Chapter four, page five, The City of Locked DoorsMature

It looks like we've found our treasure. His shadow tendrils thickened and, enveloping the box, pulled it away through the ground, parting the Shadow-Steel as if it were foam. The shadows tendrils carried the box away, secreting it safely from the milling crowd. Noir continued toward the corpse, betraying nothing of what had transpired below.

A towering man noticed them as they neared the gathered red guards and jumped down from his perch atop a mound of excavated rubble. He strode toward them, his vibrant red coat unbuttoned and his black boots gleaming with fresh oil. A convoluted, black carapace covered his hands but that seemed the extent of his corruption. He stepped before them, compelling their party to halt, and their four accompanying red guards bowed with a murmured honorific. "So, you're Solomon's new lieutenant."

Noir looked over the man with a scowl, tasting Hemomancy on the air and noting both his slicked back hair and neatly trimmed goatee, "And you must be Grim."

Grim smirked, "I expected more from Solomon than the likes of you."

Noir met his gaze, "I don't think you're in a position to be throwing insults; one of the most prominent Shadowmancers in Umbras has just been murdered under your watch."

"We will find the perpetrator and we will burn him alive, lieutenant. You presence here is utterly superfluous, so go back home and play with your dolls."

"All they have back there are wooden toys," Noir smirked and stepped forward, "And I much prefer porcelain dolls." He tapped his finger once Grim's breast, "Now let's clean up your glass ass."

Finally, the competent people can get to work.


I was talking about me and the girl

Oh, Shut up.

As always, your retorts are as colorful and varied as a herd of elephants passing wind.

Noir grimaced. Sometimes I wish yours were a little less colorful.

Past the initial mass of red guards, they found a smaller cluster of officers and attendants who belonged to the other guard groups. These individuals stood around the displayed corpse either inspecting it or discussing it with one another. Noir approached a black coated sergeant, one of Kore Byren's soldiers, "Alright, what are the obvious details."

The sergeant threw him a surprised and mildly annoyed look but answered nonetheless, "As you should know, there is no resurrecting him, but what you don't know is that his soul wasn't destroyed, it's simply gone. There are no signs of fire or of necromantic ritual, nothing at all to explain why he can't be rez'ed."

Noir nodded and stepped past, "Thank you." He crossed the intervening distance and knelt beside one of Scripts green-coated corporals. Alucard's body was a massive of ruptured flesh, shattered bones, and disfigured form. He glanced at the adjacent corporal, resigned himself to demands of competency, and gritted his teeth, "Has a Hemomancer verified the cause of death or discovered if these injuries were inflicted during the conflict or after?"

The corporal looked over, startled, "No sir, can they do that?"

Noir scowled, "A competent one can and should have already done so." The corporal stared at him and Noir rolled his eyes, "Go get your Hemomancer."

The corporal jerked and lurched to his feet, "Oh yes, of course, sir." He scampered off and Noir renewed his inspection of the body.

"How did you know that Proctor Byren sent a Hemomancer?" Adrian crouched down beside him, hands resting on her knees and the color draining from her eyes as she cooly observed the cadaver.

Noir shifted in place, overturning a piece of rubble, "Because Kore Byren is a very cautious man; I would be shocked if he hadn't sent at least one from every class of Adept." The overturned piece of rubble fell with a dull thud, revealing a thin layer of Shadow-Debris underneath. Noir dug his fingers into this, testing its quality and inquiring as to the form it once held.

The End

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