Title: Chapter 2: The Apprentice
Featuring: Tobias Devereaux
Date: Multiple
Location: Multiple
Show: Northern Crown 2018



It’s not been a good week for ole Tobias, after coming so close to becoming The Champ.  I’m enjoying a little down time, standing on the balcony of my hotel room, cigarette between my lips and a glass of bourbon in my hand.  I close my eyes and let my mind wander for a moment, peace….it never lasts

“Tobias Aluin Devereaux, we need to speak”

He only ever uses the middle name when I’m in trouble or it’s serious.  It’s like a father figure yelling at his child. That or he just enjoys the way it makes me grimace to hear it.  I get it, we’re cajun and french goes with that but really? Aluin? I raise an eyebrow as I turn towards the voice.  

“Yews rang?”

“Have you had time to consider my proposition?”

“I have.”

“And?”

It’s been half a week sense Death returned to grace my doorway as it were.  Sense then things haven’t been going ole Tobias’ way. I doubt that’s coincidental to be honest.  First friction developed within Milenko’s little band of deliquents as The Jester wasn’t too keen on me getting a shot against the champ.  Viewing it as her issue to deal with I suppose. Then that little scrapper MJF actually gave me alot more than I bargained for in the fight department.  I wasn’t taking her lightly, never have taken a fight lightly. However it is one thing expecting a fight from someone that size and then receiving it. No one expects what she delivers, there’s no way.  However she couldn’t keep ole Tobias down. Then the Jester had to get involved.

To say I was perturbed would be an understatement.  The smashed windshield of Milenko’s rental car probably gave him a hint of my displeasure.  To be fair, most people want to smash his property so I left an Ace just to make sure he knew which person he pissed off this time.  Sense then it’s been radio silence from the Hostility crew. Not that I have much to say to them no how. At least not yet anyway. Given all that commotion I hadn’t truly had time to just sit and think about what brought ole dark and scary back into my world.  Really don’t want to tell him that though, he gets a tad bit testy sometimes if you push him. I’ve grown fond of my insides staying on the inside ya know?

“This is the point where you give me an answer Tobias or else I reach down your throat, grab your appendix and rip it out slowly.  Shouldn’t kill you, don’t need it anyway.”

“Pretty sure all de blood lost would kill me still, even if I don’t has to have that particular organ Mista Death sir,”

“None the less, your decision, now Tobias.”

“We both know I’s going to do it, yew not going to give me a real choice.  It’s always do what yew say or go to meet whicheva maker has a claim to my soul.”

My voice comes off a bit more spiteful that I really intended.  It was a playful jab by design but there was a little too much truth to the statement.  

“True...however these things go so much easier when you’re motivated properly.”

That was a fair point, the illusion of choice is better than nothing I suppose.  I just give him a brief nod and he lifts up a hand and waves it across my face as I see nothing but darkness.  I’ve never been a fan of when he pulls this shit. I always feel like I’m going to lose last week's lunch afterwards.  As light returns to my eyes and I can see once more we’re no longer on my hotel balcony. Nope I’m surrounded by what appears to be sand.  The smell of smoke fills the air. There’s a large firing burning somewhere close by.

“I hate dat so much.”

“I’m aware”

Not that the blighter cares, I lurch forward and gag up some long forgotten meal.  After donating my meal to the sand below I catch a very familiar scent on the wind.  Blood, decay, oh lovely, a warzone, to be fair given why we’re here...here makes sense.  It would appear that my dedication to the cause as it were has been brought into question.  I have no idea why he would think that given the fact I do the bare minimum in the whole monster slaying department and spend much more time finding ways to make quick money to enjoy whatever time I have left on this stupid rock.  However, due to such I have been tasked with finding an associate. Someone to help alleviate the burden as it were. Let’s just hope they don’t take it too serious and end up working me out of a gig eh?

“There...to the North.”

