WRITING: Henrik Claymore

I found deep in my google drive a short story I wrote about Basile facing Henrik Claymore on the U.S.S Neebs. I figured I would share it with you all as I wait to play more D&D and get back into the swing of writing.

 

The man who teleported onto the deck of the U.S.S. Neebs looked vaguely familiar to Basile. He wore clean armor that was brightly polished and shimmering with magic. Hanging on his back was a crossbow, and in a holster at his side was a set of crossbolts. He had a neatly trimmed beard, a scar on his eyebrow, and blue eyes that looked calm and steady. Basile knew he had run into this person in the past, but couldn’t quite recall how long ago. Did they cross paths when he was Basile or Asgore? Did he have the unfortunate luck of meeting when he was Ambrosio? Or worse, did this man know his birth name? Was this man from Modelheim?

His friends stood at the ready, weapons at their sides and skepticism in their thoughts. They were all wondering who this person was, but they didn’t have to wonder for long. The man cleared his throat and introduced himself.

“My name is Henrik Claymore,” he stated clearly, his voice almost resonating. “I am here to collect Eythan Addler and return him to Modelheim.”

Basile felt the blood in his veins turn to ice. Now he remembered. How could he have forgotten the bounty hunter’s face?

“Who?” Rhaegar asked, playing dumb. The rest of the group echoed his confusion. The tiefling was thankful that his friends were playing along. Even Neebs, who had a habit of turning in his comrades, was keeping quiet.

Henrik’s lips turned upward in a confident smirk, and his eyes glanced past the others to lock onto Basile in the back. “I believe you may know him better as Basile Graywing.”

“And what exactly do you want with Basile?” Lorn asked carefully.

“He is guilty of murdering his father, Levi Addler.”

Basile got to his feet and stood in front of Levi and Ciaran. “Dad, you should go inside,” he warned in the silence of their thoughts, knowing that Lorn was always listening.

“What are you going to do?” Levi asked.

Basile’s hands clenched together and grew warm, itching it unleash hell. When his son didn’t reply, Levi quietly slipped back into one of the rooms on the ship’s deck.

“Do you know who you’re talking to?” Rhaegar asked, his bravado rising up in his chest and out of his mouth before he could think. “We are Neebs and Associates. You have no authority to come onto this ship and make demands.”

“I have been granted this task by Ivuram, and thus his authority reigns over yours,” Henrik replied coolly, not at all intimidated by the warblade.

“The white dragon that rules Modelheim,” Basile explained to the group as he took a few steps to the side. Henrik’s eyes followed his movements. “Henrik can see me.”

“Now, Eythan can come quietly or I will have to reprimand him by force.”

“Yeah, you and what army?” Dwayne taunted.

Henrik pulled out a flask and drank from it. A strange shimmering light enveloped him, causing his figure to waver like a miraj. Then his image seemed to split into two, a copy of himself stepping out of the original. Then another stepped forward, before dividing into thirds. Soon, seven copies of Henrik stood around the original, all of them focused on a single member of Neebs and Associates.

Dammit… Hellfire engulfed Basile’s hands, burning through his gloves and licking his arms. He charged forward.

“Nope!” Dwayne shouted as he turned the small hourglass dangling from his neck. The sand within the Amulet of Second Chances glistened in the light, and everything seemed to slow down before reversing at a dizzying speed. Henrik’s clones were sucked back into his body, and Basile was back at the door, and Levi was beside him again.

Henrik reached for his flask, but jumped back as the gleam of a sword flew past him. Torch returned to Rhaegar’s hand, flinging past the bounty hunter a second time as flames danced along the blade. Meanwhile, Marven spat acid at the ground where Henrik stood. The fluids ate away at the floorboards before giving out completely. Henrik fell into the room below, crashing onto the floor, and Marven flew over the hole to peer into the darkness below.

Basile called upon the gift of hellfire Byloth had granted him so many months prior as Lorn stepped in front of him.

“What are you doing?” he barked, moving to step around him, but the wizard blocked his path.

“Stay here,” Lorn said firmly.

“I don’t need protection.”

