“Is the prisoner secure, “ the guard leader asked, as he stalked slowly around the black iron cage. It was built almost like a bird cage, made for man-sized captives. Like the rest of the guards, he was dressed in black army fatigues with a black ball cap on. The only difference was the fact he was much older and wore a red cuff on his lapel. His graying brown hair cropped military style short, and he sported a tight cropped salt-pepper goatees and mustache. He carried a pistol in a holster on his hip and a small automatic machine pistol on a strap under his arm. His boots made an almost wet, gritty sound on the concrete floor, as he circled the cage.
The corporal walking with his leader said, “Yes, Sir – all secure, as you can see. He won’t be slipping away any time soon.”
The leader stopped and moved up closer to the bars, where the single light in the room illuminated the cage and its captive in a grid of shadows. The black-maned captive was bound with black iron rings attached to the grid on the floor, with chains attached to manacles clamped to the wrists, ankles, neck and waist of the prisoner. He was stretched out, spread eagle, wearing what remained of black jeans and a plain gray T-Shirt, tears showing tattoos on his arms and torso. His feet were bare, he was blindfolded and gagged, and black leather mittens were over his hands.
“Hmmm – yes, so it would seem. Nice work. He’s supposed to be a specialist – an escape artist or something, with some kind of extraordinary abilities – he’s an S-level threat, so do not stray from the protocols, Corporal. “ The leader’s words were crisp, and they did not leave any room for compromise. He was dead serious, and the corporal and his men already knew the consequences for disobedience. The last corporal had been made an example of, and it had been quite graphic and messy.
There was a clattering sound in the hallway, followed by what sounded like a thump on the locked chamber door. A burst of automatic fire, and then a gurgling scream.
“Alert – we have an intruder, “ The leader said, as he unslung his machine pistol, and held it close to his side, pointing it at the doorway. The other 4 guards and the corporal reacted as they were trained- cool and professional. They all took up positions in an arc a dozen paces from the doorway. The guard leader hissed a few commands, and the outer 2 guards moved in closer, taking up positions on either side of the doorway, but positioned so they wouldn’t shoot each other, or get hit by the door when it sung open.
There was a soft hissing sound, as if someone had ignited a blowtorch on the outside of the cell. The guard leader took up a position behind the prisoner’s cage, and and motioned the corporal forward, as a red light started to bloom in the cracks around the doorway and through the peep slide at eye-level. At first, it was a dull, angry crimson that was sullen and fierce. But it quickly built and it sounded like a hundred blow-torches were being turned on the doorway. The paint started to blister and whatever moisture was collected on the door started to hiss as it burned off. The door started to glow, all over, and in moments climbed through the spectrum from red to white hot.
There was a sound like gunfire, as superheated rivets popped out like bullets and the door itself seemed to simply vaporize a moment later in a haze of smoke and superheated air. The heat bloom fried the lungs of 2 guards on either side of the door, and the corporal screamed as he was caught in the superheated metal gas that billowed over him. Half of his body vaporized in the heat bloom, and the other half was cooked and burned meat.
That smell flooded the room, and the flash of incandescence with the door disintegrating blinded everyone left for the moment. The leader had partially protected himself, but the guards were blinking like owls, blind for the moment. They were on their knees. The leader was relatively unharmed but he was seeing spots.
The demon-kin strutted into the chamber, eyes narrowed and sneered at the two guards. Both of them gulped softly as they tried to get to their feet, though they couldn’t see. The leader was not about to give in and shouted “Take him down, soldiers!”
The remaining guards pulled the triggers and sprayed bullets at the vague shape they could hardly see, but they tried. The boy in white held up a hand, and there was a ricocheting sound, as if the bullets had hit some kind of hard barrier scant inches from the intruder’s hand. He remained unscathed, as he brought up his hands, and his fingernails were black, and he leapt on first one guard, snapping his neck, and then the other one, sliding his hand into his chest like it was nothing.
The guard gasped, and gurgled as the beautiful stranger squeezed something inside the guard’s chest, and he simple stopped, eyes wide with surprise and pain. The boy pulled his fist out with a hunk of meat, that he dropped on the floor, as he looked up at the guard leader, and the guard’s corpse slid to the floor.
Was this an angel? Or some kind of hellish version of one? The figure was slim, wearing a white hoodie, and pants. The hood was up, and open in the front, it covered a silvery mane that hung just past his shoulders, as it partially hid one side of his face. A black sash wound over his chest and shoulder on the left side, partially covering intricate and beautiful tattoos his lean torso. There was a collar and leash at his neck, as well, with the leash looped around his throat. He seemed in his late teens, and his eyes were red – not just the irises – they glowed a dull, sullen red
The leader grabbed for his keyring, jammed in the correct key, and opened up the cell door in a quick move, then slammed the door behind him, pointing his machine pistol at the figure on the floor.
