Seen 1 Week Ago
Posted January 17th, 2023
Level 1 Earth Mage
The sun beat down on the desert sand, while the wind blew fiercely and tossed it around. It wasn't the type of day for standing outside, but the three men bore their discomfort silently. It was what they were paid for, after all. They were large, ugly men, with names like "No-Neck" Nick, Orson the Arsonist, and Thomas "Two-Time" Thomas. They had all been members of various gangs, from the Sombreros to the Charlatans, and Orson the Arsonist was still a member of the Culebra Clan, when he wasn't loaning his services out to the highest bidder.
Currently, they were loaning their services to one "Shady" Jeffrey James. They had recently delivered a shipment, but some of the girls had managed to escape when the men had been caught off guard by a sudden dust devil. He hadn't been happy with them, but part of a shipment was better than no shipment. The trio was waiting for Shady to show up, hopefully with another job, but he was late. The trio had waited an hour already, and were starting to get grouchy.
Nearby, another man is starting to feel nervous about Shady's tardiness. Nestled in the shade of two large rocks, his eyes covered by protective lenses, Dustin Rhodes peers down the length of his matte black rifle, doubting that his quarry will show. The men begin to grumble amongst each other, and Tommy Two-Time starts gathering his things to go home.
Well, Dustin thinks, Even if I don't get the meat, I can still fill up on potatoes. At 100 dollars each, these three will suffice. He steadies his breathing, feeling the stir of power inside him. Moving the earth takes time and energy, energy which he had been building up for the past hour.
Tommy Two-Time barely takes his seventh step before the ground gives out from under him, a 5x5x10 hole ripping itself in the sand. He hits hard, rolling his ankle and falling down in his little prison. Dustin releases his breath in a sharp exhale, feeling a little light headed.
No-Neck Nick and Orson the Arsonist spin around when they hear Tommy scream, pulling pistols. Nick runs over to the hole, dropping to one knee to look inside. A bullet strikes him in the back of the neck, tearing out his throat and sending his body tumbling into the pit with poor Tommy. Tommy's scream of pain turns into a scream of terror as his friend's corpse falls on him, the sound drowned out by the report of a rifle.
Dustin works the lever on his gun, sighing at the outcome of that shot. It was supposed to be a clean shot to Nick's back, but he hadn't anticipated the bandit crouching down like that. He looks around for Orson, who managed to take cover by lying prone behind a rock. He pokes his head out, and Dustin takes his shot. Luckily for Orson, Dustin misses, instead blowing a hole in Orson's hat and sending it flying into the air.
Orson fires wildly, but it doesn't take a genius to find Dustin's hiding spot. In hindsight, a fissure in a rock on a ledge wasn't the most stealthy option, even if it was the coolest. One bullet gets dangerously close to Dustin, sending rock shards flying and leaving a shallow scratch on his cheek. He ducks low, covering his head with his arm, putting the sleeve of his coat between his skin and the rock shards.
Orson's gun clicks empty, but he had other tricks. He wasn't called "the Arsonist" for nothing, after all. He had some magical talent, though he was strictly a one trick pony. But when that trick is conjuring fire from your fingertips, it tends to be all you need. Orson grabs a bottle of tequila from his satchel, biting the cork and ripping the bandana from off his neck. Combining his ingredients into a Molotov cocktail, his thumb bursts into flame and lights the cloth. He shouts "Fire in the hole!" as he tosses the bottle at the fissure.
Despite still being drained from his Trap Hole spell, the burning liquid intruding on his hiding place spurs Dustin to action. With a snap of his fingers and an effort of will, he vanishes from the fissure and reappears behind Orson, his vision blurry from the jump. He quickly flips his rifle around, gripping it by the barrel and swinging it like a club, smashing the stock against Orson's head. The Arsonist falls to the ground, blood leaking from his mouth where he bit his tongue.
"Orson Parsons, you're wanted for arson, drunk and disorderly conduct, and suspicion of kidnapping." Dustin pants, his vision returning to normal. "You and your friends are coming with me." He makes sure to confiscate Orson's tiny spellbook, securing a set of manacles to his wrists. He heads over to the pit, dumping a bottle of Orson's tequila into the hole before peering inside. He hears Tommy sputter in surprise, and kicks the bottle into the hole.
"Now, don't get any bright ideas about using that gun, Thomas. Unless you plan on getting a third degree suntan courtesy of the Arsonist." He looks into the hole, pointing his derringer at where he heard Tommy's voice coming from. Sure enough, the bandit is pressed against the wall, as far away from his dead friend as he can get. Tommy drops his gun in disgust, holding up his hands.
"You're sick, man. Sick! Who traps a guy in a hole with a dead man?! Get me outta here!"
Dustin fires his derringer, putting a neat little hole in Tommy's forehead. The round is too weak to exit the skull, and rattles around in Tommy's brainpan for a bit. "I can't trust a man called Two-Time to have just one gun, Thomas. It's safer for me if I bring you in dead." With another effort of will, he raises a stone wall inside the hole, raising the floor until the two bodies are back on level ground. "Besides..." he pants, "Orson can tell me all I need to know about ol' Jeffrey James."