The Midnight Watch

Holding on 'til the next shift.

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S'a hammerin'.

#1 2017-05-04 03:18:05

Tom
Moderator
Registered: 2013-05-25
Posts: 59

The Family Arkwright, Part II

Guard duty in the cells was often considered the worst possible shift. The walls were directly adjacent to the sewer system. The air was foul, as if some unseen filth could seep through the stone walls. The guard on duty wondered how the jails inhabitants ever managed to sleep down here. On occasion they would beat on the cell doors and had to be persuaded to be quiet; but tonight they were uncharacteristically obedient.

The guards attention was diverted from the silent metal doors as the sound of footsteps echoed down the hallway. “Huh… feels early, change in shift already?”

The second guard turned his head left and right as he entered the hallway. His movements were slow and purposeful, even for a military man. “I heard we have some high-profile guests?” the new guard asked in a refined tone.

“Yeah, guess you could say that...” the first guard answered as he motioned to one of the cells. “Some guy who kept calling himself an Arkwright, part of that group in Wallside that-”

In a single fluid motion, the second guard had gripped the first by the top of the head, and tilted his neck backward; driving a long knife upward in the same moment. The blade went between the bottom on the helmet and gorget, coming upward through the soft flesh in the middle of the jaw, through the roof of the mouth and into the brain cavity.

Mercurio Valmont hummed gently as he withdrew the knife, letting the guard fall to the floor unceremoniously. He then walked to the cell door as he withdrew a lockpick. The fallen guard had a keyring, but picking the lock would actually be faster than working through the various keys.

“Alright, Bertram...” Mercurio said as he felt the lock give way. “Don’t get too comfortable in there, Oliver has some questions he wants to ask you.” Mercurio pushed the door open and looked downward, his eyes narrowing. “Fucking damn it...” he hissed through his teeth.

“You’re going to have to repeat that...” Oliver stated gravely, several hours later.

“Looks like it was poison. Something high grade, probably a spider or scorpion venom with minimal alteration,” Mercurio explained as he picked up a glass of wine and sat across from Oliver.

“You’re absolutely certain… There’s no chance the food in the prison cells just turned foul?”

“I know my poisons, Oliver. This wasn’t some accidental fungus. I checked a couple other prisoners… someone poisoned the food and purged out all the cells.”

“Fucking hell...” Oliver snarled as he bolted upright, his chair falling over. “Bertram wasn’t just a senior enforcer… He was a damn Arkwright. He was blood. This is unforgivable, they’ve lost any chance to handle this diplomatically.”

“Need me to take care of it?” Mercurio asked as he inspected the color of his wine glass, turning it left and right gently.

“As much as I want to make sure this gets done right… I believe I have a more pressing issue for you, back in Cove. It’s a sensitive issue that I need handled quickly and discretely.”

“Sounds good. Just pay me for the last job and I’ll get right on it,” Mercurio stated not in sarcasm but as a statement of fact.

“Excuse me?” Oliver asked. “I hired you for the retrieval of Bertram. I don’t see him here.”

“I did my work flawlessly and Bertram was denied from you due to circumstances beyond my control. I’m still getting paid. If you don’t like it you can hire someone else for the Cove job.”

Oliver rolled his eyes gently. “Speak to Solomon outside. He’ll see about your payment. You know, if you were anyone else… I wouldn’t tolerate you speaking to me like that.”

“Good thing I’m not anyone else, then,” Mercurio stated as he took a sip of wine before setting the glass down. “If your little mercenary problem hasn’t been cleaned up by the time I get back from Cove, I’d be happy to take care of that as well.”

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