Part III - All That's Left is Blood :: 59
Cyrus continued talking to the new presence as he maneuvered beneath the long cot in the cell. He slowly shifted the cot to the center of the small room and started to tilt it up, a hard feat with his wrists bound together. Despite the effort, he knew the iron door would mask most of his work.
He knew the cell doors opened outward, and also knew that it took some force to open them. The light would still be minimal and he also knew that the adversary on the other side of the door was not going to give him any time once the door was open. He would likely either throw another knife as he hat heard him do just a while ago, or would use a slugthrower to make quick work of the deed. Regardless, Cyrus had to make sure that he was not standing in the door way when the large iron cell was opened.
“You about ready in there?” asked the stranger.
“Yeah,” he replied, using his bent knees to push the cot up on its side. Standing up, it was about a man’s height and cast a bulky enough shadow. This might work.
“Got the key. Now don’t do nothing funny now. Just going to open this door so we can see each other.”
“Got it,” he replied, placing the cot into a stable upright spot. “Let’s make this quick.”
“That’s the plan,” replied the stranger.
Cyrus heard metal scraping against metal as the key was entered. The clacking was loud as the lock was turned. A deep thudding click told both men the door was ready to be pulled open.
“Ok, just stand up in the dark cell. I’m about to open the door.”
“Yup,” replied Cyrus, not heeding the order.
The metal hinges groaned and the door slowly creaked open. A small bit of light came in but not nearly enough to reveal the comical scene inside of a man laying behind a cot standing up straight.
“You’re a big boy,” said the voice.
Cyrus didn’t reply.
“You can step out now.”
“Just do the thing,” Cyrus growled and titled the cot a little, hoping the silhouette didn’t reveal his game.
“Ok,” came the voice and three loud reports ripped into the relative quiet.
Cyrus jumped to his feet, grabbed the cot before it fell forward, and drove it into the stranger. He heard the man gasp, the thrower fly off into another corner of the room, and drove the man all the way into the desk.
The stranger lost some air in an ‘oof’ and ended up rolling over the desk onto the floor. Cyrus tossed the cot to the side and pounced.
He was met with a knife slicing into the air next to his ear. Cyrus grabbed the man’s shoulder and yanked sideways but the knife didn’t relent. It came at him again, going for the throat. He was forced to jump off of the stranger and nearly tripped over the new Protector’s body. He caught himself on the desk and looked up just after the knife whizzed over his head.
The man in front of him was barrel chested and very tan, resembling a farmer more than an assassin. His hair was unkempt, his face slack jawed, and his attire all mixed up. The leather vest he wore was ill fitting and looked to have long since been able to close across the broad chest that wore it. Under that was a simple sleeveless shirt and a pair of denim breeches with many tool hooks. Again, it all screamed farmer rather than murderer for hire.
“Parton’s sending farmers to do his dirty work now?”
His attacker did not reply and reached into a vest pocket. Cyrus ducked and another knife went flying in his direction. From his squat, he pushed forward and ran into the man’s core, driving him back onto the floor. Cyrus tried to land a few blows on the man’s head but was blocked. His would-be killer knew how to fight. The struggled for a few moments on the ground until Cyrus was tossed off of the man. The farmer had lodged a boot against the corner of a shelf and had found ample leverage.
Cyrus backed away from the farmer and moved behind a desk, wondering if the man had another throwing blade.
“Don’t make this harder than it has to be,” the farmer drawled at him.
“I happen to like gold, thank you.”
Cyrus backed up a bit more and then found one of the wood chairs set behind the desk. He looked at it, then back at his attacker, who had just as quickly found a slugthrower. Cyrus rolled his eyes and dove to the ground behind the desk. A slug tore through the wall behind him.
“Someone’s going to here all this ruckus,” Cyrus warned him.
“Past the point of carin’. You can’t hide behind the desk forever.”
Cyrus heard the man approaching, counting the bootfalls. When they reached six, he turned and rammed the desk into the farmer, knocking him to the ground for the third time. Cyrus jumped over the desk and landed his knees into the man’s stomach. The farmer let out a gasp as Cyrus raised a his shackled, doubled fists over his head. A thrower barrel was thrust into Cyrus face. He threw his head to the side and got a face full of burning slug powder and sparks. The farmer threw him off and stood. Cyrus rapidly wiped at his face.
“Enough of this game,” the farmer growled.
Cyrus felt the metal of the barrel press against his temple.
The door was flung back open.
“Cyrus,” shouted the Union Leader.
The former Cyneweard felt more than saw the farmer begin to turn around, the weapon scraping against the side of his head. Cyrus stood and wrapped his shackled arms over the farmer’s head. He pulled his arms back against his sides and drew the farmer against his chest. The chain between the wrist shackles dug deep into the assassin’s throat. Cyrus yanked back again, throwing the choking man’s arms up. The slug thrower fired three more times into the Sigil post’s ceiling and then clicked over and over as the now desperate assassin tried to writhe from the hard hold.
“Cyrus,” Gareth shouted again.
“Just a moment,” he grunted as he shifted his body weight to his left leg and turned, slamming the farmer against the corner of the adjacent desk. The emptied thrower flew from his grip.
Cyrus yanked the farmer’s head back and then slammed it eye socket first into the sharp desk corner once, twice, three times. The assassin’s grunts grew fainter with each subsequent slam until the man could only utter a gurgle. Blood spattered the desk, the front of Cyrus’ grew prisoner shirt, and the floor. Cyrus continued to pound the man’s skull into the desk corner until a loud crack echoed. He looked at his handy work, deemed the deed done, and slipped his blood soaked shackled wrists from the front of the assassin’s neck.
“That’s twice now,” Gareth grunted as he walked over to Cyrus’ side.
“Twice what?” Cyrus replied, looking into his friend’s half-sneering face.
“Twice I’ve saved you.”
“The thrower was pointed at you,” grunted the former Cyneweard.
“And it was pressed against your temple when I walked in,” Gareth reminded him.
“Fine. Call it even. Now get these damned chains off of me.”