A Chance Meeting #steampunk

Here comes part 16 of the Black Medallion series. If you are new you can catch up with the links below (sections are individually listed in their respective sections).

Section 1
The Black Medallion
Section 2
Through the Night Fog
Section 3
Shaper Magic
Section 4
Escape
In the Company of Shadows
A Chance Meeting
Lock and Key

A Chance Meeting

“We can’t keep doing this,” Jillian said. “They were close this time. Our luck is going to run out.”

They were on the first floor. Her rings had been taken from where they left them earlier. “Are there any other crystals on you that they could track?” he asked.

“That was it, I am completely out now,” she said “I have nothing left to help you with.”

“On my own,” he said. “This is how it has always been.” He reassured himself that his daggers and tools were in their proper places. “No sense spending any more time worrying about all this.”

“What are you going to do?”

“The only thing we can do,” he smiled, a smile that lingered as he faded away. “I am going to end this.” His voice came from the shadows. The door to the street opened and then closed, a shadow lost in the darkness.

“Damn you,” she said to the air. “What the hell am I supposed to do now?”

A chance meeting

Flickr Creative Commons via Tejvan Pettinger
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He hated leaving her. He’d spent so much time with Jillian that he felt a little off being on his own. There was a void he couldn’t remember experiencing before she joined him. He felt a little guilty in the luxury of having her along. It was more than he had in the past.

Even with Jak, they had never spent much time together, not like this. Damn it, it was never supposed to happen like this. Jak, dead, gone by his hand. Jillian would survive, if he didn’t do something crazy first. He hoped so, anyway. Neither of them had needed him. Until now he had thought he didn’t really need them either. Too late for Jak though.

He hugged the shadows, invisible to prying eyes. Few trains ran in the middle of the night. Tired eyes wouldn’t see him, wouldn’t notice the shadow among others that boarded and melded into the back of a cabin. He slipped to the floor of a closet and leaned back against the wall with his eyes closed. Though he would be stiff from staying in the same spot for the trip he would be able to loosen up on his walk from the station.

They had gone over the location of the house daily, she wanted him to know exactly where he needed to go to find the shaper. He thought it odd but now that the decision had been made, it all seemed to fall into place. Take out the shaper, this Damius Arith. Cut them off at the source of his problems to get back to his life.

And that was the problem. He wasn’t an assassin. He was a survivor. The few times he had taken life had been flukes, moments where he had left himself and the process had happened anyway. An unconscious decision made for him by outside forces. After each death, he had to run. Run to survive.

A calm came over him as he flipped the medallion front to back. He couldn’t run anymore, wouldn’t run anymore. Peace settled over him as he slid the medallion back into his sash. New energy filled him as his resolve grew. Today it would end.

He stepped out of the shadows as the train pulled into the station. He would walk in the open now. They couldn’t take the amulet from him. He wasn’t sure if they knew this yet, but it didn’t matter. The only way that would happen meant his death. There were more ways to die than he originally thought.

The high-town station was all but deserted. A few passengers had left the train when he did. The station wasn’t as big as the low-town station. Without the market and fewer travelers it wasn’t a necessity.

He wouldn’t be able to catch a cab, but he did know how to find the home he was looking for. He had some time to think as he walked. It was a double edged sword, time to think. Seemed to him lately he hadn’t had much time for that. His life was little more than survival mode. The amulet coming into his life didn’t change that. Searching for what you need to survive versus fighting to survive, either way it was all about scraping by.

At one time he thought the shapers and those in high town had it so much better, in some places they did. But they were slaves to their shaping as much as he had been a slave to survival. He needed something more to break free of the chains that bound him. The amulet, he had realized, was something more than just a simple tool. It was a key, a key that opened a specific lock.

That was why it left the fat man. He knew little to nothing of what it could be used for. It found its way to Tisdan. Through happenstance it turned out he was a lock it could open. In the opening so much more became possible.

This time to think was the only thing in his life now that felt natural to him anymore. Before the amulet he had enjoyed his simple life in the station. From his perches he could watch the lives of those coming and going. He was now pushed into something more.

He didn’t notice the cab pull along side him at first. It was quiet, blending into the night. It pulled ahead of him a short ways and then stopped. The Monsignor stepped out, stepped away from the cab but did not move toward Tisdan. “Chilly night for a stroll.”

“Took you long enough,” Tisdan said.

The monsignor opened the cab door, inviting him inside. “I thought you might have decided not to accept our invitation.”

“I want this done,” he said. “This has gone on long enough.” He climbed into the cab. The monsignor followed him in and sat across from him.

“How is my daughter?”

“Safe.”

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