Plan B.

The Shadow Man sat perplexed at the story being told to him.

He drummed his fingers together, resting his elbows on the callous surface of his stone chair. The scent of freshly sawed wood lingered in his nostrils as he softly rested his eyes shut, listening to the report. He had tried to remember when he first returned to this realm, content that this time he would be much more passive and support the Kingdom. Even being so bold as to expect he could teach the new King, in fact, to be a free man himself.

The information being presented did not settle well, soaking in the words.

"I, as you ordered, delivered your message to the Red Mask. Then, requested audience, as you ordered, with the King of Narrowhaven." Vaughn paused a moment, his elvish accent perpetuating a certain anxious volume The Shadow Man had not heard in some time.

Vaughn was one of his primary agents. His precise combination of speed, power, and cunning left nothing to be desired. He had always, absolutely always, carried out his orders with as much perfection as could be expected. The Shadow Man adjusted himself in his seat, feeling the sponge of cotton shift to his weight, being his only defense against the hard stone surface below. He gestured passively, a simple wave of his hand before entwining them again, for Vaughn to continue.

"They were speaking in, what they described as, a storage room. Although I urged that it was not necessary, the King invited me to a private meeting, just across from where we were." Vaughn uttered, his arms folded over his chest now, more sure of himself, somehow.

The Shadow Man interjected, "So, you walked into an ambush?"

Vaughn attempted to explain, but no words could be found. He snickered in discontent, but the hand raised flatly by The Shadow Man indicated that the question was rhetorical. Continuing, "You walked into an ambush, and you were outwitted by that imbecile Engale, and not only that, you allowed yourself to be bullied in the situation, thus running back to me with your tail between your legs?" The Shadow Man’s voice was low, cold, and deceptive.

Vaughn shifted, sliding his own hand behind his back, thumbing his dagger. He shifted his wait on the redwood floor, clearing his throat nervously. "Would you rather me just kill them both…? Would you rather us lose all influen-" A certain arrogance present in his voice, but abruptly interjected by the Shadow Man himself.

"Don’t insult me, asshole." The Shadow Man’s voice boomed within the room, bouncing off the wall. Proteus even looked up from his work, where he was copying, word for word, diagram for diagram, equation for equation, the ancient alchemy book retrieved the day before. The Shadow Man reached with his consciousness, gripping Vaughn with an invisible pressure. "And this… feels familiar?" The Shadow Man uttered, looking at his victim.

Vaughn was still, still feeling the hilt of his dagger with the fatty portion of his thumb behind him. It had been some time since his face felt the coldness of the air, but now the white hood of his robe fell from his head. The thin jade lines of his eyes looked around the room. He wasn’t looking for escape, but the upper hand, in case his employer were to be so bold.

The Shadow Man spoke again, this time a certain misplaced arousal of curiosity in his voice, "Please. I’m not holding you, Vaughn. Just like Engale did not hold you. As always, you’ve made the clear and concise move." He released his consciousness, dropping Vaughn to the floor, who happened to land with a typical grace.

"So, they bullied you, you allowed it, and then escaped unharmed with not even the slightest of a pursuit?" The Shadow Man uttered an audible chuckle, an iota of amusement within the noisy cackle.

The news being reported was completely expected. Vaughn’s primary purpose was to test the King’s resolve against the folly of his "advisors" or "friends". A proper King must be free from the illusion of Objectivity. He must be conscious of the nature of his citizens in order to ensure balance.

The King of Narrowhaven was surrounded by fools, and although it happened much sooner than expected, the King’s house of cards had crumbled to the ground.

"Fenrir is a cunning warrior, a deserving leader." The Shadow Man paused, clearly talking to himself. "I just don’t understand his obsession with trying to please these morons whom, if they might had their own ignorant way, would tear apart reason, love, morality, and virtue." His voice was cold, agitated. The vowels of his words pronounced with a certain disdain that echoed throughout the room. "They act in accordance to their own wishes, and NOT to support his sovereignty, and he acts to support their friendship, and NOT according to his own wishes or moral guideline. He allows them to push him around, and brush him beneath the rug just as Adair did."

The Shadow Man took a deep breath, exhaling a deep sigh while shaking his hooded head. The cloth folded as his head turned, indicating that he was now looking about the room.

"He had the AUDACITY to walk a diplomat into an ambush, whether known or unbeknownst to himself the King, and then threatened the diplomat who sought only to defend himself from unwelcomed company and the King himself, who might I add is always ARMED? The insult being he demanded that the VICTIM of such an atrocity disarm himself, and the ultimate insult being it was MY DIPLOMAT!?" The Shadow Man’s voice reverberated against the marble wall, echoing four times over. His fist clenched, static electricity popping around his knuckles and flames leaking out from beneath the fingers over the palm.

The violence within the one hand dissolved, fizzling away, the shoulders of The Shadow Man dropping as a consequence.


Proteus sat far away, now raising his old bones from the pine wood stool he occupied. His gray eyes turned in his head before his neck twisted to meet the Shadow Man. "Sir?"

"Plan A has failed. Move to Plan B. The Viral cure is afflicted upon subject zero, correct?" The yellow eyes stared out from beneath the shadow of his hood, almost piercing through the soul of the old man.

"Yes," Proteus replied, "everything is as it should be. We’ve done this before, are we ready to take such a drastic step?" Proteus’s voice shook in hesitation, frowning.

"You’re my Proteus. Show them why."

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

Comments are closed.