The Tower was ruled by the Five. These were the fathers of the family, beings of immense power, subject to myth and legend. Only a handful outside the family had ever actually seen any of the Five, some in the city didn’t even believe that they existed; that they were simply stories told to put fear in would-be power grabbers. If they were to look now however, proof was perched on the edge of the rooftop landing pad.
Fiend’s dark cloak shuddered in the turbulence of the landing ship. He looked much like his name would infer; aside from a breastplate, gorget and steel claw-like gauntlets, his body was bound in black hide straps buckled tight against the decaying flesh beneath. His iris’ cut through the darkness and the haze. They were rings afire with blue flames that washed over his brow from the sockets of a masked armet to cascade through the steel quills that rested like dreads upon the headpiece. The only thing capable of tearing ones gaze from his eyes was probably the sword who’s tip rested at his feet; his armor clad hands clasped upon the pommel. Every being in Syn City who held power also held a relic; a unique item gifted to them by the city herself to represent the influence they commanded. The sword was one such relic. These items were tokens of power, and could be claimed by anyone who dare try. Fiend’s sword was a broad fuller hand-and-a-half known simply as Anguish.
Blue waved off the others as they disembarked and then made his way toward Fiend who was surveying the city before him.
From the top of the tower, the city reached out beyond the horizon like an ocean of oil dotted by starlight and the occasional roaring fire. Fiend stood as still as the gargoyles that lined the rooftop.
“I hate this place.” Blue said, handing Fiend the small black stone he had collected. “These people, they make me sick.” Blue said.
Fiend’s gaze remained locked on the horizon. His hand reached out and plucked the stone from Blue’s hand. “We all came here to escape reality Blue.” His words hung in the air as they echoed like a deep vibration through the skeletal faceplate of his mask. There was a moment of silence before he finally turned to face Blue. He peered downward and the fire in his eyes crackled. “It seems as though it’s reality that escaped us in the end.”
“I don’t even remember how long I’ve been here Fiend. I don‘t remember why I came here. How many times have I died and been brought back by the boatman?”
“Less than most Bluemonster.”
“Am I supposed to be glad for that?”
“I don’t pretend to have the answers.”
“I can tell.”
The flames in his eyes bellowed. “I have a job for you.”
“You know where my loyalties lay.”
“We lost four associates tonight.”
“Static Shift and Quakefire’s flight to exfiltrate Longbow and Brisco was shot down just as they were on their way back.”
Fiend’s gaze washed over the city and Blue could almost see the flames lighting the direction he focused on. “Balthazar’s district.”
“I’ll have his head on a plate.”
“Balthazar is not our concern for the moment. In the morning take Grey, Dwim and Tantrum to the boatman to collect our associates. I paid the fee before coming to meet you, but as usual he may ask for a favor. Don‘t argue too much.”
Blue furrowed his brow. “Are you sure you want Grey mixed in with the magic users? You know how much he hates magic.”
“Maybe if he knew how much it keeps me alive he would think of it differently.”
“Well, he doesn’t hate it per se. He just trusts gunpowder a lot more.”
Fiend turned to Blue. “Who do you think you’re kidding? Grey flat out hates magic.”
“Alright, he hates magic.”
“But he’s still going.” Fiend said, turning again toward the city.
“I’ll let them know so they’re ready. Are you… just going to stay up here for a while?”
There was an awkward silence once again. Blue could hear the rain sizzling as it hit the flames that coursed from Fiend’s mask.
“I’ll be a while.”
“Alright… “ Blue said, turning and making his way to the elevator.
The Tower was divided by cast. The Five lived and worked on the very top levels along with their three assistance, the Goodfellows. The lounge area called the Mezzanine is where they spent most of their time working. Made men were also welcome to the Mezzanine, but Heavies and Associates were not permitted.
Bluemonster exited the elevator on the Mezzanine’s balcony level and walked straight out the elevator and down a wide staircase. He made his way to the lounge area below where Ace, Icensun and Gaedien were arguing at the conference table. He did his best to seem uninterested and continued straight to the bar.
“Not even going to put down your guns before getting a drink?” said Knite, as it was his turn to tend the bar.
“No, pour me a shot.”
“I don’t care.”
“One of those days?”
“Have you been outside lately? Every day is one of those days.”
Knite poured a drink and slapped it down in front of Blue who picked it up and shot it back immediately. As he licked his lips he noticed Knite staring past him. Blue turned and watched as Slinky made his way down the staircase.
Slinky was one of the Five and always appeared as a masked Jester. His mask was nondescript, an old wooden drama piece with sharp angles and narrow eye sockets. It was painted flat white, but the paint was visibly peeling in many places. He also wore a three pointed hat and carried with him a marotte. The marotte was his relic and was known as the Synergy Sceptre, probably the most powerful relic in Syn City. The act of him coming down the stairs was not odd on its own, if it weren’t for the fact that Slinky was not walking. He was gliding about a foot above the stairs as his cloak coiled around him like a constricting serpent, yet contrary to logic, never tightened on him. The trick wasn’t just Slinky showing off. Just as Fiend’s eyes did not glow simply because he wanted them to. Slinky slid a foot above the ground because his legs were too fragile to hold him. Assuming that he was weak for this reason however would have been a grave mistake.
Saying someone had power in Syn City was not just a figure of speech. The city was an abomination of reality, where the energies of every dark place in existence coalesced. Holding ground and commanding control in the city caused it’s energies to surge through anyone who had such influence. If power corrupts, Syn City’s power corrupts absolutely. There was a reason why the Family had five leaders. They knew one single man could never survive the psychological burden of holding all of the power that the Family commanded, and so they split it between the five of them. As it coursed through their veins, it attempted to ravage their minds, and their souls, but they withstood its assaults. No matter how strong their will could be, however, the City would have what it was owed. It couldn’t take their minds or their souls, so it took their flesh. All five fathers of the family were quite literally corpses, the dark energies of the city had consumed almost all of their humanity and left nothing but husks of rotting flesh and brittle bone. This was the price of power.
“He’s been sulking lately.” Knite said, as he scrubbed a glass. “Something’s crawling under his skin, if he still has any.”
Blue laughed. “I don’t doubt it. Anyway, I’ve got to go down to the Heavies and brief some guys for tomorrow… Night Knite.”
Blue gave a farewell salute to the bartender and trudged off to the elevator and hit B2.