Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Excerpt from The Locket

He smirked as he pushed the door open and they stepped out into the cool night.

Daegan turned to smirk at Livingstone, who stared at him with wide eyes. Gently, the sorcerer shut the door behind them and strode towards a street that loomed in shadows ahead of them. The moon had begun its descent and clouds had turned the night into a deeper shade of blue, effectively concealing the two sorcerers.

“That was almost too easy,” breathed Livingstone as they reached the line of houses, leaning against the wall and breathing heavily as their hearts beat out an erratic rhythm.

“It’s a quiet world tonight,” said Daegan. “Darkness looms…” His words brought up the image of the dark creature from the forest in his mind and he shuddered, closing his eyes and reaching out for his connection to Rista.

“You’re alive, I see,” came a voice from the darkness. Daegan froze. A Guard.

A man walked towards him and Livingstone, smiling. “I knew I could trust you, sorcerer. What a joy to see you again! How long these months have been, waiting for your glorious return. Of course, the second you stepped into the city, we knew of it.”

“Who are you, exactly?” demanded Daegan, stepping forward so that the moonlight illuminated him as well as the man.

The man laughed coldly. “You have been gone for far too long. Have you honestly forgotten, Daegan? Do you not remember who I am?”

Daegan’s eyes narrowed, travelling over the man in front of him, whose body was relaxed, his eyes glinting with his secret.

“It worked well, then,” the man said. “You’ve forgotten.”

“Who are you?” growled Daegan, taking the tiniest step forward.

“I’m the Torturer…” said the man. “The one who gave you those wounds.”

A flash of recognition passed through Daegan’s eyes. “Oh, I see you haven’t forgotten after all. You know who I am, sorcerer. I’m the Mage that captured you.”

“You’re a traitor,” hissed Daegan.

“You only say that. Bad blood between us,” sneered the Torturer. “Jealous, brother?”

“You renounced our relation when you became a slave to the Crown, Mage.” Daegan’s words were cool.

The man’s eyes, so like his own, narrowed. “Daegan, Daegan, Daegan. When will you ever learn not to provoke me?”

The man sprung forward, swinging his staff through the air, intending to bring it down on Daegan’s head. Daegan jumped backwards, pulling his knife from his waistband and the stick into the air.

“You haven’t lost your spirit, brother,” said the mage, taunting. “Sad, too. Those wounds must run deep… can’t you feel them now? Burning you?”

“I feel nothing,” hissed Daegan, springing forward to engage his brother. Their movements were fluid, feet shuffling back and forth as their bodies battled for dominance. The motion was familiar, the battle between brothers never forgotten. Childhood games of war and deceit that had come to be reality in this one moment.

“Brother, brother,” said the mage through his rapid breaths. “We both know who always wins these fights.”

“Things change,” panted Daegan, pushing forward again, driving his brother back. The mage laughed.

“You can’t win, Daegan. There’s no point. We’re by the Government Seat. The Guards are merely waiting for me to capture you.”

“You’re a lapdog of the Crown, Mage. No reason to live but to serve your hidden masters, to play your games with sticks. You never were strong enough to be on your own,” said Daegan, voice dripping with hatred.

“Oh!” laughed the mage. “How that stings! Like poison!” He crowed, spitting at Daegan, who jumped away.

“Oh, very good, brother,” said the mage, circling him. “You recognize that bit of magic.”

“Your dirty tricks,” replied Daegan, poised and ready to strike, watching his brother pace in front of him.

“So, how’d you get out this time? I wasn’t there for you to trick… how’d you get in?”

“The Head Guard,” said Daegan easily, eyes flashing.

“Oh, Percival. Good friend of mine,” the mage’s eyes glimmered. “But downright dirty man. How did it feel, Daegan? Your knife against his throat? His blood between your fingers?”

Daegan’s eyes narrowed. “You should know the sensation, Mage. How many have you killed in these months? How does fire feel as it rolls from your fingers?”

The mage laughed, the sound echoing between the buildings. “Clever, brother. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you know me too well.” He sprang forward again, staff seeking weak points in his opponent’s stance. Daegan held strong, knocking back the blows.

“If I knew you any better, it would be much easier for me to beat you,” retorted Daegan, spinning and slicing upwards, slicing through the fabric of his brother’s sleeve, drawing blood.

His brother laughed, seeming unaffected by the wound. “You won’t be me, brother. I’ve already decided. I can’t let you escape that easily, not after everything you’ve done to me. I have a duty to the Crown.”

“Duty? Who are you to speak of duty?” said Daegan, scoffing. He pretended not to notice the similarity in his brother’s reasoning and the same reasoning he used against Hazel’s argument the other day. “You are the one who ran to the Government Seat the second you saw that I was magical, too. You were intimidated by my talent. You’re a traitor to your family, a duty you failed at.”

The mage chuckled, glaring at Daegan. “I had reasons. Reasons you aren’t willing to face. What about that girl? You thought you could save her. Who are you trying to save now?”

“It was you that tried to kill her,” growled Daegan. “I was only trying to protect her.”

The mage laughed maniacally, raising his staff in the air and bringing it down towards Daegan’s head. Daegan stepped back, slipping into the shadows once again, backing away from his opponent.

“Are you going to run now?” taunted the mage. “That’s right, little brother. Flee into the shadows. Hide again.”

He brought the staff to the ground, howling out a spell. Daegan ducked, dropping to his heels and then springing up as the spell started flames behind him. He dashed forward, tackling his brother to the ground.

“You will never get the better of me,” he growled, pinning his brother’s hands. “I am not a coward, and I am not a traitor. Have you forgotten so easily? Have you lost your soul completely?”

His brother opened his mouth, about to speak.

“Shut up,” hissed Daegan. “I have business to attend to, and you are no brother of mine.”

“Are you going to kill me, then? Like you killed Abels?”

Daegan laughed. “No. I have other plans for you, brother.”

He raised the knife in the air, drawing it down and slicing neatly across his brother’s face, drawing a line from just under the edge of his eye to his mouth.

“Don’t forget me, dear brother,” he hissed as he slammed the end of the carved stick to his brother’s head and stood as the mage’s eyes drifted closed. He stood, shaking dirt from his cloak and looking through the darkness. Livingstone stood in the shadows, frozen as he regarded Daegan warily.

“You’ve become cold, Daegan,” observed Livingstone quietly.

Daegan ignored him, striding back into the center of the town, leaving his brother lying in the street.

“Are you coming, Livingstone?” he asked into the darkness. Livingstone heaved a sigh and followed him.

*****

Since yesterday's post was all Love and such, I figured I'd throw a scene of betrayal out here. This scene is from my NaNoWriMo novel from 2010, The Locket. I know it doesn't make sense out of context, but I quite like it, even in this unedited state. Though truthfully it's more fun to read if you know who all those people all.

But, the short explanation, for those of you that are genuinely curious!

-Daegan is a sorcerer. He's also a convict. He's good though.

-His brother is currently unnamed, but called the Mage or the Torturer. He tortured Daegan when he was imprisoned.

-Livingstone is the Librarian, an old friend of Daegan's that he just helped escape from the same place he was tortured little over a year ago.

-Percival Abels, the Head Guard was killed by Daegan an hour or so before this confrontation with his brother.

Yep. So that's it for today!