People's paths varied throughout life. Some aimed to be famous and ultimately bathed in the lands of the wealthy without lifting a finger for a single day. Some others struggled, wishing for a better sentiment than what they had, lingering dreams that may never see the light of a day's hard earned labor. Life is life, when had it ever been otherwise? No, it's death. Yes, death was the word.
You'd think you were more befitting, more cunning than the other one, and that you deserved that spot. Guess what, no one would care because they only ever cared about results, because they cared about how that person was related to the one in-charge and how he mattered more despite being a slothful prick while you rot searching for the people who'd take your talent and skills in.
No matter how advanced the world may be to this day there lingered countless lives that are being left behind, people who thought they meant something, brought into this world and for what? A simple thread of destiny? What's your destiny?
Blinded by greedy ambitions, they fail to see the laughter of such innocence. Some may have tried, but as quick as their tears ran dry, it never last. If others tried, sharks along the way bore grave disasters.
No matter how much one believed, where no wealth lay then perhaps advancement won't be an option. Where a good hand was extended, pigs mowed it down and not a single trace of its carcass was left for evidence. If a ray of gold had shown, it was kept, sealed in each of those responsible's grimy surfaces until a time when everything won't bode well, and what else can they do but make it stand as a last resort.
There are hungry and desperate souls left to die without ever fighting. Trying will make them end up in chains. Bars have always separated equality. Mere presentation will fall in a line of judgmental assaults. Names were called, but has anyone ever listened?
Everyone flowed in a blind rage of unsavory power, washing their hands clean of a guilty slate while hiding in a sheep's ever woolly coating. They have never been on your side. They may strive further than the hard worker, blazing the trail of flying colors in every rainbow that passed. You might take a different stride, slower even, not knowing whether in this lifetime that you've been given you'll make it to the end of your foretold destiny, or fail.
All these things fell and have been corrupted by a storm of raging thoughts. In the end, if justice was blind then the scales will never be balanced.
People, despite race, status, and color, live in this land of confusion.
PRONOUNCING CHARACTER NAMES & CERTAIN WORDS
Archii - /ˈär-kī/
Calla - /ˈkælə/
Castellone - /'kas-tē-lēˈō-nē/
Ciryh - /'sər/
Dyie - /'di/
Genon - /'he-nän/
Kerxis - /'kər-sis/
Lyté - /'li-tā/
Regh - /'re/
Saihme - /'sām/
Sirius - /'sē-rē-əs/
Stoel - /'stōl/
Idianale - /'ē-dē-ä-nä-le/
Others not listed here are pronounced as is.
Through the fires of war, they sang. Through deafening screams, they echoed. Through clashing swords, they defended. Through the bloodbath, they swore. Countless, innocent, corrupted, the good and the bad, lives were stolen. The once great halls went silent. The forsaken were banished, and they promised never to return or pledge to the High King ever again. Those who aimed for justice fled into corruption. When all laughter faded, no one was there to help. No one.
And all the memories of such great empire faded as it fell to the hands of the unrighteous, for the heart who wielded it was as cold as ice.
Those were the words of his mentor from ten years past when he awoken into a dream of lost memories. The war ended a memento of suffering henceforth, at least that was the case in the mainland, especially the heart of the empire, Flesperia, home of the High King.
A wise man once told his mentor that mahiqa could be the bridge to strengthening bonds within the empire, but taken the wrong way and it became the beacon eating away the light you once knew as reason.
Of course, he thought, there's always a war going on somewhere because people were drawn to power, to conquering, to challenge, to testing one's wit and strength, verbally or physically. To some? Plain bloodshed, a real eye roller if anyone were to ask him. But it was, for some reason, where the world built its foundation. Resilient paths and stubborn heads.
Saihme, his 'not-so-revealing' mentor like how he dubbed him ever since, because not once had he seen his face, told him it was time he went out in search of his own path and feed his curiosity, knowing for sure that he won't learn anything of the world if he decided to stay with him in the middle of the wasteland's nowhere. But he was tasked with doing something else entirely, and now he seemed to be hearing screams while strolling through another dead forest in the vast expanse of the wastes.
