The siren song led Razorgrin practically across town, through the forests and into an overpass, down into its maintenance tunnels. Deep in the tunnels, he went into a makeshift office where someone had hung a map of Kingsmouth on the wall, and littered a table with notes and various Illuminati trinkets and keys. It was here that the song stopped ringing out, leaving him in a deafening quiet while he started digging through his find. But just as he was starting to dive into the notes, the sound of people approaching sent Razorgrin diving behind a stack of crates to hide.
“ … finally silenced that incessant noise and moved it. To a safer place.” A man’s voice, deep and grumpy sounding. Well, that might explain why the siren song had stopped abruptly. Razor hoped that also meant Joe was no longer tormented by the song.
“So where–” A woman’s voice started, before being cut off by the grumpy man,
“Away from here. I’m not in a sharing mood, Cassandra. And the moaning isn’t helping.”
“That’s not what you said last night. Oh baby, I thought we had something, something magic… black as space and red as blood.” Idiot that he was, Razorgrin had to carefully poke his head over the crates to get a peek at this Cassandra lady. She sounded hot as a southern firecracker, and when he saw her he was not disappointed. Tight little shorts on a round bottom, pale skin, bleach blonde hair. He was a sucker for blondes, so much so that against all wisdom he kept peeking over the crate at her. All the two of them had to do was glance in his direction and they’d probably see him, brown hood and bright blue eyes peering over the crate’s edge.
“This is so very beyond you, little girl.” The contempt in the guy’s voice was so deep it made Razorgrin instantly defensive of her, as stupid as that was. These two were clearly the bad guys, if they had control of the “siren song” that caused all those folks to drown themselves at sea. Or if the guy was the bad guy, then Cassandra was at least an accessory to his crimes.
For a split second, Razor considered just jumping out from behind the crates and grabbing them, but he hesitated. He needed more evidence, and honestly the guy was giving him bad vibes. Dressed in green kurta like some kind of new-age guru, he hardly looked like anyone Razor could take seriously, but he put out some kind of energy like he might be a bigger fish than Razorgrin could fry alone.
“F*ck off. I’ve seen the beyond and I’m a fast learner. I’m ready for more than… this. Give me something, let me in, let me do what I’m good at.” Razorgrin smirked. Yeah, you tell ‘em blondie.
“What, getting the boys to sign over their lives for a snog? I’ll tell you what you can do. We’re spreading an idea, but that idea won’t take hold without carriers. You keep spreading those long legs of yours to recruit more foot-soldiers.” Razor frowned. This guy was a real ■■■■■■■■.
“Be still my beating heart. Here’s what I don’t get, Beaumont. You have what you’ve been looking for, your precious magic sword. You control the armies of the living dead. You pretty much own this island. So the question is… why the sour face? I mean what is it that you’re- You’re missing something. Right? This is interesting. Your treasure - your precious- … You can’t use it, can you? I mean, the spirit is willing, but the flesh… Oh my, the flesh is limp.” Razor grinned. Not only had Cassandra supplied the guy’s name, she confirmed that Beaumont had the magic sword that caused the zombie outbreak, and he couldn’t fully use it. Atta girl, blondie!
“Watch it, little girl, you have no idea what-” Beaumont had grabbed Cassandra and was waving a finger in her face threateningly. It made Razorgrin shuffle reflexively, a strong urge to pop out of his hiding place and slug the guy. Beaumont stopped mid-sentence as he picked up on the sound of Razor’s foot sliding on concrete. Razorgrin ducked before Beaumont could swing his gaze in his direction, huddling behind the crate with his heart hammering and praying that the evil guru didn’t step around the crates to investigate. He really was a sucker for blondes, and Razor cursed himself for his stupidity.
“What? What?” Cassandra urged Beaumont, too eager to press her cohort for more information. Razor kept still as a corpse and listened, realizing that she was showing her hand, revealing that she was trying to play this Beaumont guy into spilling his secrets.
