William Raymond "Billy-Ray" Sanguine is a hit-man, he considers himself a hitman deluxe, who kills people for fun as well as for money. According to himself, Sanguine used to be a detective, giving up soon after as he kept killing his clients due to boredom. He also states that he has only solved one case, but considers it 'cheating', since he was the murderer. In the fourth book it is revealed that his father is Dreylan Scarab, who was Mevolent's top assassin before being framed for the murder of Esryn Vanguardand arrested. He also has a crush on Tanith Low and when she is possessed by a Remnant, she becomes romantically involved with him.
Sanguine has very laid back, witty personality. Most of the time he is relatively polite to people when talking to them, though this mainly only to female characters. There are also some that warrant nicknames from Sanguine, such is the case of Skulduggery Pleasant whom Sanguine calls 'Mr. Funnybones' or sometimes just "Bones". He wears a brown suit and scuffed cowboy boots and also a pair of sunglasses to hide his eyes which are empty sockets; despite his lack of eyes he can in fact see better than people with eyes. He also has a tendency to hold vendettas against people, such as Valkyrie after she stole his beloved straight razor on two separate occasions and when she cut him with Tanith's sword, causing him to become unable to use his magic effectively. He is disgusted by Mages who work for mortals as shown by his dislike of the Necromancer Kaiven.
Battle vs. Oleg Stark (by Wassboss)
Prologue: The Predator becomes the Prey
The man stands in the abandoned car park, next to the abandoned warehouse, leaning against the bonnet of his car. He is dressed in a brown suit with a black tie, a pair of scuffed cowboy boots and a pair of sunglasses which are pushed up to cover his eyes. Or they would be, if he actually had eyes. He flicks a straight razor in his hand, being unusually careful not to nick himself with the blade. The client said to meet him here at midnight but he'd arrived an hour early just to be sure they weren't setting a trap, although he doubted whatever trap they could set would work anyway. The breeze is cold but he shows no discomfort, the gentle hum of the engine keeping him warm. His ears prick at the sound of a crackle and he looks up to see a large BMW enter through the gate at the west of the property, the black paint blending in well with the low light. After a few moments it pulls up in front of the man's car and he steps forward, the straight razor held loosely by his side. The door on the driver’s side opens and a man steps out. He's quite lean but muscular and his eyes are dangerous. On the passenger’s side another man steps out but he has a much more robust build and his hair is long and gray. Behind them, getting out of the backseat is a woman, pretty, but with a barely held back air of violence. The three of them walk towards the man in the sunglasses, who watches them approach.
"You must be Billy-Ray, right"
"That's what they call me" he replies "Although most people prefer to call me Sanguine"
The lean man smiles. "It's strange how formal people like to make things like this. I guess it helps to make the action more acceptable. I mean, we're talking about murder here, the most heinous of crimes and yet people are trying to make it seem like it's just a normal everyday business deal."
"Listen I don't mean to be rude or nothin' but could we get down to business here mister, I don't have the time for chit-chat" Sanguine replies.
"Of course," the lean man says. He lifts up the briefcase which he had been holding by his side and tosses it to Sanguine who catches it and lays it out on the bonnet, clicking open the lid and checking the content.
"There's only fifty grand here," he says, "You promised me a hundred."
"Yes, well, we need to make sure you're actually going to do what we arranged," the lean man says "You'll get the rest once you complete your job"
"Fair enough" Sanguine says and he closes the lid. He opens the door of his car and places the briefcase on the passenger seat. He turns back to face the three people, folding his arms across his chest. "So what exactly do you want me to do?"
"This particular hit is a bit more complicated than your standard I want this guy dead sort of thing. The guy that we're asking you to kill is a mercenary too, not specifically a hit-man but a muscle for hire," the lean man says "In fact he is a former client of ours. We hired him to kill a man who was getting a little too big for his boots, getting too disobedient."
