Drop it was the last thing I heard as the shots rang out. The rounds ripped through my cover, my vest and me. Each one felt like molten metal straight from a volcano. I saw you standing above me, did you see my hands on your pants reaching for assistance or did you think I was going for your empty holster. Did my blood splatter all over your boot or did you just think that was water. I’d always known that you didn’t like the idea of a Elven partner but never saw it ending like this. I’d never known a betrayal this deep, in all my years of living no being has ever come this close to my end.
You left me bleeding out as the orcs plodded towards me, all over creature comforts. I saw the bags of gold given to you by a goblin. You didn’t see the panic button I squeezed as you left. You didn’t hear the dwarves come through that same door, dispatching orcs and goblins alike. They grabbed me off the ground & drug me out. The last thing I saw was the white sky all I could smell was the sea, all I could hear was my mother’s prayer N- safe nin hén, rinn- na nin cuin. (be safe my child, return to me alive.)
Waking up in the compound my head aches, there are tubes pumping me full of blood and meds. I see JJ in the corner doing incantations on my broken body. Jeoff is arguing with his sister Jen about when to pull the plug on me. “We saved (y/n) Jen that should be enough. I thought elves bounced back from any injury in a day or so, (y/n)’s been out for 2 weeks Jen!” Jeoff shouts
“(y/n) was shot with mithril rounds, if she were anything short of a high elf she’d would of died, between her physiology & JJ’s skill she’s alive. (y/n) has a panic button for a reason. She’s a bridge between us & her people, if she dies on our watch, you know there will be a war right?” Jen inquires.
“Yeah I know who (y/n) is. All I want to know is why did she tap us and not her brothers and sisters. We passed 3 patrols on our way in to that surprisingly hot zone. Orc, goblins & I could have sworn that I saw a demon or wraith. *nudging Jen* Looks she’s up, lets ask her some of these questions.” Jeoff states while walking over to the bed.
“Where am I & why is JJ here?” I ask weakly.
“You’re in a safe house in a undisclosed location. It will serve as your recuperation site until you are ruled strong enough to continue on your own. For the record you’re not a prisoner here, but if you leave before you’re healed; anything that happens to you is not our responsibility.” Jeoff states dryly
“I understand, can I get something to eat? Have the rangers been looking for me or does everyone assume I was a victim of wrong place wrong time?” I ask.
“We’ll get you something to eat. Meat, cheese and mead good for you?” Jeoff questions
“Perfect, I’m famished.”
“The rangers have said that you were a victim of circumstance. Being a young ranger out to prove yourself among the veterans. Your partner has made several statements that they tried to talk you out of the attempted arms bust and that you were too green to see the dangers but only the glory” Jen answers.
“So what the hell happened?” JJ asks.
“I was ambushed, shot, left for dead and rescued, I am going to kill my former partner. They set me up to be killed all for what looked like was 1000 gold pieces. *wide eye stares from around the room* We entered the warehouse and began to sweep it. As we got to the middle all the lights came on, Solomon let off a few rounds so that I could get to cover. I let a few rounds off so he could get cover too. I heard someone shout “Ranger zapper” and the next thing I felt was getting shot with the rounds. They ripped through my reinforced armor, shattered my enchantments and me. Solomon said I was down & asked where his money was. That’s my last clear memory, until now.” I answer in tear.
“Only one thing matters now, Solomon’s head on a pike for everyone to see what happens to anyone who attacks me.” I say rising out of the bed, just to collapse on the floor.
“Back in BED, you took 12 shots 9 were through and through the last 3 we had to pull out of you. They were mithril rounds laced with hydra blood. They’re special rounds made just for someone like you. Clearly someone is serious about your demise to commission these rounds. Rest before you tear your stitches!” Jen yells
“Here you go eat up & take these pills. We’re going to keep you on the IV’s for the next few days to make sure the hydra blood is out of your system. You need to rest & finish healing. As soon as you’re ready I’ll take you back to our cell where you can mount a campaign against Solomon.” JJ implores
Laying back in bed I eat a rabbit sandwich and begin drifting off as I dream of all the things I’ll do to Solomon.
