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Renegade (18+, Violence, Strong Language, Mature Themes)
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Eddie Blake
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 13 Feb 2016
Posts: 42
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Can Be Found: Drifting
2405.88 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


You said it yourself you're scared of being alone
You said it yourself that you can crack the code
But the static you hear automatically keeps you exposed on your own
I hope you're ready, steady, smashing through the levy...

...'Cause it's about to get heavy
It's about to be on
Yeah, I'm bangin' slingin' napalm
So nobody move
'Cause I was sent to warn you
The devil's in the next room
~ Shinedown

14 February 2018

He’d said durable, even used the ‘s’ word, which still made her laugh as the clock ticked toward eight, and she stepped out of the penthouse, and into the private elevator which would take her downstairs. One could argue that black leather was always sensible, even if it was Polo Ralph Lauren pants, and boots with a three-inch heel. They had lug soles, that had to count for something. She’d even left her jewelry home, except for the seal that alway dangled against her navel, and, of course, the black and silver collar at her throat. One word. Six letters. One more than his name but it meant the same thing. Clutch in one hand, duffel in the other (he’d said to pack something slinky for later, after all), Tahlia leaned against the wall, and slid a hand behind her back to check the silver daggers strapped there. Something about the message had hinted she’d better dress for trouble.

A subtle chime announced her arrival in the lobby, and she stepped out, giving Brett a wink, and the saucy smirk the concierge ought to know well by now. The metal fittings on her leather jacket clinked against the duffel as she shifted it up on to a shoulder, shaking her head before the smoothly smiling man could move to help. “I got it, thanks...have a good night, sugar.” Juggling for a moment, she slipped a cigarette between her lips, and stepped outside, jamming the pack into the back pocket that didn’t already hold her phone. The flash of flame lit her face for an instant, and she let out a plume of smoke, dropping the larger bag at her feet to wait. She didn’t expect it would be long.

That was perhaps an understatement, it was only a moment after her lighter flared that the delicate sound of thunder ignited. Man made thunder certainly, the kind at the control of Eddie’s right foot and it was going to get much louder before it quieted. If the sound of the engine was enough to have her looking his direction, the sudden illumination of the headlights would zero her in on exactly where he was. It wasn’t dark yet, the sun was still making its presence known in deep red and purple hues along the horizon. It was much harder to appreciate among the tall buildings of course than say at the top of it. Then again it didn’t have to look down jealously at the purple Roadrunner pulling out of that parking spot and circling into the front drive of the apartment building. Tinted windows remained up as he pulled beneath the covered entrance and rolled to a stop in front of the blonde girl. There was only one thing missing, the driving beat of heavy bass through the speakers.

Eddie didn’t get out, he might be in a mood tonight, besides there was a perfectly good doorman standing right there. He looked like he needed something to do. When Tahlia appeared with the duffle, he put his hand out to take it, then dropped it into the back seat. It had been awhile since he’d put anything or anyone back there. Didn’t really have the need to lately, considering where he’d been. “There’s a bottle under the seat.” He said it like she should get it out, and make use of it. A cursory inspection of her brought an approving nod from him and the flash of a smile that belonged on a misbehaving boy. He barely waited for the door to fully close before starting forward again and making a turn onto the street.

One brow quirked up, and she leaned forward without a word to secure the bottle, twisting in the seat to press a kiss to his cheek before dropping back against the leather. Twisting the cap off, she took a swig, and purred, holding the bottle out to him as she unzipped her jacket. “So do I get to know where we’re going, or are you surprising me with a romantic getaway?” Dressed as they were, she somehow doubted it, but she wouldn’t be her if she didn’t tease him a little. Especially not with that bad-boy smile on his lips. She could guess what he was thinking, and the black tank top under her jacket wasn’t designed to let him think straight. Not yet, anyway.

Finally taking a second drag from her cigarette, the blonde shifted to avoid poking herself on her own daggers, and subtly glanced around the cars interior. It was clean...she might have had it detailed at a very trustworthy place she knew of before handing him back the keys, and Eddie hadn’t been back long enough to change that. Not that he would. She was nearly certain the car meant more to him than anything, herself included.

“Eventually, first I think we need to go to church.” It was one of those Saint’s days after all, right? He still hadn’t put on any music, but he was feeling indecisive at the moment on what he wanted to hear. It likely was the last thing that Tahlia had expected to hear out of him, but she knew him pretty well by now and a trip to church could simply be a euphemism for something else. The car rolled on, out of Seaside and across the Marketplace. There was a fantastic view of the harbor as the crossed the bridge into Old Temple district. Maybe he really did mean they were going to church? They were present at practically every corner, displayed in all their radiance. The car just passed them all by as it traveled eastwards along the coast and passed beyond the city wall. It always surprised him how quickly the concentration of buildings turned into forest when he drove outside past the city limits.

There was still the occasional building here and there, still temples to one deity or another though they looked less like places of worship and more like compounds. It took another twenty minutes before he started to slow, and Eddie didn’t have a light foot when it came to abandoned roads. The building was surrounded by walls on three sides, the fourth bordered the water. It did have a large parking lot, which he turned the car into and coasted slowly into a spot. Above the wall the building rose, tall and a lot like the places they’d seen when they’d gone to Yasou. There was even a massive stone dragon fountain jutting out into the parking lot, the pool into which it belched a stream of water nearly cutting the lot in half. There was something familiar about the figure. It was like many others that weren’t nearly so large, but that wasn’t what gave it the feel. The thing almost could have been alive.

