Ballad of a Broken Tyrant | deleted chapter
Author’s Note: This was intended as a prologue to the novel Ballad of a Broken Tyrant, but after storyboarding, I realized that it would not fit in the canon of his story. None of this is confirmed true in Sam’s backstory, neither untrue. If you wanna see how much of the prologue is true to the novel, you’ll just have to read it when it comes out. That said, enjoy!
Ballad of a Broken Tyrant
Samuel Thunderboar is a minotaur worthy of legend. Born in a small village in the Heagreath wastes, on Mars, Aprilis 26th*, Sam was born into a family of four, with his parents and two older sisters. He lived in a brutal, barbaric society that held no love or compassion toward the weak and small, which molded Sam into a brutish beast even for a minotaur. Right or wrong didn’t hold a seat in his mind, not that minotaurs had much of a sense of morality anyway. But Sam stood up for the small, something quite unusual considering his views on morality. If Sam ever caught someone preying on the weak, he would do the same to them tenfold. Perhaps only as an excuse to feed his hunger for violence.
At age 14, Sam stood at 6 foot 7, and was large for even a minotaur. When he was 15, he was a tyrant that took what he wanted from towns without consequence, the villagers too frightened to stop him; At 16, a man could live an entire life in luxury with the bounty on Sam’s head. Sam had created a career for himself as a lone mercenary making profit off of wars and territory struggles. He was hired by street gangs and syndicates to do their dirty work, and dealt in raw force and brutality; When someone wanted something dead that was very hard to kill, and didn’t care about collateral damage, they hired Sam to do it. But just as Sam rose to greatness and fame higher than he had ever risen in his life, he was to fall harder than he had ever fallen, and to pick himself up was a task more daunting than any monster or man he could ever face.
Chapter 1 | Eon’s Embrace
Sam stared up at the massive building that the Azukay syndicate used as a meeting place for their contractors and mercenaries. It stretched 24 floors straight up. It was built of stone and brick, metal bars lined every window, and locks rested in every door Sam could see. Guards stood at the entrances hefting massive swords, shields, and spears that, despite their size, were dwarfed in comparison to the greatsword hanging from Sam’s back. Sam approached the nearest door, or more so the guards beside it. Their faces gave no emotion as they brought their weapons down inches from his face. They were long pikes nearly identical to each other. “You’ll find nothing here. Go back to the rodeo, boy.” That got on Sam’s nerves but he fought off the urge to smash the guards’ heads into the wall, keeping in mind the reason he was here.
“I’m here for Mr. Ray Sehetapy, and watch who you call boy.” Sam growled.
The guards’ pikes held steady. The guard to the right spoke. “He’s currently unavailable. You’d best be taking a walk somewhere else now.”
“I will not take kindly to being refused. Now either bring me to Ray, or tell him to come down here. I’m of half a mind to use your bodies as a floormat to wipe my feet on my way up.” Sam growled.
The guard shot back at Sam, keeping his pike steady. “I will not repeat myself, cow; Ray is unavailable.”
“YOU WILL TAKE ME TO HIM OR I WILL MAKE A SALTY BREAKFAST OUT OF YOU AND YOUR FRIEND!!!” Sam roared violently.
The right guard stared at Sam, and Sam stared right back, both conveying with crystal clarity that a fight was inevitable. The two locked gazes, neither yielding to the other. Sam’s face contorted into a scowl. His eyes clearly conveyed his discontent with the stubborn sentries. Sam’s face displayed not only that, but a sliver of amusement, as if savoring the moment that was to come. He reached over his shoulder and gripped the handle of his greatsword: He was just about fed up with waiting.
Just as Sam was about to unsheathe his sword, a piercing voice sounded from behind the two guards. The doors were now open to reveal a plump, well fed man with expensive dress. “Gentlemen! Gentlemen! There’s no need for violence.” He said in a voice that stood a tone between the most comforting sound one could hear, and something the devil of liars might sound like. He came between the two guards, guiding their weapons to the ground. He looked up at Samuel, gesturing him inside the building and away from the guards.
