More than an hour passed and they rested in semi silence. Ant and Alex both growled while Nox dosed softly in his corner, likely accustom to sleeping anywhere he could catch a wink. Ant was oddly active for the sun beaming down on the roof above. The utter darkness back home was unusual but also why the vampires reigned. They blotted out the sun. Humans survived at their whim.

Ant wasn’t used to taking orders from a human, and he chaffed under the suggestion that they needed to help the village that imprisoned them. And Alex seemed annoyed, he glared at Nox and the other man knew it. A small smile caressed his lips as he slumbered.

A rapping at the door pulled us all to our feet. Nox drew himself up in a lithe seamless motion that had us all looking at him in awe and fascination. He was perfection in body if not in mind. Maybe that was his goal — make up for what others perceived as lacking. Or maybe it was just arrogance in knowing he was beautiful.

“It’s because he knows.” Alex said with a smirk.

“He knows what?” Nox grinned at the two of us.

Ant grunted. “Fucking Stray.”

“Don’t worry about him. He doesn’t like anyone.” I laughed.

Nox shrugged. “Most people are annoyed by me.”

Alex rolled his eyes. “I can’t even imagine why.”

Nox put his arm over Alex’s shoulder and whispered in his ear. I couldn’t make out the words shared but Alex tipped his head back and looked at Ant. “Maybe.”

“You think he’s a closet gay?” I asked.

Nox shook his head. “No. He’s not gay, but he feels something. We both do.”

“You mean like you two are drawn together?” I asked.

“Alex has been following a vampire for his next book. Looks a lot like you.” Nox said, “From the description he’s read me.”

I cocked my head to the side and thought about it. Did Alex look familiar. All Echoes looked a like after a while.

“We do not!” Alex said.

“You are reading our thoughts pretty clearly.”

“It’s not exactly hard.”

Nox grinned, “Latent telepath. Probably does it at home and no one even realizes it’s happening.”

We continued to talk with the door thrust open and the first guard grabbed Alex, and then yanked him into the street roughly. Each of us followed, Ant pulling on his mask before he was taken. We could have all easily escaped, but we were on a new mission — free the village. At least that’s what it felt like to me.

They dragged us through the small walled village. We could see the high towering walls over the rooftops. They shoved us past two guards into a narrow opening. “Fight.” And that was all the said as they left us in the opening to a large cave like structure of the cliff wall.

“Fight what?” Alex asked.

Ant pulled his mask down and lifted the goggles from his eyes and propped them above his forehead like a pair of sunglasses. “Whatever is in here.”

“Trial by combat maybe?” Nox asked.

I shrugged. “Maybe. Should we go?” I turned around and two guards barred our exit. They thrust their spears out and pointed down the long corridor. A slight yellow light glowed just around the bend. “Can’t hurt to look. Everyone ready?”

Nox nodded and his entire body engulfed in flames. “That is so cool.” I said. Nox just grinned as he started down the cave’s natural path. Ant followed and I took up the rear gesturing for Alex to go ahead of me.

The zeroer pulled a baton from his pocket and it snapped with electricity as he snapped it into full length.

“You didn’t take too long to learn how to use that did you?” I said rhetorically.

“You figure it out pretty quick when you are fighting for your life.” Alex replied.

The cave opened wider and yellow crystals formed on the walls. They were the source of the dim light I’d seen. They looked pretty and useless.

Alex whispered. “Don’t touch them.”

“Why?” Ant asked looking closer at one of them.

“They whisper.” Alex said in his own whisper.

Ant backed away from them. “You think it might be what we are meant to fight?”

Alex shook his head. “No. I get the feeling that they just want to be left alone.”

Ant nodded. “I can do that.”

“Wow.” I laughed. “Logic from you?”

Ant glared at me and I stuck my tongue out at him. We stepped into a circular room with a large chasm splitting the room in two very small landings. Two posts stood on each side of the chasm like a bridge had once been strung between the posts, but there was nothing there now.

“Great.” Ant said. “Just fucking great!”

Ryan Elliot is a Intelligent Former Chevalier Warrior with a PhD who Slays Monsters and is an Anchor from Purple Shift #45

Advancement: □ +4 Stat ■ +1 Edge □ +1 Effort □ Skill
Ryan Elliot Sun Icon
Tier: 1
Effort: 1
Armor: 0

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Might: (1)
■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■
Speed: (2)
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Skills: (p): light, medium, and heavy weapons, (t): swords, speed defense when not wearing armor, cooking, perception, lockpicking, history, actions involving direct experience, monster lore, (s): psychology, (i): intellect defense
Cyphers: L4 Deathbringer, L6 Burst of Speed
Abilities: calm, bond, mental link with drifter, create anchor
Weapons: unarmed 2 – eased, long sword 4, blaster 4 long range
Equipment: Programmable jump suit, a long sword, blaster, wrist computer, energy pack (50 shots), first aid pen, moderate slot, inexpensive slot, inexpensive slot, inexpensive slot

Cypher System disclaimer and Open Game License
Numenera, the Cypher System, No Thank You, Evil!, Invisible Sun, and their respective logos are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2023 Monte Cook Games, LLC.

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