Ok, for those who have seen this update and get to this point, this is the chapter I got up to before I stopped writing it for a long period. Coming back to it I re-read it noticing many spelling and grammatical mistakes as I did so. I also noticed a few plot issues that I've corrected (though did not correct the spelling and grammatical issues beyond this chapter). It's been so long so if you're one of those rare people who were reading this before, I suggest you read it through again and please forgive my mistakes, I intend to have a more thorough proof read for my future chapters. At the moment I intend to continue, I know where its going and would like to take it there, but I have a bad history for stopping so we'll see.

I'd like to thank those who have reviewed, particularly those who have raised specific problems. For the most part I agree with you and hope to address those problems. Regarding the 'he lost his alchemy' thing, I do agree it was an important character development and I did sort of mention what happened it was very brief. It's a part of the story, and I needed to clarify what happened a bit, I think. And it just so happens that this was a good chapter to do that, so I did a little.

So I hope you enjoy it.


Dear Mr Edward Elric

I am delighted to announce that you are hereby cordially invited to dine with myself and Ms Rockbell this evening. A car will be sent to collect you from the corner of Main and West at 6pm sharp. I feel it should be noted that it would be in the utmost bad taste to involve any additional unwanted parties to any stage of the proceedings. If you do not do me the grace of this minor courtesy, I'm afraid that something rather... beastly... would happen to the young lady. Indeed it would be best if our little rendezvous was kept between us. As a courtesy to you, you needn't reply, I'll be watching.

Regards,

The King of Spades.

Ed ripped up the letter and alchemically incinerated it, he'd read it a hundred times by now anyway. Outwardly he was quite calm, the only trace of anger showing on his face was his tightly clenched jaw. His serenity however was only skin-deep. On the inside his anger seethed, a whirling maelstrom of rage and self-reproach. This was his fault. He was the one who sent those wounded 'civilians' to her. He was the one who ordered her to leave the safety of Central base. And now what had happened? She'd been kidnapped, taken, with only an unsubtle threatening letter left behind. How had he let this happen?

'Why did it have to be Winry,' Ed thought sombrely, 'she's done nothing wrong, she's not even involved. She's not even a threat to them? Winry.'

He would of course have to follow the letter's instructions. He knew it was against the rules, but quite frankly Mustang and the Fuhrer could take the rules and shove them. This was Winry that was in danger, and he'd do whatever it took to save her. She was all that mattered. The reason he was even in the army. It was as simple as that.

He was standing in the middle of what looked like a war zone. Charred remains were all that was left of the west wing of central hospital after Winry's abductors had blasted their way out. It had been a massacre, the few soldiers posted there weren't expecting the sudden attack. And even if they had been, they were completely outgunned. The few survivors reported that the 'civilians' had been hiding automail implants, and were packed to the teeth with heavy ordinance and some sort of hidden body armour. His men were going so far as to call them 'cyborgs,' whatever the hell that meant.

Unbidden the numbers ran through his head, '15 dead, 67 wounded including the head nurse Ms Allan, up to 20 million in damage to state property, and Winry taken.'

All of it, his fault. For some reason Armstrong didn't agree with him on that though. Even through the peak of his rage about Ms Allan's injuries he didn't once blame Ed. Even going so far as to magnanimously refuse to let Ed take the blame. Even the Fuhrer wouldn't accept Ed taking the responsibility for this, claiming that no one could have predicted something like this, and that he'd followed protocol perfectly. And he knew it was true; objectively, clinically. It was true. But for some reason, he just couldn't let it go. He just couldn't help but think of all the what ifs. What if he had of kept the injured on site, or sent them to central HQ. What if he'd never agreed to involve Winry with the military. What if he'd taken her away from Amestris the moment he heard about this mess.

He felt a slight tremor rise in his chest, a rattle that shuddered through him, leaving him cold and anxious, fearful. With it came it was a deep and pervasive sadness, draining him of energy and will. But he hadn't the time for such weakness. He took a deep trembling breath, bottling up his worries as he did so, then releasing them with his exhale. The worst effect of his anxiety was pushed away, but was in no way assuaged. It would take something much more extravagant and brutally violent on his part for that to happen.

Dispassionately he glanced at his watch. 4:30 pm, he'd have to hurry if he were to make his appointment. A click of his fingers summoned a nearby soldier, to whom he started to rattle off a list of orders, his voice an expressionless monotone.