"Did he fail or somethin'"
"No, no, not at all. He was actually very successful, got the guy before he even suspected he was in danger. It was a bit more violent than we would have liked but hey, as long as we don't get tied to it, it doesn't really matter how you do it," the man continues, "No, the problem arose when it came to payment"
Sanguine tenses slightly, his arms unfolding and the razor is flicked out. "You tryin' to say you double-crossed him" he says his voice low and deadly.
The lean man laughs. "Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Calm down now Billy, we're not going to double-cross you, we know better than to mess with a professional killer." Sanguine relaxes visibly at this comment but the razor still stays clutched in his right hand. "No, the problem wasn't that we weren't going to pay him, the problem was that the actual payment method was not agreed upon. We offered him straight up cash but the guy wanted to be paid in gold. Gold. I mean, where the hell am I supposed to find one hundred grand's worth of gold. We tried to explain this to him but he got, shall we say, visibly distressed and said some things which could be interpreted as a threat." The lean man clenches his fist slightly and his jaw clenches at the memory. Sanguine raises his eyebrow and the man's anger seems to dissipate almost as quickly as it arrived. "Anyway," the man continues "We said that we'd have to have some time to get hold of the gold and he made it very clear that we had until the next day to get it or else."
"I see" Sanguine replies "And you figured that rather than try to find some gold, you'd be better off tryin' to find someone else to kill him instead-"
"And give him the money we we're going to pay to him anyway" the lean man finishes. "Yes, that's pretty much the gist of it"
"Hmm. That seems to make a lotta sense to me" Sanguine replies and the lean man smiles.
"So you're on board"
"Of course, I mean a hundred grand is a mighty sweet prize for a simple hit job" Sanguine says and the lean man nods his head in agreement. "All I need now is an identity, a picture and a place and I’ll be on my way."
"Of course" the man agrees and snaps his fingers at the large man stood to his left, who takes out a brown envelope from his coat pocket and steps forward, handing it over to Sanguine. The hitman takes it and opens it up, taking out the picture and a small piece of paper with an address written on it. "His name is Oleg Stark. He'll be at this address at six pm tomorrow" the lean man says and Sanguine skims the text before tucking it into his suit pocket. The three people turn and begin head back to the car when Sanguine calls out to them.
"How do I get in contact with you when I've done the job?"
"Meet us back here at midnight tomorrow and we'll give you the rest of the money then. If you're not here, we'll assume the worst," the man replies "and dont' forget to bring some proof." Sanguine shrugs in a way that seems to say 'fair enough'. The stocky man and the woman get into the car and the man steps up to get into the driver’s seat.
"I recognise you, you're Jaron Gallow right." Sanguine shouts and the lean man pauses, his right foot in the car.
"We used to fight on the same side a few years back, during the war," Sanguine says.
"So we did, I heard you lost your faith not long after we lost" Jaron replies.
"Yeah, ain't that convenient" Sanguine says and Jaron smiles. "How 'bout you, did you lose your faith?"
Jaron doesn't reply and gets into the car and the engine starts up, the BMW pulling away and driving off into the night. Sanguine puts his straight razor into his side pocket and gets into his own car. As he exits the property he smiles to himself. "One hundred grand just to kill an awkward customer," he thinks "I wish they all paid this much."
Battle: And on that farm he had a.....