“JJ move her to the car fast, these orcs are bout to overwhelm our outer defenses & I have a obligation to MY people to protect them.” Jeoff command
“How did they find us here JJ, I thought you used cloaking spells with our cloaking tech. Orcs are not this smart or skilled, I’ll get (y/n) gear.” Jen state
“Come on JJ the dwarves saved me, we have to stand and fight with them against the orcs. I see my gear in Jen’s hands. LETS TAKE A STAND!!!!” I yell.
“(y/n) no one is making a stand their defenses give the dwarves time to evacuate this area & get back to their turf. They’ve been hiding in plain sight on a border zone. Get in the car & buckle up, DON’T SHOOT THAT THING UNLESS I TELL YOU TO!!!” JJ shouts
“Thanks Jen for rescuing me & let Jeoff know I’ll be sending him some golden mead once I get back on my feet. JJ, I’m locked and loaded.” I say
“Bye Jen, Thank you for also putting my baby back together *holding up my gun* and cleaning my blood off of it. I’ll be sure to reach out to you too when I get back on my feet.” I respond as JJ pulls off.
Pulling off I saw at least 5 humvees driving towards the Dwarven state as the orcs were being shot and snagged by the outer defenses. JJ mowed down a few goblins as we made our way home. I’d forgotten how good a ranger he is, his mahogany skin of a deep forest elf coupled with his golden locs made him quite a rarity and when you add his mystic tattoo’s he truly becomes unique. A troll appeared to be blocking the bridge to our lands. JJ didn’t slow down at all, he began chanting Cin shall ú- dorth-(you shall not stay). The car went right through the troll like the wind was carrying us. In the light I could have sworn I saw horses running ahead of us all the way ahead to his cell outpost.
“I know it doesn’t look like much but, the deep forest rangers have worked out of here since 12th age. We have been here honing our mystical skills to near mythical levels. It is here that my brothers will assist you in your quest to prove your partners corruption, seek vengeance on the correct parties, continue to recuperate and hone your skills as a ranger.” JJ states
“All this is supposed to happen in dilapidated church in the woods with a rickety dink tree-house or is there a illusion spell clouding my perception JJ?” I say pointing at the caved in roof.
“Just like a high elf to point out some of the beauty in a place. Yes there are spells you’re not seeing ranging from defenses to illusions to enlargement. You’re missing my brothers who have you in their sights and are merely waiting for my signal to drop you where you stand!” JJ charges
“JJ, please just get me inside, in all the excitement my stitches tore and I’m feeling a bit woozy” is the last I said before passing out. I woke up in a strangely familiar place adorned with bows & quivers, rifles, elven two handed spears, swords & a deep blue shield adorned with gold.
“He’s a descendant of the high king…” I think.
JJ catches my eyes on the shield
“That shield gets me many questions and theories. I am a descendant of his house a lesser relative who served with distinction, but I am all that is left of the High King’s house. Most of my relatives have served as rangers since the end of the 4th age. We are excellent warrior mages, but then again you know that (y/n) seeing as your father has used former rangers as his guardian force.” JJ answers
“That is true your people are excellent warrior mages and you more than live up to the reputation of your ancestors. (pointing at the wall) what is with all of these weapons on the wall are they just heirlooms or do you use them? Like this bow looks ancient but, I imagine it can still send (looking for a matching quiver) one of these to their mark (holding up a arrow).” I respond
“We forest elves tend to live in trees that have been woven to form spheres so you hang everything up high should you need to just go. We don’t use shelves & our sleeping items tend to be hammocks, as you’ve noticed. Everything on the wall is a fully functioning item from the bow in your hands to the rifle hanging next to the bed. You’re right, some are heirlooms that maintain their deadly edge along with my daily pack. Enough about me, have you given any thought to Solomon?” JJ asks. *placing the bow and arrow back on their hooks*
“Yea, Solomon has plenty of well known issues from his abusive spouse to his fondness for dwarven whiskey, but his real problem is how much he loves young elvish girls that the Yakuza are known to supply. When I first looked into him I thought he was just shaking down pimps, but I came to understand that he buys his party favors and that they are the reason he’s on the take as heavy as he is. I think he is in too deep with the Yakuza and that’s why he set me up for the hit. What do you think, JJ?” (y/n)
“According to my sources on your side of the world he’s in to the Yakuza for a little over 20,000 gold pieces, he owes a Elfish crew 15,000 in gold pieces, the Jade Snakes have him for just under 10,000 gold pieces, but the real kicker is how much Solomon is pulling on graft a month. wait for it 5000 gold pieces from drug dealers, 1500 gold pieces from prostitutes and the occasional contract hit ranging from 2000-5000 gold pieces depending on the target. Your hit net him a cool 10,000 gold pieces. What could he be spending all these coins on? He could be out from under these debts in less than a year even with the interest with a little discipline and a few decent hits.” JJ muses.
