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Sit down and listen.

No. Sit still.

No, you weren't.  Because,  if you'd been sitting as still as I expected, then that throwing knife would have missed your ear completely.

Somebody fetch a cloth.  Actually, you'd better make that a mop.  The ear bleeds profusely and Amaranthe spent hours cleaning those floorboards last night.

The rest of you, please ensure that I have your full attention.

Good.  Let's start with the basics.

Part 1 – What to Wear

The professional assassin must be prepared for all occasions.  One moment, you may be called upon to mingle amongst the invited guests at a crowded warrior caste ball, and the next, you may have to slip unnoticed into a business meeting with a gaggle of high-powered ladies.  But it's not all glamour.  You may also have to dive down a drain and crawl through a sewer.

Personally, I prefer the latter: in the sewer, you always know exactly where the rats are.

Now, for all these situations, there really is only color: black.

This may seem an obvious and mundane suggestion, but it's harder than you may think to achieve exactly the correct shade.  Midnight black, coal black, crow black – these are the variants that must be avoided at all costs.  Material of the purest black must be sought.  You may try to find an exact match for the cloth that I wear, but I can guarantee that you will not succeed.  Why?  Well, of course, I could share this trade secret with you, but then…you know how that sentence ends.

A final word on color.  Do not let me see any of you wearing ‘charcoal' – that is clearly a shade of gray.  You may as well wear a white suit and wave a banner bearing the words, ‘Here  I am.'

Now, the shirt and trousers should be tight.  The last thing you need when you're creeping up on someone, is a shirt that flaps in the wind like a ship in full sail.  But not too tight.  There are many assassins who have met their end due to a resounding rip in the seat of their pants or the distinctive rattle of an errant button.  You might say, they were undone.

That was a joke.

You may laugh.  Briefly.

I said, ‘Briefly.'  There's no need for hysterics.  Get a grip on yourselves.

Oh sacred ancestors.  I fear that this outburst of hilarity has spoiled the necessary mood of academic improvement.

Class is dismissed for today.  There will be another lesson….when you least expect it.

It's OK, he's gone.  You can relax.

There may be more from Sicarius another day – if Lindsay Buroker doesn't mind.

If you'd like to learn more about Sicarius, please check out the book below.  The Emperor's Edge series are a great read and with wit, action and humour, there's something for everyone.  I'm showing the collection of the first three books here, because it's great value. Hover on the book cover to find a link to your local Amazon store.

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