"Inform the Fuhrer, my brother and Mustang that I'm going to be away for a while, possibly even a few days, I do not yet know. I'm going to engage in some private investigations of my own. I do not want to be followed. Furthermore, tell Mustang to find all information he can on Graham Steele; he broke out of prison a short while ago and one of my aides will have a file on him. Also tell him to pass whatever he finds on to Lieutenant Colonels Armstrong, particularly Alex, if my suspicions are correct he'll want to know everything about this."

"Yes sir."

"Then send a message to the Tringhams, they'll likely be at the homeless shelter that was attacked. Tell them to report to my Brother with everything they find out, they are to be made into state alchemists, but are to be put to investigating Amrita. Tell my aides, and my brother to keep an eye on the papers, they'll have a field day on this, I want you to take the first evidential sign of a connection with Amrita you find and use it to bring them down and crush them. This takes priority over all other matters. Do you have all that?"

"Yes sir!" saluted the soldier, who had produced a pen and paper from somewhere.

"Good, one last thing," murmured Ed grabbing the pen and paper and writing down a quick note. Folding the paper her he wrote a name and an address on the back and handed it back, "take this note to the name on the paper. It is for no one else's eyes. Now go get me a car, without a driver. Quickly, I'm in a rush."

If the soldier thought his actions strange, he said nothing, silently running off to fulfill his charge.

Ed was left alone once again, standing in the midst of the devastated hospital. He hoped that he'd made the right decision this time, especially in sending a note to HIM. He was unpredictable at the best of times, and by all reports the years since he'd last seen him hadn't helped.


Ed arrived at the meeting spot with 10 minutes to spare. With a forced casualness he parked his car and idly walked the remaining distance to the corner street. He was vaguely aware that he was being watched. He didn't care. It didn't matter. He'd been expecting as much.

Within moments of his arrival a limousine with tinted windows pulled up next to him, and opened one of the back doors. A hand appeared and beckoned for him to come in. Stepping inside the car, he was assaulted by the smell cheap leather and oil, even as the sudden loss of light in the dark car robbed him of most of his sight. He could only vaguely make out the outline of a man sitting on the opposite side of the car.

"Where are we go-" Ed started, only to be cut short by a puff of powder blown into his face. Within moments the smells and darkness of the car was replaced by the even more cloying grip of unconsciousness.


Eventually Ed began to dream. But not just any dream, it was the dream. The recurring dream. The dream he'd had on and off for two years. The last time he'd had it had been on the train on the way home. That seemed so long ago now. But that didn't stop him from remembering every word as it happened.

He was standing in the central HQ Courtyard, rising from the body of his brother, who had just been returned to him. Surrounded by the rubble of the aftermath from the fight with the father. Hoenheim stood before him, a weary look spread across his features.

"Do you regret the price you've paid?" his father asked with an intensity that Ed had rarely seen before.

"Never."

"My my, that's such a mature sentiment; you've really grown on your journey."

"What the hell's that supposed to mean bastard," growled Ed in response.

"It means that we believe you have suffered for your sin already."

This was familiar to him, he'd been here before, had this conversation before, but now the dream diverged. Reality shifted and the world was drained of colour. Shapes became indistinct and slowly faded until there was nothing but white. Before he knew what was happening he stood before the gate. But this time he there was no Truth there with him, smiling and mocking his choices. There was no one, but him, his father and the gate.

"What are we doing here?" he asked, "I've given this up."

Hoenheim stared past him, not focusing on him nor seemingly paying him much mind. Nonetheless he spoke, the vague look on his face leaving no doubt in Ed's mind that he wasn't answering Ed's question.

"Alchemy is about equivalency, and suffering is a currency like everything else."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Ed, anger rising in his chest.

"The world exists in balance. Selflessness balances selfishness. Life balances death."

"I don't understand; you're not making any sense!"

Suddenly Hoenhiem's gaze locked with Ed's. When he spoke his voice sang with the chorus of a thousand voices. "We have decided that you have suffered your share. Given for where you took."

"What do you mean I've suffered my share?" asked Ed, for the first time feeling fear curl in his gut.

His father's gaze softened, and a gentle smile spread across his face, "equivalency must be observed, and what need is there for truth in death? You have suffered enough. You have learned your lesson, selfishness repented with selflessness. Never forget that lesson."

