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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flash Fiction: The Darkest Dawn

Chapter 3

It had taken me close to 30 minutes to finally hail a cab and another 15 to get to Vickers. By then I was out of smokes and getting a bit irritable. Vickers was the only true Sanctuary in all of Santa Diego. The place was protected almost as well as St. Augustine's. Place magic, or Location magic grows over time, as long as the site is in active use. Vicker's isn't as old, but it sees a lot more use.

A Sanctuary is a location that all species and breed can go to without fear. Part of the uneasy treaty that held the Fell and Other races in check, Vickers was a safe ground for all species to go about their own business unmolested. That being said, everyone casts their own brand of defensive magic across it. So break the rules of the house, and that magic turns on you. Even the strongest or the oldest User can't counter all the defensive magic from all seven schools of sorcery. Someone like me? Well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.

I paid off the cabby and glanced up at the two story structure that composed Vickers. I could see the blinding blend of color that marked the magical barriers around the place, from the reds of evocation to the swirling blacks of Dark Magic. I shifted my vision again to block it out, after all these years I knew what kind of stuff waited inside.

The door had it's usual two goons guarding the establishment. I didn't need my Second Sight to know these two hulks weren't human despite the illusion cast over them. One of them caught my eye as I moved through the door but he didn't stop me. Good thing too, I was in no mood for any of his shit tonight.

Vickers is Santa Diego's one stop shop for anything otherworldly you might need. Comprised of two stories of market booths and free standing stalls, anything goes here. Originally opened by a Fell weapons smith, he built it to the market Sanctuary you see now, which is supposedly where it got the name. Vickers was now run by a Fell User named Able Kade, a fairly well respected elf by both sides of the night, though we have had our fair share of differences.

I passed a lot of booths on my way to the back stairs, stopping only once to buy a couple of packs of smokes from a vendor that specialized in carrying Norm goods, that is to say stuff that some Fell types can't easily buy for themselves at the grocery store. At the top of the stairs I turned and headed for a small storefront all the way in the back.

I opened the door to see Gear working at his desktop. Garrison Dent, or Gear, as most of us called him, was one of the top User's in the game. He was also one of the few people I trusted with handling my equipment.

He let out a small smile as he pulled his goggles off. He was dressed dishelvedly, stained blue overalls with a red work shirt underneath, his salt and pepper hair sticking up in thick bushy spikes, pointy ears just visible underneath. His beard looked to have been burnt somewhat off, but that was typical for him. Always working on something dangerous. Short and stocky, he pulled his heavy work gloves off and threw them over whatever he had been working on. Some Fell User's were neat and finicky, gnomes like Gear wanted to get down and dirty with his casting.

"Heya Gear. Got some work for you."

I pulled off my torn jacket and threw it on the counter and placed one of my huge revolvers beside it.

"I need another patch on the coat and some more UV rounds. I took out that Were that's been plaguing downtown earlier and he cleaned me out. Also was hoping you had that other little bit ready."

Gear reached under the counter and pulled out a dented old shoebox. " I already filled yer rounds Alex, your fights been all the buzz through here today and I figgered you'd be needin' more. I threw a couple of new ones in there too, including some silver-coated water rounds that you can probably get that Father of yours to
bless. As for the coat, I can make it just like new."

"No Gear, I want it just like it was before. No better, no worse."

"I'll never understand your obsession with this old coat Alex, but I'll take care of it."

I lit up one of my new smokes as he went into his spell casting. Each User sticks to his own schools of magic, usually only one or two really well. Gear was a Creationist, using his powers to create new artifacts or equipment. Even with my Sight turned off, I could see the yellow strands of magic flowing through the room, invading the thread of the battered coat, weaving in along the large rents. After a few minutes, Gear stopped casting and held the coat up.

The large tears from the Were's claws were gone, though the same old scuffs and stains could still be seen, the worn lining still dull and ripped in the right spots. I dropped a roll of cash on the counter and pulled the coat back on. Tucking the revolver in it's holster I picked up the shoebox.

"How about the sword?"

"Another few days and it should be ready for your priest. I have a few other blessings to place on it as well as some I have arranged especially for you. It will be better than I promised I assure you."

"I trust you Gear. I'll checkin later."

On my way down the stairs I got more than my usual share of stares, wondering how I had missed them on the way up. A quick glance at my watch told me I had about 45 minutes until True Dawn, so I quickened my pace. As I approached the front door I saw Able Kade standing in front of it, along with more than his normal share of goons. A very unhappy looking Able Kade at that.

"We need to talk Devlin. Now."

It was never good news when someone used my last name.

End of Line.

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