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 Chapter 17: Dark, Darker, Darker

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Chapter 17: Dark, Darker, Darker   Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:22 am

The air was filthy, the buildings were dark, and the smell was...interesting, to say the least. Two figures wandered through the winding streets of a mid-sized city, taking in each new sight and sound regardless of the quality. They were cloaked and hooded, carrying sheathed weapons and other things on their backs. One did not go unarmed into the lion’s den. They had been searching for two days for answers, and that search had led them on a winding chase that went deep into this city. A beggar bumped into them, asking for a coin or two. The first figure shrugged him off and wandered onwards, the second one tussling momentarily with gnarled fingers before breaking away from the beggar’s pitiful grip and hustling a little to catch up to his companion.

“Check your pockets. Any money you had is probably gone now.”

“Didn’t bring any to begin with. I left everything back at the castle.”

“A good thing you did. This place is a thieves’ den.” This came from the first figure. He was fairly tall, a single, nasty-looking weapon zipped up in a sheath on his back. Even without the hood, his eyes wouldn’t have been visible behind a pair of shades.

“Remind me why we’re here again.” This from the second figure. He was taller, and carried more weapons. Underneath his cloak, he was bare-chested, black tattoos swirling wherever bare skin showed.

“Because an informant in the Capital told us that we’d find who we’re looking for here.”

“I wish I could have heard it straight from the parrot’s mouth. Your informants don’t trust many people, do they?”

“No,” The first figure smirked under his hood. “Just me.”

“Say...” The second figure turned around to face his companion, eyes glinting under his hood. “Do you think we’re ready to meet this person, whoever he is?”

The first figure said nothing for the longest time, just staring back through a barrier of tinted glass. Then he swept off, scenting something in one direction. “Come on.”

The two went down a dark street, then veered off into a darker alleyway. The second figure followed the first uncertainly, eyes glancing every which direction as their path became gloomier.

“Are you sure you’re going the right way?”

“No. I should have brought a map.”

“Definitely not. You don’t want to look like a tourist here, waving your map around.”

“What’s so bad about...?”

Snap. The second figure had grabbed a hand sneaking into one of his pockets and had wrenched it around till the wrist had broken. The pickpocket, eager for a bit of gold just a few moments earlier, now dashed off into the darkness, screaming in pain. “I grew up in a town like this. I know how things work. Trust me, it’s better we’re not noticed.”

The first figure nodded. “Come on, let’s keep moving.” The two continued down their path, veering off into yet another alleyway, the walls encroaching upon them to the point where mold would brush off on their shoulders, damp and sticky. They went to the very end of this alleyway, coming before a gleaming black door that looked very out of place among the filth. One kick, and the door was sent flying backwards, trailing splinters. A flick of a finger; a match was lit. The two figures stepped into the building. The first man, transferring the match to a torch on the wall, pulled back his hood, revealing a mess of spiky red hair. He lowered his shades by a fraction of an inch as he took a look around the room. But even in what meager light was given, all could already be seen. The room was empty. So were the adjoining ones. Furniture had been either dismantled or left to gather dust, while anything else of value had long since been removed.

“We’re too late.”

“Think they got wind of us?” The second man stooped down to examine the doorstep. There were still fresh footprints on it.

“He got wind of us, more like. It’s only one guy we’re going after.”

The second man looked up, pulling back his hood to show a sardonic face and a mess of black hair. “One guy? One guy managed to kidnap two of our members?”

“Boomfus, he probably has accomplices, but they don’t have any close connection to him. They wouldn’t know that he lived here.” The red-haired man adjusted his shades and turned to leave, taking the torch with him.

Boomfus raised an eyebrow. “Hang on a moment, Blizzard. Who is this guy we’re going after, anyways? You haven’t told me anything this far except to follow you.”

Blizzard sighed. “To tell the truth, I don’t know myself. I asked my references for anyone with connections to the underground world of kidnappers and mercenaries, and had also traveled abroad recently. Now, most people wouldn’t be able to name anyone like that, but I have good contacts, and managed to get two names. One is the leader of a clan near a chain of hills. The other one lived here until yesterday...”



