For Nothing is Worth the Price of Blood - Chapter 2

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Chapter 2 - "Fine art of Drawing"

Two figures occupied the top of a small hill. A slim female figure with long hair stood casually at the hill's highest point, another figure, a male's, sat lazily against an oak tree, basking in the glorious sunshine. As pleasant at the picture was, however, the real deal was by far more serious. The male reached out and pointed in front of him.

"Over there."


"Over there, the city."

"That's hardly a city."

"Well, town then."

The Brother's voice halted, as if he had nothing more to say. His sister looked at him strangely, trying to coax out the next part of his little speech.

"What about it?"

He looked up at her from his seated position against an oak tree, confusion in his eyes. "You mean you can't sense it?"

She walked over him and leant against the tree, arms folded. She looked down and concentrated for a moment. Closing her eyes, she tried her best to clear everything from her head. Nothing.

"No, what am I supposed to be sensing?"

The Brother slowly stood up beside her, looked at her, then turned her chin to the town and said, "I can feel it plain as day. The next one is there, in that town."

She looked back at him, slightly worried crystal-blue eyes meeting his. She turned back to the town and flicked some stray hair from her eyes. She stayed silent a few more moments.

"No, nothing."

He shrugged it off as though it were a simple case of hiccups. "You're probably not quite adjusted to the gem's power yet. Don't worry, sister, it will take time. I'm older than you, I can probably develop these skills faster."

She looked dissappointed.

"Hey, don't look so down! C'mon, let's hit this city, huh? You and me, c'mon."

He flashed a couple of lightning-fast kicks in the air and punched the air even faster. The grin on his face said he truly believed what he'd said. She agreed in her own mind, she probably was less likely to develop the skills as quickly as him, but it did seem unfair. But sense wasn't an attribute that was highly necessary in battle, that was one thing should enjoy.

"Yeah, okay. I get dibs on the best fighter, though."

"Sure. That's if this place has a best fighter. It looks pretty peasanty."

Her eyebrows dropped, a sneer beginning to form on her face. "Well, peasants or not, they're going to feel what it's like to be--"

"Easy, little sister! We're not here to destroy the place, where her to search for the next piece. Alright?"

She put on an powerful smirk and licked her front teeth, peering evilly at him. "Alright."

"Just the villagers. The earth and land never harmed us, so we won't harm them."

"Let's go."

"I'm with you, little sister.

Fit as a fiddle, she was. Now a month after making the initial recovery she was hard back into training. Bouncing around with pep and energy. Tasha kicked and spun around her lawn, brandishing a fearsome looking katana blade. It was the perfect day to train, sun shining, peaceful times and no real enemies to speak of. Although it did get boring after a while, she really did enjoy the quiet times. They let her follow less violent passtimes, like reading and writing. She loved drawing as well. In ways, the drawing helped her training. The intricate movements of the pencil, the style and grace of the pen's movements were something she could always learn a lesson from. Her goal was to move as the pencil in her hand, flowing and natural, creating fine, intricate patterns that were smooth and fast. The pencil could also slash, scratch and texture, a perfect transition to fighting styles. The harsh scratching being the viscious, wild swordplay, the lighter writing being the quick, whipping moves of the sword. A lot could be learnt from just drawing. It was strange how many of life's lessons could be taught from something as simple as using a pencil.

But for now, training itself was of utmost importance. Whether it was for personal gain only, or to punish herself being being as stupid as she had been, celebrating an easy victory which led to disaster, she couldn't guess. Perhaps a little punishment. She had nearly died from something as simple as looking skyward. It pissed her off to think that something so stupid nearly killed a mighty hero such as herself. Aron and Jay were the only people she had ever told about her accident. She knew she would never live it down. Aron, she knew, could keep a secret, especially one as embarassing as this. Jay had his moments of secrecy, but eventually bled everything to his wife at some point. Then, with the way gossip spread around Rockford, it would be the top story for the week. Fuck it.

She'd left her sword at home that day, going out to rid the world of another evil man with too many men under him. She'd taken her bow only, as she was trying to build up her aim. She knew she would win easily either way. The sword was her weapon of choice, her pencil in battle. Using it she was unstoppable. She'd left it at home that day because she'd heard rumours that she wouldn't be so great if she ever lost it. Like she needed it to be a warrior. Ha! She'd split that evil man's head with an arrow within 2 minutes of meeting him, not even long enough to have any real fun. She was a warrior, no absence of sword would bring her down.

