It was rumoured round the streets of Edom that Magnus Bane would do anything for a price.
Whether it was to rob a bank, break someone’s arm or kill a man, he would do it as long as the price was right.
Rumours clung to Magnus like the wisps of mist that hovered above the seas calm waves at the harbour of Edom in the early morning.
The boy the residents of Edom knew as the Warlock only needed the promise of a wealthy payment in order to deliver his services.
On nights like these when the starless sky was silence and thrummed heavy with the anticipation of a confrontation, the rumours of Magnus’s dark doings wrapped around him like a shield as he limped his way down the street, his cane tapping hollowly against the cobblestones.
His grey jacket was tailored to fit, the brass buttons winking in the dark along with the silver cat headed cane he leaned heavily on, the cravat at his neck was tucked snuggly against his neck in a black velvet waistcoat. Black eye liner delicately framed his gold-green cat eye, the pupils slitted and scanning his surroundings.
Magnus Bane was dressed for business.
Houses loomed oppressively over Magnus as he made his way along the street, squashed and squeezed together as though they were trying to get a view of what was to come, their unseeing windows cast in deep shadow.
High heeled boots sounded behind Magnus but he did not need to turn to see who it was.
Isabelle Lightwood, his chosen companion for tonight, stalked close behind him. As weapons master of Magnus’ gang, the Downworlders, Isabelle was trained in every weapon and could easily kill a grown man with her bare hands.
Very valuable if tonight’s meeting went wayward.
The end of the street opened out to the harbour, the smell of the sea and dead fish assaulting Magnus as he and Izzy were spat out into the dull light casted by the lamps that gave the houses along the harbour a golden tinge.
Magnus limped forward, his features cool and calm even as a figure stepped into the light, slowing to a stop as the figure approached.
“Well if it isn’t the so called Marvellous Magnus Bane,” the figure taunted as he strolled casually towards Magnus, chains glinting gold on his wrists and neck.
A false smile graced Magnus’ lips. Isabelle stopped beside him, a look of thinly veiled disgust curling her lip towards newcomer.
The man stopped a foot away from Magnus, a safe distance between them.
Good , Magnus thought, he knows who he’s dealing with.
“Lorenzo Rey,” Magnus greeted the figure, placing both his hands on top on his cane in front of him. He looked poised and elegant as a cat, ready to pounce. “I see you brought a friend too. Elias, is it?” He said gesturing towards the figure by Lorenzo’s side.
Elias said nothing, choosing instead to glare at him.
Magnus shrugged. “I do wish you wouldn’t refer to me as marvellous. Now ‘Magnificent Magnus Bane’ sounds much more glamorous, don’t you think?” Magnus asked, eyebrow raised mockingly.
Lorenzo sneered. “Now, Bane I didn’t come here to hear you gloat-“
“No, you’re right. As much as I love talking about myself, I did come here to discuss business with you.”
Lorenzo gave a blinding smile. “Decided to give it in with the Downworlders? Or have they got fed up of taking orders from a little brat like you?” The man taunted.
Lorenzo moved a step towards Magnus, ignoring Isabelle’s move forward in case he tried anything.
He was getting bold.
“Do you really think Asmodeus would want to take on someone like you? I’d rather die than let someone like you Bane into the Crimson Hand.”
Magnus gave a dangerous smile.
“Oh, I’m not here for that. No Lorenzo, I’m here for something else.”
At Lorenzo’s frown, Magnus continued, “as you know Fifth Harbour belongs to the Downworlders. I acquired it by . . . some certain methods that I don’t want to get into. But I’m pretty sure you already know this, don’t you Rey?”
Lorenzo opened his mouth to say something but Magnus pressed on, “so imagine my surprise when I find out that some of the cargo from my shipment has gone missing.” He gave a pointed look at the other man who was studying him closely, as if waiting for Magnus suddenly to bite him, to trap him in his web of words.
“Now,” Magnus said, leaning off his cane as he walked around Lorenzo in a circle, winking at Elias as he limped by, coming to face Lorenzo again. “Only a fool would steal my shipment and strangely enough you’re the first person I thought of.”
“Why you little-“
Faster than Lorenzo thought possible, Magnus was in front of him, mere inches from his face, crowding his space.
“Finish that sentence,” Magnus snarled, daring the other man.
Lorenzo simply stuttered, fear freezing him as he gazed into the man’s cat eyes that shone with anger. In that swirling mess of gold and green, Lorenzo caught the dangerous glint in the other’s eyes, a glint that told Lorenzo that Magnus Bane was not a man to mess with, hinting at what earned Bane the name Warlock, the name that struck fear into people, the one that was whispered in terror along the streets of Edom, even amongst the members of The Crimson Hand.
