The Dark Commander and The High Priestess of Carnage Church sit at the head of an oval table, Querrick stands at attention as is customary front and center and Lucius and his men surround the outer perimeter of the grand room. Rays of sunlight poke through the many windows giving the room a look of being guarded with laser beams. Querrick scouts the room with his periphery and sees Isabel and Lykas beside Lucius and doesn’t react in the slightest; in fact, his vision moves past them as if they were only objects. Nine bodies drop from the sky and land on their feet like cats and take seats around the oval table, Querrick isn’t surprised to see it’s his old battalion. With Lucas and Benetta sitting closes to the commanders.
“Now that all parties are accounted for,” The High Priestess says, “let us begin.”
“Querrick Machiavelli Bonaparte,” The High Priestess says, “affectionately known as “Q”, begrudgingly known as “Headhunter”. We call you here today as your services are highly requested and unequivocally needed.”
Querrick’s expression remains stoic.
The High Priestess continues, “The beneficiary that requested your services is non other than Amadeus Huxley, the private owner of Carnage as well as fourteen other cities across the state of Ravage and whose family played a great part in building the country of Savage. He specifically requests the use of your unique moniker as Headhunter to deliver the head of one Serius Presley.”
The Dark Commander throws a slip of paper and Querrick catches it flawlessly with two fingers. Querrick looks at the paper and sees a gangly and angular looking fellow that can use a severe tan. He can tell just by the photo Serius resides in the underbelly of Carnage. He can also tell that the man is high-strung and doesn’t trust easily which is good if you live in Carnage as trust gets you manipulated and killed. Querrick throws the slip of paper back and the Dark Commander catches it the same way Querrick did and burns the thing. Querrick understands that the Commander and Priestess won’t tell him anything about the target and he’ll have to do all reconnaissance himself, he also understands that if he does this efficiently they’ll just hold the children hostage until he’s completely reintegrated into warfare, and he doesn’t want that to happen. So, what are Querrick’s options?
- He can refuse and walk away, to hell with what happens to the children.
- He can refuse, kill everyone in the room (well, all of Lucius’ men, anyway) and escape the Dark Commander, Priestess, and his old battalion, all of who know where he stays.
- He can complete the mission, steal the children away and hide them somewhere undisclosed. Although, if he accounts for the Commanders and his battalion, that will be way easier said than done, even with someone of his skill.
Or, he can go with the fourth option. . .
“Fine,” Querrick says, “on one condition: the children come with me. Non-negotiable.”
“No—” The High Priestess says.
“Fine.” The Dark Commander cuts her off.
The High Priestess looks at the Commander.
“You should know our son better than that, Maria,” He says, “Most of his badges of Valor come from saving children. If we try to use them as leverage on him, he’ll kill half the people in this room including some of his old battalion, and he won’t hesitate to come for our heads as well.”
The High Priestess considers then relents, “Fine. Release the children.”
Lucius lets the children go and they run back to Querrick. Querrick turns and walks away with Isabel and Lykas in tow.
“He’ll be dead tonight.” Querrick says as they leave.
The trip back to the cabin took about five hours. With the sun beginning to go down Querrick knows he has little time to complete the act. Isabel and Lykas have said nothing for the whole trip and only speak when they get back to the cabin.
“You’re not really going through with it, are you?” Isabel asks.
“I am.” Querrick says, “and you two are coming with me.”
Lykas’ eyes light up, “We are! Awesome!”
Isabel smacks Lykas, “There’s nothing awesome about killing people, and you know that!”
Lykas rubs his cheek, “look, people die every day and you know that better than anyone. Besides, if we’re going to train there will come a day where we have to kill someone. Might as well see it now and get the fear out of the way.”
“Your sister’s right, kid.” Querrick says, “nothing awesome about killing someone.”
Isabel looks at Lykas with the ‘I told you so’ face.
“However,” Querrick says, “he’s gotta point.” Querrick continues, “If you two plan to live your lives in Carnage, there will come a day where you have to defend yourselves and your own. Killing may also be necessary.”
Lykas returns the ‘I told you so’ face to Isabel in kind.
“Besides,” Querrick says, “they’ve been following us since we left so if I leave you two here they’ll take you back and have leverage. Our followers are probably my old battalion members, to make me have reservations about killing them.”
“Are those really your parents?” Lykas asks.
“Yeah,” Querrick says, “and the history’s as dark as that room you seen them in.”
Querrick gets his stealth weapons ready consisting of a machete and a short sword along with some daggers and handmade poisonous darts. Querrick hands Lykas a lightweight wooden short sword with the sharp side fashioned after a chainsaw. Querrick hands Isabel a lightweight metal bow staff.
“Hey!” Lykas says, “how come she gets a metal weapon?”
“I don’t trust you with metal,” Querrick says simply, “master the weight of that one first then we’ll talk.”
Lykas slumps his head and Isabel chuckles.
“Alright,” Querrick says, “for this first mission you two will shadow me. Stay close and don’t get separated. I’ll show you how to kill someone from long range. The part where I take his head is strictly business, nothing personal. The weapons are only to be used if we get separated for some reason, anyone approaches that looks or seems hostile, use any means necessary to get away and find a hiding spot. I’ll find you later.”
Lykas has a questioning expression on his face.
“Don’t worry about it,” Querrick says as if reading his mind, “I’ll find you. You have my word as a soldier.”
Lykas smirks then nods.
The three leave the cabin without another word.
The three are on the roof of a tavern on the outskirts of Carnage. The city lights shine bright in the night and the many people going about their shady business come out to play. Thugs, hoodlums, skanks, sluts, and prostitutes start grabbing corners like lottery tickets and lowlife scum start picking them up just as quick. Querrick is disgusted, Isabel is saddened to have to be at Carnage and Lykas is determined and ready for action.
“Alright,” Querrick says, “first thing’s first,” He starts, “the target isn’t going to be in the city. He resides in the underbelly where all the backdoor shady deals really go down. The phot I was shown was taken somewhere in the financial district which tells me he’s a gambler in the underground casino. The financial district is about two miles east and will take about thirty minutes to get to by rooftop. It’s seven o’clock right now which means we got time. The night has barely started which means he won’t be coming out till nine or ten. We’ll get to the district, find a prime location and wait.”
Querrick leads the way as they jump rooftops without another word.