- August 30th, 2011
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It was an old part of town. The restless dead that lingered there died long before the war. They faded in their beds of old age or wasting diseases. Peaceful deaths; partings that were more of a relief than a terror. Each one drew to Allesandro with the soft, steady temperament of routine and ease. He felt the spirits breeze around his cloak. They explored the fine stitching with bored curiosity before forming a layer between this world and the next. Like a second skin, the energy of the wraiths settled comfortably against his living flesh…and the maestro stepped out of the shadows.
Protected from both human and Fomorian eyes , it was still imperative that no footfalls sounded out while the invisible man made his way across the crowded market place. There were other means of detection besides the naked eye and to this predator, surprise was always an advantage that proved the win.
The one he watched was a slender woman with fire colored hair. She was speaking to a street vendor in the fading Irish sun, laughing with wild abandon at something he’d just said.
There was a feral beauty to her; a fire and passion that caused the spirits around his form to ripple and surge. Allesandro closed his eyes and whispered softly to them, trying to sooth the rising aggravation they absorbed from the girl up ahead.
“I’ve heard rumors that it will be the lass that takes over, which isn’t a shock. The unions won’t approve, but you’ll be set.” A burly man said in a low rumble.
“Don’t presume so much based upon so little.” Came her cheerful and teasingly sweet alto.
Alto.That voice was far too familiar to him. Again, the ghosts trembled and shook.
“Out with it, Lash. Everyone knows the two of you are close. At the very least, you can get special audience.”
The woman just shrugged and took her parcel of food. She peeled back the grease stained newspaper there on the street and bit into a very suspicious looking roll. It was filled with mysterious meat and spices, not all of them claiming origins from upon this world.
The assassin grimaced involuntarily and withdrew a few steps, overwhelmed by the scent that emitted from her early breakfast. The wraiths churned again as he did a quick double take to be sure that it was indeed a rodent-like tail sticking out of the mushy dough.
A very unlady like snort came from the girl around a mouthful of that vile meal before she swallowed and replied. “Maybe so now…but let’s just see… if that all stands once she’s had her ring kissed. People that rise into power never remember their old friends.”
The vendor on the street smiled. His eyes crinkled in the corners, making him appear old and wise instead of cruel and hard. “Some people do, love. Some people do.”
A polite little cough followed her snort as she pressed a few coins into scarred, filthy hands and continued down the cobblestone road. The woman ate happily as she walked and occasionally exchanged pleasantries with the crush of beings that hawked wares, flesh and contraband.
Allesandro followed her footsteps deftly through the crowds even as his attention was split. She moved fast and he had to focus the ghosts to flow outward. They were controlled so skillfully that their touch became an unsettling presence, distinct enough to cause humans and Fomorians to step aside as if caught by a sudden chill. The force created a silent, rippling wave. One that averted eyes and caused each person that was brushed with it to unknowingly avoid Allesandro’s personal space as he moved. The task was taxing and difficult… but necessary under the circumstances. Revealing himself here and now just simply wouldn’t do.
It took a good deal of concentration to keep the wraiths in check when a searing heat flared over his skin. The front-most spirits that reached out into the crowed sizzled and drew back. Their presence screamed in his ears as each were seared by this countering wave of fire that suddenly flashed from ahead..
The woman had stopped abruptly around the corner of a building and Allesandro found himself jumping at an angle to avoid a collision. To put it indelicately, he’d not anticipated her pause and nearly run into her back.
Still, the wraiths screamed at her nearness. They hissed and sizzled in the back of his mind. The invisible man drew them closer in comfort and moved a pace back.
Two street urchins, a human girl and Fomorian lad tugged on the target’s unseasonably heavy coat.
It took a second glance for him to recognize the Fomorian as male. Their genders were difficult to tell apart before adolescents. Without even glancing down, the woman swiped their hands away the first time but when the Fomorian grabbed her again, she paused. Under the matted hair and filthy rags, the wretched little thing was literally crawling with lice. Even still, the she knelt down and exchanged words with the foul creature.
“Half to you and half to the girl. If you try to run off with her share, I’ll chase you down and beat you. Understand?” Her words were coarse but not unkind. Still crouched, the girl stared the little beast eye to eye, and gently took him by his shoulder.
The lad grunted something in that throaty, barbaric language of theirs and she nodded once. The little human beggar darted closer.
“Good. Now in English.” The crimson haired woman quietly instructed.
It took a few minutes for the beast to form his mouth around the razor sharp fangs and thick, clumsy tongue, but after a length he did reply.
“My sister.” Clearly indicating the girl.
One eyebrow arched and considered this with a touch of mirth. “Obviously. The resemblance is striking.” Lash answered, her voice amused. But still, the woman broke in half her remaining breakfast and gave it to the pair. They immediately dug into the still-hot roll, licking their grimy fingers and swallowing in large gulps.
“I’ll be by at this time tomorrow. For every word you say to me in English, I’ll give you a copper.”
The Fomorian looked up and chewed his half suspiciously. The girl took smaller bites and watched from behind her dirty hair.
“If you gather a gang and try to rob me, I’ll kill you both. But if you want to earn some coin, have the girl help you practice and be here tomorrow.” She spoke slowly and clearly. After a pause the lad nodded.
The woman rocked back on her heels and watched the pair as they scurried off. Then she too stood up and wiped her hands once. When the target moved off into the crowd, even Allesandro had a hard time following.