“Where is he now? I want to snatch him off the streets and interrogate him with a Lach- naru sigil (flaming red dagger) in the old style. Starting with his feet and moving up. I’m going to enjoy severing his-” is all I got out.
“(y/n) he’s human, alright get practical threaten his family, and beat him lightly. I can have him taken by a few dwarves and dropped at a dark zone interrogation center. I will have my 2nd break him and get all of the necessary confessions out of him. Then and only then can you take him out!” JJ interrupts
“JJ I will have my revenge, he set me up to be killed in a border zone. My death would have sparked a war between elves and dwarves not to mention how humanity tends to let us duke it out until a pivotal point and finally lend aid just to take credit for the victory! *rising from the hammock* The orcs alliances will swarm into whatever is left a little less defended. The high elves just reclaimed our homeland last century! I lost HALF of my family, my son, my sister, and two uncles. So don’t tell me when I’ll have my revenge! *pushing past JJ grabbing my gun belt* either help me tree elf or get out of my way *getting in JJ’s face*”
“I’ll help you (y/n), but this will be done quietly to avoid a feud between the ranger branches. ” JJ concedes
*cuts to a bar*
“JJ is that the human you want taken? He’s a ranger albeit dirty but still a ranger.” Gwen inquired *examining Solomon’s file*
“He is responsible for the hit on (y/n). She lived and now she’s out for blood.”
*stunned look* “This guy is responsible for the strain right now, not a problem we will grab him as he leaves the sex party tonight.” Gwen states
*from television Dwarven and Elven tension rises after shooting of ranger (y/n) last month.*
*outside of a toys store waits the ambush team for Solomon*
“I hate how they use this place for these kinds of events, I used to buy toys here as a kid. Now it’s a front for pedophile parties, it’s plausible for why there are kids and adults but still disgusting.” El laments
“El we get it, you hate this and we know you’re gonna beat this guy up cause you have kids in your life. Give it a rest and stay sharp. Goliath do you have eyes on?” Gwen orders
“He’s coming out with a small elvish girl of 30, they’re both weaving and he just took a bump of what looks to be coke. Moving into position.” Goliath responds
“Hit him hard and fast, he’s a ranger and he’s high. Stunning shots only.” Gwen states
Goliath sets out behind the couple while El stumbles towards them drunkenly. Solomon notices El while groping the girl. Goliath hits Solomon with a stun gun, the girl takes one step before she herself is stun by El. The pair zip tie and black bag the ranger. El gets the car keys and pulls off while Goliath totes Solomon to Gwen in the van.
*panning to a desolate warehouse*
“Where the hell am I and what’s going on?” Solomon thinks “DO YOU KNOW THAT I’M A RANGER! YOU FUCKERS ARE DONE! DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU’LL DIE SCREAMING!!!!” Solomon bellow bucking with his restraints.
“How do you want to start JJ and what information do you want out of him?” Gwen inquires.
“We need to know : Who ordered the hit on (y/n), where his stash is, any intel he drops to avoid giving up these primary facts. Before you ask, everything short of removing his reproductive organs and killing him is on the table.” JJ states dryly.
“Goliath get the blow torch, a stiletto dagger, salt and steel wire. El set up the camera. Oh yeah Goliath grab the heavy mitts and a water hose! JJ, I’m going to enjoy this, it’s been so long since I’ve gotten to interrogate a human.” Gwen squeals.
