[Note: In lieu of an article, this week, I present some fiction that I have laying around. A lot of this stuff was done as an exercise to improve my writing in an unfamiliar style, so be aware of that. Also, there is some level of potentially offensive content, in here. The characters exist in Europe the late 19th Century and I attempted to remain true to that. I don’t know if I’ll be doing more with the Fraternity, but I do have a full storyline planned out. If you want more, let us know!]
When the news came, Nootau d’Tasse felt the weight of the news force him down into his chair in the parlor. Audacia had been the first of their unusual fraternity, and, to Nootau, at least, he had been the best of them. First appearing to the public not eleven years prior, Audacia had proven that there were those who had abilities far beyond the common realms of mankind.
Having been granted an ancient, mystical pilum and a galea empowered by the ‘Gods of Ancient Rome,’ Audacia was an Italian man granted great strength, incredible resilience, and the ability to fly by his armaments. He had kept his true identity secret, even from his allies, so as to ensure that those who served evil purposes would be unable to track down his loved ones. He had battled numerous foes, both mundane and arcane, and defeated them all.
Now he was gone.
His nemesis, the Hungarian Black Priest, Atya Maradék, had managed to finally best the hero, having tried and been foiled countless times prior. Maradék had used his magic to conjure foe after foe to battle Audacia. Demonic terrors, beasts from the Fair Lands, mundane animals transformed into unnatural horrors, evil humans granted power, undead monstrosities, and legendary monsters from across Europe; all of these had failed to slay Audacia. He had conquered all-comers, but had never managed to destroy the evil Priest.
It was in the American West that the Priest had finally succeeded. Details were sparse, but it seemed that Atya Maradék had returned a murderous gunslinger from beyond the grave and set him upon the hero, just as he had done with so many minions, prior. This time, however, the enemy managed to get the upper hand and Audacia took a mystical bullet to his skull.
Nootau re-read the telegram over and over again. None of his compatriots had thought that Audacia could be conquered. It was now clear that they were all wrong. A force of virtue had been wiped from the world, forever. Even Audacia’s weapon and helm had been found shattered, never to grace hand nor head of the worthy, again.
Tears welled up in Nootau eyes. Anger gripped his heart and he tore at the missive in his hands. He would ensure that this malevolent Priest paid the price for his murderous ways. He would end the existence of this force of darkness, once and for all.
Siyanda stepped into the room, his dark skin illuminated by the gas light that glistened off his hairless head. The massive Zulu wore a mask of calm, but Nootau could see the fiery rage that burned behind his eyes.
“I am sorry, my friend,” Siyanda said, “I know you and Audacia were close.”
His French was imperfect and his Latin, more so. He mispronounced the word “Audacia,” making it sound like “oh-dah-sah” rather than “aw-dahsh-ee-uh.” This caused the hackles on Nootau’s neck to raise.
“He was nothing more than my comrade at arms,” the Frenchman lied, “I would be just as angry if the news had been of your fate, Omkhulu.”
“I do not think this is all the truth,” the African man added, “And you may call me by my given name when we are in this place.”
“I’m sorry,” Nootau spat, viciously, “ I can never remember which one is your given name with that savage language of yours.”
Nootau recognized that he was being bigoted and unnecessarily cruel, but he could not help himself. His anger had been riled and he wanted no part of anyone’s sympathy until Atya Maradék was cold in the ground. For his part, the man who called himself Omkhulu did not lose his temper. He could clearly tell that the Frenchman was in pain and did not take the barbs as a personal matter.
“My friend, I realize that your heart is wracked with pain and you do not now how to mitigate what you feel, so that it why you have attacked me.” the African said, diplomatically, “However, if you continue to do so, you will serve to anger me and this is not an event which is conducive to finding the slayer of your lover.”
