Mirrkir was hunting the Illuminati.
They were like an infestation; easy to find, (if you knew where to look) hard to get rid of.
Luckily, Mirrkir's whole life was dedicated to removing their presence.
Clyde Vance was Mirrkir's contact in this town. A psychic who loved arcade games and could extend his senses through the city's power grid. If anyone knew where the Illuminati cabal was hiding out, it would be Clyde.
Mirrkir entered Clyde's Arcade, a bell tinkled and Mirrkir was faced with a room full of blinking machines and bright decor that was obviously clinging to the eighties like a man on the edge of a cliff.
Mirrkir saw neither hide, nor hair of any other soul.
"You there, Clyde?" his voice rang out, sounding more like a demand than a question.
There was no response.
The lack of customers did not surprise Mirrkir. What surprised Mirrkir was that Clyde was not sitting there, glued to a game of Asteroids, Ms. Pacman, or Joust.
Mirrkir carefully stalked his way past each row of machines. Everything was in place, everything was perfectly fine. He paced around the room, towards the counter.
The cash was still there meaning that thieves were out of the question, but the staff door was slightly ajar, which caught his attention.
He stepped through the doorway, and immediately regretted it.
The mutilated corpse of what used to be Clyde Vance gazed at Mirrkir, glassy-eyed but still both terrified and terrifying. Symbols that Mirrkir did not recognise were carved into bruised and tortured flesh.
The corpse did not disturb Mirrkir. It wasn't a fresh experience for him. Mirrkir knelt down to get a closer look at the symbols in Clyde's flesh. They were fresh cuts, Mirrkir noticed. Which would mean that the killer wasn't too far away.
Mirrkir looked up, just in time to see the blade descending towards his skull.
Mirrkir dodged to the left, but he wasn't fast enough to avoid the death blow entirely; the blade smashed down into the shoulder of his jacket, which immediately turned a hazy grey for a moment, before revealing itself to be a shirt of golden chainmail, glamour placed upon it having failed.
Only Mirrkir's thick pauldron had spared him a vicious wound. He glared up at his assailant and tried for an intimidating grin.
The killer gave no indication of it's success and Mirrkir was was forced to roll out of the way of the next slash.
The blade drove at him again, but the strike was too clumsy, Mirrkir managed to bat it off-course. He got back to his feet, before he had to dodge again.
The attacker was not a great swordsman, his strikes were slow, and Mirrkir noticed that such a large blade was a poor choice for close-quarters.
Mirrkir leaped forward, and closed the gap between them, rendering the sword useless.
Unfortunately, the gun did not have that problem.
In the time it took for Mirrkir to close the distance between them, the killer had produced a handgun and pulled the trigger.
Mirrkir barely registered the bullet as it punched through his gleaming chainmail, barely even noticed the tiny piece of metal as it tunneled through flesh and promptly made a bloody exit through his back.
Mirrkir felt himself stumble drunkenly into his opponent, gasping, hands clutching at the hole in his gut.
His hands were shaking, but he managed to use his bloody hands to draw a crude sigil of Chiron on his opponent's chest.
His magic was weakening as his grip on life did the same. But Mirrkir managed to empower the mark anyway.
The killer stiffened as he saw what was going on.
There was no time for either of them to seek safety as the wormhole opened up beneath their feet and everything went black.
Mirrkir woke to the sensation of his body making a dull impact on a linoleum floor. He groaned and reluctantly rejoined the living world. He knew that his slumber must have been induced through drugs, or else he would have been able to contact his compatriots and fellow Hunters through his dreams.
He opened his eyes and found himself face to face with a Luckpriest.
The Luckpriests were formidable enemies of Mirrkir's Order. Bequeathed with a multitude of fortunomantic powers, no two were ever quite the same.
This one grinned down at him with madness written clearly across his mustachioed face. He wore a combination of a leopard-print tuxedo, a cape with bronze discs sewn onto it, and a white silk hat.
Mirrkir very slowly, very carefully, got to his feet.
His bullet wound had healed. It was not the first time that Mirrkir thanked his magical enhancements. Without them he would have been dead many times over, but the esoteric symbols tattooed onto his body were infused with powerful defensive magic.