The man spoke once they had entered the building and the doors had been closed. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you in the flesh; your reputation proceeds you, Mr. Thunderboar. You came highly recommended for this particular nature of task.” The man who Sam assumed was Ray talked with a sort of self invitation that very quickly got on his nerves.
Sam was led down a hallway and a few turns, passing through a myriad of intriguing rooms. They walked up a hefty few flights of stairs before stopping in a carpeted, well decorated room on what may have been the 20th floor or higher. Shelves lined the walls, there was a large couch facing opposite a neatly kept desk. Trinkets and puzzles sat on shelves and atop dressers. The entirety of the door side wall was bare of items, revealing a beautifully painted mural of a castle resting on a mountain. The dark clouds contrasted with the bright blue sky creating an eerie feeling of hidden malice. A bullskin rug covered the floor between the couch and the desk, it’s horns untouched, protruding from the deflated bull’s head like a pair of saplings growing out of the rotten corpse of the parent tree. It was a cruel sight, especially to Sam.
Sam took care not to step on the rug, and stepped into the room. He unsheathed his sword and set it beside him as he took a seat on the couch, the slab of metal further emphasizing Sam’s intimidating stature in the room.
“So what am I here for?” Ray had not even taken a seat at the desk before Sam spoke. He made no response to the question. “Why all the trouble of bringing me here?”
“We can’t just go around having meetings like this in broad daylight out on the streets. Don’t be foolish.” Ray responded.
Sam sighed impatiently. “So then, I’ve been told that you have a job for me; It had better be worth traveling this far out of my way.”
Ray reorganized a few items on his desk, possibly searching for something, before giving up and looking back at Sam. “Oh of course. I would never think of wasting your time on something trivial. Me bringing you here could be a great opportunity for the both of us.” Ray spoke as if he were a hustler on the street.
Ray was starting to annoy Sam. “Get to the point. You are starting to waste my time.”
“Oh but of course, Mr. Thunderboar--”
“Call me Sam. I hate formalities.” Sam interrupted.
“Nonsense!” Ray shot back almost immediately. “I would not disrespect you by speaking like a pair of street hooligans; We are professionals!”
Sam let out another sigh of impatience. “So, why am I here?”
“Oh that’s simple.” Ray beamed. “The Azukay’s properties have been repeatedly assaulted by a foolish gang of roughnecks that call themselves the Desert Scorpions; a hideously unimaginative name I know. A rat from within their ranks has revealed to us that they will be holding a meeting to decide what their next target will be. They are planning something major, my friend. A plan we cannot allow to be set in motion. This meeting will take place next dawn on the docked ship, Merrigow.”
“Let me guess: You want me to go to the meeting and eliminate your competition, right?” Sam interrupted.
“You will be payed six Platinum for the job.”
“Make it seven.”
“E--Excuse me?” Ray stammered.
“You heard me. Seven Platinum for killing every single one of them.” Sam insisted.
“I cannot just pay you extra--”
“You’re not paying me extra.” Sam’s voice sounded richer and more insistent. “Someone else may think of this as an assassination, but I don’t do assassinations. When you send me on that boat, you’ll get a massacre of every living thing tied to the Desert Dicks, something that costs a little more coin… Unless you want me to ask the Scorpions if they have anyone they might want dead-”
“Alright, alright!” Ray sighed. “Fine. I’ve been told you are the best at what you do. You will be paid seven Platinum to… massacre all of the Scorpions on the boat.” Ray’s voice was bitter and reluctant. “Until then, why not take advantage of the great markets in the city of Eon?”
“I think I’ll just find a place to stay until tomorrow’s dawn.” and with that Sam picked up his sword and left the room, walking down to the stairs to the exit below.
As Sam stepped out the door, he heard the sound of armor clad figures moving. He dismissed it as the door guards simply moving to allow his exit, but screaming pain soon proved him wrong as a pike was driven into the left side of his armor. Sam turned his head to see one of the guards from when he entered the building: He was being ambushed! Ray had set him up! The second guard, to the right of Sam, jabbed his pike at Sam. Sam grabbed hold of the pike and thrusted it back into his opponent. He then turned to face the guard on his left, throwing his fist into the guard’s face. Sam’s fist collided with the guard’s helmet, denting it inward. The guard recoiled, tearing the pike out of Sam’s armor. The second guard, now behind Sam, stumbled to his feet and charged with his pike raised. “No one disrespects me and lives! You’re no different from anyone else, cow!”
