Against my advice you have decided to come to Leth. Since it seems as though you are set on this course and that nothing will dissuade you there are a couple of things you need to know about the city. I’ll start with the people you need to avoid.
Dawes waited at the top of the inn she had more or less converted into her home over the last five years. She started walking across the roof stopping at side of the roof that overlooked the entire city of Leth. She looked up at the sky and surmised that it was sometime around noon. Then she got annoyed. Why the hell didn’t I look at my pocket watch she wondered. It would have been a simple thing for to her to reach into her damn pocket and grab the watch but she knew subconsciously that if she looked at the pocket watch she might get angry. She didn’t like getting angry.
While Dawes would never admit it she had a bit of a temper. If she were being honest with herself she would say that she had at least 3 bits of temper in order to make an awkward joke that would ultimately not be funny. Where the hell is he? He was always late, the eccentric bastard. She should have expected this. In fact she did expect this but she had lied to herself and said that he might surprise her by trying to get here early in order to throw her off. The one thing she could say about the bastard was that he liked surprising people.
Which was fine. As long as it wasn’t too annoying, or didn’t miss an appointment from LIKE A FUCKING HOUR FROM THE TIME THEY AGREED UPON.
Damn, she couldn’t think about that. She should think happy thoughts. She tried very hard to think happy thoughts. Very hard. Very very very hard. VERY VERY VERY VERY HARD. Unfortunately, for her none of those happy thoughts could divorce themselves from the concept of punching Cubes in the face, so in the end she was just left with a lot more anger than she had wanted and that in itself was infuriating on multiple levels.
The Church of Iron taught that anger was like rust eating away at a person until all the good parts were gone leaving them with only anger, hatred, and regret. Despite having a horrible temper herself she found that she agreed with that assessment, no really it was because of her temper that she could fully realize the cost that having so much rage could impose on a person. Today was already going to be trying enough she didn’t need to reflect on the fact she was going to be burning and choking in an infinite sea of blood for all of eternity when she died.
She started to shake her head. Her right foot kept jumping in the air while she herself had begun scowling. She waited what she thought was around two minutes and as she looked down towards the street she didn’t see anyone coming. She shouldn’t get angry she reminded herself. Even though she knew how pointless it was to think that and remind herself. She knew she would be mad anyway. She also knew that it was pointless to get angry and that this anger wouldn’t help Cubes get here any faster, It wouldn’t help her fix anything, and it wouldn’t help her feel any better.
After waiting a few more minutes Dawes words she decided to look up at the sky in order to get distracted in its wonders. After a moments glance she decided that the sky was overrated. There were no wonders only a deep blue expanse with an annoying gold pore that decided to shit out heat from time to time. Oh and there were also clouds.
Dawes decided to sit on the edge of her building on the opposite side of where she was before. From there she could see the edge of the city and beyond. Past the walls of the city there was a valley filled with flowers and a stream cutting through the earth creating a nice path of rushing water. It was oddly calming to watch this small ranging stream rolling through the great expanse of the valleyed hill. The thing she was struck by was how big the hill was. In units of measurement she would say that the hill was a big ass hill.
She looked at that hill towering over the city like a furious father standing over a cowering child. Part of her wondered why the entire city was not drowned in the hills shadow and another part of her was annoyed she hadn’t really noticed that hill before. She had been here for like five years; what the hell. She shook her head and waited, deciding to be lost in the beauty of the countryside than lost in the madness that was her own rage. She decided then she would talk to her there.
Part of her thought this would be the perfect time of Cubes to pop up she wasn’t as angry now. Minutes past and there was no sign of cubes. Fuck.
If you happen to come across Cubes do me a favor and kill him. Why you ask. Just know I have my reasons.
Eyas ran across the rooftop annoyed at how her night had been ruined by someone trying their very best to kill her. She dodged deftly to the left as the gunshot missed just past her face. With the quick rate of return fire and that distinct sound she surmised that her attacker had been using a bolt-action rifle but she was slightly impressed he was able to see her in the darkness that surrounded them and somehow was able to avoid her gaze as well. The moon was out in full force but the giant ocean of stars flowed throughout the sky creating a deep puddle of darkness. Eyas was glad that her Surgedrinker abilities allowed her to see in the dark because the architecture of downtown Leth was beautiful in a disgusting sort of way.
