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11.19.2012 , 06:19 PM |
Deadly Sins and Seven Virtues: Lust, Wrath, & Justice
bh - Skari, Crae, and Gault
contains brief descriptions of torture and references to r*pe
Skari paused the speeder on the mountainside, just inside the treeline. The road snaked down to the lakeside hamlet nestled in amongst the forest-swathed mountains. Snow had fallen the night before, ringing the steel blue lake in soft white edges. Fellinassra had the quiet busy-ness of a resort town in the morning. The tourists were still in bed, but shops were being opened, speeders were bringing in supplies. People moved about. Perhaps one of them was Akko Nadras. Perhaps their search would be over, and Crae would leave.
"I'm freezing here, can't we hunt bad guys inside?" Gault complained beside her. She rolled her eyes and started the speeder down the steep path. Torian was bringing Blizz and Mako in on a second speeder in an hour. No point gaining unwanted attention with a convoy. Skari stopped in front of a perfectly rustic-but-expensive-as-hell cafe where rich people bought kaffa that... She stopped. Where rich people bought the same kaffa she drank now. Having money to burn was weird.
"Good, I could use a drink," Gault said, getting out of the speeder and stretching, "you rushed me out the door without so much as a bite to eat."
"Stop your effing complaining," Skari said absently, scanning the area for Crae or Akko Nadras as Gault ducked inside the cafe. The few old holos they'd found had refreshed her memory. Funny how she mostly remembered Nadras's sneer when in all the holos he had a wide, friendly smile. A mask for the camera.
"Get some sleep, mama?" A smooth rich tenor asked from behind her. Her skin pr*ckled as she turned around, blaster in hand. Crae stood there, his lean silhouette dark against the clean snow.
"Did you?" she threw back, unsettled by the adrenaline hitting her bloodstream.
He chuckled. "I've been busy."
"No dead bodies, I hope," she said with a scowl, glaring at him.
"Not yet," he said with a slight grin, "saved him for you."
"Nadras?" she asked with a gasp, "that bastard's actually here??"
His smile twisted into a grimace for a second and then was gone. "He has an estate on the western slope," he said, pointing at one of the huge mansions tucked onto the gentle rise between mountain and lake, "Vacation home. But his caretaker was there."
"Was?" Skari said with a raised eyebrow.
"I moved him."
Skari ducked into the cafe, ignoring the startled propriator. "Gault. We're leaving," she snapped. She stalked out and jumped into the speeder, impatiently waiting as Gault exited the building with a cup and pastry in hand. Crae slid into the seat beside her. Gault raised an eyebrow at the hunter and got in the back.
"Where?" she demanded, glaring at Crae, "Is he in one piece?"
"Sounds like someone's been a busy boy this morning," Gault said behind her.
Crae smiled, his eyes focused ahead on the road. "Three miles on the south road. Left turn."
"If you've hurt some innocent bystander, I'll have your head, Crae," she growled and started the speeder. They traveled in silence, Crae pointing out the completely hidden left turn that led back into a shadow-darkened ravine that hadn't been hit by the morning sun yet. A small hunting cabin was half buried in the snow, a narrow track of footprints leading to and from the porch.
Skari stopped the speeder and jumped out, the snow reaching half way to her knees. She stomped to the cabin, vividly aware of Crae beside her. He reached the door first and opened it, bowing mockingly as she entered. She shot a look at Crae when a faint sob hit her ears from the back room. She drew her blaster. "After you," she said grimly, motioning Crae towards the sound. He grinned and headed for the door to the room.
"Holy sh*t," Gault whispered as Crae opened the door. Skari felt her stomach roll. Somewhere inside she'd really hoped he wasn't the monster she knew him to be. A human male sat, unnaturally rigid, in a wooden chair that brought back, all too clearly, the first time she'd seen Crae. She, however, had apparently been lucky. She felt bile rise up in her throat. Metal wire had been pierced through the man's wrists, ankles, and the skin on the back of his neck, pinning him to the chair. Blood trickled from the piercings. Tears streaked the man's face as he looked, wide-eyed, at them, not daring to move.
"Give me one good f**king reason I shouldn't kill you," she whispered to Crae, rage shaking her voice although her aim was steady.
He cocked his head at her, "Interesting. That was the same question I asked him only a few hours ago. Do you want to know what he said?"
Skari shot past his head, close enough she knew he felt the heat of the bolt. His eyes and smile widened. "That's my girl," he whispered. "Tell her what you told me," he ordered his captive, his eyes never leaving hers.
It was apparently all it took for the man to begin talking, as fast as possible, his words stumbling over each other. "Please! You gotta get me out of here! He's crazy! Man, I told you, that sl*t wanted it! She never means it when she says no!"
Skari's body shook as though a bolt had hit her. She slowly lowered her blaster, her eyes still caught in Crae's gold ones. "He was r*ping a woman?" she whispered hoarsely.
"A girl," Crae said quietly, sober for once, "Twelve, maybe thirteen."
"Aw sh*t, aw sh*t," the man moaned behind Crae.
Gault's hand on her shoulder broke Skari out of her shock. "You do what you need to," he said quietly. She nodded, memories of too many broken women, too many tooth and claw fights to keep from being one of them, fighting skills bought through heart pounding desperation, battering her head.
Crae silently flipped his knife out of its sheath and handed it to her, handle first. "I told you, I saved him for you."
Skari took the knife.
The three of them were silent as they left the cabin. Skari stopped on the porch and looked out at the blindingly white snow. It was pure. Clean. She stepped down into it. Staining it red. Crae walked past her to the speeder, his own footprints red as well. "Did you ask him where Nadras was before I got there?" she called to him.
"Quisoto in the Tabrel Sector," he said tightly, "My brother's killer lives in my own hunting grounds."
"Huh," she said, "how bout that."
Believe it or not, this started as a very quiet piece. I hope it wasn't too dark for people. Also, I have never had so many words censored as I've had in this story. Lordy.
Plot Point Summary:
1) They got the location of Akko Nadras from his vacation estate's housekeeper/guard - it's a planet in Crae's old stomping ground.
2)The housekeeper/guard was a s. predator. Crae caught him in the act. (off-screen)
3)He saved the kill for Skari.
4)Skari almost killed Crae for torturing an innocent person until she learned of the guy's guilt.
5)We (the reader) find out that Skari's fighting skills were learned fighting off such people.
6)She tortures the guy to death (off-screen).
That's the crux of it.
aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
My Name is Solomon Crae
The Man in the Box