Zevran found himself immensely thankful for the overwrought, tiny details in the chantry's stonework, perfect finger holds as he climbed down the side of the building, heading toward an open window on the third floor he'd seen from across the plaza. It should open into the cloister, and he was relieved to find it so, drawing up the black mask pushed down around his neck to half-cover his face before slipping in between the open shutters to land softly on the stone floor. Well, he had expected stone, but booted feet met a plush rug instead. It was a relatively small room, but as richly appointed as the most wealthy Crow he'd shared a bed with, and for a moment Zevran paused in shock.
A woman laid on the bed, perfectly nude under gossamer thin sheets, her skin glowing in the moonlight, dark hair and lashes marking her like the designs on some delicate night-blooming flower. Atiya nagrano, he reminded himself, and moved on, listening briefly at the door before stepping out into the hall.
There was no real way to know which of the rooms he was headed for, aside from listening carefully at the doors and checking. This wasn't something they'd been able to plan for, after all—even the Crows couldn't get the room assignments of all the sisters in the city's chantry. Those where he heard more than snores he didn't even try, and the other doors he picked carefully—the locks were thankfully more a formality than for any security. No one would seek to harm a woman of the cloth, after all.
But he wasn't here for the sisters.
He found Signor Iglesias still abed with his lover, curled around her, lips in her hair and smiling in his doze. They were both exquisite, and Zevran took a moment to admire them there, well-formed bodies pressed against each other and limbs entangled. Fleeting guilt over ruining such an artful image struck him, but it didn't stop him from carefully leaning over the exquisite chantry sister and pricking the Signor's neck with a poisoned needle. He stirred no more than a man might if disturbed by a fly, and nuzzled into the supple young woman's hair.
It was supposed to be a quiet death, gently passing in his sleep, but the man began choking before Zevran made it to the window, and he looked back in no small degree of horror as the woman woke, screaming bloody murder about the assassin climbing out her window. In retrospect, the smart thing would've been to go out the window and head back up to the roof.
Ah, but Zevran was young and foolish, and proud. He'd be laughed at for weeks by the other members of his cell if word got out, so he moved back, meaning to silence the woman with threats or snap her neck, whichever he could manage. She drew her dying lover's sword from the sheath leaning against her nightstand, and came at him swinging wildly. Zevran dodged her easily, but she ended up between him and the window.
"Shit." She was still screaming and he could hear the alarmed calls of the other sisters now, but there was no getting past the woman with her wild sword swings. He bolted back out the door, into a hall full of half-dressed women peeking out of their rooms, most of them distressingly shapely (you couldn't tell what their bodies were like under the robes they wore, usually, and he'd never yet thought of a chantry sister as something to be lusted after). It was something out a fantasy not yet dreamed, these untouchable yet beautiful women all staring at him, and right now was twisting into a nightmare.
Some of them screamed and darted back into their rooms, crying, "Crow! Crow!" Otherwise watched, gripping the doors like a shield, or gave him appraising looks. One bold sister reached out, grasped him by the upper arm, and pulled him into her room. She was pressed against the wall in an instant, door shutting behind them, Zevran straddling one of her naked thighs with a knife pressed to her long, pale throat.
"I will hide you until the guards pass," she said, and wide, dark eyes engaged his own with such fierce lust that for a moment Zevran was afraid of her. She boldly pushed the knife away, then pushed him towards her bed. "Take me, Signor Crow, and we will tell them my cries drowned out the sounds, that we heard nothing in our lovemaking."
"What-" His thighs were against the bed already, and she was not a small woman, though shaped like the ancient Tevinter statues many nobles were fond of keeping in their homes and gardens, like the woman reclined in her resplendent beauty. Mind racing, he was trying to weigh her idea and her sincerity against his own desire to bolt for the window, and the growing heat rising in his groin. "No, I must-"
"If you leave, by roof or any other path, they will catch you," she said, pressing herself against him, and Zevran's mouth watered at the thought of tasting her lips, those full breasts, at what her soft skin would feel like under his fingers if he would just take his gloves off and caress her. "Bide you time with me, Signor Crow."
He dropped the knife and let her push him to the soft bed.
But as predicted, when he told Taliesen the story the man laughed, and it quickly got around to the rest of the cell. For a month after he could go nowhere in their shared housing without someone baring themselves and yelling, "Take me, Signor Crow!" before collapsing in riotous laughter.