The next day
Sanguine drives his car up the mud track leading up to the farm. The ground is rough and uneven underneath the wheels and the car rocks, occasionally jerking up awkwardly as it hits an indentation in the ground. The land around him is wild and unkempt; clearly this place has been abandoned for a few years and hasn't been used as a farm in much longer. As he drives further along the road the farmhouse comes into focus, old but yet still in good shape, it certainly isn't falling apart. Sanguine wonders if someone has been living here, maybe an opportunistic person with nowhere else to go. "If someone was living here they're dead now," Sanguine thinks "otherwise I woouldn't be meeting this guy here". About 50 feet away from the house stands a barn and it looks more dishevelled, the wood looks mouldy, the paint is peeling off. Sanguine exits the track and pulls up outside of the farmhouse, getting out and closing the door gently behind him, leaving the keys in the ignition in case he has to make a quick getaway. The man he's here to kill, Oleg something, is waiting in the barnyard and Sanguine walks towards it, taking care to avoid the muddy patches, stopping before the large doors that lead to the main part of the barn. He ponders his options. He could go for the stealthy approach, tunnel through the ground, get behind the guy and take him out before he even knows what's hit him. He could go for a more direct approach, burst in razor swinging, catching him off guard and hopefully taking him down in his shock. Sanguine considers both options but dismisses them both, instead opting for a different tactic. "This guy ain't that different to me" Sanguine thinks to himself "He at least deserves the dignity of knowing why he has to die"
"It's ain't like he's gonna stand a chance anyhow"
Meanwhile, inside the barn, Oleg Stark waits patiently. He has been standing here for the past half an hour but he shows no discomfort of being made to stand that long. His mind wanders back to his last meeting with his employers. '"I hope that'll teach them to do some research on who they're hiring next time". He's still aware that they might come back without his gold, maybe thinking they he'll just settle for the cash. "If that's what they think, I’ll have to teach them a lesson" he thinks. He used to hate that kind of arrogance in himself but history has shown that his confidence is well placed. His ears prick as the barn door creaks open and a man enters the building. Stark frowns; this wasn't one of the men who met him last time. He takes a step forward as the man closes the door. This action does nothing to quell his suspicions. "Why the hell is he closing the door, nobody's going to come up here". Stark waits for the man to start talking.
"You're Oleg Stark right?"
"I think you were expecting somebody else" the man says and Stark nods.
"Well I'm afraid they couldn't make it so they sent me instead" the man continues "I'm Billy-Ray Sanguine by the way, although most people prefer to call me Sanguine."
"Hmm. Do you have my payment" Stark asks.
Sanguine is silent for a few seconds and his weight shifts slightly. "Well, the thing about that is." Oleg feels the anger swell up inside of him and he takes a step forward.
"What" he says, his voice menacing, the volume increased. Sanguine raises his gaze to meet the fierce gaze of his target.
"Your bosses have decided that paying you in gold, well, it ain't worth the hassle. So they've decided that they're going to cut their losses and just send someone to take you out."
Stark growls, surprising Sanguine and bunches his hands into fists. "I'm guessing that's you then"
"Indeed it is"
Stark charges forward, closing the distance between the two and swinging a punch towards Sanguine. He swerves to the side and throws a punch of his own, catching Stark on the side of the face. This barely fazes the huge man and his next punch does connect, slamming into Sanguine's stomach and makes him double over. He swings another punch, slamming into the back of Sanguine's head. Instead of slamming into the floor though, he seems to disappear into the ground. Stark's face goes from rage to confusion and he bends down to inspect the area. The ground seems mostly intact expect for a small series of cracks in the ground. "I don't hit that hard do I" he thinks, not noticing the slight rumbling behind him. Sanguine appears out of the ground, his straight razor open in his hand. He takes a step forward and slams it downwards into Stark's neck, aiming for the jugular. Stark roars in pain and swings his arm backwards, swiping Sanguine away. He lands in a roll and rolls into a crouching position, standing to observe his opponent. He smiles, knowing that he's hit the mark but his smile quickly vanishes as Stark barrels towards him, slamming him into the side of the barn. The wall shudders with the impact and for a fleeting moment Sanguine wonders if it going to collapse but the thought is quickly replaced with pain as a fist slams into his face. His head rocks and his eyesight goes fuzzy and before he can set himself another punch slams into him. Sanguine turns his head at the last moment to avoid another punch and manages to wriggle himself free from Stark's grip. He tries to grab him but Sanguine sinks into the ground again and he swipes at thin air.