He stopped. From a distance yet to be traced, he did hear a sound, a cry for help. Curious, he followed the source and found a clearing out of the forest. He hid behind one of the trunks and took a glance.
There were two men and a girl around his age. The girl struggled to free her bounds while being dragged. The men, they were slavers.
"Help!" A desperate call, the only thing the girl kept repeating. "Someone help me!"
In the wasteland, they were governed by the instinct to survive and he knew he had to help her. Okay, typical damsel in distress. He held his spearblade, bracing it at the right angle, then he hurled it towards one of the slavers. It barely missed, slitting open a wound on one of the men. The injured one released the girl and raggedly glanced around for the one who threw the weapon.
The boy emerged from his spot, holding a dagger as he charged. The man braced for the attack expecting the boy to tackle him. It was just a boy, he knew he could take out the rascal.
The boy threw the dagger towards the man who soon found the weapon between his eyes, protruding at the back of his head. Blood dripped behind him, and soon, his body kissed the ground for eternity.
The man's companion pushed the girl aside. She met the ground on impact. The man drew his sword and attacked the boy. "You little shit!"
The man pierced the boy on his shoulder. He flinched and took a step back before the man could tackle him. He had to take a hold on either his dagger or spearblade.
The spearblade was stuck on the ground a distance away from him. He held onto his injury before making a run for the weapon. The slaver struck the boy on his feet making the swine stumble forward, the mud helped in absorbing the shock of his fall. He was determined to take a hold of the weapon.
Either he was to die there, or he kill the man first. Those were the only possible outcome.
Lifting himself, he made one last run towards the spearblade. He pulled it off the ground before swinging it towards the slaver. Not exactly knowing the edge of his weapon, the man was torn in two, scattering his guts where the swing flowed. A sound of metal against earth rang for a brief moment, making him realize that two people were dead. Killed. It was supposed to be a newborn experience, but for some reason, he liked it. No, not like. Loved.
What is wrong with me? He compressed the injury on his shoulder. That last one got him good, but dare he care about it? No. He had so much to do to think about pain.
He turned to the girl. Maybe he shouldn't have. Because all he saw was fear imbued on the eyes that he just saved. Her face displayed an emotion that he found oddly familiar. He just couldn't remember.
He knelt beside her and untied her bounds, ignoring her reaction. She was avoiding his gaze. He watched her, observing the frailty of the individual, like he never saw another person before, a girl at that. Then, he poked her cheek as if to make sure it was a ganuine human being. She was soft, and she moved like one.
The girl dared to meet his gaze, her eyes, a hue of lavender's bloom, widened as she held her cheek and leaned farther from him. "U-umm..."
There was something strange when you look at someone you've never seen before. She was different, he could tell. There was also something that caught him off while staring at her, it wasn't supposed to be there but then it was.
He began to compare the differences that didn't intersect between them. She appeared harmless. Her hair was long. She had these two small mounds by her chest. He wondered why he didn't have those. Perhps it was exclusive for them? No matter. They appeared uncomfortable and he didn't want that.
Making sure she was safe and not exactly paralyzed or stunned in place, he plucked the dagger off the slaver and attached it to the other end of the spearblade. He decided to leave then.
He looked over the girl. She approached him, her eyes were no longer dyed with fear like she was enlightened by the fact he wouldn't exactly penalize a harmless person. She held his injury. Her touch was warm and there was something in it that soothed the days he had been searching. Searching for something he didn't even know. Soon, an unusual glow escaped her hands. When she withdrew them, the blood of his injury disappeared.
"You're a..." He thought about what his mentor told him regarding these people. Mahiqa. Gifts bestowed upon people of royal lineage.
The girl shook her head then turned to a whisper. "Sshh...I'm not."
The boy said nothing more. He felt uncomfortable with her being that close. Couldn't she just do that at a good distance? Who was this mahiqa-infused person?
The girl was staring at him. He begged for his gaze to wander, but he wouldn't give that satisfaction to her. If it was staring she wanted, he'd return that much. He noticed something quick when her gaze faltered. She glanced at the golden bracer he wore on his left arm. If she started asking questions about it, he wouldn't know how to answer them. His mentor said that the bracer was a memento from the past. Something he shouldn't lose. Apparently, it was something important, but for thugs, it called for heaps of coin.
