Loose Ends

13th October - The Rose District - Evening

Cyrus Anvil slammed his fist down on the desk splitting it with the sheer force of the blow. He was red with rage and spittle flew from his snarling lips as he glared around the room at his most trusted lieutenants.

"Lost!?" he raged, "An entire shipment lost!? How?"

One of his men dared to answer, a swarthy fellow with a missing ear. "He came out of nowhere Cyrus, he killed five of us before we knew what was what and then he set the whole lot on fire."

"One man? One man did this?" Anvil raged on, "And you allowed him to escape!"

"Sir he.." Anvil tore through the room at a pace that belied his size and slammed his palm into the mans throat driving him to the ground. He grabbed the mans own knife from his belt and in a sudden bloody thrust plunged it into his eye socket. The man had not even had time to scream out.

Anvil rose to his feet gasping for breath and looking for an excuse to do more violence. His men backed away and looked to the ground. In disgust he threw the blade to the ground and spat on the corpse.

"I want to know why?" he rounded on his followers, "I want to know who? and I want to know how?"

A soft ticking sound drew his attention and he frowned. "What is that?" His men looked similarly confused as they searched the room for the source of the sound. The ticking grew slightly louder and more persistent and Anvil made for his desk drawer where he kept his revolver. He could smell trouble and this was...

"Why is easy." came a voice from nowhere in particular.

"What the fuck?" one of the men hissed.

"Who is that?" demanded Anvil.

"I destroyed your shipment so you would call this merry meeting." came the voice.

"Damn you who is this?" Anvil roared lifting his revolver and glaring around the room. One of his men made for the door and cursed as he pulled against the handle. It did not budge.

"It's fucking locked." he called out. The lights flickered and the men began to panic. They all drew weapons now and Anvil backed towards the rear of the room where a he had a secret door built into the wall. He pushed a switch under his desk to open it just as the lights flickered once more. The wall began to slide back as the soft ticking sound continued and his men started to crowd behind him eager to be out of the room.

"Who you ask? Well that is a long story."

"Fuck!" Anvil reeled back as the passageway opened up to reveal a man standing within. He had the shape of a man at least but there seemed to be more metal than flesh on display, the ticking sound grew louder as the stranger stepped into the room.

"As for how..." the stranger said in that hollow metallic voice, "I will show you."

The lights went out and the men opened fire. Anvil did not fire, he ran, back towards the man entrance. He started to to fire at the lock and heave against the timbers. The bright flashes of gunpowder lit the room behind him in stilted moments of bloody carnage and Anvil glanced back to see the thing... it was no fucking man! literally tear through them. The noise of the gunfire was deafening as were the screams of the dying.

At last it was over and Anvil slammed against the door with the last of his strength to no avail. Panting he turned and saw only darkness, then two pin pricks of light that could only be eyes glared down at him from the black. There was a sharp click and a gas lamp was lit on the far side of the room to reveal the tall figure.

Anvil leveled his revolved and pulled the trigger. The dull click of the empty chamber sounded his death sentence as the figure walked forward. Again the soft ticking sound nagged in the background.

"Who the fuck are you?" Anvil tried to rise, but his legs had gone to jelly. He realised he had pissed himself.

"So many questions." the stranger replied, "I am Wraith and you Cyrus Anvil are a loose end."

"I AM..." Anvil made to rise in a final burst of pride and anger but Wraith moved first and the crime lords head flew the length of the room trailing ribbons of blood in its wake. As it hit the ground with a crack Wraith leaned in to the headless corpse and placed a small white token in the mans hand. On it was the symbol of his faith the mark of the chosen. The sundered eye.

***

The Centrum - Late Evening

"What is that?" Jessy asked as she saw the small white token in Enochs hand. He had found it earlier that evening with a handwritten note, he would not let her read it. Enoch opened his palm to reveal the white token, it had an image of an eye carved into it with a strike across its centre.

"It is a summons." He said with a troubled look for the girl, "You should go back."