Stark scans the floor for his adversary and catches a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye. He swings his fist round but Sanguine is too quick and slams into him, sending him stumbling back. He slams his razor into Stark's chest multiple times, the blade piercing his skin but doing very little to actually harm him. Stark catches Sanguine with an uppercut, the force of the blow sending Sanguine flying into a pile of hay. Stark picks up a rusted pitchfork and walks over to the hay, jamming it into the pile, bracing himself for the impact force. The end of pitchfork juts out of the hay and Stark curses to himself. He turns quickly but he's too slow and Sanguine leaps at him, wrapping his arms around his throat. Stark tries to shake him off but he holds on tightly with his right arm, reaching into his pocket with his left to draw his razor. He presses the blade to Stark's throat and tries to pull it across but he only manages to scrape a few inches, the blade getting caught in the thick skin around his neck. "What the hell" he thinks and pulls the blade out, hoping to try another jab. As he does though, he feels himself begin to fall back and before he can react he slams into the ground hard, the weight of Stark landing on him not long after. He groans in pain as the Siegbarste gets to his feet, dazed from the fall, holding his head. Sanguine gets onto all fours, breathing heavily.
"You're one tough bastard aren't you" he says looking up and stark stares at him, a look of pure rage etched onto his face. Sanguine can see the attack coming and manages to twist out of the way and the kick only grazes his ribs. He gets to his feet just in time to dodge another swipe and jabs his straight razor at Stark's face but his hand is knocked away, his razor falling out of his grip and bouncing away. "Dammit" he says and Stark takes advantage of his distraction and gives him a hard shove, sending him stumbling back into barn wall again. Stark follows up the shove with a punch but Sanguine grabs his arm and pushes it through the wall. Stark snarls and tries to pull his arm free, but finds that it's stuck and Sanguine scrambles off, picking up his razor from the floor and heading for the barn door. He pushes it open and steps out into the barnyard feeling the dampness as the rain falls and runs over to his car. "I've gotta crowbar in the trunk" he thinks "maybe that'll do some damage to that brute". He yanks the key out of the ignition and hears a tremendous crash behind him, the impact shaking the ground. He turns his head and sees that one side of the barn has collapsed and he can just about make out the shape of Oleg Stark, bent over. "Well that didn't hold him long" he thinks as he walks over to the trunk and opens it up, taking out the crowbar. He turns around, just in time to see Stark charging at him across the yard. Sanguine takes a step forward and sinks into the ground, rising up behind Stark and swinging the crowbar, hitting him in the back of the head.
The power of the blow combined with the lack of traction on the muddy, and now wet, ground send Stark sprawling but he's back on his feet again within moments. He barely acknowledges the blow and lunges forward, grabbing the shocked Sanguine by the arm and tossing him across the yard, wrenching the crowbar from his hands as he does. Sanguine smashes into the side of his car, groaning as he pulls himself out of the indentation he's made. "My car" he shouts and barely manages to get out of the way of the attack by Stark, the crowbar instead smashing the passenger side’s window. Stark begins swinging the crowbar wildly at Sanguine who scrambles to get out of the way as his car is damaged more and more with each misplaced blow. "I'm gonna have to do somethin'" he thinks "or else I’m gonna be walkin' home". He throws himself at Stark, hoping to try and wrestle him away from the car. His hopes are short lived though, he’s no match for a Siegbarste and Stark slams him down onto the bonnet of the car, punching him the gut as he falls. Sanguine bounces off the car and falls to the ground and Stark raises the crowbar above his head, bringing it down on his fallen foe's side. Sanguine feels the pop as one of his ribs is dislocated and not a moment later the searing pain that tells him it's much worse than that. He howls in pain and sinks into the ground, the crowbar cracking against the ground. Safely down in the ground he checks his wounded side, poking it gently with his finger. The sharp pain makes him wince and he grits his teeth until the pain subsides. "Look's like I’ve broken a couple". He considers just leaving, meeting up with his employers at midnight, taking the money and disappearing off with them none the wiser. "Nah," he thinks "They'd want some proof of death." He also knows that if he was to try and double cross them then they'd almost certainly be able to find him and he knows he couldn't beat all three of them. "Besides, I can't let this guy beat me." An idea comes to his mind. "I'll head over to that farmhouse, maybe I can find some sort of axe or chainsaw or somethin'. Perhaps they'll even be a gun".
