The Assignment

Captain Von Delgo is a man who is lost. He is known as a turncoat, a hero and a mass-murderer. He has no beginning, and as far as he can see he has no end. Which makes him just about the most dangerous man alive. After the completion of his last job Captain is on his way out to receive his payment and rest up. His plans are delayed when a religious sect known as the Ravens pull him in with an offer. Captain faces a dilemma, he has never once failed in his assignments. But accepting this one and succeeding would change the way of the world, change everything that everyone has ever known, plunge it into chaos. But he has also never once turned down a job, and with his life quickly descending into a chaos of its own despair, he can see no reason why not to accept. After all, how hard can it be to kill an immortal?

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4. Chapter 4

Ahhh! Smell that air! Never had 01 ever smelt something so good before in his life. He may have, but what life had he before this one he knew now? He couldn't remember. It caused him a pain that was unbearable to have to remember. And why bother?

He knew this one. 01 didn't need to know the past because all he cared about was the present. But even though he kept telling himself that, he knew deep down below the pain, it wasn't true. He had to remember the past. It brought him through everything he could think of. It was his refuge in the dark. The thought of his past and what he had to live for in the future was important. He couldn't forget. He tried. But never would he succeed in his tries.

01 looked around. The sun had burned his eyes when he had left the shelter and the dark lights of the place.

What place? The place he had been in.

What place was that?

He couldn't remember. He didn't care. He smiled. He was free!

But from what? He was always free.

So many questions burning holes through his head! Why must they come and disturb his happiness? He was free! From what he did not know but he was and nothing would prevent him from enjoying this new found freedom.

His smile brightened and he took a step forward. He was unsteady on his legs. He wobbled. It took great force of will to not fall over. But it would have been onto ground that he fell.

Blue grass everywhere he could see! Oh the joy! Blue grass and orange sky with a red sun! He breathed in the air again. It was slightly bitter, with a lemon tang, but it was fresh and full of flavour on his tongue as he breathed the air into his mouth.

Something hit the back of his throat while he breathed in causing him to cough violently. His face screwed up into a look of distaste and pain, wiping the smile off his face.

He didn't have the metal tubes in his throat anymore. Not that he could tell anyway. Nothing grated against the skin on the inside of his throat, so he assumed that it was gone.

Where did it go?

Why was it there in the first place?

So many questions! 01 broke down in a heap on the ground and cried his tears into the blue grass. Why so many questions? Could he at least once enjoy a time by himself with no worries, not even one? Again that was a question he asked himself and it brought more tears in its wake. He would enjoy himself no matter what. Nothing was going to stop him from his enjoyment.

He had looked forward to this day for more years than he could remember.

Why would he remember?

Why couldn't he?

'Enough Questions!' he roared out to the world in general.

'Enough!' he snarled, his voice hard as stone and full of venom, shattering the peace of the world around him. He glared and coughed again, blood and yellow phlegm dribbled down his chin. Fuelled by pain and anger, he rose to his feet and moved on. Each step taking him forwards into a world he never could remember before.

A question loomed. One of the same questions that repeated themselves constantly in the hopes of being found an answer for. He growled again, loud and fierce, sending birds flying away into the distant sky and animals in the forests on the horizon that heard to run and hide their faces from what they feared would come for them.

The questions left in a hurry, and he ceased growling. He breathed in more of the air; it calmed his soul down as it entered his lungs.

He hated to let it out but he would have to. He let it out in a sigh.

He saw a ring of trees on the distant land ahead of him. Trees full of colour. So many colours. This place was a rainbow of hues.

Just like in his dreams. But it was better than his dreams. He dreamt in black and white.

He thought of the colours he wished to dream in, but he couldn't remember any of them. So used to seeing only white and grey, and the darkness, he dreamt in black and white. He wished he could move closer to the trees, but his feet weren't moving him fast enough in that direction.

The sun was setting fast now. It burned away the sky to the end of the horizon. Darkness was coming fast, running as quick as it took for the sun to run ahead of it.

He heard the sound of the creatures of the night waking up from their slumber to go and hunt for food. He shivered as a cool breeze blew his way. He didn't know what was out there. From the sounds that echoed around him he knew he wasn't alone. He blinked. As his eyes opened again, he saw the world full of light. He knew it had been dark before he blinked, but now as he looked around him into the night he knew. He could see in the dark. Oh what a gift! To be able to see what is creeping up on you from the unknown and being able to stop it from hurting you if it so wished to.

From the unknown?

It was another question, but his new found delight from his new gift of vision made him forget what it was. It wouldn't be the unknown for long. Not long at all. He would investigate everything. He would know everything about this place he never knew. And when he knew everything, and knew where everything was, and what was out there, and knew it all, it would no longer be unknown but known.

He would start exploring straight away. No time like the present! He jumped up into the air with joy and shot high above the ground. He could also fly! He wasn't falling, he wasn't going down. He stayed in the air, swooping around in circles until he grew dizzy. He flew closer to the ground and hovered a couple of feet above it. This was so much better than walking. He flew down another foot and reached out a hand for the grass and touched it. A touch to prove he wasn't dreaming. So soft against his hand. He grabbed some and pulled it out.