The insult sent Sam’s blood boiling, his mind filling with adrenaline fueled ecstasy. Sam lifted the greatsword out of its sheath, revealing how truly monstrous it was; It measured nearly 6 feet in length, and was as thick as a castle gate. Draconic lettering along the blade emitted a faint red glow, like the coals of a raging fire. The blade was covered in scratches and chips, as if he used it to fight monsters rather than men.
Sam smiled and turned around, bringing his sword down onto the pike racing toward him. The pike snapped like a toothpick and the sword continued its path into the gravel pavement. Before Sam’s attacker could react, Sam wrenched his sword out of the ground and cut through his assailant’s armor, cleaving him in half. His torso flung into the air and landed on the ground with a splat.
The surviving guard threw his broken helmet on the ground, revealing the grey face of a half-orc. “Gang the minotaur!” he yelled.
Responses sounded from all around the building as guards wearing half plate armor flocked to the scene. Soon, a dozen soldiers had formed a circle around Sam and his combattant, ready to attack
“Scratch that! I’ll kill this fool myself.” the half-orc shouted. The guards around him whispered among themselves.
“Fool! You’ll be cut in half!” one of them shouted.
“It’s this minotaur that will be lying on the ground in two! He was only able to kill a weakling that could barely stand in his armor, much less fight in it!” The half-orc shouted.
“But that sword… it’s huge!” came another voice from the crowd.
“Do not be fooled; It is all for looks. He may cut through armor, but there’s no way he can wield a sword like that in a real fight! Even with his size!”
“Can that pike even pierce a minotaur’s hide?” said another from the crowd.
“This’s enough time wasted with words! Let’s cut to the chase and cut you in half!” the half-orc roared, pointing to Sam.
Sam readied his stance against his opponent, his sword outstretched, itching for blood. “That’s the first thing out of your mouth that’s made any sense.”
The half-orc charged Sam. Sam stepped forward and brought his sword down directly into the half-orc’s path, not bothering to dodge the strike. The half-orc rolled under Sam’s strike at the last minute. He brought himself onto his knees and struck from behind, piercing through Sam’s armor. Sam swiveled around and swung into the half-orc, who brought his pike up to deflect the strike. Sam’s sword snapped the pike just like it had the first, and cut deep into the half-orc’s plate armor. He let out a wail of pain and jumped back. He now wielded the sad half of his former pike with the pommel forward as if it were the head of a club. The wound in his side leaked blood onto the pavement. “You bastard!” He scowled.
“Kill him!” a voice from the crowd sounded.
The rest of the guards happily obliged, rushing with their weapons drawn.
“Stop!” the half-orc yelled, stunning his comrades. He turned to Sam. “I’m not dead yet, minotaur. And I won’t die until you are.”
Sam smiled. He waited for the half-orc to attack, his sword raised, ready to strike. When the half-orc charged, he brought his sword down just like before. This time, the half-orc jabbed the flat of Sam’s blade with his newly made club and pushed the blade to the side. Sam’s sword imbedded itself into the ground and the orc brought his makeshift club across Sam’s face, drawing blood and staggering him. He struck again at Sam’s head, connecting with a resounding THUAK! Sam staggered, dazed and disoriented. The half-orc used this opportunity to hit blow after blow. Sam fell to the ground, his head bleeding, barely conscious. “Didn’t I tell you not to worry? He could barely move his sword after his first swing.” The half-orc shouted to his comrades, who joined him in uproar, crowding and praising him.
Sam slowly got to his feet amongst the crowd. His head was spinning and his ears rang like church bells. He gripped his sword and ripped it from the ground. The guards all turned in shock, not sure whether they had underestimated Sam, or minotaurs as a race. Sam raised his sword, casting a shadow that blocked out the sun, and swept it across the entire crowd. The guards were so tightly packed that all of them stood in the path of Sam’s vengeance. Sam sliced through a dozen sets of plate armor like butter, and left the guards lying on the gravel in pieces. The only surviving guard was the half-orc, missing a hand. His eyes were filled with terror. “How did you-- ” before he could utter another word, Sam thrusted his sword into the half-orc’s neck, detaching it cleanly from his shoulders, and left without saying another word. That night Sam slept back against a tree, away from the buildings and streets. He sat treating his wounds with minor potions and bandages, his sword resting beside him.
