Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wither The Vain: Lost Cities Part 4


One person swinging four swords tends to make people concerned that maybe, just maybe, they’re now four times as deadly. That’s nonsense. Nandin had always been proof of that. Even with him flailing around wildly like some random Hindu deity on speed, he was more pest than warrior. There was a problem though.

I had no weapons.

This may not seem like much of a problem, but I tell you, if you are ever in a similar situation, it will be. Fighting barehanded against someone inept with good weapons was annoying enough. Nandin may be a scaly green pest that only achieved the rank of god-killer because he was without honor in a society that was built on it, but he was not inept. He played dirty and liked to stick people from behind with copies of their own weapons. Part of me applauded his ability to get the job done.

The rest of me hated him for that same reason. He was too much like Wither.

Nandin slid the blades in his top hands across each other while doing the same with those below. Sparks flew from his custom made scimitars and he smiled through his nasty teeth.

“Reconsidering? The big bad embodiment of War came unarmed?”

“You’re armed enough for both of us.”

“You know, you’re probably right. How about I give you a couple of my swords… right through the sternum?”

And with that, he lunged for me.

Good God, he was sloppy. It was a wonder to me how he had ever successfully killed a gods. Nandin kept his lower two arms tucked in at his waist while he sliced through the air for me with the uppers. I stood unmoving as he charged me, pureeing the air in front of him.

I knew he was close enough when I could smell the rotten meat stink he blew out from between his teeth. In that moment, my hands shot out and snatched the wrists of his upper arms. This is what I was supposed to do. His tucked in lower arms shot forward, both blades aiming straight for the sternum he had mentioned previously.

Too bad he was too predictable.

I jumped in the air, flipping backwards, keeping a tight grip on his wrists. He stumbled forwards as I went back and his lower blades dropped. As I landed, his lower arms were swinging again. My talons left the ground once more and aimed for his chest. As they connected, digging into his scaly hide, I pulled. My back landed on the blunt edge of his blades as I fell backwards, pinning them to the ground beneath me.

As he passed over me, my hands let go, and my talons propelled him. Within seconds, Nandin was airborne, sailing down the alleyway upside down. His lower blades were still pinned beneath me as he went.

I rocked up onto my feet and picked up his blades. As he scrambled to his feet, I began to test the weight of my new blades. Nandin may have been dishonorable scum but he was still a remarkable smith.

“You know Nandin, it was kind of you to give me these, but I have a concern.”

Nandin wiped his jaw with his wrist as he got his feet back underneath himself.

“What’s that old friend?”

“Well, I’m concerned that you won’t be able to keep up now. After all, you couldn’t keep up with four of them. Maybe you should just run along home.”

“I thought you were going to break me.”

“It appears someone already did the job for me. Why don’t you go suck up to your new owner and see if you can get some training done?”

“You know, I might just do that. Then next time, I’ll kill you.”

“Haven’t managed it yet you cold-blooded filth.”

Nandin smiled through his non-existant lizard lips, his eyes narrowing. He met my gaze and held it for over a minute, just standing there, staring at me. There was something in his eyes. And it was chafing me. There wouldn’t be any pearl coming to my oyster from this irritation though.

Finally, Nandin turned, breaking eye contact. He slipped his two blades into his hip sheathes, leaving those sheathes at the small of his back empty. At least he’d be leaving with less than he came.

At least that’s what I thought. Then he spoke.

“No, but at least I was made to kill things. That’s why you’ll never kill me. I’m like your brother; I’m a destroyer. You’re just a hammer for him to swing, just a way to tenderize the meat. You can’t finish anything War, all you can do is start shit, like a schoolyard bully. So next time I see you, I’ll be the one doing the breaking. And you can sit there hoping Wither’s around to protect you.”

I drove the scimitars into the ground, clutching their hilts tightly. I ground my break and scraped my talons against the filthy cobblestone of the alleyway. Nandin disappeared into the crowd at the alleyway’s mouth as one only can in the entertainment district.

I sank to my knees, tilting my head down, and sobbed. I had his damned swords and nothing else had been left to me. I was just another tool eh? Even the filth of eternity had lost respect for me.

Time wandered down the alley and urinated in the corner as I knelt and sobbed. It found a nice cardboard box to sleep in and curled up happily. Time snored as I sat and bemoaned my fate. It wandered back out of the alley to rejoin the crowd outside and began to loop within my mind.

“Seth, get up.”

Wither. Wither was speaking to me. Back already?

“What are you doing? We’ve been looking all over for you. I’ve got work for us to be doing.”

“Nandin was here.”

“Did you kill him?”

“No. I took two of his swords and he got away.”

“Damn it! He always gets away. Any idea what he’s up to?”

“Spying on us.”

“Then Anubis is probably already anticipating our next move.”

“Anubis? What’s going on?”

“Anubis, Samedi, and Pox are trying to get themselves added to the city charter as newly formed corporations.”

“That’s just what we need. Everyone that would prefer us dead given carte blanche to do whatever the hell they feel like.”

“That’s why we’re going to go see the Mayor and cash in on clearing out his tower for him.”

“Think he’ll listen?”

“Think I’ll give him a choice?”

I nodded slowly and pulled Nandin’s swords from the ground.



“…nevermind. I’ll tell you later.”

“Whatever. Let’s get back to the Inn.”

I nodded and fell in step behind him. I wouldn’t ask him for help. I wouldn’t stoop so low. Maybe I couldn’t end things like Wither and Arturo could. So be it. Instead Nandin would get war without end. Yes, that’s what they would all get. Suffering without release.

It was what they all deserved. It was my duty to give it to them.

Yes, my duty.

No comments:

Post a Comment