Man on the Train

Ready for another installment of the Black Medallion? If you need a refresher check out the earlier installments at the links below provided in story order.

The Black Medallion
Arnessa’s Pub
The Man on the Train
The Shaper’s Shop
Mind Games
Section 2
Section 3
Shaper Magic

Man on the Train

Tisdan caught the train back to low-town. He had broken the gold with regret, but the thought passed through his mind only briefly. Swintle had never thrown him out before. Though that wasn’t the oddest part of the morning.

He had killed the man. No thought, pure instinct, he had killed that man. This return trip on the train had taken the longer path around the city. Lost in thought he hadn’t noticed when he boarded. It left him with nothing but time, and his thoughts. Thoughts that kept returning to the knife as it left his hand and the medallion that he carried in his waistcoat pocket.

Or no longer in his pocket but in his hand. He couldn’t remember pulling it from his sash. His thumb throbbed with irritation where he had been rubbing the amulet’s edge.

The glyphs were clearer, a language he couldn’t understand but he could pick out subtle meaning in their placement. He slipped it back into his sash and looked out the window to get his bearings as the train pulled out of another station.

It had been a short stop, with few passengers disembarking. A tall man in a dark suit sat down in the seat opposing his. Tisdan gave him a quick once over. The threading on his suit-coat looked new and clean. His top hat settled in the seat next to him, in his lap was a black cane with a large blue gem embedded in the handle.

“You have been traveling quite a bit today,” the man said.

“Excuse me?”

“You have not been easy to find.” The man removed his thin leather gloves and placed them in his lap. Gems in the rings on each of his hands held a soft glow.

“I beg your forgiveness sir, but I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.” Tisdan tipped his hat. “How might I help you?”

The man looked him over and reached into his overcoat. He pulled out a silver card case, then loosed a card. As he Handed the card to Tisdan he said, “I represent a party interested in an item you have in your possession.”

Tisdan slipped slipped the card into a vest pocket, then stood up. “I think you may have mistaken me for someone else.”

As he stepped away the man grabbed his wrist. The touch carried an uncomfortable warmth. “We will not wait long for you.”

*

The door to his apartment stood ajar when he arrived. The deadbolt had been severed, sliced clean through. Tisdan pushed the door open from the side, and did a side look around the frame to see if anyone was still inside.

The apartment was a single room like many in low town, a ten by ten cubicle. Tisdan’s apartment had a desk that he used for working on most of his tools. At least it used to. The desk draw was pulled out, its contents scattered around the room. The desk broken, the pieces scattered around the room. The palette he slept on had been flipped and shoved against the wall.

The break-in at his apartment wasn’t a major thing in and of itself. He didn’t spend much time there so it was almost expected that someone might try to claim the space. But this was more than just an encroachment on territory. Someone was looking for the amulet.

*

Tisdan pulled the amulet out of his sash and set it on the table in front of Jak. “Ever see anything like this before?”

Using a knife Jak spun it around and then flipped it over. “Where you get it?”

Tisdan watched him for a sign of recognition, a glimmer of an idea. “Station earlier. It was different.” He settled back in the chair, breathing out a heavy sigh. “The mark is dead.”

Lifting it in the air with the knife, he brought it closer to eye level. “I have heard rumors, but nothing specific. Heard about some mucking about in a station.” Setting it down he focused on Tisdan. “You did it?”

“Not sure what happened.” He kept his eyes level with Jak’s. “There was no thought. I had the purse, pushed past and then turned to see the man fall.” Clearing his throat he glanced out the window. “I didn’t stick around.”

man on the train

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Jak went into the small kitchen. Cupboard doors squeaked and glasses clinked while he rooted around. He returned with a bottle and a couple shot glasses. “Something is happening.” He opened the bottle and filled both glasses. “Something big, and you found your way into it.”

“Swintle looked at this and kicked me out.” He grabbed the amulet back and slid it into his sash. “Didn’t give me a chance to move on my own. M Ton threw me out.”

Jak picked up the glass and held it under his nose inhaling deeply. Closing his eyes he downed the shot and poured another. “I know a guy,” he said. “He might be able to help.”

###

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