Once his wounds had somewhat healed, Sam went into town. No inns would let him stay in their rooms on account of his being a minotaur. After nearly an hour, Sam came across a blacksmiths, and slim a chance that anything was his size, he entered the smith’s for armor. As he ducked his head to fit through the door, the customers cowered and left. Only him and the smith stood in the shop. The smith examined Sam and spoke. “Ya look like someone who cen go through dozens a swords in a single battle.”
Sam turned to the blacksmith and chuckled. “Not that I’d expect it, but would you happen to have any armor that would fit my size? I go through armor just as fast as I do swords.”
The smith frowned. looking Sam over. “Unfortunately not. Though I cen custom build a set for ya if ya’ve enough coin.” He leaned forward with a smile.
“Sorry, but I haven’t got much more than silver on me and I don’t plan on staying much longer.”
“A traveler, eh?” the blacksmith’s smile widened. “From where?”
Sam stayed silent. Leaving the two in silence until the smith caught eye of Sam’s sword, his eyes widening. “What on earth-- what monstrosity are ya carrying on yer back?”
“Oh this?" Sam said. The smith looked in wonder as Sam placed the colossal greatsword on the counter.
The smith stammered. “It’s magnificent; The craftsmanship. The material. The engraving… “ his smile faltered. “What is that glow?” he pointed to the flat of the blade where Draconic lettering glowed faintly, like baby embers reaching out from a much more powerful flame.
Sam faltered before speaking. “This is an enchantment; It connects the sword to… ancient spirits.” he lied.
“Ancient spirits? What do they do?” the smith wondered, suspicion in his eyes.
Sam faltered once more. “They are... chaos spirits. They feed off of discord, and can create it as well. When well fed, the sword radiates chaos to anything around it."
The smith had heard enough nonsense from the minotaur. “Heresy! If ya're not gonna buy something, get out. And take your demon sword out of here. I will have no devil worshiping beasts in my company!" The smith shooed Sam out and shut the door.
Disgruntled, Sam searched for a place to stay one last time. When he was refused again, he returned to his resting place on the outskirts of town and sat, losing himself in his thoughts. The only piece that he couldn’t find a place for was in the guard’s words: “No one disrespects me and lives! You’re no different from anyone else…” he spoke as if Sam had done a disservice to him personally. Why had he not spoken on behalf of the Azukay? Surely they would want their own syndicate’s name to be the last that Sam would ever hear. And yet, the guard spoke only for himself. The ambush itself puzzled Sam as well; no more than two guards were expected to kill him. The half-orc fully believed that he could defeat Sam singlehandedly, something the Azukay would tell him was deathly false. No syndicate is foolish or careless enough to entrust two petty doormen to kill someone with Sam’s reputation. None of it made sense. Why would Ray waste so much time when he could have had him killed before the meeting either? He haggled with Sam as if he would live long enough to be paid.
For the sake of plausibility, Sam approached the question as if Ray were not involved: Only then did it make sense. Ray had not set him up, and the Azukay are not after the price on his head. The door guards attacked Sam out of their own volition!
Either way, Sam was hungry, wounded, and without armor or shelter; Truth be told, He couldn’t go much longer without coin, and this entire excursion would have gone to waste if he left now.
That night Sam took to bed early so he could wake himself before dawn, and when he awoke, he discarded his broken armor and slung his sword over his shoulder. His wounds not yet fully healed, he set out for the docks under darkness. Ships sat in rows, silent and sleeping. Not a living thing stirred. The Merrigow was easy to find; a large brooding ship much older than the rest. It rested on the far end of the docks. It’s boards were darkened with mud and the deck was empty of life. Faint orange light peeked through the leaks in the boards; the only sign of life in the entire harbor. Sam climbed onto the Merrigow’s deck.