*El sets up the camera while Goliath wheels in a cart full of torture devices*
“What are you planning to do with that stuff?” Solomon asks hoarsely
“Solomon, Solomon, Solomon, where did it all go wrong? You started off your career clearing orc nest with the northern rangers and progressed all the way to Sgt of Arms of the rangers. Your jacket shows that you served with distinction until the dwarven elvish alliance merged with your people. You maintained your rank but also started to steal coins and get in bed with a few different gangs. Even served as security for a few gang lords. You’re a great marksman and a decent fighter who has hired those skills out to the highest bidder. Solomon what do you say for yourself ?” Gwen questions
“I say, fuck you! You pointy eared punk. I want my rep and to be released immediately. You know who I am, but know that I’m not in this alone. People will be looking for me. I’m a big deal.” Solomon rebuffs.
“Solomon, I don’t give a shit who’s looking they’re not going to find you. You can either cooperate and get out this in one piece *gesturing to the work cart* or I can really hurt you” Gwen sneers
*igniting the blowtorch Goliath begins to heat the chains on Solomon’s left leg* at first Solomon’s face is fixed as stone but as the metal burns through his pant leg and to his flesh his face warps to true distress. His pleas falling on deaf ears until,
“PLEASE STOP, I’LL TELL YOU WHATEVER YOU WAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNTTTTTTTT!” Solomon cries
“Anything?” Gwen coyly questions
“ANYTHING!!!!!” Solomon screams
“Where is your rainy fund & how much is in it?” Gwen demands
“IT’S IN THE WALL IN MY BASEMENT BEHIND THE TOOL RACK! A LITTLE OVER $300,000 GOLD COINS! PLEASE HELP ME!”
“Have some water, it’ll help you answer my questions” Gwen says pouring water for Solomon.
“Thank you, thank you bless you…*drinking the full glass with shaky hands* Is that all you wanted, are you going to let me go?” Solomon ask eyes full of hope.
“Sure, after a few more questions Solomon I will drop you off somewhere quiet. Last month you and your partner were ambushed last month right? Gwen states casually
“Yeah, yeah we were ambushed on a routine weapons bust. We took heavy fire I called it in, but comms were dead. I tried to get her out, but the fire was too heavy. In my report I cover in depth why I left her.” Solomon says firmly
“I read your report and conducted my own investigation. I think the Yakuza paid you to set her up, am I close Solomon?” Gwen quizzes
“I told you what happened, I’m not sure what flight of fantasy see you’re off on but look, I’ve never been a employee of the Yakuza or any other gang for that matter. I suggest you move on from this topic.” Solomon glares
“Solomon, Solomon, Solomon. *Tsk, Tsk, Tsk* you’re going to tell me the truth.”
“Ma’am” El gestures to Gwen
*In the hallway*
“I sent a team to retrieve his stash and it was easy going until they moved the tool bench. A booby trap sprung and took out half the team. We ripped the house apart from attic to the basement floor. We found a little over 500,000 gold coins, 3 dwarven artifacts, 2 human heirlooms, and enough artwork to fill a museum. James, Cameron, and Joy fell, the rest of the team is speaking to their families. In his bedroom closet we found hydra blood and mithril residue.” El reports to Gwen
“Thank you El.” Gwen says
“Goliath, I want you to start attach him to the wall by his ankles and wrist and let him hang. We’ll resume the questioning tomorrow.” Gwen says dryly.
“Half the team, how is he this dangerous. His jacket tells a tale of a good soldier and officer but, he is also a goon for hire. In his house did you find anything about his political leanings?” JJ asks
“Yeah, right now he’s hanging by his wrist with isolated legs to get the ache going. By now he should have soiled himself. Tomorrow, Goliath & I will skin him starting with his small joints and working our way up.
The tech are still going through his home. He was in possession of every missing painting from the last few years. I’m starting to think he is more than just a dirty cop based off of everything he had. I’m thinking he is some kind of fence or holder for items. The artwork and heirlooms were in a vault room along with the hydra blood and mithril residue. His stash was organized but the vault was meticulous.” Gwen says
“Whoa, you can’t skin him, he’ll start admitting to anything and everything. Slow play him, we have him and as of right now no one is looking for him. Who do you think will be looking?” JJ inquires
“His branch of rangers, his gang overlords, and who ever really owns that vault room in his home. If I don’t break him we may have to face whoever he’s afraid to talk about.” Gwen replies.
