Tobias The Cat: A Short From The Nexus 7 All Good Things .../
Tobias The Cat: A Short From The Nexus 7 All Good Things ...
Tobias peered over the edge of the roof, trying to see if Uncle Tom had arrived. Cindy fussed behind her, scuffing at the black sticky substance that coated the roof and clung to everything that touched it. Tobias sighed. It was going to be a long wait."What's your real name?" Cindy sneered. Tobias, distracted from their objective, turned to look at the woman. She stood with arms folded across her ample bosom and glared."Wh't?""Yer no man. Not a boy, either. You reek just like any gutter wh.o.r.e on her monthly."Tobias glared at Cindy. "W' dun h've time fer th's." Footsteps began echoing through the alley beneath them. Not such a long wait after all, she thought.Cindy crossed angrily to where Tobias crouched. Cruel fingers latched onto Tobias's shoulders as Cindy hissed, "What's your name, girl?""My name?" Tobias's voice echoed like it rose from a well. "My real name, and my beauty, and all but a trace of the magic that once flowed through my veins, plus three quarters of my lifespan were all traded when I was twelve to the demon that haunts the path that leads to this misbegotten place." Tobias rose slowly as she spoke until she stood at her full, if slight, height, enraged beyond caring who might be in the alley below. Cindy released Tobias and took a half step back. "But the t.i.tle - oh, the t.i.tle remains to taunt me with what might have been and remind me of my purpose." Cindy looked down into Tobias's eyes and shuddered at what she saw there."I am the Daystar Princess of the half-elven kingdom of Ciracu. Had I lived as I was born, I would have seen at least a millennium and never known your face." Tobias's lip curled in disgust."Ya traded all that just to live a little longer? What, were the Infected after your royal tail?" Cindy bl.u.s.tered."No. I bargained for much more. My life - almost all that I was - for a century of peace for my people. No Infected plaguing them for a full hundred years. ""Ya think that's true? The demon lied - nothing can stop the Infected."Tobias smiled, and it was a cruel thing. "I know my people are safe, as they were for almost a century before I was born. And in another eighty years or so, a new Daystar Princess will be born, and grow, and sacrifice herself to the demon to protect our people. And then I will be at rest."Cindy stared at Tobias. Her jaw flapped helplessly. Tobias continued. "But I can't have you telling anyone this. So you will forget everything we just talked about, and in three or four days when it's quiet, you will slip away to have a little tryst with me. You'll be so excited that you convinced me to step out with you. But you'll return despising me. I will have rejected you after you mocked my pitifully small manhood." Tobias's tone shifted from mocking back to serious. "Now, we have work to do." As Tobias finally released her hold on Cindy's mind, they both fell to their knees, staining their clothes with sticky black goo.
Tobias panted, but tried to do so quietly. The footsteps were louder, but she couldn't tell if Cindy's foolishness had betrayed their location."Wha' …?" Cindy flailed uselessly."Hush," Tobias ordered between gasps. "My sweetie," she added grudgingly. "I th'nk Uncle Tom's h're." Tobias carefully poked her head above the roofline. There were at least ten men gathered below, and more arriving. She ducked back with a muttered curse.Her mind raced. With just that quick look, she'd seen three racks of crockery bombs, and three contraptions. The devices reminded her of the trebuchets she'd seen on display in her homeland, except these were much smaller. Her eyes widened as she realized these were the launchers. Uncle Tom was planning to bombard the alcove into submission. Tobias realized that the procurer was not planning on retrieving his old plaything from Bilal's care. She swore some more, but it didn't solve anything."What's the matter? Isn't he there?" Cindy crawled over to the side, heedless now of the stickiness."H's th're," Tobias acknowledged. "Or h' w'll be." She risked another look. It looked like close to thirty rough men clogging up the alley. Movement on the opposite rooftop caught her eye. Black hair and tanned skin contrasted with blue eyes so bright she could see them from here. Unable to reach Ryka to throttle her, Tobias contented herself with another round of swearing."What're ya so riled about, darlin?" Cindy cooed as she leaned closer to Tobias. "Surely you're man enough to take care of 'im." She looked Tobias up and down suggestively. Tobias bit back an angry response that might unsettle her suggestions to the other woman. She had neither the energy or the time to seal her memories again."If the racks are close enough together, and I can trigger the middle one … that might set them all off." Tobias pictured the layout below. "That could also take out a lot of the fighters, if I can time it right." She tested the bowstring on her recurve nervously and remembered Mack's comments about her not being that good of a shot. She'd have to do, though, or everyone in the alcove would be wiped out, either by the flames or by the queueing fighters as they tried to flee.Taking a deep breath, she nocked the arrow and braced herself. She popped up, sighted on the center rack, and drew the arrow back. Exhaling with a hiss, she released the string, only to watch in horror as the arrow caught on the arrow notch. The shaft snapped. Broken shards of arrow drove deep into her flesh. She dropped her bow and it clattered down into the alley.Shouts below telegraphed that she had been spotted this time. She stared at the pieces of arrow that impaled her hand. The sparker was still attached to the remains of the shaft by one piece of twisted wire. The other piece had worked itself loose when the shaft broke where it had been affixed. The whole mess was now skewered to her flesh.Cindy jumped up to see what had happened, and a crossbow bolt struck her cleanly in the eye. Tobias reached for her as she collapsed, but only succeed in swinging her around. Her lifeless body tumbled over the edge of the roof, and Tobias, reactions slowing, was dragged with her. Tobias screamed as her impaled hand grasped futilely at the edge and didn't stop screaming until she landed on Cindy's body in the alley below.
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"Search the rooftops! Where there's two, they'll be more!" Tobias struggled to understand the shouted orders through the agony of shattered bones. She looked down at Cindy's wrecked body and noticed just one detail. While she had landed on Cindy, Cindy's corpse had landed on a rack of bombs. The force of their landing had destroyed the rack and smashed the bombs, and the flammable contents had splashed wide. With the last of her strength, Tobias slapped her hand, complete with arrow shards and sparker, down into the viscous liquid. Screams and cascading explosions chased her into the final darkness.