Beaumont picked up on it, too. He changed the subject, leaning into some new-age spiel that he’d probably practiced before. “You want to know what this is really about, Cassie dear, when it all comes down to it? Change. Evolution. A new dawn. The world tree will shake, the sun will turn black and the gods themselves will fall. We are rebooting the world.”
That didn’t sound good. It also pinpointed the organization they were with-- the Morninglight. It sounded just like the rhetoric that Che was usually spewing. He’d always thought they were just a predatory new-age cult throwing around big ideas with no meaning, but Beaumont actually did sound like he had convictions about rebooting the world, there. Maybe the cult did have eyes on starting an apocalypse. A zombie apocalypse was one way to do it.
“That’s the thing, isn’t it? What everyone talks about. It’s the big headline. The dawning of a new age. Right? Tokyo, the endless night. I like it. There’s poetry to it, and oh does it suit you, the evil sorcerer thing. It’s sexy.” Needling again, this time by compliments. She was really playing the ‘femme fatale’ part, now. When Razor registered the ‘Tokyo’ bit, he furrowed his brows hard. He’d heard there’d been a major terrorist attack in Kaidan recently-- did this mean the Morninglight were behind it?
“The answer is in the archives, somewhere. It has to be. They knew about it, the gateway to the black heart of the island. I have the key… but the lock… the lock is the f*cking thing.”
“Wait, didn’t you say that the lock-?” Cassandra started, but she was interrupted by Beaumont, being a bastard.
“I’ve been around long enough to recognize the flavor of the day, Cassie. You’re it.”
“Oh. Really? So that’s it? That’s how you repay me… you piece of sh*t. No more. Take one last good look at what you’re missing, lover boy.” This, followed by the sound of small footsteps receding, Cassie leaving the room. Razor’s reaction was completely idiotic-- a momentary burst of triumph, thinking, ‘Yay, she’s single!’
“Useless b*tch. The Illuminati and their bloody labyrinths…” Beaumont shuffled around for a few more moments, then exited the room. Giving it several minutes to be sure that he was truly alone again, Razorgrin slowly crept out from behind the crates, then returned to investigating the maps and notes Beaumont left behind. They talked about the “black heart of the island,” and Illuminati archives. The biggest hint in the room though, was a big red circle around a chunk of land south of Kingsmouth Town, toward the coast. If that was where Beaumont was going next, it was where Razorgrin was going next, too.
Coming out of the maintenance tunnels, Razorgrin started following the road with conviction-- the road that ran parallel to the Morninglight camp, protected by magical barriers. The Morninglight symbol of a sun-filled window was emblazoned on everything-- three vans, various t-shirts, a tapestry hanging from one of the tents. He could see Che leaning against a van and smoking his weed, thinking his hippie thoughts. Razor was going to keep marching past the camp until he caught sight of a puff of bleach-blonde hair, and red booty shorts. It was Cassie! It seemed she hadn’t gone far after splitting with Beaumont. Razorgrin immediately did an about-face and headed straight for the pretty girl. For… information, of course.
His eyes locked on Cassie as he strode into the camp, Razor didn’t even notice Che closing in on him. “Well if it isn’t the intrepid f*cking hero.” He had a sort of vehemence to him that Razorgrin was slowly getting used to, but this time Che’s tone made him sweat a little. Worried that he’d been caught sniffing around another man’s territory, he turned and just grinned nervously at the hippie. Then Che looked to his left and said lowly, “This is the one.”
It was Cassie, sashaying right up to Razorgrin and Che. The hippie had been talking Razorgrin up to Cassie already, hopefully he’d been saying good things. She turned and eyed Razorgrin before slinking up close, “Hey there, hot stuff. I like your style… and your weapon.”
He truly was a massive idiot. Just a wink and a compliment and she already had Razor’s tail wagging, the corners of his lips curling up in a stupid smile. Che interjected, “Cassandra is our resident Mary Magdalene, don’t let those doe-eyes fool you, she’ll eat you up.”