Mirrkir did a mental status check. Firstly, his shoulders and stomach roared with pain. Secondly, he had no new wounds of note. Thirdly, his hands were bound. Fourthly, his chainmail was gone.
That was a real problem.
"You are an Order of fools and halfwits," a voice like a blade on a whetstone mused. Mirrkir's eyes snapped up, and he stared at the Luckpriest with indignation. "That's right," the Luckpriest continued, "The Order of the Grey Lotus, correct? Fools. All of you are fools."
Mirrkir's gaze hardened. Eyes that were once merely steely, were now like diamonds. But he refused to say anything. One insolent word and the Luckpriest might murder him right there.
Then again, there was a good chance of that happening no matter what he said.
The Luckpriest was obviously amused at his silence. "And you, Hunter. All of you Hunters. You are the most foolish of all. You wear your golden mail, you inscribe yourselves with markings that alter your very fibre, you burn a path through the darkness of your own ignorance, never once asking Why?."
"True," Mirrkir agreed with a shrug of his shoulders.
"No. I don't need to."
"...Don't....need...to care about why you hunt? About who you hunt?"
"I have a purpose. That is enough."
The Luckpriest gave him an incredulous look, before hauling Mirrkir to his feet. "No matter," he continued. "Lady Luck shall determine your fate." He gestured towards an enormous wheel of fortune that Mirrkir had failed to notice amongst the fear, pain, and accusations of idiocy.
It was Mirrkir's turn to be incredulous. "You're going to determine my fate by spinning a wheel?"
"But of course!" the Luckpriest exclaimed, his voice filled with mad glee. "Good Luck!"
Mirrkir's face dropped as the Luckpriest cackled and gave the wheel an almighty tug, sending it into a rapid series of revolutions. The wheel never seemed to lose any speed, and Mirrkir felt himself begin to grow lost as he watched it spin endlessly. It seemed to go on for hours, without slowing down even the tiniest bit, but then it came to an abrupt halt that Mirrkir barely noticed, he was so transfixed.
The wheel had come to rest on a section labelled 'Dissolution'. Mirrkir looked at it, then glanced at the Luckpriest who had begun to cackle with demented fervor.
"Finally! An end to this dance of death," he managed to declare through outbursts of laughter. "Hunter Mirrkir shall die at the hands of his quarry and the fireflies, frogs, and falcons shall rejoice." His mad eyes widened and he seemingly pulled a staff from out of thin air.
It was about five feet long and appeared to be made out of a freshly-broken tree branch. Sap still leaked from the end and healthy, green foliage still clung to it.
Four streaks of amber-gold began to appear in the air, just beyond the tip of the staff. Mirrkir sensed that 'Dissolution' was imminent, and tried to run out of the way of the amber-gold magic.
But it was in that moment that Mirrkir realised that everything he'd ever heard about the Luckpriests, about the dangerous men and women who allied with ancient conspiracies, and worshipped Luck. Every time that someone mentioned how dangerous, how insane, how deadly, they were...
It was true.
Within the space of a clock's tick, four amber-gold spears lanced into Hunter Mirrkir's back, making him howl in agony. The blood. The blood was everywhere. "Hunter Mirrkir," he managed to quietly gasp to himself, "died in the line of duty. His duty." Mirrkir felt a grim smile spread itself across his cold lips.
Marcus closed the door to Clyde's Arcade as he stepped out onto the street. It was dusk already, he'd wasted so much time on the games. He wasn't even good at them. He didn't know why he kept coming.
Marcus' feet ached as he walked down the street.
The sky was a dark grey, just like his life.
The pavement was a dark grey, just like his life.
The buildings were a dark grey, just like his life.
There was no point to any of it. Nor to him. No job, no goal, no purpose.
Marcus was so lost in thought, he managed to walk right into a mustachioed stranger who was wearing the ugliest tuxedo ever made.
He muttered his apologies and returned to his rambling, homebound depression.
There were puddles in the street. When had it been raining?
They showed him visions of a frowning young man, wrapped in a bright yellow jacket.
Marcus wandered back to his purposeless life.