The street was empty, save for a few merchants who had risen early to set up their stalls with various foods. The smell of fruit, fish and meat started to fill the air. and was The smell was inflated by the addition of the sun's immense heat. It was always hot In Fannimire and such smells were commonplace, especially in the poorer street rat district.
"A race!" Shouted Skye jumping from her haye sack in the one part of Fannimire rat district that wasn’t constantly bombarded by the overpowering sun.
"A race to judge if I, Skye the swift, am truly the fastest in all of Fannimire!"
Skye was met with a heavy silence, though she didn't mind. Her mind was made up and she knew Jalick would follow her lead. "Come on" Skye ordered. Jalick sighed, stood up and left the comfort of his haye bed for this morning ritual.
"This'll be perfect," said Skye, already planning her approach, which seemed silly to Jalick as Skye did the same run every time.
"Okay Jalik, I want you to time me. I'm going to run to the church and back," Jalick said nothing, though he had the look of a boy who had played this game too many times and was simply bored. Not that Skye noticed as Skye never noticed.
Skye was crouched ready to bolt as soon as Jalick gave the signal. The road was still clear save except for the almost visible odour coming from the merchant stalls. Despite the stench, Skye took a deep breath before hearing Jalick say;
"To the church and back" before adding "be careful". Malick snapped his fingers creating an unmistakable bang that sent Skye running faster than Jalicks eyes could keep up with. Jalick sat down, he knew how long Skye would take and saw no need to stand on ceremony. He would wait and then when Skye returned they could play another game. Five seconds went by and Jalick began to wonder where she had gone. Skye never normally took this long.
Everything in her vicinity stopped when Skye ran at full speed due to This was the effect of her 'gift'. While she ran things slowed down and at a sprint, they stopped completely. Though only so long as she kept her gift active, which was no easy task. Imagine running whilst holding your breath.
Thanks to this 'gift' the life of a street rat wasn’t bad for Skye, she could steal from merchants' stalls and she would nearly never get caught. If she ever did get caught, (those rare times a merchants gift matched hers) then Jallick would intervene with his own 'gift'. Though this gift was hard to control and in high-stress situations was always a risky move. That said, Jalick had always been level headed so Skye never worried. Though she tended not to worry in general. They had been partners for about six months now, and it was the best six months of her life. Why would she worry?
Skye reached the church in the time it took a dropped apple to reach the ground. Panting heavily she stopped to catch her breath. Skye’s 'gift' was not speed, though it may look like that to others -including Jalick. This meant that when she ran distances such as the one she just ran she had to rest a few moments. Skye took the rest as an opportunity to check out the church. While she would never reveal this to Jalick, this was the first time her gift had lasted long enough for her to reach the church and it was only now that she recognised the true majesty of the thing. Tall and made from white marble, standing grand and seeming to radiate it's its own light. 'The church of Loorina' thought Skye as she stared in wonder, but why is it active?' this curiosity would turn out to be Skye’s first big mistake. The second big mistake was looking through the church window.
There were three men, each giving off an aura that made Skye tremble. Each man was distinct in appearance. The first man Skye saw was slender with a black waistcoat and frilly white top, if not for the state of his attire, which was covered in dirt and dried mud, Skye would have assumed him to be royalty. His face was baby-like. However, the weirdest thing about this man was what he wore on his legs. Rather than grubby royal trousers, the man sported full knight leggings.
The second man was broader than the first, more fat than muscle. Nonetheless, he managed to hold a great sword with little to no effort in one hand, "could this be his gift?" Thought Skye. Even the royal elite knights would struggle to carry a great sword in two hands, let alone hold it In one. The man wore basic attire with steel plating haphazardly placed on his body. It was safe to say he wasn’t exactly the brains of the group.
The 3rd man, the final man who Skye saw, was completely different... Neither slender more broad but lean and muscular, with perfectly kept hair and asymmetrical face. The man wore simple clothes which hung loose revealing his chiselled body. Had Skye not been terrified, she would have been swooning for this man. However, Skye was trembling. The huge cathedral, draped in banners representing the past order of loorina, huge stained glass windows with the sun's rays bleeding through showing its the -a history Skye knew all too well-.. these alone were enough to terrify Skye. The pool of blood she noticed at the altar took her over the edge. It took all her will not to scream.
Skye saw nobody 'had they moved the body? But there's no trail'... None of the men looked injured. Nor did they look concerned by the oozing red liquid soaking their shoes and knights leggings. As they walked back and down the aisle, Skye began to think "Why won't they leave? They know what they've done, they can't escape the consequences but why not at least leave. God will have no mercy now."