“Break him fast & efficiently, before this thing gets any messier. This off the books assignment is about to become a full fledged mission. *pacing around the room* If you need any kind of extra assistance, Gwen say the word.” JJ promises
“El, leave it alone!” Goliath orders
“Come on mate, just a little intermittent burning on his scrotum with incense and striker.” El jokes putting the tools down.
“Great you’re both here, Goliath grab the 20 gallon jugs of water and El get the towels and the jumper cables. We’re going to have some fun today.” Gwen smiles
“WAKE UP FUCKER!!! TODAY BEGINS THE LAST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE, GET HIM OFF THE FUCKING WALL!” Gwen shouts
“What are you doing, I gave you everything you wanted, please let me go. I don’t know any-”
El punches him in the stomach “Shut up worm or I’ll remove your lips.”
“Strap him, to the table, are the batteries ready *El sparks the jumper cables* put the towel on his face and start pouring” Gwen orders
Solomon fights against the restraints as the water pours on his face. Feeling like he’s drowning he tries to remember his training. The pouring water he’s coping with but the second he got shocked he blacks out.
“See that, he’s out. The first jolt always puts them down.” El tells Goliath “Can we break out the thin tools and get those good screams going?” El begs Gwen.
“Pass me the toolbox and a scalpel, wakey wakey egss and bakey you sick son of a bitch” Gwen says cutting Solomon’s hand around his left thumb.
“AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!” Solomon screams
“Tell us who ordered the hit on (y/n) or I’ll-” Gwen threatens
“It was the high lord, he ordered the hit. I put the wheels in motion with the orcs, I chose the location, I facilitated the creation of the rounds that killed (y/n). He’s who you want. I promise you, he’s who you want.” Solomon cries echo in the room. “He’s the one you want”
“Why Solomon? Why you? What’s the endgame” Gwen quizzes
“I’m a undercover op for the high council that’s why I was chosen. Look at my jacket, I can’t stand you people and we both know it. I have all the skills and contacts to setup a hit on this lever you pointy eared fuck! LET ME GO NOW!!!” Solomon bellows struggling against his restraints.
“WHAT. IS. THE. ENDGAME?” Gwen demands
“I don’t know, but I’d guess war. (y/n)’s father is a big deal and with them dead a war is imminent. The high council want to be rid of you freaks and all the shit that you drag with you. Let me go now & I promise you’ll die fast. ” Solomon threatens.
“Tamn- hon ed- Goliath” Gwen orders.
Solomon’s bouncing head is the confirmation of her command. Exiting the room Gwen heads into a recording room to review the interview, while Goliath and El clean the equipment.
“We’ve got a problem, the High Council is behind the attempted hit. The last time they tried this a civil war erupted. We have to call the leaders and the alliance leadership and get ahead of this. What do you want done with Solomon?” Gwen ask
“Wake up Solomon, it’s okay they won’t hurt you anymore.” (y/n)
Opening his puffy eyes, “I’ve had the wildest dreams partner…” Solomon says catching himself to late to react.
(y/n) pulls their gun gesturing Solomon stays seated
“It’s all real you sick fuck, don’t worry Solomon your confession came out a few days ago. The high lord was betrayed and killed by the council, your identity as a undercover has been made public and the rangers are revoking your protected status.” (y/n) gloats
“How are you alive, those rounds were specially made just for you. I saw you die, I waited a few moments after the rounds ripped through you. I took your pulse, you died.” Solomon stammers dropping his head “What are you going to do to me, (y/n)?”
“Nothing Solomon, I’m going to let the world you betrayed reclaim you. The gangs have put a bounty on your head. Most notably the Yakuza are working all of their contacts for you. Last I heard they plan on auctioning you off to the highest bidder and right now it’s a toss up between my father and high lord’s heir. Goodbye Solomon.” (y/n) says leaving Solomon alone
*Walking to his flop house*
“I’m not on the news but, my badge was stripped. I think she was lying though all I have to do is grab my bug out bag & disappear I can resurface in a few years and -” Solomon thinks to himself.
“JJ is that you?” Solomon asks a tall dark elf.
Solomon’s last question goes unanswered, he was swarmed by men and women of various races. Solomon’s abduction was caught on a traffic camera and that was his last time he was seen. Human remains were found in a sippy cup on the doorstep of the high lord’s heir with a note “Cin’re anand na- nev” (you’re time is near).