Third Edition

Moderator: Logos Invictus

 
User avatar
Friv
Essence 6
Essence 6
Topic Author
Posts: 1072
Joined: 28 Jan 2006, 00:42
Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
Exalt: Elemental
Fighting Style: Spell-Fu
Artifact: The Crucible of Tarim
Location: Toronto
Contact:

Red Sky At Night, Part 3

12 Sep 2006, 12:53

There will be a table of contents very shortly.
-----

“Give me another.”

The bartender coughed delicately, looking at the bottles already arrayed before the large man at the counter. “Um, milord, I don’t really know if –”

“NOW!” A gout of smoke followed the pronouncement, and the bartender quickly grabbed the outstretched mug before it cracked from the heat. Refilling the mug with apple brandy as quickly as he was able, he set it down on the counter, breathing a sigh of relief as the man hunched over the bar took it with a gruff nod. “More like it. Talk back to a prince of the Earth. Hah!”

A big hand reached up, absently scratching at his short red hair, as the man at the bar stared off into space. “Used to be, people knew their places. Didn’t talk back to a child of the Dragons. There was order.” He looked down, taking a swig of the brandy. “Order meant something. But now… what’s the point, really? When the very backbone of our nation seeks to destroy everything we stood for… when we fight for meaningless honours, what right have we to demand fealty? We followed a lie and lost everything. Even bartenders think they know better than us.” One eye blearily regarded the frightened-looking mortal. “Maybe they do, huh?”

“Sir… I…” The bartender gulped. “I don’t know what you’re saying.”

The man frowned drunkenly, and went over his statement in his mind. Seemed clear enough. Straightforwards. But… he rolled a syllable around on his tongue. “Was I speaking High Realm, or Low?”

“Um. High? I think? I really don’t…”

“Hah!” The man laughed, slapping the counter hard enough to leave slight cracks. “Can’t hold my ale like I could.” He chuckled. “Big surprise. Ninety years since my last drink, you know. Good stuff. Good bar.” He frowned again, looking at the bartender more carefully. “Oh, don’t look like that. I’m not gonna hurt your bar.” Seeing that the bartender looked unconvinced, he raised one hand unsteadily. “Pasiap’s Honour.” He frowned, looking down at the wood grain of the bartop. “’M just waiting for the fourth.”

After a moment, the bartender decided that a response was in order. “The fourth what, milord?”

“Disaster.” One side of his lips curved into a self-mocking smile. “See, five is the number of balance. Five elements. Five paths to enlightenment. Four is the number of imbalance, destruction. Bad things come in fours.” He raised one hand, ticking them off. “Failure, knowledge, betrayal. Need a fourth.”

The bartender considered that a moment. “Knowledge is bad?”

“Sometimes.” The statement was loaded with implications, and the bartender decided to avoid them. He moved to the far end of the bar, and began wiping the counter halfheartedly.

“Sifu.” The voice came from the doorway, and the bartender looked up. The man at the bar did not.

“I’m not your sifu, boy.” His voice was flat. “Go home.”

Cathak Citrios narrowed his eyes. “You know that I can’t do that, Sifu. We’ve come to take you back.”

“Not going back. There’s nothing back to go to.” The man downed the rest of the brandy in one gulp.

“Sifu, what happened?” Citrios shook his head. “I can’t believe that you would turn against the Realm, against the Order, but this…” His face hardened. “You have to come back with me, Sifu. If not, the others will destroy you.” He stepped forwards, into the room, his face grim. Behind him, Alina crouched by the doorway, watching in concern as her master confronted his.

“Hah.” The man rose in a single, surprisingly fluid motion. Heat radiated off him as he burned away the alcohol within him, and he grinned lopsidedly as he regarded his old pupil. “Challenge, then?”

“Challenge. If I win, you will return with me.”

“And if I win, I can guarantee that I won’t.” The master chuckled at his own phrasing, and nodded. “Walk with me, Citrios. This is a nice bar, and we can cause serious property damage, you and I.” He drew some coins, tossing them on the counter as he strode from the building. Outside, the other Dragon-Blooded stood, but they paused as Citrios walked forwards.

“I am challenging him.” As Sesus Gavrin opened his mouth to protest, Citrios shook his head. “This is my only chance to bring him back without his death, Gavrin. You know that. If it comes to all of us, he will fight to the death – and he will die. Please.” His expression was earnest, and he stared the older Dynast in the eyes. After a few moments, Gavrin sighed and nodded.

“I think it’s a terrible idea, Citrios, but I will allow it. But if you lose, we will strike. Does he know this?” Citrios nodded sadly, and Gavrin made a face. “Very well, then. I fought under him at the siege of Arvali, and I know what greatness he was capable of. For that memory, you may challenge him.”

