Day 42: Blood Magic

Antony Magnus threw open the door to the camp law office, making the kid jump in his seat. The kid was writing his letters, and his shock caused him to knock the ink bottle over the paper. Magnus stepped into the doorway, a dark silhouette against the low sun beyond. The kid only knew it was his boss because of the hat and the shape of the gun in his hand.

“Grab your gunbelt,” Magnus said.

“Why?” said the kid, trying to contain the ink spillage.

“There’s no time to explain.”

Magnus stepped into the office, finally illuminated by the glow of the oil lamps on the wall. His frock coat was dusty, and he had a spatter of blood on his cheek.

“Are you bleeding?” the kid asked, pointing to Mag’s face.

Magnus approached the smoky office window, examining his reflection.

“I’ll explain later,” he said. Then he approached the office desk and sat on it, nearly getting ink on his trousers.

“Should I get my gun now?” the kid asked, dabbing at the ink with a rag.

“Clean up, first.”

“What’s going on?”

“It’s a long story.”

The kid frowned. It wasn’t as though they were in the middle of a firefight. Why couldn’t the boss explain anything?

After wiping away the ink, the kid strapped his gunbelt around him. He checked the cartridge of his revolver. Fully loaded.

“Okay,” he said. “Now can you tell me why I need this?”

“Grab some more ammo. Your belt is only half full.”

The kid found some more bullets in the desk drawer and thumbed them one by one into the belt. Magnus waited patiently, gun still in hand.

“Good,” he said when the kid filled the last slot. “Let’s mosey.”

“Where are we going?”

“No time. Come on. You got the key?”

“I thought you did?”

“Oh yeah. Here we are.”

Magnus produced the office key from his coat. He and the kid exited the office, and Magnus locked the door behind them. Checked to make sure it was properly locked. Then turned around.

“It’s just across camp,” he said.

What is?”

“No time to lose.”

And he started walking down the boardwalk at a leisurely pace.

Don’t know why I chose this job, the kid thought.

At last they made it to their destination. Despite several inquiries from the kid, Magnus never explained where they were going or what they would do when they got there.

In the middle of the thoroughfare stood a gaunt man in a double-breasted jacket. He looked like a spellslinger. Like Mag and the kid. His eyes had that same dull shine of arcane energy.

“Brought a second?” the man said, whistling with the “s” sound. “Lucky me. More spellslinger blood to collect.”

Magnus fired a round. He was a fast shot, and accurate. The deadliest shot in Avernus.

But the man dodged it. Just took an impossibly fast step to the side, and the bullet missed. The kid could see the distant tree Magnus’s spellshot hit turn to stone.

Mag fired again, and again the man moved out of the way–ducking this time. He hadn’t even pulled his weapon.

Then the kid joined, he and Magnus fanning their hammers and blasting shot after shot after the gaunt man. He looked like he was dancing–twisting, stepping, turning, ducking–and not one of the twelve bullets managed to find its mark. The landscape behind the man was peppered with acid-burnt holes and petrified stone.

When they were empty, the man grinned, a silver tooth flashing in the evening light. He unsheathed a skinning knife from his belt, and dragged it across his palm. Then he unholstered his gun with the wounded hand.

The runes on the barrel of the man’s revolver began to burn red.

“Next time,” he said, while the two lawmen were reloading, “I won’t need to use my own blood.”



Today’s three random prompt categories were, “There’s no time to explain (except there is),” “Gun kata,” and “Blood donation.”

Gun kata is basically “gun fu.” You can see its like in the movie Equilibrium. Or in pretty much any movie that makes gun fights look like a dance. I decided to use my cowboy wizards here because I wanted to and it’s my website and you’re not the boss of me.

Until tomorrow!

– H.


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