View Full Version : Aftermath of Chaos [Creative Writing]

2006-10-13, 03:41 PM
The Aftermath of Chaos

Chapter 1

The heart of Pordo was very quiet, the inns and bars that dotted the streets had closed their doors a few hours prior. Occasionally a patrol of city guards would walk down the street; they usually numbered three but as many as six and as few as two were not uncommon. The patrols were intended to spot anyone trying to break the law; but they weren't able to find all of them. As the latest patrol passed by the Silver Dragon Inn, Champagne slipped from one alley and down the next. She had been tracking her prey now for over a month, and every lead that she had discovered had turned up empty. The latest information, straight from a trusted member of the Obol Guild, was very solid, and it looked as if she was going to be able to finish this mission.

Champagne was equipped in her normal gear; the black cloth outfit that was folded across her body, black leather boots, a snug-fitting hood that disguised her blonde hair and sapphire-blue eyes, the small pouches on her side that hid numerous tools, and of course, her two blades. Everything was positioned on her body as to not reveal what it was she was carrying; looking at her from a distance it would be difficult to see that she had any equipment, and even close up only the pouches really stood out.

Crouching down next to a wooden crate, Champagne placed one hand on the dirty street, and the other on the side of the crate, and slowly moved her head in a position to peer down the alley. The street was very still, but in her line of work, danger was rarely apparent. Waiting a short while before moving, Champagne stayed low to the ground as she crossed a small side pathway, and then quickened her pace in case anyone had spotted her. Ducking behind another crate, Champagne waited, listening for any sign of life. After a moment and no sound, Champagne rose and looked both ways, and the street was still empty. Climbing onto the crate, Champagne hoisted herself to the low roof of a small warehouse. Moving quickly on her tiptoes, she went straight towards the edge of the roof.

With a flip of her fingers Champagne opened one of her pouches, and retrieved a slender metal prong and a spring-shot. From a second pouch she produced a thin rope that was just shy of thirty feet in length. Nimbly attaching the rope to the prong, and then the prong to the spring-shot, she pressed the button on the spring-shot. The prong fired out at incredible speed, opening into the shape of a three-fingered claw. When the claw came in contact with a building across the street, it dug into the wood.
Giving the rope a tug to make sure it was solid, she took five steps back, and then ran full-speed and leapt off the edge of the building. Gravity began to take her towards the ground, a mere twenty-five feet down, but then she tucked her legs into a roll, and pulled on the rope just as it became taught. Champagne’s own momentum carried her swinging past the building, and as she reached the top of the swing, she released the rope and flipped through the air, landing atop the second warehouse.

Caught off balance momentarily from landing, Champagne barely noticed the knife flying for her head. Ducking quickly, the knife sailed over her right shoulder, and as she righted herself a man was already in front of her. Champagne brought her arms up in a defensive style that she had learned when she was a child, and deflected the man's straight punch, sending his left arm off to her right side. His right arm came in much slower, and Champagne used the time to clasp both of her hands around the man's right wrist, and maneuvered behind her assailant. Releasing her left arm from his wrist, she chopped at the man's neck, which sent him to his knees. The sound of many boots erupted on the rooftop, moving in her direction. The only light source came from the street below, which barely illuminated the roof. Without looking back, Champagne shoved her captive off the roof, and sent him falling towards the city street where he landed with a thud.

Eight men walked slowly across the roof, seven of them dressed in leather armor and holding an assortment of clubs and small blades, and another in a metal shirt who was obviously the leader, scouting for any sign of the would-be assassin. "I don't see her sir." The voice came as a whisper, though all of the men heard it. The leader of the thugs stepped forward, glancing from shadow to shadow. "You don't need to see her, you need to stop her. And let me remind you, we are dealing with a professional here, not some amateur mercenary." The first man nodded again, and resumed his detailed observation of the surrounding area.

The thug leader moved off towards the eastern-most edge of the roof, trying to walk quietly. "Ok, you all stay here, I will go back and inform our client that this area is secured." The other men exchanged nervous glances with each other, but he ignored them as he walked across the large wooden plank they had used to cross the rooftops. As he neared a trap door leading down into a building, he took a deep breath, glanced back toward the other men, and then opened the trap door and descended the seven steps down into the building.

