Thunder and Smoke
Thunder and Smoke
A hooded man made his way through the crowded streets of Legonia, elbowing his way past the throngs of factory workers making their way back to their tenements for the night. His head snapped anxiously around as he cast furtive glances over one shoulder or the other. The sun looked blood red through the blanket of smog that perpetually hung over the industrial district, it’s failing light washing the street in a sanguine hue. Soon it would set completely and darkness would swallow this city whole, even the street lamps would only serve to cast long, cloaking shadows into the nearby lots and alleys. “Almost there,” the man muttered to himself as he eyed a passing constable warily. A brief pop followed by a low buzz signaled the activation of the speaker that hung from the watchtowers that dotted the city, sprouting up above the horizon of roofs and chimneys like errant toadstools in a garden of iron and stone. Every person in the street was brought to a stop and immediately the hooded man become excruciatingly aware of every passing heartbeat.
When he heard the speakers bellow a message warning the city about a criminal wanted for crimes against the state he felt one the core supports that had always held his life aloft suddenly give way. As speakers went on to provide his description he briefly marveled at the reality of his life as it came crashing down around him. “Hold your ground, criminal!” The constable he had passed but moments before yelled, snapping him from his surreal contemplation. “Don’t move and-” The man did not wait to hear the rest. He bolted up the street with shocking speed, grinning with gritted teeth. “Never allow your prey room to run, you fool.” He grunted as he made his way towards the corner of one of the many large warehouses that lined this portion of the road. He remembered the second portion of that proverb as he rounded the corner and nearly collided with the absolute last thing he wanted to see. “Unless it is to dash itself against your spears.” He finished as he locked eyes with elven man who stood before him adorned with the unmistakable black and gold uniform signifying a State Magician.
An instant hung between them like hours as Fate mused over whose cord would be inexorably severed. A slight smirk played across the elf’s angular features as Fate grasped it’s chosen cord. A slight motion of magician’s delicate hands and a pursing of his thin lips gave way to the thick slap of mans hand striking gun leather. The mechanical clicks of his revolver’s action raced the strangely beautiful incantation that flowed from the elves mouth like poisoned honey as the two strangers stood with eyes locked. In a breath their gaze was broken by a puff of smoke and a spray of fine, red mist. The elf fell to the ground as Fate drew it’s shears and neatly severed his gossamer thread. He was not the first man to lose his life in this city, and he certainly would not be the last.