HALF OF CHAPTER FOUR “The Devil, the Master, and the deal of the mortal Girl.”
Moments later a set of foot steps echoed from the depths of the dull grey corridors as the sun stretched its golden hand across the sky. The footsteps stopped when they met the door, and the door swung open. A scarlet set of eyes watched the young mortal below the sheets as she’d toss and turn amidst an ocean of crimson silk. The owner of those eyes was cloaked in darkness, and he would watch her in secrecy as she slept in his Manor.
While the dark and lanky figure stood to watch the woman inside the room for a second, lighter set of footsteps soon joined the stranger at the door way. White eyes, glowing in the darkness, watched the inhabitants inside the room only a few feet away from the red eyed stranger.
“Your Worship?” A voice rang snidely in inquiry; it belonged to the white-eyed figure.
The stranger with white eyes would snicker as if having been told a rather silly joke only it could hear, and then it continued, “Pardon my rudeness, Lord of the Pale Kin, but what be this infatuation thou dost have with this mortal?”
There was silence between the two. The silence itself was deafening.
The warm dawn did not spark life around the Manor. Not even the birds, which fluttered occasionally by the large windows, made sound. It seemed all was dead. In fact, aside from the young mortal child, there was no life at all inside the Manor. Everything around the dull gray Manor seemed to be dead, or close to it.
Several moments passed; there would be visitors of similar kind to the stranger with red eyes. They would rush by in attempts to escape the ever furthering rays of sunlight which pierced the darkness like spears to soft moonlight flesh of night. But the red eyed kinsmen did not stop to stare, nor did they take any notice of the figure with white eyes. In fact, it seemed only the one called “Worship” knew he was really there.
The passing of the red eyed one’s kinsmen brought him from the depths of his mind back into reality. The familiar dark silk of the tall one’s voice did creep like a spider from the darkness.
“Come ye hither, Ragman…” Replied the stranger with red eyes to the white-eyed figure.
The red-eyed one would bow so humbly and obediently like a dog as the lighter stranger approached ever closer.
“Goodman, good Ragman…hear me speaks to thy deaf ears, hear me talk of my story…” Though his explanation had begun, the red-eyed stranger paused.
The sound of his tongue searching for moisture against his thin lips, as if he had been parched of life for centuries, chopped at the thickness of silence annoyingly.
“A Poet by the name of Vargo,” continued the red eyed stranger, “once told me…as darkness falls, night unfolds ebon wings to wrap the world in its dark embrace…”
“Thou art behind the hour, Lord Icabod of Thornburgh…” Interrupted the Ragman; a slick silken boisterous slip of annoyance graced its tongue when it did speak.
“That I be, Ragman,” remarked Icabod.
His familiar voice struck a shiver in the young girl, she would emit soft moans of fear that a nightmare would cause, and turn over to softly submerge back into the darkness.
He would watch her with interest, his scarlet eyes danced over her figure, those scarlet eyes that lusted so hungrily for blood. But for her he did not lust for, her blood meant so little to him, but she was worth more to him than life itself. Too bad his kinsmen did not agree…
“Memories…” Said he. Icabod inhaled deeply before continuing “I didst watch the child those many moons past, Ragman—”
“—I didst realize that, Lordship! Doest thou think me daft? Dost thou think so ill of Ragman that thou hast forgotten our pact?” Interrupted the ragman in a harsh shrill of vexation.
“I rememberst well of the deal we made those many moons ago!” The Ragman growled, “It wast I as to whom thou didst seek – that night before you took her! Oh, I have whethere’d such things before, such irrational insolence! Lord Icabod of the Red Blood, thou doest fester! Though thou doest live immortally, you fester…fester like the dead…
…And try upon my patience! Thy signature burns deep upon the skin pages of my blackest of books! Lord Icabod! Hast thou forgotten, or must I remind thee of our pact!? And believest me, Icabod, thou doest not wish to be reminded…” Cried the ragman, its white eyes burning furiously.
It would extend its spider like hand into the room where the girl slept. The sunlight would attack upon the skin of its palm. The Ragman’s skin would sizzle under the new sunlight as the door slid through the air, as though upon a leash which extended from the Ragman’s hand. As the door closed upon itself slowly, the Ragman turned and sighed.
It was then they saw each other for the first time in many years.
Icabod stood in a false state of comfort before The Ragman. Though as stiff and ridged as his stone like exterior may have been, the scent of fear wafted over his form like a rotting carcass. His calm, long face, and hawk like nose gave a royal aura about his dark and malicious form. He adorned several layers of thick black leather; much like the stranger wore when the young mortal woman was stolen from her home. In Fact…he was much like the tall pale stranger who violated her mortal home those many years ago.
“Icabod…" The Ragman spoke so slickly and snidely; its voice would easily seduce the desperate, vein, glutinous, and vengeful.
But one would think that it would be dressed so royally, for the Ragman wielded much power and fear, and one would think the Ragman would dress to suit its purpose. But the Ragman dressed in just that; humble, dirty rags. White eyes had no pupils, mounted pearl like jewels upon the slick woman like face of a snake; watching the Lord of Immortal Kin with subdued anger.