The moment the trap door fell Champagne removed four shurikens from her belt, and listened for any signs of movement. She hung from the rope she had used to catapult over to the building, hanging in silence. Pulling herself up enough to see over the edge, she peered at the seven men who were undoubtedly searching for her. Bracing herself with her left arm, she took one of the shurikens in her right hand and flicked it towards the closest man, some thirty feet away. The man grasped at the side of his neck as a large spurt of blood escaped from his clasped palms, his club dropped to the ground. The other thugs rushed towards the injured man, as Champagne pulled herself completely on top of the roof, crouching down so that she was only three feet from the ground.

After launching a small black rock, a massive flash of light erupted from the center of the men, temporarily blinding them, and once the light faded it made it difficult for them to see in the darkness of night. Champagne removed both of her blades; acid-etched swords made in the ancient style of the Tiroshans, and set to work on the group. The left blade slashed in an upward motion, cutting deep across the first man's chest, and making him stagger back, while the right arm went straight, slicing through another's leather armor with ease. The second man groaned, his wound gushing out blood as soon as Champagne removed her blade.

With two men down, Champagne turned towards the others; three of them seemed to have regained their wits. Though the men could not see it under her mask, she grinned, and flipped her blades back in forth in a deadly arc, daring them to approach. The three men split up, one going to the right side, and the other to go to the left, and the last approached from the front. Champagne feinted right, but then lunged left, catching the man by surprise, and plunging both blades through his chest. After letting the body collapse to the floor, she deflected a series attacks from the other two men, and then flipped over them, landing on her feet. Running towards the wooden plank, Champagne ducked and rolled, and not a moment later a dagger came whirling past her. Champagne jumped onto the plank, and balanced her way towards the other roof.

As Champagne reached the other roof she kicked away the wooden plank, sending it cascading towards the street below. Reaching into a pouch, she removed a small vial filled with a smoky-green liquid. The two men who had been alert had chased Champagne towards the plank, but once she kicked it they knew they couldn't pursue her any farther. The other three, having regained their senses, rushed to join the first two. Champagne heaved the vial towards them, which smashed on top of the roof, spilling the poisonous liquid, which quickly became a lethal gas. The thugs tried to flee, but not one of them escaped the toxic cloud that ensued; their bodies collapsing as their nervous systems shut down and their hearts stopped.

Sheathing her blades, Champagne sprinted towards the trap door, raised it open, and jumped down after taking a quick glance to judge the distance. Finding herself in a dark hallway, Champagne moved quickly, running past open door ways in search of some clue that would lead her towards her prey. The sound of a roaring fire halted Champagne in her tracks, causing her to slip slightly, and she braced herself against the wall. She stood in the hallway of a closed door; the sound of the fire placed it behind this door. She opened the door slightly, looking in upon its inhabitants.

The thug leader walked cautiously towards the center of the room, resting his hand on the chair. "My lord, I know that you are very knowledgeable; I have no doubt of that. What little I have been able to learn from you tells me you are wise beyond your years, but you do not know this woman like I do. She cannot be stopped, she keeps coming and coming until you are dead." Laughter erupted from the other side of the chair. "If this was true, then why are you still alive my dear Calder? You have avoided her wrath for many months now, have you not?" Calder sighed heavily. "There are.... other reasons for that, reasons that won't save you, and probably not even me once she arrives. I must insist that we get moving."

The man on the other side of the chair slowly rose; he was dressed in a glossy-black robe that had fire drop gems as buttons down the front, and comfortable leather boots. The man wore a dingy-white headband with blue trim, and very thin wiry brown hair barely covered numerous bald spots. The man turned, focusing his emerald green eyes on Calder. "I grow tired of this place anyway, let us go." Calder nodded once again towards the man. "I don't think we are going to be able to escape with traditional means, it wouldn't be safe to go outside in the open."

Galgalos, as the man was sometimes known, pointed towards the fireplace. Flames leapt out, seeming to consume the entire north wall. A door wreathed in red flames appeared where the fireplace had once been, and opened invitingly. Calder glanced toward Galgalos, who simply smiled and gestured towards the door.