It died in his hand.

He watched in silence as the withered blades of grass floated out of his grip and flew back down to earth. The grass had died in the matter of second it had taken for him to pull it out of the ground. From soft and blue, to grey and dust.

A tear trickled out of the corner of one of his eyes. It wasn't supposed to have died. He rose up from the ground and flew on for some minutes in a crying silence, no longer feeling like exploring this new world. The heartbreak of something else dying in his hands he couldn't take. What was a world where everything died that you held joy in? Reaching the forest he landed on a branch of a tree and snuggled up against its trunk. Closing his eyes to dream once again in black and white, he drifted to sleep.

~2~

The night arrived after much delay. The time it takes for the sun to cross the sky and set depended upon where it was at the time. The sun setting was sometimes something that people seemed to dislike because it normally called for an end to a day that was the best for them and they didn't want it to end. Some how the people sitting inside the tavern in their own darkness knew that it was dark outside and therefore time to leave. One by one they rose to their feet and slowly trudged out through the swinging doors of the tavern.

The Captain had the barmaid fix him up a room above the tavern for the night. She had seemed quite pleased that he was going to stay. The Captain finished the last mouthful of his drink. It was a risky business and something you tried not to think of. You just toss your head back and open your throat and hope that there is no one in the tavern that hates you and has a knife handy.

Standing up, the Captain let the barmaid lead him to his room. They moved up the rickety stairs to the second floor which moved under their weight as they walked. His room was the first on the left. It was lacking in furniture, only a bed with a pillow and a single bed lay in the room. There was nothing else to bring you comfort, but the Captain wasn't looking for comfort. The window held curtains that looked thinner than the sheets. The Captain walked over and peered out the window. The view was of a back alley down below. If you stood on the tips of your boots you would just be able to make out what was above the brick wall opposite the tavern. Flying white sails.

After dropping the latch on the window to lock it, the Captain turned to the barmaid who was waiting with an inquiring gave.

'The room's perfect,' the Captain told her, his voice gravelly and tired. The woman's face broke into a smile, the light from the lamp she held in her hand reflecting in her blue eyes. She curtsied.

'If you need anything, anything at all, feel free to call upon me. I'll keep my door unlocked,' she told him, her voice quite and shy. Her eyes caught the light again and seemed to twinkle as the Captain nodded in reply.

With another curtsy the maid left, closing the door behind her. The Captain waited until her footsteps had faded away before crossing to the door and locking it.

The bed was comfortable, but he just couldn't sleep. Holin's face kept haunting his dreams whenever he did manage to fall asleep and he would just end up waking. Holin had no idea what the Captain had done, and the Captain had no idea how he had sunk that low. He was once the most renowned person on all the islands, and now look at him. He had become a part of the people he used to fight against. Everything he fought for, everything anyone had fought for, was sailing away on a boat off world.

A long time ago they had lost a war, and there were many wars after to try and regain what they had lost. They had all been a bad idea, they had lost them as well. The Shadows hd won, and now ruled led by their High Lord. The High Lord brought back the law of Bounty Hunters for hire being legal. He denied the No Ones from living with the rest of the islands population, forcing them instead to hide in the forests like animals. They live in fear, mistreated and mistrusted thanks to the Shadows.

The Captain, in his early life, had fought against the No Ones, hating them as the Shadows had hated them. And then he had changed sides and fought along side them. It had all gone wrong now. He was still against the Shadows, but sometimes, for a great deal of money, rather than protecting the No Ones, he would lead one into the Shadows hands for them to play with. Holin thought he was going to freedom, but he would find himself under arrest as soon as he docked.

Rolling over the Captain pulled his blanket up to his chin as he thought about what was going to happen to the young No One. Whatever it was, it was too late to dwell on it. The deed was done and he would pick up his money in a few days from an empty stump in the forest.

A creak outside awoke the Captain from another restless slumber and he sat up, all senses working on full alert. Rising from his bed he unlocked the window. Another creak sounded on the landing. The Captain paused while he tried to remember how many creaks the floor outside made just before you arrived at his door. Was it five? There was another creak while he loaded his gun and placed it in his holster ready to pull out. He moved over to the door and checked that the lock was secure before heading back over to the window.

Grabbing the base he tried to lift it up but it wouldn't budge. The wood was warped. The fourth creak sounded as he grunted and strained to lift the window. It moved an inch and he took another breath as he heaved. There was a creak, but this time from the window as it lifted up. Cool air wafted into the room as the person outside finally reached his door. Lifting his gun from his holster, the Captain jumped out the window. There was the strange sensation of free fall just before he hit the ground. Looking up he saw a shadow flick across the wall from a lamp the person must have brought with them.

