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Won of Wayfarer (Prologue)
The boy watched as the grand Vazzind guard patrolled through the streets. It was far past human curfew and with the knowledge that if he was caught with the item in his garb he would be subject to a fate far worse than death. For long months since the great Cataclysm he had heard the cries of those in the hellish realm of the Vazzind. This did little to ease the pressure that seemed to be surrounding his entire body. It was as though the entire Askruel Channel was surrounding his body.
He fingered his extension knife to help give him the confidence needed in case the guards would, by some miracle spot him in his hiding place among the cathedral’s gargoyles. He was proficient enough in the art of assassination as well as knife fighting, but it would be no great question as to who would win in combat with the imperial guard with their Element Scythes that even a novice could figure out how its mechanisms worked. He shuddered as he thought of the first time he narrowly escape their frightening power. He was lucky that it was in fact a novice rather than a full blown Vazzind guard. Novices were difficult, but professionals were near impossible. The part where the lightning element had touched his ankle still acted up around water.
The patrol rounded the corner at the edge of the next block and the boy began to breathe easier. Hopefully, this message would go swiftly and easily along with its delivery. He felt the package begin to throb under his cloak as he stood along the edge of the ruined cathedral’s stonework. It was a steep drop; nearly a league in height and one false move could completely destroy the Rain Thieves Brotherhood. One of the last Orders of the Rain left in the land of Livoudon and the most ancient from before the days of Doppelganger.
He steadied his foot and prepared to make the first jump. Warp jumping, as it was starting to be called was a new technology to the people of the world of Livoudon. It was a technology that was being kept secret (among other things) from the Doppelganger lords. The farthest distance a person was able to safely jump was about 20 meters without leaving parts of their body behind. He convulsed as he remembered the images of those he had seen fail at making the jump. Among other injuries, he remembered the man who had tried to jump a league, no one ever heard from him again. The other problem with warp jumping was the amount of stamina it consumed. Since the tools used for creating this technology had originally come from the bodies of expired Doppelgangers and imperial guardsmen, who carried enormous amounts of stamina within their bodies, it required inhuman amounts of stamina and energy to be able to make it several jumps without passing out mid-air.
He took a deep breath…and leaped out into air above the dimly lit streets of the Crossescoal. His short, light, blonde hair drifted behind him slightly off his scalp so that his cat-eyes could view the point of impact. He felt time and space stretch and twist into infinity around him then it all snapped back as it he had only taken a step or two. In a second after landing on the roof opposite of the ruined cathedral, he felt the wave of nausea hit him along with his strength diminishing at an alarming rate. He didn’t realize that even a strong, fit youth’s body could be so affected by the process. He repressed the urge to gag as he looked up to look for his destination. There were numerous roofs covered in tiles of different colors and variations of textures in the stonework that sometimes made it difficult to catch a hold on the top. As he started to walk across apartment buildings in search of his objective, he tried to remember the building he was told to deliver it to. According to the description that the God-Thief had given him, he was to find the roof that displayed little more than a single wind gauge. The roof he was looking for was not a normal stonework and shingled roof. It was supposed to be wooden almost clay-like which was strange in this day and age. He sighed as the sweat dripped down into his eyes and around his mouth. This was becoming increasingly difficult without the use of star fire during the day. Not even the blacklights were out tonight to show him some form or another of one of the most common items that decorated many of the homes in this area of Crossescoal.
The irony of the situation was that humans were once the ones who walked the streets openly without terror or in fear of being taken away to places unknown. Increasingly, people were using the roofs as a way of commuting between places in order to avoid the imperial guard. Those who walked took even more foolish risks than those who warp-jumped. Some just had yet to even try to cross the roofs in their fear of discovery and whatever fate may await them. Fools, you’ll just be slaughtered anyway, he thought.
Lost in his own thoughts his cloak caught on a small object. Cursing, the boy bent down to examine his cloak that featured a newly made hole. It was a new cloak that was issued specifically to him for his rank advancement in the Brotherhood. He was no longer considered a spy-thief, but advanced to the rank of assassin, the only rank without the traditional suffix of ‘thief’. Upon closer investigation on the frustratingly small item that so rudely interrupted his thoughts, he realized that it was in fact, a wind gauge. He put his palm onto the surface of the roof reassure himself that it was in fact the correct place. It was smooth, but not the metallic or of stone that he was used to. No, this was positively clay like and there was no other way of describing it. He had made it. Swinging down onto the small balcony that stuck out on the highest point of the building, he knocked three times fast, and four times slowly, the traditional way of announcing a member of the Rain Thieves. Two fast taps were returned to him, letting him know that the door was open to him and that whoever this was, they were waiting.
The boy took one more look at the package that he was about to deliver and thought to himself how the age of these abominations would soon be over. He stepped through the door to see a man, not much older than he standing in front of a great crest hanging on the wall. Within seconds, he realized that the crest contained each crest of the Orders and Brotherhoods around the world. So, this man must be a Great Sage, one who wields the power of all our Orders put together. He was one of the last of the Blood Lancers, the greatest warriors in the world that are said to live for a millennium and could rival even the Imperial Guard. He could feel the aura that surrounded him that left him breathless. His body pulsed power and for a moment, the boy felt as though he was in the presence of a god.
He turned to the boy and asked, “Have you brought the item.”
“Yes, Lord Jaylyyn, it will indeed bring peace to our world.”
“Remove it from its wrappings, and bring it to me,” he ordered.
The boy took the small object from its protective packaging and presented the small statue to the Great Sage. It was made entirely from gold, with diamond hands, the only two materials that the Doppelgangers could not touch. Within its hands, it carried a key and in the other, it carried a great scepter.
“You have done well Assassin Trualt, we shall begin to restore mankind!”