just a short chapter on Ethans new equipment.
|Broken Down Shack, Rathmore
Things get forgotten in the mournful streets of Rathmore. The outskirts of the city are no exception. The Hawk Nosed assassin looked at the small piece of paper, and then to the shack. The hut was once a place of warmth and comfort, filled with love and laughter. Now, dilapidated shack only knew regret and the smell of whiskey.
The Hawk Nosed assassin adjusted his jet black cloak. He stared at the urine-soaked man with disdain. He may have looked like a simpleton, but his eyes had the spark of intelligence. "Are you Rexword?"
A lopsided smile appeared on the smaller man's face revealing the rows of rotten and broken teeth. Dirty hands tugged on the wiry hair, "At your service milord. What brings you to my humble abode?"
The rusty voice hit the ears in the foulest ways. Hawk Nose adjusted his tricorn hat, "My superiors said you could help me."
"Not even for revenge against Lord Schaefer?"
Rexwords face stiffened, and his eyes regarded Hawk Nose with suspicion. "How do I know you aren't a disguised constable?"
"Do you remember the incident at the golden snail a couple of months back?"
"Yes, there was an attempt on Lady Clara's life, shame the assassin failed."
"I was the one trying to kill Lady Clara."
Rexwords eyes popped out of his head. His grime-covered hands shook the Hawk Nosed assassins. "You should have said so sooner. I have just the thing." He rose and began rummaging through a cupboard, "What happened that night?"
"I was stopped by a child."
"He had silver eyes devoid of fear, and he had no regard for his own life. I stabbed him in the leg, and he fought on. He conducted lightning through his body," Hawknose said.
Rexword scoffed and moved to another cupboard, "Now where did I put it...Sounds like an inherent to me."
"He wasn't. I was born with the ability to detect inherents and to nullify their abilities. I would have sensed the kid from the get-go. He was with that Reynard woman."
"What did your bosses say?"
"They understood to an extent. I was fortunate to get another chance. Lord Schaefer has relaxed his guard again."
"Found it," Rexword Crowed. He held a bottle of fiery blue liquid aloft. The potion almost seemed to pulsate with energy. Hawk Nose went to reach for it, and the disheveled Rexword snatched it away. "I must warn you of two things."
"The effects last for an hour at best, a half-hour at worst. Whatever you do, don't die. You will suffer a fate worse than death." Rexwords voice was severe and devoid of humor. His soiled hand held out the potion.
Hawk Nose hesitated to take the potion at first. He had learned chemists did not hand out warnings unless there was a good reason. Was the job worth the risk? Of course, it was. The potion felt warm to the touch, "How much do I owe you?"
"Nothing. Make sure Lord Schaefer suffers."
Ethan had been training sixteen hours a day for eight weeks. His so-called teacher, a Mongolian named Khan, was a brilliant salesman, but only had a grasp on the basics of combat. "Someone like you only needs the basics. Your abilities will carry you through most fights. Not everyone from the orient is a master, you know." It was unfortunate he said all of this while Ms. Reynard was standing behind him.
"Your services are no longer required. I want you off my property by sundown." She grabbed Ethan by the hand and dragged him away, "How far behind are you?"
Ethan looked up at her with respect. Their relationship had turned the corner, "The only way I am going to learn is by trial and error. He did have a point. A person with my powers and abilities should only need the basics. I have a good grasp of the meteor hammer." He emphasized his point by holding the six-foot chain, with two brass weights on either end, aloft.
Ms. Reynard sighed, "You are determined to do this?"
"It was your idea." He paused and wrapped the weapon around his waist like a belt. "For a minute there, I thought you were going to tell me I had another letter from Clara..." The excited look on Ms. Reynard's face meant the empty-headed Noblewoman had indeed written him another letter.
Ms. Reynard pulled the envelope from the folds of her dress with a smirk, "Are things getting serious between you two?"
"You do know Constance loves, her right?" Ethan was trying to escape this conversation. After he had watched his parent's marriage fall apart, he decided to be alone. The last thing he wanted to do is repeat the cycle.
"As I understand it, Lady Clara only seeks to be friends with Constance. However, the heart wants what it wants, and she refuses to accept the reality of the situation," She said in a critical tone. Several locks of her golden hair had fallen in her eyes, and she now worked to put them back up.