"No, I won't," whispered Ed, not understanding but sensing it was important. At his words Hoenheim closed his eyes, and centuries of tension relaxed from his face. He let his head fall back his arms rose up, extended to each side as if he were giving himself up to some higher power. Before them the gate started to groan as if buckling from the inside. A crack appeared on its face, quickly splitting out and spreading to cover the entire gate into an intricate lattice of fractures. Hoenheim barred his teeth and a deep rumbling echoed from his chest. The rumbling built and then exploded from his lips as a scream of agony. At the sound of his voice the door gave way and burst in shower of thousands of fragments. A single tear slipped from Hoenheim's eye as he turned to look at his son. He looked old and haggard as if the energy and vigour of life had left him. Slowly, painfully, his form began to waver and fade, gradually blending into the vast white abyss.

"I'll give you a gift my son. Under the laws of the world, under the laws of Truth, all things must die. Not even I can flee from this undeniable rule of equivalency, I am not enough. As all things, I must die, and you have no need for truth in death," his father's voice whispered, washing past him like a breeze. He seemed calm, at first but then his voice began to quake with a mixture of rage and despair as he whispered his last words to his son, "Edward, take my gift and do what needs to be done."

As the whispered words reached him, Ed felt them wash over him piercing through him and reaching for his soul. A heat grew in his chest spreading out to his finger tips, a pleasant warming sensation that relaxed his muscles. But then it began to burn. Agony gripped him as every inch, inside and out, began to burn, searing through till he felt it in his soul. But still his focus was on his father.

"No, come back," he whimpered, collapsing to the ground as his flesh began to sizzle, "don't leave like this, don't do this to me, I didn't want you to leave like this. Father!"

Awareness flooded back to him as his dream world snapped like a rubber band. Severed by the shocking rush of ice-cold water being dashed in his face. His eyes shot open revealing a man with cold dead eyes. A man that Ed remembered from a photo on his desk.

"Oh would you look at that, you're awake," smirked Graham Steele as he lowered his bucket.

Ed assumed his most confident look and took his time in casting a casual glance around the room, absorbing every detail with the sweep of his eye. He was sitting, or rather was tied down, in a stone hall, a room that had been chiseled and shaped by hand from a natural cave. Great marble pillars reached to the vaulted roof and veins of silver stretched like tendrils through the walls.

He was seated at an ornate oak table, a lavish meal of various meats and delicacies spread out before him. Across from him sat the man he now knew to be the Ace of Spades, calmly eating his meal and not seeming to give Ed much mind. To his right was Steele, a man Ed now had no doubt was a member of Amrita. To his left sat an unconscious Winry; her head drooped onto her shoulder but otherwise she appeared unharmed.

At the sight of her, Ed's lost his calm confidence and began to struggle against the bonds binding him to the chair. Realising it was useless he locked eyes with the man to his right and growled through gritted teeth, "If you've hurt her I'll-"

"You'll what," sniggered Steele with a raised eyebrow as he sat back in his chair, "you can barely even move much less do anything vaguely threatening. And even if you could, I assure you that you would be no bother to us, as I believe my chimaeric brother here has already demonstrated quite clearly."

In response Ed bared his teeth and continued to pull against his bindings.

"Now now, that's enough of that brother," said the King of Spades around a piece of steak, "there's no need to be rude, especially not to such an important guest." Dabbing at his mouth with a nearby napkin he pushed his plate away and leaned back in his chair.

"Bah, I don't know what you see in this pathetic little pipsqueak. He's just a helpless sack of meat," replied the other man.

Spades sighed and wearily placed a hand over his face, "that's so typical of you, not even bothering to look at the materials we've been given. Sure he may not seem like much but I assure you he's so much more than meets the eye. And I definitely don't think he's just some sack of meat."

"What the hell are you talking about," interjected Ed.

"Oh well that gets straight to the point doesn't it. Surprising really, you haven't even asked us where you are, or why your young friend here can't even raise her head," smiled the King of Spades getting looking slightly bemused.

"Just answer the question."

"Well now that was a bit rude don't you think? I suggest that you keep that tongue of yours in check, there's no need for things to become uncivilized. In fact I'd have thought that you had every reason to stay civilized about this, hmmm? Now then, answering your question -"

"He doesn't need to understand, he just needs to obey," growled Graham with a malevolent glint in his eyes.

"Yes, but there are many ways to achieve that, another thing you're incapable of understanding," he replied in the exasperated tone of someone who was having an old argument. Upon seeing that his brother raised no objection he turned back to Ed, "as you know Mr Elric, I am a man of both art and science. And despite his manner, so is my brother here, though of a very different sort. As a scientist, my greatest desire is to unlock the full potential of mankind as a species, and as an artist it is my wish to turn our dreary forms into works of beauty and wonder. Such as what you saw in my lab."

