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         Chapter 9, part 5

    Paragon walked quickly through corridors lined with paintings and marble busts of Sycorax's ancestors and other great witches. While there were images both of men and women, the women seemed to be more numerous. He was reminded of how Sycorax had told him that witch magic comes more easily to women than to men, and that men often did other things with their lives, using simple cantrips as a practical utility to support their otherwise mundane occupations, while their wives and sisters were more often the ones to become great enchanters and conjurers of the arcane. They healed the dying, foresaw the coming of heroes, and burned armies to the ground.
    She had told him once at a party that it was Claudia, the ex-wife of the Roman emperor Nero, who had burned Rome. Later, she had her former husband killed, for he had had a number of affairs, and treated her very poorly.
    Overhearing this, a friend pointed out that Claudia could not have been responsible for the fire or Nero's death, since she had been executed years before either event.
    With a knowing smile, Sycorax asked "Oh? Are you certain?"

    Paragon came to a set of doors, left slightly ajar. Beyond the doors, he could hear whispered voices.
    He peeked through the narrow opening, and saw a group of seven Retribution troopers standing around another set of doors, seemingly either trying to open it or spy on the room beyond. Either way, they briefly had their attention on it. With them was Father Gatti, hands still bound behind his back.
    Paragon slowly opened the door. Taking cover behind the protective stone of one wall, he aimed the assault rifle at them.
    “Freeze!” he shouted. “Don't move!”
    They turned and saw him, weapons at the ready, but seeing that he had the defensive advantage, and they were all in the open, they hesitated.
    “Put the guns down!” Paragon demanded.
    Some of them slowly began to lower their weapons, but a few were more reluctant.

    “Now, Paragon,” one man said to him, as if he were a difficult child. “Why don't put that down, okay?”
    “You think I'm playing?” the hero retorted. “I've just about had it with you all, so drop 'em, and get out of here before someone gets hurt!”
    The man seemed unconvinced. “Everyone knows you don't use guns. So how about you just--”
    Whatever he was about to say was interrupted as a brief spray of gunfire echoed through the room. Bullets cracked the stonework around the man's feet, missing him by inches.
    “I'm not playing games!” Paragon yelled. It was all he could do to keep from shaking. The stress, the tension, the rage, the fear, the guilt, the unknowing, the utter bizarreness of the situation in which he found himself... It was almost more than he could handle. But for the lives of those he loved, he forced himself to remain in control.
    “Toss the guns,” he repeated, regaining his composure. “All of them. Out the window.”
    There were a few glances and muttered words between them before they began walking towards a nearby window, one at a time, and surrendering their various firearms to the night.
    Alpha leader stared at the scene, aghast.
    “What are you all doing?!” he demanded. “Don't listen to him-- you can't disarm in front of the enemy!”
    “Look at him,” said a tattooed man to the leader. “That is a desperate, unstable man. I for one do not feel like provoking him.”
    The leader took a step towards him.
    “He's the enemy!”
    “I know all about enemies,” the man said, discarding his weapons. “I've served four tours overseas, and I'd gladly put my life on the line to stop a killer or rescue civilians. But this is man defending his home. Sure, we have our reasons for being here, but I'm not gonna die in vain trying to stop some low-threat villain.”
    “Listen to him,” Paragon said, still holding a defensive position. “There's no need for blood to be shed today. I don't want to hurt anyone, but I will defend my family at all costs.”
    As the last of the guns were discarded, Paragon stepped into the room.
    “Now, you're all gonna march single file, back out the front door to where you came from. Hands where I can see them.” Then, to their leader he added, “You last. I want to keep a close eye on you.”
    He then turned to the priest. “Are you alright?”
    “I... I've been better,” Father Gatti answered, forcing a smile.
NEXT
chapter 9, part 6

PREVIOUS
chapter 9, part 4

FIRST
chapter 1, part 1



Sorry things have been so quiet lately. A lot of stuff has been going on. A consistent and reliable stream of confidence and motivation is not one of them.
It's been tough, but I'm going to finish this story.
And then I'm going to write more stories.
And draw some pictures.
Maybe even some comics.

And when I say "it's been tough", I don't mean in any external, material way. All things considered, my life is pretty great! And I always try to keep sight of the great things that life has to offer. I just mean that, despite all the awesome-ness in life, it's still difficult to get anything done sometimes. Sometimes, I just can't bring myself to write anything, even if I know what I'm supposed to write next. I wouldn't call it "depression", as others have it far worse than me. But there is some decidedly non-awesome aspect of my life right now that does make it difficult to put focused effort into things that are easier left un-done, no matter how much I love to do them.

Anyways, I did get a good chunk written today, and I'll try to get some more done, too.
And if I get stressed out, I'll play some video games. Why not?
So over all, things are pretty good.
I hope things are good for you, too. And that you don't lose sight of the wonderful things, because they are there.

Take care, my friends!

(I'll probably post the next part within a day or so. Sorry again for the delays.)



Questions? Comments? Whatever? Your feedback is always appreciated!

and as always, Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
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:iconrainbow-acey:
Rainbow-Acey Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
“You think I'm playing?” the hero retorted. <- this makes me think of Paragon as the og xD so fierce.

==

they seem a little bit easy to win over at the end, but maybe that's because I didn't reread the previous chapters leading up to this one. That being said I do think that it's what Paragon deserves and that makes things easier for him(hopefully...considering I have no idea what's about to happen).

play all the videogames! If you have Steam, add me(heyacey). :aww: If not, then...don't :dummy:
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:iconwilldabeast-0305:
Willdabeast-0305 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
He's usually a really nice guy. Usually.

Maybe I should have described the room better, but the only doors are the one they're standing around, and the one Paragon's in, so there's nowhere for them to go. There's really no options at that point but surrender or get shot at. I'll probably tweak it a bit when I revise the whole thing. But for now, it'll have to be what it is.
But I do appreciate your feedback, as always.

(I sent you a friend invite. Maybe we can play something some day.)
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:iconrainbow-acey:
Rainbow-Acey Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
that scene made me think of him almost as an antihero. Hm... I do like his many sides. :meow:
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:iconwilldabeast-0305:
Willdabeast-0305 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Even the nicest guys have their limits. They just found his.   O_O
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