Drake (Book 1)

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[3]-Tartarus

Present

7:42 p.m.

“Welcome to hell…”

She felt a searing pain as her captor grabbed a fistful of her hair. He lifted the black veil covering her head and instead of darkness she was met with a blinding light. She wished she was dreaming again, but the frigid air and intense light reminded her of the reality that faced her. The warden stood before her with a wide smirk. Tanner Glacken to be exact. A shrewd man with thin limbs, disheveled black hair with curls that looked like horns who wore a white suit.

Armed guards escorted her on each side, restraining her neck with chains connected to a pole. She felt like a stray dog at the pound as they took her to a set of blue double doors. Concrete and Earth lined the walls of the surrounding corridor. She guessed they were hundreds of feet underground, if not more. The doors opened, revealing an elaborate laboratory with various terminals monitoring the vital signs of two prisoners. Scientists in white coats and pocket protectors worked diligently.

The warden gestured inside. “Please, come and meet your new neighbors over here…”

A steel barrel nudged the small of her back. Lyn stepped forward towards the center of the lab, a pool filled to the brim with liquid silver. Halfway submerged in the pool were two sarcophagi with one near the edge awaiting its new occupant. Four chains of heavy steel suspended the sarcophagi connected to a central piece of machinery. The one closest to her was engraved in Arabic and Greek with a demonic head sculpted on its lid. The farthest one depicted a knight with a sword on its lid decorated in old English.

Reluctantly, she stepped into the coffin and faced the warden. The guards released the chained collar from her neck but left the weighted gauntlets around her wrists. Tanner held an onyx colored recurve bow in his hands that lacked a string. He caught Lyn’s gaze towards the bow.

Tanner chuckled. “Oh, you want this? Don’t worry I’ll take good care of it. It’s not like you’ll be needing it anymore. I wonder how much it will sell for. A bow without a string I mean…”

Lyn wore a scorn. She closed her eyes and thought of Drake’s smile. You really are… the leaves bathing in the sun.

“You don’t really talk much, do you Miss Valeska? Well, that’s okay, considering where you’ll be spending the rest of your days.” He grabbed a portion of her ponytail and took a deep sniff. “Such beauty, all wasted…”

He turned around without another word and sauntered back to the entrance, but not before placing the bow between the slits of a stair tread. The guards made the final preparations to seal her in the sarcophagi. One scientist, an older man with a bald head and circular spectacles, placed a breathing mask over her nose and mouth. But a blaring alarm interrupted the process as red lights flashed throughout the complex. The men within the lab scrambled to action. Lyn used the brief distraction to strangle the guard in front of her with her shackles and snap his neck.

She caught the attention of the others, but before they could fire, she was already moving. The shackles rattled as she moved and fought the next guard, wrapping her chains around his weapon and disarming him. With a swift kick, she knocked him back and caught a bullet that separated the chains holding her irons. Her attackers stood there perplexed as the .

Lyn grabbed her bow resting in the stair treads. She moved like lightning, positioning herself amid them and cutting them with the limbs of her bow. She did as she was trained. Instead of trying so hard to hit a vital organ with every strike she wore them down with deep slashes as if wearing down the base of a tree. Each guard screamed in agony as she ducked and dodged their batons and rifles while slicing away at their thighs. The first one fell to his knees from a blow to the gut.

Then she went for the kill, slicing or stabbing away at vital spots as the pain distracted her foes from the fight. She found herself down to just two foes, with one barely standing and the other clenching a gushing wound. He staggered forward with a lazy strike, which Lyn blocked with her bow before kicking him into the pool of silver. She swept the last man’s feet from under him and plunged her bow into his body as it hit the ground, its steel limb resonating from the impact.

Then she turned to a perplexed Tanner and grinned. “Welcome to hell.”

Tanner turned and darted towards the entrance as it sealed. Lyn aimed her bow as a string and arrow formed of pure energy. Tanner squeezed his body through the doors and escaped, but not before a bolt of light struck him in the shoulder. Lyn looked around where blood and cadavers enveloped her.

She took a few deep breaths to steady her breathing and directed her bow towards the pool. The first bolt flew into the pool, creating a hole that drained it of its silver. Then she used it to destroy the conglomerates suspending the sarcophagi. The sarcophagi crashed into the empty pool, cracking its bottom.

Lyn rubbed the sarcophagus lid as a crack formed in its center and splintered off. The coffin exploded outwards, and a figure emerged from the smoke.

“Lyn, is that you?”

As the smoke cleared, it was irrefutable. The piercing blue eyes and curly black hair, along with his spartan-like physique ignited sparks in her belly. Drake’s body dripped with silver, and he struggled to catch his breath. Lyn wrapped her arms around him and placed an oxygen mask over his face. He took a few wheezing breaths before finding strength to stand.

She sauntered over to a corpse and removed its navy trench coat. “He looks about your size.”

“I knew you’d come,” Drake replied with a wide smile.

Lyn giggled. “You jump, I jump, remember?”

Drake nodded. He slipped on the trench coat and shook the silver from his hair. Lyn aimed her bow at the second sarcophagus to blow off its lid, but Drake lowered her bow.

“Vlad, you’re out of the band…”


7:45 p.m.

On the other side of the blue double doors, Tanner gathered his remaining men in a last ditch effort to secure Tartarus. They pointed their guns at the door, awaiting reinforcements that would never arrive. The blaring alarm and horns deadened them from the moving elevator arriving behind them. Tanner grabbed a pistol from a guard and waited, his body perspiring from the neck down that drenched his suit. His prison, Tartarus, held a perfect record.

An object rolled down the floor into the middle of his formation. One of his men knelt for a closer look. His face contorted into misery.

The grenade detonated, its impact sending burning pieces of metal into the air that threw Tanner into a wall. Burns covered his face and arms, but death had not yet claimed him. A hulking figure passed from behind wearing a metal mask that covered his head. The figure ambled towards the door as Drake used his monstrous strength to pry them open.

“Kalen, you took your time,” Drake quipped.

“It wasn’t easy to find you over the last thirty-years, but Ulysses insisted we free you.” He looked to Lyn standing by his side. “Especially her.”

Kalen reached into his coat and handed Drake a golden scarab that held a red orb in its mandibles. He handed Drake the scarab and upon contact a crimson energy resonated from it. Drake clenched it in his hand as steam rose from his body with the mysterious energy circling his arm. It dissipated into his body as Drake released a relieved sigh.

“Invigorating… You’ve arranged transportation?”

Kalen nodded.

Tanner crawled towards his pistol, lying a few feet away from him. Just as it was within his grasp, Drake slid it away. He knelt before Tanner. “Looks like your perfect record has been broken, warden.” He stood up and walked away.

Lyn stopped by Tanner with her bow in hand and held it across his throat. A terrible shrill echoed down the corridor as she wetted the walls with Tanner’s blood. She scowled and spat on his corpse as she stepped over it.

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