Pulling a shuriken to her right hand, Champagne threw the door open with her left, and looked about the room. Two men stood in the wall, in the flames, against all logic. Both men turned to look at her; her target grinning and the other held a look of sorrow that she had seen many times before. "NO!" Her shout went unheard as the men disappeared and the flames curled in on themselves until there was nothing left but an unscathed fireplace.

Chapter 2

"So that's the story." The guardsmen shook his head in disbelief. "Who could have killed seven men like that? To think that there was a battle on the roof of the weapon store, and that no one knew about it for days." The second guardsmen nodded towards the first as they continued patrolling the main street of Pordo. "They expect us to do way too much; how are we supposed to keep law and order and also stop all these guilds that crop up. We don't have the man power to do that." The first guardsmen sighed, stopping for a moment and removing his iron helmet to wipe the sweat off of his forehead. "Another hot one, I’m going to be doing this all day.”

A young woman stood against the wall of the Silver Dragon Inn as the two guards passed by chatting to one another. Her smooth tanned face seemed calm; a slight smile afixed to it, and her posture was relaxed. Her ears were tuned into the guard's conversation, and though she took great pride in hearing people talk about her work, her face didn’t reveal emotion. Champagne stretched out and walked towards her small home here in Pordo.

Merchants rolled their carts laden with goods down the many streets of Pordo, some shouting out prices on their wares hoping to attract a buyer, others looking for a place to stop and rest for a moment. Passing by a hawker who had spilled his cloth bolts onto the street, Champagne pulled a key from her pocket and continued to her door. She unlocked the door, turning the key and sliding it to the left and then up, disabling the trap she had set. After removing the key, Champagne opened the door, stepped in, and shut the door behind her.

"If you are not careful, you will be caught." Champagne looked all around, but did not see the speaker anywhere. "Having a problem locating me?" Champagne glanced about the room nervously. A hand rested on her left shoulder, and she threw her right elbow back, hoping to catch her target in the gut. Her elbow was met with air, and she stumbled backwards. From the ground, Champagne saw what looked like a man stuck to the ceiling, his form seeming to blink in and out of existence. The man dropped from the ceiling and landed on his feet with ease. The blinking stopped suddenly, and he extended both of his arms towards Champagne. "Greetings, my dear." Champagne grumbled and pulled herself back to her feet, smoothing her hair back in an attempt to drain away her agitation. “Valence. What are you doing here?” The man named Valence smiled at her. "Not happy to see me? I have come bearing information for you."

Champagne led Valence towards the small kitchen, pointing towards a seat, which Valence gladly accepted. "I'll put some tea on for us, just give me a moment." A smile greeted Champagne. "That would be wonderful, my dear." Champagne opened a small cupboard and produced a black kettle. Leaving through the front door, she cut the trap’s wire, permanently disabling it.

After the time it took to make a small fire in the pit behind her house, the tea seemed to heat up instantly. Champagne brought it back inside and poured each of them a cup, and then sat across from her guest. "What information do you have for me?" Valence sipped at the cup, taking his time before replying. "Right down to business is it? You aren't curious how I have been, or what I have been doing?" Champagne stared straight at Valence. "I was taught that the only important thing is getting the job done, you should recall that. The information?" Valence grimaced, and then set his cup down on the table. "Your mark has been very busy these past few weeks, I personally saw him at the Ralles guild house; the fact that he has connections inside cannot be denied."

Champagne waited for Valence to continue, and when he did not, she spoke up. "And?" Valence was completely startled. "And? What do you mean and? If he has connections with the Ralles then he has access to the Strikers, and you do not want to get tangled up with them. I don't need to remind you that the Strikers have at least one shadow mage in their ranks, possibly adepts as well. You can be fast, but magic is faster, and you can be stealthy, but magic can find you. There is no way for you to go up against that."

Champagne stood up and pushed the chair back with her legs, slamming it against the back wall. "Do you think I care what they can do to me? If I am right, if everything that I have discovered so far is pointing me in the right direction, then this man that I seek started it all. He is responsible for the deaths of Hiras, Jalen, Kotsos, and Meline. Do you not understand that?" Without waiting for a response, Champagne ran towards her room, retrieved her gear, and starting putting it on.