"You look like you're not used to people." She said and reached out a hand to poke at his cheek just to return the gesture. "Got a name?"
The boy could've sworn he felt a shiver run the length of his spine at her touch. He hesitated, almost stammering and that was when he broke off the gaze. "I-I don't...no."
The girl's voice wondered what caused it. "Do you have anywhere to go?"
"No. Not particularly."
She found it odd. "Well then, do you know where you came from? Maybe you could go back the same way?"
The boy looked around. He couldn't help but think there was something else beyond the dead forest. "I don't remember...anything."
She was quite surprised. For someone who can't remember anything, he sure can fight or remembered how to fight. "Caltha. That's my name."
The boy finally looked at her, confused. It was like a song he didn't quite interpret well. So that's what another human's name sounded. To him, hearing another name aside from his mentor's, Saihme, was a new breed of lyric. "C-Calla?"
"You mispronounce, it's Cal-tha." She corrected.
"Calla." He insisted, it was easier for him.
She paused, not really knowing what else to say, instead, she smiled. "If you want, we can go to Rastite, you could spend the night with us while you figure things out."
The boy wasn't so sure in staying at a stranger's house. If trouble brewed, he'd just find a way out like how he did recently. No one can be trusted the minute he stepped out of his comfort zone. He sounded hesitant, but he soon found himself following behind Caltha.
The trail through the dead forest rang eerie. Crows circled their empty branches, looking down at them with longing hunger. The mist had gotten thicker the further they traveled until finally, they stood at a mountain path that overlooked a city almost covered in fog.
There were a few thriving cities in the empire's wastes. Anyone would agree that all of them haven't been thrown on the right path when time rattled through or when Flesperia banished its oppositions. Caltha wished they could see better days, but who was she kidding. People knew more of distrust than to pledge loyalty to anyone else.
Caltha saw astonishment in the boy's eyes like he's never seen the buzzing life of civilization the minute they stood by the threshold. "You've never been here, have you?"
The boy shook his head.
She dragged him along hoping he knew the place somehow. A concern surfaced from her. "Is it okay if I give you a name?"
"I-I'm not a pet!" The boy said, interpreting her in a different way. And he was not a slave to be given one. But truth be told, he needed it to mark his identity.
"No, no, I don't mean that. I just thought it would be weird not to call you anything...so, may I?" She corrected, this time, asking in a sweeter tone. One that was meant to make him agree.
"O-okay." He waited. He found himself watching as her lavender eyes looked around the dead forest, the mountains, then she paused at the darkening horizon, the sky's twinkle reflected on her eyes. She mumbled something to herself before finally facing him.
"Sirius. That will be your name." Caltha declared. Not sure whether he wanted it or not, she paused at his reaction. She could confirm that he liked it. A shy one, perhaps timid, beamed back on her as a reply, almost as if the boy wanted to hide his approval.
Sirius nodded, accepting his new identity. "Okay."
They were mere teenagers, young and about to awaken their lust for the curiosity of the world beyond. Yet, with a smile, he looked innocent despite witnessing how he outdid the slavers. Caltha smiled back. "And one more thing, don't tell anyone about my mahiqa, okay? Let's keep it a secret between us."
Once at the entrance of the city, Sirius's hesitation bore him motionless, standing behind Caltha a few feet away.
"What's wrong?" But she didn't need an answer. The look in his eyes told her that he was not ready to bathe in society. He hid in an alleyway, looking around, defensive, while clutching his spearblade close.
Caltha heard a familiar voice. When she turned to look, a man made his way towards them with worry in his eyes. "Crolis."
"Thank Idianale you're alright. We've sent a search party for you. What did they do to you? Are you hurt anywhere? How did you escape?" Crolis knelt to inspect her of any injuries.
Caltha pointed at Sirius. "I'm fine, Crolis. It's all thanks to him. He has nowhere to go, can he stay with us?"
Crolis glanced at the boy. He narrowed his gaze. His soft look slowly turned into a frown. Sirius didn't like the look he was giving him, he smelled disapproval, and it tingled him of danger. Should he strike first or should he wait for the man to go first?
Caltha, on the other hand, seemed to have the same opinion to her guardian's gaze. Something wasn't right. "Crolis?"
