Title: Pact (6/6)
Authoress: A Nameless Traveler (ANT-chan)
Rating/Genre: Action/PG-13 (Semi-graphic violence, gore, and language.)
Summary: The crossing lines of fate finally meet and intertwine. Draca is asked to take on a job quite unlike anything he's ever done before: to steal someone's life, rather than their treasure. But Draca makes his reputation by never failing a job he's given. It's the final clash between assassin and thief!
Not So Legal Disclaimer: These characters are mine. The plot is mine. The "Dragon's Lullaby," however is not. It is the song "Sora," which belongs to Yohko Kanno. Also, this series will eventually be yaoi! You've been warned. I don't want any flames from poor, traumatized homophobes. I will, more likely than not, laugh at them.
Time Line: Early spring of 2448 A.S. Three years after Isle of the Lost.
Ages: Sin – 448 years; Draca – 93 years; Gwen – 9 years; Kyris – 33 years
Pact - Final Part
The rhythmic ticking of the ornate clock was the only sound within Lord Alexander Bayne III's spacious sitting room that night. It was nearing the midnight hour, and the aristocrat was enjoying an evening drink. He settled further back into his expensive Wyrm-leather armchair and sighed contentedly, taking a sip of his equally expensive Sylvardas wine. Bayne had spent the day basking in his most recent victory: ridding the world of a dangerous murderer and a monstrosity. It left a deep-seated feeling of satisfaction within him.
Granted, he would've preferred to have said monstrosity on his leash, but as long as the thing was dead, it posed no threat of being used against him, either.
Dong. Dong. Dong. Dong. Dong.
Ah, midnight. Dong. Perhaps he would go to bed. There was so much to do after today. Dong. Dong. There was so much he was able to do. Dong. Dong. With perhaps the best assassin in Viranus and easily the best thief out of his way, there was no one that could stop him from doing whatever he wanted! Why, not even the Hopes would be able to chain him!
The entire mansion shook. A monstrous boom sent the wine glass tumbling to the floor. Bayne looked up in confusion and horror, swearing that his heart had stopped.
And then the screams began. Horrible, horrible screams.
He was under attack.
Mind numb, face pale, and body trembling, he rose from his chair, and exited the sitting room. It was not safe there. He had to get to his study. It was the safest room in the entire mansion. He had to get to his study – to his Traveler's Gem.
The halls were chaos. Dust was everywhere, and in some places the walls and ceiling were cracked and crumbling. There were a few servants that ran by him, in a mad dash for the foyer. But he couldn't give in to the temptation to follow them. He had to reach his study. Where were his guards? Why were they not protecting him and his house? What was going on?
Bayne received his answer as he passed by one of the tall bay windows on the second floor, the ones overlooking the front gardens. It was something straight out of a nightmare. His guards, those he had hand-picked from yearly tournaments, lay strewn upon the grounds – dead. Their corpses were mutilated and torn – some ripped to shreds as if by some beast. But the most frightening, horrifying component of the scene – the thing that made his knees go weak and his mouth go dry – were the shadows. They moved, as if they had a life of their own, in snake-like tendrils – branching and arching over the carnage. They ate away at blood, flesh, and bone – swallowing it all until there was nothing left.
And in the center of the blood soaked scene, half illuminated by the light of the mansion, sat a black mass. It leaned over one of the guards, who was still twitching in his last moments of life, the shadows of the courtyard trailing from it like the branches of a great, black tree. The thing froze, as if sensing his eyes on it, and it looked up at him.
The thing had impossibly red, animalistic eyes, staring up at him through the dark mass of shadow. There was blood, dark and thick, dripping down its chin.
And then it grinned at him – a wide, mad, fanged grin.
His heart leapt into his throat and he was suddenly running through the broken corridors of his home. His mind was no longer numb, now whirling and spinning out of control. The only thing that remained was the command for his legs to run. He stumbled blindly through the halls, his breath coming in panicked gasps, terrified whimpers choking him.
Bayne rounded a corner, and fell backwards onto the floor as he collided with something. Trembling there on the floor, his eyes followed the line of black Wyrm-leather boots, up the blood spattered slacks and vest, stopping momentarily on the shine of a collar buckle and the stretch of a scar across the face, and finally into luminous eyes that shown garnet in the gloom.
In life, the Master Assassin, Sin, had been the harbinger of death, and in his own death, had become Death itself. The scythe in his hand glittered mercilessly as the blood of his victims dripped idly onto the marble floor at his feet. The apparition's expression was impassive, nonjudgmental of who fell beneath his blade. But his eyes – his eyes told Bayne that Death had come to collect on his sins.
The ghost of Sin – no, Death – bent forward at the waist, leaning towards him. Terror gripped him in its icy clutches, freezing his limbs. All he could see were those luminous eyes growing closer to his own.
The silence and the spell over him broken, Bayne screamed – a high note of sheer terror – and shot back the way he'd come at a pace that was the bastard child of a stumble and a sprint. He took off down the nearest side corridor, praying that neither Death nor the Monstrosity from the gardens were following.
After an endless race through his home and shrieking at every flickering shadow, he came upon his study door (nearly ran past it) and he dove inside. The aristocrat closed the doors with a resounding slam and scrabbled for the locks – hoping to buy just a few seconds of time.
Locks done, Bayne crossed the room like lightning. Books were thrown from shelves in his haste to reach the small compartment at the back of the bookcase. With a cry of triumph he found it, opened the tiny panel, and from it extracted the hand-sized obelisk of white crystal. The rare Sorcerer's tool pulsed beneath his clammy fingertips, the inlaid magic ready to transport him wherever he wished. His hand tightened around it, his brain fighting for control over his panic to focus on his destination.
