6. Setting the Stage


Now, where were we? Nowhere, if I remember correctly, which I seldom ever do. I’m awake, it seems that everyone else is sleeping. So I walk around, catch a smoke, you know, kill time. Toryn was wandering around as well, she took a smoke from the pack on the table that we’d all been sharing and joined me at the window.

            “Are you sure you can do it this time, you know, keep it under control?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“No, of course not.” She turned her shoulder to me so I couldn’t see her face, but I saw her reach up to catch the falling tear. What had I done? I tried to remember and came up blank, I didn’t know how to react. She was annoyed with me, I understood that much. She turned abruptly to leave and I grabbed her arm and held her. She curled up with me and we smoked.

“I only wish we could stay like this,” she whispered.

“Why can’t we?”

She went to pull away but I held her anyway; she stayed. “I just don’t know.”

And there we stayed. I felt better with her around, I don’t know why. I wouldn’t call it love, but I was at ease for that moment. For that fraction of eternity, I was at peace with the world. For a moment because that’s all you get. And all love is really is the loss of valuable emotions. It made some semblance of sense to me, you don’t have to understand. Or maybe you do.

Some things just don’t need words. I’ll have to try using a picture instead.

So there we were. There we were when the world awoke and the crew came wandering out of their corners. And there we stayed until the smoke was nothing more than a false illusion. If I could hold on to one moment, freeze it, keep it, that would’ve been it. Everyone came out of hiding and woke up slowly. Today Dyre was on the line. Today was the day of reckoning.

By noon, the gears were turning and insanity became reality. Dyre could go in to negotiate entry. Ashe would be standing by, armed, in case they got too suspicious. Galat and Toryn would also be standing by, placed on nonchalant street corners. Hadrien and I were going to stay here, with Dev, in case of emergency. Anything goes wrong, break and run. It’s never too late to run and with lives on the line, pride is not a luxury that we could easily afford.

Dyre was going to be meeting with Lyre, Marcellus’ right hand man. They’d negotiate terms and we’d have someone on the inside. I had to wait at home for the report, but I was told that everything went smoothly. We’d have little to no contact once he got inside; he’d try to get word to us when he could. He’d be under constant surveillance for the first few days/weeks. We’d deal with the hand we were dealt. Things were okay for a little while too, then the downfall began. Dyre was put to the test.

Initiation – kill someone. There was a complication in the plan; I left Dev at home to go help. Cellus’ boys got a hold of Ashe. Dyre’s test would be to kill his brother, he was supposed to shoot him – point blank. If he refused, they both die. The crew needed a plan, there was a time limit. Midnight – everything goes to Hell. We needed help.

This’ the Endless’ war, they could help us in this. But there was no way to find them; you don’t find them, they find you. And they only find you when there’s a job to be done. Having no other bright ideas, we went to the Dragon and beseeched the last surviving Drakes.

Payge and Set Drake were living legends. Everyone knew the story, everyone remembered the great tragedy. The streets were cold and calm out of respect to them. Those kids were raised by mean streets, they knew the value of life, the price of survival. We went in, “we” being Galat, Toryn and myself. And we began to plead our case to deaf ears and lost eyes.

“No,” Payge told us resolutely. “There’s been enough blood. We must remain neutral.”

“But, you have to help. They’ll die!”

“You did this to yourselves,” Set whispered. Toryn shot him a glare while I concentrated on Payge. They truly were their parents. In every respect.

“Just help us find the Endless and we’ll be gone,” Galat pleaded. They both folded their arms and shook their heads in silence. Their answer would stand.

“What about Klyde?” Galat whispered. That got their attention, looking up in unison, they tried to level us out.

“What do you know about Klyde?” Set demanded.

Galat staggered, “Nothing, except that he’s the killer of killers. The clans tell tales of him, none have seen him. But someone controls him because he’s just a ghost.”

Payge stepped back as Set slammed his hands on the counter-top. He was shaking. They both were. Toryn and I stepped back. There were going to be consequences for this, we knew it, Galat had to.