Crolis shook his head. "We can't take him with us. He better find someone else to take him in." He turned to the boy, "I don't know who you are, but I appreciate your help." He dragged Caltha with him.
Caltha couldn't understand what was wrong. Why would her guardian turn away someone in need of shelter? She looked at Sirius. "Thank you for your help!"
Stranded in a foreign place, Sirius held his spearblade tightly and pressed himself against the wall of the nearest building. He eyed every person who passed the evening by. He's never seen a lot of people before. Were they weird like Caltha? Were they strict like the man who accompanied her back? Were they dangerous or deadly?
But that curiosity dwindled to a halt when he saw a group of people arguing over the last stock of food on a peddling merchant. They were just about to beat each other up, arguing on starvation and the shortage on every single stall, desperate to feed their families as they threw away compassion and pride.
Sirius wondered why people treated each other that way. Was the outside world that dismal? He didn't know. In fact, he didn't know anything of the outside. It was all new. He needed guidance. He was desperate for it.
"Saihme?" He called out, a hint of uncertainty in his adolescent voice. Unfortunately, Saihme hadn't showed himself up, not in a while during his aimless travels.
He hid behind the building. He disliked the idea of people seeing him, or discovering him. It was getting dark, the streets were damp and he was hungry. What would his mentor do if it were him?
He found himself taking a look back at the commotion, if something were to give him a sign perhaps this was it. He wanted to know how the argument would conclude.
Will one of them die? Will one of them go back home with food on their table? Will anyone regret the actions they've delivered? What would the buyer do? It was only going to end in one way.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. A curious man stood before him, a warm smile marred his face. Sirius was being offered a home to stay, but there was always a catch for such generosity. The man needed his services in exchange for shelter. In the man's eyes, he was but an orphan or a street dweller.
What else could he do? Where else could he stay? He agreed. He couldn't witness how the fight at the market ended, but he found a place to stay as the result.
They traveled the path to the man's residence, overlooking the city from the distant hill they stood on. Sirius noticed the man stopping briefly, his gaze fixated on the city down below. Silver smokes of rust hovered above it.
"Somehow, I'll try to regain back everything that once belonged to them. To us, and I need you to help."
There was no hesitation in his heart when he said those words. It was only the beginning when he smiled, and the young boy, his mere innocent witness within the rusting city, a city long stranded in the wasteland of the empire. The City of Rastite.
Seven Years Later
Folk say that no one in the present had ever seen a royal blood conjuring any pure elemental mahiqa these days, like they had been forgotten to be passed on to their heirs. Word out there say that it was because of the war, because of the conflict brought by one man’s ambition, all the bloodline and their kin lost to the agony of the pride of conquerors.
Majority of the empire despised the former High King Ciryh. Unfortunately, the current High King, Regh, Ciryh’s nephew, was no different. There was a reason why people now lived in the wasteland. Something that lured the former High King to unleash what once slept in the dreams of his father's cruelty. A reason only their forefathers will ever know. Perhaps it was due to selfish reasons and sacrifice.
Crolis read the scripture of a wandering scholar amidst the shelves. It was noisy outside, he could barely keep his focus on the words. Placing the book down, he heard laughter coming from the garden. It was obviously Prominence. No one else within their property had that child’s voice of glee whenever he laughed.
Prominence was ever the mischievous one around the house, making chores harder for the helpers. He observed for a while, remembering the first time Caltha took the boy in. Prominence's features unnerved him, having raven hair and crimson eyes, a similarity they—he and Sirius—shared, he thought. He almost reeled at the thought of it. Yet again, the glare in his expression just pointed out his disapproval of taking Prominence in.
Caltha voiced that she was firm in her decision of letting Prominence stay, telling him that he had already rejected Sirius once and wouldn't let another stray innocent to roam the wastes and grow up a man without virtue. He was but her pledged guardian, and compromising her happiness shouldn't even bother him, but it did. He may have wronged at those decisions. He'd forgotten that she's already grown up, capable of making decisions for herself. Time just flew by when people barely notice it.
Prominence calmed down the minute Caltha stepped in to interrupt, urging him to follow her inside the house. That became Crolis's cue to resume what he was reading, some important words about the accounts of the mainland.
