins both about their jobs and of what to do to occupy the times in between.

Disclaimer: if you’re reading this, you’re probably some young idiot who thinks he can take on the world and get paid to do it. Or you’ve some sort of broken past with nothing to lose. Or maybe you just like the money (which is decent, I admit. If you can keep it). All this to say, if you’re serious about being an assassin, chances are you’re going to die. Not yet, unless you’re really stupid. Maybe not for years. But sooner or later you’ll start a fight you can’t win. Or some vengeance stricken family will hunt you down. Or you’ll become so dangerous your own kind turns on you. If you can enjoy life with that shadow on your future, read on. If not, go find some other occupation, like candle-making or wool-carding.

If you’re still here, then you’re probably a fool. But a few suggestions might help you live a little longer.

  • Cut it out with the sweeping black capes or sunglasses and dark clothes. Granted, dark clothes are useful if you’re striking at night. They also tend to hide blood. But all black clothing? Sunglasses indoors? Do you think no one is going to notice? The whole point is to stay hidden, not make yourself look like some mysterious, well, assassin.assassination
  • Instead of the black and sunglasses, you’ve several options. #1. Dress in normal, unobtrusive but sturdy clothes. #2. Dress in something outlandish; people will remember the clothes but not the face. Bonus points if you set it up so you can gradually shed bits of the clothes and make it into two or more outfits. #3. Dress as a beggar and ask for money. No will look you in the face and they’ll all stay out of your way. Highly recommended.
  • Only fools rush in for the kill. Unless you’ve serious time constraints or need to make a point, spend several days (preferably several weeks) watching your target. If you’re able, arrange the assassination to happen when you aren’t actually on the scene—accidents or poisons are very underused tools.
  • Familiarize yourself with a wide range of weapons and make sure you know the place of each one. Daggers, swords, and arrows are all very well and have their place. But don’t underestimate normal tools or settings. Almost any place can be turned into a trap of some kind, and the situation manipulated so the death happens when least expected.
  • Don’t take apprentices. Just… don’t. It’s hard on them, hard on you, and like as not you’ll end up trying to kill each other several years down the road. You’ve been warned.
  • Assassination can bring in decent money. However it’s not the busiest job. There’s only so many important people who want other important people killed and who are willing to pay for it, after all. This might be the reason assassins start turning on each other; it gives them something to do and weeds out the competition. Anyhow, no life, even an assassin’s, is made up of blood. Find a hobby. Reading, carving… knitting. Something you can do to pass the time and earn some money on the side. I’ve known some assassins to be the best philosophy teachers. Others have become great cooks or even doctors in their spare time. Then there are the bards; the carpenters; the florists. You can pretty much do anything you’d please, but make sure to keep it separate from your work. A death at every house you deliver flowers to or cook for is very bad for business.
  • Just do it. Everyone has their own way to deal with the deed of assassination. Some don’t think of it. Others judge the man themselves and then take on the job in the name of justice. Others care for the family while yet others view everything as a matter of numbers. Find a way to deal with death, and do it quickly. Don’t get attached to anything or anyone. No dramatic lines before striking the blow. No personal vengeance. Those things will get you caught quicker than the snapping of a whip’s lash. Do the job. Get out. It’s no more and no less.
  • The job will destroy you, or break you, or change you. You’ll never be the same. So if you’re fools enough to take your chances, then get out of my sight and don’t die too quickly. Perhaps you will see wisdom before the blade finds you.

Have any questions, legends, or trending cliches you’d like Kirin Quillblade (or Elena) to address? Please comment below; he promises to at least read what you have to say between his realm leaper’s missions, even if he holds the rights to choose what to write about and what to ignore.


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  1. Ha! This was brilliant! Very funny. I look forward to reading more about Kirin and assassins. 🙂

  2. I kind of love the idea of an assassin who knits between jobs. I don’t know why, it’s just awesome.

    Anyway. Love this!

  3. I… am no longer considering this job option.

  4. Ah, very helpful. Thank you for these tips… The protagonist of my current WIP gratefully appreciates them. 😀

  5. Ooh, it’s about time fore another of these. I haven’t got any major characters for assassins, but there’s a couple of unnamed ones hiding in the background. One used something along the lines of the outlandish clothing idea. I can’t remember the details and my main characters were a bit distracted at the time.

    By the way, I like the new header.

    • Thanks!

      Nice; that sounds like fun. I don’t have any assassin characters yet, but I’m planning one. An immortal assassin even.

  6. This is beyond funny! I’m assuming Kirin is a character from one of your stories?

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