I would point out how it’s dark and the stars are being obstructed by all the smoke in the air so there is no possible way for me to know which way is North.  However that is an argument not worth having at the moment. Instead I look and see in which direction ole Death is pointing and get to moving. The sand keeps giving way from under my feet, never will understand how people run in this stuff.  Almost makes me miss the marshlands of home. I see up ahead what was obviously a firefight. Most of the people look like militia or possibly terrorist. However in the midst of them is two soldiers. Both look to be in their twenties. Such a waste of life in all honesty.  Surprised to see their bodies, the whole no soldier left behind and such. However given the shots in the distance I’m guessing their buddies are still busy.

“One of these will do.”

“Not too particular who yew choose eh?”

“I chose you didn’t I?”

“Dat’s fair, I walked right into dat one mon amie.”

I look over the group of bodies, my initial draw is of course the soldiers.  Less likely language barrier not to mention ideology barriers. Not that I care about any of that anymore, after learning the truth of it all, it’s hard to care about much.  One of the soldiers unfortunately met a more gruesome fate and was missing some body parts. Death does a whammy but that’s beyond the hoodoo he do. So Soldier number two it is.  Hmm, marine corp, flat top, couldn’t be more stereotypical looking if he tried. I kick the bottom of his foot much like you would a tire on a car.

“Suppose dis one here is as good as anybody.”

“Very well.”

Death closes his eyes for a moment as I step back.  I’ve seen this go pretty bad before so best to have some room.  He stretches a hand out and places it over the soldiers body.

“Christian Allan Bryce….Rise!”

Christian’s eyes shoot open, he sits up immediately with panicked breaths.  He looks around frantically as he pats the ground around him. Most likely reaching for his firearm, luckily he didn’t find it immediately.

“Christian Allan Bryce, you have been chosen to serve as a hand of death.  This task laid in front you is of the utmost importance.”

“‘Ey!  Why does he get a whole chosen speech?  I was told to kill somebodies.”

“Because you challenged me to a fight before I could give you the welcome speech.”

“Dats…..I mean…...yea….fair enough.”

“Since you’re so talkative Tobias, I’ll leave you to explain the situation to Mr. Christian.  Let us go.”

I go to protest and point out how a poof trip may not be good with a soldier who just literally returned to the land of the living and has no idea what the hell is going on.  However it was far too late as Death had already plunged us into darkness. Once light returned to my eyes I could see he was at least smart enough not to drop us back in my hotel room.  Instead we find ourselves in a darkened crypt like dungeon feeling room. Or as I like to call it, Death’s Home. The same place I first met him all these years ago now. As soon as we get back to solid ground I can feel the bile coming up from within me and it’s time to donate another long forgotten lunch to some corner.  It hits Christian much harder as it’s his first time. He is making a donation of all forgotten lunches it would appear.

“Clean up after yourselves, pathetic mortals”

Death floats his bony ass on down the corridor motioning over his shoulder as he speaks.  I do hate him sometimes. I stand about ten or so feet from Christian and squat down.

“So den, I spose it’s time for introductions.  I’s Tobias, I’s taking from the loud yelling of your name yews Christian.  Dat dark and scary glass of attitude is Death. Welcome to his house as it were mon amie.”

My voice drips with a condescending tone, can’t help it, really don’t feel like putting up with this shit right now. I got more personally important things to deal with at the moment.  For example, that glass of bourbon I had before wouldn’t drink itself. Christian to his credit isn’t screaming or freaking out, at least visibly. Right now he’s in analytical mode, canvassing the surroundings for methods of escape and weapons.  I know that’s what he’s doing by the way his eyes are shooting around the area. That and it’s what I did when I first found myself here.

“Relax mon amie, I know it’s alot to take in, and we aint even into the heavy shit yet.    So I’s just gonna go over to de table over dere and pull up a chair. We’s gonna be here for a minute.  When yew ready to sit and chat why don’t you just come sit down by ole Tobias. Den we’s can figure out where to go from dere.  Aight?”