The weather was never pleasant around the city of Rastite. More often than not, the cloudy, also described as gloomy, weather was often the lullaby enough to put people on lazy schedules. It never helped in the case of progress for those in-charge of resupplying the market with an assortment of items, especially food.
Laziness begets negligence. People shouldn't even wonder now why society was how it was. They could never expect change if no one would at least take a step forward. People's actions shape what they become. They'd only think of what they needed for the day, never taking into consideration the result they inflict on the morrow.
Caltha saw Prominence to his studies the minute she's gotten him to settle down. He wouldn't stop asking questions, a nagging behavior of children. But if she hadn't helped him a few years ago, then they wouldn't have a beaming ray of sunshine into their silent halls to brighten it up.
"Caltha, Caltha, what makes the High King high?" Prominence asked, swaying his feet under the table while flipping through an illustrated book of the empire's history.
Caltha was in the middle of fixing his scattered toys. "Well, first the High King needs to possess a type of mahiqa. Second is that they need to have those black eyes."
"But why black? What's with black? Why couldn't it be red, or yellow, or blue? I like blue."
Caltha smiled then lined his toys on the shelf. "Those eyes distinguishes a person as being the High King, or Queen. No one in the empire has those but the High Monarch alone."
Prominence paused and looked at the ceiling. "So if I saw someone with black eyes, even if he looked like a thug, then..."
"Yes, Nence, and I doubt the High King would dress anything that's inappropriate for his status."
"If he’s supposed to have black eyes, then why does the High King have green eyes?" Prominence was referring to the current one on the throne.
Caltha couldn't exactly remember most events from her childhood from the war of eighteen years past. All she could remember was how Crolis led her far from the mainland to escape the rage of warfare, leaving all that she's known behind. A war that stole her childhood and murdered her parents.
She approached Prominence and opened a random chapter from the book. "Now, why don't you read further and you tell me why. Does that sound fine to you?"
Ever the obedient student when around her, Prominence nodded and started scribbling while trying to focus on the book. Caltha watched from the door before finally taking her leave and headed for her bedroom to check on the plants she was pruning earlier. If there was one thing she fancied doing, it was gardening. She liked making the dead stems crawl back to life, but not exactly using mahiqa for that. It was too dangerous to use such a gift, especially in a land forsaken by the great names of the past.
She just loved the color of foliage around the place even if the environment found it hard to raise such. Anyone can barely see vegetation around Rastite, and any source of potable water was a challenge to find too, people were still trying to search for a stable source out there. But for now, they’ve settled on trading with their sister cities within the wastes.
Caltha was just about to prune a stray branch off a witherose when she caught a glance at the curtains. They were drawn back, blocking out the light from outside. She found it odd since she remembered drawing them to admit sunlight earlier in the day. From the divan by the window, there lay a figure, sleeping.
If it was someone else, she might have given more consideration. But the problem was she knew who rested there, someone who probably should be working on his master’s behalf. It was midday already, someone ought to knock some sense into this person. She decided to draw the curtains, admitting daylight's glare inside, giving less consideration to the lump taking a break in her quarters.
Sirius groaned, his voice was a sign telling her that he wasn’t a fan of being sun blasted straight on the face. He turned to the other side, covering his eyes with an arm. His dark hair, the length of which ran just around his neck, spilled on one side.
Caltha went back to her plants and heard him shuffle. She had to prepare before taking them to the gardener’s patch, the place where she was offered work. Some of them needed sunlight, what better way than to bring them to the bay by the window, but she paused. Sirius was staring at her, lying down still. "You know, if you keep sneaking here like that Crolis might catch you one day."
Sirius blinked, but that was it. It was the trance after waking up and you can’t get over a bad dream or simply weirded out by a new day wondering why you’re still alive after opening your eyes. The streaks of youth were already evident in his eyes rendering him to adulthood, his voice was no longer the adolescent pitch but grew a mature baritone. "Not true. He doesn't come here. Not without good reason. Besides, I clearly remember you offering that I stay the night if I have nowhere to go."
Caltha resisted a smile and stared right back at the slacker. "Why do you always have to say that? You clearly have Dyie's to go home to."
