|"Blood in the Water" from Sharks Diving|
Silence filled the air with a bittersweet symphony that was too cacophony to be quiet. There was an oddness about it that was a little unfamiliar to Xander. Normally he would walk down these slimy alleys that smelled of piss and shit, not to mention the sewage that filtered up from the bellows of the hell below the city. This smell would linger upon Xander's nostrils like flies on rice, but this night it didn't. This night Xander had all his attention on the blood diamond he now held in his hands. It's delicate curvatures from the fine cuts upon its surface shone a pure reflection of red upon his face. Almost like there was a fire burning deep inside the wondrous gem. Or perhaps it was his own desire that he felt. Either way he had a change of heart that surely would make some new enemies. Then again Xander Cross was well known for making enemies.
|"Iron Gates" by Helen's Journal|
By the time he had arrived at the wrought iron gates, Xander knew he would be facing hell's open gates sooner than later. “What do ya know? Looks like someone is expecting me.” The mansion's garden had a water fountain spouting out a red ichor that resembled blood, but it was indeed a putrid dye from the city's horrible water plant. On top of the fountain was an angel of mercy crying with tears of blood. Surely a symbol that the big boss isn't someone to be screwed around with. The whole time that Xander had worked for the Black Hand he realized he was playing around with the big guys. No seriously, these guys were ripped with muscle and have the scars to prove it.
Xander took his time walking up the vine covered steps that led up to the front door of his reckoning hour. He mapped out ever single route he could take if anything “bad” would happen to him. One trade a renown thief possessed was the ability to scout ahead for escape routes. There were a couple opportune places that he could see. Either he could escape to the roof of this abnormally tall mansion and leap to his doom, or he could trek through the unbearable sewers of the city's finest. “What have I gotten myself into?” Xander kept his head low as he ascended to his doom. Just enough that he could still see what was around him, but low enough that everyone else couldn't see his cynical grin.
|"Ugly Orc" from the Digital Art Gallery|
Standing before him was a tall, gruff, and ugly scruff of a man. His brows furrowed downward and were bushier than an elephant's armpits. Xander chuckled a little bit and the guard uncrossed his bulky arms. Black Hand guards were known for strangling people to death, and Xander was ready if that was about to happen. His dagger was only three inches from his waist, and his hands were well hidden underneath his cloak's garments to not give away his movement. The guard reached out and Xander's heart rapidly thrusted forward as the adrenaline slowly built within him. Next thing he knew, the guard was patting him down looking for weapons. “Watch it there bud. Those precious jewels aren't yours you know.” The guard didn't break for a single moment from Xander's sarcasm. Without a single word the porch door swung open, and Xander was ushered in.
“Welcome to hell Xander,” he muttered to himself, “there is no going back now.”