Nothing in downtown fit together. There was no unity between buildings in shape, reason, or color. Walking through the Downtown during the day was like trying to hear 50 different singers perform 50 different songs at the same time. There were a conflux of themes, styles, and forms which made it all the more beautiful. No, it made it seem alive. The way that sound breathed across the rooftops made her wonder about the people inside their houses and buildings that should have heard this fight going on. Then she realized they might not be able to hear it after all she could not see her attackers. She was greatly puzzled by that because the way the rooftops were designed it was easy to jump in between buildings and that should have made it easy for her to see where her attacker was moving since she should be able to see him or her clearly in the night with her storm eyes yet despite all of this she still could not see him. That could be bad.
She easily dodged a bullet that had been aimed at her head by moving a little bit to the right. Doing this she could easily see the bullet fly past her face into the impressive night sky which allowed her to realize that there were at least two attackers. There was no way that he could have gotten behind her so fast even though the one attacker in front of her kept moving. What a pain she thought, it was annoying to have to deal with this tonight especially because she had been so close to getting laid.
She was mere moments away from it when one of the gunmen had taken a shot at her. The only thing his or her bullet had only managed to kill was the mood; although Eyas was impressed she had managed to catch the bullet with her teeth. That was downright impressive. Even by her standards.
She dodged a coordinated attack from both sides they were trying to catch her by shooting her when she was in the middle of dodging initial shot. Such a great strategy. This was incredibly inconvenient one because now she was not able to get laid but this would also mess up her morning.
Eyas did not like the morning already however becoming paranoid that someone would try to kill you in your sleep also had a way of dampening her mornings. She hadn’t felt that emotion in 5 years. It was not a pleasant one. Also she was supposed to meet Dawes at some time in the afternoon and since she usually slept until the afternoon this little assassination attempt had messed up her entire plans for tomorrow she would be tired all day.
Her initial strategy had been to make them think that she was low on Surge by dodging their shots at the very last moment and maybe if the situation called for it taking a bullet in a non-essential body part. Which would be fine since she would be able to heal. The fact that she couldn’t see them even when they firing at her even with her Stormeyes meant that there was someone who played the Devils game one their side. It would be tough to kill someone who played the game and it was impossible to simply guess their abilities since every player of the game had a unique ability. She wondered if his or hers was like Cubes. Although part of her knew they must have had some ability to manipulate darkness. Knowing this began to make her think that she might have to start stalking her friends.
It wasn’t as if she didn’t trust her friends or thought they were the one behind this it was simply because she was worried that they might get attacked like she was being right now. This entire fight had made her think that something bigger was going on. This wasn’t a simple assassination attempt. It was too organized and too personal. Not on her part but the part of her attackers they had worked together before they were fighting with too much coordination and obviously they had fought a Surgedrinker before. The most damning evidence was that they had a player of the Devils game on their side who was choosing not to show themselves despite the seeming advantages they possessed. All of this made Eyas think that this first strike was simply a way to test her abilities. It was all together too suspicious there was something going on.
If there were going out of their way to eliminate her than they might go after Dawes or Cubes as well and she would not allow that. They were all she had left. So even after warning them about this Eyas was sure- three shots rang out in quick succession and while she managed to dodge all of them she didn’t like how the number of people kept growing after a couple moments. She was however more convinced that she would have to stalk her friends in order to protect them, however to do that she had to figure out how to be at two places at once. She decided to focus on the little problems first and do her best to kill her attackers. She sighed because she knew that after all this was done she was going to have to go to the Saloon.
If you see Dawes don’t and for some reason you have to interact with her don’t do it unless she is with Eyas otherwise avoid her. The two stabilize each other and Dawes is much less stable without Eyas bracing her. She also punches things really hard. Being a veteran of the war like Eyas she to ranks pretty high in the Lethian power structure also. However it is her instability that places her at second on this list.