"Natasha, calm down. You're going to break that thing one day."

She stopped and looked for the voice. Rebeka Fowler stood happily on the dusty road beside her lawn, a merry grin on her pink face. "You've been training so hard all morning, Natasha. I thought you could use a drink of spring water. How about it?"

Tasha stood at ease, realizing how hard she was training, so much so she was panting heavily. The thought of her mockery was getting to her. It was a good thing Rebeka had interrupted when she did, otherwise Tasha might have gone so wild she'd have started cutting things up. As it was, she had stopped, and was wondering.

"Shouldn't you be gossiping with the rest of the ladies?" she panted out.

"Oh noooo!" Rebeka playfully denied. "Not really into gossip myself. One of the many tools of the demons. Coming for a drink, dear? You've been working so hard, and our fearless hero shouldn't die of dehydration."

True, she had been working hard and deserved a break. Why not?!

"Yeah, okay. Thanks." she followed Rebeka across the street. Suddenly she stopped and listened.

"What was that?"

Jay had been in that bath all morning. He was wrinkled and pruney and in places, his tough skin had begun to get soggy and cracked. But Oh, was it a lovely bath. The steam rose in the air, whisping around the bathroom, finally vanishing out the window ten feet up. It was perfectly quiet here. The only noises came from the birds outside in his garden, probably pecking holes in his tomatoes as they always did. But he couldn't be bothered getting out of this heavenly bath. The water was just right. Not hot enough to make him uncomfortable and sweaty, but warm enough so that it never seemed to get colder. His wife sure knew how to heat the water to the right temperature. In fact, he thought with a sly grin, what better way to enjoy such a wonderful bath than to share it?

With that, Nira was on his mind. The water lapped around the edges of the bath as he turned slightly and called, "Nira, honey!"

He waited a while, the grin on his face unceasing.

"Nira? Sweetheart?"

Still nothing.

"Damn." he sulked into his bathwater. She must have gone out to a friends. Suddenly he remembered. "Oh, that's right. She's at Lorenda's."

Well, at least he could enjoy the water while he had it. Frisky wife or not, the bath was still too good to get out of. He slumped back into it and let the warm water soothe him. Lorenda's house was always the housewives hangout. They'd go there while their men were playing sport, or battling or just being men, and they would bake and talk and spread gossip. Jay really didn't understand how so much went on in such a small little town. There were only 400 people in Rockford, yet from what Nira told him at the table every evening, it seemed as though the entire place had been posessed by malicious spirits, making everyone adulterous, insane or just catty. He just couldn't understand how women could come up with as much crap as they did. Still, as long as his wife was just a faithful, he couldn't really give a damn in the least.

The door opened and slammed. He splashed up in the bath, eyes narrowing on the culprit. Nira lay backwards on the door, white as a ghost. She turned at him and rushed towards him.

"Jay! The village is being attacked!"

His eyes widened, then he leapt out of the bath, water splashing all over the floor. He grabbed a towel and rushed into the bedroom, closely followed by Nira.

"They came in from nowhere, suddenly Natasha burst in the house and told us all to find shelter."

"Then what are you waiting for, woman?!" he screeched, "Get into the attic!" He whipped on some pants.

"Are you going out to fight?"

"I have to, Honey, I'm a warrior." he replied as he hurriedly tied some laces up and started throwing on his leather armour. Grabbing his bow and a arrows, he scooped up Nira and scrambled up the attic stairs. Roughly throwing her onto the straw-covered wood, he blew her a kiss and slid back down. Seconds later he was out the door, Nira up in the attic crying in fear.

He sprinted down the streets towards Natasha's house, the dirt beneath his feet kicking up after every stride. As he ran he threw the arrows over his shoulder and whipped one into his bow. Rounding the last corner, he slowed down. Hundreds of bodies lay slaughtered on the ground. More hesitantly, he continued forwards, eyes roving around for culprits. He heard a clang of metal on metal around the next bend and surged forwards. Natasha was trying misreably to fend of a Silver-haired girl with no weapons whatsoever. The girl hardly looked attired to fight. Donned in shimmering silver clothing, a sleeveless silver top and a revealing silver dress, with splits on both side of the legs, running all the way up to the belt. Despite wearing high-heeled silver boots, she was impressively competent in battle, and her long silver hair whished around and she twirled and darted at incredible speed and agility. Each wild swing Natasha took with her Katana blade was easily dodged, or reflected off the girl's wrist cuffs. She managed to turn and see Jay running in.

