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The Skilled

Notes and Ideas: Brainstorming




Part I

"I want my gold, Halmer!" Shouted the tall man as his eyes of blue-gray and irises shaped like an eight-pointed star penetrated and probed the body and face of the smaller fat man, Halmer. "Don't make me repeat myself, Halmer, you know I hate to do that!" The white-haired man shouted again, this time with an angered and defiant slam of his hand, jostling and overturning a crystal goblet, against the dark-wood desk at which Halmer sat.

Halmer Mitchell, the secretary of Martin Stevens, was a short fat man with a very bulbous nose, which sat on an oily face and gray balding head. He gave the tall man across from his desk a very smartass smile that revealed straight, white teeth and an air about him that one might assume him to be an untouchable, high-up criminal. His boss was ten times as bad looking and when it came to business: personality.

"I'm sorry my friend, I have always dealt honestly with the Skilled and paid my debts when the time came but this time I just can't oblige you at this time and give you your pay, which I must say IS well deserved."

"Dammit Halmer! Don't you dare hold out on me! We had a bargain; I expect my end of it to come through! Maybe your boss has my gold, how about I go talk to him Halmer," Gabriel asked, with an accusatory look and finger pointed at Martin's door.

"Sir, I'm sorry but you can't go in there! Mr. Stevens is in a meeting right now and can't be disturbed!" He said with an obstinate and stupid reach to stop Gabriel as he flourished his long black leather jacket out of the way to brandish his double-edged greatsword and semi-automatic pistol. Both were etched with symbols of vines with sharp thorns that traveled along the barrel of the pistol and blade of the sword to end at the opening of the barrel and tip of the sword with a blooming rose. The pistol was a two-tone shade with panels of wood inserted into the metal frame of the stock and extended clips for a few extra rounds. A tight, soft, black leather wrapped its way around the hilt of the sword providing a comfortable grip that could be used for either one or two handed use. The cross guard of silvery steel swept its way toward the tip of the blade with a slightly upturned curve and the blade with its vine etching provided a two-sided edge that didn't seem to need sharpening. The round, hard ball of glass the rested on the bottom of the hilt came in handy as Gabriel drew the sword and used it to smash down the door of Martin Stevens.

Gabriel stepped through the now wrecked doorframe and glared at Martin with his blue-gray gaze. A man of raven hair that was pulled back in a small tail at the nape of his neck looked up. Straight, white teeth, just as his secretary's, and dark complexion that was half covered by a small beard and mustache looked back with wide brown eyes. "Why Mr. Malek! What a pleasant surprise to see you," Martin said feigning shock over the broken door and who the cause of it was.

"I want my gold, Stevens! And I will have it with or without your good graces. This is all very unlike you Stevens. I've never known you to hold out on the bargains we've made, so what is your problem now?

"We have no gold, what little we have left is no more than silver and coppers."

Gabriel slid his sword back into its sheath and listened as Martin went on with his story.

"Lately, Sir, there has been men in here collecting from us. Big men. Threatening men with guns and knives. They told us that they were collecting what was due and seemed to be in a good mood when we cooperated. We had no choice! Either we pay or faced the consequences!"

"You always have a choice, Stevens. Whether or not it is good or bad, it is for you to decide. Now, I know you didn't give them everything. I know you're not that dumb and I certainly know I'm not?! I want what you owe me and I want it now! You even have a choice in this matter. Either you give me my gold or I kill you, then take your gold!"

Martin stared back in shock objecting wildly. "Gabriel! I don't have your gold that I owe! You are just going to have to wait until…"

Gabriel gave him no time to finish as he drew his sword before Martin's wide eyes and reached over with his free hand to clutch the man's throat. With one brief move, the man that Martin regarded as one of the Skilled, twisted and threw him over his desk and against the wall across from it with a loud crack to the wood. He turned to look at Martin once, before swinging his sword in a horizontal arc to slice apart a canvas picture of some early generation seascape portrait that fell to tatters on the black carpet and revealed a cast iron safe where the portrait just hung.

"Open it."

"No I can't! Besides, there's nothing in there anyway!" Bellowed Stevens in an uproar.

"Fine, I'll do it myself." Gabriel lifted his once again free hand towards the small safe and made a few slight gestures with it and the lid of the safe turned to liquid and fell away from the wall as if it had been water that was poured down the wall. The lid hit the floor and shattered into large chunks of again solid metal. Gabriel's eyes narrowed into slits when he saw what was inside. Unstamped bars and coins of gold that sparkled like fire burnt inside them, rested to the left side and records on brittle yellow parchment were propped against the wall of the safe to the right.

Gabriel spun, his shoulder length white hair flying to one side, as he looked back at Martin, his face grave. "Damn you Stevens! I knew you were holding out on me! What did you think you were doing? You have more than enough here to cover for what you owe me." Gabriel's anger flared to new heights at the stupidity of Martin Stevens. He walked over to the ruined safe and pulled out the parchments and quickly glanced over them, his eyes growing bigger for every other word he read. "Where did you get these?

Martin scooted into the corner, his body trembling in fear. "I can't tell you. If I did, they'd...they'd kill me."

"Who?! Who would kill you?"

"Us!" Three, very large and burly men armed with pistols, stepped through the ruined doorway and threw menacing looks at Gabriel with their pistols aimed at Gabriel's head. "Those are signed documents you hold there, friend. The compact it states in there may not be broken by anyone." One said indicating the documents with a flick of his hand. "I suggest you put them back before something happens that would be very unpleasant."

Gabriel's eyes flickered with annoyance and replied with a booming voice. "You dare threaten me! I will take what is owed to me and be gone."

"I'm afraid we cannot let you do that. We have been ordered to arrest you and place you under our care due to your deteriorating behavior and health. We cannot have men like you running lose over the land doing whatever pleases you. We have the place surrounded, come with us.

"Arrest? By who's authority? There is no government over the land, men are free to carry on how they wish and you cannot go around placing people under arrest as you feel fit!"

The three men cocked their pistols as a last warning for Gabriel to cease his shouting. "Just come with us. No harm will come to you, we are just following orders."

Gabriel took a step feigning reluctant acquiescence then swiftly pulled his sword out with his right hand and deftly lofted it into the air to grab with his left hand and plunge the blade into the gut of one of the unsuspecting men. Two of the pistols discharged as Gabriel had anticipated and the slugs harmlessly ricocheted off an invisible barrier before him. A sly grin grew on Gabriel's face as he slid the sword from the gut of the first victim and angled it toward the other two men.

"A higher class." One of the men muttered with a shocked look on his face before they both fired the rest of their bullets from their pistols. The bullets ricocheted off the invisible shield again. Both men, overcome by fear, dropped their weapons and took off at a run. Gabriel pulled his own pistol from its holster and fired twice, dropping the men in front of Halmer's desk, each with a hole in their head. Wiping the blood from the blade, he sheathed the sword and firearm.