Cubes’ real name wasn’t Cubes. His real name was something boring that did not distinguish him in any way. It was not like he refused to acknowledge the name, he simply disliked it. He felt it did not represent him in any real way. Cubes was better. It was a name that represented the culmination of everything he was up until that point. A single word for the life of one man.
As he sat in the brothel he was moderately happy to observe the people around him. As Cubes sat in the highest rated brothel in Leth he set his sights onto the people flowing around him. The first thing he noticed was the lack of pointed ignorance from the people beside him. They held a normal level of interested disinterest in him. Men and women going into the brothel were focused on moving further in and those men and women who were leaving were focused on getting out as quickly as possible. They barely spared him a cursory glance as he sat in his chair near the entrance. What surprised him the most was that no one had stopped to ask him where this obviously alien chair had come from. All these findings this led Cubes to conclude that he had chosen his disguise well. No one was afraid and he hadn’t observed any pointed disinterest in his so he was sure his clothes hadn’t have given him away as a player of the Devils game. He would have to be careful with his hand movements however.
He waited for the flow of people to dry up and when no one had passed in or out for a while he decided to move in on in search of what he wanted. As he began to rise his chair started to dissipate into a nebulous cloud of black smoke. After waiting a few moments to make sure no one had noticed Cubes began to walk towards the attendant. Or assistant. Or whatever a person who managed the prostitutes was. As he walked towards her the first thing he noticed was that she had innocent looking breasts and that surprised Cubes considering that she was a prostitute and all.
As he walked up to her he saw the words Sarkan appear just above her head in bright bold green letters. He would have to be careful he didn’t say her real name. That would raise too many questions. When he found himself in front of her he smiled at her and she smiled back he thought to himself she also possessed an honest face while at the same time possessing warm almost motherly eyes. Part of him was sad because those eyes did not hold what he was looking for.
Sarkan said, “How are you doing today sir? Do you know how things work here?”
“umm what?” Cubes asked
“Sorry, you just seem so young and I don’t remember seeing you here before.” And with a coy smile she said, “And I think I would remember seeing you here.”
Cubes laughed and said, “Well to be honest I am not sure entirely sure what to do here.”
Sarkan, “Hahaha it is always cute to see you guys walking around. Well first do you have any specific tastes, practices, or interests that we could cater too? We cater to anything and everything.”
Cubes just realized that he hadn’t thought that far into his plan. He actually hadn’t really thought far enough to really call this a plan. He was simply drawn to this place by someone. No something someone had, the most important thing of all. However, presently he wasn’t even sure of what he wanted how to go about this whole deal and how he wanted to proceed.
“Ummmmm. . . ”
She laughed raising her hand to her mouth and said, “If you have no specific preferences you can make a selection from our plethora of wonderful ladies and gents.”
Well that was convenient Cubes thought. Then after a moment he cleared his throat and said, “I think that would be best.” Sarkan gave him a small warm smile and disappeared from view behind the curtain. When she returned she was followed by a grand convergence of 10 people. There were five men and five women even numbers Cubes thought it was funny how she was able to find exactly five people of each gender.
“Take your time”, Sarkan said, “One can never be too cautious when choosing a lover.”
Cubes began looking at the people before him and as he walked past they began to remove their clothes in a pleasing manner. However, Cubes was not appraising the appeal of their bodies he was appraising the worth of their person. As he walked past each person he looked at their eyes to see if they had what he was looking for.
He stopped before one woman. She smiled at him but her smile wasn’t warm like Sarkan’s or bright like Eyas’ she had a different smile a sly smile. A smile that spoke of mystery and intrigue that was oddly intoxicating. However, it wasn’t her smile that drew him to her it was her eyes. He could see it well masked but present. Underneath any pretension she had it, that magical quality about a person that made them truly interesting and unique. As he looked at her name floated just above her head the A’yuffi Red. She would be fun to play with because she alone had among all those he had evaluated the one thing he looked for in a person. Ambition.
