Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gauntlet - Episode 32.



Episode 32 – Red Bull Rage

Sitting alone along a crudely crafted bench, Adrian Taurus’s bulky body radiated grave peril to anyone who dared to interrupt him. To the casual observer one might have found humor in the notion that such a notorious crime-boss could be caught in his spare time idly enjoying any manner of civilized entertainment. Nevertheless, there he sat; knee deep in thought playing a tactical game of tiles with only his self to provide both player and opponent.

The sound of rhythmic clattering footsteps approaching didn’t even merit a single flinch from his focus as he contemplated the next move to be made. But once the sound stopped and a female voice spoke a tensing of tendons flexed instantly in response. “We have some things to discuss, you and me,” Demure Devadonna began boldly.

Several steps ahead, Adrian already anticipated where this conversation was bound to lead and he didn’t like it at all. If it was good news, well, that would have been delivered with some manner of celebratory grace and expectations of reward. Even if there had been a slight stumbling; word would have been refrained from reaching him for a short time yet before he was informed through alternative channels. No, without a doubt if this dramatic damsel was the messenger then this information was sure to leave a terrible taste on his tongue.

“Spill it,” Taurus ordered impatiently. “Just get on with it and skip this play at skirting the subject before you no longer have the fortune of my attention.” Adrian’s eyes never left the board before him as he continued to systematically move and remove the various tiled pieces along either side. With each passing beat of her pulse, Demure found herself starting to tremble as she watched the plastic parts beginning to move slightly faster from the hex shaped game.

“I have just been informed that Arbiter and Dyzon are both dead, sir,” she shakily submitted. “Eris has been taken into custody and just prior to these events the wanted outlaw known as Gauntlet gunned down both Wynt and Briscole in the street.” A violent force detonated the table in front of Taurus, shock seizing Demure as she tried to rationalize what was happening before her. As she watched on, her mind recoiled from the savage display while Taurus tore everything about him to kindling.

The Red Bull’s rage was a legendary thing among the underworld; it was spoken of with nothing but complete terror by those who feared they might earn his wrath. And now here she sat as Adrian Taurus demolished anything within sight. Even the very bench he had been sitting on was flung through the air to explode in a shower of shrapnel against a stone wall.

“Incompetent, worthless sacks of wasted flesh,” Taurus growled between snorts and snarls. “One single man, one blind fool and not any of you could manage to deal with this disruptive drifter? Clearly I have over estimated the talents of the lot of you! I should have strangled you all myself instead of giving you a chance to be of use.”

Growling, Taurus turned his eye burning bright red as his frenzy overflowed. “I’ll have your hide for this, and then I’ll get this Gauntlet in my grip. His skull will shatter ever so sweetly for trying to topple me.” A scream swept straight from Demure’s mouth before a steady stream of frantic pleading followed.

“Please, I beg you, grant me the opportunity to regroup; I am sure I can repay this rogue for the both of us! He will hurt for all that he has done. I promise you, this Gauntlet will pay dearly – I owe him for Ashes, and as Mayor who else is left to keep control of your public interests? He can’t dare touch me! I can deliver him to you, I swear it, and he’ll be handed down here to you in a heartbeat.”

The fury faded, if only slightly from Taurus as he still shook from the avalanche of adrenaline. “Rook has taken up the mantle left by Arbiter, I am sure that he will blindly try to enforce the letter of the law. He’s probably already taking the vigilante into custody to send him down to The Graveyard.” Demure desperately continued to convince the undisputed overlord of the underworld of her remaining worth. She wasn’t sure that her argument was being altogether successful.  

Taurus allowed his anger to abate a little more as he enjoyed the elevated racing rate his pulse still thundered through him. His mind was already calculating various elements to the petite politician’s claims. The sidekick turned Sheriff just might make his first act one of arresting the only real outlaw left. And with the other known criminals dead or behind bars what need would there be for a gun slinging guardian? It definitely held merit, he had to admit.

“Alright,” Adrian breathed out the word with a harsh huff to punctuate his point. “But we will not again have such a conversation. Fail me once more and you will find yourself earning a deserved and deadly reward.” Crimson still colored his eyes as he grinned with a grim glee. “Go now, bring me this Gauntlet so that I might provide him with a likewise punishment he seems so fond of.”

Demure didn’t need to be told twice; on hearing the order to take her leave she did so in a shameless sprint. There was work to be done, and she still couldn’t believe how she had just avoided the Red Bull’s rage. Even if it was narrowly – second chances were almost unheard of from Taurus. The fear that she only had been given the illusion of mercy didn’t help alleviate her worries either. She could only hope that shortly this drifter would be safely deposited beneath the dirt, and this whole bleak business would be behind them. Surely placing this Gauntlet down into The Graveyard would put an end to everything, right?