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Thread: Enter The Dragon
09-22-2010, 09:16 AM #1
Enter The Dragon
(author's note: Having aquired the rulebook last week, I came to realize how far off-track I was getting with some of my other fiction. Though I may revise my other story later, I've decided to write something much more in-tune with the pre-established information on Malifaux provided in the core rules. Hopefully, this won't have you going 'huh, what the heck is he talking about?'- and I shall attempt to provide a style somewhat similar to that found in the book. Thank you.)
The Guild had cleared an entire train for the passengers. Additionally, the train was making the shuttle to Malifaux in the dead of night, far after normal operating hours. But the train contained a very special group of passengers. It was not making such an atypical run because these passengers had paid for the passage, nor was it making the trip because they held any special status. This train made the journey into Malifaux at such an unusual hour because the Guild had decreed the passengers a public safety hazard. No less than five life sentences were held by any single member, and whereas many prisoners sent to Malifaux were done so on a life sentence, these prisoners had special orders from the Lord Governor to be sent directly to the Hanging Tree. There was not a single Scrip to be found between them.
First among the five who were bound was Dantelus Valar, who styled himself Emperor. Before being captured, he had created an underground empire around the dubious trade of refueling soulstones through the process of torture and murder, for a price. The only reason he had not been executed immediately was the legitimate concern that doing so would call down a storm of terrorist activity and the Guild had decided the wisest course of action would be to ship him to Malifaux where he would quietly ‘dissappear’. His hands and feet were bound together and bound to each other. Broad shouldered and heavily muscled, he bore tribal tattoos upon his back and shoulders of a dragon. His head was clean-shaven, and his expression was a carefully calculated blank slate that would rarely blink when watching someone or something. Sharp, angular finely chiseled features gave him an intensity that was difficult to ignore, and his flinty grey eyes were those of a criminal mastermind who believed himself possessed with power beyond mortal ken. Though of mixed heritage, many of his practices and style of rule had come from the Samurai and Ninja traditions of ancient feudal Japan. A number of these had been obtained from inspiration through time spent with his second in command.
Ash Corbin. Dantelus didn’t know if it was his real name or taken for his profession. But years ago the improbable self-indenture of the cold-blooded Ten Thunders assassin had changed his life. Time and again, when his empire had been threatened, Corbin’s Katana and Wakizashi, known as Soulfire and Heart’s Blood, had touched down in the heart of the opposition like a bloody hurricane. The little albino oriental man was unsettling. He wore his hair long, coating the natural whiteness with oil and soot to turn it black. His long leather trench coat was coated in black shoepolish and shined until it was almost reflective. He spoke with a heavy accent, and had reflexes and senses at the pinnacle of human potential, combined with years of training and practice. With the red eyes of a true albino, the man had an otherworldly quality that could unsettle most. He was even more intricately shackled than Dantelus, having twice escaped custody in days prior and killing his captors. The man was also more loyal than the best trained hound, more trustworthy of having Dantelus’ back than Dantelus himself due to the ancient Japanese traditions that he followed.
In the back of the train car holding the prisoners was an elderly man with a restraining mask bound in a straight jacket. Wild white hair stood out in all directions as though recently stuck in an electrical socket. This frail-looking man was known as Jujin R’Jaje, a criminally insane practitioner of magic that had traveled through a number of Sanitariums, each passing him on after discovering his habit of making ‘sacrifices’ and blood worship. Dangerously insane and unpredictable, he had for some reason volunteered for this, seeming fanatically eager to be sent to death at what he called ‘The Tree of Life’. Apparently a loose cannon, Dantelus nevertheless was stuck with him whether he liked it or not because of Jujin’s loyalty to the fourth passenger that somehow penetrated beyond his madness.
Jacinta R’Jaje was Jujin’s daughter, who Dantelus might not have suffered to be with if she weren’t so talented and keen on pleasing him. Her thirst for power and sadistic streak occasionally served to aide him, though it just as often conflicted with his egocentric outlook and caused him headaches. The bitch was crazy. Crazy in a different way from her father, though. Less random and off-the-wall, just as fanatical, and more power hungry and bloodthirsty. She had long crimped brown hair gathered together at the nape of her neck. She would occasionally cast scandalous glances at the fifth passenger brazenly confident Dantelus wasn’t going to notice.