“Walkest with me, Icabod the Body Thief…” Demanded the Ragman, its voice still wracked with annoyance, but The Ragman seemed much calmer than it was before.
As the two figures walked ever so calmly and slowly down the Goth-arched hallways, with arm like torches whose flames licked viciously at the ceiling above them, the Ragman paused at a rather large mirror. The Ragman stared deeply into it, curiously watching its own reflection staring back. But, what was not reflected was the Ragman’s companion.
“What use doest thou have for a contraption such as this? What could thy kin use this device for? It holds no use for thee. Though thy vanity is flattering as thou art my own creation…” the Ragman would inquire curiously, staring up to the Dark Lord like a curious child.
“Believe it or not, my Devil, thy creation doest have itself enemies. Though we canst see ourselves, our enemies show themselves within this mirror. ” whispered he to the Ragman.
“The night before thou didst take the girl from her homestead in the Western Woods, thou wouldst come to findeth me. I hath always been curious, what brought thee to my side, Icabod?” Continued the Ragman. They would turn an abrupt left down a damp hallway
“Sybil of the Western woods…” Replied he as he’d run his slender fingers through crimson tendrils of hair.
“The forest witch?” Inquired the white-eyed pest.
“Yes, Ragman. In the night when my clan hath ventured into that pathetic excuse for a town,” his emotionless voice pause for a second, watching the sun crane its neck over the forest horizon. “…the townsfolk were kind, and easy cattle. While most of my clan sought comfort and warmth in the beds and taverns of the townsfolk, raising a bumper of ail—and hell where they pleased, I sought out the countryside where we were to be settled…
…But as I did to walk through the Western Wood’s edge I saw –”
“—Thou didst see the mortal child, didst thou not?” Stammered the Ragman, tossing its feet up as it giggled.
“…A wave of protectiveness washed over my desolate form as I gazed at the young mortal, and she stared back at me. But her father didst beckon her from the forests edge, and she politely obeyed. As I watched her walk away from me… Sybil joined my company…” He paused, his fingers danced idly upon a leather cloak in which draped down from his back.
His gazed turned from the dew blue hallway to his left. There the warm glow of a common room caressed his stone cold face. The large, and thick doors opened slowly. The open mouth of a gaping fireplace greeted the two. Fire would lash like the tongue of a wild dog, and roar viciously like a lion. He weaved his figure around the courtyard of large cushy chairs, which were set around the common room like some sort of chessboard. He sat down upon a large black chair, which resembled that of a crouching body, kneeling obediently to its master.
He would slowly turn his head to watch the Ragman with great suspicion as it glided over to an opposing chair.
“And she didst tell me of an omen…no…omen is not a proper word to be used here. This…this gift was not given just by any one, it was a warning.” He explained.
While sitting, his hands climbed upon one another and scratched nervously upon the backs of his pale, hairless palms as the Ragman lurched forward and cackled.
“Thou wert told of her power…and that is when thou didst find me!” Cackled the Ragman, flinging its body about in a frenzy of excitement. “And doest thou remember the insane bargain? How thou didst beg for her? Oh do tell me, Icabod the Dung Minded, remind me how thou didst beeeeeeggggg –”
“—HOLD THY TONGUE!” Icabod shouted sharply.
Icabod lunged forth, he slammed his hands upon the arms of the chair and clutched hungrily. He growled lowly like some sort of animal, the distinct hiss of a feral nature sent threats to The Ragman, though they were sent in vein for the pale stranger only leant back and smiled.
“I do remember quite well, Foul Ragman, of our pact…of our deal…but thou wouldst be wise not to say such things! Not in my house, in my mind, nor in the presence of her!” He’d scream loudly, but then hush into a quiet whisper and thrust his finger forward.
The Ragman would turn face and see the green eyed innocence of a young girl, no older than seventeen.
Cautiously, she delicately took her skirts in hand and stepped down upon the cold marble steps and walked carefully over to the scarlet eyed one. She lowered her head, and took a clever bow.
She would then whisper, “My Lord, why art thou awake and wondering about in the daylight?” Her eyes twinkled innocently as she continued “My Lord?”
It became apparent that she could not see The Ragman for she played as much attention to him as she would an unwanted stray dog.
Icabod had been watching her with a soft sense of embarrassment and caution, and he still remained in that rather threatening position. He’d adjust himself. He was trying blankly to pretend his dangerous and slick visitor had not ever been there, and soon Icabod fell back into the seat.
But, (of course), the Ragman was not about to allow Icabod to have the last word as this was far from over. The Ragman cackled devilishly. A snide smile graced its face, as it would drum its spider like fingers together.
“Thy ignorance is amusing, Lord Icabod, but I shall hold upon my tongue for now…as thou hast kept the end of thy part of the bargain.”
It would walk directly up the steps and to the left of the young girl. It turned it’s slimy and slick head up to the girl and back to Icabod. Its white eyes narrowed and snakelike grin spread from ear to slimy ear.
“…I would recommend not playing with me, Lord Icabod…thou wouldst not like the outcome…” It whispered, turning upon heal and slithering off into the blue darkness of dawn.
With that, he was gone. The girl stared curiously at her master; she’d cant her head and whisper “Your Worship? Pardon my curiosity, if I may to speak, who hath thou been conversing with?”