Cold eyes peered through thin slits at the body. Blood seeped through the dark clothing, running steadily across the cobblestones towards Kashetís feet. The man watched the crimson liquidís path calmly, finally moving to avoid it at the last possible moment. Turning his gaze for the morbid scene, the cloaked figure began to walk away, his soft boots gliding noiselessly across the cracked and broken street. How many more lives, Kashet wondered. How many more lives would be lost before his pursuers gave up on him? How many more lives until he was finally free to live? Stopping, Kashet looked up, his gaze filled with the sight of countless white flakes. A single hand emerged from the dark and protective confines of the cloak, held out with the palm up.
Minutes passed, Kashet watching single-mindedly as a myriad of snowflakes fell onto and melted in his hand. It suddenly seemed to him as if his entire life had been like this. Slowly and calmly watching as the world turned, except it turned without him. He was made to stand and watch as life went on for those around him, yet never for him. Dropping his hand, Kashet began to move again. Perhaps, he thought, his life was like a snowflake. Helpless, he was forced to take whatever path the willful wind would take him, leaving him to land in a place not of his choosing. Then his path was chosen for him yet again, as he was scooped up by ignorant children, or kicked along by oblivious passer-bys, picked back up again by the wind or thrown along to another destination despite his own will. Never, it seemed, would his path be his own for choosing.
And yet . . . And yet, he tried so desperately to forge his own path, futile though it might be. The cloaked man stopped, turning back to look at the freezing body sprawled in the snow behind him. He continued to fight, no matter how futile he might consider it. Not for the first time, Kashet wondered why it was that he fought. How meaningless it seemed to him, when he was eternally sought after and hunted, despite all his efforts. Did he continue to fight because he still held hope? Or had he lost his hope, and only fought out of habit, or for the appearance of it and the self-worth and pride it might give him? Or, perhaps it was merely instinct, his most basic desire to continue living. Not for the first time, he could summon no answer. He fought, and that was that. Surely, he deeply desired to live, and live peacefully, but beyond that there was no answer he could come up with.
And then the silence and temporary peace was broken, as it always was. Folded and tempered steel flew through the air, straight and true as the knife sought Kashetís face. Apparently, the assassins and bounty hunters that they sent after him were improving. The knife hit dead on, the point connecting squarely between Kashetís eyes. However, despite their apparently improving skill, they still seemed to lack wits. Had Kashetís face not been thoroughly protected, he might have died. At the least, he would have been rendered witless and worthless, the penetrating knife addling his brains. And had that come to pass, whoever had thrown the knife would have failed in their mission to take him back alive and able.
As it was though, the knife bounced off the smooth, oval mask protecting Kashetís face, the white surface barely cracking. Ever persistent, as assassins were prone to be, a second knife followed the first. Sighing inwardly, Kashet raised a hand, a smooth liquid metal covering his hand as he caught the knife blade-first. His attention drawn by the sound of crunching snow, Kashet looked up at the rapidly approaching man. As the last had been, and all the ones before that, the assassins were draped head-to-toe in tight, black clothing. One sped towards the cloaked figure from each side, the short, thin blades of the assassinsí ilk drawn. Almost subconsciously, Kashet bent his will upon the countless machines inhabiting his body, his arms changing in shape and substance.
Each limb lengthened and narrowed, a row of spines running along the length of each as they came to a point. The first attack came from the left, the assassinís blade darting in towards Kashetís shoulder. His skin already hardening as the nanomachines rapidly shifted his DNA, the sword merely skidded to the side, the man behind it falling through and colliding against Kashet. He didnít have a chance, the spike shooting out from Kashetís chest bursting through the other side of the assassinís neck. Shoving the man off as the spike withdrew, Kashet spun to the side, both ďarmsĒ held up and ready.
However, upon seeing his fellowís speedy and effortless death, the remaining assassin fell back, drawing another knife to accent his short sword. But Kashet was already tired of this, having already killed two men in one morning. The cloaked and masked man advanced, his blades slashing swiftly across as chest and neck level. Hopping backwards as Kashet approached, the assassin ducked and weaved between the attacks. Kashet spun around to the side again, hoping to catch the manís back unguarded, but the darkly-garbed man moved with him, keeping Kashet at a distance with several warding taps. Quickly growing impatient of this game, Kashet spread both arms to each side and brought them in towards the manís head. As expected and hoped, the assassin fell into the trap, ducking under the blades and rushing in towards Kashetís chest. The blade shot forward, but was held back as unseen armor beneath Kashetís cloak deflected the blow.
Smiling in satisfaction beneath his mask, Kashet brought both arms down, blades growing from each elbow; ready to impale themselves in the manís back. Yet it seemed that the first manís death had not yet been forgotten, the assassin rolling to the side and thrusting his blade at Kashetís side. Again, the blade was deflected. Caught off guard by the unexpected move, Kashet spun around, his leg flying up to knock the man away. The assassin caught the leg, yet the blow still pushed him back, the manís feet digging furrows in the snow. Continuing the spin, Kashetís right arm extended, the blade doubling in length as it came down towards the manís legs.
The spines dug into the assassinís calves, knocking him onto the back and coaxing forth a scream. A scream which was suddenly cut off and replaced by a wet gurgle as Kashetís left arm extending, spearing the assassin through the chest. The masked man watched as yet another life ended at his hands, and was unaffected by it. His arms and body resuming their natural state, Kashet looked around. Three dead bodies now adorned the street, and people were sure to emerge from their homes anytime now, the morning brightening. Spotting a house nearby, Kashet shuffled through the snow and grasped the doorknob. Turning the brass handle and wrenching the door open, Kashet stepped into the darkness beyond.
From out of the darkness, the other side of the door materialized. For little than a moment did it stay still, as Kashet came through, slamming it shut behind him. Moments passed in the darkness, and the door disappeared.
Another one to join the fold, another one whose destiny must be made clear to him...
Ethan took stock of his newest student, sizing him up and trying to decide if killing him now would clear up his schedule for the next week...or just land him paperwork.
OOC: What this first room actually looks like is up to you, HH. It can be anything, even another winter village. Describe this new place as best you can, once the veil of darkness is lifted. Once this is done, have Kashet explore, until he comes across something rather peculiar, in the form of a rather large suit of armor. It looks normal, except for the fact that at every joint, it seems to be leaking blood. End your post with the armor coming alive and moving to attack Kashet.
500 word minimum.
By Lady Knives
You won't know your worth until you take a hit,
You won't find the beat until you lose yourself in it.