I stand back up and make my way over to a desk or table set up that Death has set up down here, there is some shelves with tons of books around.  I give him this, Death is well read, I suppose it’s how he kills his down time. I chuckle slightly to myself at the idea of Death killing something like time...then I remember that’s actually possible and suddenly am not amused anymore.  I sit down and kick my feet up onto the table leaning back positioning the chair up against one of the shelves. Might as well get comfortable.

Suddenly there is a vibration in my pocket.  I reach down and grab my phone and look at it.  Seems I had a missed call from Jimmy. Probably wants to talk strategy for our matches this week.  Milenko pulled some strings and put myself and Jimmy into the tag team tournament, we didn’t even have to do one of those stupid qualifier matches.  Suppose it was his way of giving me a consolation prize for what The Jester pulled. I dial up my voicemail and put the phone up to my ear. Cooyon is demanding to meet with me?  Who the fuck does he think...oh….oh he knows about The Jester? Has to be St. James, playing his games, Milenko must be wearing thin on his nerves or he just couldn’t stand for what occured at Evolution.  Not that I’m particularly surprised by that.

I start to call him back but Christian seems to stirring, instead I just shoot him a text agreeing to meet up with him.  Although given the signal in god knows where I am, he may get it anywhere in the next several hours. Which is how long I think this talk is going to last with Mr. Marine.  Christian finally has a seat cautiously across from me. I give him a polite nod.

“So, let’s start with the basics.  Where am I? Who are you two? Why am I here?”

“Fair questions, first one, I haven’t the slightest idea mon amie, yew just seen how he poofs us places. It’s not like I’s ever walked into the front door.  Far as I know we’s not even on earth at de moment. Maybe a pocket universe or worse….jersey. So question one down, so question one for you. Where are yews from?”

“I still had questions.”

“As dey say mon amie, tit for tat, quid pro quo, where yews from?”

“Jersey.”

His cold steel grey eyes are damn hard to read, but I’m hoping he’s joking in some sort of fuck you sort of way.  His accent isn’t nearly douchey enough to be Jersey. More midwestern, I’m going to just assume somewhere boring like Kansas.

“Yews don’t say, so to who we’s are.  I already introduced us once before. I’s Tobias, and de dark and moody one is Death.”

“Yes I get that, but who is he really?”

“Death, mon amie, as in de living embodiment of non living.  As in de manifestation of death itself.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Eh?  Well based on de giant hole in de front of yews uniform I’m gonna say yew sitting here talking and doubting aint all dat possible after whatever shrapnel cleaned out your chest hole there.  Yet here we’s are.”

He takes a moment to consider the situation.  Finally looking down and running his hand over where the fabric of his uniform use to be.  Now just bare chest remains, with some lovely scarring to give him that ole macho look. He sits there just looking at me. I sorta give a puzzled glance.

“Your turn.”

“Oh so it is, so how did it feel to die for yew?  For me it was a lot of panic then dark. I’m thinking my hyperventilating in a panic caused me to run out of air and I’s just passed out.  Sort of anticlimactic.”

“I don’t really remember, I was fighting, there were shots overhead, then a loud sound and bright flash.  Then I woke up.”

“Don’t worry, if’n yews lucky dat all yew’s ever remember.  Believe me, remembering aint always fun. Now for yews last question, dat’s a doozy.  I mean the short of it is because de Death wanted you to be here, so here you are. The long version, well that’s someting dat yews not gonna believe.  I still not sure I’s believe de whole song and dance.”

“It would appear I have quite the bit of time.”

“Fair enough mon amie...so in the beginning, as in the start of everyting, dere was just darkness.  Inky blackness, but within it great power. We’re talking cosmos creation powers mon amie. However the Ink as I like to calls it, it gets bored and decides to create an entity in which it can talk to.  So from the blackness came dis wee speck of light. We’s talking like a flea within the desert of the sahara. Dis light grew slightly and took a form, now ole Death says dat de form itself is beyond our capabilities of comprehension.  So to make it easier, I’s imagine it took de form of a pretty lady.”