Thick, long unruly black hair covered his head in dreads and massed in thick tangles over his shoulders, strings of the slowly spiraling stuff hanging in front of his face because he hadn’t bothered to shake them out of his eyes. It seemed to drape his head like a thick black hood, given more effect by the shadows it cast on his strangely tanned face, dark here, light there, seemingly at random. Except upon enough examination, an observer might have fit them to a particular pattern of hair hanging over his face during some time out in the sun. An unruly log of black chinhair seemed to extend his face and give him a drawn, somber appearance, supported by the rather permanent slight frown and often lowered brows. Piercing grey eyes might catch a small hint of light, like bits of flint, the rest in shadow, sunken behind the thick black brows. He might have seemed like some human version of an angry lion, or panther perhaps- the bit of ear showing through the hair or sharp nose reminding someone this individual was not in fact that sort of animal. The man called himself Gauss, and his body had a number of very old healed scars that could have been a pattern, or random- like tiger stripes, almost. Their onetime depth was hard to fathom, though some had healed not quite evenly, creating a subtle wrongness in the usual elevation of a man’s body. Yet he may have been attractive to women who would court danger, as muscles rippled and danced under a light sheen of sweat. Gauss was not a member of Dantelus’ empire, and other than actually being here, may well have not existed from any source Dantelus knew. What crimes he had committed were off any records.
The guards were too nervous to patrol the aisle between the prisoners, instead giving hard stares through the door up front. Hand-held safety rods descended from the ceiling as the Grand Boundary would have been looming into view ahead. Bound as they were none of them would have been able to reach that high, and none of them tried. Jujin in the back was pounding his head excitedly against the seat in front of him. Dantelus simply braced himself against the seat in front with his knees. The train lurched, kicked and rocked, sparks flooding the air with a strange clear sharp smell like after a thunderstorm, yet so potent it stung to breathe it. He breathed it deeply. It was the breath of the dragon. Of power beyond mortal ken. And the pain of it would cleanse him, refuel him. Soon, he would kill them all, all who would chain the dragon.
The train slowed, their arrival in Malifaux not even warranting a call from the conductor. The Guild probably intended to keep their arrival as secret as possible. Dantelus, however, felt that there was more to this than anyone present could guess. That this land, for some reason, wanted them to be here.
The train came to a jerking, halting stop at last. The door at the front of the cabin opened, and the guild guard there barely peeked his head in. “All right you filth, get your asses out of the cabin and off the train!” he barked, and no sooner was a canister thrown into the cabin quickly filling it with noxious, stinging smoke.
They were herded off the train like cattle. The hunched faltering posture Dantelus was forced to take by his restraints was humiliating. Before long they were all off the train, except Jujin. Watching the train filled with white gas that slowly leaked from the windows, Dantelus could hear his muffled and incomprehensible ranting somewhere in there, mixed with spurts of insane laughter and giggling. The Guild eventually sent four men with gas masks and shields that looked like boiler lids inside to get him. He was beaten out to the others but seemed hardly effected by it, his eyes shot with red from the gas, swirling with insanity.
“Welcome to Malifaux, gentlemen. Lady.” Said a voice behind them. Dantelus turned to face the speaker. “It’s too bad your tour will be brief.” The man speaking to them was tall, with a hat that turned up at the sides. He wore a poncho slung about his shoulders and a number of belts and plates fastened around his legs.
“So who do you think you are?” Dantelus replied flatly, with only the most subtle hint of hostility.
“The name is Samael Hopkins. Think of me as the Sheriff. And I’m the last unlucky turn of events you’ll ever see. I’m here to supervise your hanging. And I can assure you, because I’m here, none of you will live to see tomorrow.”
Dantelus’ eyes flickered past Samael for a moment, to a shadow of unusual proportions that had momentarily been leaning against a building at some distance, and now disappeared behind a building. His eyes came back to Samael, who turned his head somewhat as if making sure he wouldn’t be attacked from behind.
“There are quite a few strange things in these parts. The one I get to show you is the Hangin’ Tree.” Samael’s mouth turned up sardonically in a lopsided smile. “I guess we don’t need to worry about you lot going insane in your last moments. Most of you are more than half there, from what I’ve heard. Well, no time to dilly-dally.”
Guards formed lines on either side, forming up the group of prisoners in a tight formation. Austringers kept watch nearby in case the prisoners should try to escape. The pace was impossible to keep, nor did the brutal clubbings from the guards help any. Ten. Ten seconds. Nine. Eight… Soon enough Ash would have worked his way free of the restraints. Seven…
The entire formation with Samael at the rear, rounded a corner. Dantelus, in the front, was one of the first to see. A man was leaning against the next building down, quietly whistling a tune. He pushed himself away as the group rounded the bend, and tipped his comically oversized hat slightly, speaking directly to Dantelus. “So you’re the bloke, eh? I figured you’d be taller. Well no hard feelings on ol’ Seamus now, but this might hurt a bit.” He said with a wink and the smuggest of expressions. The guild guards had stopped in surprise and only now thought to shout a warning. “Toodle-too.” Seamus said, waving his fingers and stepping inside the building as he pressed a big red button on a box in his other hand. Dantelus had time to think of how Malifaux was already bending to his will with someone having been sent for him. Then the building down the road directly in front of him erupted right at him in a massive fireball.
(to be continued...)
Last edited by shawnreed343; 09-22-2010 at 09:45 AM.
11-03-2010, 10:51 AM #2
11-05-2010, 07:53 PM #3
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