“I’m not concerned about you, Basile.” Lorn looked past the tiefling toward Levi. The peaceful cleric watched with wide eyes as his son turned to stare at him. “If this man is willing to take us all on to get to you, I have no doubt he will use your father.”

Basile growled under his breath and nodded, moving back to guard his dad. Lorn faced the battle again and thrust out his hands, one towards Rocky and the other towards Marven. He shouted out a string of arcane words, and in a flash of green light the two subjects were replaced. Marven was closer to Lorn, and Rocky was falling into the pit where Henrik lay.

With a roar, Rocky slammed down into Henrik and crashed through the floor into the bottom on the ship. Slightly dazed, Henrik whipped out his crossbow and slammed it against Rocky’s head, knocking the rhek off of him. He grabbed his flask again, but Rocky withdrew the Zephyr Blade and knocked the bottle from the hunter’s grip. It bounced along the floor, rolling and spilling some of the potion inside. Henrik jabbed his elbow up into Rocky’s neck, shoving him off balance before dashing forward to grab the potion. He drank what remained in the bottle and split into seven version of himself once more. As his clones began to climb back up onto the second floor, while the original casts Dispel Magic on Rocky with a wave of his hand.

Basile watched as three Hendrik’s jumped up onto the main deck and quickly cast a spell at him, Neebs, and Dwayne.

“Come to me,” Basile heard in his mind, and a sensation of ropes wrapping around his body started forcing Basile to move forward. With a grunt, Basile forced the thought out of his head and resisted the command. He stepped backward, seeming to snap out of whatever was binding him, and saw Neebs and Dwayne also resisting the Dominate Person spell.

With a roar, Xylander charged forward to attack one of the clones and tackle him to the ground. From beside Basile, Ciaran raised his hands into the air and called upon lightning to strike from the Heavens into the clones.

Taking the risk of leaving his father, Basile sprinted forward until he was close to the clones and then slammed his fist into the ground. His hellfire exploded around him, the blue flames burning and melting the clones. From above, Neebs fired several arrows into the remaining clones on the second floor, a streak of lightning colliding between them all until they turned to dust.

Basile focused his telepathy on Henrik and felt only one set of thoughts returning to him. He looked down into the hole and watched as Dwayne dove into the bottom floor to crash into Henrik and stun him.

“Tie him up,” Basile said as he turned visible. He stood patiently as his comrades shackled Henrik and brought him back up to the main deck, dropping him in front of Basile. The tiefling restrained himself from attacking Henrik. He needed answers first.

“It has been over a decade since my initial trial,” Basile explained. “Why does Ivuram care if I return?”

Henrik shrugged. “Justice must be served, no matter how much time has passed from the crime.”

“I am innocent of that crime,” Basile insisted.

“Yet you knew of the poison before that information was released,” Henrik snapped back, looking agitated for the first time since he arrived on the ship.

“I heard Krause say it in his mind,” Basile explained, forcing his thoughts into Henrik’s. He felt satisfied as he saw the bounty hunter’s eyes widen with surprise. “I had assumed he had spoken the words aloud. That is how I knew during my interrogation.”

Henrik was quiet for a moment, then shook his head. “Just because you’re telepathic now doesn’t mean you were telepathic as a child. You are still guilty until proven innocent.”

“This guy sounds like a waste of our time,” Marven said with a tired sigh. “Basile, would it be cathartic for you to just kill him?”

“And be the murderer he so adamantly says he’s not?” Henrik sneered, glaring at Basile.

The tiefling stared him down, the temptation almost overwhelming. He turned away and started walking away. “Keep him prisoner for now.”

As Marven and Rhaegar began to take Henrik away into the brig, Lorn walked up next to Basile and rested his hand on his shoulder.

“Did you notice the rune on Henrik’s mind?” Lorn asked, keeping his voice low. Basile pursed his lips and nodded. It was hard to ignore, and it brought Basile a strange sense of comfort when he witnessed it when invading the bounty hunter’s thoughts.

“I don’t know what it means.”

“I do, and it isn’t good.”

A sudden shout caught Lorn and Basile’s attention as they saw Marven toss Henrik overboard. Basile rushed over and watched as the bounty hunter unraveled from his chains and began plummeting to the ground.

