Having lost the battle in the Maze of Greed, the Warlock Raul has gone to the Rusty Nail Inn to drown his sorrows. Fate however has a Dark Mistress.
The Rusty Nail
Defeated. The great Warlock Raul had to walk away from Bandit and the others after he had been blocked at every turn. The memories of seeing Bandit near death and crying out to be held tore at his heart strings. A heart once so black that you would think that it was filled with tar. That girl though. After everything he had done to her in the past. She was still a fighter. Proud…resilient. It was what he found so fascinating about her for so long and right up to what could have been the end of her life she fought. Tooth and nail. Could he really blame Habib or the witch for their warnings? Scar needed a good kick in the head though. Oh yes, Raul was sure of that. He never thought of himself as a coward, no. But the Warlock knew when the cards had been dealt against him. All his plans had turned to dust and been blown away at the death of Lydia. His foul schemes and wicked trysts had all come back now to haunt him. Raul didn’t even get to see the end of Lydia. No doubt she was now trapped in purgatory….forever. A place where she may never again cause harm to another soul.
It had been a long walk from the maze and then onto the road that led to the Rusty nail. A watering hole and something of a gambling den. It was frequented by travelers, merchants and the lower end of society. A meeting place…a bar to drown your sorrows, and Raul had a lot of those.
Was revenge in his mind? Not really. He was too busy worrying about Bandit. So stupid really, since he was the one that caused her to be in this mess. There would come a day when their paths crossed again. There was no mistaking that. The past tends to catch up with you at some point, and when she was well enough the girl may well come after him to end him once and for all. She had enough allies if that was the case.
Stepping inside the rustic building, he was met by the noise of musicians, drunken laughter and whooping, along with the chatter of many a man and woman. Spirits were high, but for what reason remained unclear. The warlock moved to a back booth and gestured for the bar wench to come serve him a bottle of rum. He planned to make a night of it.
“RAUL! Raul the Black!” A scolding tone in a voice of an mature woman came from the warlock’s far side. Ah, Madame Green, the Queen of all that caused lust – but yet, also, the very essence of prophecy, forever shaming men who claimed to be an oracle better than she. Raul was familiar with her, in only that she would occasionally drop a few clues in the path of his life… Today, would not be an exception. Her eyes focused on his behind her mask, keeping her very identity hidden. She wore a wig, furthering the mystery behind the woman’s name. For all he knew, she could be very young, or very old – surely magics helped to change her voice’s ring?
“Stopping in the tavern while your mate holds your son in her womb? Tsk, tsk.. I thought I taught you better.” Large lashes swooped over her eyes as she would flutter them coyly, pursing the deep rouge that was her lips and gazing at him with the intensity of her blue eyes. She sat on a large and red throne, made of cushioned fabric as a well behaved Russian Blue cat (named Spike, in case one wished to know) that was a constant accessory sat in her lap. Its eyes gazed at Raul disapprovingly, as if knowing exactly what he had done and what his master had said.
Madame Green crossed one leg over the other, the cat moving accordingly to not inconvenience her. “What a child your son will become.. You both have eyes of blue, but the child’s will be amber or violet – either way his powers swing, well. That will determine his eye color. You can guess which color means what.. A powerful mutt that you two have bred. I’m surprised that the little thief hasn’t yet decided to teach him her ways. Ah, what a shame it would be for the child’s powers to go to waste.. Grimm. Yes. That’s the boy’s name.”
Intelligent eyes gazed at the warlock, gauging for his reaction – but if he dared to make a move towards her, he would find himself hit by an immensely powerful force field that not even he could attempt to combat – she held powers greater than his.. “I am worried, as a user of the arts myself.. Your son possesses powers that not even you.. nor I can imagine, Raul.” This within itself was a big deal, as the sorceress he spoke to was the among most powerful that man had seen.. If she questioned his son’s power, then what would it mean when the child was matured..?
The Rusty Nail.
The Warlock had his back to mostly everyone in range of him. His slouched form hovering over the booth table as a pewter mug of rum was slid across the wood by a passing barmaid. He seized it by the handle and took a large gulp, not even letting it touch the sides of his mouth. Raul just wanted to drown his sorrows and forget that woman that he left behind. He never expected for someone to call out his name.
“RAUL! Raul the Black!”
Barely had the taste of rum hit his lips when the scathing and vicious tone of a woman was heard. Callous and cold. Raul closed his eyes for a moment, as he tried to place a name to the voice and in two seconds, he felt a terrible pain in his chest as the shock of who it was started to sink in. Had she heard of his failures in Greed? Of the woman that he left behind and his wounded pride.
“Stopping in the tavern while your mate holds your son in her womb? Tsk, tsk.. I thought I taught you better.”
Raul froze in his seat. His eyes…the pupils dilated at the next sentence to leave her tongue. He actually had to repeat it to himself twice to make sense of it. Raul turned his head slowly, only to see the masked woman who sat upon a throne..oddly placed within the tavern. She sat stroking a cat, while staring at him through the bizarre mask. Dark hair cascading down her shoulders. The right edge of Raul’s lip twitched as he could feel the core of his dark heart now beating with a renewed fury.
“Madame Green. You speak lies. My Bandit is not pregnant. She was barely alive when I left her.” As far as Raul knew that was the truth. Pushing away the tankard of rum, he brought his palms down on the table in front of him and then used it to force himself to stand. Right foot out he went to be clear of the booth, as he stared the woman down. It was then she went on about the prophecy, and at each word, Raul’s fingers were twitching…aching to release a powerful bolt of energy to thrust into her very being. Hatred swelling like poison in his veins.
“What a child your son will become.. You both have eyes of blue, but the child’s will be amber or violet – either way his powers swing, well. That will determine his eye color. You can guess which color means what.. A powerful mutt that you two have bred. I’m surprised that the little thief hasn’t yet decided to teach him her ways. Ah, what a shame it would be for the child’s powers to go to waste.. Grimm. Yes. That’s the boy’s name.”
“YOU LIE!” Raul refused to believe it. The woman he loved…pregnant and not only that with a child that will hold great powers. His name even being said. This couldn’t be true. “It’s not true….that’s impossible.” He would have known….he would have felt it. Raul’s eyes darted about as he tried so hard to digest what she was saying.
“I am worried, as a user of the arts myself.. Your son possesses powers that not even you.. nor I can imagine, Raul.”
“BITCH!” Raul raised his arms and tried to blast her with a massive bolt that was akin to lightning, but all it did was bounce off her force field and slam back into him. The force of this blew him back into a table of gamblers and whores, sending them all flying. Legs in the air, people screaming. The tables and chairs broke, as Raul tried to crawl out of the mess of people. Finally getting to his feet, the Warlock was smoldering, and panting hard.
“If you are seriously lying to me….Madame Green, so swear it I will rip out your ovaries via your sweet lips.” Raul stared her down as you could see a trail of blood coming from his right temple. ~RB~
It was a tinkling laugh, yet somehow evil to its core. She reveled in his fear, his anger. Oh, how amusing it was to be an oracle. “I speak truths that you wish were lies.” The woman spat back, baring her teeth for a brief moment. “Ah, but do try, Raul. I need some entertainment in my life, your agony as you even attempt to lay a finger on me will suffice.” Her glare was splitting – if effective, he would suddenly feel agonizing pain his head, as though someone was slowly cutting off the top half of it, as well as the screams of thousands of tortured souls booming through his ears.. and this was all caused by a glare.
“Get up, you fool.” Madame’s gaze softened to stop the pain that he could have been feeling, but remained sharp towards him.. “Go find your mate, before she makes a stupid decision to kill the damned thing.. Or perhaps we’re all better off with such a powerful child dead..” The female would pause, tilting her head thoughtfully. Her eyes would turn a striking white color, her face slackening as another vision engulfed her.. This one was short, only half a minute, her eyes focusing on him afterwards.. “She is teetering on the edge of killing it or leaving it alive. But where oh where could she possibly be found..?”