Then it occurred to her 'they must be waiting, waiting for someone they fear more than God.'
Skye pulled herself together and set off for a run. This was no place for a child to be. If she ran, then time would stop, she could escape and then she would be safe. Skye shot off like a loose arrow. However, she stopped when she discovered things hadn't slowed, she panicked and began to scream, her gift had left her 'not left, it's still there, just subdued. But how?'. Skye found her answer moments later. Hands grasped around the back of her neck. They were female hands. The woman preventing her escape spoke with a beautiful voice that was soaked in venom "you're too loud, be quiet." Skye immediately stopped struggling and fell silent, though in her mind she was still screaming.
Skye found herself standing in the pool of blood surrounded by the three men who she had seen through the window. Spoken word seemed impossible, "Could this be that womans 'gift?' Complete control.." Skye stood her ground and attempted to look fierce, or as fierce as a 13-year-old street rat girl could look. She stood tall, shoulders back and held a stern face.. she didn't do half a bad job, a rival street rat would certainly think twice before taking her on if only she could stop her chin quivering...
The 3 men seemed to pay her no attention. "She doesn't seem powerful," the skinny man said, his voice was deeper than Skye would have imagined, as though the voice didn't belong to the mouth it came from. The large man, despite not speaking, looked at Skye intently, as though sizing her up. It was at this point that Skye realised that the skinny man wasn't looking at her at all.
The handsome one chimed in now, "Be quiet you two. She said to wait".
A voice laced with venom came slithering from behind Skye, "confused?"
Skye said nothing
"Go on dear. You may speak."
Skye gasped, feeling as though she was able to speak just now for the first time.
"He said two," said Skye through laboured breath struggling with the returned voice as though it was not truly her own, "but I know what I heard, only one spoke"
"Very good," said the woman, looking rather impressed.
"You see Galirine, we must watch what we say. The consequences when we speak and reveal too much can be.." she deliberated on the word for a few seconds " ..ugly".
No one saw the slashing blade, the only evidence of its existence was the gash across Galirines face. He wasn't handsome anymore, the nature of the gash caused Galirines eye to fall out in a puddle of blood and gore. Now Galirines face would never be symmetrical again.
Skye recoiled and looked away, unwilling to see whatever happened next. "I have seen enough" she reasoned, "I've earned the right to look away, perhaps my sanity will be spared if I don't see what comes next". The woman appeared before Skye, "Now don't be rude" she said in a cheery voice "you are our honoured guest. Now, I insist you watch."
The woman laughed, a sweet sick laugh that made Skye weep like she never had before as she was forced to watch the skinny man jump with enough force to shake the building. The skinny man was on Galirine now and Skye watched as he forced his fingers into the gash, the fingers demonstrated surprising strength breaking past bone and flesh as they began to rip the face apart. Galirines never screamed, or at least, Skye never heard him. Not over her own howls of terror and the sickly manic laughter of the woman.
Minutes had passed by the time Skye had finished. She was on the floor, covered in her own bile as she continued to stare at the face of the once handsome Galirines, a face she could simply not turn away from. "Please stop" she whimpered, all sense of bravado had long gone now. "Look where you want child, you've seen enough." Skye looker looked away immediately, grateful that it was over.
"Thank y-" Skye was struck by the back of the woman's hand, "you've seen but you still don't see! Pay attention you stupid girl, and look!"
Skye looked, though not because she was ordered, but because now she was curious, furiously so. What had she missed... Skye stood up slowly and looked around. She could see the cathedral clearly now, giant walls and thick marble pillars draped in green wall hangings, a green carpet leading from the altar to the large wooden door.
It was rare that anyone ever saw a church in such detail, holy places such as these were not privy to the lesser classes, never mind those that would commit murder, -just witness to a cathedral murder would mean the loss of your 'gift'-
Skye stood upright and gasped her mind had finally caught up with what she was seeing 'green carpet? No, no no no, it should be red, I had seen the blood, I had stepped in it.. so why wasn't the carpet red?'
The Skinny man chuckled as he watched the realisation slowly coming on Skyes face
"Didn't you think it odd that you found no corpse?" said the skinny baby faced man, hands still dripping I'm bloody gore.
Skye was too stunned to respond. The woman spoke next "I'm sorry dear. But no murder has taken place here tonight. Well not till now at least.."
