He stood in the doorway, head bowed, a sword in each hand. Heavy white armor coated his body, and beads of sweat rolled down his forehead and dripped down his metal shirt. At the sound of a footstep to his left, he raised his head and looked right in the face of Maddox Nixon.
"I've been waiting for you," he snarled, raising his hand.
"It's been a long time, Onyx."
"Too long, indeed. You know what you've done. I know what you've done. You are at the end of the line, Maddox. My master has run out of patience."
"Your bark is bigger than your bite, as usual."
"We'll see how big my bite is when I sink my teeth into you."
"Quite the charmer, aren't you?" Maddox laughed, but it was a cruel and sadistic laugh that seemed to echo throughout the deserted streets of Vatican City.
Onyx drew his sword, relishing in the chink of metal-on-metal as he pointed it at Maddox's throat. "Prepare to meet death."
Maddox laughed again. "I have been staring death in the face for years now. I am not intimidated by your efforts. I have fought for so long, I am not at the point of surrender yet, and by the Warden's beard, I'll fight until I cannot lift my sword."
With that, Maddox drew his sword and slashed at Onyx. Onyx, although unprepared, neatly parried and stepped forward, driving his boot into Maddox's knee and swinging for his throat.
Maddox stumbled and looked to be on the verge of falling, but he recovered himself and responded with a flying lunge as he dove at Onyx's chest.
Onyx deflected the blow with ease and dropped to the ground, using his left hand to steady himself and jabbing upwards towards Maddox's chest.
Maddox leaped out of the way and came at Onyx with a quick counter-attack, jabbing at various unprotected points in Onyx's armor. His blade grazed Onyx's shoulder, and Onyx winced as he felt the warm blood trickle down his left bicep.
Maddox crowed in triumph, but Onyx lunged and disarmed Maddox with a perfectly-executed flick of the wrist, successfully sending Maddox's sword across the street. Before Maddox could respond, Onyx kneed him in the stomach and forced him on his back, holding his sword to the throat.
"I could always beat you, Maddox. Even when we were oathbrothers, I was always better than you," Onyx panted, a smile spreading across his lips.
Maddox spat at him in disgust. "You were always so proud, strutting around like a peacock. I was there to protect you, but your arrogance got the better of you."
Onyx grinned. "I was proud, but for good reason, Maddox. I was first class in karate, second class in fencing, first class in kung fu, and second class in strength and endurance training."
"But you were eighth class in literature, ninth class in military strategy, sixth in maths, and sixth in meditation."
"All useless arts that you happened to excel at," Onyx snapped. "It is of no consequence now. First class in military strategy proved very useful, didn't it? Now you are completely at my mercy."
"You would not kill me, Maddox. Not when the game is still young. You forget that you are not indispensible to the Warden. He will not hesitate to dispose of you if he thinks you may have switched sides by killing one of his own."
"But if I would submit believable evidence that you were a traitor, perhaps that would be a valid excuse for your untimely death."
"And how would you concoct such evidence?"
Onyx smiled again. "Just because I failed military strategy does not mean that I am clueless as to how to play this deadly game of chess that we find ourselves in. I have taken some of your personal clothing and tainted them with the blood of that French spy we found dead a few weeks ago. That alone is enough to link you to the crime, and I have bribed several eyewitnesses to present testimonies that they saw someone matching your description around the scene of the crime."
"There is still one thing I don't understand, Onyx. Why? Why would you go to such lengths, take such risks, to kill your oathbrother?"
Onyx smiled cruelly. "Because you once tried to kill me in my sleep, failed, and fled like a coward. I was not fooled by your story. You really expected me to believe that I had fallen and hit my head on the bedside table without waking up, and you had left on business? Please."
"You have no proof. That is all speculation."
"Your refusal to deny it is proof enough."
"Well then, do it. Bury the sword in my neck, and leave my body here while you carry out your malicious plans elsewhere. I have accomplished all I set out to do in life. I can die in peace now, and leave your blood on my hands for eternity." Maddox let his head fall to one side as he dramatically inhaled, allowing the dust and dirt of the street to fill his nostrils. "I won't miss the cruelty of the world when I can be basking in glory next to the gods of fate, watching this pathetic game of yours play out."
"Cut! And that's a wrap! Good job, everyone." The film director, a balding man named Keith, clapped as he slid down from his chair. The stagehands collectively exhaled in relief, starting to chatter as the cameras stopped their recordings.
"Thank heavens," Onyx sighed. "I was about to pass out under those lights."
"Bring some water for them, Sara!" Keith shouted to a woman standing near the side. She nodded and disappeared into the kitchen area, and Onyx helped Maddox up.
"Sorry about the spit," Maddox apologized.
"Don't worry about it. It barely grazed my face."
"How did the fake blood work this time, Onyx?" Keith asked as he walked up to both of them.
"It was a little too thick for my taste, and ended up just rolling down my arm in globs."
Keith touched a purple bruise on Maddox's arm, and Maddox grimaced. "That looks gnarly," Keith remarked.
"I'll be fine." Maddox turned away and pulled off his heavy leather vest, handing it to one of the stage hands before helping Keith undo the straps for his white armor.
"I can't believe that this is actually how assassins dressed in the book," Maddox laughed. "It's so inefficient, like seriously, look at all the gaps."
"I'm not going to complain. Goodness knows how hot this thing would be if it was a solid sheet of metal underneath those stage lights." Onyx dramatically fanned himself as three or four stage hands fumbled with the complicated system of straps.
They finished taking off their stage clothes and waved good-bye to Keith and the crew, walking out the door together and to their separate apartments.
"See ya tomorrow, Oathbrother," Maddox laughed.
Onyx chuckled. "See ya."
And with that, they each disappeared into their normal lives, only to return tomorrow to continue their adventures within the world of film.