I give a little smirk, Christian is not amused and just keeps staring at me.  I’m pretty sure he’s running the idea of leaping over and snapping my neck. Couldn’t blame him for trying in all honesty.  Here’s hoping he doesn’t actually try though.

“So dis here light form, it was de embodiment of life itself, for it was de first life in a way.  She went about creation, we’s talkin like de stars, planets, all dat sorta shit. All de while de Ink, chatting her up as it were.  Well afta some time, De Ink realize dat she’s not gonna stop, therefor he needed a balance, and dat is where our dark friend came into play.  So now you have a being of light and a being of dark, balancing the creation and destruction of all tings.”

“Okay, so you’re telling me that guy who just walked away is the third oldest entity in all the universe.”

“Yep, don’t he look it? I mean half de face is rotten off.  Sad ting, dat is him putting on a good look for us. He claims his actual form, would rip our brain to mush just by glimpsing it. I don’t know if I’s believe him on dat dough, I tink he’s just self conscious on de whole ugly.”

“You’re completely out of your mind, you know that right?”

“I’s not even gotten started yet mon amie.  So Life starts creating more than just de cosmos, she starts.”

“Yea, I don’t care to hear the rest….”

I stop and look at Christian, an eyebrow cocked up.  Ah, he must be religious and I’m shitting all over his beliefs.  Not really my intention, but he asked a question, I just was going to answer it the way it was answered to me.

“Fair enough mon amie, here’s de bits dat pertain to us.  Dere is great power in de human soul, we’s talking like fifty nukes sort of power.  However dis power is latent until our demise when we take on our spiritual form. Dis power, has become sort of like a currency in de world we don’t see.  So every being tries to collect them, it’s actually one big gambling ring of sort. Dis of course means people bend rules to get more, however because each of these entities are quite powerful, if they fought each other there would be existence ending cataclysms.  So they pick surrogates to battle in their stead.”

“So you mean to tell me that these great and powerful beings that could blink and change existence, are too scared to fight one another so they make dead humans do it for them?”

“Let me word it a different way mon amie.  If yews and ya friend had a bet ova a dolla.  Yews friend lost de bet, but refuses to pay up.  So which do yew do? Forget it, slap um upside the back of the head, or murder him and his entire family?”

“I’d forget it, it’s not worth it.”

“Exactly!  Howeva, dey can’t, dese beings can’t just let it be, and their slap upside the head which is the weakest attack they truly have could literally explode half of our world.  Soooo,”

“They use us.”

“Now ya getting it mon amie.”

“So we’re basically Death’s henchmen?”

“In a ways, howeva yews see, death just uses these rules for why he has us.  He doesn’t tend to use us in dat way. Death is sort of tired of the way certain things in this world go.  He however literally can’t do anything about it. His powers are governed solely on those who have died or dying.  So let’s say Death gets sick and tired of someones shit, just thinks they are getting too high and mighty and they need to be disposed of.  He can’t do it himself unless they are already deathly sick.”

“So we do it for him.”

I just smile at Christian, whether he believes it or not, he at least has gotten the jist of it all.  I really wish he’d of let me do the longer explanation because the shit is wild, but another time perhaps.  Not to mention we’ve not even gotten into the things he can do now. Oh the fun! However he seems to be processing, so I’m going to leave him be for now.  No sense in overloading him.

“So Christian, let’s talk about you for a bit.”

He comes back to at these words.

“Tell you what, you can ask me about myself, and I’ll ask you about you, Tobias.”

