The Monarkh was a relatively well known establishment, to soldiers at least.. By now, the classy and rustic bar should be filled with rowdy troops, inebriated to hell and back from the scotch or vodka or whatever drink they could get their hands on. Most of them merrily exchanging war stories with each other and the locals, guffawing over vicious exploits and drunken ventures. Others would be drunkenly getting into brawls, staining the dark red brick walls with hard-to-wash alcohol, making it harder for the bartender to clean up when the sun finally rose over the horizon. By now, a few glasses should have already been smashed, leaving many small bursts of shattered glass laying haphazardly all over the bar floor, which would have been clean otherwise. Well, excluding the puddles of spilled beer and ale of course. By now, the counter should have served many weary and drunken patrons, some of whom would have passed out on the countertop before getting kicked out by the manager once the sun rose.
The bar counter itself was the sole pride and story of the establishment. It was entirely fashioned from a mismatched bunch of gears, nuts, and bolts, each piece of the counter telling a different story to the patrons. A handful of bullets and casings in the corner could have been the ones used in the last campaign against Kuragon. The armored plating in another could have been from the tank that eradicated a town a few clicks away. Each piece had been gradually gathered over the war-battered years to create the counter seen today, with most of the parts having been used as payment by the clientele rather than forking over the Marq’s needed.
But tonight, there was something strange happening at the bar. It was already a few minutes past nine, but none had woken up from the bar’s noise. In fact, there was no noise from the bar to wake anyone up in the first place. No. The bar wasn’t open for business tonight.
Except for the two men seated inside.
The first was a Swedish man who seemed like he was in the middle of his late thirties. He had dirty blonde hair styled in a long crew cut, yet still short enough to keep hair away from his face at all times. If one were to describe the man’s eyes, they would tell you that it mirrored a shade of amber - the light brown orbs displaying a cold, hard look that showed the world the owner’s long experience on the battlefield. The Kaiserreich officer’s uniform that he wore proudly was a navy blue dress coat reminiscent of those of Old Britannia's Royal Navy’s. Underneath the coat was a long-sleeved polo shirt, with a pair of slacks to match. The man also kept a saber at his waist, its hilt and guard being a dull silver with a number of runic carvings.
The other man, in contrast to the former, looked considerably older. The wrinkle lines that marred his cheeks and eyes told of a man in the last stage of his life, perhaps surpassing sixty years in this life. His greyed hair was slicked back to give it a clean appearance, yet the bristles that strayed from the form betrayed its lack of care. His eyes were dull and dark, two disks over deep crescents -eye bags- on the skin beneath. But what of the cause? The answer was unspoken, lost, gone in the throes of faded memories wrought on by exhaustion. His long, black velvet coat seemed to speak the same of the man who wore it, but the bright silk vestments underneath were kept clean, the only part about him that seemed to be befitting that of a nobleman, the type of person who looked totally out of place in a bar such as this.
The first man spoke.
“So... what exactly did I get myself into this time, Claus? If I’m being sent to slaughter, then you should at least tell me where the house is.”
“A black ops unit.” The reply was accompanied by the sound of pouring whiskey.
“The brief already said that much, but I need more details if you want results,” The other man leaned back in his chair, furrowing his eyebrows slightly. “I can’t liquidate the mark if you don’t tell me who the mark is. And for a mission of a scale this grand, I’m already expecting that you organized a team for it, but I can’t work with people I don’t even know the names of. So?”
The nobleman sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Will, when I told you that this is classified information, I mean it. Even I have no information regarding the formation of this black ops unit. I had to scrape up what I could from rumors, and you and I know how reliable they can be. But. . .” The man held up a hand once he noticed his friend’s attention slipping away. The nobleman leaned forward, a his lifeless eyes finally alight with a small gleam. “if there is one thing that I can say is true, it’s that all of the major nations aside from Kuragon are in on it.”
The blonde man frowned. “What else?”
“Well…” The gleam vanished from the man’s eyes and they went back to being lifeless. He sighed and slumped over the table, holding his a hand to his head. “There is a word that’s made a constant case of appearing in all of the files that I have been given clearance over…”
“What word would that be?” The blonde leaned forward, interest now piqued.
A pause. Silence fell over the two as the robed man took a moment to think about his next words, for its power was far more than anyone could ever fathom. He drew in a steady breath of the stale air as he prepared himself to speak its name. He glanced at his blonde friend, setting his hardened gaze onto his compatriot with all the severity of the situation.
There, the silence was broken. For once, both men seemed to truly understand what this word would entail. Everything that would happen . . . All the lives that would see their end because of this. . . As if having the same thought, the two men proceeded to take a shot of hard scotch, as if it would be their last drink alive together.
Claus said nothing, deciding to gaze contemplatively into his empty shot glass, eyes glazed in deep thought.
“Well, then,” The screech of wooden legs scraped the wooden floor as Will proceeded to stand.
“You’re leaving then?”
The clacking of polished leather shoes falling on the creaky floorboards seemed louder than they should have been as he walked towards the entrance, as if they were carrying the weight that was now lain upon his shoulders. However, as he neared the door, he stopped and turned to face his friend, smirking.
“Who do you take me for old friend? After all, I finally have the opportunity to have my name go down in history.”
Claus was silent as the younger man left the bar, said man’s intent being very clear to him. He just continued to stare at his glass, wondering if this was indeed going to be the event Will thought it would be.
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