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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5. Chapter 5

The Captain stayed in Rosana's room for as long as he thought it would be safe. A few hours from dawn he rose to his feet from the bed and crept to the window. Outside the night was still, as was the town. He had heard no more noises so he presumed that his hunters had left, whoever they were. Pulling open the window the Captain jumped out into the night.

It was a beautiful night, the stars were shining with their normal brilliance as they swirled ceaselessly above. Their brightness reflected off the many moons that circled in the sky around them. The Captain stopped in his walk as he neared the edge of town that was furthest from the world's edge. If you stood in the right position you could look straight up the highway. It was empty at that time of morning and had most likely been empty for hours.

The sky rumbled low and he peered into the clear sky. It sounded like it would rain, and that was good. Rain would hide his scent from anyone wishing to try and follow.

Jumping lightly down off the wall he had perched himself on, the Captain walked through the town's gates and set off following the highway. By the time the sun rose he would be a mere speck on the horizon.

The sands burnt. There was no more grass to walk on anymore, he had left that almost five hours before when he he stopped following the highway and began to head south into the desert. At least he thought it was south, his compass still didn't want to work, and the sun rose in whatever direction it pleased each day.

The Captain trudged on, ignoring the sand that whipped at his face and the little cuts it produced. The sand was being blown by a hot wind that was blowing from one of the seas which cornered the island. The island he stood on wasn't the only island. There were 70 others islands all floating about which made up Gamdagleeare Luff. All floating on the seas of one giant disc like island. Except it wasn't a disc, no one had chartered it properly to find out what shape it was but it was obviously not a disc.

The island he was upon currently was one of many which bordered on the edge of the world. It was nameless, but that was because the only thing of importance that it held was a harbour. Each island that held a harbour, if not said earlier, also held a Mainstream which ran along towards the harbour and stretched back towards the center of Gamdagleeare Luff, connecting them all together.

The Captain finally had enough of the sand and wrapped a scar around the bottom of his face to protect it and pulled down his head over his eyes. The wind was picking up and sending the sand wild. It was almost like a sand storm. In fact there was a storm, but of rain. The rain that had threatened earlier was pouring down. The weather had decided to be really bad today, and the Captain regretted heading out into it. The one consolation he had was that no one would be able to follow him. There were simply no tracks to follow.

A sandstorm in the middle of a pouring rain was something that seemed to happen on Gamdagleeare Luff regularly. The weather followed no strict pattern, it was whatever it felt like helped along by an impossible sun and moons above.

Stopping suddenly, the Captain crouched down and pulled his coat and cloak around him in an effort to prevent the sand from creeping in. The rain he didn't mind quite so much. Inside his little shell, the Captain pulled from a pocket the scroll that he had received earlier. Once more he peered at the emblem on the seal and tried to wonder what they wanted. The emblem was that of a raven.

The Captain's eyes roamed over every raise and groove in the hardened wax, almost admiring the level of detail it held. He knew exactly who the Ravenwood's were, he didn't imagine there was anyone on the world that didn't. They were in sore need of education and enlightening if they didn't. A long time ago, in the first war, he had fought with them. That had been before he had changed sides to fight with the No Ones in the second war. The Raven had lost the first war, but neither sides had won.

What the Captain couldn't understand was why they would request him to come and see them. A long time ago he had found it wise to break off contact. He was a saviour and hero to the poor and worthless, not the rich and corrupt.

An hour or two later, it was hard to tell the time, the rain and sand gradually receded to nothing. Under the full boiling sun of the desert the mud hardened back into the sand and dirt as the desert drank up the water. As the Captain walked on he licked his lips absently, only faintly aware of the dryness of his lips and mouth. There was nothing around him to see, except an endless view of what might have been. There was history everywhere on the world if you knew where to look. Each island had been ravaged by war. Inside the Captain's head memories stirred of a fantastic city, one that rose to the sky and was made of ivory. Where jungles grew abundantly but the natives built their cities around it, caring too much for nature to hurt it. He tried to remember what had happened to it all as he memory faded, and with a sad heart he viewed a new memory. A young man, tall in stature, of power, commanding an army of black shadows. Watching carelessly as the black swarm swept the city and the jungle and razed it to the ground in a matter of hours. The tall man never entered the battle, content to stand at the side and give the orders which killed millions of lives. And enjoying every moment of it.