“Church?” It never occurred to her that he might not be kidding. But as the car rolled through the evening air, she realized that they seemed to be surrounded by religious buildings, half of them to gods she’d never heard of. Idly, she wondered if this was where dead gods went, if they wandered this planet like everyone else. It had to be the odd shadows, the vague sense of being watched from shadowed enclaves as they passed building after building, with breaks of trees, and the occasional compound. More gods, although these seemed gods of commerce. Smoke wafted from between her lips, her eyes flitting from the scenery to the man beside her. At least until the car turned, and the dragon came into view.

Her hands tensed against the seat, and she tossed the butt of her cigarette out the window. She recognized the statue, and watched it like she expected it to fly at them, and start the whole process over again. This place had haunted her dreams, and she lifted the bottle to her lips, swallowing a few good chugs before licking her lips and flicking her gaze to him. “Eddie...why are we here?” It was imposing enough, perhaps he would just attribute her response to that, and confusion.

It wasn’t a look he’d favored her with very often. At best it would be called stony, if it weren’t for the blaze in his eyes that said he was barely holding the facade of control. “I’ve been thinking a little…” The man was still a fabulous liar, but there was no mistaking that he really meant a lot. “...about your nightmares.” She’d said things that perhaps she didn’t think he’d heard or understood when he’d returned. The worst one...they had [i]you...and I couldn’t save you. All I could do was watch.[/i] He wasn’t a genius, but it hardly took one to understand that. It had taken a while to actually find this place, even if Reggie had done most of the work. The illusion had to come from somewhere, and it was always easier to show a place that was known. “I think this will help us both. Confronting the darkness.” Eddie still hadn’t taken a single drink, it was unusual almost like he’d left it there solely for Tahlia knowing that she’d react as she had.

Eddie opened his door moving to step out of the car. “Come on, I got you a present for Valentine’s Day.” He stood up and closed the door behind him, making his way to the rear of the car and popping the trunk while he watched Tahlia and her internal struggle. “I was a bit surprised when I did find this place, it almost seems abandoned, doesn’t it?” The place was dark, though as the night took stronger hold lights did appear here and there. It didn’t break the eerie silence, the place could tomb what with the lack of ambient sound even among the trees. There were no animals, though it was still the middle of winter. Maybe there was going to be a cold snap coming?

“It...yeah.” First things first. She was surprised the place actually existed, let alone that it was here and he’d found it. Stepping out into the eerie quiet, she shifted phone and cigarettes to interior pockets, her fingers dipping into the front pocket of her pants for a moment, skimming over a silver disk maybe the size of a quarter. Something had told her to bring it tonight, and now she understood why. She left the bottle behind, not that it mattered much. She looked back and forth between Eddie and the seemingly abandoned temple compound, her bottom lip caught between her teeth. Closing her door with exaggerated care,she stalked back toward the trunk, still glancing back over her shoulder at the dragon statue. She couldn’t help feeling like it was watching her. Waiting for her guard to drop. One hand twisted behind her back to recheck her daggers, the other digging into her pocket, wrapping the leather cord she kept the pendant on around her fingers.

“Confronting the darkness...most guys go with flowers, Eddie...chocolates. Jewelry. Not facing down nightmares.” But he’d given her jewelry, hadn’t he - the black pearl currently being set for her into a navel stud at one of Rhydin’s premier jewelers. This was by far the strangest Valentine’s Day she’d ever had. But then...when had they ever done anything normal? “All this and a present too? You shouldn’t have.” She didn’t glance into the trunk, not yet. “But it just so happens I got something for you too…” She pulled out the silver charm, keeping it held tightly in her fist. “I’ll let you go first…”

Eddie looked at Tahlia, she didn’t seem to have anything on her that stood out as a gift. That just meant it was small enough to fit in a pocket. If that’s what she was hoping for, she was going to be pretty disappointed when he opened the trunk all the way and pulled out the drum fed tactical shotgun and handed it to her. “It’s not exactly a dozen roses, but it is a twelve gauge.” He might not have understood the entire point of Valentine’s Day, surely the important part was the twelve, right? “It’s semiauto, so you won’t have to pump after each round… just pull back here.” He took hold of the lever and yanked it smoothly back until the first round was seated and let it spring forward. “Safety’s right by your trigger finger, pistol grips for speed in aiming.”

He reached in and took out a second one that was identical to the one he’d just given Tahlia. “I got us a matched set.” That I’m trouble smile was on his lips again as he set the weapon down and took out a couple bandoliers that had smaller magazines on them, and their usual 9 millimeter pistols. “Happy Valentine’s day Pumpkin.”

It said something about her state of mind that she took it with a slow smile, “You thought of everything.” She wasn’t disappointed, focusing more keeping the tremble from her limbs, or any sign of how her pulse was racing. Her hand smoothed along the barrel, and she set the gun against her hip, aiming toward the ground. She may be more comfortable with weaponry than she let be known, but not enough to dismiss the directions he gave her. Grinning up at him, she blew a saucy kiss in his direction. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Puddin.”

Matched weapons were certainly bigger than her gift for him, but the use for them carried as much weight. Her hand pulled from her pocket, wrapped tight around the pendant, and she looked at it for a moment before tipping her face up to his. “My gift isn’t as big...but it’s...well, it’s one of the few things that’s really mine.” Her fingers uncurled, and she held her hand out, the moonlight skimming over embossed silver, hung from a simple cord. “My mother always said if anything happened to her, this would keep us safe. The night of the fire, I grabbed it...had it ever since. I don’t know how you could wear it, when you change...but it would - something just told me I should give it to you tonight.” She shrugged, suddenly feeling exposed.

