The Library was small but warm, well lit and warm the Librarian was strict when on duty but very friendly when seen elsewhere, Lisa and Kaylie were great friends with her. “Excuse me Eleanor, we’re looking for something sort of occult today, for a project do you have any books on a secret society called ‘the order of shadows’ we really need to borrow the books.” Lisa pleaded in a whisper. “I’m sorry my dear, we’ve had an influx of people coming into borrow books on the occult, in fact I’m quite sure almost every book on that group in particular is gone, but I’ll check the computer.” Eleanor said sweetly. A few clicks of the keyboard later she tracked down the final book on the subject, Shadelings and Rust. She quickly retrieved the book in question; it was in a dark corner in the backroom, behind a door she had to open with an old key which housed a crescent moon as its handle. She handed them the book and then in a stern but quiet voice, “I don’t want you lot getting involved in this nonsense, my father was a part of that group long ago, this book is actually from my personal collection, no one knows it’s here, so keep it a secret and as always, you have three weeks with it, if you need an extension come in and tell me before your time is up.” Eleanor said before walking over to check on other people in the library.
The burnt library was cold dark and very large. Blue quickly looked through the books that weren’t completely burnt to ashes, he managed to find very few books, scant articles on metaphysics, something written in a foreign language which he thought might be useful (it was actually an instruction manual for rock gardening) and two books that were very relevant. One half burnt copy of Shadling and Rust, and a completely on harmed copy of, how the dark arts saved Harmony. He removed the two books and the paper he couldn’t read and prepared to leave. “You’re looking us up I see, how cleaver.” A voice called from behind him, he turned to see a man dressed in a dark blue cloak, similar in design to the other member of the Order of Shadows. Judging by his voice, he wasn’t the one that spoke with Tristan that morning, but this didn’t matter to Blue at all. “I know that voice.” Blue said angrily. “Do you now, how interesting, I don’t recognize you at all.” The man in blue remarked. “You’re Dan Cog, the violent drunk. Blue barked at him. “You’re very close to the truth, I was Dan, I’m now Drake Shadling, I’ve been reborn by the shadows, I’m a new man. But who are you?” The man in blue, Drake said cheerful with a chance to introduce himself. “I’m the man who’s going to kill you.” Blue said, revealing a small dagger from his pocket. “Threats already, t’is barely noon, I do revel in death and destruction, but alas I cannot vanquish you as the master has requested to leave the four alive and unharmed, he expects you four to be the key to Steal’s destruction.” Drake said turning to leave. Blue plunged forwards attempting to exact vengeance upon his father, Drake dodged effortlessly by ducking. Blue tripped on Drake falling down on his back the knife sliding from his hands and landing several feet away. Drake Stepped over Blue and continued walking away. “I can’t die until my mission is fulfilled, perhaps you can kill me another day.”
They met up at the Bolt Estate, it was a convenient location, they discussed their findings over a lunch Lisa prepared from the wild game of Blue’s hunting and foraging. “I don’t know if the Shadow people did it, but there are more bodies, this is bigger than we thought.” Tristan said anxiously. “I got a few books from the burnt library that I’m going over, but one of them is just half gone.” Blue said holding up his copy of Shadelings and Rust. “We have that book but not burnt.” Kaylie said happily showing off the book, they compared notes learning anything they could about this strange new threat. They were fortunate, the group in question was so old, despite their best efforts to stay hidden they had been traced in the other book Blue had perfectly. Shadelings and Rust however was a manual, an explanation of rules and regulations, a code of conduct for members of the sect. It listed which foods to eat and on which days, it expanded upon specific rituals to be observed. Tristan smiled largely as he read through passage after passage aloud. “And when the moon rises at its fullest and you have not dawned your attire you shall be executed, and should any man remove their hood, and let the light of that accursed celestial spear reach their face, they shall be harmed as expressed in chapter four under section three subsection A, for crimes against the darkness.” He said dryly, before laughing. “What utter nonsense, I hope we can use this to crush them, the lunatics need a dose of reality, ‘crimes against darkness’ classic.” Tristan said gasping for air after a long fit of the giggle caused by the strange language of the book which seemed to be a mix of ancient archaic and legal documentation.
They had spent half the day investigating followed by an hour of eating and discussing findings, but each of them kept a secret. Blue didn’t reveal his run in with his father, Kaylie and Lisa withheld the reasons their book was at the library, and Tristan was trying to pretend one of his only remaining fears came true. Dreagon promised him three days to make up his mind before making a deal and as a sign of good faith handed him something he called a pineapple it was spiky and not at all like an apple, it did remind him slightly of a pinecone. He thought about it to himself while Lisa and Blue discussed cooking methods and recipes. “Tristan, I think we should take the day off.” Kaylie said calmly while poking him on the forehead. “Why?” Tristan asked suddenly shocked from his trance of deep thought. “Well you’re free to roam the streets for the first time in days, you’ve got your house back, you should enjoy what you’ve got for half a day, we can crack this case in the morning, just take it easy.” She explained while Lisa and Blue argued over the best time of year to pick different herbs for cooking. “Fine, I’ll make a deal, I’ll look over things again and that’s it, we won’t go looking for new clues, just go over the old ones have a slow night.” Tristan said with a heavy sigh. Kaylie cheered prompting Blue and Lisa to look at them confused, as they weren’t listening to him at all.