Shaking his head to dislodge the images the Captain pulled from a pocket his nocular and shook the sand out of it. Taking a precise step sideways he raised it to his eye and turned in a full circle. The nocular was more powerful than his own eyes by far, even though his own could see further than most creatures. He had been blessed with powerful sight. The nocular picked out a moving speck in the distant horizon. Adjusting the knob on top of his instrument the Captain peered through it again and once more found the speck. It was clearer now and he made it out to be a bird. He grinned. It meant he was heading in the right direction. Returning his nocular to his pocket he started to walk towards the bird.

The minutes passed and turned quickly into hours as the Captain carried on, his throat parched and noticeable, his leg muscles burning from the constant walking. His head also felt like it was about to explode from the heachache that thumped within, and what made it worse was the fact that no matter how far he walked the bird came no closer. There were times when he thought he had lost it for he could not find it using his nocular. He was sure that it wasn't flying, but it had to be if he wasn't getting any closer. Grains of doubt slipped through mind as he began to wonder whether it was really a raven he saw or if it was merely a mirage.

The strength seemed to drain from his legs and the Captain swayed for a moment before collapsing forwards into the sand. His vision turned black and he could feel himself falling, rolling down a dune, hot sand scorching his face as he finally came to rest face down. The world darkened as the sand caught in his nose and throat and consciousness passed from his body.

Cool water passed between his lips and the Captain's eyes flickered open. There was a face in front of his staring quietly at him.

'You were made to enter the desert without food or water. If we had not been around you would surely have died,' the face said, moving out of view.

The Captain sat up slowly, unsure whether he was allowed to or not. They had saved his life, but that didn't mean they weren't going to take it.

'But if I had entered without food and water, you would never have shown up,' he replied as he found his legs and rose to his feet. His head still ached but his throat and mouth were quenched.

'You were flying away from me weren't you?' he asked as his vision blacked out. He opened his eyes and found himself being lifted back to his feet by the same person who had fed him water. The person still didn't reply so the Captain continued. He would until he received a reply.

'You didn't know who I was or what I was so you thought you would play it safe and wait for me to collapse out of exhaustion before making your move. Am I right?'

'You are correct.'

The Captain spun around. He had been facing the one that had fed him water, but he hadn't been the one to speak. Standing in front of him now were three other people. Each one wore dark blue clothes with silver breastplates, plainly styled, for fighting in rather than to be wore as decoration. They were covered in dents and scratches. Each person also held a sword at the ready.

'Have you decided I am a threat, then?' the Captain asked, his eyes drawn to the swords, aware that in the time it would take for him to reach inside and grab his guns he would be pierced by four swords.

'You are correct,' the same one that had spoken before spoke again. This one was male, in almost human form like the other three. He looked older than the others, and seemed to be in charge. His breastplate was made of silver and gold swirled together.

'Yes, but to whom am I a threat? You had riders give this to me.' Reaching inside his coat the Captain paused as he felt the thin blade of a sword rest against his throat. He cast a glance at the leader of the scouts, who nodded, and felt the blade retract. Pulling out the scroll he handed it over.

The leader weighed it in his hand, looked at the seal, and asked, 'Have you read it?'

The Captain shook his head. 'I want to talk to the person who sent me it first,' he replied as he took the scroll back and made it disappear inside his coat.

'You should open it if you want to know who sent it to you. They might have signed it,' the scout leader told him.

'I'm not opening it until I have seen Ravenwood. That is why I am here,' the Captain replied coldly. 'If he wants to tell me something he can tell it to my face.'

The head scout didn't say anything or a while. Finally he turned, signaled his men, and headed away in opposite direction the Captain had been heading towards earlier.

'Perhaps you should open the scroll,' he said, as he felt the Captain catch up with him and start walking by his side.

The Captain shook his head. 'I'll talk to Ravenwood first, if it's all the same to you.'

'He will not see you. He does not see anyone. Not even his own kind.'

'He will see me,' the Captain replied grimly. 'That's the price he pays for summoning me.'

The head scout looked surprised. 'What makes you think that he sent the scroll? All disciples seal the wax in his emblem. It is so that the receiver will know who it is from,' he explained placidly.

'I will see Ravenwood first. If he does not want to see me then he shouldn't allow people to use his emblem.'

The scout remained silent for a few moments as he contemplated his reply. 'Perhaps you should see Fion first,' he said at last. 'He will see if Ravenwood will see you.'

'Who is Fion?'

'If you are going to come back with us you will see who he is.'

'And who are you? I don't know who you are.'

'I am Hion. And we should hurry now if we are to get back to the temple before the dark sets in. It will take longer as you don't have the power of flight as we Ravens do.'