"What I saw an endless parade of grotesque mockeries of life. Pitiable crimes against nature. Persons that you'd deliberately deprived of their humanity and intelligence. You hadn't created beauty, you'd created mindless beasts to do your service."

"Now you see, its narrow minded viewpoints like that cause me so much trouble. I bet you think that what I've done is somehow "immoral" or "unethical." Whatever that's supposed to mean. You see, boy, my beautiful art is often misunderstood, and is rarely appreciated for its magnificence. You see abominations, I see hastened evolution in progress. I am a visionary my boy, and I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve my art, for the betterment of mankind. My brother here, well he has a similar goal, but he goes about it in a very different way. A less biological way. But that's not important, what's important here is my research, and the repeated impediments that have been thrown in my way by your people and your childish sense of morality. And most importantly of all the role that you can play in my works."

"I don't do human transmutation."

"Well not anymore anyway," snorted Graham to Ed's side, smirking when he saw the surprised look on Ed's face, "oh yes, we've done our research quite thoroughly. And that includes our research on your young lady friend here. As well as your many other friends. You certainly did make a lot of friends on your quest for the stone didn't you? Let's hope you don't end up regretting that fact."

"Yes, well, scarcely veiled threats aside," continued the King of Spades, "the part you play in my work has nothing to do with your negligible alchemic skills. No, I hardly think I need rely on something so unrefined. You fit more into the test subject, or "curio" category. You see, I found it a tad strange when I was unable to transmute you like I had hundreds of others before you. And I couldn't help but wonder why."

"You failed because you stuffed it up."

"Ha! My my, the stones on you. Tied up and still talking back. Brother if you would be so kind."

His brother sprang from his chair as if he'd been waiting for such a request. Before Ed realised what was happening he was sent crashing to the ground, blood dripping from his nose. As quickly as it happened, the brother was pulling him and his chair back up, placing him once more at the end of the table. After plonking Ed back into his place he went and stood behind Winry, casually resting his hands on her shoulders.

"Are we a bit more settled now?" inquired Spades in the same polite tone, acting as if nothing had happened, "good. My that is a nasty nose bleed you have there don't you agree, something like that is sure to bleed for solid 10 maybe even 15 minutes don't you think? Hmmm...? You know I might take it as awfully rude of you not to reply."

"It wasn't that good of a hit, it's already stopping now."

"Why yes, I believe you're correct, well about the latter part at least. I assure you it was a perfectly respectable blow, and should have taken far longer to stop. Isn't it fascinating that it didn't? Do you know what else is fascinating? Hmmm?"

"No."

"Why this of course."

As he said this he reached down to the floor beside himself and picked up an object wrapped in newspaper. With disgust, Ed noticed that one end of the paper was stained with blood. The King of Spades began unwrapping the paper, indifferent to the blood dripping from it. Even unfolded Ed couldn't see the contents, at least that is until it was lifted up and tossed towards him. A bloody appendage bounced then slid across the table, coming to a rest just in front of him. It was a hand, severed at the wrist, still wet with blood and still retaining its colour. A trail of blood marked where it had slid across the table, a trailed arrow of blood pointing directly at Ed. He felt his stomach heave, his teeth clenched, and without thinking he darted a glance at Winry to see if it was hers.

"Who – Whose hand is that," Ed managed to choke out.

"What's this? You don't know? Well that's interesting too. I expected you to know, given that it is, or rather was, your hand."

"Bullshit," Ed growled, but he nonetheless somewhat stupidly looked down to check that his hand was in fact there. And it was, looking exactly as he expected and without any sign of injury, but also looking exactly like the hand on the table.

"Oh no, I assure you it's true. We took that from you, ooh an hour before we stopped the sedative. And look, your hand is already grown back good as new. Without any help from us I might add, just like how your nose stopped bleeding within seconds, despite the rather powerful blow given by my brother here."

"You're talking rubbish, you performed alchemy on me, human transmutation," growled Ed, his heart hammered in his chest and he could feel rage starting to build.

"Yes, that's a reasonable belief, and I probably could were I inclined, It's not in the typical direction of my work but I suppose I could have. But the fact remains that I didn't, you grew it back all by yourself. Now isn't that fascinating."

"Stop lying, and tell me what you've done to me!" Yelled Ed in full fury.

"Now now, no need to get angry, it can have bad consequences for those around you," replied Spades as calmly as ever, making sure to flick an obvious glance at Winry and secretly delighting in how quickly Ed stilled, "after all, all I've done is taken away one measly little hand, I mean it's not like you're going to miss it are you."

