Tools of the Trade
rating: +17+x

A man enters the craftsman's workshop. The room is dark, its windows encrusted with frost - only the faint light of an electric lamp in the corner provides some modicum of visibility. He shuts the door behind himself, cutting off the encroach of Russian winter.

The man looks around wearily until he spots the craftsman himself, who gives him a small nod. They know each other well, and the craftsman knows why he is here. Repayment, for a long-forgotten favor. A wooden box is deposited on the counter, and turned towards the man. He undoes the latches carefully, and lifts the lid.

Laid bare upon a velvet cushion are two metallic shapes. To the man, they are both universally familiar and utterly alien. Their matching blades, monolithic design, and visibly sturdy mechanisms speak to him on a level that is beyond words. Lifelong companions, bane to the ever-returning flesh. They are the craftsman's finest work, and possibly his last.

A gloved hand is laid upon black rubber, molded to fit that very same hand. Fingers brush over a tiny, engraved symbol - the letter "P", crossed over with a sickle and hammer.

The man looks the craftsman in the eye, his silent gaze carrying a lifetime of untold thanks.


A man enters the craftsman's workshop. Dust blows through the cracked windows, and the door which he closes behind himself is more hole than plank. Shaking some of the ever-present dust off his weathered greatcoat and battered hat, he approaches the counter.

The craftsman eyes the man wearily - they are not acquainted, but he knows why the man is here. He reaches under the counter, and produces a metal box, which he places unceremoniously in front of him. A rusted metal key follows suit, and the grating screech of the lock causes even the newcomer to grimace. The craftsman lifts the pitted lid, and presents the objects within to the man before him.

These have gone unused for a long time, for lack of need. That is about to change. Harsh rays of light glint off polished steel and carved mother-of-pearl, curving strangely around symbols not meant for human eyes to see. Both of the men present see them anyway.

The newcomer takes one of them, and glances down its sights. The craftsman knows it is not loaded,
but is filled with unease nonetheless. The symbols seem to pulse more violently - slowly, the craftsman reaches beneath his counter.

The man nods approvingly, and hands it back, to the craftsman's relief.


A man enters the craftsman's workshop. Dust is shaken down from the ceiling every once in a while, as cannonfire echoes through the building. The craftsman is relieved to see the man, and offers him a drink. The man refuses.

The craftsman nods understandingly, and retreats into the back room. He returns shortly, carrying a glass-topped case. From within, he produces an object, and hands it to the man. Conceived by great innovators, and discarded soon after - deemed impractical for its time. Times have changed, and the craftsman knows this very well.

The man takes it, and inspects its workings. Its design seems strange to him, but suitable for the task at hand. Unorthodox problems require unorthodox solutions, after all, and his quarry is as unorthodox as they get. The craftsman hurriedly lectures him on the operation of such a complex device, but the man silences him with a wave and a smile. As he cocks back a handle of polished resin, the room is filled with a strange crackling and the smell of ozone.


A man stumbles into the craftsman's workshop. Blood drips from his ragged coat onto the floorboards, scattering moonlight. The craftsman expresses his dismay, until he hears a distant, inhuman screech. His eyes widen.

The stranger is calm, and explains to the craftsman what he needs. The craftsman listens, and begins to remember. Faint glimmers of a story, some universal thread, come to him as he rummages through his supplies, and unearths and old and battered box. From within, he draws an object he has never seen, and lays it before the stranger.

The stranger picks it up and weighs it experimentally, running his hand over cracked wood and tarnished metal. Already, in his mind he sees it pierce through ragged hide, rend flesh and crush bone. He grins.


Everywhere, everywhen, each hunter of monsters utters the same timeless words.

"This will do."

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