“Who are you?! Begone from this ship!” a man stepped out from the shadows of the ship brandishing a rapier. His composure told Sam that he was no novice at swordplay. “This is not your place to meddle, beast. I will not think twice on adding your head to my wall.”
Sam smiled. He lunged forward with an overhead strike. The man parried and leaped out of harm’s way. The sword imbedded itself in the boards of the ship. As Sam wrenched it from the deck, splinters flew into the air. He made another step forward and swung again. The man dodged once more. The nimble swordsman struck Sam’s leg, drawing blood, and rolled clear of the retaliatory swing, now behind Sam. He struck under Sam’s remaining thigh, nearly crippling both of Sam’s legs. The strike drew a second river of blood and an uproarious cry. Sam spun, nearly tripping over himself. He brought the blade over his head, thirsting for the blood of the one who had enraged its wielder. Sam’s face held the fury of a hellish beast, his eyes glowed a fiery amber, and the hair along his spine stood straight up as if pulled toward the heavens. The sword slammed into the helpless man, cleaving through the deck of the ship. The Draconic lettering glowed hot in the fray and even hotter upon the death of its opponent, but it hungered for more.
Shouts sounded inside from behind a door leading deeper into the ship, and Sam was drawn to them with a blind fury. “This door is as thick as a castle’s! Swing all you want with that hellish sword, but you will not break through this threshold!”
The words of the man behind the door were cut short, as Sam thrusted his greatsword through the wooden gate and into his chest, half of the blade protruding from his back. Blood gushed from his chest as the sword skewered him like a hunter’s spear skewered a fish to feed his family. He vomited blood onto Sam’s face, gargling, drowning.. He frantically grabbed at the slab of sharp steel that suspended his body in air, trying to loose himself from its grasp. Sam lowered the sword, dropping the man to the floor, choking on his own blood. Sam took a step forward, stepping directly on the wounded man’s chest, warranting a wail of agony. Every man in the room turned to Sam; their eyes saw a bloody, brutish demon that cared not for peace nor mercy. It stood like a mountain, barely containing its form within the room. As it walked forward, the horns atop its crown drove gouges into the ceiling. The ship was silent for a moment as the men stood petrified with fear, until only the brave, or stupid, began to rise to challenge the monster in their midst.
The first man who dared challenge Sam was slight, and held an axe that seemed far too large for him. The second man stood alongside the first. He was larger, certainly muscular, and wielded a bastard sword that was more fitting for his size. The two charged Sam with the fury of a castrated boar. The hate in their eyes was soon replaced by terror as Sam swung his sword through their frames, cleaving the slight man in two, but stopping just inches from sending the larger man to the same fate. They both fell to the ground, mortally wounded. The larger man broke into a crying fit in his pain, weak and unable to come to terms with his death. But the slight man, who had suffered injuries far worse, lay beside his dying comrade, spending his final moments to comfort his brother in arms on his deathbed. It was a scene as beautiful as it was horrific, sending a chill through the spines of every man in the room.
Sam moved on to the rest of the gang members in the room, not waiting for them to strike first. He swung his sword wildly into anyone that stood, whether running or fighting. There was no technique in his strikes as he rampaged through an entire room of combatants. Only wild swings of a weapon that could barely be called a sword. A man in the back launched plates and silverware at Sam, one hitting his right brow and leaving a nasty gash. Sam retaliated by barrelling towards the bastard. The man picked up a table and threw it at Sam like an oversized frisby, but it flew with little force. Sam dropped his sword in order to catch the table mid-flight, and threw it right back. The table slammed the man against the wall of the room, nearly sending both it and the man crashing through the side of the ship. The man vomited blood and fell onto the wooden floor, unmoving.
Sam turned to retrieve his sword from the floor, but instead saw a man much larger than the other bruisers, wielding none other than Sam’s own greatsword. The man strained his muscles to do anything more than hold the huge blade steady, its weight dragging him downward like a pool of quicksand. The wound on Sam’s brow dripped blood into his eye, rendering it blind. Sam stared the man down as well as he could with one eye. When the man lifted the greatsword over-shoulder to strike, Sam lowered his head and drove his horns through the man’s body. The greatsword fell out of the man’s grasp, falling behind him. The handle landed on the inside of his right knee, breaking his leg in an instant, and forcing him to fall to his knees. The man let out wails of pain in between his feeble attempts to breathe normally. Sam clasped his hands around the man’s face and brought him nose-to-nose with his own. Sam whipped the man’s head around, snapping his neck, and let the body slump to the ground.
