Monday, October 11, 2010

Chapter Seven

Scea moved fluidly, arms outstretched and long sleeves dragging along the floor. She spun and the long trails swept up into the air, two loops of fabric swirling around her. She ducked and swirled, the beat of the drums throbbing though the air of the room.

As she danced in the flickering firelight she searched for her target. She found him at one of the tables near the raised platform upon which she was dancing. Scea continued her dance, whirling and flowing from position to position flawlessly. The trails of fabric spun and whirled, almost as if they were dancing on their own.

The drums began to slow and she slowed with them finally coming to a stop on her knees with her arms outstretched before her. She stepped off the platform as the audience applauded and the target approached her, eyes unfocused and a slack grin on his face, apparently the information about his more... unsavory habits had been correct. She smelled the alcohol on his breath as he drew closer.

She turned her back and walked away, swiftly going through a door and locking it behind her. She changed out of her dancer's clothing and waited. She didn't have to wait long, a knock came at her door. When she opened it it was the drunk merchant.

She walked straight past him, knowing that doing so would aggravate him in his drunken state and cause him to pursue. She swiftly exited the building and started down the street, the man stumbling after her. Then she turned down an alleyway and stopped.

The merchant soon arrived and approached, his breathing labored from running. He grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her around. She smiled at the look of shock on his face and stepped back as he began to cough blood, her knife protruding from his neck.

She left the dying man there and walked out the other end of the alley. She threw a cloak over her shoulders and raised the hood. She walked swiftly up the street and around the back of the tavern she had just left. Before she could reenter the building, however, she was waylaid by six men.

She didn't move as one of them tore her cloak off and, after looking her up and down, said, “Look, she's got those red scars on her arms. You're one of those freaks, aren't you?”

She said nothing and the man shook her, “Well, aren't you?” He slapped her, hard, “Can't freaks speak?” He slapped her again, this time so hard her shirt tore out of the man's grip and she fell to the ground.

She raised her self up on her hands and knees, still not making a sound. The man seized her collar and raised her into the air, “Well, freak? Scream. If you won't do it when I slap you, what will happen if I take you?” She said nothing.

He grinned and took out a jagged knife, “Let's see then shall we?” He began to cut her clothes off but before he could finish one of his fellows screamed in pain.

The man whirled around just as another man had his shoulder broken by a stranger. Scea immediately saw her chance and kicked the man holding her between the legs. He dropped to the ground, writhing in pain. She stooped and seized his knife just as one of his compatriots turned to her and the other two rounded on the newcomer.

She spun fluidly, as if she was once again on the platform dancing, and stabbed the man in the thigh. She wrenched the knife from his leg and let him fall, screaming, to the ground. She turned and saw the stranger fending off the other two men. She quickly ran behind the first one and stabbed him in the back, while the stranger, taking advantage of the other man's distraction, dispatched him with a knife nine inches below the throat and four inches the the left of the man's sternum.

Scea walked over to the last one and gave him back his knife, then hit him between the eyes with the knuckle of her index finger, knocking him out cold. She picked up her cloak and turned to the stranger, “What are you doing here?”

He smirked and said, “Killing rapists seems to be kind of a thing for me, these days, it's a nasty habit, I know,” He looked at her consideringly, “You left him in a most unbecoming position for a man of his stature, dead in a back alley, it's very demeaning.”

She turned to him, fastening the cloak, “Why help me though? And who are you?”

“My name is Ashen," the man said, "And I helped you because I have a business proposition for you.”

Scea looked at him coolly, “What?”

Ashen grinned, pulled the Ten of Spades from his pocket, and said “When you were a little girl, did you ever wish you could run away and join the circus?"

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