"Shoot her, damn it!" she screamed.

He needed no more invitation, and pulled back on the bow. Taking aim, he left fly. The arrow blizted through the air, directly on target. The silver-haired girl whipped a hand around and caught it an inch from her face, then snapped it and glared at him.

Before Jay knew what was happening, a man with light blonde hair dropped onto his feet in front of him, dust rising from the ground where he hit. Without a word, he swept his leg around, kicking Jay's feet from under him and landing him unceremoniously onto his back. A grunt of pain escaped his lips. Before he could recover, the man brought up a short dagger and planted it into Jay's sternum. Jay screamed with pain, and the man withdrew the dagger and ran off to join the silver-haired girl in her fight with Natasha. Jay brought a hand up to his wound, it was deep, probably fatal. He tried to keep the pain down, but it overcame him and he cried again. He started having trouble breathing, a gurgling wheeze replaced the healthy rush of his breath.

"Die, tormentor!" the girl screeched to Natasha, who was having trouble fending off blows from the two inhuman fighters.

A solid blow to the jaw sent Natasha reeling backwards. She smacked the ground with her body, but managed to recover her stance almost instantly. Though dazed, she saw the girl fly towards her, and snatched for her sword. Too late, though, as the girl's knee met with her stomach, the powerful hit sent her flying backwards. She crashed against the log-wall of a house, but before she even had time to know she'd hit it, the blonde man appeard from nowhere and roundhouse-kicked her right through the logs, each log snapping as Natasha crashed through it, pushed along by the boot in her chest. Her head smacked all the way through, logs pounding her as she crashed through. She continued to fly through the air, severely hurt, until she hit the ground and skidded accross the stone floor of someone's kitchen. She slid to a stop and lay for a second, then groaned painfully and brought her hand slowly up to her head. She couldn't really tell where she was, but she knew she'd just had her butt whipped. Her head was on fire, her vision all round-a-bout, and her chest aching again. She closed her eyes for a moment, to try and focus on what hurt the most.

She was nudged with a foot. She opened her eyes, but kept still on the ground. Her vision was not stable enough to make a movement, but she could certainly tell who it was. It was the silver girl, walking calmly up to her, her heels making tiny clacking noises as they hit the concrete. A log clattered to the floor from the wall. The girl stopped beside her, pausing a moment and looking over her. She let out an unimpressed, "hmph", and raised the heel of her boot to jam it into Natasha's vulnerable chest.

"No, Silver!" The blonde man entered through the impressive hole he had created with Natasha's body. "Don't kill her."

Silver looked suprised, but lowered her foot and stood back. The man walked in looking at Tasha. He was wearing nothing as stunning as the girl. A once-white shirt, now spattered with the blood of those he had killed, and simple, black dress pants and shoes. He casually walked over to be on the other side of Natasha. Then there was a brief moment of silence.

"You know who we are?" he asked simply.

At times like this, Natasha would simply have said something aggravating, like "Santa?" or "The Tax Assessors?", but she found herself now facing the very real possibility of being slaughtered on the spot. She decided to go along, perhaps she'd be allowed to live if she cooperated. Why else would they have left her alive this long if all it had taken was half a second to crush her ribs and crash her through a log wall? Spitting out some blood, she managed to lift herself onto her arms and rear up against a wall for support. She puffed there for a moment.

Then she shook her head slightly. "No."

Silver spoke through barred teeth. "Your kind has brought nothing but death to us for centuries. You pieces of shit know us. You know who we are!"

The blonde man looked over at her and she calmed down, the hate-stare never leaving Natasha. Natasha had an idea who they might be... in fact, it wasn't even a guess. She knew who they were now. The girl in Silver had pretty much summed it up for her. She knew she was in for a thrill.

"You're... you're the Sentry." she gasped out.

"Well done." The man replied. "There really isn't a lot more to say than that. Enjoy your Apocalypse." and started to turn and walk. He started to turn around and walk out, Silver following his lead. But he stopped and turned.

"Tell everyone you see to enjoy their last moments alive." Then he turned to face her directly and his face became deathly serious.

"We are the Children of the future. We are the carriers of destiny. You will all die."

Then the Silver girl and the blonde man turned and walked out of sight, leaving Natasha, once again, pounded, broken and bloody.

End of Chapter 02

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