Sensing Lorenzo’s fear, Magnus smirked at him, stepping away and taking the cloud of fear that had surrounded Lorenzo with him.
“Stay away from Fifth Harbour, Rey,” Magnus warned, turning his back on the other man and gesturing for Isabelle to follow. “Or else you’ll be the one that’s missing.”
Magnus began to walk away, into the darkness that crowded around them.
A glint in the moonlight caught in the corner of his eye, then a flash of silver, a cry of pain -
- And what felt like the barrel of gun being pointed at his back.
Magnus stopped walking, hearing the click of the gun that Lorenzo was holding and feeling it dig deeper into his back.
At a side glance he saw Isabelle, silver snake whip in hand, a furious expression on her beautiful face.
The end of her whip was wrapped around Elias’ hands as he struggled against it, a knife carelessly discarded on the ground.
Behind him, Lorenzo gave out a smug laugh.
“Well, well, well, looks like you’ve found yourself in quite the predicament,” he said a smirk in his voice.
Magnus stayed absolutely still, his back ramrod straight as the coldness of the barrel seeped through his clothes, spreading across his back like cold blood.
There was every chance that Isabelle could knock out Elias with one move before taking down Lorenzo.
But she wouldn’t be fast enough before Lorenzo could fire the gun.
Still keeping the barrel pressed between his shoulder blade, Lorenzo continued, ignoring the strangled yelp of pain from Elias.
“You ought to be careful, Bane, at who you threaten. I am Lorenzo Rey, second-in-command of the Crimson Hand. I am better than you, Bane! Your superior and soon I’ll have you begging for-“
“How do you take your coffee?” Magnus interrupted, speaking calmly despite a gun being pointed at him.
The question caught Lorenzo off guard, causing him to come to a stuttering stop.
Surely this man, this thing, would be begging for his life.
Still speaking in the calm tone of a tranquil lake, Magnus continued. “Black with two sugars? Is that how you have your coffee?”
Minutes passed as Lorenzo tried to comprehend what was happening.
“No,” he eventually said, “no, I don’t take my coffee like that. That’s how . . .”
He paused, realisation dawning on him.
Magnus turned around, albeit slowly, to face Lorenzo.
A satisfied smirked spread along Magnus’ lips at the fear in Rey’s eyes.
“Shoot him, Rey for God’s sakes,” Elias suddenly cried, tugging against his restraints.
“Shut the fuck up!” Isabelle snarled, tightening her whip and Elias mewled in pain, his hands turning a deep shade of blue.
Magnus ignored all of this, keeping his gaze fixed on Lorenzo, who now had the gun pointed at his chest.
“There’s a coffee house, just up east of the harbour. Java Jones. It’s quite nice, bit far though. But that makes it perfect if you don’t want to be seen by other gangs. And you don’t want to be seen by other gangs, do you Lorenzo?” Magnus asked, raising an eyebrow. “You don’t want to be seen with the lover you meet there, especially since he works for my gang.”
Silenced settled over the scene as Lorenzo took in the new information.
“H . . . how do you know?” Lorenzo whispered, the gun in his hand shaking slightly.
They were careful, he and his lover, always so careful.
Magnus laughed, the sound incongruous to the tense atmosphere.
“I have my ways,” was all he said, his face turning serious again. It was though a mask had been put on, as though a switch had been flicked. “You leave Fifth Harbour alone, Rey. I don’t care if Asmodeus orders you to do it. If I find that my shipment is missing again I’ll send your lover to you. Piece by piece.”
He let the threat dance in the midnight air, twirling around Lorenzo and his frightened eyes.
Magnus then turned to leave but the end of the gun still stayed pinned to his chest.
“You forget Bane,” Lorenzo hissed, “I could just shoot you right here and now.”
The other man let out a humourless laugh. “You think I’m the only one who knows?” Magnus spat harshly. “I have others out there Rey, who will spread your love affair around quicker than a plague. What do you think the other scum of Edom will do if they find out you fuck one of mine. Do you think they’ll just leave him be? No. They tear him limb from limb and display his rotting corpse on the Church of Talto’s spires for all to see.”
Again, Magnus laughed at the terror forming on Lorenzo’s face. Oh this was just too much fun! Watching the other squirm at his threats.
But still the gun remained on Magnus’ chest.
He let out a sigh. This had gone on long enough.
“Shoot me then,” Magnus said, causing all three to snap their heads towards him. “Shoot me,” he repeated, gazing at Lorenzo. “See what happens to your precious boy toy when you do. Do think you’ll be fast enough to get him out before they descend upon him? Eh?”
He was grinning like an idiot now, even as Lorenzo’s finger twitched on the trigger.
The other man gulped, taking a deep breath.
And went to pull the trigger.