Thunderous beats of hammer to steel, ring like church bells as the Wintersday season returns. Argus sits, leg cocked up on the chair, watching a smith work. He drew the designs himself, while the recipient wouldn’t be ready for them by Wintersday, it would be good to make them now…

The steady beat of the hammers, drags a memory, kicking and screaming back to the surface, as the snow begins to fall just outside the forge.

Blistered, nearly rotted off bare feet trudge through the snow, shivering and cold as a small bow, hair white as the snow around him, drags himself up the hill of the cemetary. He did as he did once before, hiding himself in the family crypt, but this time…he was not alone. The man who had taken him from this place once before, sat in a chair, waiting, staring down at him, his horrible white eyes causing the boy to freeze in place.

“Ah… my good lad…Argus… Two long years its been since you disappeared”

“I’m sorry…f….f…father…I..I..was…taken…by the….matron ”

“Oh right… the southern most orphanage, nasty piece of work that one… Heard she had been snatching up kids and treatin them somthing awfull” He looks down at Argus, noticing the bruising, the cuts and something…on his neck. He moves slowly, as to not scare the boy, well not anymore than he was, as he lifted his head, seeing a rusted, internally spiked collar around his neck.

“Oh my boy…She did a number on you ey?” He didn’t look sympathetic, or even upset, more. Impressed. “Now… I can understand, you likely got these, tryin to come on home, right?”

“Y..y..yes…father…I..I told her….you would come get mm…m…me….and ….kill…her..” He was shivering, from fear, from the cold, from the pain…

“But I didnt…did I?” He scowls a little “You made a Liar of me my son…”

“N…No…p..please…”

“I will forgive you absence, out of your control…but your tongue…is within you control…and you made me out to be a liar..”

“I…Im.. S..s..s sorry…Father…”

“Im sure you are…come on..”

He scoops the boy up, carrying him out, and down into the cave where his lieutenant who was supposed to be keeping track of the boy, and an older man, who was bound in irons were waiting.

“Ey boss, we found him, and the food and money he stole..”

The man opened his mouth to plead, before he was backhanded.

“Take him to the mud pit…”

The man is dragged away, kicking…and screaming.

The first weapon was finished, a pair of hook blade daggers, nasty little blades, could kill easy, and were designed more for defense. The smith looked back to Argus, then to the new design, tapping his chin on the right metal for balancing.

And the hammers returned, the hissing, the squelching of the clay used to make a mold, all these sounds making the memories crawl back.

Splat

The man hit the muddy floor, arms unshackled, he was beaten and bruised, not much fight left in him at that point. The white eyed man stands at the edge, still holding little Argus in his arms.

“You stand accused, of stealing from the White Rat clan, your own family, and for that crime, the penalty is death.” He looks around at the gathered gangsters, they new the other reason this man was about to die, he was the one, who lost Argus. He had lost track of him while working in the city, and had been on the outs with the boss ever since.

Will grant you…trial by combat for your crimes..” The men cheered, stomping their feet and banging their weapons on the ground. “You’re opponent, another here who is guilty of an equally deadly offence…”

“Making me…out to be a liar in the public eye…”

Argus felt his body slip from the mans arms, thrown into the mud, hear the sickening snap of his leg as it broke. He screamed out in pain, grasping his leg, crawling to a post, in part to stand, and in part to try and escape. Then came the moment, the sound…the fall of a dagger, into the mood, blade down.

“One of you will live, and one of you will die…and the best part is…you get to choose.”

The men paused their chanting, was he really…after all the fuss the boss made about finding this kid, and then losing him…was he about to let him die?

The older man hesitated, but soon dove for the dagger, trembling, slowly getting closer, tears streaming down his face “Im sorry kid…i..i dont wanna die..”

“Why….”

A dark voice whispered in Argus’s ear

“Why are you still holding back…?”

The voice got louder

“You have the power…use it… defend your self…kill him..”

He gripped his hand over his eye, as they burned brighter with foul green energy, it snaking down his leg, snapping his leg back into place

“Kill…Kill…KILL…KILL!!!!”

A scream, pain from his leg, his whole body, his mind, a cloak…of pure death covering his body as it leaped forward, knocking the man to the ground. Wrestling for the blade, the man’s life ebbing away from mearly touching the boy. The knife is wrestled from his hand, and-

BANG, BANG, BANG.

Argus’s head snapped up, the smith had finished, somewhere between the relentless banging and ambience of the forge, he had drifted off. He looked over the finished weapon, a graduation present, cleanly wrapped in cloth and sealed away in a special case. He paid the blacksmith, a massive norn, even by norn standards. He waves him off, as he pulls his hood over his face, slipping on his mask as the snow falls around him.

The room was silent, as the white eyed man grinned from ear to ear, commanding his men to grab the victor, and get him some medical attention. They kept a doctor on retainer, and a former priestess to help things along.

Didnt think the kid had it in him boss…cant hardly recognize the poor bastard.” The bandits current leader spoke, examining the damage.

“Thats why im the boss… I know potential when I see it…and now there’s no going back…”

The small boy, stares into nothing, eyes alight in green, blood and mud covering nearly every inch of him now, as the collar was broken off, and tossed away, the fresh blood from his neck trickling down slow. He felt nothing, the pain was dulled, the wounds began to scar and heal almost right away, the life he stole from the old man still pumping through him.

From this day forward…no matter how long he lives, or how hard he tries to deny it…that boy..”

“Is a killer.”

Author Scond
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