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Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:18 am by Sentinel

Hi all,

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Man Into Monster

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Man Into Monster

Post by Katt Nexus on Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:28 pm

For Tor, who deserves to know the whole story...

The old door creaked on its rusty hinges as he pushed his way into the bar and out of the freezing rain. Inside, he found the lights to be dimmed, the air to be filled with smoke and the sound of cheap music playing from a neglected jukebox in the corner. He gazed around the interior of the bar; every patron was instinctively scanned, and he put a mental note on the ones he thought might be carrying weapons, and those that would use them. This ended up being most everyone present. These types of places typically attracted the most unsavory sorts of characters: drug dealers, thieves, gangsters, guns for hire, really anybody who wanted to avoid the hand of justice.

He smiled a small, sad smile and sighed to himself. Full circle he had now come. From high-rolling ‘spice merchant’ to elite killer, and now back to being practically a common street thug. He knew what justice meant, and what it demanded. He tried to live within that code, but tonight was not the night to be enforcing justice.

He drew back his hood and shook the rain off his long brown-black coat. Once more he scanned the shadowy room, then stepped towards the bar. He fingered the coins in his pocket. Enough for a drink or two, maybe. Certainly not enough for a bribe. He cursed himself silently for not taking up another freelancer job; the money would have come in handy in a place where information was paid for by the syllable.

Looking up towards the ceiling, he offered a quick prayer to some higher power in the vain hope that he might be heard and this trip would be more than a wild mynoc chase. Once last scan of the bar. And still noth… No. Not nothing after all. He grinned. There, in the far corner, sitting, or was it lying, at that small round table was the man he’d been hunting for. He did a quick double take, just to be sure. Height and weight were both about right. Skin was yellower than he would have anticipated, but not unreasonably so. Long black hair covering most of the face, including, yes, there were the signature black tattoos, and in the right pattern. That was his man.

Leaving the bar, he strolled nonchalantly, yet purposefully towards the corner table wreathed in shadow. The man seated behind it had his head cradled in both hands as he stared vacantly into the bottom of an empty glass, he was buzzed but did not yet appear stone drunk.

“Exeter?”

The seated man didn’t even bother to move. He was obviously trying to ignore him, or possibly the entire world. He sat down across from his quarry and asked again, “You are Exeter, are you not?”

The man finally looked up at him, purple eyes smoldering in the dim overhead light above the table.

“I know what you are. I know why you’ve come. You’re here to finish me off, aren’t you? Yeah, I’m Exeter, but I promise I don’t go down easy.”

His jaw clenched, his eyes narrowed, his entire demeanor hardened as instinct took over. He registered Exeter’s change in position. He had sat back, hands were down by his side now, instead of on the table. His gaze flickered over Exeter’s strong armored body. The armor indicated a warrior of some type, but it was patched and worn. It obviously hadn’t been cared for in some time. This, combined with Exeter’s current pseudo-drunken state told him that he was dealing with some kind of mercenary, and a good one, if the original quality said anything. But this mercenary seemed to be down on his luck; he was desperate. And desperate men tend to hide guns under tables, especially when threatened.

He fingered the blade hidden in his sleeve. Exeter was quickly creating a scene, a scene with a fall out that he didn’t much feel like fixing. He mentally calculated the time it would take him to jump from his chair, vault over the table and slit Exeter’s throat. The trick would be in executing this maneuver before Exeter could pull the trigger.

“I know that face. If you’re gonna try and kill me, I’d like to know your name.”

He took a deep, quiet breath, readying himself to strike. There was no reason to give Exeter his name and even less to… He paused for a moment as his eyes met with Exeter’s. Those were not the eyes of a calculated murderer, nor the eyes of an evil man at all. They were the eyes of a sad old soldier who life appeared to have beaten down, again and again. He slumped back into his chair, remembering his mission. Exeter was not a target to be hunted, he was a man with a story to tell, a story that he wanted, no, needed to hear. His face softened, and he placed his own hands face up on the table in front of him.
“I’m not here to kill you Exeter. I just need to ask you a few questions.”

“Why should I trust you?” came the wary reply.

He nodded slowly, and with a slightly sad expression on his face. It was a difficult fact that he now lived with. The fact that in the underworld, trust was never something given at the drop of a hat. He slowly slipped out the knife he carried in each sleeve, then pulled out his small pistol and laid it on the table, then pushed all of them across to Exeter. He did keep his saber concealed beneath his coat.

He waved over a server. “I know trust is hard to come by, but I only need a few answers, and I don’t believe they even really concern you or your good being. Come on, let me buy you a drink, talk always goes better on a wet throat.”

Exeter cautiously acquiesced and ordered a Correlian ale. He was about to order a bantha buttered beer but quickly thought better of it. It would be easy enough to track him as it is. No reason to make it easier for them… He instead ordered an Aldaaranian wine. He paid the server with his last few coins and turned back to Exeter, who was now eyeing him curiously.

“So, what is it that you need to be askin’ me?”

“I need to ask you about a man. His name is, or was, rather, Aurrelius Penndragon.”

Exeter started up, eyes brightening considerably. “And why would you be askin’ about him?”

He sighed. There was no real point in holding back now. This was obviously his best resource, and he might never get this opportunity again.

“My name is Arrthelion Penndragon. Aurrelius was my older brother.”