"She could give the poor girl a chance. It would get Constance off my back. Since the first letter arrived, she has been at me with the Lady Clara thing."
"If you wanted Lady Clara out of your life, why do you keep writing her back?"
Why was he writing Lady Clara back? Was he trying to be polite? Was there a deeper reason? Had he come to care about her behind his back? "I have no explanation, and I don't plan on looking too hard to find the answer."
Ms. Reynard opened her parasol, twirling it in her hands. "I think you already know the answer. Come now, Jules is waiting to show us what he has made."
Ethan had spent a lot of time in the study as of late. Ms. Reynard wanted him to learn strategy and tactics. He would spend his time surrounded by musty books away from Constance's shrill voice and accusations.
The jovial smith was waiting for them with three chests. Ethan liked the man he was s bit of showman, but the blacksmith business was competitive, and you had to stand out.
Ethan shook the massive paws of Jules. He and Jules had become friends over the last couple of months, "Good to see you again, man. How is Vierra?"
"She is busy as ever canning her fruits and vegetables. She wants to introduce you to some young women she knows," Jules said.
"What did you tell her?"
"I said you had something going on with Lady Clara. You two have been exchanging letters for a while."
Ms. Reynard cleared her throat, "Are we going to get to the items in the boxes, or are we going to talk about the young woman Ethan is courting." A sour look hit Ethan's face as he turned to face his caretaker. Ms. Reynard hugged him. "I tease because I care and because it's true."
Jules moved to the boxes before Ethan could say one word, "First, I want to show you the mask." He reached into a crate. The liquid black surface was broken up by blue steel lightning bolts on either side of the eyes.
"Wow, it looks amazing," Ethan said. He put it on. The soft wool inside the mask added a level of comfort.
"It comes with several features. It has a shield rune that will allow you to breathe underwater or protect you from toxic areas. I added a voice distortion rune and an illumination rune. The more power you throw into it, the brighter the light."
"You can take off the mask now, Ethan."
"No, I want to road test the gear after."
Jules moved along, pulling the brigandine with matching greaves, and armguards from the box. "I didn't complicate the armor too much. I added some reflective shield runes to all pieces. You can't cast spells, but you can send them back to the caster."
"Very impressive, what are the runes on the greaves for?" she asked. Her index finger pointed to the intricate scrollwork.
"I thought crowds would hamper Ethan's movement, so I put adhesion runes on them, he should be able to run along a wall, providing his concentration holds."
Ethan was already putting the armor, Ms. Reynard tightened the straps, to ensure it stayed in place. Like the mask, the armor had a liquid black color to it mixed with silver trim. "How do I look?"
Ms. Reynard ruffled Ethan's silver hair, "Scary, but I suppose it's unavoidable."
"The look fits in with Rathmore." He paused as he pulled a silver meteor hammer out of the box. "The meteor hammer is made with my finest steel. I didn't feel the need to etch runes into it, the weapon can perform a variety of functions."
Ethan wrapped it around his waist, "You save the best for last?"
"Yes, I did." Jules reached into the wooden crate and drew a studded leather belt with a pair of holsters, in the holsters were modified BlackHawk replicas made from the same material as the armor.
"No," Ms. Reynard said in an adamant tone. "He will not be using..."
"Because you will be on the streets risking your life?" Ethan asked.
"Relax, my lady. The revolvers are to solve his range problem. The runes convert his energy into stun shots. No bullets required."
Ms. Reynard sighed, "I am sorry Ethan...Ethan?" the teen had already left to hit the streets.
Ethan hadn't left to hit the streets. He had gone to his room to read Clara's letter.
At first, I thought you didn't like me. Your letters nearly broke my heart. My nursemaid, Gilda, set the record straight. She said some men do not know how to express their emotions, and come across as surly. She reminded me that you have responded to all my letters. Someone who didn't care wouldn't respond at all. I am sorry for doubting your heart.
My birthday celebration is tonight, and I would be pleased to see you there. I know Ms. Reynard has been keeping you busy, and I hope she will allow you to indulge in some frivolity. Having you there by my side would the greatest gift.
Love always, your Clara."
Ethan stared at the letter in hopes it would burst into flames. He would show up at the party tonight, but not as Ethan.