Chapter Two, Part Three

Contrare led him to a plain two-story building far into the northern section of the city.

"Is this your home?" Samael questioned, his pet faithfully beside him and giving the stranger the same inquisitive frown.

"Come," he urged, opening the door. A fetid stench wafted out and Samael grimaced, clenching his fists in distaste and following Contrare closely through the building's small dark rooms, most of which were unadorned and empty. Some sort of hideaway, judging from the bland neighborhood, Samael figured. He didn't like this situation of following a stranger, but curiosity and the stranger's words of "adventure" lured him on. Contrare stopped in front of a door at the end of a narrow hallway, one that required only one man through at a time. Samael's pet's wings scraped loudly along the walls, and more than once on their way to this door, Contrare had turned his grotesque head to give the pet an annoyed sideways glare.

Contrare took out a large ring with numerous keys on it and began shifting through them, causing more noise than Samael's pet had done before. Samael looked on over his shoulder and watched him take out an interesting long green key, which he inserted into the lock and turned. It opened to a set of stairs that descended into complete darkness. Contrare remedied this darkness by holding out his hand, and there appeared a miniscule ball of flame that hovered above his palm.

"You know the magicks?" Samael exclaimed, trying not to sound too impressed.

Contrare looked back at him. "If you will it, it will be," then turned and began down the stairs.

Samael turned around to raise an eyebrow at his pet. He held up his hand, believed there to be a ball of fire in his hand, and nothing happened. He shrugged and turned back to follow Contrare down the stairs.

The steps were long and led into an even more stinking pitch black room. Contrare's flame was small and its light only reached a small radius. He stepped into the empty underground room with dirt floors and stopped, Samael stopping to face him.

"What is this place? Why are we here?" Samael placed his hand on his pet's cold cranium and looked as confident as he could, though he was most unsure of this place. What creatures lay in the unseen corners in this darkness?

Contrare's mouth twisted into his sickly grin, his silver jagged tooth gleaming madly. "We are quite alone here, and we can speak safely."

"Safely? What ears would listen to us?"

Contrare's mouth was a thin line. "You have been helot for a very long time."

"And we helots are not a very intelligent folk," Samael chided sarcastically. This stranger certainly had a pompous and spiteful air to him to speak down to him like this.

"Then may I enlighten you upon something you should never forget. They are listening all the time, to everyone and everything. Even your little conversations with your little pet here, they have heard every word." Contrare's eyes glittered in mockery as Samael stared at him coldly in anger. "But here," he waved his arm around him. "Here, they cannot hear us so well. A room with a special insulation, should I say."

"An invention of yours?"

"A flatterer I took you not?" Contrare laughed loudly, but stopped abruptly. "Listen, boy, they are expecting you today."

"Who is expecting me? I was not informed of anything. And do not call me 'boy.' "

Contrare smirked. "You are a boy, Samael the Pale. And a helot."

"There are helots who have been helots for millennia--"

"Ah! And you are only a few centuries old, boy. Four hundred and forty-three, I will tell you."

Samael stared and said nothing.

"Oh, but I so hate belittling. Especially when they want you. But hark, take heed what I have to say to you. If they don't like you, they will destroy you, but I want them to like you, see, because I don't want to be bothered with chasing around another helot, and another helot. I hate this place, I hate coming here. I hate it all, but I have no choice, of course. Who has choices around here? Why did they choose me? This is my job, the chaser. Contrare the Chaser, and they mock me. They say I will never win because I can never stop chasing. Chasing is what I do, of course. Chasing the helot, chasing the crimson cloaks, chasing the messengers and the beasts, chasing monsters and--"

"Enough with your griping, get on with it," Samael interrupted. "I didn't come here to listen to you ramble and whine. What is your point?"

Contrare gazed at him, his eyes empty. "I want them to choose you. I don't like chasing."

"You're pathetic," Samael rolled his eyes.

"Shall no one pity me?" Contrare looked up and sighed. "So act the part!" He started suddenly, snapping the daemon and his beast to attention. "You are not sarcastic, you are charismatic. You are not a helot, you are above helot. You always have been. You are aware and want to know more. You are the one they want."

"Want for what? I have seen no posting for a wanted position for anything."

"I am your poster. I won't repeat myself. Listen to me close, for I will not be able to speak so freely once we leave this place. He will see you today before the Orders of the Abyss commence. Of course, you don't know what that is, and so be it, you aren't supposed to. Be silent and speak firm when asked to. Before the midnight sun rises, you will know all."

Contrare started to turn back towards the stairs. Samael stopped him and made Contrare the Chaser turn around. "You are from the Fortress? Who wants me? Why?"

Contrare scowled. "Yes, I am from behind those walls, what did you think! And as for your fate, I truly do not know what it is. And for all I know, you are being condemned to the Abyss for watching those marching dead souls for too long!"

Samael squinted at him. "You are a chaser, as they call it. Surely, you know something."

"Nothing at all!" Cried Contrare, resuming his step to the stairs. "Now be quiet! I'm already late and they know it! Oh, what will they do to me now," his tears began to flow freely as he kept walking and Samael quickly caught up to him.

Now his curiosity was truly piqued. Thrill ran through his icy veins, and his pet, sensing his exciting, began lolling its tongue and bumping into him. Samael hardly noticed as he began up the stairs. Even if he was being thrown into the Abyss...he would know what lay behind those walls! He never imagined that he would, no one ever did, because no one knew anyone that did. There were rumors that spoke of those that went and never returned, so he never imagined it because it was meaningless to wonder. But now he wondered. Now he was craving to know, roiling in excitement. And he had just had his first sight of what was behind those walls. Contrare the Chaser. Surely, he was nothing new or exciting, he looked like any other helot, but his speech gave him away, only proved the contempt that those with a different color held for the countless helots. And there were more levels, many more higher levels.  And he was hoping that Contrare the Chaser was not of a much higher level. He was a pathetic creature, and Samael was sure the gods would want to make a mockery of him. There were glories and sights to be seen behind that wall that no one could see but the gods.

And Samael hoped he would climb to the highest echelon to meet his fate.

The End

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