The bastard Cubes is a Taken Child like me but it would offend me if you put us into the same class of power. He is strong for someone who plays the game and that makes him pretty strong by Lethian standards but far from the strongest. The strongest would be without a doubt The Unrelenting Storm, The Hero of the war, Eyas Mi. Because of her dazzling title she third on this list of people to avoid.
Adoline Zodd looked across from her table evaluating her subordinate Tyro’s reaction to this interesting news. She looked at his scarred face hoping to find something moderately intelligent there.
“So Eyas Mi is going to be attacked again.”
“Yeah”, Adoline said.
“So what do you think Z? Do you want to offer the assassins a helping hand provide them with some helpful tips so they remove her out of the equation?” Tyro asked
“No I don’t think so.” Adoline paused then she said, “I think it is time we stop observing her and establish a working relationship with her instead. There have been some interesting developments in Arcovia since the Rider of the West Winds has made an offer to anyone with ears to hear and I think Eyas will be very interested in what his offer entails.”
Tyros smiled, “You always manage to surprise me.” It wasn’t hard to surprise Tyros, “I would have thought you would want her dead considering how she could mess up our plans, but now you want to work with her.”
Adoline sighed, “Normally I would want her dead but if there is anything that the war with Arcovia proved it is that she is not someone who dies easily.”
Tyros had this interesting smile creep onto his face on his face and said, “It is funny most kids dream of finding out they can drink from one of the four pools of power and yet those kids that got that wish were forced to fight in a war they had no idea the cause of.” Tyros began to chuckle, “An entire war fought because some Rich Prince wanted to get his dick wet.”
Tyros shook his head looking up at her he asked, “How do you think you would do in an environment like that shipped off to war when you were only 12 years old forced to fight because of your abilities?” Adoline liked watching Tyros’ attempts to sound smart. Watching his constant failure usually brightened her day.
“That. This line of questions is irrelevant to our current concerns.” Adoline Zodd shook her head.
Tyros was an important pawn but he ultimately added little to the conversation honestly she just wanted him here so someone could listen to her talk, “What is worse than her inability to die is the fact I think the war made her paranoid she is always tapped on Surge and I have no idea where she keeps getting it from.” Adoline said.
Tyro whistled and said “Damn, even you don’t know that is . . . impressive to say the least.” Of course it was impressive it was pointless to say so the fact Adoline had admitted to someone managing to keep a secret from her was impressive in and of itself. Irrelevant.
Adoline decided to nod, “Eyas is a specimen of unique quality and I think I may have made the mistake of underestimating her.”
Tyro paused then said, “Well . . . to be fair she doesn’t seem that smart. Plus her status as the Hero of the war comes more from her overwhelming skill as a Surgedrinker than any tactics she might have displayed.” Oh that was almost intelligent part of her was almost proud of Tyro. However, that also was an irrelevant point because she already knew that.
Adoline Zodd decided to end the conversation now, “I think it is time we tell Eyas who put a target on her back.”
“It should be interesting to see how she reacts to the prize she has been guaranteed as the winner of the war.”
Irrelevant. Adoline thought it was all irrelevant to her plans.
The last person you need to watch out for is the owner of this bar that is called a saloon. The truth is the Saloon isn’t really a Bar. Well it kind of is they serve drinks and food but that is simply a front for its true business information. If you see the woman called Adoline Zodd avoid her at all costs. If you are at the Saloon don’t mention the Zakala incident. EVER. Even if she isn’t there don’t mention it or else she will find you and you will be lucky if she just kills you.
Wait the woman with the honest, face, and innocent breasts she was the manager. Cubes was annoyed it taken him so long to figure that out. As his interesting new friend lead him into a descript non-descript room to get to know each other better he became more secured in the knowledge of what exactly he was going to do next. When he returned to the city a week ago he had felt this brothel call out to him . . . . That was the best way to describe what happened which ironically did nothing to actually describe the emotion he felt as he walked by the brothel. Perhaps the best way to describe this would be to say that like most people who went to brothels he felt a great need for satisfaction.