“I do have a big appetite. Comes with being Southern, I guess.” Cassie added, and it was probably a warning to be heeded. Razor wasn’t listening, he was watching the way one of the little black straps of her bra had started sliding down her slim shoulder. She lifted her other arm and plunked it down across Che’s shoulders, “Not that Jesus here would notice, he’s immune to my female charms. Boy’s got no ■■■■■.” Che wasn’t interested? Razor found that interesting… And good to know.
“Anyway Che, I need to talk to you? There’s an issue with… you know.” They stepped a few paces away, but not far enough away to be out of Razor’s earshot. It seemed like they were strategically letting him eavesdrop. The topic of conversation seemed to be another “delivery” that had gone awry, and this time Cassie was in charge of making the delivery. Che seemed opposed to the idea, saying she would just get herself killed. He was insisting she wasn’t going to go alone. They bantered back and forth before she accused Che, “You just want to keep an eye on me…”
“Trust issues…” Che sighed, then turned to Razor. This was the part where they asked their ‘intrepid hero’ for help. And of course Razor would eagerly, to impress the pretty girl. “Hey, want to do us a favor? Call it your ticket to New Jerusalem… When we finish building it.”
Razorgrin wasn’t sold on New Jerusalem, but Cassie had his full attention when she started swaying her hips back over to him. “Oh… now if that’s the kind of company you’re talking about, I might be… flexible.” She lifted a tiny pale hand and rested it on Razorgrin’s shoulder, gently letting it slide down his chest. “Very, very flexible…” He almost giggled stupidly but managed to keep his cool, just barely.
“She’s talking about sexual positions, that’s what that little pause was. It’s her idea of subtlety.” Che came over and rested a hand on Cassie’s shoulder, breaking the spell temporarily.
She turned and shoved him irritably, “F*ck off, Che…” Then, she turned her attention right back to Razorgrin, leaning in close. She offered, “We could get to know each other better… I’d like to find out what lies beneath those still waters…” Cassie was leaning in close to peek at Razorgrin’s eyes shadowed by his hood, so close that he felt her sweet breath on his lips. Whatever breathing room Che had bought him a moment ago was gone, Cassie had Razor wrapped around her finger again already.
Cassie leaned back suddenly and Razor had to fight the urge to reach for her. She added, “Don’t worry, it’s not far. And we don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do…” Cassie was tracing little patterns down his chest with her fingertips while she spoke, making Razor’s heart race. He found himself smiling and nodding at her. Razor would have agreed to just damn near anything she wanted after that.
“Okay with you-- Jesus?” She turned to Che, and the hippie nodded his approval at the idea of Razorgrin escorting Cassie wherever she was headed.
He did find himself sweating when he realized they were headed right back into the maintenance tunnels. Razor was probably over-acting when he tried to sound like he’d never set foot in the place, “Huh, so this is a maintenance tunnel, never seen anything like this before.”
Cassie just smirked at him and raised an eyebrow. She looked like she didn’t believe him at all. Then, she looked down at her feet and backpedaled. There was a corpse on the floor, a hippie in a green poncho. “What the f*ck happened here? Somebody’s been tampering with the security…” Quick to turn any situation into a flirtation, she added, “We need to be careful. Lucky I have you here, maybe I’ll get to see you… flex your muscles?”
All of the boxing lessons with Lethe and his gross Rakshasa training dummies suddenly were 100% worth it. Razor actually had muscles to flex for Cassie. He spared no effort in deftly bypassing various surveillance cameras and electrical hazards in their path.
Through the haze of showing off for a pretty girl, Razorgrin did come to the conclusion that the Morninglight wasn’t fully trusting of, or working with, Beaumont. They were infiltrating his lair to “retrieve a package” they didn’t have permission to take. How else could they explain the dead hippie at the door? Beaumont didn’t want them in here, but the Morninglight were still trying to enter the maintenance tunnels.
