The il-Aziz Clan were the most successful and dangerous assassins in the world, and they trained all those born into their ranks.
‘Trained’, of course, being the operative word. Expectations of exactly what would be done with that training differed dramatically based on what was between the trainee’s legs. Women were expected to be the next generation of teachers, to pass their skills down to the sons and daughters they would eventually bear. Only the men of the clan were permitted to take actual assassination jobs.
Sayfiya il-Aziz had the misfortune to be born female, but in possession of the drive and ambition to perform a man’s role.
She had a knack for poisons that her instructors said verged on that of a prodigy, and there were places women could go that men could not. The same was also true in reverse, admittedly, but it was easier for a woman to bind her chest than for a man to develop what he didn’t have. Besides, if someone feared an attempt on their life, they still looked at a maid or court lady with far less suspicion than a male stranger.
She had tried all of those arguments, and more besides, to no avail.
The best she had received was being ‘permitted’ to assist the current teacher of poisons, and tutor those boys who were struggling. Not that said boys were at all grateful for her help. Sayfiya had very nearly given into the temptation to let them bear the shame of failure, if they cared so much about what was under her clothes.
There had to be a way to prove herself worthy of being an assassin, and Sayfiya wouldn’t give up until she’d found it!