|Series||Crossfire by Pixichi|
|Previous||Crossfire, Chapter 26|
|Next||Crossfire, Chapter 28|
|← Crossfire, Chapter 26||Chapter Chronology||Crossfire, Chapter 28 →|
Reaver's eyes slowly opened as he heard the sound of gears cranking loudly. He took a look around and then remembered what had transpired the night before. He had been walking along the dark Bowerstone streets, a place in which he had not been for over 300 years. It had been his retreat after what he had done in Oakvale. He had been a stranger there, and had started over fully. The memories of the first night that he had spent alone after the carnage flooded back to Reaver as his boots treaded hard of the cobblestone. Those streets hadn't changed in all that time. Reaver had retreated back to his ship, where he found more than enough food for him and Connie. However, whilst aboard, Reaver had been jumped by two men, who immediately tried to kill him. But his pistol had seen many a situation before, and it quickly put a mortal bullet into each of them. But as he had turned to leave, there in the doorway, stood a man. He had not been a pirate, nor a thug. He had been a will user of some kind. Reaver knew this because the man paralyzed him instantly with a twist of the hand, without so much as touching him. He had fallen limp onto the floorboards. The man then had cast his other hand, and a strange light surged forth. That was all that he had remembered. Reaver began to stand up, but was chained to the floor.
"Damnation!" He cursed. Then Reaver thought of his lovely Connie, whom was no doubt worried sick about him. The door in front of him suddenly opened. The light filtered down as the man from the other night entered the cell.
"So, we meet again,Hero of Skill." The voice almost seemed to mock him. Reaver looked up towards the hooded figure.
"How do you know that?! Who the hell are you?!" He demanded from the hooded face.
"You hurt my feelings Victor, don't you remember me at all?" The hooded figure spoke. Reaver looked up in shock, which was very rare for him.
"H-how do you know my old name?" He stammered, which was even rarer. The hooded face laughed. Then, the figure removed its hood and Reaver jumped back.
"Xaiver?! But, no, your supposed to be-"
"Dead? I do believe that was what you had intended was it not Victor?" Xaiver jeered. Reaver felt the blood rise in his temples.
"NO! It was a mistake, you know that better than anyone! You helped me find the damned book in the first place remember?!" The scoundrel yelled.
"True, but it was merely for my own recreational purposes..." Xaiver laughed.
"How were you able to survive the chaos anyway?" Reaver asked him.
"I am a will user. So unlike you, I know many different ways of cheating death-without slaughtering a whole village." Xaiver smirked. Reaver pulled harder on the chains. Then, to his surprise, Xaiver lifted his hands and a blade of black energy came forth and ripped the chains away in one clean swipe. But Reaver knew that Xaiver was up to something.
"Why do you wait? Come at me. Hero of Skill, are you afraid of me?" Xaiver jeered. Reaver remained still, glaring at him.
"I haven't got my gun, you know that!" He yelled. Xaiver grinned.
"Ahh yes. I know that. So tell me Victor, how are you?"
"What do you mean how am I? You kidnap me so that you and I can have a chat?! What's wrong with you?"
"I guess immortality kind of messes with your mind, but you know that better than anyone don't you? To think that you used to be a noble and honest man. Look at yourself. You've become nothing more than a heartless brigand." Xaiver mocked again. Reaver couldn't hold back, and lunged at him. Xaiver causally cast him aside via force push. Reaver landed against the wall with a thud. Xaiver laughed again.
"Even after 300 years you are still novice enough to attack a will user with your bare hands? I can only be harmed with spells you fool! And even spells have little effect on me anymore. I've mastered every skill and spell in the world by now."
"Fancy a drain life spell then, on yourself?" Reaver replied.
"No thank you. I've already used up a lot of my mana on a heal life spell actually. It's very hard and time consuming to bring someone back from the dead. Especially after 300 years." Xaiver turned away, knowing that he had the rogue's interest.
"300 years? Who did you restore after being dead for 300 years?" Reaver asked. Xaiver turned and his eyes met Reaver's.
"Do you really want to know?"
"Yes. Yes I do." Xaiver nodded, clicked his fingers thrice, and another person entered the room. A young woman with blonde hair and sorrowful blue eyes stood before Reaver, and he screamed inside for her.
"Cammilia!? No, its an illusion. Xaiver, stop it, Xaiver!" Reaver yelled at him. Cammilia's image faded and Xaiver laughed wickedly.
"Alright. I will admit that you are still too clever to fall for my tricks. But, will your friends be so witty as well?" Xaiver asked his old rival.
"Whom do you mean?"
"Connie and Clammy Claude. They are coming to rescue you." Xaiver explained.
"That's impossible. Connie doesn't know where I am, and Claude is still in Bloodstone." Xaiver looked out towards the sea.