“Dat’s fair, especially seeing as we’re partners now,”

***

Its been a few days sense Jimmy left me the message. I made my way to the agreed meeting place.  The meeting itself could of went worse, could of went better however at the moment I sit back in the corner booth of a waffle house.  Jimmy just left a few minutes ago. Damn fool thinks we can actually revert the Jester.  Even went as far as to insinuate that this was all my fault. I was hired for some information by Milenko a while back.  I can’t help what he did with that information. However Jimmy only has a portion of the puzzle as it were. He knows that the brainwashing that created the Jester occured, and he knows who is actually under the mask. He has no idea about the others though.  I’m going to try and keep it that way. No sense in having to explain how I came across these things to someone not in that life.

Someone sits down across from me.  I look up to see a grey hoodie, I feel a small lump in my throat as realizing the hood is up.  This is her, she always knows, this will not be pleasant. However the hood comes off and reveals my new partner as it were Christian, or Chris for short.  He gives me a smile before motioning for the waitress.

“Coffee please”

“So yews following me now?  I thought yew were with the boss man learning more about our duties.”

“I did for a while, however you’ve been gone longer than he liked.  He wants you to practice more evidently. So poofed me here, I’m to keep an eye on you for the next week to see if you’ve lost your way or not.  If you have I’m to let him know so he can have a talk with you as he put it.”

“Yay, unfruitful torture, my favorite type of talking.”

I whirl a finger around in the air slowly to drive home my excitement.  Christian laughs slightly, the waitress comes bakc with his coffee and refills mine.

“Did you boys want anything to eat?”

“Yes Ma’am, I’ll take an all star breakfast platter, eggs ova medium, double hashbrowns, smothered, covered, and chunked please.”

“Sausage or bacon”

“Both please, also could I’s get that waffle as a pecan waffle?”

“Sure thing dear, how about for you suga?”

“No ma’am, thank you though.”

“Yews sure Chris, it’s on me.”

“Nah, thank you though, coffee is just fine.”

“Well if you change your mind dear, just let me know.”

The little old waitress gives us both a warm smile and wanders off to call her order.  I look over at Christian. Sensing the inquiry he answers.

“This stuff is bad for your health man, I don’t eat alot of that stuff.  Have to work hard to stay in this sort of shape.”

I give him that, Uncle Sam had put him in a mighty fine shape.  About six foot three, two hundred and fifty pounds of rock hard muscle.  However, he still had much to learn.

“Cooyon, we’s dead.  Just cause we’re up and about don’t change that.  I suffocated to death, you got blown all to hell. Our bodies aren’t changing anytime soon.  We can of course get hurt, bones, broken, limbs lost, but as far as getting fat….in or out of the shape we were in at that exact moment in time….it can’t happen.”

He just looks at me.

“Look at me, I’m pretty healthy looking yet I only ever eat at grease spoons and bars. I never go to the gym, I never work out other than to train to fight.  I consume literally ten times the calories I burn on the average day. How yews tink dat I stay so light?

He smirks and turns his head.

“Ma’am, I will take a pecan waffle please.”

She just smiles at him and nods.

“Who knew being dead would be fun?”

I just chuckled, I totally just lied, I have a coked up metabolism, that’s how I stay so thin.  However I’ll tell him that after the waffle. Guy has to lighten up sometime.

“So he tells me you do odd jobs here and there to make money?”

“Aye, I mainly deal in information normally, sometimes do a bit of gambling or falling into old habits.”

“Yea, he didn’t mention though that you were a wrestler.”

I cock an eyebrow at him as I see a shit eating grin crawl across his face.

“Yea, The Cajun Sensation, Tobias Devereaux, use to be in Sanctioned Violence Organization, Hostility, and a few others over the years.  Then one day he just sort of fell off the map, people of course assumed he had retired to live off the money he earned. But instead he was buried alive by some russian mobster who was the worlds worst sore loser.”

I just shoot him a glare.

“It’s okay, I won’t tell him, although you know he has to know, he’s fucking death.  He knows everything there is really, comes with being omnipotent. What I don’t understand is you are literally a hitman for the embodiment of death.  Why are you wrestling?”