Then Razor rounded a corner, and froze in his tracks. Dropping low, he watched as a figure in purple and maritime tactical gear paced down the hallway in front of them. There were several of them, and they were heavily armed, carrying assault rifles. Whatever ‘package’ was stored down here, rumor of it must have gotten out. “Sh*t! Keep your head down…” Cassie warned, then quipped, “I don’t recognize those outfits… who wears purple to a death match? No sense of fashion whatsoever.”
Razor grinned at her, then listened closely when Cassie suggested re-arming the laser security grid. It seemed better than letting Team Purple get their hands on the package, and better than possibly getting shot at. It meant they died a messy, explosive laser death, but uh— for the greater good? Razorgrin decided to roll with that.
Once that final obstacle was done, they passed through a portcullis door and found the package sitting on a table. It was surrounded by lasers… Cassie swore they hadn’t been there before. Still undaunted, Razor fiddled with the security system until the lasers dropped and the box was freed.
“Okay, here’s the deal. I’m gonna level with you…” Cassie started, and Razor froze mid-stride over to the package. “It’s better for everyone if this package doesn’t end up with those Morninglight hippies.” So, Cassie herself wasn’t fully aligned with the Morninglight, she had her own agenda. “We’re a different breed, you and I. We’re better than they are. So let me take this package with me and go through that door, and I’ll owe you a favor. A big one. Do we have a deal…?”
Razorgrin started to sweat. Primarily, it meant that this blonde bombshell was about to stride out of his life and he wouldn’t even get to buy her dinner. But also it meant she was taking a highly-sought after item out of the lair of a modern-day sorcerer. What if it was of some occult significance, and the Templars would want it contained or destroyed? Was it possibly the sword in that small box? It didn’t look like it could hold a sword. Was it somehow containing the siren’s song? Beaumont had said he’d silenced and contained it. It made sense that the Morninglight would want it, too. A cult getting control of a Pied Piper-esque magic item would be a real disaster. It was times like this that Razorgrin wished he had a WWSD bracelet-- ‘What Would Sonnac Do?’
He must have hesitated too long while staring at the package and thinking. Cassie raised both of her hands above her head, swirls of dark magic around her hands. It seemed she was a sorceress in her own right, and the magic clouded Razorgrin’s vision and made his whole body feel too heavy to move. “I’m sorry honey. I have to go. Believe me, I hate this as much as you do. We’ll see each other again, when both of us have… grown, a bit? I’d like that very much.” Flirting to the very end, Cassie picked up the package and started sashaying to the door, leaving Razorgrin paralyzed there. “Take care, okay? When I’m ready for you, you’ll know where to find me. I promise.”
In that moment, Razorgrin couldn’t even be mad at her. As he watched her leave through the fog of her magic, all he felt was an incredible pang of regret-- regretting that he didn’t get her phone number. Helplessly watching that little round backside vanish around the corner was the greatest tragedy of his life, he’d just decided.
It wasn’t until he sadly made his way back out of the maintenance tunnels that Razor realized she’d played him for a sucker. Cassie was a magic user, she could have probably pulled that off by herself. But she’d winked and smiled at him and he gladly did all the heavy lifting for her, and then left him with nothing to show for it. She was possibly making off with something dangerous too, and it was all Razorgrin’s fault. He sighed heavily and facepalmed, wondering how he could spin it in his report to Sonnac so that he didn’t come out looking like a hormone-addled moron.
Just as he was starting to feel sorry for himself all over again, he remembered what he was supposed to be doing while he was busy playing ‘silly buggers’ for Cassie. “Oh sh*t-- Beaumont!” Urgency hitting him like a bolt of lightning, Razorgrin started sprinting like a madman down the highway, headed for the mark on Beaumont’s map; the “Savage Coast.”