"Are you sure of that?"
"Just tell me why I'm here Xaiver." Reaver sneered.
"When you put an end to the Shadow Court, you really disappointed me. They where a source of great power to me." Xaiver told him.
"I don't understand."
"You wouldn't would you? As far as you know they were summoned into this world to serve you. But its been 300 years, and I think that you need to know the truth now Victor." Xaiver grinned. Reaver's eyes narrowed.
"What are you talking about? I summoned them here, I was the one who they were to obey. They gave me my eternal life-and they took my perfect life as payment."
"Oh yes, so very sad. The tragic tale of Victor and his great loss. But that's what I have to talk to you about." Xaiver's red eyes gleamed like that of a tiger. "You weren't the one who destroyed Oakvale-I was." All at once, for the first time in his whole overly long life, Reaver's blood ran cold and turned to solid ice.
"What did you just say?" He spoke, his voice barely over a whisper.
"The book that I helped you find, I knew where it was all along. You see, the Shadow Court has served within my family since before the Old Kingdom. Too long for you to comprehend Victor. You and I had always known one another correct?" Xaiver jeered.
"I don't understand, I was the one whom they granted eternal life, I was the one that they took everything from, I was the one that they taunted after it was all said and done! Why in the hell would you say that it was you who destroyed Oakvale, or is this another one of your taunts Xaiver?!" Reaver exclaimed. Xaiver chuckled in a way that made a disturbing sound inside his thin throat.
"I 've met a lot of skill masters in my lifetime, but most would have been cunning enough to figure it out-or perhaps Victor, you are cunning and you just refuse to face the truth. So here, let me clarify it. As previously stated, we have known each other for a very long time haven't we?"
"Yes. We grew up in the same village." Reaver answered him.
"That we did." Xaiver turned and started pacing the cell. "My father was a will user as well, one of the best ever in the history of Albion. He despised Oakvale, because it was they who had started the great riot that destroyed the great Hero's guild. My grandfather, and his father, was one of the countless powerful mages to be slaughtered in that riot. My father spent many an hour quietly plotting revenge on that sickeningly quaint hamlet ever since." Xaiver explained. Reaver continued to listen. " As you may very well recall, my father was eventually arrested and tried for witchcraft, and sentenced to be burnt at the stake. I watched my father die, be burned alive by these mindless, superstitious peasants. My father was a good man Victor. He was a user of white magic, and he had healed many a villager with it."
"He was our town doctor." Reaver added. Xaiver winced.
"Yes. And it was from one of the traders whom my father had saved from the brink of death with a heal life spell that these allegations first arose. He had saved this poor fools life, and the foolish man had reported him, saying that he weaved spells and raised the dead. All lies Victor! All lies..."
"I am so sorry." Reaver offered. Xaiver looked over his shoulder at him and grinned.
"Don't be. As I watched me father burn, I made him a promise Victor. That I would rid Albion of Oakvale, and all of its pointless inhabitants, and in the most painful and worse way possible. That day, I became a user of dark magic. It was within a few years of which I learned that my father and grandfather belonged to and ancient bloodline of witches and wiccans. My father was the latter of the two of course, but I am indeed a warlock. I studied this matter more, and eventually learned of an ancient slave, of which my family had created long ago to wreak vengeance and control lives-The Shadow Court. That was when I began to have a plan. I knew that you wanted to get back at your brother, and so I helped you retrieve the book. As you read aloud, little did you know Victor, that book was indeed cursed. I had weaved my dark spells and instructed the shadows to destroy Oakvale, and your family. Pity. If only you had have been a will user, they would have respected you, been yours to control, and they would have granted you your immortality-no strings attached. But I instructed then to kill everyone, sparing your life, in exchange for a continuous four year sacrifice, not to preserve your youth, but to preserve my power. The Shadow Court and Wraithmarsh are very important to my dark magic. They fuel my evil, and they weaken or completely disable the magic of anyone other than I, that way I always have the upper hand. So you see Victor, you did nothing to end your families pathetic lives, you where just a pawn in my twisted little game, and up until recently, you were being so useful, bringing all those victims to my minions. Up until that accursed Connie Remswood showed up..." Xaiver ended his story with a harsh growl. Reaver looked at him, eyes unblinking. Memories came flooding his head again, until it threatened to overflow. Playing in Barrow Fields with Henery and Archer. His first kiss with Cammilia, followed by holding her warm body close to his by the light of a full moon, and the tiny squeals of his newly born baby girl. He slowly felt the ice in his blood be burned away with pure hatred. Reaver rose to his feet.
"You...took..EVERYTHING from me that day!" He screamed, lunging at Xaiver again, ready to kill him, or to die trying. Xaiver grabbed him in mid air, stopping his attack. The warlocks cold hands took his throat and they began to squeeze. Reaver gasped for air as he met Xaiver's gaze. Xaiver gave him an evil smile.
