Thursday, April 16, 2009

Quickie Fiction: Help

The two monks moved stealthily, their own shadows chasing after them as they made their separate ways through the winding corridors of the Seat of Faith. When Ammen's dying warning reached their ears, the two monks immediately vocalized messages through the song to each other and communicated a place to rendezvous in secret. Tajuc sent out a staccato message to Nayd and failing to receive any reply realized that the third monk was already dead. Informing Romac of his discovery, Tajuc took a gamble and decided to return to the stables. It was quite unlikely, he reasoned, that the assassin would still be there.

Romac reached the rendezvous point earlier than Tajuc. In a small sack, he had carried with him his personal tuning dagger, some coin and his ragged book of psalms. A member of the Voice of the Faith typically owned such a book; new intonations, harmonies and songs learned would be transcribed in them for review. Fewer more dedicated monks would use it for the more studious study, understanding and the composition of new songs. Romac was one of those who did just that. Quickly opening his book, he skimmed through the pages to search for an experimental piece he had composed that may prove useful against the assassins. Combining the softer chords of Auhm, the harmony of the divine fire with high notes of Vitaesis, Romac had theorized one could create a melody that allowed a person to perceive beyond the normal human range of senses. Heat would become visible to one's naked eye. The assassins were soundless and Ammen's warning suggested they had a mastery of stealth. Romac hoped the melody he had written would work as he had hoped.

Tajuc saw the bloody remains of his friend and fought the urge to rush forward and offer final bitter farewells. There is no time to mourn the dead, he reminded himself and quickly scanned the stables if there was anyone else present. While the other dragons seemed to be contently sleeping in their pens, one dragon was awake and noiselessly observed the monk. Tajuc looked at the bloody wall and saw the senseless markings that were written in his friend's own blood. Looking past the wall, Tajuc saw the party broken pen and the dragon inside that quietly observed him.

"You saw what happened?"

The dragon nodded in response. Tajuc shook his head in disbelief. "And you did not try to help him?"

The dragon smashed its tail against the damaged portions of the cage. A small whirlwind, barely a foot tall, manifested at Tajuc's feet, causing some dust and other trash to swirl.

"The assassin," Tajuc continued his line of inquiry, "You saw what it looked like?"

The dragon undulated its still growing hair. It was, after all, younger than most dragons that were present. Tajuc deciphered the motions and nodded in agreement. "The Kabal. Some rumors say the Kabal is merely a myth. That in truth they are merely guards in fancy clothing. Others whisper of the Kabal as some dark reminder of a painful song the current Hierophant once sang in hopes of further defending the Sea of Faith. You are certain it was one of the Kabal."

The dragon nodded.

Chambers away, Romac completed the melody and felt the winding music begin to coil around him like a reassuring snake. Romac saw his field of vision exponentially become a colorful observation of what he looked at, with varying hues suggesting if a person is gifted, if a weapon was drawn, and if the other was in a good or not too good state of health. That very moment Romac completed the melody, his eyes caught sight of the Kabal assassin literally waiting for him to be too distracted to notice the killing blow. The assassin had blended among the shadows and simply waited for the right moment to strike.

Can't let him know I can see him, Romac reminded himself and tried to stay calm. He knew he too had to wait for the perfect moment to enact his counter stroke.

Tajuc had unlocked the cages of two dragons in the stable. Neither had found their Others nor chosen to share an Onus Bond with a servant of the Faith. The first was an older dragon compared to the one which tried to help Ammen. With scales that mirrored the sky of a coming dawn, hints of purple still mingled among the hues that shifted from red to orange. In a few years, the dragon's saffron hues would shine and come enough summers, become truly golden. Like all the other dragons, its snake-like form defied the fact it was a strong and mighty beast capable of flight. Its wings, like most dragons could spread out from its midsection, each wing the length of its body, or be folded completely compact against its own side, concealing any trace of the beast's ability to fly. It had only two manifested horns upon its head. A second pair had barely erupted from the scales, and were mere bumps upon the scaled head of the beast. Its eyes were like a tiny flame that sought more fuel to grow. Tajuc learned it referred to itself as Adubiem. The second dragon was a full adult, with an armored body that celebrated the hues of steel. Its wings, which numbered six rather than the typical two, were tiny foot long protrusions upon its slender body. Azure eyes set against a dark void peered from its angular face. It named itself Akmati and like Adubiem, it had not ceased to seek its own Other.

"My brother and I seek your service. News had reaches us of one in the Faith who has found his Other. And the Hierophant has reacted in a manner which brings us to question what fate may lie in store for the two. Will you assist us?" Tajuc asked the two dragons, and both dragons glanced at one another, surprised by the monk's forwardness.

There was no hesitation however in their reply. Both signaled yes.

Romac however embraced in his thoughts the word no. While his beard helped conceal the focus in his eyes and fear in his heart, the knowledge of the eventual combat was a bit more obvious in his hands. His fingers trembled with contained anticipation. He was far from weaponless, having long been a practitioner of the Dragon song intonations and harmonies, but he was also well aware that the assassin was someone who was stalking its prey within the Seat of Faith. That certainly defined the assassin to be of considerable skill.

With his song-enhanced perceptions, Romac had noted that the assassin had remained in the same place for the last five minutes. It seemed seemingly preoccupied and reading a tome did not present himself as a viable target. Maybe he needed to present himself a bit more vulnerable. Was it because the Kabal sensed the song he had enchanted himself with? Or was it because he had a tuning dagger close at hand?

Misdirection it seemed would be necessary to further lure the assassin closer.

Romac rose to his full height, leaving both the book of psalms and dagger on the floor. He walked up towards the nearby window and was careful to not move too close and become an easy kill. Romac's intentions after all, was to lure the assassin closer, and not allow himself to become an target easily thrown out the window. He felt the cold rush of wind and pretended to enjoy the view. The assassin still remained still. The lure needed to be more appealing. The target needed to look more vulnerable. Romac decided to risk it and closed his eyes. A moment of prayer. A moment of sleep. Or at least, Romac mused, the assassin would think that was what it was.

He did not anticipate that the assassin was keen enough to see past even that. With a wordless motion, the assassin had signaled his companion to approach from the other side. The Kabal had anticipated Romac to be a far more difficult target and had taken steps to deal with him more efficiently. The scar upon the monk's face, one that was dealt to him by the Patermaster himself, was proof of this. Romac was a survivor in many ways. A warrior more than a monk.

The two assassins closed in for a kill, their deadly weapons ready to sup upon the monk's blood.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails