Sands of Chiaroscuro

Rhalkim's Meeting with the Kid

In the docks, a single form descends with a blithe disregard for subtlety, crunching heavily on the steps of the Red Dawn Slaughter as he walked. Holding an apple to his lips, Tepet Rhalkim looked with amusement at the sickened lepers and other diseased mortals beneath his feet as he strode over them.

Ever since the sorcerer child had shown that he was able to curry the flesh into appropriate line for healing, or cure disease, the anathema had gathered a small army of filth, nearly a claw in number. Impressive, if they were worth as anything but paving markers for distance.

Crunching the fruit lightly, the man twisted his grin to accompany the mass of scars running across his face, giving one beggar a grimace worthy of the Deathlords, the crone catching her breath to his laughter.

Lesser men would be concerned about the detriment to their image. Rhalkim reveled in it; the shock and horror of those lessers concerned about such things. Perhaps, though… he could ask the mummy-child about if his powers included fixing the marks left by whores when they were raped.

The door opened before his hand could reach it, and Rhalkim was unable to hold back his surprise as the twilight-caste anathema, the child wrapped in bandages, looked up at him with a cool expression. Behind him, the ship’s room could well have been from another place; a sorcerer’s tower far from civilization, with bones and clay statues, pewter daggers, and a massive glowing ball of mist in the centerpiece. On it, the earthblood could see his own marred grimace, looking at the child he had been tormenting earlier, holding her underwater…


“Tepet. I had hoped you would leave that girl alone, like I had asked you to.” The boy’s voice was youthful as well, rich in quality though not apparently age. Reaching out gently, he rested a hand on the guardsman’s knee, a gesture that frankly terrified the earthblood man, but not one he wished to challenge or cause offense by refusing. The muscles in his leg tensed, as though ready for a devastating pain.

“Now, it seems, you forced her exaltation. Into the blood of water, too, it might seem. Do you know how bad that is for us? I hope you do.” From within the boy’s bandages, a slithering thing of gold and steel slid forth, thousands of legs looking as golden shining hairs pushing it’s finger-length body along, a centipede of subtlety.

Wasting little time, it crawled to the earth-blood, and without pause, through his skin and bone as though it were liquid. Gritting his teeth, Rhalkim held his breath, waiting for agony that never came. Instead, the child-thing spoke quietly again.

“But even if you do, it’s of little value. Since you seem too simple to command through speech alone, I will have to use this to chastise you when you fail me… fail us next. I won’t need to warn you of the effects, will I?”

The child of the earth dragon shook his head, his voice shaken lightly with phlegm in his throat. “Of course not, sir. Is that all?”

The child nodded, and without a word, turned to his room and began to walk to the globe once more, the door pushed closed from the inside by invisible hands. Something wet trickled over Rhalkim’s feet, and looking down, he saw the juice of his completely crushed apple dribbling from within his tightly-clenched fist.

Dropping the fruit with a scowl, he marched up the stairs without pause, only to be accosted at the deck by his erstwhile partner for the watch. The maggot’s expression was one of aggression. How dare he leave to search the boat without being backed up by the other. They were meant to work together. The usual drivel.

Reaching for his daiklave, he spun, the combat second nature to him, as he ran the other man through, and then with a flick of his essence, hurled him into the water beside the docks. As the blood pooled on the water’s surface, he paused. Water, or fire-blooded?

When the bubbles stopped arising without sign of his return, he began to walk again, cleaning his blade on the sails as the mortals around him scurried in terror of him. Fire blood, it seemed. His frustrations bloomed within him. Time for a girl to take his rage out on. Someone fun.


Also one done by Ben.

Rhalkim's Meeting with the Kid

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