I was woken the next day by one of my brother’s servants in the form of a knock on the door and a lick on the face. Only one of which was the servant, just to be clear. The other was my personal alarm clock, Mr. Skullcrusher the Third.
Pushing the german shepherd’s slobbery mouth away from my face, I groaned sleepily. The knocking continued. “Rip his throat out, Skull,” I muttered half into my pillow. My dog jumped off the bed as I opened my eyes to blearily look at the clock. Noon. My bastard of a brother knew I slept during the day; of course he’d send his messenger right in the middle. Groaning, I got out of bed figuring I should get whatever it was off the guy and maybe send Sirio a message of my own. Take that in the most sinister way possible.
With shadows as my robe, I strode from the bedroom and headed for the front door just as Mr. Skullcrusher the Third slipped back in through the cat door. Those cats had to have been huge. He trotted over to me, tail wagging furiously, and I petted him briefly on the head before opening the door. I was expecting to come face to face with some quivering Legacy servant of my brother’s, but I didn’t.
On the front doorstep, a balding man lay in a pool of his own blood, his throat torn to shreds. A manilla envelope lay just out of reach of one of his sprawling hands, and I picked it up, careful not to get any blood on it. With a snap of my fingers, shadows condensed underneath the man and bore him down to the basement to join Mr. and Mrs. Travers.
Across the street, an old lady stood at the end of her driveway picking up the paper. She looked up just as the man disappeared through the doorway. She squinted at me, her floral bathrobe fluttering lightly in the morning breeze. I waved. She gave a tentative wave in return, and I figured that was good enough. I’d done my neighborly duty; I had removed the dead body from view and waved in a friendly manner. What more could they want from me? I shut the door, not bothering to worry about the bloodstained welcome mat.
I looked down at Skull. “You know, you’re a little too well trained, I think.”
He gazed up at me happily, his tongue flopping out of the side of his mouth. I softened. “Eh, well. Good boy.”
I resisted opening the envelope until I had poured myself a cup of coffee, not that it did anything for me. I didn’t need to eat or drink, or even sleep for that matter, but it had become a habit and it was oddly enjoyable. I liked the taste of coffee and the feel of sleep, and my motivations are simple. When I like something I do it. Sirio could make fun of me for being human all he wanted.
Eventually, I settled down at the kitchen table and undid the little string holding the envelope closed. Inside, I found a picture as well as a sheet of information.
Name: Damian Cross
Parents: Cornelia and Gregory Cross
Sibling(s): Taryn Cross, age 16
Blood status: 70% Light, 30% mortal
Training status: Level 7
History: Born 29 April, 1997 to Cornelia and Gregory Cross. Put into training at age three. Power and skill increased exponentially. Completed Level 5 at age 13, holds youngest record for GITS. Sent on two missions, one in 2013, the other in 2014. Details classified; both successful. Considered prodigy; under consideration for leadership position.
Strengths: Dedication, loyalty, skill, leadership, physical adeptness, competence, desire for revenge
Weaknesses: Personal attachments, questioning authority, desire for revenge
Hm. Well that was interesting. I picked up the photo. The boy in looking back at me was relatively handsome in a righteous sort of way. Even in a photograph, it was clear that he held himself with an air of authority, his strong jaw tilted up just enough to come across as assertive but not so much as to seem proud. His dark hair fell across one of his eyes, obscuring it almost completely, but matching perfectly in color. He seemed like a challenge. This was going to be fun.
There was also a personal note from Sirio in the envelope. It read:
I already know that you’re capable of killing people. Don’t kill this one. He has potential; just corrupt him. Do whatever you want to the sister.
I smiled. Yes, this was going to be fun indeed. First, though, I needed a plan. Fetching a large yellow legal pad from one of the kitchen drawers, I picked up a pen and began to write.
1. Find boy.
2. Figure out boy’s greatest weakness.
3. Steal/threaten/destroy as needed to get the boy to submit.
4. Show the boy how much power I have.
5. Show the boy how much power he could have (considerably less, but still enough to be fun).
6. Make the boy my slave.
7. Make the world my slave.
8. Destroy Sirio.
9. Rule the world.
I sat back and cracked my knuckles. Yes, this sounded like a rather good plan. I decided that this operation would start later that night, so in the meantime I thought about the ring. The Bane of Mortals - what a cool name. When I become ruler of the world, I thought I might just adopt it for myself. After all, I will be the bane of all human kind. Everyone will bow before me. It’ll be fantastic.
Rumor had it, the infamous Bane of Mortals could control anyone with even a drop of mortal blood. As it was, very few sorcerers these days were one hundred percent pure magic blood, especially after the cull of all those with Dark demon blood tainting their veins a few centuries ago. Now, anyone with magic powers or abilities got them from their Light heritage - at some point along the line, one of their ancestors was an angel. Of course, that only applied to humans. I was Dark through and through. Dark and proud.
This whole mortal blood thing worked extraordinarily well for me. You see, after God and his angels stopped directly interacting with earth about a millennia or two ago, pure Light blood could only be maintained by interbreeding of sorcerers, but over thousands of years so many mortals were thrown into the mix that hardly anyone is pure these days. Sirio is the only angel still on earth, even though he’s hardly an angel in anything but blood. What lie he told the GITS to explain why he was down here, I have no idea. So, basically, as long as Sirio doesn’t breed with anyone, I’m golden.
I was golden.