As the final word left Omkhulu’s lips, Grgur Tomčić entered the room with a condescending smirk. He wore tight breeches, riding boots, and a loose-fitting silk shirt which hung open, revealing his sculpted body and alabaster skin. His flowing brown hair, perfectly trimmed mustache and beard, and overall physical appeal did little to cover the air of conceit that surrounded him. There was no chance that he would not take this opportunity to attack Nootau thanks to Omkhulu’s idiotic slip-up.
“Slayer of your lover, eh?” The Croat intoned, “Which one would this be? Some Parisian artists’ model, perhaps? Or one of those lovely red-haired waifs from the Emerald Isles? Or, perhaps…”
Nootau looked away from the Croatian man as the tirade reached its peak. Many of the members of the Fraternity knew of the specific preferences that Nootau had, but most were fairly accepting. Tomčić, however, was neither accepting nor forgiving for what he saw as a deviant life from which there was only damnation to a hell in which the Croat did not believe. The young Frenchman prepared for his verbal assailant’s next utterance, which was sure to be cutting.
Without warning, however, Omkhulu burst into action, moving nearly faster than the eye could follow, he twisted, rushed Tomčić and lifted him, by the throat, up against the wall, floating several metres in the air so as to add to the intimidating action.
“All of us, this man included, have lost one that meant a great deal to usI You may see this as an opportunity to feed your petty little ego, but I do not!” the massive Zulu growled through gritted teeth at the Croat, “This is a time to grieve, or a time to take action, nothing else! Do you understand me?”
The smirk had never fled Tomčić’s face, in fact, it widened to a grin as he looked the African directly in his eyes.
“You question my comprehension, Kingsman, while you show, clearly, your complete lack of it,” the man sneered with no small amount of chauvinism, “I am called ‘Besmrtan’ for what reason, Kingsman?”
“Because calling you ‘Govno’ would have been too vulgar, endleni!” the African spat back at him.
There was a moment of silence as the enraged and powerful Omkhulu gripped the throat of the weak, but completely invincible, Besmrtan. This silence was broken with a snicker from the Croat which transformed into laughter.
“My black friend!” Tomčić managed to intone through his humor, “You have clearly picked up some semblance of European wit from your time here! I’ve clearly been a better influence than I had thought!”
The Zulu spun and threw the Croat to the ground, hard enough to crack the stonework. This did not halt Besmrtan’s whimsy, however, as he was, of course, unharmed. He continued to laugh until he saw the arm of his shirt, which had torn, in the altercation. He immediately swore in his native Croatian, his sense of humor evaporating the second he grew angry.
“Look what you did, you black bastard!” he bellowed as he stood, “You ruined my bloody new shirt! Now I’ll have to bed another whore seamstress to fix the fucking thing!”
Omkhulu landed from his levitation, at the feet of Besmrtan and glared at him.
“You are right. You are completely invincible and, as of now, we have found no way to harm you, cretin. Not bullets, not knives, explosions, fire, cold, poison; in your travels, you have encounter all of these and no harm has befallen you.” the massive African stated with a sneer, “But always I am thinking. And sometimes I think of ways to punish you for your arrogance and hatred that you would not foresee. Do not forget this.”
Besmrtan stood, staring daggers at Omkhulu. Without a further word, he turned and stalked off. Nootau stepped to the powerful black man and extended his hand.
“You are a true friend, Siyanda,” he said, humbly, “And I am an uncouth lout.”
“Funny,” the Zulu said, talking the Frenchman’s hand and shaking, “I thought that man just departed.”
Nootau smiled, weakly, but his melancholy returned, just as suddenly. He thought of his beloved Audacia having his brains blown out across the desert by some twisted creation of a blackened soul. As if sensing his oncoming remorse, Omkhulu spoke.
“Come, my friend,” the Zulu said, his face grim with anger, “The time for sorrow is after. This is the time for the seeking of vengeance.”
With that, the pair set off for the meeting room, where the other members of La Fraternité de l’impossible readied themselves for retribution.