Stand Aside!

Posted: June 18, 2012 in Online Reality Game

By his own admission, Charles was no marksman and his third shot narrowly missed James as the two armed men stood boldly between the darting assassins and the other defenseless passengers. Nevertheless the show of determined and deadly resistance was finally enough to dissuade the killers’ advances and the skulking shadows withdrew towards the station.

Behind them, in the station, brightly illuminated and clearly visible to the survivors of the unexpected attack hiding in the tunnel, a tall figure in some kind of robes stepped to the edge of the platform and raised his arms. He gestured in a complicated way and spoke a harsh word that echoed in the tunnels. A flare of light burst from his finger tips and circled his head for a moment before darting along the tunnel towards the surprised passengers.

Witchlight

Witchlight

“I see you!” the man spoke, his voice penertrating and authoratative with a faint accent. “Stand aside that we may leave, and you will live another day.”

The whisp of light hovered at the side of the tunnel just behind them illuminating the entrance to the storm drain the conductor had mentioned, only seconds ago. The bright light also made clearly visible the nature of the viscous liquid moving sluggishly along the track bed — blood! Gallons of blood, dark and sticky, far too much and too old to have been spilled by the handful of passengers who were cut down so recently by the assassins’ knives.

“Stand back, I say,” the tall man cried out again, “and let us pass.”

********************************************************

Needing no further encouragement, Michael retreats further into the tunnel, past the stormdrain, keeping his eyes averted from the awful sight of the sea of blood lapping round his ankles.

**********************************************************

James eyes the robed figure warily, his ears are still ringing from the shots.

“What do you make of it?”, he stage whispers to those nearby, glancing around to see who remains. “Is that… blood? Why do they want to go down this tunnel? Wh…?”

The situation is too tangled for James to unravel, and he would happily retreat through the storm drain without further ado, except that this may be perceived as bad form by those who remain. Besides, he feels aggravatingly reluctant to let obvious foreigners get away with such behaviour here, in the heart of the empire.

As to how to proceed, James hopes that those minds more suited for the task reach a consensus soon, and in the meantime cautiously takes a few steps towards the nearest of those who first fell to the assassins’ knives. He spares a glance away from the shouting figure to determine whether they are beyond his meagre ability to help.

He tries not to think too hard about the stream of blood and the wierd floating light.

*************************************************************

Barely paying attention to what is happening outside of the immediate threat posed by the men with knives, Madalena was dazed by the weapon appearing seemingly from thin air, and James’ facility with it. Gunshots echoed loudly down the tunnels.There was a strange, surreal quality to the fight, as with everything that had happened since the explosion on the train.

. . .

As the assailants fall back and the fight comes to a brief halt, Madalena at last tries to make sense of her surroundings and events. Fighting to keep from giving in to the impulse to crumple into a swoon, she tries not to look at the horrible, gurgling flow along the tracks. It is a vision from some medieval hell. She can scarcely believe the volume of blood, or the weird light glowing in the robed figure’s hand, but she knows enough of the occult to begin to dimly realise that there is terrible magick afoot.

“Who are you?” she manages to shakily demand of the robed figure, “and what do you want here?”

****************************************************************

Entrance to Ancient Storm Drain

Entrance to Ancient Storm Drain

As the last of the passengers murmur among themselves and move away from the eldritch light hovering above the ancient stone tunnel that leads to the storm drain, a dozen or so black clad figures swarm down off the station platform and scuttle quickly out of sight through the dank opening. They seem to be carrying several items of luggage with them. Slowly and with dignity the tall figure who has spoken to them approaches the drain entrance as well. The will of the wisp light that he has conjured apparently from thin air dances at the command of his upraised fingers and it zips quickly from person to person, hovering for a dazzling second in front of each.

“Who are you?” the Contessa demands shakily of the robed figure, “and what do you want here?”

“You have stood against me, and I do not tolerate defiance,” the man speaks in sinister tones. “I have marked your faces and you will be known to my men. Oppose me again and you will die.”

With that he swirls a long cloak it was not apparent he was wearing and in the instant of being hidden from sight, the light snuffs out and he is gone – presumably down the storm drain. The passenger’s eyes slowly adjust to the much more feeble illumination of the lamps taken from the train. The awful sight of what remains makes them wish, perhaps that they were still blind.

All the passengers who had been ahead of them trying to reach the safety of the platform are dead, their throats slit from ear to ear by sharp knives. There are lights on the platform, but no movement. The thick sludge of blood on the track bed still flows slowly towards the same drain the assassins have used to escape by. It cannot have come from the slain passengers – their blood has run and pooled on the tracks as well, and is much more fluid and of brighter red color.

Suddenly into the awful silence comes the roar and rattle of the train on the main tracks a hundred feet or so behind them. There is a protracted squealing of brakes as the driver tries to stop the hurtling train, having been warned by the hanging lantern of the conductor. Awful metallic shrieks fill the tunnel with a deafening cacophony of sound, and then a loud bang as the front of the engine smashes into the back of the carriage they have so recently fled. Screams of fear and pain add to the tumultuous noise, but the train seems to have stopped in time to not to go hurtling into the void ahead. The sounds slowly subside, followed by the noises of voices raised in fear in the tunnel they have left behind.

********************************************

Penelope-

I’ll move up to the platform and see if anyone is alive. I’ll carefully walk among the bodies looking for signs of life. Maybe randomly tapping one with my shoe.

********************************************

“Devilish fellow…” James comments absently after the blackness had swallowed the man, more disturbed by his arrogant dismissal of them than by his flair for the dramatic.

“We had better warn the other stations, before history repeats itself.”

He moves towards the station, pausing once to wipe off the blade on one of the dead assassins, and then again as he passes the lady examining the unfortunates, to whom he returns the sword-cane, hilt first.

“Thank-you for its loan” he says with a small bow and a smile. “Perhaps we can arrange an assault some time, in more civilised circumstances!” and he trots up the track, trying not to dip his shoes in the strange sludge.

***********************************************

As the mysterious figures slipped into the darkness Charles was quick to lower his weapon. He strode for his bag and looked at the unmoving bodies around him with anger and desperation.

We’re any of them alive? The doctor moved amongst them hurriedly, checking for pulses and any sign of life. He called out “Is anyone alive?”, hoping some of the other survivors would hurry to help.

Then Approaching one of the fellows he had shot, charles realised grimly that he hoped they yet lived. There were questions to be answered.

****************************************************

Rene let’s out a gasp and realizes that he hasn’t breathed throughout this whole ordeal. Seeing that relative safety has finally returned to the train tunnels, his curiosity takes over. He moves forward cautiously over the bodies trying to find the source of the bloody ichor, giving an especially wide birth to the bodies of the cultists.

****************************************************

Michael collects himself from where he has been cowering in the shadows and follows Rene up the tunnel towards the station. He averts his eyes from the sight of the dead passengers but stops to examine the dead assassins. Curious he tries to guage their ethnic origin, clothing and so on and sees whether any of them has any obvious possessions. He is not in the business of robbing corpses but this could be vital evidence, not be left to plodding policeman.

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