Sam retrieved his sword and moved on to the door at the end of the room. He kicked it down like a child knocking over a tower of blocks that his baby brother had stacked in the living room. The desperate cries of the Kingpins pleading for their lives were like the wails of the baby brother crying over his toppled tower. Sam’s own psychotic smile and bloodlust like the joy the older brother draws from the cries of the younger.
Sam crouched through the doorframe and started slaughtering the kingpins one by one. The guards that stood beside the doorway were stunned. Sam nearly slaughtered them before they could flee the ship, which did nothing but delay their deaths. When Sam had killed the kingpins, he killed the guards attempting to escape the ship. Sam impaled the first by throwing his sword into the guard’s back as he ran, and mauled the second guard in his stupor like a rabid animal. Not a single thing was left alive on the Merrigow save the rats that fed on the corpses Sam left behind.
Sam returned to his spot on the outskirts of town and tended to his wounds. The bleeding from his right brow was impossible to stop, so Sam slept the rest of the day with blood pooling in his eye.
Sam awoke no more rested than he was the morning before, still plagued by his injuries. He went into town and stole clothes off of a quote-unquote “giant” that traveled with a wandering circus. The clothes barely fit, but they were better than wearing the clothes he had shredded. He then returned to the tall grey building with his sword in hand, only one goal in mind. As he expected, the guards attacked him on sight. Sam cut through them with little challenge. Only a select few posed any difficulty for him. When he faced down the last guard, trembling in fear, he sheathed his sword and gripped them by the neck, pushing their back against the wall, only just allowing them room to breathe. Sam removed the guard’s helmet, and to his surprise, what stared back at him was only a boy. He was 16 at the oldest. He was clean, well groomed, and rather handsome. Clearly a privileged youth in the city of Eon. How a boy such as that got himself tied into the Azukay was beyond Sam. But that didn’t change that he was just another thing in Sam’s way.
“You are going to take me to Ray Sehetapy” Sam growled at the boy
“W-wh-wh-what? W-who?” The boy stammered
“Did I stutter?” Sam tightened his grip around the boy’s neck and scowled. He gasped and flailed around, futilely attempting to loose himself. Sam lightened his grip once more to allow the boy to speak.
The boy choked for air. “He’s in his office on the 22nd floor-- The fourth room on the right. Please, I’m just a doorman-- don’t kill me-- I’ve done nothing to wrong you.”
“You’re right; you haven’t.” Sam looked back at the pile of bodies behind him. “I doubt Ray will be happy to see me after I killed the entirety of his guards-- Twice.”
“But you didn’t kill me. I’m sure he’ll forgive you if you show that you are capable of good deeds in place of cruel ones.”
Sam thought for a moment in silence, then looked back at the boy. Sam tightened his grip and pressed the boy’s throat into the stone wall, his face turning pink, then purple, then a grim blue as he fought for his life. The boy eventually fell limp to the ground, and Sam entered the building never flinching at the bodies scattered in his wake.
Sam counted twenty two flights of stairs as he climbed up to Ray’s office and turned the corner into a familiar hallway. He stopped at the fourth door on the right. He grabbed the handle, but the it was latched shut.
“Just a moment! You’ll need to wait your turn!” Came a charismatic voice from behind the door.
Sam tried to force the handle to comply, with no luck.
“I said just a moment! I am currently seeing somebody! You’ll have to wait!”
Sam ignored the words and reared back. He slammed his boot into the door and sent the hinges loose, knocking the door to the floor with a crash. Ray was sitting behind his desk with a beautiful and scandalously dressed woman, who could be nothing other than a hoe. She sat on his “ever expanding throne”, giggling and flirting. When the door came crashing down the two jumped with a start. Both looked at the broken door and then to Sam, terrified. The woman that Ray was “seeing” jumped up and ran out of the room at alarming speed. She wasted no time bolting down the stairs and out of the building; running impossibly fast for someone in heels.