Something cold wrapped about his throat, clamping down like a steel vice. Bayne was dragged backwards and thrown to the floor at the center of the room. The Traveler's Gem landed not far from him, and he frantically reached for it.
"Win chent a lotica... En val tu ri... Si lo ta..."
A long-fingered, pale as the moon hand gently lifted the gem from the study floor, turning it over curiously.
Bayne's head shot up, staring dumbly into the pale face of the man who had just appeared in his study, singing a soft, mystical tune in a language he couldn't place. That pale form – tall and thin – that unruly golden hair, and those crimson blood eyes were all too familiar to him, and sent his very bones quivering. The Vampyre Draca focused those feral eyes on him, and smiled. It was the wide, fanged, slightly mad grin of nightmares.
Monstrosity had taken on mortal form and had come to kill him.
With a crash, the study doors burst open, and Death stalked silently into the room. Monstrosity turned that grin on the newcomer, letting it take on a light of smug satisfaction, and held up the crystal. A jet black brow rose. Death was unimpressed. Monstrosity shrugged, and slipped the tiny obelisk into his long duster. Two sets of red eyes turned to him – one glowing ruby, the other a fiery crimson – each taking on a light which promised death. Bayne's blood ran cold, fear unhinging his lips.
"P-Please! Please I-I'll give you whatever y-you want!" he babbled, "M-Money, jewels, w-w-whatever it is, you can have it! Just-!" The shadow tendril around his throat constricted painfully, cutting off his air supply. He sputtered, his hands scrabbling against the black vice about his throat. It was neither cold nor warm, and not completely solid. It seemed to give under his touch – whispy like smoke – but its steel grip never lessened. Another black tendril whipped out of the shadows of the floor and pulled his arm away.
The scream of pain that tried to escape him was caught in his throat as what felt like a thousand tiny fangs ripped at the skin of his arm. He could feel the flesh being stripped away, the blood dissolving and the bone drilled in to. Oh Gaia, someone save him from the pain! The clamp around his throat was suddenly gone, and his screams filled the room – high, panicked, and utterly unheard by anyone who could help him.
Monstrosity smirked over at Death, who had an equally satisfied sort of sneer upon his lips. "Together, then?"
Death was silent, but shifted the scythe in his hands. He nodded.
Together they advanced upon the screaming, writhing man.
The silent night was filled with the tortured screams of the dying for only a few minutes more, and then they were abruptly silenced – and the night was once again still.
The magic encased within the crystal obelisk shown brightly in the dim lamplight as it was casually tossed into the air. A steady hand caught it as if came down, turned it over – inspecting – and tossed it again. "So this thing," commented a smooth, sly voice, "It can transport you to whatever location you want it to?"
The man across the table nodded, taking a casual sip of his drink. "It's called a Traveler's Gem. A Sorcerer's tool. Rare – as it takes a fair amount of skill to make one. You could get a good amount of money out of it."
The other man, taller than his companion and thinner in build, set the crystal onto the bar table, and took a swig of his own drink. He shook his head. "Nah, I don't need it. I've got my own mode of transportation, if you remember. And as for selling it, well. I usually go after bigger things than this. You can have it. Do with it what you want."
When the smaller, but no less formidable, man spoke, there was a soft accent to his quiet voice – something exotic and flowing. "I think I may keep it." An aesthetic, honey-toned hand – neither large nor small, fingers neither stubby nor spidery – stowed it away within the inner pocket of his black vest.
The two sat in a relatively companionable silence. Not a comfortable, as both men were more determined on studying the inhabitants of the pub, rather than each other. Then, after a time, the shorter, dark-haired man seemed to make up his mind on something. "Draca..."
The blond thief whipped his head around to stare at the man, startled at the sudden use of his name. It was the first time the man had called him something other than Vampyre or bloodsucker.
Said man continued as if unaware of the change. "What would you say to... joining forces?"
There was a shocked silence. "With you?"
"...Did you hit your head or somethin'?"
The other snorted at that, his face impassive though his strange glowing eyes glittered in amusement. "Maybe. You didn't answer my question."
"You're asking me to be... your partner?"
"I'm asking you to consider it."
"And how in the hell would that work?" he asked, "We don't exactly have compatible professions. And we'd have to see a lot of each other to have a parntership."
"You'd be surprised with the options. As for living space, you could buy a flat in the Haven. Or there is my flat – it is large enough to serve as your hideout during the day." The words were spoken with absolute practicality, seemingly unaware of just how much they shocked the thief.
"Now I know you're insane. Or drunk. Maybe both."
The assassin seemed to actually consider this, taking another pull on his drink. "You're probably right. But you still haven't answered my question."
"...You buy my passage to the Haven, and I'll consider it."
"Done. Excellent. Docks, at dawn."
A groan of frustration. "Dawn? Don't you ever sleep?"
"Do you really want me to answer that question?"
The thief grumbled irritably. "Fine, dawn."
The Master Assassin and Alchemist, Sin, nodded and rose from his seat. Without another word to the man-who-may-become-his-partner, he dropped a few mira onto the table, and swept out of the small pub in that usual dramatic way of his.
Once he was gone, the Vampyre Draca – Master Thief and Spy – leaned back into he chair, knocking back the rest of his drink. He signaled to the bartender for another, frowning in mild exasperation all the while.
Really. Some things never changed.
"...Meeting for the Third Time... is Fate."
Walk on, Traveler of Worlds.
That'd be the end of this installment. So the boys have finally reached a business partnership, but the question is: will they be able to keep it without killing each other?
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