Short Story Saturday: Raw Footage, The Adventures of Gallan Blackenstar

So, gotta be pretty straight up about this. This story isn’t exactly finished, but I find it’s one of my favorites, so I felt the need to share it. The story is based around a… well you’ll see. Anyway, it’s a story I’ve planned on coming back to work on. Just haven’t gotten around to doing it.

I also gave it the extra category of Raw Footage because this is little more than the first draft relating to the story. I did a little clean up, but it wasn’t more than cutting out a few words and correcting some of the grammatical issues. Hope you enjoy!

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“This is a stick up!”

The short balding man yelled it as he and four other men busted down the door to the lady governor’s parlor. The four of them wore clothes befitting only gutter trash, but their weapons were far from what one could come by on the street. Two black powder rifles, one black powder pistol, and one six-shot repeater; all of them navy issue. The repeater was an officer’s weapon. One might wonder how the men came by them. Each also wore either a long knife or a sword strapped to their hip.

They aimed their weapons every which way, pointing them at one noble, followed by another, without any real proficiency. There was nothing professional about them. It was kind of sickening.

As the four of them spread out through the room, one individual strolled forward, moving at a slow calculated pace, like a panther on the prowl. His eyes darted around the room; not because he was looking for an escape; not because he was afraid; merely because positioning was everything in this game.

“I said, ‘This is a stick up!’” the balding man repeated. He jerked his pistol—the single shot black powder pistol—forward in an attempt to appear more threatening. And, like the peep of chickens they were, the nobles started to realize the trouble they were in. Their very lives were in danger.

More importantly, to many of them, their stuff was in danger.

Many hands went into the air. Drinks spilled. Glass broke. Silverware clattered. All of it dropped to the ground. Dropped by the hands of those who would do nothing to help anyone but themselves.

Still a soul individual moved forward. The short balding man was just now catching onto the movement.

“I’ve always wondered about that phrase,” the individual said in a rich baritone. He strolled out of the crowd and towards the lead gunman, moving in a half circle, so that his back faced the far wall. There was nobody behind him in that direction, a small measure to keep any stray projectiles from finding a home in a noble’s body… much as said noble might deserve that fate. “What’s the etymology of it? It’s so… threatening, but all you’re really doing is telling people to put their arms in the air. Why is that? What’s so safe about having a man hang his arms in the air?”

“Ety…what?” The short balding man said. He looked at the individual with a wide eyed confused expression. The devil grinned back at him.

The individual was much more than that. He was a man, to an extent. His lineage was half elven, and he possessed the grace and form of his mother’s bloodline. His father’s half showed too, in the tousled black hair on his head, and the thin and sharp goatee and moustache combination he wore. His eyes were a bright blue, almost jolly. There wasn’t the slightest hint of danger about the half elf. Still he pressed forward.

“I don’t care where the what’s it’s came from.” The short blading man said. “Now get yer shadow blighted arms in the air!”

He turned the gun on the half elf, but the half elf didn’t look alarmed.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” the half elf said. “You see, there’s a lovely carpet in here that’s quite expensive, and the drink I’m holding is almost certain to leave a stain large enough to ruin the carpet.”

The half elf shrugged. He took a sip of his drink. His eyes once again flicked around the room, faster than the short balding man could notice. He paid particular attention to the westward facing window, and made a few slight steps in that direction.

Unconsciously, the short balding man made the same movements, to compensate for the new distance between him and the half elf.

“I don’t care about yer bloody drink, get yer hands in the air!”

“Now you’re trying to confuse me,” the half elf said, pointing at the ring leader of the little circus of fools. He turned and lifted his drink, a clear martini in a thin necked crystal glass, in the same direction he’d just pointed. Almost like he was toasting the ring leader.

“What?”

“You’re trying to confuse me,” the half elf said. “First you wanted me to put my arms in the air, and now you want me to put my hands in the air?” He shook his head. “It just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s got to be one or the other. I can’t put both my arms and my hands in the air.”

“Uh…” the ring leader said. He shook his head, and pointed the gun at the half elf, trying to drop an exclamation mark on their conversation. “Do you want me to shoot you?” the ring leader said after a minute. After he caught on to the confusing bit about the hands. “I can. I wouldn’t mind shooting you at all if you’re going to keep playing hero.”

“Hero?” the half elf said. He looked back at the crowd around him. The nobles. All of them with their hands stuck up in the air, all the condescending twits that didn’t deserve to leave this room alive. All of them were hanging on his every last word, like he was their buoy pointing out the truly dangerous waters before their ship could run aground.

The half elf’s eyes landed on the lady governor. Eliza Flowers, a young woman trapped in a world she most certainly didn’t belong in. She hated it here, hated playing nice to people who would gladly stab her in the back, hated playing the game of politics, all to keep her sickly father in the position that was his by birthright. If it hadn’t been for these nobles, this never would have happened.

He smiled at her, the half elf and the lady governor, his roguish charm was turned all the way up in that smile, and from her he thought he caught the lightest glimmer of hope.

“I’m no hero,” the half elf said, turning back to the other man.

And the half elf had to admit, this was a lucrative business venture. These men had the right idea, storming in on a high class soiree like this would produce a veritable mountain of cash and treasure. These men might have had the right idea, but they were lacking. This is an event planned over a matter of days and weeks leading up to the actual party. These men were thrown together within a few hours, given guns they barely understood how to use. After all, wouldn’t the ring leader have landed himself the repeater instead of a single shot? If he knew anything about the weapon that was.

