There was a strange, icy chill in the air as the small group of thugs glanced around the rather spartan room. There wasn't any natural light in the room either; If there were any windows in this room they had cleared been covered up to the point where they were simply lost in the shadows of the room... and boy were there shadows.
The only lights in the room came from two desk lamps on that were carefully positioned on a rather well made and polished oak desk, likely costing more then any of the individuals currently standing in front of it had ever held at any one point in their lives. The lights also seemed to have been strategically positioned so that, while their soft glow did revel the man behind the desk and lit up the area in front of it, beyond that all it seemed to do was cast the rest of the room in deep shadow... shadows which rose the hairs on the back of one's neck and made your skin crawl with the feeling that something
was watching from them...
" the middle aged man seated behind the desk started, his words filling the chilly silence that hung in the air with an energy and mirth of a younger man... through there seemed to be a hint of an accent of unknown origin lingering in his voice even after all these years "You all have a reputation in our line of work. A good reputation. A reputation for getting the job done despite whatever complications might have arisen. But what is reputation? Word of mouth... rumors... I have a job in mind to confirm if your reputations are more than just gossip.
Pushing himself to his feet, the aged but strangely jovial man took a deep breath. "I too have reputation. Not so pleasant I think you know...
" Snapping his fingers sharply, the sound of metal grating against a poorly oiled railing filled the air as a sliding door in the wall behind the desk opened up... and reveled a man hanging upside down from the ceiling, stripped naked of clothing... and from the look of it, a great deal of his skin as well. "See this man? He does not do the job. I show you what I do with him...
" walking over to what the light from the new room reveled was a sliding metal door, the man grasped the handle as he started to slide the door closed again "And now my reputation for you is fact. Is solid.
Almost as an afterthought, he man reached up to adjust his glasses before glancing back over his shoulder at the now closed and hidden door. "My wife's nephew. I'm going to be getting earful at dinner... there is no avoiding that.
" Remembering where he was, he cleared his throat as he turned back to his audience. "Oh yes, why I summoned you. One of my... shall we say... vassals has grown rather cocky as of late. Cocky enough in fact that he has seemingly forgotten the nature of our relationship but not... I feel, to the point where he would need to be replaced. Merely have his poor attitude... corrected.
With the confidence of a man that had no issues with torture or killing, the man returned to his desk and sat down once more. "My associate Crow will meet you outside with the stock standard information. Who he is, where he lives, his family ect. But I do not wish for him or his family to be killed or end up with bad enough injuries that a trip to the hospital is required. If you are successful in correcting his behavior while meeting my requirements then we will have a wonderful business relationship going forward... fail and...
" A knowing smile appeared on his face. "Do not let me detain you.
As the gathered thugs left at a walk (through a rather fast paced walk) and the older man turned his attention towards some of the papers on his desk that needed his attention and unknown to either party, one shadowy smoke covered form broke away from the shadows of the room to follow the group of thugs with keen interest. It wouldn't feast from them... at least, not yet. After all, they were leading it towards a place that was soon to be consumed by agonizing dread and suffering of the highest degree... and if they didn't inspire that in other people, they themselves would be the ones to suffer for their failures. Win-Win really.
In the shadows of a dark, icy room barely lit by two desk lamps, shadows shifted to take advantage of the space that had just been made to get more comfortable.