“It’s...perfect. Put it on me?” There were a lot of things that he knew it was, and just couldn’t say out loud. He leaned over, pulling his jacket down so that Tahlia could reach his neck. She wasn’t wrong about the changing, there were special considerations that would need to be taken in order to wear it always. Not difficult ones, just highly specific materials that would be required. “Thank you. I can see that it means a lot to you… and that you’re obviously worried about me.” Eddie didn’t have a lot of that from people, most would be happier if something did happen to him. Maybe that was why he took great pleasure in coming through things as unscathed as possible.

One finger held the metal disk to the hollow in his neck until Tahlia managed to put a knot in the cord and he could let it dangle. It slid beneath his shirt, maybe that was more appropriate than having it out and visible, if only because he was pretty sure that was where she’d rather be too. Eddie talked while she worked. “There’s several decent tactical entrances to this place, assuming you can get over the wall. There’s a way into the upper floors, and coming from that direction would give us an element of surprise. It’s probably the smartest way to go in.” He pointed to the roof of a balcony that could be scaled pretty easily. “Normally I’d make you wear a hooded mask… but it’s not going to be necessary for two reasons.”

“Of course I worry about have a positive thing for putting yourself in danger.” Nimble fingers tied the disk in place, taking the opportunity to skim her fingers along his jaw as she let go. He wasn’t wrong that she would rather be under his shirt, or rather, she would very much rather them both be shirtless, naked would be even better. Certainly better than mounting a tactical assault on an unknown foe. Picking up the shotgun, she hefted it, half-turned to look over the facade. It was entirely possible that she might waste her first shot taking out the stone dragon, just to make herself feel better. To make sure the wretched thing would never hurt anyone else.

“Hooded mask? You...oh.” It took her a second to catch up, realizing this likely went along with his not requiring them to wear gloves, or for that matter, the fact that they’d driven his very noticeable car there, and would be leaving the same way. “Why is that?” A moment later, she suspected she had figured out the answer, or at least one of them. “We’re the only ones leaving here breathing, aren’t we, puddin…”

“I never put myself into danger.” He was all wide eyed innocence now. Completely earnest in his insistence that such things just never occurred even as he reached for the shotgun and closed the trunk. “I honestly have no idea what you mean.” He looked from her to the temple and back. “If you’re wondering, there’s about two dozen Mer inside. I may not know why they’re here, but I do know that they don’t belong, and I’m happy to help them remember it.” He may have had a bit of a vendetta to settle as well. Eddie started his walk across the parking lot, oddly he was doing nothing to be stealthy. “And that’s right baby… we’re gonna kill em all.”

“Two..dozen…” No wonder he’d brought extra ammunition. Shotgun held ready, she tagged along behind, which meant, with any luck, that he would miss her squeak of surprise as the bass shook the air. A warning would have been nice, but that was a conversation for a later time, perhaps. There was no argument about killing them all. She couldn’t think of a better fate, and while the one who’d tortured him was already beyond her reach, she was more than happy to make his brethren pay for his sins.

“I changed my mind.” He’d been heading for the the spot on the wall he’d determined was going to be the easiest to get over. He altered his angle heading right towards that dragon fountain. Eddie walked along the side of it, running his hand along the side of the the snakelike body pausing halfway to reach to the bandolier he wore and pull something free from it. He pressed it hard against the thing and kept his walk going right towards the front doors. “Eddie Blake doesn’t hide in the shadows.” To prove it a low rumble broke its way across the air centered on the purple beast. Maybe he’d just been waiting for the right moment to unleash the superbass? His shoulder planted against the intricately carved wooden doors and he gave a mighty shove sending them inwards with a crash that was emphasized by the blast of an explosion that tore the dragon to pieces.
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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Tahlia Faras
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 123
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Can Be Found: Here and there, depends on her mood
3429.86 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Killing Strangers

We pack demolition, we can't pack emotion
Dynamite? We just might...
So blow us a kiss, blow us a kiss
Blow us a kiss, we'll blow you to pieces

We're killing strangers, we're killing strangers
We're killing strangers, so we don't kill the ones that we love
We're killing strangers, we're killing strangers
We're killing strangers, so we don't kill the ones that we love

We got guns, we got guns
Mother *** better, better, better run
We got guns, we got guns
Mother *** better run
~ Marilyn Manson

She was between the doors and the statue when the explosion hit, and she ducked to avoid the shrapnel. It was much better than just shooting the things head off, that was certain. She’d likely tell him that, when they were done. For now, she shook the worst of the dust from herself, and stepped into the darkened hall, bringing the gun up to sweep for any Mer. She had a few other tricks up her sleeve, ones Eddie may not realize he’d seen before. Catching a movement from the corner of her eye, her finger twitched on the trigger, and she sent the figure to its eternal rest with barely a blink.

Figures in scaled armor turned their attention to the doors, half at the ready and even with that advantage gained not nearly prepared enough for what was coming through them. Shrapnel in the form of bits of marble blew through the opening followed by the rising of dust that obscured Eddie and Tahlia from sight. A quarter of them were inside that first vast chamber, thick columns held up the high ceiling. It wasn’t quite so high as the illusion had been, but nothing really could be so vast as what had been offered there. “Honey! I’m home!” The words shouted out mockingly, they wouldn’t understand the reference and so maybe it was lost on them. Then again he wasn’t one to keep silent unless he was sleeping. That still might not be true, he may still talk during his sleep but had no way of knowing for sure.