"No, this is stupid. You're wrong, I have automail. I've been in the hospital with broken ribs recently. If I could heal like that then I wouldn't have these prosthetics."

"Yes that is a bit of a puzzle isn't, and it was after looking at your, well I suppose we'll call it blood, that that problem occurred to me. I was a bit confused as well, but then it made me even more excited. Everything suddenly started to make sense. For you see alchemy, even unconscious alchemy, is driven by will. It is the heart of all transmutation, without a will, even a latent one, there can be no Alchemy. My theory, is that your disfigurement is to your own liking, that you subconsciously believe that you deserve to have lost that arm and leg. That who you are, in your mind, is not a person fully formed, but rather a limb-challenged sinner who must face his punishment for his actions. Or some pseudo-psychotic romanticised garbage like that, I don't know. I don't really care about how messed up you are psychologically. What I do care about is that your healing factor has been suppressed until recently, somehow, for some reason you've been changed sometime in the past, and for some reason recent events have triggered further developments, including your remarkable healing. What I really care about is your body and the fact that you mind seems to have some control over how it engages in that healing. And even more excitingly, if your 'blood' work is to be believed, what you might continue to develop into. It's a fascinating scientific inquiry. But I'm getting ahead of myself again. I have to start by answering the first and most important question. Given your healing, given your resistance to human transmutation, and given the quite frankly dubious humanity of your father one has to ask: just what the are you? Hmmm?"

Ed had turned increasingly pale as he spoke, as the implications of what he was saying began to sink in. Doubt was traded for suspicion, suspicion for foreboding and finally foreboding for belief. Ever since his fight with the Jack of Diamonds, and the unlocking of that door in his mind, he'd felt something change inside of him, something that wasn't quite right. An occasional connectedness with the world, and enhancement of his senses, and even before, all of that knowledge that he'd never had before. If he was right, a lot of questions that had been looming over him would certainly be answered. But where would it leave him? Was he some sort of undefined creature? A monster? A contortion of nature as horrific as the chimaera or homunculi? What am I? And suddenly his thoughts turned to his recurring dreams, and the role his father played in both them and his moments of alchemic power. What did that old bastard do to me?

"I take it your silence means you have no answer for me? Well not to worry, I didn't expect you to know, especially considering that I do not. But I suspect that you now realise why you're here. How incredible a test subject you are. How much I want to learn from you. I'm terribly sorry Ed, but I guarantee your next few weeks will be absolute hell. But you're just going to have to bear it I'm afraid. You can take comfort though in the fact that you're making a glorious sacrifice for the sake of my art, and therefore for the good of mankind."

"Stuff you."

The King of Spades' face broke out into a cheerful grin, accompanied by a rustling behind Ed. Graham had silently stole his way behind him, and before Ed knew what was happening he was plunged into darkness once more as a bag was pulled down over his head.


"God dammit that's not good enough," screamed Al smashing his fists down on Mustang's desk, "I don't give a crap about what he said should be done. I don't care about his wishes. We find him and we bring him back."

Roy Mustang was taken aback by the unexpected display of rage from the younger Elric Brother. He'd seen Alphonse annoyed and disgruntled, he'd even seen him angry enough to be moved to violence, but through all of those times never once had he been known to lose his cool. He was the most calm and downright placid person that the Flame Alchemist had ever come across, and the last thing he'd ever expected to see was a very Edward-esque look of rage contorting the young man's features.

"If we blunder in now we could ruin whatever Ed has planned," replied Mustang in a placating tone.

"If we move in now we could potentially save his life from whatever idiotic mess he's gotten himself into," Al retorted with a certain ring of truth.

"Now really what do you think the chances are that he's headed into more than he can handle? I mean really, you give him a too little credit."

"No, I merely know where his strengths and weaknesses are. And the fact that Winry disappeared less than half a day before he did, implies to me pretty damn strongly that someone somewhere has their hand around the throat of the biggest weakness he has."

"You're being melodramatic. Just calm down and you'll realise you're being ridiculous. Besides he's been gone for over a week now and we've had not a single lead on his whereabouts, I have in fact had men in the field searching every nook and cranny for him but haven't found anything. What do you really think we could possibly do, even if it was a good idea to do so? We have no idea where either of them are."

"We can send out more men," replied Alphonse somewhat churlishly.

