Saturday, January 22, 2011

The night air holds that caress of snow. Ob breathes deep, savoring the scents. The lights are just starting to go out in the few shops still open. Traeger nods to Ob as he flips his closed sign. It will be maybe another half hour until Traeger comes over.

Movement in the alley draws Ob's eye. He reaches out for Silk and feels her on the roof, where the Adhene has taken up a post. His hand curls around the hilt of the sword at his hip as he eases into the shadows. Ob inhales. City smells... not unusual, two humans... no, three. Shifter. Ob stills. He knows that scent. The man was part of the reason he left the Clan many years ago.

The heavy accent sends a shiver down his spine.

"I know you are there Josephito. What do you go by now? Joseph Ramirez? Josephito fits better... little Joe. Still a child, or have you finally grown into a true man? Oh, I am sorry... That's not something you will ever be, is it?"

The humans shift nervously as Ob steps into a shaft of light.

"What do you want here Dominic? I thought you were sucking up to Uncle Bakhtian? Oh, I forgot. You lost favor when you beat me for bringing the Light before the Council."

Dominic smiles. A laugh bubbles out. "Well, I will get what should have been mine. I am the son of the Minstrel. You..." The smile slips and a snarl replaces the civil tones. "You are nothing, a bastard get, Deamonbrat."

The words are spat at Ob, but for the first time Ob merely nods.

"Si. Deamon seed. Halfbreed. Bastard. All the old names fit. They are true." Ob shrugs. "I am what I am, Dominic."

Ob has noticed the humans moving into other positions as Dominic keeps him talking. He hears the quiet click of a safety being released.

"Give us the sword, Little Joe, and we will let you live. Give me what is mine."

Dominic's sword snicks from its sheathe and he lunges. Ob twists, feeling the sword tear through his shirt. Instinct makes him twist further and he hears a grunt and scream as the bullet, intended for his back, finds a home in one of the other humans.

Dominic feints, slashing at Ob's knees, and he falls into the old patterns of the dance. Dominic begins to sing. The sword in Ob's hands flares brighter, and Dominic smiles.

"See, Josi... The sword knows me. Sing to it Josi... Prove to me that it belongs to you."

Ob ignores him, listening instead to the movements of the men around him. Dominic is focused intently on him, on the sword. Other steps intrude in the night's melody. These footsteps and breathing have become familiar, battle ready and welcome, though unexpected.

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