Of course Madame Green knew the answer.. This was all just a play to her, after all. Whether the child lived or died was, frankly, none of her concern.. Perhaps it would be easier on the rest of them if such a powerful being never came into existence.. There was an agonizing amount of time before Madame Green spoke, oblivious to any words or actions Raul may have done or uttered, her gaze focusing only on the background. As she looked at him now, she would smile in a calculating way.. “Oh? You wish to know a location? Try the place where mountains grow.. Where those who fly lose their wings.. Shall I say.. Fall?” A cackling laugh at her own little joke..
The Rusty Nail
Madame Green’s merriment in Raul’s angered state brought nothing but a foul scowl from the Warlock. How dare she express pleasure at his torment. The Bitch. He thought that Lydia had been bad, but this woman…this masked bovine for want of a better word was treating the Warlock no better than a dog. She chuckled at how she was speaking the truth that he wished were lies. Of course he wished she was lying. To know that Bandit carried his child meant that he had done one thing right. Proof of their union…proof of his love. But having her carry the child at such a dangerous time and in the arms of that damned Fallen – Habib meant that both she and his unborn were well out of his reach.
Getting to his feet, the sound of bits of the table and other things were heard dropping from his coat as he tried to right himself properly. The woman ordering his to get up and calling him a fool. All that earnt her was a fierce growl of contempt.
“Go find your mate, before she makes a stupid decision to kill the damned thing.. Or perhaps we’re all better off with such a powerful child dead..”
“Oh trust me, I shall leave no stone un-turned in the hunt for her now. Starting with Greed!” He already had those people in his sights for sending him away. Did they know that Bandit was pregnant? Was this all a ploy? He didn’t trust anyone anymore. Burnt by Lydia, he was now flying solo. “As for the girl trying to kill her own child. I doubt very much that she had it in her to kill it. Regardless of how it came to be. Even if she hated me….she would not kill her own.”There was a fierceness in his voice. Adamant that he knew her well enough to know how she would be emotionally. She was a fighter, through and through. Her will to live strong….and her will to love….well, he knew she was capable of it.
The oracle continued to play word games with Raul, and he was pacing back and forth like a wolf ready to spring an attack. Every so often he snarled at her words. But one thing that she did do, was one last riddle that pinpointed not only where she might be….but also who she was with.
“…Where those who fly lose their wings.. Shall I say.. Fall?”
“Habib!….Krakus Mountain.” There…it was easy when you knew the Fallen as well as Raul did. After all, he used to serve the Warlock all those years ago.
Taking one last look at the oracle, he then sneered at her menacingly. “I would say it has been a pleasure, but meeting you is the equal to having my balls removed and fed to a dog. Very….unpleasant.” That said…he marched out of the tavern and into the square….ready to start his trek towards Krakus Mountain.
Another client well serviced, if I say.. Madame’s grin only widened at his last words. “Well the pleasure was all mine, my dear!” She’d called after him, then smiling half-way. The eyes of the oracle/seer closed as she rested in thought, pondering. She would focus on that story for a moment, seeing what was in store — oh! A laugh came from her as she clapped her hands together, the laugh itself sharp and surprising. “Glorious!” Something in the foreseeable future had made her happy.. Which was not at all a good thing. “Valmont! Oh, I must!” Yes, she was indeed talking to herself out loud… but this was a normal occurrence, so none looked over at her in her throne, in the back corner of the room but still visible to the stage and near the bar.
Madame stood, Spike giving a mew of discontent at being forced from her lap and onto the floor. “Yes, yes, I know my lovely. Mama will be back.” Madame bent over, running her hand over the feline’s head and then scratching behind his ears. “Fascinating little thing, you are. Keep my seat warm, hmm?” The cat would jump back onto her seat and she walked to the door, pushing it open and stepping into the street. One moment she was there, the next an empty space. The only indication of her presence was the wet mark of her heel’s imprint on the street from stepping in a small puddle of beer.