Disclaimer: The usual, Gundam Wing belongs to it's owners (Bandai, Sunset,
and a whole host of others, none of which are me) and I'm not making any
money off of them. Not a single peanut.
Rated R for language, lots of violence, sexual content
see chap. 1 for more notes
Source Of All Things + Chapter 9
Intersections, Part II
Trowa tilted his head. In his
mind, lines branched out from the three in the small clearing Quatre had
selected and intersected those of others. Eight others.
"Svale, are your wards active out here?"
"No my boy, we're too far away from the sanctuary."
"I can shield us both." Quatre said, his voice still husky but calm.
The men were closing fast. They had to have had horses to move across
the hills but they'd left them behind, or Trowa would have felt them sooner.
He let himself sink into the lines, reassured to feel Quatre's shield
rise behind him. At least he didn't have to worry about his lover immediately.
One of the lines sharpened as it intersected his.
His hand shot out, backhanding the quarrel shooting towards his hip. It
hit the ground ten feet away, slithering with a soft rasp over the grass.
The man crested the hill that had protected him from sight, slipping another
bolt in his double crossbow. He was only slightly shorter than Trowa,
dressed in tough black and maroon leathers, light brown hair gathered
in a loose ponytail. The small sweep of beard was darker, framing and
hardening a face that was otherwise too soft to be swinging crossbows
at people. Others drew up around him, at a safe distance, in a loose crescent
a hundred feet in front of Trowa.
"What do you want?" But Trowa could already see the complex dance of intersecting
lines, and had a feeling that they wouldn't be able to talk their way
out of this. The lines of men were more fluid and shifting than the immortal
lines of the earth, but they could still be reliable when things came
down to the rub.
"You." The man pointed at Svale. "Old... " He hesitated. "... Lady." He
finally concluded. Behind him, Trowa could feel Svale glare daggers. "A
little bird told me that you were the keeper of a Jishin temple, to the
west of here."
"I should have been your mother's keeper instead, stopped her from humping
that goat and producing you." Svale ground out. Trowa heard Quatre protest
quietly, but knew, like Svale, that being polite and cooperative was not
going to lead anywhere.
The man smiled like a knife, clean and sharp. "I'll take that as a yes.
We have a buyer who is very interested in twilight artefacts. We've got
some but he wants a complete set, and we hear we can find them in your
"What do you want, exactly?" Svale grumbled, eyes fixed on the leader,
but her senses, like Trowa's, flickering over the seven others. Nothing
special. Two of them were only partly human but whatever alternate ancestry
they bore was not strong enough to register powerful magical or psychic
lines. One of them could scrye and had lead the raiders to them, Trowa
guessed, and they all had Technologist shields clipped to their belts.
Useless against his runed bolts though. Two of them had crossbows, the
others had swords or spiked clubs. They wore no armour except for reinforced
leather. Quick raiders, not heavy infantry.
"We want any Jishin artefact you have. A couple of my men will take you
back to the temple. I hear you have strong magical barriers around the
place. We've been scrying the place and waiting for days for someone to
come out so we could force you out of your shell, and you did us the honour
of coming out in person, trailing after blondie here. But your friends'
presence will still be useful. They will insure you come back out from
that magical barrier, with my two men and all your baubles, as quickly
as you can to insure they're not damaged."
His eyes flicked over Trowa's bare chest, and to Quatre, a pool of stillness
in the centre of his mystical shield, and the man's smile faded slightly
to be replaced by a dreamy expression. "Not too damaged... " He added
with a murmur.
"If you're going to be messing with my boys anyway, why should I do what
you say?" Svale barked.
"Trust me, you'll do it, and very quickly. The less time they spend with
me and my men, the better for them."
A couple of the men chuckled.
"Who is your buyer and who gave you your information?"
The man's eyes narrowed at Trowa's light baritone. "Because I am
eventually going to release you alive, pretty boy, I'm not going to tell
you that. You can take that as my seal that we will let you go once we
get what we want."
Trowa shrugged. It was worth a try. He crouched and put the crossbow down
on the ground.
"Very well, looks like we're in agreement." The leader's smile was wide
and sensual, staring down at the kneeling shaman, his own crossbow dipping.
His gaze lingered on the bare chest again, then he blinked as he saw Trowa
tug at the thongs holding his headband tight across his forehead.
Trowa cast one glance behind him -Quatre's eyes were two warm pools of
feeling, and Svale nodded - then tugged the headband down over his eyes
and jerked the thongs fast again, the two beads clicking together briefly.
"'Ere, thass nice!" One of the men drawled in a Western desert accent.
"'E's doin' all t'work for us. Think e'll gag 'imself and tie his own
The beads clicked again as Trowa tightened and fit the blindfold. He grabbed
his crossbow and stood.
Lines darted and twisted around them all, and he now stepped into their
world and let himself sink into them. Each attacker was reduced to an
outline of vectors; lines of intent, the aim of a swinging weapon, a streak
of anticipated movement, all leaping out to intersect with the lines of
earth and with those of the other attackers in a complex mesh.