The Captain continued to watch as the shadow inside moved around the room searching for him. It wouldn't be long before it turned to the window and looked out. Turning hurriedly the Captain made his way forwards in the dark. He blended in with the absence of light around him easily, if anyone looked down they would see nothing. In a short amount of time he reached the large stables in town and started to prepare a horse for his long journey.

He was almost finished putting the saddle on the horse when the sound of heavy footsteps running across the cobbles towards him reached his ears. Grabbing the reins of the horse the Captain led it quickly out through the doors and towards the town's exit. Pulling tight the final strap he whipped it across haunch. It neighed loudly, rearing on it's hind legs. Landing on all fours it took off at full speed out of the town.

Sinking quickly into the dark before whoever was following caught up with him, the Captain looked around for a way out. Looking up he saw a wood beam sticking out from the wall. Stepping backwards, the Captain ran forwards. Jumping, he hit the stone wall and pushed himself up. His arms reached out and caught the beam. He quickly pulled himself up and stood up. The cobbles below echoed the sound of his pursuer. Before they could arrive he was running along the brick wall back towards the Inn. The wall ran along the edge of the town and passed by the tavern.

Up ahead the roof of the tavern loomed, tall and black in the night. A building of rough hewn grey stones, with a mixture of thatching and wood shingles. Most of the houses in the town looked like that, a relic of the Dark Ages. It was a familiar setting for the Captain, there were small towns spread out all over Gamdagleeare Luff that were the same as this one. Where the inhabitants lived on in hard work. If they wanted water, they would have to go to the well in the middle of the town to get it. The Captain liked those towns, you weren't allowed to live in comfort. If you did then you were frowned upon and excluded.

The Captain slowed to a walk and hopped from the wall to a ledge on the second floor of the tavern and crept his way alongside. An open window near the very end of the building allowed him access inside and he slid in. His own window had been closed and locked after whoever had been inside had left. The room had more furniture than his had, it had a table by the bed, a chair, and a wardrobe. There was only faint light falling into the room from the stars outside, but the Captain could tell that someone was sleeping in the bed. Heavy breathing filled the room.

Creeping stealthily the Captain moved to the door and unlocked it before taking a peak out at the landing. It was clear. Just in case something came up the stairs, he moved his gun from his holster to his hand and left the room behind. Stepping softly he walked back to his room, being careful not to step on the boards which creaked. The door of his room was closed. Trying the handle he found someone had locked it. Gritting his teeth in annoyance the Captain looked around and tried to think of what to do. His plan had been to return to his room and wait there until morning before moving out. There had been people searching for him, he didn't know who they were, but if they were Shadows then there was no use running, hiding, or doing anything. But if they weren't then his room would be the safest place to hide. They had already checked it and there was no where he could hide in it so they would leave and search else where. There was hardly anyone on the island that would think he might return to the room. No one ever returned to their room after they wee forced to flee from it.

An idea formed in the Captain's mind. If he couldn't stay in his room, he would simple take someone else's. With his gun still held in his hand, the Captain moved back the way he had come. The room he had just come from was still open, the door hadn't magically locked itself. He pushed it open and entered, his gun raised in case he had to use it. It would make a loud noise if he fired it so he preferred to just be able to sneak up on he sleeper and knock him out and kill him quietly.

As he neared the still form, a breeze blew through the window and stirred the sheets around the body. It shivered, and sat up. The Captain froze, his eyes bright and alert as his gun rose to meet the outline in the dark of the head. If the person made a single noise he would move to prevent it from being heard.

Neither moved for a moment, unsure of what to do. Then, the figure in the bed seemed to sigh and relax as it reached over and turned up the flame in the lamp. A dull light flared, lighting up the main center of the room and failing to capture the corners. The corners didn't matter, there was nothing there that either of them wanted to see.

Slowly, the Captain lowered his gun as he took in the face of the person before him. He had expected to knock out the sleeper, however it seemed that he wouldn't have to any more. The sleeper was the maid, staring at him with those bright blue eyes.

'I was expecting you,' she said, breaking the silence between them. She slid off the bed, clutching her sheet to her bare chest as she moved towards him. 'I was afraid you weren't going to come.'

The Captain stood semi mesmerised at the sight of her. She seemed different than when he had first seen her. Her brown hair, which had bee tied back in a pony tail was now free and hanging down over her pale shoulders. Her face, which he had thought plain despite the eyes and the smile, seemed to radiate in the light of the lamp. He holstered his gun as she moved closer to him, he could feel her warmth she stood so close.

'I couldn't resist,' he told her quietly.

Reaching out she took his free hands in hers and led him over towards the bed. Lying down on it she pulled him down on top of her.

'Do you normally carry a gun when you enter a room,' she asked as she helped remove his coat.

'You never know what you might find,' the Captain told her. 'I don't know your name,' he said, changing the subject.

'It's Rosana,' she replied softly, pulling him down so their lips met.

The Captain pulled away. 'It's a lovely name. Do you know who I am?' He wanted to know, he wanted to see whether he was in danger from her.

Rosana shook her head. 'Should I?'

The Captain smiled. 'Not really,' he told her as moved in for another kiss.

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