The Cyneweard

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Part III - All That's Left is Blood :: 80

Cyrus once again found himself in shackles. Though only bound with hempen rope, he still had three thrower barrels in his face and a smirking Parton leering down at him, supported by the Watcher that had interrupted Cyrus’ attempt at peace.

“This wound really hurts, Cyrus. I’ll need some serious healing magic,” Parton grunted at him.

Leaning his head back, Cyrus laid bare his own long pink scar, just behind his chin.

The Watcher looked to Parton for an explanation.

“Ah yes, I do remember making sure you were amongst the casualty list.”

“The Below are you talking about, Chairman?” asked the Watcher.

“It was a long time ago, during the Rebellion. There had to be sacrifices.”

“What kind of sacrifices? What did you do to this man?” Greer asked, giving Parton a sidelong glance from his close proximity.

Parton grunted as a wave of pain from his blown knee hit him. He then tried to pass the grunt off as a laugh. “Just Purge business. It had to be done. We would not be where we are today without it. Neither would you, Watcher. Who made it possible for positions of power to be opened up to Animas?”

“Did you hire to have this man killed? Is that why he’s attacking you?”

Parton shrugged, and then shook with another wave of anguish. “Whatever. I think it’s time we stopped playing.” Parton looked to one of the Sigil members with his thrower aimed at Cyrus. “Kill him.”

The Protector looked to Greer, who shook his head. “No, I want to hear more about this hired killing,” the Watcher said, tone commanding.

“It’s all in the past, Watcher. Nothing to worry about.” Parton looked at the other Sigilman. “Go ahead. Give him a slug.”

The other Protector shook his head and lowered his weapon.

Parton screamed. “Just kill him. Do as I say. My Machine pays your salaries!”

Greer shrugged the Chairman off his shoulder, sending the aged man slumping to the floor.

“Damnit, what was that for? Do you need to be demoted, Greer? Will that be punishment enough? I’ve already given you the Sash and Little Mille.”

“To think I used to respect what you did. You hired someone to kill this man. No wonder he’s here to kill you. Maybe I should release him and let him do his duty?”

Parton screamed, half pained, half angered, and pointed his finger at Greer. “You’ll never Watch again, Greer. I’ll make sure the Sigil Chop HQ takes away all of your power and comfort. I’ll take your home. I’ll take your salary. I’ll take-”

Throwers on the other side of the suite’s door began barking. Yelling bounced off the outer walls and seeped into the Chairman’s home. A few thuds sounded.

Greer and his men ran to the door. When they opened it, the full sound of the firefight outside reached all within. The chaos of combat was loud and heady, a roaring machine of death. Cyrus took the distraction as his chance and broke free of his binding.

“No,” Parton growled but Cyrus ignored him and ran to the foyer. The Watcher and one of the Protectors were outside the door, behind stone pillars, firing into a small crowd of Unionizers. The remaining Protector was leaning out of the doorframe, firing off shots with his Longbarrel. His sidepiece sat there in its holster, unsnapped, ready for the taking.

Cyrus planted the business end of the small slugthrower against the back of the Protector’s neck and fired, tearing a large hole there. The Sigilman fell down on his own weapon, spluttering and gasping, his lifesblood rolling out of the ghastly wound.

The former Cyneweard fired two shots into the Protector just as someone out in the group of Unionizers yelled “Father, stop shooting. We want to do this peacefully.” The remaining Protector fell dead against his Watcher’s shoulder. The Watcher turned, thrower noise no longer permeating everything, and let a wide gaze fall on the approaching threat.

Cyrus aimed right between the Watcher’s eyes, heard someone shout “No!“, and fired. Elder Greer crashed to the marble floor just as his son had made it to his father’s side. Younger Greer looked up and glared, eyes already speckled with dewy mourning, at his father’s killer.

“You’ll hang for this. Twice over.”

Cyrus laughed and prepared to end the son’s life as well.

“No!” shouted the same voice. “Cyrus, no. Stop!”

Cyrus looked out in the waiting area and saw Gareth jogging up.

“Why did you kill the Sigil members?”

“They were protecting him.”

“Parton?” asked Gareth.

Cyrus nodded and then pointed the thrower back at Younger Greer. “If he moves, I kill him.”

Gareth placed a hand on Greer’s shoulder but otherwise ignored the grieving Watcher. “Is Parton still alive?”


“Show me.”

“Tie the Watcher up. I won’t kill him where he stands now but if he tries to come at me, I make no promises.” Cyrus replied, tossing the former Priest the ropes that had bound him a few minutes earlier.

Gareth sighed but obliged, asking a few Unionizers to hold the Watcher down as he did as Cyrus had asked.

“Bring him with us,” Cyrus said. “Just in case.”

Gareth, Cyrus, and the Watcher, sobbing as he was held aloft by the shoulders by two Unionizers, entered the Chairman’s suite.

Parton’s face was covered in sweat. He had tried to drag himself closer to the foyer, leaving a bloody trail behind him. He had not gotten far.

“Parton,” deadpanned Gareth.

“Koph,” Parton groaned.

Cyrus held out the sidepiece he had taken from the Protector handle first. “Want the honor?”

Gareth shook his head. “I don’t want blood on my hands, not even from scum like him.”

“Suit yourself,” Cyrus shrugged, refitting the weapon into his hand and aiming it at Parton’s slick forehead.

“Cyrus, wait. I’m...I’m sorry. I should have...”

“For Brisa,” Cyrus said, no hint of malice or mercy in his voice. He pulled the trigger once. Twice. Three times. He emptied the weapon’s cylinder into the face of his former mentor and attempted murderer, turning it to a mass of blood, tattered flesh, and jagged bone. No one looked away. The last echo of thrower fire escaped the room and danced its way out in the hall. The Watcher mumbled something about Cyrus hanging for this.

Gareth looked up, placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder, and smiled. “You have your peace.”

“I’ll be a wanted man till I die,” Cyrus said.

“That crossed my mind and I have a place you can go.”

Cyrus raised an eyebrow.

“Getting there won’t be easy, but perhaps you can enjoy your peace there.”

“What place?”

Gareth leaned in and whispered, “Find Leona.” He leaned back out and added “We’ll keep the Watcher bound until you’ve left the Machine. Go. Enjoy your peace.”

Cyrus nodded and left, sure he’d never see Gareth again.

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