|3 Heroes||DEF +25|
|3 Elite+ Heroes||HP +1600|
|3 Legendary+ Heroes||ATK +250|
Pallid moonlight weakly illuminated the city. The air was filled with the pitter patter of the rain and the muffled footsteps of vagrants shuffling nervously in alleyways. Within a narrow tucked away lane were two small figures that looked to be no more than 10 years old. Their faces were pale from the icy rain and wind, their clothes disheveled and scattered with holes. They huddled together for any warmth they could find as they passed the night alone. Silvina and Isabella had come to the city after being forced from their homes, feared and misunderstood by their fellow villagers. This was their new home, the lawless backstreets, rife with traffickers and bandits.
It had already been two days since their last meal but Silvina, being the older of the two knew she had to do something for her younger sister although she herself was not in great condition. She struggled to pull herself up, steadying her body on the wall against the momentary bout of dizziness. If she didn’t find food now they wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer. She instructed Isabella to wait for her but as she did so her words were cut off by a hoarse, raspy voice that uttered… “Boss, over ‘ere, these two will fetch us a good price”. Isabella’s eyes tracked the source of the sound. Locating the man, she saw he was accompanied by two others, they were all middle aged and possessed an unkind glint in their eyes as they slowly walked towards the two girls, with both rope and bags in hand.
“We’re in luck today, lads. We won’t have to travel too far tonight. The old crones will probably take these two young ‘uns off our hands for a pretty penny” the man said, punctuating the remark with a sharp laugh. Isabella realized what was happening, she slipped a slim dagger from her sleeve and clenched it with grubby hands. She held it at arms length as the men approached. She couldn’t tell if the trembling in her hand was due to fear or the cold. Ever since the incident that caused she and her sister to be driven from their home, evil had followed her little sister, Isabella, and she always kept the dagger close, hoping she’d never need it.
When the men noticed what Silvina was holding in her hands they were taken aback briefly before succumbing to a round of wheezing laughter. What could she possibly do to them? Their laughter was suddenly cut off by the sound of a horse neighing. An immaculate carriage cut through the drifting drizzle and fog smothering the streets. The cart came to a halt at the alley’s entrance. Through the gloom, the silhouette of the aristocrat of the aristocrat passenger could be seen pressing to the window, apparently absorbed by the scene playing out in the alley. He took no interest in the rights and wrongs of the situation. There was little difference between the brigands with the ropes and the children with the knife. They were the underclass. Too rough and uncultured to be considered fully human, they nonetheless provided interesting diversions from time to time. The drama in their existences pantomimed the real issues sometimes faced by their betters.
“Someone’s coming” a thin ruffian stuttered to a stocky balding man, who appeared to be the leader. The stocky man glared at the cart and gave and spoke in an arrogant tone. “What’re you afraid of? This is our turf! Ain’t nobody who’d dare meddle with us. Now stop wasting time and grab the girls!” Silvina bit her bottom lip and grimaced, staring the man down with a look of defiance in her eyes. Her grip on the stiletto tightened. Why wasn’t the man in the carriage doing anything? The thin man meekly nodded in agreement and picked up the bag and opened it up wide as he walked towards Silvina. The stress and fear conspired with her hunger, blurring her vision. The dagger dipped toward the ground as she struggled to maintain consciousness.
The thin man saw this opportunity and swiftly moved in for the capture. With the last light of her awareness, she watched him. She saw the mouth of the heavy burlap sack, and in that darkness, she saw not only her own death but the death of her little sister. Something in her flared up and, coming out of lull, she lashed out with the knife, savagely opening the veins in the hand of her would-be abductor. He shouted in surprise, pain, and fear. Lashing out with his good hand, he struck her to the ground.
Isabella screamed as she saw her older sister hitting the cobblestone. She felt that frightening sensation returning, the one that had accompanied the light that destroyed the bandits in her home village. Even had she known how to suppress it, she was too frightened and incensed at the moment to do so. The green light began pouring from her eyes. The assailant froze, too terrified to scream. A plaintive rasp escaped his lips as his skin withered and turned brittle, his eyes sinking deep into his skull and darkening, his hair turning white and falling out.
The two remaining thugs were too afraid to move. They stood in shock, looking at the desiccated corpse that moments ago had been their accomplice. The man in the carriage, however, had a very different reaction. After witnessing the events that had just unfolded, his eyes were gleaming with boundless excitement. He leapt from his carriage and walked into the alley, drawing a slender sword from a sheath attached to his hip. The two men still stood there in a daze, barely registering his approach. Before they could react or say anything to the oncoming man — death. A clean kill. One swing, two heads. He nonchalantly flicked away the viscera and posted himself before the cowering street children.
Silvina pulled herself up from the wet ground, once again hiding her stiletto. She stood silently, but vigilantly staring at the man who stood before them. He put his right hand on his chest and gave a courteous bow. “Please allow me to introduce myself, I am Count Vedan, it’s my pleasure to be acquainted. I saw your special abilities, I too have a natural aptitude for the arcane. With your willingness, I can guide you both, teach you how to control your feelings and emotions, and in turn your powers, and you’ll never have to feel scared or alone again. I will wait in the coach for your answer.” He turned and walked back toward the carriage.
Silvina didn’t full understand the weight and implications of the Count’s words, but hearing that he could protect her lithe sister, her decision was already made. She grabbed Isabella’s hand as they both headed towards the waiting transport.