He looked across the room and was struck by how nice it was. The bed looked incredible, the sheets looked and felt comfortable and he was actually impressed by the intricate designs that were worked into wood frame of the bed. There were paintings on walls that looked like they could be inside of one of the Old World museums. It was strangely nice and somewhat annoying since a majority of the people who had gone into this room had not even noticed the artwork or the fine craftsmanship.
He walked towards on one of the very well made chairs that were all across the room. This window was near a large window which created this nice glimmering effect of moonlight that he knew would make him look mysterious as hell when he revealed self. As he looked through the window he could see that the usually demure moon had shown itself on this night. Last night it was the same and last night Eyas had been attacked. He wondered if something would happen tonight .
When he had seen Dawes earlier today she told him what happened to Eyas. Apparently she had tried to meet them both in the morning when he was supposed to give Dawes the supplies but since he had been late she had only told Dawes. Dawes had been pretty furious with him because he had been late but she wasn’t as angry as he had expected her to be. She might have been more worried about Eyas than she was willing to admit however. Interestingly enough Eyas was more worried about them and although Dawes did not think the attack was something to be care about Cubes had a feeling that Eyas’ might be right to worry.
When he told Dawes this she joked that he should be more worried about her killing him than anything else. He thought she was joking anyway.
Cubes could feel himself becoming lost in thought and so he turned away from the window and sat in the chair. His new companion had made herself comfortable on the bed and although she was naked the thing that drew his gaze was her eyes.
“Sorry, I got lost in thought I meant to tell you that you don’t have to take your clothes off. I am not interested in sex.”
After he said this she seemed both to be angry and confused.
“I am still going to pay I would just like something else instead.” The thing he hated most about being a player in the Devils game was that in exchange for his power he could not interact with the world in the same way a normal human could. However while he couldn’t do certain things it did allow him to do this cool trick. When he finished speaking that he moved his hands quickly through the air making his way through a series of selections only he could see in order to get to his items list. Going into his items list he equipped his white suit. His favorite suit. His initial outfit melted into mist and condensed into this perfect White suit with glowing azure diamonds running across the arms. While doing that he changed his hairstyle back to the way it usually was with his long black dreadlocks flowing behind him. As he was doing this he noticed that she looked a little bit more worried but she hadn’t needed to be afraid. As finished by equipping his white hat and it fell into his outstretched hand and he knew he looked cool as hell in that moon light.
He placed his hat on his hand and said “My name is Cubes and I simply want to hear the story of how you came to be in this place.” He gave her a moment to speak. It was true all he wanted was the story of the person who had drawn him to this place.
Don’t try and find me when you get to the city. I will find you if you find me first I am going to have to tell Mom some really sad news.
Don’t get in my way.
Dawes sat with Eyas on a hill overlooking the city of Leth. Dawes looked at the sky while Eyas lay on the ground with her eyes closed and a peaceful expression on her face. She looked so beautiful and pristine she did not want to disturb her rest. However, she had been wanting to talk to her about this for weeks. Weeks. She still seemed to be tired from last night though. Damn, she thought how exactly did she want to ask this she could be blunt and say, “So how exactly do you go about not believing in God?” How would she react to that she wondered.
“Pretty easily actually.” Eyas said as her eyes starting opening slightly.
Fuck Dawes thought and then she trying her damndest to speak said, “that wasn’t . . .I didn’t . .. . I can what?”
“Pretty easily actually. I don’t see God and magic as being connected.” Eyas
Dawes shook her head, “I don’t see how exactly you can use magic yet not believe in god.”
“It is not as hard as you think”,
“How the bleeding hell do you explain ‘I drinking glowing blue crystal electrical piss water and shoot lightning out my asshole’ scientifically.”
“The 1st law of thermodynamics”
“I take in the energy from the Surgepool and absorb it use it energy is transformed into something else therefore adding nothing to the system and taking away nothing. Boom.”
Dawes shook her head.
“Aww don’t shake your head you know you enjoyed that spanking right there.”
