First draft disclaimer: This narrative is a first draft, and is therefor subject to grammar errors, repetitiveness, lack of clarity, and other issues. Later drafts will smooth such things over, but for now they remain. Please be tolerant.
Riley was a good climber, and ended up reaching the top first, but Elliott had to help Chloe climb the hall. They found a large rusted cut running up the back, and Elliott showed her how useful such a thing could be for scaling a wall.
“You can just stick your hands in and pull your way up…” he mumbled.
Chloe looked out into the dusk. The city spread before her, silver rooftops gleaming. The world looked different from up here, instead of streets interrupted by buildings, there was a sea of grey interrupted by the occasional three or four floor building. Running across many of the roofs and over certain streets were sets of rails, the use of which Chloe was unsure.
Chloe pointed into the distance, near where she calculated the hole to be.
“What’s that building? There are a few of these tall ones, that one looks six or seven storeys.”
“That is the House of Angels,” Riley said.
Chloe scowled at this, and Elliott took notice.
“Oh, not a spiritual person?”
“No. Not at all. I would almost say I lean towards the other direction.”
Riley sat on the roof of the building, legs over the edge. He watched as Reagant and his allies filed out.
“Stay low, our police man is out and about. But tell me, royal, what do you know of the spirituality you so scorn?”
Despite being in clear view of the officer, Riley remained unnoticed. People tend not to look up very often, and Riley and his group were barely audible over the ambient noise of the city.
Chloe shook her head, “when it comes angels, the afterlife, and,” she made air quotes, “the only one worthy of worship, I just get bored. Plus, they don’t teach that stuff at the university, so if I was interested I’d have to find a temple or church.”
Elliott looked amazed.
Riley said, “well then your opinion on the subject is worthless.”
“What?” Chloe was used to being treated as an authority on all matters.
“Well, you are ignorant, and yet you came to a conclusion already. You know nothing, but you think that you know enough to end your studies and form an opinion?”
“Yo, dude, chill.” Elliot interjected.
“No, hang on, he’s right. I really shouldn’t jump to any conclusions. Maybe I really should take a second look. Is the House of Angels a temple?”
Elliott laughed, “no way!”
Riley said, “it is exactly as it is called. A house where angels reside.”
Chloe’s eyes widened, “real angels? Not- not Condors like my mother and I?”
Riley raised an eyebrow, “you do not have wings, as the Condor do.”
“I’m not going to prove it to you right now. It takes a lot of energy to generate new wings, but you can… make them fall off.”
“Like a lizards tail?” Elliott asked.
Chloe, confused, said, “maybe?”
They hopped from roof to roof. It seemed that Elliott knew his way around, finding buildings that stood close together. Chloe felt almost as if they were following an invisible path that perhaps the architects of the city had created on purpose.
“Let us find a rail car.” Riley said.
“Dude, there’s no way in Gehenn I’m affording that.”
Riley smiled, “on me.”
They hopped to a building that had a set of rails running over it. Chloe had a feeling that they were related to the rail car, and so she didn’t bother asking.
Elliott took a metal canister from his shoulder bag and drummed a tune on one of the bars.
“I think that’s the right one.”
Riley nodded. They waited.
“So, where are we going anyway?” Elliott asked. Chloe nodded.
Riley said, “the House of Angels, of course. I’m leaving you in the hands of Lillith Surkov. She is to train you in the ways of sabre fencing!”
Clearly, Riley was excited by this.
He continued, “I noticed that you have a sword. Have you been trained in any of the arts?”
Chloe looked at her hip. She had been surprised that police hadn’t taken it, but now she was glad to have it. She would not have to go back to them for anything.
“Just hand to hand, kicking mostly.”
“Kicking?” Elliott asked.
Chloe leaned back and raised a leg, tapping him on the forehead with her toe. Her leg was strong, and very large. It was over half of her height, and was toned from practice.
“It’s because of the reach. We’re tall, my family, and so I could probably dispatch most people before they can get in striking range.”
“Even if they had a weapon, it seems. What is that, three cubits?” Riley mused.
“Two and a half.” Chloe said.
“Umm…” Elliott was cross-eyed, staring.
Chloe lowered her foot. “My mom used to say that she preferred kicks because her giant tits didn’t get in the way as much. Her words, not mine.”
Riley chuckled then said, “and do they get in the way for hand strikes?”
“Not really. Like I said, it was a joke. It’s rare for a species to have something that inhibits its daily life like that.”
In a moment, a rail-car slid to a halt along the tracks. It was not unlike a small train, with two cars, each able to hold two rows of two people.
There was a woman driving it, holding a lever. She pushed shoulder-length red hair from her face and said, “so, where to? Oh, hey Riley! Is this the royal you called?”
The woman looked to be in her thirties, but her face implied that she was still living the carefree life of a woman in her early twenties.
Riley gave her a wry smile, “You know Avvarice, I can’t tell for sure, but I think so. She has the crown.”
“Well, hop in!” Avvarice laughed.
Riley and Chloe took the back car, and Elliott sat in the middle one.
“Let’s go!” She called.
The wheels began to spin, clamped tightly on the rails.
“We’re going to Lillith’s. See if we can’t wet this royal’s blade.”
Again, Avvarice laughed, “perfect! We’ll need everyone we can get if the war breaks out.”
“Oh,” Riley shouted over the loud wheels, “I think it’s only a matter of time.”
Yes, Avvarice is back! I wrote a pair of short stories on her a while back. They aren’t that good, but if you’re interested in seeing her rise from unemployed sleaze to business owner, feel free to check it out!
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