“What the hell are you doing?” Basile shouted, glaring at Marven.

“Instead of keeping him locked up, I wanted him to drag behind the ship as we sailed as punishment. But it looks like we didn’t have the strongest knots,” Marven said nonchalantly.

With a frustrated groan, Basile muttered an infernal spell to summon shadow wings from his back and dove over the edge. He sped down toward Henrik, reaching out to grab his arm to catch him.

Henrik gripped Basile’s arm and yanked him closer, punching him in the jaw. Blood splattered out from his mouth as Basile lost control and started plummeting as well. He dazedly looked at Henrik and saw the blood on his hands soaking into his skin. Basile began to glow, a golden outline surrounding him.

“What the hell did you do?” Basile snapped as Henrik grinned and held onto him tighter.

“You can’t run from me forever.”

Basile wriggled himself out of Henrik’s grip and flew up, letting him continue to fall. For a moment, he wanted to let him crash into the ground several hundreds of feet below, but flew back to grab him from behind and carry him back to the ship.

“If you keep pushing my luck, I might just kill you,” Basile warned with a growl as he dropped Henrik back on deck. Rhaegar rushed over to start tying up Henrik again before he could escape.

“Now that he’s back, it’s time to get rid of that mark on his mind,” Lorn said as he reached out and touched Henrik’s forehead. Suddenly, a blast of purple mist exploded from Henrik and engulfed Lorn. As the smoke dissipated, the wizard collapsed and started convulsing on the ground.

Basile rushed over to Lorn and grabbed him, trying to stop his convulsing. Lorn’s mind was nothing but silence as he fell still in Basile’s arms. “Dad! Hurry, Lorn needs help!”

Levi rushed over and knelt beside Lorn, holding his hands above his body as he tried to determine what happened. As he started murmuring the words to a healing spell, Lorn snapped back to consciousness.

“Dead! We’re all dead!” he shouted in terror, sitting up to stare at Henrik. His fear melted away into rage as he got to his feet. “Henrik needs to die. If you won’t do it, Basile, I will.”

Basile whipped around and started making his way toward Henrik. The bounty hunter seemed as confused as everyone else, but his gaze was set on Levi.

“He’s alive?”

“Yeah, I brought him back to life you fucker because I didn’t kill him in the first place,” Basile growled as he grabbed Henrik by the shirt and yanked him to his feet. “Now talk. What did you do to Lorn?”

“Let’s not waste time with words,” Lorn said as he came up beside Basile. He grabbed Basile’s arm and cast Modify Memory, forcing Henrik to recall every moment of his life regarding Eythan Addler. Basile closed his eyes, focused all of his energy on Henrik, and felt his mind being sucked into his memories:

Henrik is standing in the crowd, looking up to a young Eythan Addler who is standing on trial. The boy’s eyes are wide as his brother testifies against him, and the crowd begins to shouts “guilty.”

Henrik is inside of Krause’s study, looking out the window toward the woods in the distance. Krause explains that he is to hunt down Eythan at all costs, and to not return until he has him. Henrik agrees and signs the binding document with his blood. In the corner of the room, a man with white hair sits in the shadows. All Henrik can see are bright blue eyes and a grin filled with fangs.

Eythan falls to the ground, a cross bolt stuck in his leg as blood soaks the snow. Henrik approaches to capture him, but gets attacked from behind before a man with golden tattoos pins him to the ground with his glaive. The mysterious man picks up Eythan and carries him away, leaving his eldritch glaive behind.

Henrik is standing in the woods with a man. The man is wearing platinum armor with the symbol of Bahamut on the chest. He reaches out and traces a symbol onto Henrik’s forehead. A purple line follows his finger until it vanishes into Henrik’s mind, sealing him with a spell.

Basile opened his eyes and looked over at Lorn. “Krause and Ivuram made him sign the contract to capture me. The man who saved me was my warlock mentor,” he explained. “I don’t recognize the man in the armor.”

“I recognize him,” Lorn replied stiffly. “He’s a…displeasing person, and the one who just invaded my memories. We are all in more danger than we realize.”

