One step, two step, three step, four.
How many sins knock at your door?
Five step, six step, seven step, eight.
How do you plead on this night of Fate?
"GUILTY! The whole lot of 'em!" Hargus Haygen Habbernath, the triple H himself, slams the tankard down, ushering in another wave of jeers and applause. He settles back into his seat, rolling a cigar along his lips and adjusting his stained coat, still slick with rain.
"Really, Trip? How many this time?" Teagan Scheherazade, of the Sultan Press, raises an eyebrow at the large man before synching up his thin crimson tie. He leans back, pressing into the booth's cushion, careful to avoid any excess spittle.
"Relax, tea kettle. This one's on me. All I need is a piece."
"Too far, too slim, Trip. Everyone sees you as the lord of conspiracy, but none of it holds water. How deep are you willing to go here?" Teagen sips from his personal bamboo cup, keen to keep as much of himself from making contact with the table.
"Alright, alright. Fine. You want a trickle? Here it is." Hargus leans forward, pulling a wad of parchment from his coat's deep pockets. He spreads them out, opening a quill with his teeth, and begins tracing lines along a sea of names.
Teagan massages his brow. "I didn't ask for a sypher, Trip..."
"No, no, tea kettle. It'll make sense...it's confusin' on purpose. See here?" he points to a name, "This, uh, 'doctor' Cefarion? Yeah? From the hospital two disses up? Yeah...ain't no doctor. I seen her; runs down to the docks - speaks to a man in a dark cloak - trades packages. ...I'm betting it's drugs." He licks his lips, and leans in closer. "I'm bettin' it's Strain."
"Kahna, Trip. No way the caretakers need that crap. Bury it."
"Fine, but what about that Surtur game?"
"Oh Hargus, not this again..."
"I mean it, kettle. The pirate broadcast, the call to arms, and then that wacko storm and the quarantine police!?"
A well-manicured hand rises. "Would you keep your voice down?" Teagan leans in a little closer. "The Guild's shut down; we don't have champions if we need them. Now is NOT the time to have the Horsemen blowing smoke up my ass."
A mischievous grin spills across Hargus's face, broken teeth poking through. "'Cept I know who that new Horse is. I've got his name. Maybe even an address."
"And what of it, Trip? What good comes from-
"They've been lyin' to us, Tea! All of 'em!" Teagan immediately sits back, his eyes deftly scanning the perimeter and meeting a few gazes. He glares until they return to studying their own drinks. But Hargus is far from done. He sways forward, pulling himself over the table, crawling like a rabid beast toward the suit. "That weren't no storm, and it weren't no wildfire that burnt up Utriena. It was a coup... In-fighting between the cloaks and daggers." He begins frothing now, backwash and bits of mutton splattering from his words as he growls shy above a whisper. "Ain't ya' never heard of Mr. Curse?"
"...You stink of the pigs and you're as mad as the Druids that spawned you. I'll have none of your alchemy; you can burn on your own." Teagan shoves himself out of the booth, scooping up his fine duster and donning his hat in one movement. A few clip steps and he is gone.
"Hey! Tea!" But he's already out. "Hmph. Pussy." Hargus spits on the ground where his friend once stood, and turns on the table. It echoes its creaking insults and stained laughter...so he drives his fists into it with a roar.
"You! You break Gigi's stuff, Gigi breaks YOU!" The heavy footfalls of the minotaur close the distance immediately...
Welp. There goes a rib. Nothing a bit a' whisky and a nap won't fix. Mama said I always heal quick, anyway...
Hargus rises, bones creaking and chest sore from the beating and the alcohol. Fresh rain patters over his trench coat while he fishes his hat from the overflowing gutter. With a pop and a snap, he stands up, waddling his way down the narrow streets and cobblestones of Spyrelight.
An errant raven cries overhead, and for a brief moment, Hargus Haygen Habbernath, the triple H himself, contemplates how best to spend the gold that will undoubtedly be promised for the truth on the tip of his tongue. At least, this is what he would have thought, had a thunderclap not resounded so forcefully, as if it ratcheted through his own skull and shattered his senses. His knees buckle, and his body crumples like broken twigs.
Any eye that passes assumes another drunkard, face down in a ditch, and no one notices the tiny river of blood draining from a fresh hole between his eyes...
One in the chamber, two at the side, three for a lever, and four to hide.
As blood pools thin, I try to ride,
This rush I feel,
"Is it done?"
"Yes, my Sovereign."
She exhales; a beautiful, satisfying sound - like wind over leaves. "Well done, Sava. You are a sapphire among bedrock. Your next assignment is moving... are you sure you wish to tackle a third this evening?"
"Do not worry, my Sovereign..." Another casing slides into place, the receiver clicking closed. I rest the stock while I pull back the hammer and a rush of breath catches, waiting for another release. "I could do this all night..."
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