"Where you go, I go." she chided clasping his arm tightly. He sagged in defeat and continued to walk in silence. They soon came to the front of Hanson Apparel. A popular store in the main promenade closed now, due to the troubles. Word was the owner had died of plague.

"Who are we going to meet?" she asked. He did not answer for a time and then with a troubled glance,

"My brother." He opened the door to the store, it was not locked. A glance behind showed the street to be empty. No matter, it was too late for subtly now. The couple passed through the dark shop and climbed the stairs beyond to the main office.

Stepping into the office a single lamp had been lit and from a chair turned away from them to face the window the soft glow of a cigar could be seen. The chair turned around to reveal a military man, clean cut and serious. He drew a long puff on his cigar and stubbed it out in the nearby ash tray. Casually he reaching into his pocket and threw a token onto the floor at Enochs feet. Jessy looked down to see that it was the twin of the one Enoch carried.

"It appears the time has come brother." the man said.

"So it would seem."

"The path you have chosen has been a troubling one Enoch." the man rose to show himself to be the taller of the two, but Jessy could see in his eyes the same drive and passion that made Enoch such a powerful leader of men.

"It as served as well as yours Maynard," Enoch replied, "Perhaps better." the Marshall barked a laugh at that.

"Perhaps. Go forth and gather a following amongst the sheep..." he intoned the words as if by wrote and Enoch completed the sentence with him,

"For on the day that will come to pass you will lead them to the slaughter for the glory of all."

"Enoch what is this?" Jessy demanded stepping away from the two brothers. Enoch turned and smiled, "It is our salvation." he said and there was kindness in his eyes.

"I dont understand." she replied backing away further.

"I told you not to come." He spoke in a firmer voice now but still not unkind. She paused then and considered the two men watching him. She did not understand and she did not like this but Enoch still cared for her that was clear and.. and... she spoke the words,

"I go where you go."

He smiled in relief and held out his hand towards her and she took it. She would need explanations, she would need assurances, but for now she would stay and listen.

"Our father calls us to act." Maynard said, all business now the moment of doubt was over, or at least held at bay.

"We can be ready tomorrow night." Enoch said, "We will take the palace and draw the eyes of the Elesian witch. Her hold over the people will be broken."

"I do not care for your cause," Maynard spat, "It is a foolish obsession, but the distraction will serve. I have gathered enough support to take the Roost and from there we will take the City above. We will have help from the kindred of course."

"Elesium?" Jessy gasped, "you are going to attack Elesium?"

Both Maynard and Enoch grinned and she could see now there were both of the same father for sure, and they were both touched by madness, why had she not seen it before? The brothers clasped hands and Jessy looked on with dread building in her heart.

***

Wraith looked on from the clock tower across the street. His enhancements allowed him to hear and see perfectly. Good, both brothers had answered the call. There had been doubt about Enoch, he had found a cause and it seemed a companion. That might still prove to be a problem

His attention snapped to focus on a small spider crawling its way along a nearby beam. The arachnid stopped its meandering journey and shuffled round as if to look at the strange visitor to its tower. He reached out and snatched it up opening his palm to stare down at the tiny thing. He smiled in recognition.

"Hello my old friend, busy as always I see." there was silence for a moment and then a voice rang out in his mind as clear as if it were coming from the same room,

WELCOME HOME MY OLD FRIEND, IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU UP AND ABOUT

"I hope you do not intend to interfere?" Wraith replied.

INDEED NO, THE REMOVAL OF ANVIL WILL BE MOST USEFUL AND YOUR CURRENT PATH SERVES ME JUST AS WELL... TO A POINT

"Then my old friend I will be meet you at the point."

I EXPECT YOU WILL

"Until then..." Wraith crushed the spider in his hand and flicked its remains to the ground, "duty calls."

NOW THAT WAS JUST RUDE

Wraith glanced around and then shrugged. Silently he moved from his hiding place to continue his work, there was a great deal to be done before tomorrow night.

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