He moves through the ground until he's underneath the porch and he comes out in front of the door. He glances over his shoulder and sees Oleg searching the floor frantically. "Dumb bastard" he mutters under his breath and turns back to the door, putting his hand on the knob. The door doesn't budge, obviously it's locked and he's about to head round the back when a rat runs out from the floorboards, baring it's teeth. This catches Sanguine by surprise and he yells in shock, clamping his hand over his mouth when he realises his mistake. He doesn't need to check if Stark heard that, he knows he did, he needs to figure out a way into the house. He takes a few steps back and sprints towards the door, jumping slightly as he reaches it. The door parts to let him through and as he lands the pain flares up and he curses, hearing a thud as something hits the door behind him. He gets to his feet and dashes into the kitchen. He grabs a cleaver which is lodged in the sideboard and heads back into the hallway, a rhythmic banging on the door; he's about the head into the lounge when he hears a loud thud and turns to see that Stark has broken the door down. He sprints towards the stairs but his broken ribs restrict his speed and Oleg catches up to him midway up, grabbing his arm and pulling him close ready to crack the crowbar over his head. Sanguine slams the cleaver into Stark's shoulder blade and he roars in agony, giving him the opportunity to give him a sharp push, sending him crashing over the side of the railing. Sanguine continues to head up the stairs, not bothering to look to see if his adversary has gotten up. He ignores all the closed doors, they could be locked and he'd be wasting his time and instead heads for the only door which open; The Master Bedroom. He stumbles through the door and closes it behind him, looking around for something heavy. He spots a chest of draws and places it down on the floor, propping it up against the bed to hold the door shut. He scans the area and spots a rifle hanging above the headboard of the bed. "Bingo." He hears footsteps approaching the door and leaps onto the bed, taking the rifle off the wall and checking for ammo. One Bullet. "I guess I'll have to make it count then"
As he thinks this a hand smashes through the middle of the door, reaching for the handle on the inside, tugging on it until the realisation emerges that something is blocking the door. Sanguine steps back to the far side of the room and raise the rifle, staring down the sights as the door creaks and shatters, Oleg Stark bursting through. Sanguine notices he doesn't have the crowbar with him anymore and aims for the head but as Stark charges towards him he loses his cool and pulls the trigger too soon, only hitting him in the shoulder. Stark body slams him into the wall and he falls to the ground, clutching his ribs in agony. Oleg suddenly freezes, his expression confused. This confusion quickly turns to fear and he reaches for Sanguine but before he can his limbs stiffen and he can feel the bones calcify inside of him. He tries to let out a roar but all that comes out is a whimper as he collapses to the ground, never to rise again. Sanguine looks over confused and crawls over to him, checking for a pulse but finding nothing. "Was that all I needed to do" he says to himself and gets to his feet, looking down at his victim. A thought occurs to him and he bends down, straight razor in hand and he begins to saw at Oleg's neck.
"They want proof, while I’m gonna give em their proof"
Epilogue: The Proposal
Later that night.
"Is he coming?"
"I don't know," Jaron Gallow replies. They have been waiting for Sanguine for almost 20 minutes now.
"I think we should leave," the large man says "we've given him plenty of time"
"That's probably a good idea Krav" Jaron replies and he picks up the briefcase resting next to his leg and the three of them make their way back to the BMW.
"Goin' somewhere" a voice calls behind them and Jaron smiles as he turns. Sanguine is standing a few feet away, almost invisible in the shadow of the warehouse building. He steps out into the light and walks towards them, his steps tender and he winches slightly with every step as he approaches.
