(Hey guys. I'm not sure about this one. Let me know if you like it, if you want to read more, all that jazz. I want COMMENTS. You readers have been slackin' on that particular point. :-> Anyway, here 'tis.)
Hammer was a violent man. Not by choice or by merit of a volatile nature, but by circumstance. The cruel, cruel world did not, at present, suffer the peaceful to live. And luckily for Hammer, he did not outwardly look nearly as tender-hearted as his kind and gentle temperament might indicate.
His eyes were nearly black, and pierced deep with intense focus, for he had a passionate scholar’s mind. His face was angular and broad, marked by harshly knitted brows, for he had an artists’ determined focus. His body was not unlike that of a lifelong blacksmiths’, with the attendant scars which bespoke that profession’s labors.
But those, at least, were simply the visible evidence of a life lived in a world of strife. A coincidental camouflaging of his truer nature as opposed to marks earned in the honorable pursuit of an honest profession. For though Hammer was in his deepest self a truly soft-hearted and generous spirit, neither was he incapable of adapting to the dark and deadly realities of daily life in this evil place.
It was necessity that kept him alive, working for the Long Knife assassination guild. Working with Razor, as her support and, when necessary, her bodyguard. Truly, she was quite capable on her own, one of the guilds’ best blades, but her appearance often invited trouble, and Hammer was never slow to return such attention in kind.
Hammer sat at his desk at the front of the guild headquarters with his chosen weapon in hand, oiling the punishing wedge of steel with precision, as he did all things. The head of the deadly sledge hammer shone, its’ unbroken, unmarred surface a testimony to the excellent quality of the metal. Its’ haft was solid, resilient ironwood, and it bore the unbroken polish of constant yet solicitous use. Hammer worked the oiled cloth along all the planes of the weapon’s metal head, thoroughly lost in his task.
A dull thud sounded from the other side of the door, then the knob clicked and creaked as someone fumbled with it. Finally it opened and Razor stumbled in, one arm tight about her middle and the other gripping the doorknob in a white-knuckled, red-smeared fist. Hammer leapt to his feet, alarmed, and stared dumbly at her for a moment as she pressed her weight against the wall, closing the door carefully. Then her knees gave out and she slid down the wall into an awkward heap, leaning bonelessly against the wall.
“Well.” She said breathlessly, her blue eyes glassy and distant, a disconcertingly weak smirk playing about her bone-white lips, “that was fun.”
Hammer crossed the room with a speed that was startling considering his thickly muscled bulk, dark eyes taking in her ghostly pale skin and the large carmine stain bleeding down her front. There was an impressive thunk as her trademark deadly knife slipped from her slender fingers to the floor.
“I–are you alright?” He asked in shock, inwardly wincing at the ridiculousness of the question. He was simultaneously amused and disturbed by her glib yet frighteningly faint response.
“Yeah, I’m great. I didn’t need all that blood anyway.”
“Jesus, Raze.” He breathed, half fearful dismay, half prayer, pulling the arm obstructing his view of the wound out of his way. Her limb offered zero resistance, and Hammer paled slightly at the sight of the deep, wide puncture in her gut.
Razor had always been small, with her slender frame barely cresting five feet, and long elfin limbs. Now, slumped like a discarded jacket against the wall, already leaving a slowly widening red puddle on the floor, she had never looked more delicate. Delicate, and fit to fade in the next few moments.
“Jesus.” He repeated with more entreaty, as she chose this unfortunate moment to cough, causing a sudden gush from the wound. Jaw clenched, he pressed one of his big hands firmly over the hole and scooped her up.
“Ow.” She remarked faintly.
“It’s your own damn fault.” Hammer said, breaking into a near-run towards the back of the room. His voice was calmingly smooth while his face contorted with worry. “I keep telling you; the pointy end goes into the other guy.”
“Bastard.” Razor choked out with reflexive, humorless camaraderie, shaking as she struggled–unsuccessfully–to not cough again. Hammer pushed through the cloth doorway and dashed down the concealed hall.
“Snakes’ Head caught me...on the...on the tail-end of the job.” Razor explained in a wheeze between choking fits.
“Shut it.” Commanded Hammer in a terse voice, hurrying past the shocked faces of their fellow guild members. The buildings’ small clinic was within sight, and one of the others ducked through the door before them. Seconds later, Hammer was there, and the doctor was already up and hurrying towards them.
“Here.” Said the older man, Donnal, directing Hammer to lay Razor down on a flat table, observing the small woman’s deathly white skin and red-stained clothing with a critical eye. Hammer set her down gently as the doctor moved her blood-soaked shirt away from the garish injury with practiced hands.
“Isn’t the general point of wet work for the assassin to cause horrific bodily harm to the target, and to avoid it for herself?” Donnal mused, speaking quietly, as if to himself, as he surveyed the damage.
Hammer gritted his teeth. Razor alone having the blasé attitude about her life-threatening injury was bad enough. Hearing it from the doctor as well had him alternately clenching and unclenching his fists, until he noticed the drying blood on his hands was making squelchy, sticky noises. Hammer backed off to give Donnal room to concentrate, but at a sharp cry from Razor he bounded back to her side.
“Get that for me, would you?” Donnal requested mildly, jerking his head toward a sealed glass container with a damp rag inside. He probed the injury with clinical distance, paying no mind to her squirming, semi-cognizant distress. Donnal never paused in his task, completely confident that Hammer would obey him.
And he did. Hammer tolerated Donnal’s coldness because he knew the man, knew that he wasn’t really a heartless jerk, just an incredibly sensitive man who only treated his wounded patients like malfunctioning machines because it disturbed him deeply to see people hurt. Understanding the odd doctor didn’t make Hammer like him any more. But it did help him to resist punching the man in situations such as this.
Hammer unscrewed the cap on the container, keeping his head averted and holding his breath. He laid the moist rag over Razor’s nose and mouth and bid her by rote to breathe deeply. Breathing deeply was a task that was quite beyond her at the moment, but she did manage to oblige him by inhaling deliberately–if shallowly.
Razor’s glassy eyes found his and sharpened just before the soporific took effect.
“I...won’t...die.” She told him in a hazy voice, holding his gaze, fighting the drug all the way down to oblivion. He stared down at her until her spirit was fully cloaked by unconsciousness. Then, he realized, she looked even more like a corpse; her eyes only half-shut, all her muscles suddenly slack. Numbly, Hammer slid her eyes the rest of the way shut and removed the rag from her face, returning it to its container. Donnal was already hard at work, calling over an assistant and determining the best course of action to mend the dying assassin.
Hammer shifted gears to autopilot, walking over to the clinic’s sink and rinsed the blood and the slight traces of the crude anesthetic from his hands. Mechanically he cleansed them, dried them, and turned back to the busy medics, folding his arms. The familiar weight of his folded limbs against his muscular chest was melded with the uncomfortable pulling of cloth stuck to skin. Glancing down at himself, he saw the red-stained fabric of his shirt molding itself wetly to his flesh.
Nonplussed, Hammer quickly mastered his rising nervous energy and contented himself by glaring down at the offending garment, peeling it away from his person, and muttering “damn it, Raze.”
(Thanks for reading! Let me know if you want me to write part 2! ...and COMMENT.)