The people in the town of Cutting Edge were very varied in morality, from the nicest of saints to the worst of fiends, all could be found in Cutting Edge. Tristan wondered exactly what kind of people the Order of Shadows were, he understood the kind of people the Order of Steal were, they were fools following a manipulative madman. In all his research he couldn’t help but find himself impressed by the work of shadows, they truly did a good job covering their tracts and according to their code book he had, when they killed someone there was a very exact ritual to be taken. A marking to be left in the point of death, and the body is to be burnt to the bones which should be buried by the roots of an old tree. Tristan knew the rituals well, having read through that section of the book ten times searching for a loophole, but he found nothing close to a reason these things could be ignored. It annoyed him to think that all this work could have been for nothing.
“I’m sure he’ll fall in line soon, he has to, he will.” Gear muttered to himself as he watched his men work on the Palace, usually that was the best part of his day, the thing he truly couldn’t live without. It was him watching his dreams come into reality. But now even that wasn’t enough. All that mattered was that someone told him no, all that mattered was getting Tristan Bolt to become a mindless follower. “Sir, the construction of the Palace system is at 85% we’re moving well beyond expectations.” Said Number two with a cheery smile. “I told you to never call me sir, it’s master, Master Gear.” Gear said while striking down his most loyal of servants. “I’m not in the mood for any of your shenanigans, I Want you all in tip top form, I’ve been made rather upset by our dissenter and thus I’ll cheer myself up by going to war.” Gear said while helping his number two get back up. “We go to war!” Chanted the large crowd within his factory in perfect unison as always, but it still wasn’t enough. The chorus of cries caused by his cult was not quite the perfected cacophony he knew it to be, and it never would be without the help of Bolt. “If I can’t have Tristan, I’ll at least have a few hooded heads to decorate my office.” Gear whispered to himself.
Rich stomped around outside the Bolt Estate, angry at what he had endured, all due to Tristan. He knew he had to do something about that demon, but nothing he could think to do would work, no weapon he had access to would suffice, Tristan was well trained in the art of combat and had a horrible monster of a man on his side. “I know exactly what to do.” Rich said after hours of deep thought and constant pacing. He waited for Kaylie and Lisa to leave for their house, and quickly moved in for his dark plan; he knocked them both out by throwing rocks at them, and carried them over his shoulders. “Steal my love I’ll steal your friends.” Rich said as if he actually had someone to talk to. He rushed them to a hiding place, a secret tunnel he found by exploring one of the nearby abandoned houses, he tied them up and locked them in a dark room. “Rest now girls, this place shall be your tomb, you’ll never leave this room.” Rich said with a cackle. He left to find his way home, ready to show the world that even a demon like Bolt couldn’t do whatever he wanted. Rich felt victorious.
“I’m going home, sleeping in the town was fun but I miss my fort.” Blue said as he left into the darkness of the night. “Farewell, and good night.” Tristan said happy to have his house all to himself, as much as he loved his friends, he felt as if he was losing his position as an individual by hanging out with them too much. He made himself a cup of tea with extra honey and dried berries, he lit several candles, he generally prepared his house for a night alone in silent meditation. “Finally time for me to just relax and enjoy myself.” Tristan said aloud. He couldn’t believe it, in his mind the last time he had time to relax like that was years ago, in reality he had done so fourteen days earlier. He sipped on his tea put his feet up and read from a book on diamond appraisal entitled Valued Rocks. He read books like that often, or rather he did before he found himself immersed in a race to prove himself not a murderer, even during the nights of his large scale parties he would often simply wait in his secret room and read. Tonight he was out in the open doors unlocked windows open, despite the chill that night had, he had multiple fireplaces blazing and the one in his main room was his only source of light as he read, something about the dim light of a fire seemed to enhance the reading experience in ways he couldn’t put into words. “This book is rather simplified; it misses out on the full complexities of colouration.” He said to himself. “Yet you read it anyway,” Gear remarked as he entered a window. “I met some of your friends today.” Tristan said taking another sip of tea and turning a page in his book. “Yes, my rivals. They represent the old, and I the new.” Gear said in what he hoped was a charismatic tone. “You’re rather like this book then.” Tristan responded. “And yet you keep reading.” Gear remarked. Tristan chuckled. “I suppose you’re right, I do keep reading, I guess that I find it rather novel to read through the basics after years of such complexities, and as you stated, you’re new too, just a passing craze.” Tristan explained happily. “I’m not sure if you understand how this works, I tell you to do something, you do it, if not I ruin your life, as I did before.” Gear explained a small hint of his built up rage barely present in his tone. “Don’t be so serious about it, my life was ruined before, when my mother ran away, when my father died, and then there’s you. I know who you are, which makes you unknown effect nonexistent, you can’t be more than just a man when I know the man behind the mask.” Tristan stated dryling turning another page. “Give me one reason not to kill you, if you can’t be controlled.” Gear asked. “To be honest you can’t kill me and you know it, because I’m the one in control, I have been since I decided to leave the factory, now you’re the one obsessed, spending all your time focusing on things you can’t understand, ignoring the things you love, while I’m here reading a book about gems.” Tristan said with a chuckle. “Who do you think you are!?” Gear shouted tossing a blade at his enemy. Tristan merely ignored this as it glided elegantly to the left of his cheek, he took another sip of his tea before talking again. “I’m the boy who said no.” Tristan responded still not turning to see Gear at all. “I’ll kill you soon enough.” Gear said quieting down slightly. “Your friends said they think me and my friends are going to stop you, isn’t that interesting?” Tristan said turning the page once more. “Why do you have to be so hard to control?” Gear pleaded pathetically. “I’d like you to go now, I’ll be running a bath and going to bed soon, it’s much too late to have company over.” Tristan responded completely ignoring Gear and continuing his book. “What are you?!” Gear complained while fleeing the scene.
- Beyond the Cutting Edge: chapter nine (trueecho22.wordpress.com)