The shotgun came up to Eddie’s shoulder and unleashed the first of many rounds as he aimed at the Mer closest to him and worked his way around the chamber. It was like he’d tried to tell the Knight, once they would have been on equal footing with the land dwellers. Some of them still adhered to the old methods, but he wasn’t one of those. He wasn’t exactly a land dweller either, just better versed on what was possible. Swords unsheathed, and serrated staffs came to ready but there was no closing the distance between them without taking fire and opening holes through flesh. Together they worked their way through the sanctuary and into an adjoining corridor lined with closed doors.

She’d let Eddie make all the noise he wanted, it covered nicely the intensely hissed repetition of a single word from her lips. Bleed, over and over...none of the Mer that fell would rise, not if she could help it. The nice thing about shotguns is they gave her so many wounds to play with. Careful steps, lips curled into a wicked smile as she aimed and fired, watching the bodies flail and twitch as the duo passed through. She would worry about the blades when she had to. Tahlia stuck close, shifting back to back and walking backwards to make sure no one surprised them as they entered the corridor.

The floor of the sanctuary glistened wetly in the moonlight, and she heard a giggle bubble up from her throat. “Puddin...we might need a shower first, after this. Hardly seems fair, with us armed to the teeth and them with spears and swords…” Especially since they seemed to be sharkteeth and swordfish blades. Not that she was suggesting they drop their weapons and make it a fair fight. Not after what they’d done to him. If they thought she’d done amazing, evil things before...they had no idea what they were in for. On her own, she never would have come here, not for this. Confrontation was never really her way. But this was Eddie’s show.

“Are you accusing me of cheating?” Eddie stepped past the first of the closed doors and held up a hand to Tahlia. He had a grin that couldn’t be undone by the smell of expended gunpowder in the air. “Get on your knees Puddin…” Okay so perhaps he was feeling a little frisky too, but he was staying on task… sort of. He waited long enough for Tahlia to take the low road before turning in and letting a kick loose on the door. Eddie barely got back behind the wall before the projectiles sailed through and hit the wall beyond. The sound of her shotgun going off was enough to keep his eyes down the corridor peppering any of the doors that started to open.

“Gonna be a long way to the top.” He wasn’t complaining, just stating the facts. It was Valentine’s Day and nothing says be mine quite like a room to room assault, right? “You want to kick next time or do you like what I have you doing down there?” Eddie snickered a little at his words before moving on down the hallway to repeat the process at the next opening.

“Cheating? ever said we had to fight fair…” To be fair, she’d only taken one knee, for stability, winking up at him, before sending a blast into the opened room, catching the now-weaponless Mer by surprise. She wondered if they’d ever seen guns before...or if they’d truly expected to win with spears and blades. It didn’t matter. Pale eyes nearly glowing in the dim light, she hissed her own personal curse on them, and then spun up to her feet.

“Yeah?” She gave a little sigh, and shook her head with a smirk. “I thought you liked me on my knees, Puddin…” It made more sense, it would take her several kicks to do what he could in one, and Eddie on his knees was still a really big target. Dropping next to the door, she swept the interior, firing a blast that took out the lone Mer inside at the knees. Up and back down, as they moved to the next. Sweep. Fire. Bleed. There was a rhythm to it, a music that swept beneath their little dance.

Three more doors with that same pattern of assault brought them a few more bodies closer to a clean sweep. The last door was different, here the hinges were on their side. It opened inward, a look through the glass window revealed that it opened on the stairwell. They’d made enough noise to wake the sacred dead, and whatever other spirits might be taking their eternal rest here, but the stairwell was abandoned. Eddie stepped through and listened with ears that heard more closely than they should. “Okay… guess we’re heading to the bottom, not the top.” He’d been expecting the opposite, just one more clue that he wasn’t thinking like an ocean dweller. Of course they’d want to go down… and…

“Do you smell that?” It wasn’t a fair question, despite that they were now slowly moving down the stairs. His words were less than a whisper given at the opening to her ear. “Brine...salt water....” it made sense, there would need to be someplace for them to go that would keep them from starting to rot, that had been the scent he’d smelled so often in the illusion. A fish out of water for too long. Pity he didn’t have a rose bush or six to plant. “We need to control that room.” It had just occurred to Eddie that there might be another reason for the scent of the sea to be down here.

Tahlia was shaking her head, barely able to smell anything other than gunpowder and the vaguely coppery scent of blood. And then the tang hit her nose, and she shivered. Since the vision, before that, really, the smell of ocean water had made her nervous. What she wanted to do was bury her face in his chest, and drown out the smell with Eddie’s unique scent. Later. After this was done. Down did make more sense - fish didn’t seem much of a fit for heights, and she didn’t think they were close enough to the ocean for them to dive off the roof and hit anything but ground. And that would take all the fun out of it. She wondered if they’d flop like the shark had in the alley.

There were two of them, and who knew how many in the shadowy cavern they found themselves in. The stone became sand, and she could now not only smell the salt water, but hear it, and see it, in the light of what looked to be bioluminescent moss that hung from crags and stones throughout the cave - although it seemed less cave than subterranean pool. Her fingers tensed on the stock of her gun, holding it steady for a moment to check the blades at her back. There was nothing behind them but death...what was ahead, felt like a battle.

Eddie didn’t exactly feel at home here, though maybe he should have been more so here than anywhere. You couldn’t get any more tied to land and part of the sea than in the chamber ahead of them. His nostrils were full of scents, the dank sand mixing in with the smell of the salt water pool and the fresh fish scent that came from the Mer that remained. There was something else there that was familiar though he was having a problem placing it with all the others around him, including Tahlia. He was sure if he got closer he’d absolutely know what it was that hinted itself to him just a fraction beneath the spent powder scent coming from his shotgun. “I need to get closer to the water.” He barely mouthed the words at Tahlia.