"No in fact we cannot, we can barely spare the ones we currently have working on it. Between Ed's order to watch all the papers, dealing with the increasing Chimaera spottings, and trying to find the hole where all the damn beasts are coming from we've got more on our plate than we can really handle at the moment. Particularly when you throw in the fact we're getting more and more reports of violent and disorderly conduct committed by our own men every day. What do you really expect us to do?"

"Then I should go search for him myself."

Mustang stifled a sigh of annoyance, "May I remind you that you are one of the leading officials of this Government, we are already missing one of the Council members and have another recently wounded. In this time of upheaval we cannot allow another member to go gallivanting around on a hopeless quest. And besides you've got a real mission to take care of anyway."

Alphonse drew in a deep breath, gathering his anger in his chest and exhaling it like Mei had taught him. He knew that Mustang was right, as much as he hated to admit it. He just didn't like feeling so helpless and impotent. Two of the people closest to him had just disappeared in a city; and after what he'd seen when he was fighting the King of Spades, he knew that he had cause to be extremely worried about both of them. Perhaps Mustang's right, he concluded, maybe the only way I can do anything for them is by continuing the fight here.

Mustang relaxed a little when he saw some of the tension leaving the younger man's shoulders, he was exceedingly aware just how dangerous Al could be. However, it was only when Al gave voice to his acquiescence that the Flame Alchemist removed his fingers from a discretely formed finger snap formation.

"What needs doing," asked Al in a slightly defeated tone.

"It turns out Ed was right," replied Mustang simply tossing a manila folder down onto the desk, "We've finally got the evidence we need."

Alphonse flicked open the front page of the folder and to reveal a bundle of papers and photographs. On top of the file was a picture of two people shaking hands that he'd never seen himself before, but he had heard enough descriptions of them both to be able to identify them instantly. The first was the Jack of Spades, the man that took Ed's arm. The second was Lauren Nobel, the acclaimed journalist and chief editor of Central intelligence.

"How did we get this?" gasped Alphonse.

"Dumb luck as far as I can tell, one of Ed's agents just happened to be having coffee across the street when he saw her walking past. He decided to follow her, and here we are."

But Al was already moving out the door calling out to as many people as he could and issuing orders as fast as possible. He had a lead, and for the sake of Ed and Winry, Alphonse was going to make sure that he didn't lose it.


The man's eyes burned red, faintly glowing in the dimly lit lane. His eyes were as a gateway to the never-ending furnace of rage and hatred of his heart. The muscles in his jaw clenched, as did those in his fingers as he tightened his grip around the throat of the abomination which he held. He hadn't thought that the alchemists would start creating these monsters again so soon. And he'd never expected to find them in such great numbers. Chimaeras, how he abhorred their very existence for the affront they were against the natural order and His will.

He stared deep into the eyes of the pitiable creature held before him, and was unable to find even the dimmest glimmer of intelligence from the man it had once been. How fortunate, he thought, it always makes this so much easier.

He'd been in Central only three days now and his first action was to begin his holy crusade against the godless beasts which infested the city. It was frighteningly easy, he could sense them a mile off, and he could sense them everywhere. Not all of them were human amalgams, which was only a slight silver lining, and all the human blends had been deliberately liberated from the intellectual and moral shackles of humanity. This last part was a mixed blessing. They had no strategy, but they also had no inhibitions in attacking. Not that it mattered though, no matter how they attacked him it always ended with his fist around their throat.

"I release you from this mortal coil and send a prayer on your way to the afterlife," he whispered, even as the blasphemous writings on his arm glowed red. The light flared up and shone with an intensity to scorch the eyes, only to once more collapse and disappear into nothingness, leaving behind only a blood splattered wall and the limp remains of the beast in his hand. "May god have mercy on your soul, for he shall have none on he who perverted you."

The lifeless figure was tossed to idly to the ground and the man spared it not a second glance. He pulled from his pocket a watch and a scrap of paper where a hasty note had been scrawled. He had only 15 minutes left before he was required to make an entrance, before he'd get his chance to strike a real blow at the monsters that created these beasts. He was going to enjoy the carnage that was to come.

'May God have mercy on my eternal soul.'

High above him, standing hidden in the rooftops a lone man watched and smiled. His teeth gleamed in the darkness and the occasional ray of moonlight reflected from his ever present deck of cards.

'Interesting,' the man thought, 'I never thought he would go so far as to call him into play. He should prove useful.'


Thanks for reading and sorry again for taking so ridiculously long to update it.

If you're a bit confused where I pulled that dream thing from just take a quick look at the beginning of chapter one again.

Once again I invite reviews!