“Yew don’t get it yet, but yews one day will mon amie.  We’s not hitman for him, we’s his slaves. Dat fella snap his finger cause we say someting he don’t like and we go back to being worm food.  We are enslaved to his will for all eternity. Now for yew Mista soldier, yews may be okay with being ordered around and told what to do. I’s on de otta hand, not so use to it.  So I make all de money I can, do all de fun I can, because every time I see him, it could be de last time I see anyting.”

“True, you do smart off at him more than I’d be comfortable to do.  However he hasn’t smited you yet, so what makes you think he will. He obviously keeps your around for a reason, he could easily replace you or me.”

“I tink he likes de challenge, someone who’s not so afraid of him dat dey speak dey mind.”

He just sort of nods his head for a moment.  The waitress delivers our food and gives us a smile.

“Tanks”

“Thank you ma’am”

“You boys need anything else, you just call out okay?”

“Yes ma’am”

The waitress walks away as I begin to dig into my food, however I notice Christian has closed his eyes and nodded his head.  Even after all that he’s been told, still saying grace, I’ll never understand that sort of loyalty. I do however wait until he’s done out of courtesy, we begin to eat our meals.

“So why did you come back?”

“Milenko paid me alot and I do means alot of money to do so.  Unfortunately my first task seems to be going to hell at de moment.  De Jester was my responsbility in a way. I helped him create it, and now it has become unruly.  So I must regulate or decimate, depending on how it goes.”

“So you helped create a monster, because someone paid you to do so.  Now the monster is running amok, and you were mad about it doing so? What exactly did you expect to happen?”

“I expected to be out of de damn path before it went to hell.  I didn’t anticipate Milenko paying me even more to stick around.  Den my damn ego said I could handle it.”

“However, you’re not sure about that now.”

“Well I know de damn Jester can’t kill me, but yew know we still feel everyting right.  Pain is still a very real ting for us. So yea not so sure I want to deal wit it. I know I can, eventually, just de cost may be greater dan I wish to pay.”

“So one of those, who blinks first situations.  You both have the ability but who has the will to come out on top.”

“I spose dat’s a fair assessment.”

“What about the others in your little group, or those who oppose it?”

“Dat...dat’s a good point. I tink yew just gave me an idea.”

“Oh”

I had to fight back a chuckle as Christian stuffs his face with that waffle.  I don’t think he’s had a good meal in a while. Well at least he can’t choke on it.

“Yea, I’s gonna have a little sit down with Milenko, he’s not gonna like de fact me and Jimmy gonna turn off the experiment as it were.  Howeva, I’s gonna give him de choice between us doing so, or I go have a chat wit de Forsaken. See how dey feel about de information I has from dealing with Milenko.”

“Why would they care about information Milenko has?”

“Well cause mon amie, one of dey own went missing a while back.  Milenko, and thusly I, know where she is. Dey suspected as much, hence de constant fighting between dem and Hostility.  Well dat and Milenko wanted dem out of de picture.”

“So you’re going to blackmail your employer to help you shut down a brainwashed monster that you created with him, or else you’re going to out a kidnapped victims location to her friends and family which would implicate said employer in his hand in her disappearance.”

“Well when yews put it like dat, we sound like de bad guys.”

“Yeah, I’d say you’re the bad guys.”

“Oh well, morality is a bit of a grey area for me mon amie. I just do what must be done, I consider de general populaces ideal of morality on dose actions much much later.  Like neva later.”

“I’m getting that idea about you.  So how does one who is supposed to be doing so much good for the world, act so evil?”

“Cause mon amie, evil is just a preconceived notion.  Do yew tink bad guys tink dey de bad guys? Who decided what dey were doing were evil anyways, yew?  God? If so, which god? Also how arrogant of a bastard must yew be to call yourself the name for all powerful entities.  Odin is de god of...Thor god of... Loki god of…Zeus god of...but den just dis one says he’s just God. De only one, de almighty, god of gods as it were.  I’m gonna let yew on a little secret Mon amie, dere is no good, dere is no evil, dere is just actions and those actions repercussions”

Christian just shakes his head and goes back to eating his waffle.  I chuckle a little.

