It has been said that if one has faith the size of a mustard seed, one could speak to land-locked flora, telling it to repatriate itself to the depths of the sea, and it would do so without hesitation (Luke 17: vs 6). This statement was made sometime between 30 A.D. and 33 A.D. About the same time that a certain Roman Centurion, recognized and acknowledged True Authority, by demonstrating unusually acute insight into what faith is all about (Matt 8: vs 5-10).

I have read many books and heard many stories about people in history, who have had to deal with real life. Defining what is real or shallow; true or false, often involves life or death situations. While there are many variables, I believe life events can be boiled down to knowledge and choice. In order to make an informed choice about something, one needs a plane of reference. By what standard(s) are your choices made?

Some time ago, I decided (a choice) to begin a first level draft on a historical fictionalized novel. I had never written a novel before, but nevertheless it started with an idea, then progressed to a kind of pseudo prologue. Things then regressed to procrastination. Now three years later, I am now attempting a resurrection (another choice) of the original idea. And speaking of ideas, I have no idea what the final outcome will be, but below is a sample being worked on. It introduces the main character in the storyline for the first time. It is still a (very) rough draft, but hopefully describes to the reader, at a minimum, the physical characteristics of the protagonist.

Time Frame: Between 32 A.D & 33 A.D.
Location: Roman Occupied Jerusalem
Protagonist: Tovi ben Zani – Assassin

Yeshua ben Josef – Carpenter/Rabbi
Caiaphas – high priest of the temple in Jerusalem
Darius Vitus Tacitus – Chief Roman Centurion

Hidden in shadow, he watched the late afternoon crowd pass through the main thoroughfare. For over two hours he had been standing perfectly still, just inside the corner of where Jerusalem’s northern and eastern walls converged. It gave him an unobstructed view of anyone entering or leaving via the eastern gate. Waiting for long periods of time and blending into his surroundings, were skills he learned from an early age. It had come in handy when he stalked wild game as a young boy; something he now momentarily reflected on with a pang of nostalgia. What he did now required no less patience; besides, apart from commanding a high price for his particular skill sets, he still revelled in the hunt.

At just over five feet seven inches, he was slender with dark brown curly hair just touching his shoulders. His hazel eyes were offset with green flecks; a combination rarely seen in that region. Those who found themselves caught in their gaze, had the uneasy impression of being dissected and analyzed; as if they were dispassionately being catalogued for retention or disposal. His aquiline nose and well-kept goatee, combined with his unusual eye colour, caused most to mistake him for a northern Cushite, or someone from the northern Babylonian region where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers met.

He wore an expensive yet nondescript homespun outer tunic that matched the dusty brown colour of the main road that held his current focus. Beneath the tunic, he wore a close-fitting body suit of hand-weaved light Egyption cotton; adopted from a distinct tribal design he had come across from previous travels to the Far East . Beneath this attire, was a wiry frame with powerful ropy muscles, accentuated with scars that held physical and psychological stories of their own. Stories that spoke of loss, grief and no small measure of cold, violent calculation.

Just visible under his tunic sleeves were leather straps that wrapped his arms in a crisscross pattern from his wrists to his elbows. Interwoven into these braids were four hidden  sicae; short curved daggers; two anchored on each arm. A fifth hidden dagger was anchored beneath his tunic in the small of his back.

On his legs and feet he wore rugged leather stanchions, and because of his propensity toward extreme caution, he also incorporated two further straight daggers, stitched into the back of the twice cured camel leather uppers covering his calves. These leggings were complemented by thick, triple-stitched, double layered cowhide soles. This being a design of his own making; not for any inherent statement of fashion, but for stealth and the surefooted activity that were intrinsic to his trade-craft. His appearance and demeanour were integrated with subtle yet purposeful intent. This worked to his advantage given his chosen profession, enhancing his ability to blend in or disappear in plain sight. Considering where his life had taken him to this point, he sometimes wondered if the work had chosen him instead.

Tovi Ben Zani had been around long enough to know that it was pointless, if not foolhardy, to envision living a long life, if one happened to be a Sicarii assassin. Especially one who was about to break the single cardinal rule of his profession, by denouncing the local Assassin’s Guild of his own order. One which he had not only been an integral member of for the past 8 years, but one he had founded.

By choosing this course of action, he would automatically initiate a termination contract on himself. Something which surprisingly, held no concern for him.

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