Drake (Book 1)

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[67]-Dead men tell no tales

“The only true equalizer in war is death…”- Drake

London

9:40 p.m.

Rain regarded tonight with significance. For such an occasion, she donned a thin dress as dark as wine, open on the shoulders and back, with diamond earrings shaped like tears. She skipped down the wooden docks, Ulysses’ destroyer in the distance ablaze. Great fires enlivened the horizon as the ship sank. People clamored as they gathered by the harbor, dubious to what unfolded before them.

She reached in her handbag and pulled out a small detonator. The marauded ship from earlier trumpeted its horn as Drake’s mercenaries steered it parallel to the docks. Massive propellers cut a path through the water, dousing the harbor walkways as it sailed through. The ship came to a sudden stop and armed men wearing tattered rags and robes climbed down the hull. Some jumped overboard into the moonlit waters.

Rain smirked and pressed the detonator. It beeped. Nothing. She continued walking, glaring at the little device, pressing again.

An explosion rocked the ship, smoke rising from the bridge now ablaze. Rain’s face turned red with anger and she jabbed the detonator’s button. Then she resumed skipping another ten feet before another blast ruptured the ship’s hull, water flooding its compartments. She spun on her heels and raised her arms high, guffawing.

Cinders and ash fell as the workers by the docks fled, screaming and shoving one another. Rain stood among them, embracing the carnage; baptizing herself by flames and ashes. She reached down and tore her dress at the knees, gripping the handle of her great sword.

She tapped her chin as she always did, pondering; her sword planted into the docks. Death always had a way of following Rain wherever she went. Whatever twisted thought was absent from her mind returned, and she pressed the detonator again.

One… Two… Three- Three?

Rain blanched as the next explosion jolted the ship upward; the bottom of the hull airborne for half a second, ripping the destroyer in half. Oil and fuel leaked into the sea, igniting as it grazed the tongue of flames. The sky turned orange and red, adding a kind of beauty to the carnage, like flaming sprites dancing on the sea.

Satisfied, Rain tossed the detonator in the harbor. Abbas landed behind her, his body swaying the docks. He unfolded his wings and turned towards the wreckage. He grunted and faced Rain. “Sloppy…”

Rain narrowed her eyes. “I wasn’t the one in charge of demolitions,” she retorted, determined to prove her innocence.

Abbas scoffed, and when he spoke, his voice was less demeaning, less critical. “You are to meet Drake atop the clock tower now.”

When she heard Drake’s name, Rain formed a grin from ear to ear. She lifted her blade and strapped it to her back. No questions asked. Abbas knelt as she scaled his massive frame and gripped his shoulders. He flapped his onyx colored wings and peered over his shoulder.

Abbas: “Hold on tight…”

They were already in the air. Having failed to take the warning to heart, Rain wailed as they flew towards the clock tower. Rain feared little in the world, but she considered heights an exception. She always argued that if man should fly, then God would have given them wings…


9:45 p.m.

Drake landed within the bowels of the clock tower. His wings shrunk, and he folded them, walking past the massive gears grinding against each other; the gears that powered the clock, allowing it to keep the passage of time. The clock boomed, signaling a quarter to ten. A golden mechanism continued striking the assortment of bronze bells swinging above him.

He looked up to see the clock’s hands turning. The iron hands groaned like a man weary from a hard day’s work. Drops of rain crept into the tower through sizable gaps in the roof and fierce winds blew between the stone columns around them. Thunder roared with a flash of blinding lightning. Dark clouds loomed above London, purple lightning crackling inside them, eager to escape its prison without bars.

Four figures stood behind Drake; four harbingers of doom each carrying their trademark weapons. The four horsemen: Tristan, Gawain, Merlin, and Mordred. Drake grimaced at the sight of them; his former comrades, friends, and knights who fell too far from God’s grace. He pitied them, each knight a victim of tragic circumstance. Returning them to the grave was the greatest charity he could grant. He cursed Sullivan who had defiled their graves, denying them their serenity.

“Drake? Is that you-?” a voice rasped.

Drake looked away and sealed his eyes.

“- you look the same as I remember…”

Tristan stepped forward, crusader style helmet cradled in his arms. Face a ghoulish gray like his other brethren. When he and Sir Mordred advanced, their brittle bones rattled and cracked with each step. Tristan reached for the bow resting on his back. Mordred lowered his scythe, a ramshackle pole and rusted blade; like the kind you would find on a peasant farm.

Mordred, the most dismaying of the lot, who resembled more skeleton than man spoke: “Drake, does this mean we’re being forced against our will to fight you?”

Drake nodded. “The dark magic that binds you to this world is strong.”

The silver crucifix on Drake’s hip glowed a saintly light that cut through the darkness, its rays manifesting in the shape of a cross. Drake removed it from his hip and shared a glance with each of the horsemen. “Tristan, Gawain, Mordred, and Merlin. Please prepare yourselves…”

Tristan tilted his head. “You came alone?”

“He’s not alone…”

Drake gasped. Abbas touched down behind him with Rain in his arms. She bolted to his side, sword in hand, prepared to fight to her dying breath. Her body glowed and he could see the fierce determination manifesting in her eyes. She wasn’t the nefarious woman from before: a witch filled with malice and endless hatred who killed for sport. She was a woman with purpose, conviction, and grit.

He smiled, and Rain twirled her body. “Everything went off without a hitch,” she quipped like a child. “Did I make you happy?”

Drake chuckled and placed a hand on her head. Her face turned redder than a rose. “What I’m about to ask you to do is nearly impossible, but I know you’re the only one who can. These men before us — don’t underestimate them…”

Rain scoffed and clenched her jaw. She drove her sword into the ground; the four horsemen’s faces reflecting on her blade. “Dead men tell no tales…”

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