To spit in the eye of fate...

Oshar swam in a psychedelic ocean of fear and pain. His limbs would not move, his head was pounding and there were cats... cats everywhere. Why did it have to be cats? They circled him in a great procession, cats of every shape and shade. Hundreds of iridescent eyes gleamed brightly as they studied him. Hundred of silent paws marched around him in an elegant procession of feline grace. Hundred of tails danced back and forth with delicate precision. He screamed out, half in terror, half in mockery.

The cats stopped. As one they turned and sat. Their bright eyes pinning him down like daggers. Two of them, one from the left and one from the right broke rank and he flailed his head violently from side to side as they approached. He noted that both cats were midnight black, identical in every way except for the eyes. To the right the eyes were sapphire blue and to the left they were yellow, like sparkling opals.

"It appears that the herald is lost to us brother." purred blue eyes.

"Not to me sister. I will gather his soul as it passes." replied yellow.

"Is there no chance for him to live through this? Is there nothing we can do?" blue approached and rubbed the soft fur of her cheek against Oshars shoulder. He tried to wriggle aside but he was held fast.

"Sister, to do such a thing would be to spit in the eye of fate..." Oshar locked eyes with those yellow orbs and gasped as he felt the endless precipice on which his soul was so precariously balanced. He was in the presence of creation and destruction both and he...

Cold water splashed over his face and the cats were washed away in the cacophony of screeching and hissing. He coughed harshly as his vision began to clear along with his mind and he found himself strapped to a chair in a dimly lit chamber. A black clad man stood nearby holding the offending bucket.

"I am sorry for the interruption." the man bobbed his head sightly and pointed toward a nearby stairwell, "It appears the guards are on high alert. Some murderous bastard decimated a wedding ceremony yesterday and that bitch Carver is like a dog with a bone. I do not suppose you know anything about it?"

Oshar made no reply as he assessed his situation. His arms were tied securely, perhaps in time he could work a blade lose and cut the bindings... a sudden backhanded swipe from the man almost knocked him senseless.

"I must insist you pay attention." the man chided.

Oshar obeyed and began to make a study of his captor. His eyes widened as he realised who this was.

"Nicolaus Cagliostro." Oshar was grinning as he spoke the name. Such a delicious twist of fate, to be killed by his own victim.

The man did not seem surprised by Oshars words, instead he plucked a small scroll from his jacket pocket and waved it at Oshar. The assassin gasped in horror. He held the sacred scroll.

"Why is my name on this list you bastard? and the others, there are people I know on here. What is the connection?"

"You defile a holy thing." Oshar spat, "It is not for your eyes."

"It is my fucking name!" Nicolaus replied as he grabbed an iron rod from a nearby bucket of hot coals. "I want answers now."

Oshar screamed as the white hot metal was pressed into his thigh.

"He is lost to us." sighed the voice of the blue eyed cat.

"...Like spitting in the eyes of fate." whispered the fading voice of yellow.

Nicolaus raised the rod once more and brought it down toward Oshars chest. The assassin drove his body into the searing metal to bring him closer to the apothecary and then spat blood and bile into the mans face. Both men screamed out; Oshar in pain and Nicolaus in disgust as he wiped the foul liquids from his eyes. Oshar could hear soft laughter at the back of his mind but he shook it away.

"Filthy bastard!" Nicolaus threw the iron to the ground and marched from the room to clean himself.

Oshar writhed in his chair looking for an escape. He saw the hot metal on the ground and saw his chance. With an almighty heave he tried to tip the heavy chair. It shifted, but not enough. Again he slammed his weight toward the side and this time it tipped slightly. He did not let it settle. As the chair rocked back he used the momentum to tip the thing once more and it slammed to the ground taking him with it. He stifled the scream as his left arm was crushed beneath the heavy timbers and immediately tried to gain sight of the heated metal. A few seconds and he saw it nearby and began to rotate himself toward the thing, each push grinding his damaged arm into the stone beneath.

"What the fuck have you done now?" Nicolaus had returned, still wiping his face on a damp cloth. With a growl of frustration he marched toward the chair and grasped it on either side.

"Spit again and I will cut out your tongue." he hissed as he dragged Oshar upright with an almighty heave, before standing back. "Now, where were we?"

"You wish to know the secret of your name." Oshar replied, taking a deep steadying breath. His arm was broken and his chest and leg were pounding with blinding agony.

"That's right." Nicolaus smiled as he reached for a small scalpel from the nearby table. "Perhaps a more delicate approach will loosen your tongue."

"There is no need." Oshar breathed heavily, "I will not tell you."

Nicolaus grimaced stepping forward, ready to slice into the desert man. He stopped. The blade dropped to the ground forgotten. Looking down, Nicolaus saw the hot metal protruding from his chest. Oshar released the bar and pulled the man forward by his tunic, as yet unable to climb free of the chair.

"...But I will show you."

< Prev : Past of Stone Next > : Morning Pleasantries