Turning, the Captain looked at the slowly sinking sun. He had barely noticed it before. If it was setting then he wondered how long he had been unconscious for, and how long he had spent walking.

'Lead the way then,' he replied.

Hion turned to the rest of his men. 'Fly and tell Fion that I am to see him the moment I return, and that I am bringing someone,' his eyes flicked over to glance over the Captain. 'A desert wanderer.'

The Temple of Ravenwood rose and fell with the sand. It was covered by it and disguised by it. When the wind blew the sand it blew the temple with it. The best form of camouflage is the form where it is the camouflage. Take away what hides it and you take away what it hides.

Two large, black blue stone ravens stood guard over the main doors of the temple. One of each side, beak to beak pointing down to form a V above the doors. Sentries stood hidden, looking out of the ravens huge eyes, their crossbows armed and ready to fire down the hollow beaks to shoot unwanted creatures that might come knocking.

By the time Hion and the Captain arrived at the doors the rest of Hion's troops were waiting. Before the Captain could admire the carving of the giant birds he was whisked away inside and hurried up a set of long, narrow stairs and pushed into a small chamber before the front doors had time to close. A black haired man stood in the middle of the room, his back to the intruders of his privacy, arms stretched out, hands palm up, his face staring up at a model of miniature planets that swirled above his head on wires. The Captain and Hion watched silently by the door before Hion finally coughed.

'Yes, Hion?' the black haired man asked. His eyes opened and the planets above ceased to move. He turned to face them and walked over.

'This is the man,' Hion said, taking a step back so that the Captain was in between the two Ravens.

'You are Fion?' the Captain asked.

'Yes, that is who I am. Hion's scout troops told me he would be bringing you to see me.' His voice was flat and full of croaks, and as he neared the Captain and moved into the light his hair changed from black to grey, and then turned white. His skin wrinkled up as his body went bent. A walking stick appeared at a wave of his hand and he took it and leant on it before he fell over.

'He said that I needed to see you before I could see Ravenwood,' the Captain explained, pointing to Hion.

'It is true that he said that,' Fion replied, 'but-'

'But?' the Captain raised an eyebrow.

'Ravenwood is already expecting you to see him,' finished the old man.

'He is?' This was Hion as he stepped forwards, a frown on his face. 'Why was I not told that he sought this stranger? I would not have wasted your time and his by first leading him on into the desert away from us if I had known. He would be talking to Ravenwood now as we speak.'

'He would have, yes, but I wanted to see him first before Ravenwood,' Fion explained calmly. 'If you had not sent word to me I would never have known he was here and had my chance.' Turning, he looked into the Captain's eyes with his own watery ones. 'Have you read what was written in the scroll?'

'No.'

'Why not?' Fion asked surprised. 'The written word is to be read.'

'I prefer to speak face to face rather than through messages.'

Fion nodded his head, a grin of satisfaction appearing on his face. 'You are him, then. Anyone else would rush to open it to find out why they are being sent a message from the leader of the Ravens. Only one man would go through the wait of temptation to talk to our leader before opening what was sent to him. You are that man.'

'Am I? How can you tell who I am before I've even told you my name?'

'Your whole self radiates who you are. But if you wish me to ask... Who are you?'

'I am me.'

'Then you are you,' Fion grinned again, this time mysteriously. 'The one we called. You have the scroll unopened, and you are here to talk before you open it.' He waved his hand and a door appeared behind him out of the wall. 'Come. He is expecting you now.'

Walking away he pushed the door opened and walked on through.

The Captain stayed where he was, thinking about the conversation that had just passed between them. 'I still don't know who he is,' he said to Hion.

'He is Fion,' was the simple reply.

'So I gathered,' the Captain replied dryly as he watched the open door as if expecting something to come through it.

'You know who you are by being you, and he knows who he is by being himself. We don't really know who you are, and you don't really know who he is. Perhaps that makes us even, don't you think?'

The Captain sighed. 'Perhaps. I hate being summoned. I have a feeling that this was the plan from the start.' Turning he looked at Hion. 'You coming?'

'No, I do not enter Ravenwood's chamber. This is as far as I go,' Hion said as he took a step backwards.

'That's behind this door?'

'In a manner of speaking, yes,' Hion took another step back.

'Very well.'

With another sigh, the Captain walked forwards and disappeared through the door. They closed behind him and left Hion alone in the room. Silently the Raven turned and exited by the door he had entered by. Outside the sun had set from the sky.

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