"Now, now Victor. You still have your immortality. No need to thank me, it was a small price to have to pay. You can go on with your woefully lonely existence soon enough. Just do me one small thing more. Tiny thing. Connie Remswood. That girl has untapped will power that she refuses to use. She is the most powerful type of hero, and her will powers could easily far exceed my own. I want her dead, so that I may steal that energy from her. With it, I will become the most powerful will user of all time!" Xaiver spoke sharply.
"Connie has will?" Reaver asked surprised, because Connie had never told him nor used will in front of him before.
"She chose not to nurture it when first she became a hero. And so it lies dormant inside her. The pathetic girl relies solely on her ability to read auras. I need her unused power, and you are going to help me get it!"
"Never!" Reaver roared, biting Xaiver's tightly gripped hand. The warlock simply squeezed harder.
"Please don't make me kill you Victor. I had so many more evil tasks for my sweet little lackey to perform for me."
"I am not your lackey, and I would rather die than hurt Connie!" He glared into the devilish red eyes with his dragon green ones. Xaiver finally smiled a toothy grin and dropped the pirate.
"Shame. I would have thought that you'd be used to giving me the souls of your lovers by now. You should have listened to that sweet wife of yours..." Reaver struggled to catch his breath, too weak to come after the hooded mage. With a cruel laugh, the warlock slammed the cell door shut again. Reaver was left lying on the cold stone floor, out of breath, and full of thoughts and dread. Connie...Please don't come looking for me.
The next morning, Connie changed back into her usual green dress, and packed her satchel full of potions. It was time to resume her search. She bade farewell to Jasper and headed once more down to the docks. The stench of fish lay strong in the air, and Lance raced ahead, full speed. At first Connie thought that the awful smell had been what was attracting her companion, but as Lance reached the entrance to Bowerstone Market, he began to howl and bark wildly. Connie caught up with him and was surprised when she saw none other than Reaver's old cronie, Clammy Claude sitting against the Bowerstone Bridge, stinking drunk. He looked like one of the beggars who often hung around the Bowerstone Bridge, except he wasn't begging. He was hunched over and swaying side to side, talking to himself. Lance approached him and whined. Even Troublesome cautiously licked his hand and the old pirate jumped.
"Clammy Claude?" Connie asked. Clammy Claude burped and then looked up at her with his bloodshot grey eyes.
"Eh? Oh, hi lass...Could ye be commin back around later? I be a bit drunken from last night..." Connie looked at the pirate and shook her head.
"I thought you lived in Bloodstone, what are you doing here?"
"I did live thar, but ever since ol' captain Slash took over the place, I jist can't seem ta find me nitch anymore. So I came a-lookin' fer me old mate, Reaver." He started to slouch back down again. Connie shook him by the shoulder violently.
"Reaver's gone missing. He didn't come back to the castle last night, and when I went to look for him aboard the Reaver II, there was blood splattered all over his master suite, plus his pistol was there, and he never leaves it behind, ever. I need your help in finding him!" Clammy Claude pushed her away.
"Avast there girly! I barely know ye! Ya need ta calm down a bit, I was out with Reaver last night. Him and this strange lookin' bloke with a black hood. We where drinkin' and carousin' and havin' a great time. Well except Reaver, he was just kinda layin there sleepin'."
"Reaver was with you last night? Well where is he now?!" Clammy Claude shrugged.
"I dunno. They threw me off the boat before we left port. Said that I drank all the wine or some crazy thing like that..." The old pirate belched again followed by a fart. Connie grimaced at the awful smell.
"Did Reaver say where they where going by any chance?" She asked, getting worried and annoyed at the same time.
"Nope, he was just lying there all tied up, asleep." Connie jumped back.
"Tied up asleep?!"
"Claude. Do you think that maybe Reaver wasn't sleeping, maybe he was knocked out, and that maybe the reason he was tied up was that he had been kidnapped?!" She asked sarcastically.
"Naw! Reaver would never get himself kidnapped. He's a professional sailor."
"Claude, what happened before you got drunk? Why did you leave Bloodstone?" Clammy Claude shrugged again and then yawned.
"I tells ye, it was because I was bored and hate captain Slash. I followed ye out ta sea in me old row boat. But as soon as ye left Bowerstone, I lost track of ye and jist decided to get hammered instead. But I wis all out of gold, couldn't buy even a Balverines Spleen beer. Jist when I wis about ta give up, this man came up ta me and invited me aboard his ship. We had drinks and talked. At some point they threw me off the ship, and next thing I remember, I woke up here."
"Either that or you were kidnapped as well, and they got you drunk so that you wouldn't remember anything." Connie said to him. It seemed like a likely theory anyway. Clammy Claude shook his head and laughed.
