The Rook and Scythe


The Rook and Scythe is a unique bar planted right next to the city graveyard. It features three main avocations. Live music, chess, and drinking. You might even be able to find a conversation or two if you show up at the right hours. However, this isn't what makes it unique. The Rook and Scythe is the only bar in the entire city of Atlas Park to stay open past curfew hours. Mods are willing to look past it since they tend to be its main patrons, and trolls avoid it because of the shotgun the owner keeps stashed behind the counter.

It is one of those tired nights now, hours into the curfew. A passionate musician with wild, unkempt hair and cloudy grey eyes sits behind a piano, wearing a tattered tuxedo complete with a wilted rose. A balding bartender with a baggy and unwelcoming face stands behind the counter, furiously scrubbing an unclean mug before an enigmatic stranger. The stranger is dressed in a fine fitted suit made whole by a discerning, designer hat the color of shadows.

The musician strikes the chords of the piano with fervent conviction. The man and the bartender are halfway through a conversation.

"You know him?" The prying bartender asks the mysterious man in reference to the rogue in the trenchcoat that has all of the Mods excited.

"Do I know him? I worked with him for three years. He was a real stand-up guy. Selfless, you could say. God, I hated him." Replies the man.

"So, what exactly did you boys do out there?" The old man sets down the glass he had been furiously cleaning and leans in.

"What do you think? What DO people do out there after dark? After curfew?"

"I couldn't tell you. I'm a tavernkeeper. This is my station. Frankly, with all the trolls that come out, I couldn't imagine surviving out there, let alone working."

"Trolls were our work. We hunted them, we captured them, and we sent them back to the abyss. The streets were a lot cleaner when we walked them. The only thing was, that bastard didn't want to make it work at all. He wanted to be some good samaritan, a damn vigilante. Now, don't get me wrong, I was all for the job. Killing trolls is a damn pleasure! But I am not going to put my life on the line for some phony sense of accomplishment. I am not going to put my life on the line for anything. Let me tell you what his problem was: he went through his whole life thinking there was a purpose to it all, and he acted based on that belief. Let me tell you, and this is from experience, people who think like that, people who act on that, those are the people filling that graveyard." He cast a finger towards the cemetary next door.

"You know, for a man in a suit, you're a lot like the rest of us."

The man slammed down his glass and peered at the man with the intensity of a wildcat stalking its prey. "I am nothing like the rest of you. I... am motherfucking Wrait." He stood up and walked out.

The pianist kept on playing. The bartender stood dazed and bewildered.

Wrait only managed to walk straight for the length from his stool to the door and started stumbling as soon as it shut. He abruptly stopped at the curb and threw up aggressively in a nearby stormdrain, catching his hat just before it fell in.

"Damn nobodies." He mumbled. "Presume to compare me to jack-shit. I am WRAIT damn it!" He kicked over a trashcan as he shambled down the sidewalk aimlessly.

He reached for a cigar and accidentally grabbed his gun, a black and gold Desert Eagle, tucked away nonchalantly in his trousers. It was one of a pair and the second was on his other side.

"Woops, don't wanna smoke that." He forgot what he was doing a moment later and soon fell down onto the pavement.

The sounds that came after were muffled in his haze. He heard three sharp bangs. Familiar. Then felt a large object zoom past him. More bangs. Then there was a boom, ferocious, and a relaxing rumbling feeling soon after.

To be continued...

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