Gratuitous Fountain of Blood stared into his glass and sulked. A rickety wooden table had been set up in the room Delicate Ivory Shadow had rented for them, and he sat there in the candlelight waiting for her, listening to the sound of a mosquito buzz interrupted occasionally by shouts of joy from the room downstairs. He was having a bad day.
Their master had sent them to this dreary little place for reasons he wasn't allowed to know- he thought Ivory was probably making that up, just to spite him- and while he was sure it would be perfectly acceptable to spend time corrupting the innocent or maybe murdering a few people no one would miss, he just didn't want to. Their lives were so stupid and pointless anyway- he couldn't even remember the town's name, just that it was on the edge of the Haslanti League, or something, and (again according to Ivory) held the key to some lost ancient secret magic bluh bluh. Whatever. He ran his finger around the rim of his glass, making a little squeaking noise. Ivory would have said it was childish. The thought made him feel a little better. Screw her, what did Daybreaks even do?
His focus shattered as his hand flew up unbidden, knocking aside a blade heading for his throat; without thinking, he dived under the table as a second strike came from somewhere he couldn't see. Anger swelled up inside of him, along with a token amount of confusion- he kicked the table over, knocking the candle into the floor, and ducked down to grab his sword from under the bed.
His first look around the room revealed nothing: the room was dark, with only the moon from the still-shut window giving any light. With his back to the wall, Blood slid towards the door, blocking the easier exit. The mosquito buzzed closer to him, and he snapped it out of the air and crushed it between two fingers without moving his eyes from the darkness. "Come out already," he said softly. "You clearly came here to see someone dead. Let's see if I can grant your desire."
All was silent. He licked his lips nervously and considered lighting his anima so he could see, but he didn't want to tip his hand about that quite yet. Who would want to kill him? Well- he could think of a lot of people- but of the ones that possibly could be here, no one came to mind. He was trying to figure out if maybe Ivory was screwing with him, or maybe was he so bored he'd fallen asleep and dreamt the knife (and somehow used real Charms on it), when he saw the bed coming through the air towards him.
With a flick of his arm, he sliced a clean curve into it- filthy mattress, base, sheets and all- and as it fell to pieces with a clatter in front of him, he advanced with a pair of wide sweeps. They hit nothing but air.
"Oh come on," he said, half-growl and half-whine. "This is stupid. Come out! Face me!"
Still nothing happened. Blood gripped his sword with both hands and hacked at the shadows, determined to destroy something whether it was useful or not. The table snapped and clattered into a corner, the mattress threw straw and feathery fluff into the air, but the last hit bounced off of something and smacked a wall. That made him start. Nothing in this room should-
Another small burst of Essence ran through him as he dodged a swipe to his right side. His snarl turned quickly into a shout of frustration, and a bloody sunburst erupted on his forehead; in one movement, he twisted around and cut a horizontal swath through the center of the room, flourishing into a forward thrust which caught his attacker square in the stomach, blood and necromantic Essence clashing in a reddish-black smear of light that revealed him.
It was a boy; a boy with a carving knife and a glare of hate on his face that would have impressed Blood had he been trying to kill someone else. The Abyssal grinned and began to lunge again, now that he could see what he was aiming at, but the boy dropped under the sword's swing with ease and disappeared. The Abyssal swung around again, expecting another knife strike to his side, but this time he had spent too much of his effort on trying to hit something; he felt a quick, burning pain from the back of one knee, and then the boy was gone again.
He faced the door this time and walked, back to the wall, around the room; he could see well enough now in the flickering unlight streaming from him, but no angle revealed the boy. The window and door remained closed as they had been before, with no sign of exit. Stranger and stranger- but this wouldn't be the first strange thing he had broken to pieces.
His wound pulsed with soft pain as he moved, but it hadn't done much damage. "Are you trying to hamstring me, boy? Do you know what you're dealing with?"
"An idiot?" he heard in a soft voice, somehow from behind him. Blood shouted in rage, his next wild blow carving the very air (and the wall), leaving a black scar hanging there for a moment; the wall suffered similar damage, and he heard a scream, deeply fulfilling for a moment until he realized that wasn't a boy's voice, and more importantly, the little bastard had ducked right out of his sight again.
Perhaps "ducked" was the wrong word; he finally caught a glimpse of the boy out of the corner of his eye, one foot on the wall and one on the ceiling, arm extended- just in time for that eye to catch a knife in it. He ducked back, raising his sword in a defensive stance, and yanked it out. His vision was stained with blood and other bits, but it was only a mortal knife, and somehow the eye wasn't completely ruined. The consequences of the boy's error- though this was not just a boy, clearly- would be far worse than his.
"Heh." He licked a bit off his cheek, more for intimidation than anything. "I can do that too."
The air in the room went stale, and tiny patches of distortion lines flickered in and out of existence. With one hand, he tossed the knife back at the boy, then for a moment, Blood flickered as well; his body twisted hideously as he leapt, daiklaive-first, skewering the boy as he was busy sliding out of the way of his own weapon. Ignoring gravity, he moved to shove the strange thing into the wall and rip out its throat, his teeth like the maw of a wolf. A look of agony flashed across its face, followed by deeply gratifying terror- the part of the Abyssal's mind that he hadn't let give way to bloodlust was nearly consumed with a rising religious fervor, which didn't have the grace to fade when the thing clutched his hand in its and clocked him in the jaw with the hilt of his own weapon.
Gravity reasserted itself then, and the two fell forward, the boy onto Blood; right before hitting the ground, they managed to seperate, Blood with his back towards the window, the boy towards the door. The Abyssal's composure recovered in part, all but his teeth and the black gore leaking from a mending eye socket passing for human. They both paused, sizing each other up for their wounds like a pair of dogs in a ring.
"So," Blood said, pausing to jiggle a loose tooth with his tongue. He wondered if Ivory would be coming back soon. "I'm not going to stop until I kill you, and you... seem to have similar plans. Why not enlighten me? Perhaps you're one of the Bishop's men, come to enact some complicated double-cross." He paused. The boy merely glared. "No? Well, maybe you're here for what my companion is after, or... just a local Dragon, maybe?"
"You want to know why I'm here," the boy sounded out slowly, his face calmer. Blood grinned.
"Yes. Call it morbid curiosity- or what remains of a swordsman's honor, if you like."
He hesitated, then shook his head, keeping his eyes locked on the Abyssal's, unblinking. A soft light began to surround him. "I will leave no sign, no trace; when I die, I belong to no one. While I live, I know my master- this is all the explanation I can give you."
Blood's face went slack; the words triggered some nagging familiarity in his brain, but far less than the golden circle shining in front of him. Was it just the physical similarity of the symbol? He couldn't tell. Was it- the boy shifted, and he tightened his grip on his daiklaive. "What are you?"
He received no answer, unless the realization that the boy had recovered one of his knives counted. A knee to his gut was blocked with almost unconscious ease, but Blood found himself suddenly out the window with a blade aimed at his throat. It glanced once off the steel of his cuff, ringing with a harsh sound, and he had just enough forethought to begin to roll as he hit the ground, tugging his sword out from under the boy and bringing it up a half-second after the knife found his throat.
His one good eye began to fade- odd, the boy hadn't hit that- and he began to wonder very much why Ivory was late, and whether it was her fault it was suddenly very cold. The angry murmurs in the back of his mind were louder now, laughing as the boy struck him again and again. What were Daybreaks good for, anyway?