Carrick huddled against the wood bar, his tattered robe dark and vibrant against Acintya’s white walls and native garb. At this point, he could really give a fuck less. He nursed his whiskey, thoughts swirling around Raine and how he’d let that god escape. His hand itched. He hadn’t fired the thing in months, but, for all intents and purposes, the gun had been subsumed into his flesh. The odor of dried spices wafted in through the glassless windows.
Someone plopped down on the stool next to him. Carrick withdrew, grunting in disapproval as he pulled the glass up to his chapped lips.
“This really is beneath you, Carrick,” a steady voice said.
Carrick coughed, the liquor burned his throat as he fought to regain control. Rather than cause anymore of a spectacle of himself, he slowly peered beyond the hood. He didn’t recognize the man.
His luminescent green eyes regarded him with compassion, understanding. He had thick dark brown hair that fell to his shoulders. He smelled of dust and decay, despite the perfumed cloth around his neck. The man smiled, “Haden Doherty.”
“How do you know my name?”
Haden laid his arm on the counter, palm up. He brushed Carrick’s arm, setting his nerves afire. A gasp of pain escaped Carrick’s lips, but Haden didn’t seem to notice. “Let’s just say we’ve both had our brush with the gods.” He checked the bartender’s location, then revealed a set of dials embedded in his flesh. He exposed them only for a second, then pulled the white cloth back over his skin.
“What do you want?”
Haden smiled then. “I’m a part of a small group of hunters. You might call us god slayers. We’ve gotten intel that you’ve become quite efficient at it and that one of your comrades has ascended.”
“He was no friend of mine.”
“Even better.” Haden faced Carrick fully. “We have reason to believe they have a hidden city where they congregate. If we can infiltrate that, well, we can serve the one true god at that point.”
Carrick sneered at that point, but his hood masked it. He faced Haden, taking in the man. He reached out his scarred hand and shook Haden’s. “Looks like you’ve found your man.”