|The dwarf Veseslav grew up in the shadows of Hammerknell knowing one truth: the queen of the dwarves had killed his mother, and one day she would die for it. Veseslav’s father was King of Hammerknell, his mother one of the queen’s comely handmaidens. The jealous queen had the young woman murdered, but not before the child could be spirited away.
Veseslav was taken in by his mother’s brother, Bogdan, who made his living cutting short the lives of others. As Bogdan’s apprentice, Veseslav’s daggers became faster, his stealthy movements less detectable, his poisons more vitriolic than his uncle’s. The young dwarf developed a particularly nasty poison all his own, and named it Ursula, after the queen.
The dwarves held a grand feast to celebrate King Monimnier’s sixtieth birthday. All was joy until very suddenly, the queen’s face went pale, and she toppled over into her soup, convulsing, foaming at the mouth. Finally, she lay still, poison the clear cause.
But as the king’s elite guard hurried him to the royal chambers, one dwarf dropped like a stone. A figure materialized from the shadows, pulling his blade from the victim’s back. The warriors rushed in, but the assassin dodged their attacks, dealing cuts that bled profusely, and festered and boiled from terrible venom. Moving with the ruthless precision of a hawk after prey, he finished them with strikes to their vitals. Soon, the guards all were dispatched, leaving only the killer and the king.
"I see myself in your face," said Monimnier. "That isn’t possible."
"And yet here I am," Veseslav growled. By the time the party was found, the king lay dead among his guards.
Veseslav never came forward to claim the crown of Hammerknell, his only legacy a series of flawless assassinations involving a poison that all Telara now calls Queen Ursula.