“What are you-- Why?” Ray stood from his chair and backed against the wall, his facade shattered. “The guards-- How did you-- Those wounds?”
Sam stepped into the room and took a seat on the couch, resting his sword beside him. “I slaughtered the Scorpions. Every living thing on that ship is now a corpse. I fulfilled my end of the deal. Now it’s your turn.”
“What?” Ray asked.
“DID I FUCKING STUTTER?!!” Sam shot up from his seat, then sighed and sat back down, his face returning from fury. “I took care of the Scorpions’ little nest. You won’t hear from them any time soon. I did my job; Where’s my money?”
Ray was astonished by the audacity of the bull in front of him. “You killed an entire shift of guards! Including the captain! And you expect to be welcomed back like a friend?!”
“They didn’t need any help getting themselves killed!” Sam shot back. “The Scorpions could slaughter your guards with a force half their size! I did you a favor by killing off the incompetent.”
“Half of the people you killed were invaluable fighters. The shift captain was a master of combat! His death was a major blow to us-- And those guards weren’t mine! I had to answer to my boss for their deaths! He nearly had me killed for bringing you here!” Ray shouted back.
“Your guards attacked me on their own volition! Out of petty spite. I retaliated only in self defense, nothing more-- If I wasn’t desperate for coin I would have left this town, leaving you defenseless. But I took it upon myself by my own free will to follow through with the job despite the Azukay’s disgrace. Now where is my coin?!”
Ray stopped himself, and thought for only an instant before choosing his next words carefully. “How did you get here-- past the guards?”
“Look closely, Ray. I have day old wounds as well as fresh ones. The old ones are from the Scorpions. Where do you think the fresh ones came from?” Sam said coldly.
Ray reluctantly walked to the window, and looked out to the scene below. “You are a monster!”
“Did I not warn you?” Sam replied.
“What?” Ray turned to face Sam. His face perfectly displayed his confusion.
“When you hired me. I told you that you weren’t hiring someone who worries about where their sword is pointed.” Sam smiled, enjoying Ray’s panic.
Ray seemed like he couldn’t decide to be disgusted or scared of Sam. He couldn’t even bring himself to respond.
“It doesn’t matter to me which side I fight for. Hell, I’d fight for both if I could; Money’s money, right? All that I care about is doing my job and getting paid. Anyone who gets in the way of that gets treated just like everybody else, friend or foe.”
Ray recoiled. “You-- how can you be so heartless?”
Sam stayed seated, relishing the terror he had drawn from someone previously so well constituted. “I was raised in a cold world by cold people; I was never given comfort when I was beaten, I was never given sympathy when I was broken, I was never given shelter when I was lost… They say a child adapts to the environment it was born into in order to survive. You live in a world spoiled by honor and civility, a luxury I was not granted.”
Ray was stunned. One moment, an impitoyable monster stood before him, the next, he felt sympathy for it; A beast desperately trying to survive in a world to civilised for him to understand.
“Now; where’s my money?” Sam said, pulling Ray out of his thoughts.
Ray just stood there for a moment, stunned, before opening a drawer from his desk and dropping seven platinum coins in a small sack, then he dropped in an eighth and tossed it to Sam. “That’s one extra for you to never show your face in this city again. The Azukay will not follow you, but if you return we will cut you to shreds where you stand.”
Sam weighed the bag and checked the coins; they were genuine, real platinum. Sam looked down at the Bullskin rug. He picked it up and waved it in Ray’s face “ And get rid of this trash! If I ever do come back here and I see this in your office, I’ll kill you myself!” Sam threw the rug to the ground and without another word he stormed out of Ray’s office, leaving the bastard scared shitless. He walked all the way back to his tree on the outskirts of the city, packed the few belongings he had, and rested until nightfall. When he awoke, Sam began the long walk back to his own city, far too eager to put this entire mess behind him.
* Mars is the Greek day equal to Wednesday, and Aprilis is the Greek month of April. Sam wasn't born on the Red Planet.