Eddie may not understand the why of a lot of things, but he knew on instinct that he had to get there. They’d managed to take apart half the mer that were present. It seemed impossible that the ones in the room beyond didn’t know that something was coming, even if what was a mystery. He pulled the bandolier over his head and dropped it next to Tahlia once he’d removed the pair of pistols. “There’s something...something I need to see for myself.” He was no longer even trying to whisper. Eddie Blake moved into the chamber past watchful eyes striding confidently towards the center of the room and that off scent. With every step it pulled at him, he could have followed it with his eyes closed, closer ever closer as the vague memory of it slowly solidified.

Eddie stopped in the center of the chamber, at his feet the sand was stained red but this is where it had brought him. He’d forgotten what and who were around him, dropping to one knee to let his fingers plow tracts through the sticky granules of sand. When his hand rose once more his palm bore a swath of material the length and breadth of his hand. On the one side sand coated it like paste reddened by blood, the other side was soft against his skin, fur thick enough to shed the coldest waters. He brought the bit of skin to his face, gasping as that memory solidified and a haze over his eyes caused everything to blur. Eddie’s breaths came short and tremulous. He turned his head towards Tahlia, burnt sienna gaze wet and lost as a child’s.

She’d nodded, leaving his weapons where he’d dropped them as she focused her attention on the Mer, some of whom shifted to intercept Eddie on his path. A shotgun blast warned them away, but she realized she couldn’t keep shooting blindly into a crowd if they surrounded him. Bullets had a tendency to keep moving, and she didn’t want to risk wounding the giant. Not if she needed to use her gifts. She tried to keep between Eddie and the walking fish, and keep them away from the water. Or at least that was her plan...until she saw that look. She knew that look - she’d seen it on her own face centuries before, in a moonlit pool. She’d seen it on the faces of her siblings as they watched their home burn. It was not a look she had ever thought to see on his, and the gaze she turned on the remaining band was cold and hard as stone.

The shotgun hit the sand, and in a blink, silver blades flashed in her hands. For this...for this, she wanted to see them bleed, and die, up close. That Harley grin tugged at her lips, and she was moving toward the Mer with smooth, deadly purpose. There was a difference between here, and the rings. In the rings, she did not really try to hurt her opponents. There were rules. There were wards. But there was none of that. There was just her, and them. The blades caught at scaled skin, moving through it as if it was air. She did not care how deeply she cut them, or where, just that she did. Some fell, she had some skill in this, but there were more of them than she could fight without losing ground, and once or twice a blade got past her guard, and she felt it bite, there was a reason she wore leather. “Bleed, you bastards...BLEED” Something so little shouldn’t be so loud, and in response, the sand beneath the Mer matched the small patch where Eddie knelt, crimson, and sticky beneath them as they began to fall, and a smaller handful moved up in their place.


But now and then, a woman walks up, full blossom, a woman just bursting out of her dress - a sex creature, a curse, the end of it all.
― Charles Bukowski, Post Office
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Eddie Blake
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm

Joined: 13 Feb 2016
Posts: 42
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Can Be Found: Drifting
2405.88 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Vengeful One

...No forgiveness from all I've seen
The degradation I cannot forget
So sleep soundly in your beds tonight
For judgement falls upon you at first light....

...You'll die
You'll know why
For you cannot be saved
This world is too depraved
When you die
You'll know why

I'm the hand of God
I'm the dark messiah
I'm the vengeful one
(Look inside and see what you're becoming)...
~ Disturbed

Something boiled inside Eddie, it churned and spun, a maelstrom in the deepest ocean whose outer rim was a mass of blades. Their razor sharp edges cut into him, not physically, he didn’t bleed...didn’t bleed blood at least. The keening had started low, too soft to be heard above the clash of weapons, but with each utterance of the word *bleed* it grew, drowning him with the agony of its vibration as the savage edges inside him cut away everything but the growing rage. It oozed in him until it filled every inch of his six foot six frame, and then it burst out of his pores like sweat after a long night of sex.

“Where is she!” Eddie’s voice rebounded off the walls and ceiling of the cavern, but even its volume didn’t give the Mer closing on Tahlia any pause. They ignored, they sought to hurt him even more by taking one more from him. This would not do, no... it would not! Eddie stood up, his ears picking up the sound of cloth being torn. Had one of them gotten through? His hands still held to his pistols, but this was far more personal and required his very special loving touch. They barely made a sound as they hit the sand. Turning, Eddie started towards those who sought to engulf Tahlia leaving them behind as unnecessary as an afterthought would be.

The closest of them was lean, like all the Mer seemed to be. Eddie hadn’t spent nearly so much time at sea as most of his kin, but he’d never seen a powerfully built Mer. He towered over the scalemailed creature, one hand grasping it about the throat and pulling it back and up to look him in the face. Its mouth opened, a yelp constricted by one of his massive hands. That was when he felt the things blade take him in the shoulder. It was an odd sensation, the bite of the edge, the sting of air as the mer pulled it free and readied another such strike. Eddie moved quicker, lunging outwards, it was barely more than a shrugging push and release of the Mer and yet its body crossed the expanse of the chamber hit the weathered stone wall and dropped to the sand unmoving. He reached out for a second one, shaking it when it tried to attack until it dropped its weapon. Then he pulled it right up to his own face.