A note – The lonely streets hold many things, but the most prized among the elite are the stories of those to come before us. We glorified our martyrs and gave the proper respect due. Some legends were famous only for their cruelty, and those were only mentioned as a harsh whisper. Klyde was one of them. He was on the same shelf as Cicero, Vincent and of course – Draven. Nobody ever mentioned the late, great Draven. Why? Because he single-handedly destroyed the greatest legend of all. If Draven were cloned, Klyde would be born. This’ll take a while…

There is everything and nothing to say about Klyde. Everybody knew about Klyde, the silent killer that you don’t see and barely hear. And everyone knows where to find Klyde. If you keep right, turn left at the light, follow the rows, go to row six, plot 66. That’s why they say that Klyde is evil. Row 6 – Plot 66. 6 – 66. Klyde was, theoretically, dead. You could go see the headstone for yourself. Died at age 16, “will be missed.” Nobody missed Klyde because he wasn’t dead. Klyde was roaming around killing people. Klyde and Draven have much in common, many people think that they’re the same person. That’s impossible – the real Draven is locked away in some state cage. I met him once – I went to see him awhile back, to be sure that the fairy tales were real. He told me to fuck off. Back to the point – the story of Klyde.

The way that the story goes is like this – see, Draven went crazy awhile back. He lost someone close to him, so he snapped. And he started killing people at random, well, it wasn’t really random. He destroyed Cicero’s gang, one by one, families and everything, tearing lives apart to calm his raging soul. There was a case once, just a single exception, when lives of the innocent were spared. A child, young and free, who earned the honor of watching her mother bleed to death in someone else’s arms. From there, a killer was born. Klyde was that child, orphaned by Draven’s self-righteous revenge. Klyde grew up through the wars, witnessed the destruction of tradition and honor. And he died, or appeared to. It just made his job that much easier.

Klyde was the sniper, the wolf hunting from the rooftops. Hence why nobody saw him, those that had didn’t live long enough to tell anybody. Klyde killed without conviction, though he seemed to have a thing for power. When Vince disappeared, everybody thought that Klyde got it. No way – Klyde’s style is very public, he’s always sure to “sign” his victims.

Bottom line, the main idea? Klyde was the private assassin of the Endless, the silent voice of justice from afar. Or so the stories go. A death manufactured to make Klyde’s job that much easier; again, nobody ever saw Klyde. He was loyal to none, only himself. People are always more likely to believe the worst-case scenario. We are more inclined to remember a particularly horrendous nightmare than a good dream.

Bottom line – looking for Klyde was asking for trouble.

Set and Galat had words passed in hushed whispers. Galat shrugged off the hostility and walked out. Toryn and I glanced around a bit, then left. Outside we stood around awkwardly, silent and confused. And with all hope gone, Death comes lurking our way. Entropy himself, moving steady, set in our general direction. He stood casually, hands in his pockets, looking at our expressions.

“Well, aren’t we the chipper bunch; tell me children, what are you conspiring?”

“We need help.”

“So I hear. Tell me, what do you expect me to do for you?”


He shrugged his shoulders, “How?” he asked lazily. He leaned against the shop, paying a minimal amount of attention to our drama. He didn’t care, or maybe he was just pretending to piss us off.  It was impossible to be sure. Galat grabbed hold of him and dragged him into the alley, glaring contemptuously. Entropy merely smiled and rearranged himself.

And then he socked Galat right in the jaw. Galat hit the ground, blood leaking between his fingers. Toryn and I stood frozen.

“Let me explain something kids. This’ your war. We will tend to the fallen, we’ll collect the pieces in the end, but right now, this’ all yours. You fuck up, you pay the price. We are not paid mercenaries, we won’t save you. Figure it out and don’t ever come looking for us again. And, by the way, Klyde doesn’t exist.”

Toryn stepped up and squared herself out. Entropy merely smiled at her quietly. I was frozen, the scene passed me by. Galat was lurking next to me, quiet, blood still staining his hands. Whatever happened, Toryn backed away and Entropy left us there, broken and defeated. There was no hope. Our only option was to go in and do our damnedest. And so we would.

Returning home, we explained our situation. Dev and Hadrien would be coming with us for this one, we’d need everybody to pull this off. We sat to consider our options, which we lacked. Basically, we’d hide out armed and ready and take action when tensions were high.

A lot was happening quickly, I’ll stop and explain later. Right now, I’ve got to get going. Planning to do and no time, we have to get moving. Time’s running short, as per usual.

Well here goes, the crew, ready to fight, to bleed and die for each other.

Wish me well.

Here goes everything.

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