“Alright, I’m over this,” Basile grumbled as he engulfed his hand in blue eldritch flames. “You have spent the last decade hunting me down, and now you’ve threatened not only me, but my friends. I gave you a chance to change, and now you can live your last moments knowing you failed your mission.”

Lorn mumbled an incantation under his breath and raised his hand in the air, forcing Henrik to levitate above the ground. The bounty hunter writhed in the air, attempting to escape from the ropes tying him up. Basile stood beneath him and unleashed his hellfire, pushing all of his anger and pain into his magic. Henrik let out a blood curdling roar as he began to burn away, but his thoughts showed no remorse for his actions. Basile stood back and watched as he was charred to a crisp, with only his singed armor remaining.

As Lorn was about to fling his remains off the side of the boat, Basile walked up and snapped off a finger with ease. He then handed it to the wizard beside him.

“Send this to Oskar Krause,” he ordered. “Tell him if he wants me so bad, he’ll have to come after me himself.” Basile glanced around and saw the other associates, as well as his father, staring at him with shocked looks on their faces. Only Ciaran had known of the ruthlessness that the tiefling kept buried inside. But now that he was visible for all to see, he couldn’t hide that part of him. Without another word, he turned and stormed off to his bunk, shaking from rage, disgust, and guilt.

***

“Basile, are you still in here?” Levi asked as he walked into the empty bedroom. There were two beds: the smaller one was messy, with the blankets strewn about and a plush animal on the pillow. The other was tidy, except for the wrinkles near the center. “It’s been several hours since…” his voice trailed off as he stood still.

The tiefling lay on his bed, his arms folded behind his head. He focused on blocking his father’s thoughts, mentally putting up a sheet of lead to protect his mind. He remained silent, hoping that Levi would leave.

But parents were persistent.

“If you have something on your mind, I’m always here to listen.”

Basile kept quiet and closed his eyes.

“I’m not upset with you, if that’s what you’re worried about. You’re still my son and I still love you.”

The tiefling groaned. “Dad…”

Levi chuckled and little and walked closer to the bed. “Still bashful when it comes to affection I see.” He sat down on the edge of the bed and could feel Basile shift over to give him some space. “I know you don’t think that you deserve to be cared for, but you do.”

“Is that why you came in here? To remind me that I’m not a monster?” Basile asked.

“I came here to make sure that you’re okay.”

Basile furrowed his brow, resting his hands in his lap. “Why wouldn’t I be okay?”

“You just killed a man. Quite gruesomely, I must add.”

Basile grimaced at the memory. He sat up and pulled his knees to chest, wrapping his arms around himself. “I wish you hadn’t seen that.”

“I wish you didn’t have to do subject yourself to that,” Levi added with a worried frown. “Such an act requires a great amount of willpower, but it also affects us in the worst ways.”

“I’ve killed other monsters…even people…” Basile trailed off, the memory of innocent bystanders watching their homes go up in flames as he fled from capture time and time again. He never stuck around to witness their demise, and yet he felt haunted by it. This feeling in his chest was ten times worse.  “Why do I feel so guilty killing him?”

“Henrik wasn’t a nameless stranger or monster. He was a part of your past. He was someone you’ve been running from.”

Basile let himself turn visible, too tired to keep up his illusion. He rested his head against his knees, squeezing his eyes shut – but all he could imagine was Henrik going up in flames. “I could have spared him.”

“Yeah, you could’ve,” Levi replied. “But Henrik was never a good man. His job always came before his morals. Even when the truth was right in front of him, he followed orders.”

“But did he deserve the fate I gave him?”

Levi wrapped his arm around Basile’s shoulder and pulled him close, patting him lightly with his hand. “Only you can be the judge of that. But if you ask me, you gave him a chance and he didn’t accept your mercy. He was too far gone for forgiveness.”

“He made me a murderer,” Basile murmured, his voice cracking as he realized he was no better than the man who killed his father.

“Yet in the eyes of Ioun, you did the right thing.”

Basile wrapped his arms around Levi’s waist and felt bile crawling up his throat. He could barely forgive himself for what he had done. How could his dad possibly forgive him?

How could Ioun?

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