Trowa took three steps forward and to the left, instinctively putting
himself at the greatest number of intersections.
"What the-" someone muttered.
"Well boys, I would gladly give you what few Jishin claptrap I've accumulated
over the years, for all the good it would do your buyer, but I'm not lettin'
you play your dirty games with Trowa and young Rabbit." Svale's voice
rang out in an angry creak, distracting their attackers for a few seconds.
"As for your informant, I hope you didn't pay him too much for his information,
cause it has several gaps. First of all, there is no magical barrier around
my home, I don't know why he told you that. Second, I have so few Jishin
artefacts it's almost a joke, since I study the ruins, not the crap you
sell to tourists. And third... my boys ain't good bargaining chips." Trowa
was moving again, the lines and vectors brushing him as they twisted around
him. There. The breaking point in the mesh of lines.
He didn't wait for an attack, his crossbow whipping towards the first
knot in the lines, aiming, not at the man, but at the vectors of his movements.
Intersection. The second bolt had left the crossbow an instant after the
first, towards the streaks of movement that was the second bowman, then
Trowa ducked as lines shooting from the leader intersected his own path.
In the visible world, his bolts hissed from his crossbow, flying not at
the men but at the spot where they had instinctively ducked as they saw
him raise his bow their way, pinning first one then another of the archers
even as they dodged. Then the shaman was crouched and the bolt from the
leader's bow ripped the air over his head. His fingers leapt towards his
belt and fitted two other bolts in the mechanism as he dodged the second
quarrel just as easily, and he fired as he straightened. His bolt flew
through the useless shield of the man running towards one of the fallen
bows, taking him just as he lifted his head to spot the shaman. The bolt
buried itself in his eye with a wet thunk and he fell over, still in his
crouch, the crossbow dropped to the ground and his sword went flying from
his hand with a dizzying flash in the sudden streak of sun trickling from
a split in the wet clouds. Trowa's second bolt took out the man a few
feet away from his latest victim as he stood, immobilized by panic, staring
at the corpses in shock.
Vectors and intent crossed and darted towards Trowa and he moved, fitting
more bolts into his bow, cranking the mechanism back with one strong arm
and the stock against his hip. The first man running towards him lifted
his sword. The shaman couldn't see the desperate fear in the man's eyes
as the attacker realized he couldn't bridge the distance between them
in time. He didn't see the attempt to dodge his bolt as the man threw
himself to the ground. The loosed quarrel intersected the man's movements
unerringly, slamming him to the ground, the body jerking as the metal
point drove itself between two vertebrae. Trowa barely moved -the line
he was following put him in the optimal place for each shot, which gave
him plenty of time to dodge the bolts from the leader- the bow dipped
up to pin the next man running towards him, the bolt shearing the artery
in his groin with lethal aim.
The last man was upon him, though in the heat of battle he probably didn't
realize he was the last. Trowa dodged left, right, crouched and rolled
beneath the swing of a desperate sword, his fingers grabbing two more
runed bolts from his belt and fitting them into the crossbow. Ignoring
the man, who was already dead. The man gave a shout, lifting his sword
in a huge backswing to cleave the shaman crouching before him - and staggering
with a gasp as the leader's last shot accidentally nailed him instead
of the dodging, weaving body of the shaman. Trowa twisted and avoided
the falling body as he rose. His strong arms ratcheted the crossbow's
mechanism back as he faced the leader.
Trowa couldn't see the man lick his lips, his gaze darting around the
fallen bodies. But the lines of intent from his centre had curled back
on himself, and the vectors of movement stilled, as the man reconsidered
his options. Trowa swung his crossbow in his direction but left it slightly
"In case you're wondering why you're still sucking air through your windpipe
instead of a hole in your chest, we just wanted you to reconsider giving
us the name of your buyer." Svale cackled. She was lying, of course. She
knew the reason Trowa had not fired at the man was because his shield
was of better quality than his men's, and Trowa's bolts couldn't penetrate
"You were right about one thing, hag... I did pay my informant too much.
He neglected to tell me the 'cute brunette' was a Nightwalker." He was
trying to keep his voice calm, and Trowa could feel his lines squirm as
he looked for a way out of the predicament. "I think I'll get my money's
worth out of him by the end of the day, though. I'll sell what's left
of him to the Almanide, he'd make a very pretty eunuch." Trowa watched
the lines dart, saw the man weigh the fact that they both had two bolts
ready, but that he was shielded and the shaman wasn't. "I guess I can
tell you my buyer's name-" lines of intent crossed, the man was hesitating.
Hesitating to lie or attack immediately. He didn't know the buyer's name.
Trowa was already dodging before the first bolt left the bow. He swung
left, and the bolt whined and bucked the air half an inch from his bare
chest. The second bolt was aimed straight at his heart, the raider loosed
it as soon as he saw which way the shaman dodged.
Trowa raised his arm at an almost languid pace to intercept. The bolt
shattered against his leather wristguard, the runes on it glowing briefly.