“I said…” His voice had been deep since it had first changed, but even he didn’t recognize the rumbling that came from his mouth. “...where is…” His hand was massive, too massive, it completely encircled the Mer’s neck. The thing gasped as it struggled to breathe. He was tall, but it had taken too long to lift the thing in his hand, his furred hand. Silver grey fur ran along his arm and Eddie knew that if he concentrated he would be able to feel the movement in the air with every single strand. To make matters worse, the rumble he’d begun with took on a feral growl as he bared teeth that shouldn’t be that large or wickedly pointed. “ mother?!”

Tahlia couldn’t spare as much attention to Eddie as he deserved, pressed as she was on all sides. Her daggers were coated, slick, so much so that when one stuck, her hand slipped free, and she was left with only the one blade. Only for a moment, as she grabbed a spear heading toward her ribs, and spun inside its reach, killing the Mer with a single strike, and taking the spear for her own. It was unwieldy, but did what she needed it to, her lips still moving, calling the blood from their veins as she twisted and ducked, the sand beneath her feet darkening. Dropping for a low sweep, she realized the Mer around her were either dying, or frozen. Turning her head slowly, she realized that the roaring sound in her ears hadn’t been her heartbeat, or the song of the blood in her veins, but the sound of Eddie’s roar echoing through the cavern. Taking the chance to catch her breath, she found herself instead gaping, her eyes wide. Eddie was...bigger. Different. Different was an understatement. He’d grown over a foot, and those teeth...the fur...she’d seen him as a seal before. Now he was - almost both, but neither.

She was covered in crimson streaks, could feel it drying in her hair, and flaking from her skin. Not her blood, of course. That remained where it was supposed to, even though there were spots where her clothes were split and torn, and so, presumably, was the skin beneath. His mother. Something in the look he’d had last had told her that Eddie, at least, had thought she was dead, until he’d found whatever he’d been looking for in the sand. Tahlia’s heart twisted in her chest, but she’d long ago given up believing in miracles. At least for herself. If Eddie could have one...well, she’d do as much as she could to make that happen.

Frustrated at the silence coming from the Mer in his grip, Eddie tried to shake the information free again only to hear a sickening pop from it. It stared lifelessly at him, something even more ungratifying. He turned his gaze on the two that were closing on Tahlia and his anger boiled once more. “Mine!” He hurled the body towards them, one managed to dodge the incoming mass of dead Mer, the other wasn’t so skilled. It hit him full on knocking him to the sand in a tangle of limbs. Eddie’s form wasn’t far behind that toss, he began to close with the Mer that was still standing. It moved into a defensive position, poised to attack but Eddie ignored it passing between it and Tahlia. He bent and scooped up a fallen spear continuing on a path that put him over the Mer pile he’d just created. Up went a massive arm and down, sending the tip of the spear through both torso’s like wet paper.

“Maybe that’ll help you get the point.” It wasn’t his best line by a long shot, but he was under a lot of stress. Something had happened that he didn’t understand or even know was possible, let alone how he’d managed it. There was no form like this among his people, not even the rumor of it. In his relatively short twenty five years he’d never had this happen and there was the worry that he didn’t know how to get out of it. It wasn’t like becoming the seal, not exactly at least. For that he didn’t have to think about it, he just was it. At the very least, bad jokes aside, he still had his mind. That pass between the Mer and Tahlia had been for her benefit, should she choose to use the distraction.

The remaining Mer had pulled short, and was too busy watching Eddie to see the silver blade that flew from Tahlia’s hand, and buried itself just above the scale armor. The blades were gloriously weighted, she’d have to thank Kal for the gift of them, and make sure she found the other one. She hadn’t Called so much blood forth in a very long time, and she leaned heavily on one hand, watching the gurgling fishman collapse to the sand. Pale green eyes shifted to watch Eddie as he dispatched a squirming pile of scales and limbs, and she let out a sigh of relief. It was done. They’d survived. More than that, they had succeeded. The Mer had no foothold, not anymore, and if not tonight, than perhaps one night soon, the cavern they were in would be crushed beneath the weight of the temple.

If she hadn’t been so tired, perhaps she would have noticed the figure stumbling up from the wall, and barrelling toward her at a run. Not to hurt her, but because she was between him, and the water. Slim, yes, but the figure still had height and weight on the petite blonde. Half-kneeling, she couldn’t move fast enough, not to get out of the way, but she could try to tangle him up enough to keep him on the shore. Try, at least. Instead, the Mer dragged her with him, and she barely managed a breath before he tumbled them both into the glowing pool. The splash drenched the shoreline, and she sank beneath the surface, releasing her hold to save herself.

The sound of their collision was enough to pull Eddie back to the blonde just in time to see her go over the edge and into the pool. He didn’t know what might be down there, beyond the fleeing Mer. Would it seize the opportunity to take her down with it? He couldn’t take the chance that it wouldn’t. He pulled the tatters of his shirt from his body, that ever present jacket of his was gone. That was less of a surprise than what he’d become, some things are just too obvious to be surprised at… like Eddie Blake diving headfirst into the pool without ever checking the depths.

It happened, as it always happened. The instant he hit the water he simply was the massive Leopard seal, sixteen feet from snout to back flippers and well over half a ton of fun. If proof were needed, it could be found in the slowly sinking denim jeans. The only real difference perhaps was that the lichen filled pool may have given Tahlia a far better view of the transformation than she’d had in dark waters. Like this he could bend in ways that would make a contortionist jealous, he turned back on himself heading for Tahlia and taking her arm as gently as he could in his mouth to bring her towards the surface once more. He waited, every heartbeat taking the Mer farther from them, but he had to see her onto the shore safely. Only then did he dive again and not come back up.