**Will be continued**

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Re: Man Into Monster

Post by Katt Nexus on Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:58 pm

Exeter gazed at the young man in front of him with some mixture of fear, hope, and wonder. “Yes, you are his brother, aren’t you, or at least some other close relation. You have similar eyes, yours are kinder though. But I wouldn’t have guessed you were related without you saying so. I can see in your face that you have some of that same killer instinct that he always had, but you’re not like him are you? You were fixin’ to run me through, weren’t you? But you held back. Old Relly wouldn’ta done that.” He stopped for a moment and looked vacantly into the dark corner next to him as if trying to glimpse the past.

Arrthelion sat still for a minute or two, then leaned forward a bit. “I was told by ‘The Big Jedi’ that you knew my brother once, that he considered you a good man, and possibly even a friend. Is that true?”

The man across the table slowly lifted his gaze back up towards the young questioner. “A friend. Yes, I suppose I was his friend once, though I don’t know that he had friends towards the end there, only allies and enemies.”

“Please, can you tell me anything about him? Anything about his life?”

“Why? Why would you want to learn about that man? He spent his whole life pursuing one goal, and he failed miserably. He was a driven man, but he certainly wasn’t a good one. I’ve only just met you, and I can already tell you’re more’n twice the man he was.”

Arrthelion keeps his face hard, but he can feel his heart melt a bit on the inside. “Did you ever have a family Exeter?”

“Heh. My family sold me into slavery to pay off the mortgage on our farm.”

“Please tell me about my brother. I have to know. I have to know what happened to him.”

Exeter adopted a troubled look. He opened his mouth slowly, then closed it again. He blinked and put his hands on the table. He looked down at the grease stains on the wooden board in front of him. He slowly began to speak. “If you want to know all about your brother, you may be coming to the wrong person. I knew him, yes, but I don’t know if anyone really ‘knew’ Aurrelius Penndragon, or rather, those that did are dead now.

“You see, I wasn’t there to see his whole story, but I’ll tell you what I remember. I suppose I should start with the first time I met him, that’s a memory and no mistake. There’s one thing about your brother for you; he always made a lasting first impression. For better or for worse, but he always made one!”

Exeter took hold of the mug in front of him, took a sip, and let his mind drift into another place entirely. A place perhaps that no one should ever have to experience.

***

In the deep dark cell block, Lord Lorstoft passed by the line again. He’d performed this task dozens of times now, and even though he could now analyze everyone standing in that line in an instant, he never grew tired of it. There was just something about standing in front of a dozen walking corpses that amused him greatly.

That one over there was a prisoner of war. Those two were lovers recently, but only as a physical outlet. The one on the right had taken up a spice addiction. That one had had kind masters; the one over there had been beaten his entire life. He criminal. She was just filler.

He turned back and started pacing back along the line, every now and then stopping for a moment here and there to inspect one of the fresh blood, the chattle, they who’re about to die. There was a certain flavor to slaves about to fight as gladiators that went beyond just the typical stench of slave scum. It might be adrenaline or resolve, or despair, or even hope that they might win enough to earn their freedom, but Lorstoft could feel the fear in each and every one of the…

Ah, there he is, Lorstoft thought to himself. There was one in every lineup. That single slave who was resolved to beat the system. The one who thought he was clever enough to escape. The one who simply had to die a hero!

This one was a young man, no older than twenty if he was a day. He was tall, tanned, and scarred. He had the bearing of one who knew his way around a fight. Who knows, he might make a decent gladiator after all… He stopped and gazed for a moment into the man’s dark brown eyes, looking for the spark of defiance he knew he would find there. It was always so much fun to watch that spark fizzle and die as he crushed it out of them slowly.

“You think you have what it takes to be a pit slave boy?” he asked sadistically.

The man returned the question with a long look and a slow nod. “I do.”

“Think you’re man enough to not shit yourself during your first match?”

The man cocked his head slightly to the side and raised an eyebrow. “That depends. Will I be fighting gods or mortal men like you?”

Lorstoft brought his knee up swiftly and sharply into the man’s groin and watched in pleasure as he doubled over and slowly stood back up. “What do you think boy? Still want to be here?”

The man smiled confidently through the pain. He gave the lord a long hard stare. “Oh, I know this is exactly where I want to be.”

The lord stepped back. He didn’t know why, but there was something in that boy’s eyes that unsettled him greatly. An uneasiness that one gets from looking into the eyes of some hideous predator.

He turned around sharply, allowing his great black cape to swish around him regally, and ordered the slaves to be put back in their cages to await their first fight on the colosseum floor. He was a lord of the sith after all, and sith weren’t supposed to be frightened by common slave scum.

The young man who had been kicked stumbled to the closest cage and plopped down next to a green skinned man with black facial markings. He grimaced as he hit the hard cement floor. Turning to his cellmate, he extended his hand. “I’m Aurrelius.”

The mirialan next to him simply stared at the proffered hand for a moment, before cautiously shaking it. “They call me Exeter.”

Aurrelius nodded and looked into Exeter’s violate eyes. “You done much fighting Exeter?”

“Nu, no, not really.”

Even in the dimly lit underground room filled with cages and the stench of rotting flesh, Aurrelius managed to crack a smile. “You stick with me Exeter, and we’ll go places.”

“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, uh, Aurrelius, but we’re slaves. Slaves go one place, six feet down under.”

The smile on the man’s face turns into a grimace again. “Yes, I may be a slave now, but I promise I have the potential to become so much more. And I have the drive to get there.”

Exeter recoiled slightly at the look in Aurrelius’ eyes. It was disturbing on a soul level, but also strangely alluring. There was power there, but also, the promise of greater power. A promise that beckoned all who met him, either to join him in his fell ambitions or to swear his destruction.

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