Boomfus held up some dirt in between two fingers. Trembling on it was a fresh drop of blood. “He was here today. Left in a rush it looks like. Probably got in a scuffle on the way out the door.”

“Then he can’t have gone far...” The two walked out into the dark alleyway again, heads swiveling as they moved along briskly. Turning the corner back into a wider alley, Boomfus scanned ahead, while Blizzard trudged along, deep in thought. Who was this kidnapper? What did he want? Why did he bother living all the way out here? How did he know that they were coming? Where would he go next? What was his purpose? Blizzard was so absorbed in thought he almost didn’t see it coming. Maybe it was the faint swish. Maybe it was a glint of light. But one instant, he was walking down the alleyway, and the next, his fingers were wrapped around a hand that had suddenly appeared out of the shadows. Gripped in the hand, less than an inch from Blizzard’s throat, was a serrated short blade with a spiked hand guard. The hand trembled for a moment, as if trying to force its way a few inches forward to get at a critical vein. Then, a second blade came arcing in from behind, going for Blizzard’s vertebrae. He twisted around to deal with this second intrusion, his grip on the first blade slackening for just a moment. His assailant took advantage of this momentary weakening to force the blade forward. Blizzard could feel the blade tickling his neck and flung his head backwards, feeling the cold edge pass over his face, taking a sliver of skin off his neck. Then the blade from behind jabbed into his back, and Blizzard leapt upwards, backflipping as his hand reached for the assailant’s other hand. He snatched at thin air, watching his attacker melt back into the shadows, eyes still gleaming. But he wasn’t done yet. Still in midair, Blizzard planted both feet in the general direction of his attacker, feeling the hard muscles of his opponent’s stomach flex under pressure. The counterforce to the kick sent Blizzard flying across the alleyway, planting him flat on his back against the wall. But his assailant didn’t move.

“Got you.” Two eyes stared at him out of the darkness of the alleyway.

“What?” Blizzard slid down the wall and landed on his feet as Boomfus came rushing over. “What are you talking about?”

“Your chin.” Blizzard reached to his chin, feeling a warm liquid pour into his palm. He raised his hand to his eyes, watching as a blackness dripped from his fingers.

“Poison, of my own making.”

“And you think poison will work on me?” Blizzard pulled out a vial, popping off the cork. The shadow lunged at him before he could do anything with it though, a knife slicing clean through the glass. A second later, the whole vial shattered. But Blizzard just laughed and dabbed some of the vial’s contents on his chin with whatever remained on his fingertips. The black liquid went away.

“Hmph.” Two daggers went straight for Blizzard’s face. He dropped down, allowing both daggers to stab deep into the wall, then lunged forward, arms wrapping around the assailant and carrying him crashing into the opposite wall. Then, two hands grabbed Blizzard’s head in a grip of steel, fingers probing for his temples. Blizzard let go of his assailant long enough to knock the hands away, but a kick a moment later send him skittering down the alleyway, tumbling head over heels. Meanwhile, the assailant dashed to his daggers where they were still embedded in the wall, trying to dislodge them. He managed to wrench both out without much damage to either of them, then lunged at Blizzard, blades dripping with black poison.


The assailant slid to the ground, blood trickling from a small wound to the head. His blades fell from his limp hands, and his whole body swayed forward, ground rising up to smack his face. Blizzard rushed forward, catching the man by the shoulders just before he hit the ground, and propped him back up against the wall. His ears were still ringing. Something that sounded a lot like...guitar music. Blizzard turned to Boomfus, who had a dark metal guitar in his hands covered in bloodstains, two massive spikes protruding from its head. Before Blizzard, the assailant groaned, feeling his stomach.

“What...what did you do to him?” Boomfus shrugged, playing a few power chords on his guitar. Out of thin air, several massive metal fists formed, swinging at nothing before disappearing.

“The power of music, I guess. I’m not sure myself what kind of magic is in this guitar. Haven’t mastered it completely.”