As Citrios marched grimly towards the edge of town, Alina hurried up to him. “Master, please don’t do this.” She could hear the tears in her voice, but she pressed on. “My vision – this can’t possibly end well.”

“Probably not.” Citrios’s face softened as he looked down at Alina, and he cupped her chin in one hand. “But I can’t believe that he would kill me, and…” He trailed off, looking ahead to where his old mentor waited. “And I would give anything to save him. Pray for me, my little raven.” He kissed her lightly on the forehead and then gently pushed her away from him, striding forwards. “I, Cathak Citrios, issue a formal challenge to you, Sifu. If I am victorious, you will return with me to the Blessed Isle to face judgement for your desertion.”

“And if I win, you will back away, and let me fight these others alone?”

“Yes.” Citrios bowed low.

“Then I, Cathak Lodaris, accept your challenge.” The master drew his swords, and settled into the pose of the Fire Dragon, Essence licking around him. “And I am nobody’s Sifu.”
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
User avatar
BrilliantRain
Essence 8
Essence 8
Posts: 5362
Joined: 17 Aug 2005, 14:50
Title: The City of Mod
Exalt: Alchemical
Fighting Style: Primordial-Machine Weaving
Artifact: Eye of Autochthon
Location: Nurad
Contact:

12 Sep 2006, 17:26

hmmmm.....

I can see several ways this can go. Depends on if it's a tragedy or not
Avatar by Girl Genius

Mod Text is in Green

Do you have enough Tools, King of All Craftsmen?
 
Delamerik
Essence 5
Essence 5
Posts: 574
Joined: 04 Jun 2006, 17:26
Exalt: Sidereal
Location: Celestial palace-manse

12 Sep 2006, 18:38

Really, knowing Friv, whichever way it goes, it'll be a good read.
 
User avatar
Epiphany
Essence 7
Essence 7
Posts: 3792
Joined: 26 Jan 2006, 23:23
Title: Resident Novelist
Exalt: Sidereal
Fighting Style: Running the hell away
Artifact: My Lower Soul
Location: Bellingham, WA
Contact:

12 Sep 2006, 19:59

Reading this story makes me think about quitting Righteous Steel.

Because you're damn good.
BrilliantRain: There are those who would note that sometimes, sometimes, you get the things you really need instead of the things you deserve.
Kailan: If people only ever got what they deserved, the world would be a more miserable place.

My Novels / My Series / My Short Stories
 
User avatar
Friv
Essence 6
Essence 6
Topic Author
Posts: 1072
Joined: 28 Jan 2006, 00:42
Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
Exalt: Elemental
Fighting Style: Spell-Fu
Artifact: The Crucible of Tarim
Location: Toronto
Contact:

12 Sep 2006, 20:09

Argh, if you quit Righteous Steel I will be most upset and my own posting rate will suffer.

So hah!

(Although I fell behind on reading it. Why'd you have to go and make parts of it not work-readable? ;) )
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
User avatar
endless-gears
Essence 4
Essence 4
Posts: 492
Joined: 23 Mar 2006, 15:03
Exalt: Heroic Mortal
Contact:

12 Sep 2006, 20:12

fallstavia wrote:
Reading this story makes me think about quitting Righteous Steel.

Because you're damn good.


Never quit. Its the only way to get better, besides, your stuff is also good. So, no quity. :p
Endless Gears of Steel: [Story Index] [IC LiveJournal] [Website] [Commissions]
Penguin King: If simple luridness was sufficient, Mr. Endless Gears would easily have taken it.
 
User avatar
Epiphany
Essence 7
Essence 7
Posts: 3792
Joined: 26 Jan 2006, 23:23
Title: Resident Novelist
Exalt: Sidereal
Fighting Style: Running the hell away
Artifact: My Lower Soul
Location: Bellingham, WA
Contact:

12 Sep 2006, 20:45

Because I suck like that.

Epiphany's the only seriously swearing character out of the bunch, if it's language you mean. There's a bit with Kestrel here and there, though. I may clean that up since I like work-safe fiction, both becaues it's work-safe and because I really don't care for profanity.

I just couldn't write the Sidereal without swearing, though. She's like that.

This isn't about me, though, it's about you. I won't quit writing but...wow. It astonishes me how solidly you slam a story together. I was caught from the first part and each one after has been solid gold.

It had to be said.
BrilliantRain: There are those who would note that sometimes, sometimes, you get the things you really need instead of the things you deserve.
Kailan: If people only ever got what they deserved, the world would be a more miserable place.

My Novels / My Series / My Short Stories

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests