Thorns in the rose bush.
Chapter one: Sticks and stones
Navigating your way silently down the stairs at midnight is difficult, especially when your dragging a heavy man behind you like a sack and even more so when that man is incredibly drunk.
However Valendria was doing quite well, the only sound being made was the thumping of Mr Duhmprey's head against every stair that she decided to be lazy on which was quite alot and not at all accidental, the man deserved much more.
"Lucifer, You bastard! You didn't tell me how bloody heavy this drunk is!" Valendria hissed into the communicator on her wrist as she let go of Mr Duhmprey at the very last step a large thump and an intoxicated groan following.
On the other end of the communicator a rather well built man wearing fine armour, obviously a rogue soldier of some sort his uniform torn and plated with iron the numerous badges on his chest indicating he had been a highly ranked one answered back while flicking back a lighter.
"Why else do you think I got you to carry him, oh and hurry up can't hold back this crowd for ever love".
Gritting her teeth, Valendria slammed her communicator off in frustration- why was he such a jerk?
"Lehmme fuhing gouh youh bihtch!" Mr Duhmprey gained some courage once more, a shame really.
He had been so good since she had hauled him out of bed and shoved a knife at his throat when he began to complain.
"Swearing is hard to do with a bag over your head isn't it Mister Duhmprey?" Valendria allowed an amused grin as Mr Duhmprey tried to slug a punch in her direction, even though he had a hangover, a tight burlap sack over his head and vomit trickling down his night shirt he still thought he was in a position to use fists and not his voice to plead his miserable life.
Valendria would have perhaps felt admiration towards him had she'd not known that Mr Duhmprey used his fists for everything- including common sense.
His fist met the air right in front of Valendria's nose, she was impressed it had almost struck her. She took a step backwards, caught his wrist and gripped onto just the right vein that would make him scream in agony, and so it did burning away all emotion aside from fear and confusion, Valendria could hear the muffled weeping and released the man as he crumpled pitifully to the hard wood floor Valendria felt like kicking him in the ribs.
"w-why?" Mr Duhmprey cried out, only to be muffled from the potato sack over his head. Without answering, Valendria ripped off the bag with a sharp throwing knife so that Mr Duhmprey could see her expression as she spoke.
"Why is not the question you desire, you already know why you wish to know how, how anyone else could possibly know why you deserve to be treated like filth" Valendria paced back and forth sternly as Mr Duhmprey staggered himself off the floor and managed to clumsily slump into one of the kitchen chairs that surrounded a once cheery dining table.
Putting his head in his hands he began to sob loudly.
"H-how?" Was all he could muster, Valendria nodded- good he now understood why he was being punished.
"That's better" Valendria stopped pacing, seeing the grown man crying like an infant gave her the urge to strike him, she however had restraint and wisely used it.
"Well I won't tell you how I and my associates know- you wouldn't understand and there isn't enough time" Valendria paused the slight rumours of people could be heard from outside luckily no individual voices, they were secure- for now. Mr Duhmprey looked up at his confusing female captor a dumbfounded expression written on his face.
"I will however tell you what I know, oh yes even this quaint little village has its own sullen quiet secrets, the worst being yours Mister Duhmprey"
Valendria narrowed her eyebrows pausing, her brown red eyes glaring at him for a moment.
"And I do not like secrets Mister Duhmprey" Mr Duhmprey gulped heavily fear ran through his blood stream.
Funny thing about fear, pride and arrogance almost always gets caught in the mix.
"I'm not afraid of you- y-you bitch!" Ignoring him for a moment, Valendria brushed back a strand of copper rose hair waiting a second for him to make a mistake- to dare move a single inch from his chair.
Sweat trickled down his forehead and regret made the moment feel like an age for Mr Duhmprey who used a hand to wipe the sweat away, his thigh moving over ½ inches from his chair Valendria smashed in his jaw with a closed fist, the drunk Mr Duhmprey falling onto the ground once more he staggered back to his feet bowing his head as he rubbed his chin.
She continued as soon as he sat back down again into his chair.
"You cheated on your wife, so she left you with another man, not just any man but your brother who helped you raise your business, everyday working double shifts business plummeted as soon as he left and you found yourself bankrupt, then your only son falls in love with another man, the son of your merchant rival who immediately drove you into the ground, am I right so far Mister Duhmprey?"
As Valendria began to pace once more, Mr Duhmprey simply nodded in shame- his jaw bruising blood was now mixing into the vomit stains on his night shirt.
"Your son left you to go live with his lover and what were you left with? Your eight year old daughter and enough hatred to kill a man, and so as soon, as soon as she did one insignificant thing wrong, you struck her you struck her so hard at just the right angle to her skull that you killed her, you killed your own daughter Mister Duhmprey you murdered her and buried her corpse in the vegetable patch"
Valendria stared into his blood shot eyes, the only thing behind them being a coward who had been protecting his own hide for over four years straight.
Mr Duhmprey froze, the moment he had been dreading had just passed some one knew what he had done.
He could still remember as clearly as ever of what happened.
His daughter, his beautiful rosy cheeked Sophia had been innocently running through this very house only to trip over on a lump in the rug she bumped into a vase, knocking it over it had smashed into pieces just as soon as he entered through the door from the local pub after drinking at least twelve tall ones he grabbed hold of his daughters arm dragged her to the kitchen and beat her, beat her so hard she began to bleed from her head her eyes went so lifeless as she collapsed to the floor, he had murdered his own daughter, his own flesh and blood.
"And not only do I know the entire village now knows- everybody knows Mister Duhmprey" The angry roars from the villagers outside came closer and in turn louder, stones banged the windows one smashing the only thing outside that could be deciphered to the human eye was a faint glow of at least twenty torches.
"Y-you told them do you want me dead?!" Mr Duhmprey finally seemed to grip some common sense back realising his situation.
"Ah, you think I was personally the one to discover your secret" Valendria shook her head in vain to hide a snide grin.
"You should watch who you trust to harvest your potatoes Mister Duhmprey, gossip spreads like a wildfire" The spark that had set the flame had been the orphan boy who worked in Mr Duhmprey's vegetable patch, the poor lad came across the young girls body and ran screaming into town.
Although this particular colony was a simple farming planet, they still had farming tools in the community such as scythes, butcher knives, reaving hooks, sledge hammers and of course sticks and stones, all of which would do more than break Mr Duhmprey's bones they would also impale, smash, rip and tear apart anything that moved.
Had he been a simple thief he would have been hanged and perhaps if he had come forth and told everyone it had been an accident performed in a drunken blind rage they might have even let him go, maybe even feel sorry for him.
But he hadn't instead he lied told everyone that Sophia had gone to live with her mother and kept it secret for four years, now he would never get the chance to explain not that it would have helped him- No, Mr Duhmprey was a dead man. Valendria shook her head once more, this time playing with the small sharp throwing knife that she held in her hand.
"They are going to kill you Mister Duhmprey, now personally I really don't give a shit about what happens to your snivelling hide but I do not wish to see those good people out there turn into murderers, as blood, blood is almost impossible to wash off Mister Duhmprey, and once your hands are clean you somehow track more onto them" The tip of her knife pricked a finger, a single drop of blood trailing down her finger tip, Mr Duhmprey highly doubted it had been an accident. "S-so you're not gonna let them kill me?"
Mr Duhmprey fell to his knees and began to grovel, weeping slightly a large smile on his face.
Getting to his feet he began babbling as he stumbled to the door, backed turned.
"So when they break in here you'll turn a blind eye to which way I leg it?" Hand on the door knob, Mr Duhmprey paused not only for a response but mainly because the hair on his neck sticking up just before something sharp sliced through, slowly reaching with a hand he felt a knife, strange the pain wouldn't come even once he knew his vein had ripped open, now pulsing his hand caked with blood.
Not that the idiotic Mr Duhmprey now realised, but Valendria had accurately struck his spinal cord leaving him paralysed, luckily enough his temporal lobe had also been affected which silenced his ability to feel or recognise pain not that it mattered because as he turned around blood spilling from his lips only being able to mutter soft yelps of confusion he fell rigid fully forward to the floor, Mr Duhmprey was now stone cold dead.
Using a leather boot to hold down his limp body, Valendria wrenched out her knife and wiped the blade while answering a beeping alert from the odd communicator that was strapped onto her wrist.
"Great, now my knife has his fucking piss blood all over it" Lucifer chortled in laughter on the other end.
"Let us through!" One of the men at the front of the crowd tried in vain to push past a muscularly framed Lucifer.
A strange woman clad in odd short metal infused leather armour a decorative dragon head helm with the protector unhinged swinged an iron crafted staff with a similar draconic head at the crowd whom stepped back in fear.
"Vwhen vwhill Ernest be ready?" The woman spoke with a foreign accent that left you occasionally trying to figure out what she had just said. "Dunno Adelle, better be soon" Lucifer grinded his teeth before drawing a smoke, that shit head was taking too long.
Just as that thought transpired so did an alerting little 'beep beep' chirped from his communicator and he could recognise the annoying tone it was Ernest.
"H-hurr... hhh I-I set them all after some excellent calibrations if I do say so my-" He had been panting from racing across planting each one of those buggers around the perimeter, Lucifer could have been faster but he didn't understand the schismatic's and couldn't be bothered.
Lucifer cut off Ernest's uncalled for self self-absorbed compliment.
"It's about fucking time!" He growled into the communicator, Ernest responded a false hurt tone in his voice, in actual fact Ernest had been expecting this gratitude.
"Gee your welcome" Ernest poked the communicator off and pouted slightly still exhausted from his marathon run.
Valendria strolled out of Mr Duhmprey's house wiping her knives blade on her onyx padded armour ten times in a row before shoving it back in her sheath only to pull it out again and repeat the process.
Lucifer hid a slight grin she was always so clean and neurotic.
"So didja do it?"
Valendria cringed in disgust at Lucifer's awful incoherent sentence.
"Did you do it?" She emphasised, stubbornly staring at Lucifer who groaned but loud knowing that she wouldn't continue speaking until he corrected himself, not that he minded in fact he kinda enjoyed it.
"Did you do it?" Lucifer gave into Valendria's quirks.
"Yes, I threw a knife into the back of his spinal cord" Valendria matter a factly stated as soon as Ernest appeared behind them holding a strange device in his hand.
"Lovely so we ready?" He dangled the device in front of them, Lucifer face palming as Valendria 's face fell and she stood glaring at Ernest.
"Oh pleaz cohm on Verlindria" Adelle crossed her arms firmly sick of threatening villagers with her staff one having enough tried to strike directly at her.
Grasping him tightly from his tunic Adelle stared down at him with cold dark eyes.
"Do you knoeh vhwat vhwill happen if you hiet a wietch?" The man hastily shook his head now fearful for his life.
"I vhwill shoot you" Adelle shot out a blast of orange flame from her draconic staff at the ground besides him, the man then proceeded to run for his life and almost definitely to go change his trousers.
"What?" Ernest waved his arms around trying to make sense of this situation, as Valendria continued to stubbornly stare him down.
Adelle had become overly impatient, and snatched the detonator device from Ernest fiercely.
"Yehz vwe are ready!" Valendria still glared at Ernest as she strapped on her ornamental mask that resembled a menacing demonic creature, Lucifer now wore a camo gas mask, Ernest was only now realised Valendria was pissed because of his poor grammar sighed as he began to configure the communicator on his wrist, which looked far heavier and complicated than the others pushing and shifting indecipherable words on the touch screen, a force field in the form of a mouth guard materialised from the device its energy source a single hinge that had poked out from the device.
Adelle slammed down her heavy draconic helm and detonated the contraption by holding down three buttons that lit an aquamarine colour as her fingers came into contact with it.
Tchsing! Tchsing! Tchawwwwwwwwn.....
People started to turn their backs on the house their ears pricking up at the unknown sound. Ssssphsssssssss......
A nauseating yellow smoke came wafting into the crowd, those closest had already fallen unconscious onto the damp grass below those around them having no time to wonder what the hell was going on.
"Excellent they work!" Ernest clapped his hands together in excitement.
Lucifer looked around at the villagers sleeping on the ground, it had better.
"So it's gonna-" Valendria glared at Lucifer who quickly corrected his mistake in time.
"Going-" Lucifer looked to Valendria who since the smoke had subsided taken off her mask and gave him a small smile.
"To erase their memories?" Ernest shrugged, he doubted his brilliance would fail but there was always a chance for failure.
"Well hopefully yeah" Ernest disabled his holographic helmet before uttering a low mutter- "Or it could potentially block their air ways and be painfully suffocating them in their sleep" Before anyone could question what he had muttered he changed the subject with a loud string of coughs.
"But what happens when they find the body of Mister Duhmprey?" Ernest finally figured out the massive flaw in their plan to test the concussion frag-mines in a large crowd of people.
Lucifer took a long drag from his cigarette before answering, motioning towards Adelle who nodded and began chanting rapidly under her breath.
"They won't" The windows on Mr Duhmprey's house began to spontaneously combust into jagged shards of glass one after another smashing open by a mysterious invisible yet deadly force.
"Hirevti cauhle ahmindi" Was all Ernest could hope to understand as Adelle's eyes became crimson like a roaring fire, soft ember swimming around in her dilated pupils, Ernest never liked magic mainly because he couldn't understand a bloody thing that was being said.
Suddenly the earth beneath Mr Duhmprey's house began to quiver and shake, Valendria and Lucifer firmly standing their ground Ernest however didn't have half as much balance and fell over.
Adelle finished her chant, taking almost all her energy she grasped her staff to prop her up the house now becoming ash and cinder, it would almost appear that Mr Duhmprey's house had never existed.
Now after reading this you might think that we are all completely diabolic and even slightly insane, you would be correct.
But our motives aren't evil or maniacal, then again we aren't exactly the shining beacon of all that is good and righteous.
We are slightly renegade in our choices and sometimes we do border on the chaotic or even psychotic. I suppose when I think about it we are in between light and dark, careful not to step over one line or the other, the grey area. My name is Valendria Mageallin and I and my associates are the notorious vigilantly group known as the Bronze fox.
But really a story is only really a story if I give you the origin, in particular this one begins in a rather tame appearing place- a house. Not any house mind you, but well more of a magnificent mansion.
I hated it, I still hate it in fact- why? It ruined my child hood.