Poetry in Motion
Stroms knew that time was running out.
Deaglán was lying face down on the floor and out cold. Shallow breathing meant he was still alive, but he had taken a hard blow to the head and his condition might be serious. Critically, Juliana was bleeding out on the bed in the corner.
How did this happen?
These guys were good, some of the best he had encountered. They were hard-core, military-grade Mercs with special Ops training. No doubt there. They had caught him and his friends napping… literally, and hit them hard before they had time to react. Stroms tentatively raised his hand to his forehead and watched as blood flowed easily through his fingers.
There were four Mercs. Two were in the room with him, the third by the window and the last man was covering the door. Stroms knew that there were probably more of them in the corridor and lining the stairs.
He gave Juliana a worried look and tried to read her.
+ Juliana, speak to me +
Nothing. Her mind was blank and distant. He watched for any sign of movement but she was rigid and still. Her bright aura was fading to nothingness.
Not my Juliana, not today.
“That won’t work here Warlock,” said a heavy voice. “We know all about your mind tricks and they have been nulled.”
The Merc leader wore a re-breather which distorted his voice so he sounded like an automaton. He was wearing a black body glove with a combat rig festooned with grenades and Las clips. An autoloader hung from his shoulder and a laspistol was on his thigh.
+ Juliana +
“That crazy bitch is dead old man. No need to worry about her,” he stepped forward and tapped Deagláns shoulder with the toe of his boot. “And as for the famous O’-fricking-Báire, he’s past caring. You are all alone now.”
Was the man laughing? Was that the sound of him mocking his friends or was he coughing? Stroms could not tell, but what it did say was that the man was not a complete down-the-line, square jaw Stormtrooper-type vet. If he was laughing, it showed arrogance and contempt. It also meant that he believed that they had the upper hand and the mission was already over. The man clearly underestimated the people he faced. He did not know Morthen Stroms.
Stroms needed time, though he knew that if he did not act soon it would be over for Juliana. He needed to locate the blank that was effectively blocking his mind probes and thoughts. He would have to make time.
“Have you ever heard of Fiore dei Liberi?” He hissed through bloodied teeth, “Or perhaps Johannes Liechtenauer? Are you familiar with the teachings of Sun Tzu or Sukaina bin Maazina?”
“What are you rambling on about?”
“Careful Boss, we were warned about his mind tricks.”
The leader stepped under the overhead light and pointed a heavy-calibre carbine at Stroms chest.
“You are a very wanted man Stroms…”
“I guess I am a might popular.”
“The warrant also stated that we would get a better price for you if you were alive, so I will not kill you.” He coughed or laughed again. “However, it never stated whether the goods could be damaged or not. That means we can work on you a bit.”
“I have seen a single warrior turn the tide of a battle,” Stroms continued. “I have seen a single arrow take down a king and change history…”
“The stories. Always the stories. They said you would sprout refuse and nonsense.”
Stroms sensed the boot coming before it was delivered and rolled to his left and quickly up onto his knees.
+ About time you did something Mortern. That idiot was scratching at my nerves +
+ Juliana, Your wound +
+ Cauterized. I am not just a pretty face. Now please finish this +
In the mind of an Alpha-Level Pysker, time can be slowed down, not literally, but your super-enhanced reactions will give you an edge. If you are really good, a blank will also have very little effect on your powers.
The Merc leader reeled backwards as he recognised his mistake but it was already too late. Stroms pulled out his knife and in a fluid, flawless motion, assumed a crouched position, his knife horizontal and to the right. It was his favourite Tanith blade with a black Nalwood handle, a gift from a Colonel-Commissar that he had fought alongside many years before.
The blade flashed once, a perfect Unterhau
with the blade moving from the horizontal to point upwards and into the Mercs lower intestines. Then a Mittlehau
from left to right which opened him up like a finger through butter, spilling the mans guts over the floor in front of him.
He never uttered a word as he collapsed face-first onto the hard floor.
Stroms was on his feet and running at the man by the window before he realised what was happening. A Fendente
, a Montante
, and finally the Morteschlas
, the death-blow, when the knifes pommel crashed into the man’s face, penetrating the front of the skull and imbedding itself in his brain.
A Lasgun fired but the shot was wild and panicked.
Stroms rolled to his left and went for his leg holster. As he came to his feet, he had an old Terran revolver in his hand. He fired once, the gun kicking out a heavy calibre slug that was manufactured in a forgotten Age. The second Merc in the room, a huge powerfully-built, stimm-enhanced colossus carrying a frangible breach shotgun, let out a long gasp as the round smacked into his forehead and exploded out of the back of his skull.
The doorman screamed in terror and tried to bring his Lasgun up into his shoulder. A second slug took him in the eye and smashed him against the door frame like a rag doll.
It had taken five seconds to kill the four Mercs.
“Poetry in motion.” Gasped Juliana as she finally got to her feet. “Truly a master of the art.”
“Time to go Boss.” Came the familiar accented drawl which brought an instant smile to Stroms face. O’ Báire joined him at his shoulder.
“I thought they had you?”
The ex-Guardsman tutted.
“Many have tried and failed. My, to be sure you are on rare form today.”
Stroms grinned, happy to be reunited with his friends again.
“Time to run.”
* * *
This is a small clip from my epic tome about an outcast called Morthen Stroms and his group of misfit friends. Thought I would slot it in here.