At least this time she had the leather between his teeth, and her arm. One arm found the shore, and she clung, turning to meet those familiar terra cotta eyes, and stroke a hand along that enormous head as he let her go, and she hauled herself up out of the water. There was nothing left on the surface to hurt her. Coughing, she dragged herself clear of the shore, and set her back against a stone. She’d seen Eddie leave the water before, and she didn’t wish to be in his way when he returned. At least she was clean, now, or cleaner, the blood washed away in the pool. Eventually, she wondered if the rest of the blood they’d spilled would seep into the water. Truthfully, she didn’t care, as long as the leopard seal returned.

Taking a few breaths, she rose, and searched the sand, and the bodies, reclaiming her silver daggers, and taking them back to the water to clean them. Blood would etch silver if left too long. So would salt water, but there wasn’t much she could do about that. Tearing a strip from the bottom of her tank top, she dried the blades, and set them back in their holsters, and then went to collect the rest of their weapons. Sentimental value, of course. Stripping out of her jacket, she let her hair down, and hoped she’d have a chance to dry out. Beyond that, she watched the pool, and waited.

The Mer had most of the advantages, time gained while Eddie aided in getting Tahlia out of the pool and knowledge of the pathways to take once Eddie was on the hunt. It had another, the ability to breathe underwater but that wasn’t going to stop him from chasing down the Mer. It was injured and that slowed it down tremendously, not that it could have outpaced him anyway. Eddie’s underwater eyesight was superior to many of his own kind, not surprising considering where Leopard seals usually hunted. The odd illumination came from the algae, but it was how it lay that gave away the path of his prey. It spotted him closing in, swam harder nearly making it to the exit and open waters, but Eddie put on a burst of speed. His mouth opened wide and wickedly pointed teeth closed on the Mer. He wasn’t so delicate with this one as he had been of Tahlia. Scale mail shattered under his bite, prompting him to close his mouth even harder until he felt the flesh give way and blood rush across his tongue. Abruptly he changed directions, powerful jaws pulling the Mer sideways and pushing him along back the way they’d come giving a vigorous shake whenever the Mer made any attempt to strike at him.

Time ticked onwards, seconds aged into long minutes with no change coming to the surface of the pool. The waves of their passing had died leaving the pool calm and placid, until water exploded outwards. The muscular neck of the massive seal flexed, Mer filled maw jerking sideways as Eddie treated it like he would any penguin. Flesh tore in his teeth, the Mer’s body came away from his bite and landed hard on the floor of the cavern, exacerbating the injuries sustained earlier when it had hit the wall. A wave of water rose as Eddie launched himself to the sand, flipper becoming hand on contact with the earth and curling into fist as he stood and stalked the Mer once more. He was bare, save for his ever present leather jacket. There were very few times he would ever be spotted without it, and only one who’d had opportunity to don its surprising warmth.

“Where?!” The word was half question half shout, Eddie dropped to his knees and loomed over the prone Merling. The raspy snicker it directed his way was answered by a hard punch to the face. Eddie showed little regard for the needle like teeth that lined its mouth. The blow didn’t bring any answers, nor did the next one perhaps it would have if he’d given the thing a chance to talk, but he was still in that rage. The question would sound half a second before another hard punch hit the Mer square in the face. Eddie didn’t notice when the thing lost consciousness, nor did he stop his assault. It’s face went from bloody mess to flat faced. Its skull broke apart, and the big man didn’t stop punching even though blood and brains coated his fist.

The Mer flying overhead woke Tahlia from her reverie, and she scrambled to her feet. She hardly needed to, since it wasn’t moving, and even if it had, Eddie was right there. Not making a sound, Tahlia watched the seal rise up out of the pool, following his prey. Because there was no mistaking that that was what the Mer had become. The squelching sound of the blows continued long after the snap of delicate bones had ceased. She knew that sound, knew it well, and for a moment, she forgot where she was. Not-so-distant memories took hold, and it took her a minute to recover, one hand rubbing at a hidden scar along her ribs. All the while, the sound never stopped, until there was no way the creature still lived...Eddie might as well have been tenderizing steak. Maybe he was. She’d never thought to ask what he ate out there in the deep blue.

He’d changed when he hit the sand, the fur was gone, and there was a sparkle of silver at his throat, along with a deep red line that hadn’t been there before. Wincing, because testing out how that cord would survive his change hadn’t exactly been in her plans for the evening, at least it had done what she’d hoped - it kept him safe...the only blood she could see was splatters from the bloody punching bag beneath his fists.

“Puddin? Whatever you’re tryin’ to teach him, he’s past learnin’...and I can’t imagine they taste any better than they smell.” She stayed back, not reaching out to touch him, her leather streaked with salt where it was slowly drying out, hair a tangle of waves and salt-flecked curls. “, he’s dead. More than.” How much it would do to help her nightmares, she wasn’t certain. But now wasn’t the time to mention that. “I have the weapons, your shirt’s kinda shot...and I’m not going back in there for your jeans. Tell me you still have the keys?” Maybe focusing on the minutia would help him come out of whatever still held him in its grip.

His fist halted mid fall, he looked at what he’d done and smiled ever so slightly. One finger came to his lips as he turned his head and looked at Tahlia. It left a streak of red on them, standing up he rolled the body into the pool and let it sink out of sight. Maybe it would find his pants? Doubtful. He’d forgotten, it was easy to do that sometimes, curling a finger at her he stepped towards one of the walls and put his ear to it indicating that she should do the same. The hard stone surface pulsed, something deep inside sounding like a heartbeat that was out of sync. “Close your eyes… and hear the way out.”