“You come any closer, and your companion will die instantly. I’ll blow his brains out.“ The guard leader seemed rather steady of voice and will, calm and collected.
“You kill him, I kill you. It’s that simple,” the young man said, as he took another step closer. The leader frowned and fired at the floor, but the shot missed the prisoner’s head by a fraction of an inch, and ricocheted off the floor. Chips of concrete flew and it made the prisoner jump as a trickle of blood could be seen coming from the side of his face.
“I’m a dead man anyway,” the guard leader said, with a shrug of his shoulders. “If you take my prisoner, that is. My employer won’t allow me to live if I fail him.“
“What you do with your life after I take my friend is not my concern. If you want to survive, I’d suggest you run for it now, and go into hiding. I doubt your master will be alive much longer once I’m done.“
The guard leader lifted his chin, pride and either a sense of duty or pure stubbornness radiated from him, as he kept his pistol leveled steadily at the prisoner’s head. He was thinking, and thinking.
The white maned boy huffed in apparent unhappiness at the delay, standoff, or whatever. “This delaying tactic won’t save you.” He said that matter of fact as a thin white tendril of energy quickly snaked through the bars of the cage and began it’s work.
From the floor, there was the sound of something being spit out, and a black rubber ball flew into the air. The Leader brought up his pistol at the motion, but looked down as the gun fired at the ball. The white tendtil vanished, and the prisoner on the floor was no longer chained by one arm, and the ballgag and blindfold were gone. “ Yuck – what DO you put on those things, “ the prisoner said, and then uttered a single power word. The Guard Leader’s eyes widened a moment, but then his face went slack his eyes rolled up in his head, and he fell to the ground.
“Lykin, hon,” the prisoner said, “I’m so glad you came – the service is abysmal here. “
“Yes, of course, this was all very much a poor use of my time, Shep. Now – “ With a flash of his eyes, the metal of the other cuffs popped open and only a portion of the chain was dangling from the collar.
Shepherd pushed up off the floor, took the machine pistol and keys from the guard leader, and checked the ammo. He grabbed a few spare clips from the unconscious man, unlocked the cell door, stepped out, and then locked it behind him.
“Umm would you mind getting this collar off, as well?” The tall, dark maned man said, his tattered clothing draped over key areas of his body, but showing hints in strategic areas.
Lykin shook his head, and smiled a sarcastic smile, “That’ll have to wait til we get back to Raven’s Bluff. Besides, I might just want to chain you up, and tie you down again when we get back. You need to learn a lesson in not getting yourself caught – talk about making things difficult.”
Shepherd frowned and shook his head, “Oh.. puuuulease.. It wasn’t my fault… “
Lykin held up a hand and shook his head, “No – no arguing. That’s two you owe me, Shep.. now get your ass moving – I’m on a schedule here. “
The two swept through the halls and rooms and underground portions of the base, and despite finding many mercenaries, including a few spell crafters, they did not find the one behind the whole operation, and when they returned to the prison cell, the guard leader was no longer there , nor the guards that has survived the metal-door flash-melt attack.
“This was damned odd, “ Shepherd said, as he frowned and scratched his neck, carrying the backpack of intel that they had managed to get from computers and ledgers of a hand-written sort. The sun was coming up over the ocean – it was a desert island they were on, like something out of a Bond movie. “Who the hell was that guy? I mean.. What did he want? Do you think they targeted me for this – what was their goal?”
Lykin thought for a minute and shook his head, squeezing Shepherd’s shoulder companionably, before he grabbed the chain dangling down and yanked the elf’s collar, throwing him a bit off balance. “You know, maybe they were just looking for a pet elf boy, and you were the only one around to fit the bill? How the frak should I know? You’re lucky, Shep, very lucky. We’ll have to go through this stuff we captured and hope there’s a clue – but damn.. You drive us home – I’m exhausted.“
Lykin slumped against his friend, who supported him with an outstretched arm. Lykin had pulled off some powerful things in the past night, and now he was running so low, and needed to make it back to their home to rest.
“Sure thing, Lyk – I’ll get us there. “ Shepherd drew symbols in the air- the iron around his neck was interfering, but not like it would have had he been pierced and his hands manacled by it. He managed to open a portal with a slash of his hand, and a surge of his will, and he half carried Lykin through, and then the gate snicked shut behind them.
The master’s drone recorded the two’s escape from a distance, adding to the profile he was gathering on the folk that were so strange in Raven’s Bluff. There would be another day, and another reckoning. He was patient, this strange enemy that was still in the shadows. And he had time.
Eyeshadow- Zibska – Ula (Shiny Shabby)
DAPPA – Aiqtiham Tattoo. (Shiny Shabby)