"But why?" Skye was unable to stand now, her knees buckled under the weight of these the revelations.
"Well, to stop you using your gift obviously. Your power would have made things difficult for us"
Skye laughed, she may well have lost her gift but she was still fast, faster than a skinny man in leggings and a fat man carrying a great sword, Skye laughed "well you can't use your gifts either-"
"Shut your mouth, stupid girl"
Skye was immediately silent. It was over, she had forgotten one important factor, something she had assumed before had now been confirmed.
"Speak" demanded the woman, "say the words"
"Cursed... you're all cursed."
"Indeed! but not for much longer, everything has gone according to his plan!"
'His plan?' Thought Skye
"Long plan..." said the skinny baby faced man "6 months give or take."
The woman smiled, seeing the effect of their words on Skye "well, that's not his fault. He's been ever so patient and she wanted to test herself. Didn't you? 'Skye the swift'".
At that point, there was a bang the church doors slammed open and in came Jalick, with a smile on his face. He wasn't bored anymore, he never would be again. He had found the perfect playmate.
Jalick ignored Skye as he entered the building. He still seemed like regular Jalick, 15 years old, black hair and a slim frame, although, his eyes… his eyes had a gleen to them that made Skye shudder.
Jalick was next to her now, so close they could touch. He continued to ignore her and instead embraced the woman in a long passionate kiss. The woman staggered on her feet, seeming that she was not expecting this. Although she didn't seem to mind either.
"You killed Galirine?" Asked Jalivk, who seemed to be asking due to curiosity rather than genuine concern.
"He had outlived his usefulness, my love."
"Shame, his curse was a useful one. He will be hard to replace."
'He had a curse!' Skye thought as she realised where the blood had gone... it had never been there in the first place.. 'illusion curse... the asshole"
Jalick took no notice of Skye putting the pieces together, instead turned to the woman.
"Never mind that now I suppose. Is she ready?"
"Yes, my love. She has been corrupted almost completely, though you may need to push a little harder this time, I doubt she'll be as submissive as the last"
Jalick smiled, revealing all his teeth in a snarl."Good, now, allow her to speak."
Skye sighed but said nothing, instead stared in horror as Jalick smiled at her.
"Six months I waited for you bitch! Six months for you to reach the church! Well, I know the truth now, don't I? The gift of time, disguised as speed! Oh, you were always clever Skye, in your own way. No matter, I know your gift now and I've taken it away, but Don’t worry, you'll have a new gift very shortly. It's a very important gift.." jalick kissed Skye on the lips, it was cold, cold enough to make Skye shiver, this was evil in its purest form.
"Why?" She asked
"I'm bored Skye, I've been alive so long. You humans are so fragile and die so quickly. I wanted a friend to play with, and Skye, I've decided that friend will be you"
"So you took my gift!!!? You bastard, what fun can I have now, what sort of friend does that?"
Jalick licked his lips
"I told you, you'll have a new gift soon"
Jalick was on top of her now, pulling her torn trousers down, pressing her groin against her so hard that she felt him growing " this is the final stage, Skye, after this, we'll be friends forever!"
"Stop!' She screamed as she felt his engorged penis begin to penetrate her -it wouldn't fit, she knew it wouldn't fit-
"You're further gone than you think Skye!" Jalick whispered a low cold whisper "she never told you not to struggle did she?" Skye sobbed as she realised the weight of what he said.
It took hours before Jalick was done. The skinny man and the woman both laughing as Jalick forced his enlarged almost none human penis inside Skye. Skye wasn't crying anymore, she was lying on the ground, spasming while Jalicks seed flowed from her.
"It's time to leave. Loorina, Giralgire come with me. Skye, I'll see you soon"
Skye couldn't even stand but she said her next words with enough power to stop Jalick in his tracks "I'll kill you. I swear I'll kill you."
Jalick laughed "oh Skye, you truly don't understand, do you? Okay then, I'll show you.."
The big fat man swung his greatsword through Jalicks neck, severing the neck from the body. Jalicks body hit the ground like a ton of bricks. Then he rose, head reforming, then reformed... not even a scar was present "You'll never kill me Skye, and I'll never kill you. You're my friend."
"I'll kill you, I'll kill you, I'll kill you," Skye repeated this over and over, willing it to be true.
Jalick and his crew walked away.
"I'll kill you."
Skye passed out, the promise she made never left her.
She would kill Jalick. She promised this on sacred ground.