Crucial Round Prologue

By John Boske

The sun beat down hard on Clive’s shoulders - it wasn’t the first time he regretted wearing his thick black cloak. Small beads of sweat ran down his forehead as he slowly walked along the central street of Radat, rifle in hand. He glanced behind him and nodded at the short, brown-haired figure behind him. Clive had only known John for a week or so, but somehow he had learned to trust the boy. Probably ‘cause I’m gonna need him to stop Elza, he thought.

Clive wiped his thoughts clean as he spotted the Radat bar. He froze. The informant in Rockaxe indicated this bar as Elza’s new location.

"She’s in there" he whispered to John. "Let’s go."

John nodded and moved to Clive’s side as they entered the bar. The noisy chatter of the townspeople died down as, one by one, they noticed the menacing-looking figure in the doorway. The massive weapon he cradled in his arms was no relief either.

Clive spoke up. "I’m looking for someone. A woman by the name of Elza. She’s about my height, blond, wears a white cloak. Has anyone seen her?"

His question was met with silence. After what seemed like hours, one man stood up from his chair and approached Clive.

"She’s gone" he said simply. "She was here for a few hours yesterday, and then left."

Clive’s eyes widened as the man’s words echoed in his ears. Damn it! She got away again!! "Did she say where she was going?!" he yelled. Please, for the love of God, let there be some clue… some lead…

"Sorry, she said nothing. She paid her bill and left without a word."

Clive closed his eyes and clenched his teeth. "She did it… she did it again…" His palms began to sweat, and he felt his rifle begin to slip. He didn’t care when the gun fell out of his hands. He didn’t care when it clattered to the ground. He only cared that he had failed. Again.


Clive opened his eyes. He recognized the voice - John’s. He then felt a hand on his shoulder. "Take it easy. You picked up the trail once, you can do it again." Clive silently thanked John for his compassion, but did not indicate his appreciation.

"… Yeah… yeah, I guess so."

"We’d better go. The others are waiting." Clive simply nodded.


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