There seemed to be no sense as to how the group was ran. It was easy for the half elf to tell this was only the tip of a much larger iceberg. Be that as it may, the group still needed to be dealt with, using extreme prejudice.

The half elf smiled again. He turned, sipped his drink, and set it down on a serving cart. The skinniest of the four men had moved around behind him. This was the one with the repeater, and a long knife. He was within arm’s reach.

“I’m no hero,” he repeated, and smiled as he looked over the ring leader’s shoulder. “And you could try to shoot me, but you would never hit me.”

“Oh, and why’s that?”

“I can’t be hit,” he shrugged as he said it.

“That so?” the balding man said. “Well, it just so happens that I’ve never missed a shot.”

“Seems we’re at an impasse then,” the half elf said.

The short balding man pulled the hammer back on the black powder pistol. “I’m gonna kill ya, that much is sure. But I wanna know who you are first. Every man should die with a name.”

Oh, you wound me,” the half elf said. “I thought my reputation had preceded me.”

“Just answer the question. I’m tired of yer flapping lips.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but if you must know, my name is Gallan, Gallan Blackenstar.” Gallan paused for a moment, waiting for the moment of dawning comprehension. There was none. “Although, I was knighted once, so I guess it would be Sir Gallan Blackenstar.”

“Heh, it’ll be fun knowing I killed a knight then. Something I’ll tell my grandchildren.”

“Not likely,” Gallan said. “My job description is going to put a damper on that. I’m Gallan Blackenstar. I get the girl. I kill the bad guys. I look damn good doing it. And on one final note, your time is up.”

“Oh, re…” that was as far as he made when the musical sound of breaking glass seemed to dominate the air. An arrow slammed into the back of the short balding man’s head. The blood and brain slicked arrow head stuck out six inches from the hollow of his left eye. The fletching was the only thing visible from the back.

A collective gasp rose from all those in the room, including the other three circus fools. Gallan made use of the hesitation.

He spun on one heel and grabbled the hilt of the skinniest man’s knife. He drew the weapon, and drove it into the man’s chest. The bright shining steel going right through his heart. As the man fell, Gallan moved his hands quick as lightning, taking the repeater out of the dead man’s hand and spinning.

He brought the gun level with the first riflemen, and the gun barked.

Blood and brains sprayed out the back of the man’s head, coating the wall in gore.

The second rifleman, knowing how this would end, dropped his rifle and charged for the door.

The non-heroic half elf, had the fourth man in his sights. He gently squeezed the trigger.

Again, the gun barked, but it wasn’t the man’s head that exploded in a cloud of gore.

The bullet hit the man’s right knee, shattering the bone there, and making forward motion all but impossible. He pitched forward, when he tried to put his weight on that leg, but the pain he felt would have been unlike anything he’d known before.

He started to cry, and beg for his life.

Gallan looked from the man on the ground, to the one propped up against the wall, and on to the ring leader with his head hanging six or so inches off the floor. The arrow refusing to budge from its position. Then Gallan looked up and out the window, he smiled and waved, giving an all clear sign. Then he turned for the governess.

“And, what was all that ‘Sir’ Blackenstar?” Eliza Flowers said, moving through the room, not as carefully as one might expect. She drug her dress through dirt and food and blood, and she went so far as to step right over the ring leader’s corpse. Gallan looked at her, and started to make a reply, but she struck him with the flat of her palm.

Gallan took two steps back, already off balance. What he got was more conflict, what he’d been expecting was a victory hug, or kiss, but this is Eliza Flowers…

“I thought I did a convincing job of saving you, and all of your noble guests,” Gallan said. He smiled at her. A bright red hand print slowly showing on his face.

“And, how am I to know you didn’t bring them here yourself,” Eliza said. “I don’t remember putting your name on my guest list.”

The half elf sighed. He shrugged. “I had a bad feeling. Thought you might be in danger. So, I dropped in. I guess I was wrong though. It looked like you had the circus of fools under control.” He gave a wicked smile at the end.

Her face had gone red.

“The guards here, are more than capable of taking care of any danger that might be present,” Eliza said. She slowed her breathing, tried to slow her heart rate, and prayed her face was cooling off. “That is why I hired them.”

“And, it looked like they did a wonderful job.”

For that Eliza didn’t have an answer. She opened her mouth, and closed it. Opened it again. Closed it again.

“You owe me a window…and a new carpet.”

She turned away from Gallan, rubbing at her neck. Rubbing it like Gallan was the pain nestled right there in the muscles at the back of the skull.

“Hey,” Gallan said. Eliza didn’t turn around. “I tried to save the carpet.”

She said nothing.

Gallan huffed.

“Well, I did,” he said to no one but himself.

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The question here, I suppose is will there be any more of this story. I hate to give you a taste of it and then say nothing’s going to come of it. But, I can promise you, I’ve got some big things planned for Gallan Blackenstar. A continuation/expansion of this story is almost certainly one of the ideas in the old hopper.

Anywho, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please feel free to leave a comment. Also leave a comment if you saw any errors or potential points of improvement, constructive criticism is always welcome. And, while you’re busy leaving those comments, you should also spare a thought and like and share the post on all of your social media platforms. Thanks 😀

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