November 28, 2008

Tavern Rats

Alone in a crowded bar, the traitor sat at in a large chair, wallowing in his misery and trying to drown his better sensibilities in some hard liquor. He'd been running from his past for three years now. He felt almost safe as he whiled away the time. The traitor was about seven arms tall, a giant among men and his ample belly did nothing to diminish his appearance. He'd surrendered his sword at the door but he kept two knives at his belt and one in his shoe.

A creak as the door opened snapped the traitor from his stupor. The candles had dwindled and only the hearth provided a low light. On the other side of the bar the boisterous noises from the townsfolk rang across the room. He glanced about, wondering what had wakened him when he felt it. Like a hand touching his consciousness, he shrank from the touch, wishing he could hide from it. He waited for the voice, the voice he knew would be coming. "Dargon. I've been looking for you." The voice was like the crackling of charcoal. As the man lumbered from his chair and turned, he thought to himself that everything about the child reminded him of fire.

The boys hair was scarlet, black, and maroon and want in every direction imaginable. His eyes were red, purple, and green, an eerie glowing lantern of malevolence. His ears and tongue were barbed and sharp, his nose small and angular. The boy had no eyebrows. The boy's only article of clothing was his black breeches, though that wasn't noticeable at first glance. His skin from the neck down was covered in silver scales that overlapped and flexed like chain-mail. At the corner of his shoulders were white bony spikes that protruded sharply upward. Similarly, his elbows and knees were spiked, the hooks disappearing when his arms were straight, but when bent, they extended almost a hand from his arms and legs. His fingers and toes were like talons and the palm of his right hand was padded like the paw of an animal. His left, however, was normal except for the glow from the back.

The boy was standing a few rods off, looking at him accross a table. "Hello." Dargon responded with as much confidence as he could muster.

"Formality? How odd." the voice like charcoal mocked as the boy sat down in the chair across from Dargon. "Now, to forestall a doomed attempt at killing me or escaping, I'd like you to know that I won't be killing you." The boy gestured to his swordless belt, but Dargon knew that the boy needed no blade to kill. He continued, "I will not kill you unless you cross me. And your first gesture of compliance would do well to be more information about the woman."

For the first time, shock crossed Dargon's features as his mind raced. What woman is this? "I'm confused, young master. To whom would you be referring?"

The boy's eyes flashed blue and silver and a lock of hair fell over his eyes. He looked much more the bewildered child of seventeen that he could have been. "The girl. The healer. The one that helped me escape."

Comprehension dawned upon Dargon's mind as he realized that he was referring to Lady Grayson. "The woman... who freed you? Forgive me, but I am not entirely aware of the details that led to your escape from the Facility."

A chill shook Dargon as he watched the boys eyes burn to black, a harsh non-light that betrayed no emotion. The boy shifted slowly, leaning accross the table. He looked around, leaning to his left when Dargon realized that the boy cast no shadow. He'd expected that the other guests couldn't see the true nature of the creature sitting before him, but the fact that he was addressing a specter frightened him. He wondered where the boy really was.

The boy, or his shadow, suddenly glanced back at him. "You finally noticed?" The charcoal voice intoned. "I'd have come in earlier myself but I was completing a few alterations." And with that, the specter vanished. Sidling into its seat was a boy with a flawless complexion, and who was the same height and build but with a blue tunic and brown breeches. The boy winked his green eyes at Dargon and ran his hand through his short brown hair before speaking. In a voice like charcoal, the boy said, "Neat trick, huh?"

With a sigh, Dargon poked the boys arm, asking, "So why the illusion? Why did you need to be here in person and when are you going to tell me what happened?"

"I illustrated the illusion to give myself time to change," the boy answered, gesturing to his new form, "not just to show you some illusion or shift for you. I came," the boy stood, a step punctuating each word, "to... show... you... this." The boy clapped both of his palms on the giant man's temples and thrust some of his memories into his skull.

To Dargon, it was like a whole life was being lived before his eyes at incredible speeds. He watched the exercises that bordered on torture, the inhumane living quarters, the desolation of loneliness and the flickers of hope, love, and joy as they were all systematically suppressed or exploited in the young boy's ramshackle existence. Most recently, all of the thoughts featured a woman, one he recognized to be the young Lady Loranna, the daughter of Lord Hugh Grayson, with a faint smile on your lips. The last memory projected into his skull was the most vivid. Grayson watched it as if it were happening to him.

Footsteps awakened him and despite the groan of sore muscles, he silently rose and dressed in a blur. Once he'd dressed, he shadowed in the corner of his room. With a crash, the doors were blasted of their hinges, narrowly missing his hiding place. Running into the room now was her. The healer. The beautiful one with the kind eyes. Her blonde hair wild and her breath ragged from the running she cast her eyes about, looking for him. Stepping from the illusion he'd wrought, he took her hand and pressed her shoulders against the wall. She was projecting a thought, I'm breaking you out and you're going to help me. Without a sound, he released her and took a step before she caught his hand. Twining her fingers in his, she smiled. As the memory faded, the confusion of the memory, of the smile was so bewildering, Dargon found himself dazed.

Dargon glanced about and found himself sitting the large comfortable chair by the fire. The boy, looking more angelic than was humanly possible sat far too close to the fire to be safe, let alone comfortable, but he appeared to relish in the heat. Dargon closed his eyes before saying, "The girl is the daughter of Lord Grayson, High Mage of the Realm. His daughters name is Olivia." He opened his eyes to see the boy standing only a foot from him.

"Thank you, Dargon." The charcoal crackled. And with that, the boy ripped the last hour from the man's mind and sent him into a deep, deep sleep. He turned, walking swiftly toward the door when the boisterous voices from across the room turned to him. A hand on his shoulder stopped him cold.

"Now where are you going, lad? You've yet to try a pint of Tompkins famous ale!" He shrugged off the foreign hand as he leaned to push a shoulder into the door of the tavern. A push from behind him sent him reeling and he caught himself against the frame of the door. He turned, a slash of a frown marring the angelic features he was affecting. "Ooh," the mocking voice called, "the pretty boy is unhappy."

If the man had been paying the slightest attention to the actual object of his ridicule, he would have noticed the red tint that creeped into the the boys hair, how the perfect blue in his eyes was a dark swirling black, with maroon creeping in from the edges. The man and his cohorts laughter rang in the boys ears and he experienced a hot feeling behind his cheeks and ears. With a start, the boy realized that he was feeling shame. A grin crossed his perfect features and his eyes returned to the blue they had previously been.

5 comments:

arcticgirl said...

i ... don't understand... hmmmm...reread some of the chapter, it's a bit confusing.

but i think it was defenatly worth the wait! you are an amazing writer!

LovesMeNot said...

Finally! A new chapter.

There are a few parts I don't quite understand. This is a nice piece of work.

Good luck with your writing. Stay creative.

Okie said...

Intriguing story line. I'm liking this character and his nuances.

Luna said...

No one can comment on your other blog because you have a pYzam layout and you have the comment thing embedded.

I would help a murderer's children.

Falling Wings of Glass said...

This is good, but it isn't my favorite of yours. I must say, though, I like that you gave it a title. Also, I was wondering if these really are legitimate chapters, or if the final product will have some chapters in between?