Dawes rolled her eyes and felt a miniscule smile sneak across her face, “anyway before you keep congratulating yourself that answer is bullshit because you didn’t answer my question that might explain how it works but not how it was created. You can’t tell me that you can think of a way that the laws of this universe were created without involving God.”
“Just because I can’t conceive of something doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist”
“Ha, so you admit God could exist” Dawes said triumphantly.
“No, I never said I didn’t think God could not exist all I said was that I did not believe he existed.”
Dawes stared flatly at her and let out a snort, “Fucking semantics.”
Eyas smiled at her “I am pretty sure religious people like you created semantics in the first place to explain away their own bullshit so if it helps just think of it like this; in this way I am emulating the priests that came before and in my own way honoring God.”
Dawes shook her head but she couldn’t help but smile. Eyas hadn’t said the words with malice and this was going much better than she had expected it to. However the more Dawes talked the more she felt ashamed. She kept on realizing that the reason she had wanted to talk about Eyas’ atheism wasn’t completely pure. While she did she want to convince Eyas that the Mother God was real and to get her to switch sides what she also wanted was for Eyas to accept her position with all of Dawes own hypocritical bullshit that came with it. The more they talked the more she realized she couldn’t separate these two desires as much as she wanted to and not having a wholly pure motivation made her ashamed.
This underlying feeling of shame and relief seeped its way throughout her being and kept her from finding the words for what might come next. Eyas was not in a rush to say anything it seemed and For a while they didn’t say anything they simply stared at the sky pulsing with orange and blue in silence.
Finally Dawes said, “Thanks I am sorry for dragging you out here and springing this on you.”
Eyas looked at her and said, “Well this was obviously important to you so I am glad we talked about it. Still a little warning would have been nice when you brought me out here I thought you were about to try seduce me or kill me.”
Dawes smiled and said, “Wouldn’t those more or less be the same any attempt I would make at seduction would make you want to kill yourself. Seriously though I wasn’t sure how you were going to react.”
“What did you think I was going to do?”
“I thought you might be a bit angrier and point out the fact that I am a huge fucking hypocrite easy points of saying I can’t- don’t live the same way as I want you to.”
“Most people are hypocrites without actually realizing it anyway and I don’t think you wanting me to believe in a religion whose tenants you can’t keep necessarily makes you a hypocrite since you sincerely believe that you are going to freeze in the eternal blizzard you simply just do not want me to suffer the same fate.”
“That is a nice way of thinking about it but I am not sure if it is true. Also just for reference ours is an infinite ocean of boiling blood made up of the blood of every person who rejected God.
“Oh well That’s nice” Eyas said while rolling over and closing her eyes.
In spite of herself Dawes laughed. It wasn’t so much that what she said was funny or that she said it in a funny way, even though she did say it in a funny way, it had more to do with the fact that she hadn’t lost a friend like last time.
It had been an hour since her train had arrived to the city of Leth and for that hour she had sat there at the station wondering what to do. Actually, no she knew what she had to do but she simply had to force herself to do what must be done. It was frustrating and heartbreaking but it must be done she had to go find her. As she sat simmering in her own thoughts a man in a strange white suit sat next to her. He then began to speak on his own accord.
“I am supposed to meet someone here and he seems to be running late for some reason.” The man in white began with a wry smile, “The friend I am meeting after this is going to be really mad about this.” He then began to laugh.
Elfin sighed and was about to excuse herself when he asked “So, what brings you here to the city of Leth?.”
The question shocked Elfin because she hadn’t thought she looked like an outsider at the train station. At first she thought it might be her name but he had no way of knowing her name either way she knew the answer to his question, “I am here to smack some sense into my sister.”
For a moment nothing was said but eventually he nodded and said, “You have beautiful eyes.” That wasn’t exactly the response she had expected but few things went the way she expected or wanted them to. Then he started to walk away and as she watched him go she thought his clothes looked a little bit strange.
She sighed picking up the letters her had written her after she folded them up she grabbed her bags and walked out of the station. As Elfin walked into the city she felt that she knew very few things at all.
Clement Asiedu Jr is a student at the University of Maryland college park who likes reading, playing video games, and occasionally writing things.