"We thought you'd failed us," Jaron says and Sanguine smiles but its stiff.
"Nah, I ain't failed a contract yet," he replies stopping in front of Jaron and holding out his hand, reaching for the briefcase but Jaron pulls it away.
"Whoa there cowboy, you know the deal, show me the proof and I’ll give you the money." He notices the sack Sanguine is carrying and he tosses it to him. Jaron unties the rope at the opening of the bag and looks in, seeing the lifeless face of Oleg Stark staring back at him. He nods his head and hands him the briefcase. Sanguine clicks it open to check the contents, spying the green banknotes wrapped in a plastic coating before closing it again. "Hope he didn't cause you too much trouble" Jaron says and Sanguine glares at him, or at least he seems to be, it's hard to tell with the sunglasses.
"I got out alright but the bastard wrecked my car hence why I’m so late," he says but Jaron can tell that he's hurt, the way he winches when he walks, how he doesn't put too much weight on his left hand side.
"Are you sure, your ribs seem pretty beat up"
"He got me a few times with a crowbar, no biggie though, I've had much worse"
"I know a guy whose really good at fixing up injuries, I could take you too him if you want," Sanguine thinks about it for a bit but shakes his head.
"I'll be fine and besides, and don't take this the wrong way or nothin', but I don't really trust you," he replies and Jaron laughs.
"Yeah, I wouldn't trust me either" he turns to go but stops himself. "You know, seeing as how well you managed to solve our little problem, how would you like another job?" he says, noticing Sanguine's interest immediately.
"Depends, what kinda job were you thinkin' of"
"Remember when you asked me if I’d lost my faith," Jaron says abruptly and Sanguine nods. "I've got to be honest, my faith never really wavered and quite frankly I don't believe someone can just turn their back on their faith as readily as you did."
"What does this have to do with a new job" Sanguine asks but he already knows the answer before Jaron replies
"How would you like to bring them back?"
"I thought I told you I don't believe in that stuff anymore. I don't want no vengeful gods stompin' around killin' everyone, including Momma Sanguine's favourite son," Sanguine replies, ready to tunnel if Jaron seems angered by his words.
"Our gods will spare those who have aided them"
"I'm not sure they will"
Jaron smiles. "Look I'm not going to stand here and have a theological debate on what our gods are and aren't going to do all I'm asking is if you want to help return them to this world. We'd be willing to pay you a substantial fee for your assistance."
"How much is a 'Substantial fee' "
"Enough to make the amount your holding now seem like loose change"
Sanguine considers the proposal. He used to be a believer back in the day but about 80 years ago he realised that if a bunch of malevolent gods returned and destroyed everything it wouldn't be much fun. "But if these guys are willing to pay as much as this guy is saying..."
"What exactly do you want me to do?"
Jaron smiles and beckons him to follow. Sanguine follows him as he heads back to the car, the other two having already got into the car while they were speaking. "First things first, we're going to get your ribs sorted out, can't have you tunnelling about in constant pain" he says and opens the back door on the driver’s side. "You’re going to be riding in the back with Rose if that's okay with you"
"I'm sure I’ll be fine, eh darlin'" he says. The woman looks at him with contempt and Jaron laughs.
Jaron shuts the door and gets into the driver’s seat. "So once this guy fixes me up them what." Jaron turns the key in the ignition, starting up the engine.
"I think it's about time we broke the Baron out of prison"
Winner Billy-Ray Sanguine
Sanguine won this battle because of his superior fighting skill and his great experiance. Oleg Stark is your standard brawler, big, tough but really very skilled and he relied heavily on his Siegbartse physiology in battle. Sanguine was much more refined in his combat ability and his magical powers easily allowed him to run circles around Stark and pick his strikes.
Battle vs. Hol Horse & J. Geil alongside Dusk (by Tybaltcapulet)