"You have a great imagination Connie, but that's jist no what happened alright?"
"How are you so sure?" She asked again, but this time, he refused to answer her and was already drifting in and out of sleep. Connie turned to Lance and Troublesome.
"We're going to have to take care of him first before we can find Reaver, so lets do this. Are you ready?" Lance and Troublesome barked in unisom and wagged their tails. Connie decided to firstly head to the alchemist and get a sobriety potion for Claude. She knew next to nothing about tracking, and if Reaver had indeed been kidnapped and taken aboard a ship, she would also need a ship to go and search for him, and Connie was not a sailor. She entered the potion shop and the bell above the door dinged to announce her presence.
"Hello, can I help you?" The kindly alchemist asked.
"Yes. One sobriety potion and three resurrection phials." Connie replied. The alchemist passed her a small purple bottle and then frowned.
"Sorry, we're all out of resurrection phials at the moment. That bloke Xaiver usually delivers a whole batch, but this time he came and left in such a hurry that the ones we still had in stock were bought up in no time." Connie smiled as she passed him the appropriate amount of gold.
"That's ok. I just like to keep a few on me."
"I'll bet they come in handy. Me, I'm so cowardly that I have yet to leave the city walls. My life's probably boring compared to yours, but its also much safer." The alchemist replied.
"That's true. Well, have a nice day." Connie waved as she left the shop. She walked back over to where the old pirate lie in a drunken heap.
"Drink this, it will make you feel better." Connie ordered, handing Clammy Claude the potion. He brought the flask to his lips and guzzled the potion. As the last of the liquid disappeared, he shook his head and jumped up.
"Avast ye! I feels twenty times better now and I thank ye fer it too!"
"Claude? Can you help me now?" Clammy Claude nods.
"Yes, of course." Clammy Claude started walking towards the docks. "Where be the Reaver II?" Connie pointed to the great mahogany ship in the harbor below.
"I help ye steer this vessel love, but as fer trackin, that's gonna be downright impossible via sea. Whet's yer plan?"
"I can use my aura to pick up on where Reaver is." Clammy Claude shrugged and boarded the Reaver II.
"I dunno what an aura is, but if ye be sure that it can help ye find Reaver, than I be a-trunstin' ye." Once everyone was aboard, Connie yelled for the town guards to open the gate to the open sea. They did so, and the old pirate began to maneuver the ship out of the harbor.
"Ok lass! Whets yer tracking method? Time ta put it in action!"
"Ok, when I pick up on the location, I will yell out which way you need to steer the ship." She instructed him. Connie closed her eyes and tried to focus of be honest, she had never used her power like this before, and she wondered if it would even work. But as she began to focus more and more on the man that she loved, and of his whereabouts, Connie began to feel a sharp pull coming from her left.
"South Claude!" Connie yelled. The seadog began to steer in that direction. That was the system they used. Connie would feel pulls whenever she focused on Reaver,
relying on her will powers to seek out her beloved fiancée', and then she would yell out the position to Clammy Claude. Lance had since laid upon warm deck of the Reaver II and had fallen asleep while sunbathing. Troublesome remained as anxious and shaky as the night Connie had found her in Reaver's master suite. The Reaver II sailed for over six hours before Connie saw the outline of a small island in the distance. Her nerves became very frantic and she pointed towards the island.
"Dead ahead Claude! It's that island up ahead!" Clammy Claude looked worried.
"Ohhh not that one..." He said under his breath. Connie walked up to where he was.
"What's the matter?" She asked. Clammy Claude turned to face her, a look of dread in his eyes.
"Only Will users can track that island. If ye don't have will, ye can get lost in there forever. There are these strange illusions see? They make ye do all sorts of crazy things, lose yer way, or even turn on yer mates. Tis a dangerous place it tis..." He said with a shudder.
"Claude. I have the will. How else did you think that I tracked Reaver all this way? I never did much with it before because I just didn't feel the need to. But I am completely capable of using it. Keep going to that island. I can find Reaver from there. You, Lance and Troublesome will just have to stay close ok?" Clammy Claude bent down and picked up some rope.
"I trust ye Connie, but fer the magic inside ye to protect us non-Will users, we all need ta be tethered together. Ye can put Troublesome first, ye second. followed by meself, and Lance on the end fer a lookout. How does that sound?" He asked.
"That's fine. What is this island called anyway?" Connie asked.
"Those who have the will and have lived to tell these tales call it Arcane Island." The name sounded appropriate. Connie looked onward as Clammy Claude tethered the travellers together. She stared up at the forbidding cliffs of Arcane Island. Whoever this kidnapper was, and whatever he wanted with Reaver, Connie was going to teach him a lesson.