The man cursed and grabbed two more bolts. Trowa kneeled, steadied his
aim, fired in quick succession. The first bolt hit the shield where it
was weakest - invisible lines of power arcing over the sphere and intersecting
just above the man's head at the breaking point. The shield flickered
for just a second and in that second the second bolt darted through and
caught the man in the throat.
The raider staggered back, pawing at the bolt for a few seconds, then
fell, half-sitting, the crossbow twanging as it fired empty under his
convulsing hand. Trowa ignored the dying man's chocked death-rattle, as
he quickly Walked, in his mind, the leylines around the battlefield. No
others waiting in backup, and of those still alive, no more movement vectors,
they were dying in stillness and silence.
Trowa sighed as he crouched, putting his crossbow at his feet again, and
untied the thongs to his headband. As he lifted it from dazed eyes, light
steps echoed behind him and he felt a rough cotton smock press against
his back, soft blonde hair wisp against his neck, surprisingly strong
arms squeeze his shoulders. He reached back and held the other body close,
as he let the Sight slowly fade.
"Well, let's hope they didn't take too roundabout an approach to circle
us. Trowa, stop groping Rabbit and see if you can follow their lines back
to their horses. Bring them back to the sanctuary, maybe we can find some
information on them. I'll meet you there."
Trowa cast a quick glance at Svale, then took Quatre's hand and led him
away from the messy job of finishing off any survivors and checking the
bodies for clues. The unspoken offer to let him take Quatre away from
that almost made up for the old witch spying on them earlier. Well, almost.
A couple of miles away, the raider's informant, who'd been left behind
to watch the horses, was busy looting the saddlebags now that the outcome
of the fight was decided. Imp turned away from the spinning globe and
the slaughter there, and went to help.
"Master, the Nightwalker won."
"Yeah, well, I didn't doubt it." Though he had been ready to teleport
in and run interference if necessary, to start with. Once the fourth man
was down, he realized Trowa did not need his help, and started on the
second half of his plan.
"What are we looking for?" The imp upended a duffel bag with surprising
strength for something so small and poked at the rather smelly contents.
Underwear, especially in that state, was probably not it.
"The leader of those rats should have a couple of energy crystals they
stole from that wizard in Gowergate, if they've not fenced them yet -but
those he'd have kept on him. Svale will find them. No matter. I don't
know what else he picked up. He's been a thorn in my side for awhile now,
but he never stole any of the good stuff, or at least, nothing I was after
Imp nodded. If the two-bit raider had ever managed to get hold of anything
his master really required, he would have been dead long before. Still,
trust Shi No Kami to kill two birds with one stone.
"Hmm, okay, this is-... here, imp, catch." Duo finished going through
the leader's bags, tossing a few objects towards imp who caught them expertly
and tucked them into the small sack he carried.
"Here master, don't forget the book."
"As if I would forget the point of the whole exercise." Duo sniffed as
he took the book from imp. The brown silicate covers gleamed under shredded
sunbeams, as cloud shadows trailed across the iron green grass of the
empty hills. A flat red gem was inset into the cover, gleaming like ruby,
the key of the book, ready to be inserted into the adequate holder in
the inner cirque. Hopefully Svale knew how to use it. Her words implied
she did. That would help reactivate the sanctuary, and then he would be
able to explore the buried sections properly. If this was indeed one of
the guardian nodes, and he was ready to bet what was left of his mind
and soul that it was.
He slipped the book into the raider's saddlebags, put the rest back into
a semblance of order, tweaked the lines around the horses so that Trowa
would miss the traces of his presence, and teleported back to the sanctuary.
Svale wasn't bouncing up and down with excitement. She caressed the book
for the third time, hands lingering over the stone set in the cover, her
eyes lifting to glare at the raider's horse as if it could answer her
"I still can't believe this... "
"Wow, do you think this was the Shinigami you mentioned, Svale? The one
who stole the book to start with?" Duo looked over her shoulder, wishing
he could read lines as well as muddle them, curious to know why she wasn't
"That goat-banging bandit? I'd be disappointed if he was. Trowa?"
Trowa shrugged, caressing the mare's forelock.
"Hmm, well, I guess he could have been. Maybe he had some help... Or maybe
Shinigami sold the book to some idiot who then got it stolen by that piece
of trash. More likely. No reason for Shinigami to have kept it for two
years. Oh well... "
Her eyes suddenly gleamed. "Well this opens a whole lot of possibilities!
I'm going to need everybody's help! Maxie, go get Heero, he's hiding in
his room, Trowa-"
"Later." Trowa said, giving the horse one last pat and walking away. "I
have something to finish."
"What?" Duo, Svale and Quatre said at the same time. Trowa grabbed Quatre's
hand and, without looking at anybody, tugged him off in the direction
of their room.
"Svale, go and play with your new toy." He said without turning around.
"Duo can help you. I don't need to make any threats about keeping your
nose in your book and out of our room until lunch, do I." It wasn't a
"Oh sure, you two go have fun and let me do all the hard work!" Svale
grumbled behind their backs, as Duo leered and Quatre, trotting after
the shaman, began to blush.
[chap. 8] [chap. 10] [back
to Maldoror's fic]