Epilogue 1 of 4.
Silver disks clattered all over the floor as Garmen continued to stuff the leather bag as full as the seams would allow. In his haste, one of his hands slipped and a scooped pile had scattered down its side to form a glittering cascade as he gave a particularly colorful curse. His two most loyal Ropefists paused to glance back over towards him and exchanged a worried look.
Shafts of dying sunlight formed orange and yellow lances that slashed across the old warehouse that had been his backup hideout for many years. Garmen had never thought a need to use this place, but now that everything had gone to hell, he thanked the base cunning which had seen its potential as a life saver. He started to scoop up the silverdisks, but shook his head and muttered another curse. “A pox on that Purple Haired Bitch.”
The two Ropefists nodded in agreement, but said nothing as they moved to help their boss pack the last of his possessions. The moment his scout had returned with the news that Mayanda had emerged from the Black Hill caves, being led by the Champions of the Council, Garmen knew his number was up. Eventually she would reveal the bargain they had struck, if she hadn’t already, and Khonnir would send the Torchbearers to arrest him.
Konnir Bhaine, 1st councilman of the Torch Council and local enigma always detested the Casino Owner, and had it in for him. He alone was the only person on the council who Garmen feared to cross, because there was a secret being hidden, and in rare moments when Khonnir slipped up, he would reveal terrible power. The 1st councilor would not miss this opportunity to be rid of the crime boss permanently, and so Garmen Ulreth, business owner and Crime Lord of Torch, would now become a refugee.
Fortunately, as he was still a man of money and power, he had many options available to choose from. The most delicious option that presented itself was revealing what lay beneath the Black Hill, to agents of the Technic League. Undoubtably they would pay handsomely for knowledge of the technological artifacts hidden beneath the mountain, and Their involvement would certainly bedevil Khonnir and the accursed adventurer’s he had hired to foil all their carefully laid plans.
Throughout it all however, Garmen could not shake the feeling like he too, was being played. The Android, Mayanda had weaved a delicate plot upon her first arrival, and Ulreth had never received a satisfactory answer for what the strange device was beyond “something to move energy.” Before it had malfunctioned and exploded, the device had appeared to be becoming more and more active, loud and unpleasant to be around. It was unsettling to think about, but it was almost as if it had been building up towards something .. dangerous, potentially deadly.
He looked around at the abandoned warehouse and nodded. Torch had been good to him, and he would miss it. “All right boys.. bring the carriage around back. It’s time we say Goodbye to Torch and get some distance. Once we’re clear, then we can put out a call to the League.”
The two rope fists nodded once again and started towards the door. Unfortunately, they only got two steps before a quiet chuckle echoed all around the room.
“That’s too bad. I was rather hoping you wouldn’t involve the league. Your not complete scum, but you seem intent, which is why I’m going to have to kill you now.” The voice which echoed all around the room was quiet, dull and raspy, but could still be heard. Garmen drew a weapon as did the others, but then they all glanced around frantically at a strange sound. There was a dull buzzing noise as a small mechanical device emerged into the sunlight and hovered about the room. To Garmen’s eyes, it looked like a collection of small pieces of metal, gears and legs that had been crafted to look like a strange crab of sorts. It buzzed about the room as his two thugs swatted at it and tried to shoo it away. Finally Garmen saw a vicious looking needle inject snap from underneath as the device dove at one of the ropefists, and the man screamed as it drove the needle into his throat.
Such a tiny wound should have done little to the big ruffian, but as the man shuddered and died, his face already twisting into a purple richtus, Garmen suddenly lost his courage for what was happening and grabbed everything he could before fleeing towards the door. The Second ropefist tried to scurry away from his dying compatriot, but The small mechanical device was already spreading its wings like a vicious buzzing insect and had lifted off of its first victim to give chase.
As soon as he neared the rear exit, away from the dying thugs, Garmen reached for the door just as it started to open and a dry mist wafted into the room before him. A dark, robed figure emerged from the mist, its face obscured by a smooth metal facemask and goggles that wheezed with every breath the intruder took. The mist made it difficulty to see exact features, but it seemed as if several small hoses were connected to the mask, and with each breath, there was an almost mechanical hissing noise.
“Who the fuck are you?!”
The figure gave a small cough, but shook his head at the former crime boss. “No one Important, but I will say this, My brother sends his regards.” with that, the cowled intruder produced what looked like a cane that was covered with metal inscriptions that were woven together in hard lines that criss crossed one another all over its surface. He flicked the cane once, and touched it to Garmen as there was a blinding flash of light and energy that sent the Crimeboss flying backwards in a trail of smoke. The room still echoed with the energy of the discharge, but Garmen couldn’t hear anything at this point anyways. His eardrums had possibly been ruptured by whatever device the intruder had used on him.
As blood poured from his ears, Garmen reached down to retrieve his weapon and shivered at the static discharge that still lingered in his body after the impact.
“Right.. All right Creepy.. I’ll do you for that one.” Garmen snarled at the intruder.
His muscles still twitched and jerked slightly from the energy of the discharge, but Garmen still had enough strength and skill to charge at the intruder. The masked figure glanced up from beneath his cowl and Garmen could only see the black gloss of lenses that had been constructed into the mask. The intruder raised his cane in a defensive motion, as Garmen swung at him with all his might.
Halfway through the arc of his attack, his weapon met an invisible barrier of some kind and glanced away harmlessly. The figure did not even acknowledge the blow as Garmen shouted his frustration and struck again and again at the dark, mysterious intruder. Each time his weapon glanced off of some unseen armor that protected the intruder from attack. After several more strikes, the intruder flicked his wrist out and Garmen could see that his hands were covered with some kind of metal glove that had crystalline pads on each of its fingertips. The pads glowed for a moment as the hand was fully extended, and suddenly the sword was ripped from Garmen’s grasp and flew into the intruders waiting hands as he closed his fingers around the pommel.
Defeated, Garmen went to his knees and shook his head. “So.. its gonna be like this.. eh?”
The intruder only nodded once before extending his other hand, and touched Garmen on the forehead. As soon as the metal glove he wore made contact with Garmen’s forehead, a staggering amount of energy surged into the crimeboss’ cranium, cooking his brain and killing him instantly.
As Garmen’s corpse hit the wooden floor of the warehouse, The figure took a step back and glanced around, not even looking twice at the silverdisks strewn about before leaning over to cough several times. It was not a jagged, wet sound, but a subdued dry cough that the figure was able to quickly recover from. It motioned once for the mechanical device, which buzzed after him and landed on the cowled man’s shoulder as they both disappeared into the alley behind the warehouse.