“Anyways, we’d better get inside somewhere, it’s getting dark.”

“Yeah.” Blizzard stood up, turning to leave the alleyway. Then he paused, half turning to look at the assailant. A random, crazy thought passed through his mind, and he turned around, heading back to the assailant. He picked up the man’s blades, admiring each one for a moment. Then he handed them back to their owner. “Hey.” The man looked up, eyes glinting. Blizzard couldn’t even tell what color they were, or what color they had once been. “Drink some of this. You need it.” He offered the man a flask of water. The man eyed it warily. “Come on, it’s not like I have any reason to poison you. If I wanted you dead, I would have killed you earlier.” The man shrugged, taking a long swig. “So, what’s your name?”

“Darkest.” Blizzard looked the man up and down. Figures. The man’s eyes were rimmed with darkness, and his face and body were covered in scars from fights galore. He was thin, but lithe, with hidden muscle that made him a dangerous opponent. Hair tainted a dirty white cascaded down to shoulder level, making everything about him look that much darker. It looked as if it had been cut once before, probably with a rough knife. Traces of burn marks could be seen here and there on his features, left behind by the work of a sloppy healer. This man had been through a lot.

“So, Darkest. What was it you were after? My money?”

“Mmm.” The man grunted, eyes probing Blizzard warily. It was hard to trust anyone in Tarr, even more so with someone who wore shades over their eyes. Darkest’s grip tightened on his blades.

“Do you have any personal attachment to this place?”

Darkest cast his eyes around. “Not much for me here, but what are you trying to say?” Blizzard sighed and tousled his hair while he gathered his thoughts. Darkest filled the silence with his thoughts. “Who are you anyways? A tourist? Because you’ve come to the wrong place to spend your vacation.” Darkest laughed; a low, guttural sound, filled with vindictive pleasure at another man’s ignorance. Blizzard, for his part, groaned deeply and turned to Boomfus. Boomfus merely shrugged and gave no answer, leaving Blizzard to grind his teeth. It was his choice, he might as well move along with it.

“We’re not tourists. We’re hunting for someone here, someone who’s kidnapped two people from my clan.”

“Clan? What is this clan of yours?”

“A clan called Requiem.” Blizzard searched Darkest’s expression, watching to see if the name registered any reaction from his part. He saw nothing.


“You’re pretty good with those knives, and we’re always looking for talent. I’m wondering if you’d like to leave this place and join us?” Darkest glanced at Boomfus. Black hair matted his features, revealing only one, red eye. Blizzard’s eyes were completely hidden. On a sudden impulse, giving the distance between himself and this newcomer, Darkest reached forward and batted the shades away from Blizzard’s eyes. What confronted him registered a brief recoil in shock. Blizzard’s eyes were nothing like he had expected. Where an ordinary human would have whites, streaks of black had begun to stretch across his, emanating outwards like serpents from his red irises. Even as he watched, several of these black tendrils writhed and wrapped farther around the man’s eyes, grasping the entire eyeball in a silent grip. Blizzard adjusted his shades so that these eyes were covered once more.

“Don’t ask. Because I’m not telling you. Anyways, are you joining?” Darkest shrugged. He really had nowhere else to go. He could spend the rest of his life here in Tarr, leading a comfortable, miserable living. But nothing would ever change, nothing would ever get better. Not since...

“Whatever. But I want to see you guys in action first.” Blizzard sighed, standing up again.

“Alright. Just follow us for now. I’m Blizzard, and this man is Boomfus. He also just joined the clan. I’ll be looking for a few contacts in this town first, then we’ll be leaving for our next stop.” Darkest followed the two of them out of the alleyway, eyes glinting, hands still wrapped tightly around his daggers. A new future, perhaps. Or he could always slit their throats and steal their money. They were back out under the pale sun on one of Tarr’s larger streets. Even here, the occasional body could be found, blood drained and wallets missing. But given the experience he had just had in the alleyway, he doubted either of these people would join those on the ground. So much the better.

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Chapter 17: Dark, Darker, Darker
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