Valence raced into Champagne's room just as she pulled the black hood over her face. "Alana, don't be a fool. I have been doing this for fifteen years longer than you, and I couldn't infiltrate their hideout, what makes you think that you can?" Champagne always hated when Valence called her by her real name. "Because I don't care. I don't care if I make it out; I have one goal, one mission, one final job. He WILL die." Valence waved his hands in front of Champagne's covered face. "Alana, it's me. I can help you, but you have to do this intelligently. You storming in there and getting killed won't solve anything." Champagne anger started to dissipate, and her movements slowed to a stop. "I know that, but I just feel so helpless." Valence smirked. "Don't worry, I'm going to help you. But let's make a solid plan." Champagne nodded, and allowed Valence to guide her back to the kitchen table. "I still remember the day you signed up with the Obol Guild, you looked like you just got you off the farm. I was one of the only members who thought you had potential, most of them wanted to send you down the river."

Valence shifted his weight from one leg to the other. "And look at you now. Half the bars east of the Kreshdale Mountains have stopped serving champagne so as not to have to speak your name." Champagne chuckled slightly. "Ok, I know that this mission is practically suicide, so help me. Let's sit down and come up with a plan. I know that this isn't your fight, but I need your help now as I have in the past." Valence dropped his arms to his sides. "And I will continue to help you as long as I draw breath."

The two of them sat back down at the table and started going over a plan that would have some chance of success. Valence wanted to draw out any important figures before moving in on the Ralle guild house, limiting the resistance that they would meet. Champagne suggested having a mock party, bringing in some of the Obol guild's contacts to pose as wealthy nobles, hoping to attract the attention of the higher-ups in the Ralle guild. "This is borderline guild war. The situation could get really nasty, and you know what that means." Champagne nodded. "We're going to have to go over our guild master’s head. Xaaz would never allow for the party to take place, he is too concerned with keeping a good image for Obol."

Valence glanced around, wondering how secure their conversation was. "That could make things even more difficult. The contact I normally use is a close friend of Xaaz's, we'd have little chance of avoiding his attention." "Then we will have to find another way. I am sure you have more than one contact, you have been doing this for fifteen years longer than me!" Champagne laughed at Valence, as she nudged his arm. His face was stone for just a moment, and then he laughed as well. "Very funny little girl. I will see what I can do.”

Champagne removed her hood and poured a second cup of tea for both of them, setting the kettle down on a thick rag in the middle of the table. Valence took another sip from his cup before he began to talk. “So how have you been? I used to be able to track your progress by speaking with some of the guild informers. They tell me that you haven’t exactly been reporting on schedule anymore.” Champagne nodded very slowly. “I don’t want to risk Xaaz or one of the other higher-ups trying to reassign me. This is my job, and I won’t stop until it is finished.”

Valence brushed a stray hair off of his tunic. “I see. Well, even without informers, it was pretty easy to discern your handiwork on top of the weapon shop. Those blades of yours leave quite the evidence on your victims.” “Good. Let that bastard know I am coming for him. He won’t see me until one of my blades is plunged into this throat.”

Valence nodded once again, standing up from the table. “I need to make some preparations before this mission of ours, and we’ll want to wait until nightfall to enter anyway. I’ll be back in time.” Gathering up his cloak and replacing his chair under the table, Valence smiled towards Champagne, and she smiled back. “I’m looking forward to it.”

It needs some polishing/editing, but any comments/suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

(Copyrighted M.H.)

2006-10-15, 03:11 AM
Well, im no book critic, but I think it was quite good. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

and the other held a look of sorrow that she had seen many times before.
Hmmm, I wonder if that guy was her freind in the past, and shes trying to get him back or something..... very suspensfull.

2006-10-16, 12:31 PM
Well, im no book critic, but I think it was quite good. It certainly kept me on the edge of my seat.

Thanks very much. I'll post chapter 2 on Wednesday or Thursday. I'm hoping to get some good input from people here so I can clean up my work a bit. Im usually overly critical of myself to the point I scrap hundreds of projects because of minor things. Hope to hear from others as well!