Drake (Book 1)

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[64]-Dashed by fierce winds

“Allah” ( Arabic: الله, romanised: Allāh) is the common Arabic word for God. In the English language, the word refers to the exalted one or the only God.

“Araha” (Arabic: أراها, romanised: Araha) is the Arabic equivalent to the Hebrew/Latin word “Amen” meaning: “I see it” or “I perceive it.”

“The one thing instilled into Drake from birth was this: Might makes right…”- Godfrey

London

5:34 p.m.

Much to Sullivan’s surprise, he found the winding corridors and endless chambers of the sewers unguarded as he made his descent into Drake’s lair. Godfrey spearheaded their expedition into the unknown; a place Sullivan would never have bothered sullying his pristine suit or even stepping foot. Rain kept a watchful eye on Godfrey, trailing behind him with Lyn being guarded by Sullivan.

They approached a four-way intersection, darkness glooming from each tunnel. Godfrey faced them.

“What is it?” Rain asked, gripping her blade.

“Nothing…” Godfrey replied. “It’s just the last time the water was up to my ankles. Now, it’s completely dry.”

Rain scoffed and shoved him forward. Godfrey nearly fell, but balanced himself. Lyn stepped past Sullivan, her face dark with anger.

“Hey!”

Rain turned and smirked. Sullivan stopped her with an arm, taking the intensity of Lyn’s leer. As if reading Lyn’s mind, Sullivan turned to Rain and said: “Don’t be so rough to our guide. We need him.”

They continued down the center tunnel now laced with lanterns hanging from thin cord, illuminating the path. Heavy machinery blared from the tunnel’s end, blatantly stating its presence. The sounds intensified, identifying the nuances in machinery ranging from jackhammers, plasma torches, and cement mixers. Their feet slapped against puddles of water, almost as if it separated two dominions.

Godfrey passed through the waterfall that blurred the entrance to the maintenance chamber where Drake and his mercenaries dwelled. The butler stopped at the base of a catwalk suspended over the chamber. Heavy chains hung from steel beams, welded and unnaturally placed within the formation of rock. Beneath them, water flowed from massive pipes into a larger water basin. Sullivan perspired from the humid air and removed his top, handing it to Rain. He studied the chamber, no sign of Drake.

He passed a gate and stepped out onto the catwalk, his oxfords barely gripping the treacherous surface. The gate slammed behind him, its chains rattling and shaking the floor. Rain stared sullenly from the other side.

“You made a serious mistake Rain-”

“She’s not the one who made a mistake…” a voice corrected.

Sullivan lowered his head and chuckled. He turned around and saw a pair of fierce blue eyes glowing from the darkness ahead. A figure emerged from the opposite tunnel, revealing Drake. Lyn pushed through Rain and gripped the gate’s iron bars.

“Drake!” she yelled.

He ignored her, his full attention fixated on Sullivan. Mercenaries spectated from the catwalks above, the ground below, and the rims of the chamber, which all formed a concentric circle from the top down. Abbas stood on the platform above, Ella by his side, gripping her small hands on his shirt. Serina loomed from the other side, more mercenaries accompanying her.

The machinery ceased suddenly, and flood lights illuminated the dim chamber.

Sullivan grinned. “Drake.”

Drake removed his armored vest, unraveling the plethora of scars and burns that covered his torso and back, most notably the brand centered on his chest.

Ella glimpsed Lyn below and rushed to the edge, leaning over as far as she could. “Lyn! Lyn!”

Lyn gasped and looked up. “Ella! Ella, stay up there! I’ll come and get you!”


5:45 p.m.

Drake and Sullivan both strolled to the middle of the catwalk. Sullivan unbuttoned his top and removed his tie. Then he rolled his sleeves, his cinnamon eyes filled with hollow determination.

“It seems you’ve drawn quite the crowd,” Drake said.

Sullivan sneered. He raised his fists and swung, striking Drake’s face. The blows shifted his head from side to side and Drake stepped back, enduring Sullivan’s assault. Sullivan pressed, landing more strikes until Drake caught his fist.

Drake chastised him silently, perhaps from the frailty of his blows.

“Weakness compels strength…” Sullivan swung again, and Drake caught his other fist. “Betrayal begets blood.”

He smashed his forehead into Sullivan, dazing him, and pounding his body with savage blows. Sullivan’s body flew over the catwalk and into the chasm from a powerful kick. He sprouted his wings, light gray and moist in appearance to break his fall. Drake hurdled over the rails to intercept, meeting another flurry of Sullivan’s punches.

Sullivan folded his wings and threw all his strength into every punch, bellowing and exhausting himself. Drake stumbled back and Sullivan pressed him against a steel column, pounding his gut. He moved his head slightly to the right as Sullivan struck the column, denting it and feigned defeat.

Before Sullivan could re-engage, Drake rotated his body, striking him with a spinning back fist. Sullivan collapsed and rested idly. Drake reminded him of their duel with a swift kick to the ribs and Sullivan shrieked. He allowed him to crawl away towards a small bridge, joining the two parts of the chamber.

His footsteps resounded as he sauntered towards Sullivan, now standing and taking up a stance. The pain on his face was clear and Sullivan swung wildly. Drake weaved beneath his blows, smashing his fists down onto Sullivan’s head, and driving him into a stupor. Sullivan lost his footing, the last uppercut leaving a gash beneath his chin and he fell from the bridge.

Drake stood above him, his face absent.

“Like the rest of your kind, weak and undisciplined,” Drake said. “You think this is pain? You’re wrong. The body must learn to obey the will.”

Somehow Sullivan stood, even to Drake’s bewilderment, and grappled him, hurling his fist against the mass of Drake’s torso. Drake gripped his waist, struck his side and lifted Sullivan single handedly.

“I’ve taken everything from you and soon, kill everyone you love,” Sullivan gritted, his lips curling to a grin. He could see the rage sweltering in Drake’s eyes.

His body went airborne as Drake hurled him across the vast chamber. Drake raised his arms triumphantly. “Interesting theory, Sullivan. But everyone you’re talking about — has already been killed…”

Sullivan rose and charged, tackling Drake to the ground and bludgeoned his face. His victory was short-lived as Drake trapped an arm and rolled him over. They exchanged fists and Sullivan felt his body succumbing to the weight of Drake’s blows that bruised his arms and left his body screaming. Drake gripped his collar and tossed him, his body rolling beneath falling water, dousing him.

His breaths labored, and the pain failed to dissipate. Drake ambled towards him; his arms relaxed by his sides. If Sullivan was to win this duel, he would have to play his trump card. He took a deep breath and his body flared into a Promethean light. Drake shielded his eyes. The energy from every light in the chamber extinguished, shrouding it in total darkness. Sullivan could siphon energy, redirect it or change the spectrum of wavelengths in light to his advantage.

He would hunt Drake in the darkness, depriving him of all senses.

Drake wandered the chamber in a casual stroll. “Darkness? When I was a boy, I angered Ulysses’ mistress. She splashed boiling water on my face and I couldn’t see for years. In fact, I didn’t see my first sunrise until I was already a man. By then, it meant nothing to me!”

He reached into the darkness and snatched Sullivan’s neck. Sullivan squirmed, and Drake slammed him against the overflowing water basin. The light returned to the chamber and water blinded Sullivan’s vision as Drake beat him near death. Drake pulled away, leaking water falling and dampening him. The mercenaries stood solemnly, weapons cradled in their arms.

Drake spoke, his voice soft but hushed with anger. “A long time ago. I lost thirty-thousand men in the blink of an eye. The Battle of Somme, 1916. And for what? They were outstanding soldiers, wanting to serve their country; hoping they had done the right thing…”

Sullivan squirmed, and his eyes watered. He wasn’t sure if it was the water or his own tears. He thought of Lyn when they were children. When they played together; their first kiss, and the tiny little promise he had made to her so long ago. He thought of her smile, her forest green hair and eyes like rain.

Lyn, I’m sorry — for everything…

Lyn watched through the gate, her face mortified. He wasn’t sure how, but he stood again, limping towards Drake. He lunged forward and swung. Drake ducked and knocked the wind from him. Sullivan fell to his knees, and Drake subjugated him with a concluding blow to the head. Drake placed a hand on his head and closed his eyes.

Then he prayed, speaking in an Arabic dialect: “Do not fear death, child; we can only evade it for so long. Allah, spare this man the torment of eternal flames if you so wish. Let him pass on so that he may be judged swiftly and fairly. Araha.”

Every mercenary nodded and in unison also said: “Araha.”

Drake’s scarab transformed into Acheron, its blade glowing an inferno red as it burst from the scarab. He raised the blade, and with swift judgment, cut Sullivan down in one stroke. Lyn stifled a yelp and looked away. Rain smirked.

That Sunday was the end of Sullivan Grundy.

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