When she complied, she might pick up something more over that odd heartbeat. A hard guitar bassline that mingled in, a steady vibration that wove around and through the wall. “Never brought the keys in.” Why would he? The car kept his sense of direction, in a weird way it told him where not to go. “This isn’t over, Tahlia…” She probably already knew that though. Eddie turned and looked across the chamber, searching for something he’d lost. “Where is it?” Had it gotten buried again, there were so many scents in here that everything was mingling together. He moved, heading back into the chamber until he felt the tug on his arm. It wasn’t the one coated in blood, and yet it was still a tentative little thing...just enough.

She’d followed him to the wall, heard that unmistakable thump of bass, and allowed herself a small smile. No wonder he loved that car so much - she should have guessed it wasn’t just for the bench seats and the surging horsepower. She took a moment to lean there, catch her breath, tired, yes, but not enough that her magic faltered. Still blonde, for one, and while the spots where the Mer had gotten past her guard stung from the saltwater bath, they didn’t bleed. Tahlia knew it wasn’t over - how could it be? If someone had told her her mother lived...shaking her head, she realized Eddie had stumbled off, scanning the sand.

She knew what he was looking for. It was there in her off hand, the one not wrapped lightly around his bicep. Tahlia held the skin out to him, carefully positioned fur-side up. The granulation stuck to her palm, a little, but she knew enough to figure out what that scrap of hide was. Who’s it was. “Eddie…” What could she say, really? “I found it when I was gathering the weapons. I didn’t think you’d want to leave it behind.”

Eddie took it from her, and drew it up to his nose once more to inhale. The smell made his breath shudder again, for whatever reason. There was no rage in him this time, no change into something he didn’t begin to understand. “Thank you.” It was a simple two word statement, not nearly enough to say what it really meant. He knew what it was, what it was supposed to do and that it had nearly succeeded. It might have had he gone into this alone. Once he’d have done just that. “She was…” He shook his head, not willing to finish by saying here. “They did this, hurt her to get to me, but they’re just soldiers, barely better than drones. They don’t know anything.”

The ones who did were long gone, had been from the moment the car had turned into the driveway. He could have wished until his hands were full and never changed that fact. “We need to go see someone. I have a change of clothes in the car.” Eddie glossed over certain things, ignoring them perhaps so long as she was. “How much edge do your knives have left?” He pulled his arm from her grasp, only to lay it over her shoulder. His other hand relieved her of some of the burden of weapons she’d recovered. There was urgency in both the question and the way he was imploring her by touch towards the entrance to this place.

Tahlia wasn’t big enough to slow him down, and she didn’t even try. Getting out of that blood-stained cavern was on her short list of gifts today. “My daggers? They don’t seem to dull, really, although salt water and creepy fish-guy blood can’t be good for them. Might need to clean them again...why?” She could ask and walk at the same time, although she was having to take a couple of steps to his one. It was fine though, more than.

Looking down at her likely ruined leathers, the blonde shook her head, and spat out a salty strand that stuck to her lips. “Yeah, I do too. Not sure it’s the right kind of thing for a meeting though. Someone said slinky.” She’d assumed he meant dancing, somewhere dark and loud where they could wind each other up until they couldn’t take it anymore. Not...whatever happened now. “Do you think we could swing by my place? Get a shower, something a little more suitable for meeting...people.” One name sprang to mind, given everything, but she wasn’t going to say it first. If they were going to meet the ice queen, Tahlia wanted to look a little more presentable for that kind of company.

“No, but don’t worry, I don’t think he’ll mind.” Eddie put the skin back into Tahlia’s hand. “Think you could make this into one long thin strip?” It would mean cutting it in a spiral assuming her blades were up to the task. If not it might just have to wait a bit. “Then putting the amulet on it… cuz my neck’s on fire here, Pumpkin.” He tugged at the cord that had left a red ring around his throat, but didn’t take it off. He’d do that when the other was ready, and then it would go right back on. “I need to see a man about an iron.” Cryptic as always, it wasn’t that Eddie didn’t want to share information there were just some things he couldn’t really bring himself to say aloud. She would, or should know that about him already. “And trust me when I say, he’s seen you worse.”

She took the skin, sliding one of the blades out as they continued up, and out. “I think so, yeah…” If her hands shook a little, it could probably be forgiven - this was his mother's skin, unless she’d misunderstood everything. And enigmatic as Eddie was, that reaction had been blazingly clear, at least to her. It had been...a very long time since she’d done work like this, but there was an old adage about bicycles for a reason. She set the blade, and then focused on their surroundings, letting muscle memory take over. A long thin spiral twisted around the blade as she worked - not the whole thing, even Eddie didn’t need that much cord. But enough. More than, really. She had an idea, in case he decided to do that half-man, half-seal thing again. Still moving, she held her hand out for the amulet - for her idea to work, she’d need to string it herself. “He’s…” Iron. She only knew one person they both knew who would be able to answer metallic jeopardy. And who had seen her worse than she was now. “We’re going to see the blacksmith.”

A hard tug on the amulet broke the cord holding it, maybe it was the salt water? It could have been, right? Eddie handed it over to her without breaking a step. His expression was an unreadable mismash of emotions. He breathed hard through his nose as though trying to expel the reek of the temple. He should have rigged it to blow, but that would have been far less a warning to those who came to find it. Stay out of the harbor and off the land, or find more of the same. Maybe he should have blown it anyway, to hide what they would understand to easily. He wasn’t done with them, and they already knew the why of it. Eddie nodded as Tahlia latched onto the whom they were going to see. “We’re going to brother.”
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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