“Sorry Mon amie.”

“No worries Tobias, it must be hard wrestling with this duality of a life.  Especially knowing as much as you know about things people only even begin to theorize about.  So how about we focus on what’s next for you inside the ring?”

“Yea, got a tournament, tag team variety.  Me and Jimmy.”

“Yes, who is the more moral center one.  How has he taken your role in everything?”

“I don’t really know, I know he aint too happy wit it.  However he has to play ball as it were or else I’s just gonna leave him to de wolves during our match.”

“Wouldn’t that hurt you in the process?”

“Yea, but so what?  I lose an opportunity at de tag belts.  I’m not concerned about dem at de moment to be honest.  To be champion be nice, but I much ratha have dat big belt.  De payday is much nicer when yews wearing dat bit of gold.”

“So that’s all this is to you, just a payday? No sense of honor from the fight, not athletic competition desire, no drive to be the best.  Just money?”

“I know yew just gave reasons, but I’s never known no reason to do much of nothin but money.  Money is what make de world go round Chris, it’s what make life worth living.”

“That had to of been a pretty sad and lonely existence then.”

He looks at me strangely.  It’s almost like a look of pity, it really pisses me off at first, but at the same time it confuses me.  He has his worldviews and I have mine. What says either one of them is intricately more correct than the other.  So why does he look at me with such pity? If anything I should pity him for still having so much optimistic hope for this world and it’s levels of darkness.

“Anyways, other dan me trying to get along with Jimmy, dere is de whole plethora of enemies we may end up facing.  Dat’s de downside of a tournament, yews gotta expect any other team from it to make it. Yet yew can’t gameplan persay because you don’t really know which it’ll be.”

“I could see where that could be difficult.  You have teams that you are somewhat familiar with from your current run though?”

“Yea, dere’s de Forsaken, who Jimmy knows betta den me.  However, I do know dem somewhat. I’ve defeated them already a couple of times, den dere is Silas and Raven.  I’s defeated Raven in single match before, Silas is hard to get a read on dough, he’s not all dere up stairs. Den yews have de champs, who me and Loki defeated once before as well.  So de odds are in de favor of Hostility if we can keeps it together.”

“However there are new surprises as well I’d imagine.  In the returning teams as well as the inevitable surprise entrants.”

“True, dey could be a problem, but just as dey are unknown to me, I’s unknown to dem, so it’s only fair.  I could always do alot of research on dem and such, but dat’s not my style. De way I fight, it works on any man or woman of any size or stature.  Dey all have bones and ligaments, all of which can be broken and stretched. Dat’s de beauty of de technical submission style.”

We finish our meals, then Chris takes me by surprise.

“So you going to invite me to the event?”

“Did yews wanna come?”

“I mean, seems to me you could use someone watching your back, considering you’re literally ready to turn against everyone.  Seems to me most people in that federation have a reason to dislike you. Now you’re also going to possibly turn against the only people who don’t dislike you.”

I chuckle.

“Dat’s just de way de game goes sometimes mon amie, but tanks for de offer.  Yew still need to finish training with de big and scary first. Den maybe we can break you away for some other adventure eh?”

“Fair enough Tobias, but the offer stands.”

I give him a bit of a smirk, which he reciprocates.  It’s strange having someone on my team as it were, more so the fact neither is paid to be.  I might not hate having this apprentice as much as I anticipated. I pull out a bit of money and sit it on the table.  We get up from the booth, heading towards the door.

“What yew say I show yew a few of de more interesting moves dat come with dis new gig?”

“Sounds like fun, lead the way.”

Heh, me….lead?  I kinda like the sound of that.



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