Night Watch

I was going to put this as a 'wandering shovel' story, but in writing I found having a shovel related killing for what amounts to an intelligent villain taking reign of his fledgeling empire sends the wrong message for the character. Not sure how unlikeable I want this man, but so long as he comes across as human and fleshed out as a character I believe I can be happy with the result.

A month has passed since Max had been debilitated. He has recovered somewhat, but since a relapse could easily kill someone he has decided to remain on the sidelines. Fury and those that had gone with her were still chasing phantoms, and the world continues much as it has. Let us instead look back on the mystery person we had seen last brewing some devilish concoction. What of him?

"I'm sure all of you are wondering why I asked you here." Twenty men, the core of the Sons of Liberty, crammed into the living room of a three bedroom suburban home. The man that spoke found everyone's discomfort somewhat funny, and it showed.
One of the men, Joshua, grumbled. "Mind gettin to the point? We've all got other stuff we wanna be doing."
The man's eyes narrowed. "That is actually something I wanted to bring up Joshua. thank you for reminding me." He bowed slightly, perhaps mockingly, to Joshua. "While all here have profited from my contributions as well as your continued reinforcement of eachother I have looked at the tactical-"
"What?" Voice in the back
Another voice from the crowd answered, "You know, army stuff. Seeing just where all the good, bad, and ugly stuff around you is so you don't get a bullet in your noggin."
The man that called the meeting smiled thinly, "Thank you Tony." He started pacing. "This..." He seemed to fumble for the right word, "Set of yours has managed to carve out a large area locally. You've managed, since I showed up, to either absorb or outright eliminate most of your old rivals."
He waited for the cheering to die down. While he had his own views he knew it tactless and dangerous to voice them. Besides, let them enjoy the happy before he dropped a bombshell on them.
"The problem is with your rapid expansion you've made more... experienced opposition."
"Mafia?" Tony asked.
Another voice in the crowd. "Nah, I say he's talkin 'bout the bikers"
"Quite." The man kept his expression neutral. Too much he didn't know and too many conflicting reports. It could be more than one gang taking them on, could be people mistaking one for another. It could even be deliberate misinformation. "We're moving in on somebody else's territory, possibly several different somebodies, and they can call on people from all over, plus they're experienced in dealing with upwardly mobile men of means such as ourselves."
That got several chuckles from the crowd.
"Marrik," Joshua stood. "What're you trying to get at?"
Marrik appeared to think for a moment, though he actually knew exactly what he was going to say. "We find out who runs our opposition then I sit down and... talk with them."
This made everyone uneasy. They all remembered the last time he had a 'talk' with somebody and even the more hardened members of this group couldn't stomach the end results. Marrik saw their reactions and sat back down, basking in the satisfaction of having all of them reminded just what he could do if he had a mind to it. "Oh no arm pulling, not the first time. We all sit down and try discussing things as civilized people do. However as you are, anyone that showed up would take this group for a near mindless rabble of thugs and cutpurses gifted only with base cunning and a lucky streak."
Several confused looks as several in the crowd tried figuring out if he was insulting them or not.
"Oh don't worry," Marrik waved a hand dismissively. "We can fix that. However I will need everyone here to pay attention while I try drumming some education into your brains." He paused to look at Joshua, "And Joshua, please get me my medicine. I'm getting jumpy."
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