Sirius remained put at exchanging a glance without flinching. Feeling the defeat in awkwardness, Caltha broke out of the stare, placing the pot over Sirius's head by the bay window as an excuse to get off the contest. "Stop staring, Rius."
"Hm." Sirius paused, as if a thought just occurred to him. "Wouldn't wonder why those guys look at you that way."
Caltha stepped away from the window when he finally decided to get up. "What do you mean?"
Sirius started to stretch without bothering to answering her. To his mischief, he just smiled. He went for the door, observing if people roamed the hallway. He was just making sure he wouldn't come across the wrong person the minute he strolled off. "Where’s Nence?”
"He's in his study, reading.” Caltha said while filling soil into a new pot and taking some plants towards the solarium this time. "Don't you have something you need to do?"
Sirius closed the door and turned towards her, deciding to assist in carrying the rest of the witheroses. "I do."
"It isn't as important as Blaze, Llone, or Genon's then?" Caltha was not close to Sirius's other companions or master, Dyie, the man who generously gave a roof above his head from when he first stepped into the city. Dyie was one of Rastite’s Archii.
The archii were considered as the law in the wasteland. If the current High King was labeled an autocrat, the archii were put to power through blind authoritarianism. A selfish thought from the first binding members of the wasteland, but it was a desperate choice born of frantic situations, all because of the war. People were actually against the idea of passing their positions to themselves and their loyal rats—servants.
Whoever were under these archii were somewhat a vermin to society. When people asked why, it's simply because a lot of ungrateful minds are corrupted, as if something damaged their better judgement. They gave their trust to the former High King once, but betrayal pledged them to never put their faith on him again. And bad decisions often led to wrong doings, affecting what could be avoided.
"Important, not important, what difference does it make? We're not welcome, and that's that." Sirius said blandly.
Locals would call them errand boys, but really, a more professional term would be Rogues. Seeing as to how they greatly relied on stealth, versatility, and deceit, they could blend into the crowd whenever. But when they decided to be open, people don't really see their presence acceptable. To sum it all up, it was because of their dishonest line of work.
"Don't say that. They just couldn't see what you are. But do mind me prying about that business." Caltha said. She knew better. She didn’t believe Sirius was in the wrong, at least where doing something right stood. But she still knew he had his hands soiled. With blood. And the worst part of it was, he seemed to relish in the chances where they lingered. Trouble was something he never sought, it was trouble that found its way to him.
Yet for the most part whenever she was with him, things were different. She could tell that he was dangerous, yet he was also gentle. As if two sides of him tugged between the worlds of empathy and malice. She feared to go down the darker side of him, but she wanted to understand him despite the doubts.
She noticed Sirius fell silent. He was gazing out the window, drawing his attention off from her. She disliked that about him whenever something caught his ever observant eyes.
He withdrew from the window, started fastening the bracer on his left arm and soon wrapped a crimson scarf around his neck, his alternative to wearing a mask when on duty. It had the same shade like his eyes, a blend of warning that glowed under the moonlight’s strict ascendance. "Gotta go, tell you some other time," was his excuse to obviously avoid answering.
Caltha couldn't help but smile when she saw him wear the scarf. "Take care. And come back in one piece."
Before Sirius left, he picked a witherose in full bloom, then tucked it behind Caltha's ear. The petals of such umber flora were a contrast to her silken hair the shade of burgundy. If she read that right, it was just another one of his 'be back before you know it' gestures. Then he was gone.
The evening rendered the afternoon null, drawing the skies darker, illuminating a path for the shadow to set its unholy activities of the night. If people's senses were keen, they would most probably hear footsteps treading by the rooftops, but as they caroused through mud-stricken taverns, someone else observed a few activities from the hawk-like vane of a deteriorated farmhouse.
Sirius arrived along the alley of a trade point based from the note Dyie gave him which was based from Genon's handiwork at gathering intel. Glancing at the streets from where he was glued, he noticed the shadow from the farmhouse. Narrowing his gaze, he knew that person. His perception didn't end there, someone else was approaching.
He felt a tap on his shoulder, making him draw his dagger concealed from behind and drove it towards the sudden disturbance. But as fast as he drew the weapon, he halted. He recognized the person's viridian gaze. "Blaze? What are you guys doing here?”
