Here’s a new chapter for Rage of the Cursed. –enjoy!
Rage of the Cursed Part 10 — Kin
The city guard didn’t parade Xallion about like a dangerous criminal, they knew better. Instead they took back alleyways to arrive at the central justice building—a huge structure twice as tall as any of the ones around it.
Xallion had been there countless times, mostly to deliver ne’er-do-wells to prison. Walking through the main archway usually meant a pay day for him. Mynin’s king paid fine bounties for criminals.
The guard captain removed his shackles and gestured for him to enter. Xallion wasn’t surprised, they didn’t want to give the criminals inside the satisfaction to know Xallion was among them. The gesture wasn’t one of kindness, rather a challenge.
‘Go ahead. Try to pull something funny.’
Xallion nodded his understanding and rubbed his wrists. It wouldn’t take long to clear his name and get out of there. He just had to stay calm. “Back in the square you called me wolf man. I suggest you keep quiet about my condition.”
“Are you threatening me?”
Xallion shook his head. “No. It’s bad enough that cultist knew about me. My concern is the people of the city. They wouldn’t take it well.”
“You won’t need to worry about that for long.” The guard captain gestured to an interrogation room. “I would have liked to put that minx behind bars, but since you vouched for her you can help me with another problem.”
“So, you’re not trying to imprision me?”
The guard captain laughed. “You said it best. The Lady of the Forest would make a stink about it if I imprisoned her ranger. This matter is a bit more personal.”
Xallion didn’t like the sound of that. He ran his fingers through his hair and approached the door.
The guard captain stopped him, handing back his sword. “You’ll need this.”
He scowled at the captain, but accepted his blade. He opened the door with his free hand and stepped into the poorly lit room. A familiar wild sent ticked his nose. A mismatched pair of eyes peered out from the darkness, one red and one green.
Xallion flung away the sheath of his sword and readied it.
“Hold.” A gravelly voice said from the shadows, a huge clawed hand rose in protest. A moment later, the figure stood, towering over Xallion almost four full feet. He was a massive Wolven, identical—if not much bigger—to Xallion when he took the form of Loki. He wore a crimson breastplate styled to have a single shoulder plate. An oversized clasp sat on the opposite side, where his arm met his body. A huge gem topped the clasp, made of black onyx.
He didn’t wear a shirt under his armor, but tattered remnants of bandages clung to his black fur.
“Who are you?” Xallion said.
“Name’s Bael. You’re… short. That a gold-eye thing?”
“I’m sorry? You have me at a disadvantage. Are you… like me?”
“Don’t tell me you’ve never met some of your own kin. Jeez, it’s worse than we thought.”
Xallion tensed. He had never laid eyes on someone with his unusual ability. Bael’s words sunk in fully. “Wait… you said we?”
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, everyone thinks the gold-eyes got wiped out. I guess you’re saying it’s true.”
“I’ve never known people like me. Where did you come from? You said something about my eyes?”
“I’m a mutt, a result of clan mingling. I’m from the red-eye clan, but mom got a little frisky during a summit.” Bael pointed to his green eye. “You recognized these though, it’s cause we’re brothers. Not literal brothers, I don’t know you from a hole in the wall, I mean we’re both Cursed.”
Xallion understood that much, but something else bothered him more than the existence of kin. “How are you… calm?”
Bael tapped the onyx at his shoulder. “Thank this piece of crap, right here. I don’t know the fine details, but I can walk around like this just fine. Honestly I prefer it. What’s your name, anyway?”
“Xallion. Is that why you’re in here?”
“Nope. I’m in here cause I ripped a guy limb from limb. Apparently that’s illegal.”
Xallion scowled. “How could you think otherwise?”
Bael sat back down and shrugged. “He started shit with me. What else would I do if someone threatens me? It’s not like I was scared of the punk.”
“You could have just defended yourself, not killed him.”
“Oh, I held back. Not like I ate him or nothing. Easy call there, the guy would’ve given me the shits anyway.”
Bael’s demeanor left Xallion feeling uncomfortable. He had stared down countless thieves and criminals, but all of them carried some sort of regret to their actions. This man sincerely thought he did nothing wrong.
“Are you expecting me to vouch for you?”
“It’d be nice I guess,” Bael said. “I’d rather not just kill everyone in the building to get out. The elder’d be pissed at me. I mean it’s sort of the opposite of my mission here.”
“And that is…”
“To make the existence of the Cursed known. If everyone’s dead, they can’t exactly know us, right?”
Xallion stared in silence. Bael wanted the exact opposite of what Xallion wanted. Worse, he claimed his people wanted it. “You’re an emissary for your clan, right? You shouldn’t kill people to spread the word. People will just fear you.”
“Well, this coming from a gold-eye strikes me as a bit ironic.” Bael leaned back in his chair. “They didn’t fear you enough. Buddy, you may be the last of your clan, because your people just hid and got rolled over by the war. Seeing as you’re dressed, you may have even helped the people that wiped out your village.”
“I suppose that is possible,” Xallion said. “It’s also possible my clan attacked the wrong people and got crushed.”
Bael snorted. “That’s a good one. More likely they snuck in and slit your throats. Please tell me you know how to change, I’m not trying to teach some kid how to work his stuff. It’d be like telling you how to get a boner.”
“I know how to change.” Xallion said, smashing his hand on the desk. “It’s actually too easy to do so.”
“Because we’re supposed to,” Bael said. “You bottle it up and you’ll do stupid shit. Your vision gets all fuzzy and you can’t tell friend from foe. Then there’s the whole hunger, gotta eat sometimes, bud. Anyway, you must know how touch we are like this. Could you imagine an army holding out against a hundred of us?”
“No.” Xallion hung his head. He knew from experience.
“Think on it. Anyway, tell those idiots out there to let me leave. I’m starting to get urges.”
“No. For women,” Bael said. “I’m not changing back until they agree to set me free, and they’re not gonna like me if they try and put me in a cage.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Xallion said. “For what it’s worth, try not to kill anyone in the city. Even if they deserve it.”
“Not making any promises, bud.”