Friday, January 11, 2013

Shai and Fabi: The Long Since Dead

     Seattle, Washington, USA:
     Leila Nightshade and Arsenic Blythe stood on either side of the gravestone, staff and chisel at the ready. Leila was a necromancer, but had no fear of openly practicing techniques that were supposed to be long forgotten. Arsenic, a young man in his thirties but appearing college-age, was an extremely talented sigilist and manipulater of writing. Both had had rather...unusual training, preparing for a moment just like this.
     "Are you sure about this?" Arsenic asked. "Do we really want to wake this guy?" A lariat of shadows snagged his wrist.
     "Young man..." although Leila appeared the same age as him, she was at least eighty. Arsenic found this unsettling, but the thoughts were pouring out of his head too fast to be stopped.
     "I mean, this 'Duchess Sinistra has a reputation of turning people to stone, so isn't it a bit..."
     The shadows tightened, making Arsenic's hand start to lose circulation. "Little measly boy, are you doubting the word of our master?"
     "N-no ma'am." The shadows loosened, but did not entirely let go.
     "Okay then, Xavier Lucas. Start carving."
      Arsenic shuddered. Leila had been the one who had used his given name against him, ten years before. Even though the name has lost its magical power, the way Leila said it made him feel like an awkward out-of-place teenager again. He wished he could go back to those teenage years and make better choices, maybe work for the Sanctuary... 
     As he carved the symbols onto the gravestone, he remembered the terrible things he'd done in the name of the Faceless Ones. He could still see, in his mind's eye, the face of Siren Cacophony contorted in pain as he sliced the symbols for silence into her forehead. He'd done that to a little girl, for what? Nothing but a scroll he couldn't even read! Furthermore, it was that same scroll that had brought him here, at the grave of Duchess Sinistra Firedrake. As he finished his last symbol and Leila prepared to activate the spell, Arsenic had time to add another deed to his regret list.

     Not far away, Siren Cacophony herself crouched behind a stone, watching, taking notes that would mysteriously manifest in the pockets of various Sanctuary officials.