He seemed far older than she expected. No. That wasn’t it. He seemed as though he had lived many lifetimes beyond his apparent years. His eyes spoke the experience of an impossibly old man, yet his appearance belied that he’d passed his 60th year. She was certain that he was older by a number of years than his appearance spoke, but he couldn’t possibly be the age his eyes spoke. The result of this disparity was to heighten her curiosity about this man even more. She had to admit to having certain expectations about him based on the information she had been given for this commission, yet already he seemed to belie every expectation she had built. She found herself wondering about the young man she had been so coincidentally hired to accompany. Though it was very rare for anything coincidental to occur around her, she thought apathetically. She took no pride in her ability to maneuver circumstances to favour her success. That was just doing her job. Nothing more. She spoke first.
“I seek the magus, Mentius.â€Â
“You have found what you seek, child.†His voice was powerful, yet the most peaceful voice she had yet heard. This was not a man who needed to prove himself. He was powerful and his power was something he wore comfortably, as most people wear their favorite sword. He waited for her to continue.
“I suspect you have already determined who I am,†she smiled affably. “I would prefer to leave soon, so that we will have time to set up camp on the outskirts of the forest.â€Â
“That is a wise choice,†he returned, bowing his head slightly in acknowledgment. “Come.†He beckoned her to follow him through the archway. “I will introduce you to my ward and provide the payment upon which we agreed.â€Â
She nodded and silently followed through the curtain.

Previous installments:
mercenary, pt. 1
target, pt. 1
mercenary, pt. 2
target, pt. 2
mercenary, pt. 3
mercenary, pt. 4; target, pt. 3