Blaze raised his gloved hands in surrender. "Yeah well, apparently Genon's intel perceived a rather big 'sum' tonight, doubted you could take it all on your own. We were looking for you. Where have you been the whole time?"
Sirius glanced at the cerulean figure by the vane from the farmhouse, ignoring the last thing Blaze said. He pulled up his scarf to conceal the half of his face, a makeshift mask. "Ugh huh. Llone says they're getting close, better go."
With that, they've split paths. Sirius climbed his way to the rooftops, leaving Blaze and his knack for brawls to stay as ground support. No sooner did they see an automobile and several cargo following behind, planning to leave the city.
It took a mere few steps towards the threshold for them when Blaze threw a stone at the wheels, jamming the contraption and alarming the rest of the men, making them step down with blades readied to their sides. When in unavoidable circumstances, some people would often be a sacrifice. One of them fell to the ground after a dagger scraped its way towards an escort's eye, temporarily stunning him.
Sirius counted. There were eight men, one of them was probably the merchant meant to take the cargo elsewhere, and the rest were mercenaries. He targeted the mercenaries first. Not giving them a chance to counter, he dropped from the rooftops, suffocating the closest one he could get his hands on. When working under the night's shadow, immobilizing them quickly and quietly was the faster solution.
Blaze had his fair share of the conflict, knocking the air out of most, making them drop to the ground in a daze. Castellone left the walloping to his companions. He made his way to the merchant and urged him to step out of the automobile.
When the mercenaries found their way to the ground in groaning lullabies, Castellone dragged the merchant in front of them who cowered with arms raised in surrender. The man immediately understood the trouble. "Masters, please, you don't understand, this is meant as supply for the famine we face in Clawde."
Castellone crossed his arms over his chest and looked at Sirius. "Well, how 'bout that, Flesperia's constituent."
"That's everyone's excuse these days. Doesn't really exempt you from stealing from us, not from this archii," Sirius said, referring to Dyie. "I bet this won't be the last we'll see of your kind either."
Everyone was a victim of life and its assortment of cruelty. There are killers for hire and soldiers of fortune, but none starved like the dwellers of the wastes. Sirius had enough of the same excuses. They'd say their people starved. But really, when it was business, what better than to steal belongings and resell it to the domains of the mainland just to draw in more wealth.
Sirius crouched in front of the man, his eyes were devoid of reason and emotion. "Look at it this way, we're all victims here. Unless you tell your Lord and the King to stop conspiring against each other then there isn't really much we should talk about. Besides, you’ve killed the owner, his wife, children and servants from where you got these. High time you paid the price, don't you think?"
The merchant raised his head. "You savages! You don't understand the state the mainland is in, people are dying," he spat at Sirius's face. "You think what you're doing is right? Think again, there will be casualties to everything you do. Pray you won't have to be at the receiving end when that happens."
Mercy? They wanted compassion? They should have appealed to their High King for mercy, maybe then they could have spared the lives they've taken all due to their selfishness. They were in the territory of rogues, something they wouldn't even dare to speak of once caught, they won't be allowed to leave. Not without good reason.
Sirius's stood, disinterested in the rest of what the man had to say. "And you will too."
Sirius proceeded to gashing the merchant's throat, allowing his blood to stain his blade leaving him in a pool of his own death's oblivion. He wiped his face with the back of his hand, smearing blood where the saliva was supposed to be. Then, he proceeded to murdering the rest of his unconscious men, harmless and defeated.
It was people like them that needed to be eradicated, to cleanse the world, to balance the scales. But what was righteous and what was not exactly? People spoke of justice and injustice, and one thing would always fall on the wrong side. Nothing in the world was ever really right. For if you tip the balance, then the scales will fall.
Sirius noticed a bitter expression on Castellone's face after the ordeal. But by the look he had, he would rather not push what bothered him. With the retrieval of the items from what Genon informed them, their job was done for the night, awaiting the rise of a new conflict on the morrow.
No, they weren't constables nor were they enforcers of whatever law governed Rastite. They merely had to do what was asked of them. There was one thing the men should have known before venturing into their borders. That when they planned to do wrong, it was do or die.