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Prologue


‘You don’t think I’d do it?’ He said, reaching for his gun holstered to the side of him.


The King stood in front of him, atop golden steps, he had left his throne from rage a while ago, all a consequence of the hooded stranger standing in front of him.


‘What did you dare say to me? Eh? You would dare threaten me with a gun?’ He’s furious voice thundered through the throne room, bouncing off the pillars and walls. Absorbed by the heavy velvet curtains.


Pulling the gun forward the male pointed it at the King. ‘What are you going to do about it? All your guards are out cold. It’s just you and me. What makes you think you stand a single chance against me?’


The King recoiled, ‘I had heard of you. Aren’t you supposed to be silent? I never would’ve thought you would have such a mouth on you.’


The male took 3 large steps forward, making his way up the steps, shoving the King backward into his thrown. The fabric of his cloak making a
“fwoosh”</i> sound with the force of his shove. Pushing the gun forcefully in the King’s mouth. ‘Likewise. Especially when you’re about to be killed.’ A dangerous blue glint shone from underneath the darkness of his cloak. ‘I don’t have time for you anymore. You have no heir, no wife and no son. The throne will be passed over to the next highest authority. Otherwise the world at your deceased feet will fall into chaos. And we don’t want that do we?’ He stared at the King strongly, clicking his tongue before waving patronisingly and pulling the trigger.


A gunshot rang through the room, shaking the air. Pulling it back the male placed it back in it’s holster before taking a step back staring at the dead King. He pulled back the hood of his cloak revealing ebony hair along with dark blue irises. A long fringe that hung over his eyes.


Exhaling heavily, he turned. Leaving the bloody mess behind him. He’d done his job, he’d been promised freedom after this. Setting out of the place past all the knocked out guards, he threw his cloak off. Lighting a cigarette he threw the match back behind him onto the discarded article, bound to set the throne room ablaze.


He entered the night air to be greeted with the cool breeze. The icy veil of the moonlight shining on him. He cursed, moving away from the beam of light. The male shrouded himself in the shadows of the drooping hatch-work houses that, in the dark, seemed more ominous and looming. His eyes gleaming, the only thing showing in the darkness of the streets.


He kicked a can with his heavy boots, the dirt of the streets rising in a cloud beneath his feet. He noticed a nearby pub. “The Cavern”.</i> He’d been here before. Going inside there were a few people scattered about, an old fisherman sat in the corner of the pub, softly knocking on the warped wooden table top with his tattered knuckles. The ceiling hazed by the soft smoke of cigarettes and cigars. The gentle murmurs of the late night customers ceasing momentarily when he walked in, before starting up again.


The low ceilings of the pub almost made him feel claustrophobic but the lanterns casting the pub with a warm orange glow made it more comfortable. The bar lady leaned over the counter, her bosom resting on the worn mahogany. A plump lady in her late thirties to early forties, rosy cheeks and dark button eyes made her seem very motherly as she smiled at him kindly. ‘Hello there stranger!’ She said cheerily, ‘Can I help you?’


Her cheerful tone seemed to slice through the atmosphere the pub had but he ignored it, sitting down on one of the bar stools. He held his head up in his palms with his elbows set firmly into the countertop. He’d decided to bide his time before returning to the one who’d set him the job of killing the king. He opened his mouth, a smooth tone flowing out like warm chocolate. ‘A pint of larger’ll do me.’


The bar lady nodded getting up, grabbing a crystal clear beer mug from behind her. She filled up the mug with a dark liquid setting it in front of him. “You aren’t from around here are you, stranger?” she said happily looking him up and down, ‘It’s actually quite nice to have someone new ‘round here...we only get ones like that nowadays.’ She pointed subtly to the sleepy fisherman.


‘Nah.’ The stranger admitted, ‘My clothes give it away?’ The question was said more as a statement. He turned his head away from her smiling face, his pupils constricting as he stared at the lantern hung down by the side of the bar window.


The lady shook her head, ‘Fishermen and broken hearts are all we get...’ She reiterated, ‘None young and handsome such as yourself.’ She flushed, her cheeks growing brighter than they already were. Almost as if she had stuck two fireflies inside her cheeks against the soft light of the pub.


The stranger shook his head, “I’m only passing through. I’ll be gone in an hour or two.” He felt a flutter in his chest as he realised his freedom was to come to him so soon. He lifted his eyes from the larger.


‘Ah, what a pity. Woulda liked to see you a bit more round here. It’s good for a old lady like myself to interact with a bit of young blood from time to time.’


He cocked his head back a bit, ‘No, I’ll be gone before you know it. I’m almost a little like a shadow.’


The lady smiled sadly, ‘Well, where are you heading? If you don’t mind me asking?’


He ran his thumbs up the side of the smooth beer mug. ‘I don’t know yet, but I’ll be happy.’


‘Well I can't exactly deny a young man his happiness .’ She smiled, “I hope you enjoy whatever your life brings you. My name is Starr. Will...Will I have the pleasure of knowing your name, Sapling?”


‘You talk to me like I’m a child.’ The stranger replied, looking up to her, his blue irises glowing, “The name’s Arc...”


***

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