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Silent Knight, Unholy Night

 
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Will
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 03 Apr 2015
Posts: 56
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Can Be Found: [Firehouse 316 - Auxiliary Fire & Rescue]
2284.16 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:47 am    Post subject: Silent Knight, Unholy Night Reply with quote

“Know what your problem is?”

That was the way the ‘deep’ conversations always started with Ronnie. And fifty percent of those conversations? They started with a hard right hook, delivered low and meant for the body. It was caught on the outside on an arm, in the meaty part just above the elbow with the practiced ease born of familiarity long since grown. So it went with the right side as well and the absorbing block of a left hook aiming underside again. Will grinned and jumped back.

“I’ve got a lot of them, according to you,” he taunted the his partner, between panted breaths. They had been going at it for about fifteen minutes. “Which one are we on about today?” Both arms came up in a cross block a heartbeat later, catching a hard blow meant for his head, striking hard enough still that it forced a skip backwards to maintain his balance.

That is your problem. That right there.” Rohnkun Ebonsure was a big man in his late thirties, thick of limb and built to endure. His skin was a dark, rich brown and his large eyes a dull, dark green; he would have passed for human in most places if the slight underbite and the subtle hint of tusklike canine teeth were discounted. There was orc somewhere in his lineage (or Ork, when so quoting his old marm), but his brutish features were somewhat comely and belied a sage wisdom he oft liked to depart on his younger companion whether he wanted it or not. “Don’t take nothin’ seriously, you don’t, or I’m a sahaughin’s second cousin!”

He threw another series of body blows, meant to eat up more of his sparring partner’s energy. Will wasn’t a small man (but most men were smaller than Rohnkun), reaching some modest measurement over six feet, with an athlete’s build and a nearly annoying ability to take more than his fair share of punishment. Each blow was met with a slight turn and the outside of an arm or shoulder, glancing off or eliciting a grunt. The aggressor could never tell if it was more exertion than pain, or the opposite.

“I take the job seriously enough,” the smaller man fired back, shifting his weight repeatedly on light feet and continually trying to dance around or out of the other’s superior reach. What blows were reciprocated rarely landed and the ones that did wouldn’t have done much to a man even half the senior EMT’s size. He always accepted his partner’s invitations to box, but never put up as much of a fight so much as he played the interactive punching bag. “Just look at our track record.”

With winter in full swing, the early arrival of evening pulled a blanket of rich blue-black midnight over the sky, dotting it with the twinkling of small stars that lay scattered randomly where not obscured the occasional heavy gray cloud of clinging seasonal mist. A handful of trouble calls had made for a busy dinner hour but petered off as the midnight hour drew closer. The city proper was as quiet as it ever got, with a great many of Rhy’din’s denizens holed up in one gathered or another in celebration of the holiday -- Christmas, Yule, Festivus (or was that two days ago?). For the sometimes unsung and oft beleaguered first responders of the realm, it was a blessed peace.

Or boredom.

Station 316 was a three story building of old red and brown brick and mortar, settled far to the west of side of the Old Market and closer to the wall abutting Seaside than not. Built stout and serviceable, it served as an auxiliary to the Fire Brigade. Given the nature of the city, even the auxiliaries saw more than their fair share of action. The interior had been sparsely decorated in a half-assed attempt to infect some of the more dour faces with seasonal cheer, but the more cacophonous dronings of someone’s alien roots had since been replaced with the more mellow stylings of Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album. It had lulled two men to sleep already, one in bed and another couched, and reduced all but Ronnie and Will to a somberly cheery game of poker around the kitchen table, the crooner’s words and the melody often broken by the sound of heavy gloves impacting on the landing below.

“Oh. Yeah. Sure.” Ronnie snorted and lifted his guard again, staring down at Will from over the tops of his gloves and waiting to see what the younger man would do (or say) next, once he himself took a break from pontificating. “Fall back on that again. You really wanna go there, ‘Iron’ Will? You got balls, boyo. Big mithril ones, takin’ chances a more cautious guy would go white over. No one doubts your courage but one of these days…”

The bigger man paused. “You’ll take every risk that rears it’s ugly head, relyin’ on whatever that weird luck of yours is. But that *** runs out, boyo. Luck always does. Get yourself killed, you will. Maybe if you took your life more serious, you’d find somethin’ to do with your ass outside of work that’d make you think twice.”

“Yeah,” Will replied, sandy brown brows quirking up curiously. He humored his partner in the moment. “Like?”

“A girl. Religion. A hobby. Somethin’ other than the job and eating that greasy ass diner food or food truck garbage you love so much.”

“Hey, you eat that stuff too.”

“Sometimes. When we’re workin’. I also got an old lady who cooks for me on the regular. Wholesome stuff without all that grease and lard.”

“So what was so wholesome that went to Lyna’s ass, because that trunk’s got--”

Will covered up and ducked another series of blows in earnest, each one faster and more aggressive than the previous ones. His laughter came out as a strangled wheeze as he did his best to absorb or avoid every punch, not entirely sure if the bigger man’s growling was all feigned of if, just maybe, he had taken the teasing too far. Backstepping he made some room and the pursuit ebbed, both men just out of reach and able to catch their breaths.

“Gods love you, boy.” Ronnie growled, a subtle fondness resonating through the words as he feigned a few testing jabs with the left to see if the smaller man would move.

The words, well intentioned, were sobering.

“No, he doesn’t.” Will had ceased to smile, not in the manner the other was accustomed to. There was an affable curve to his mouth, sure, but it was suddenly lacking in good humor.

“One of them does. Probably that Earth One of yours.”

“Nah.” The deliver was deadpan. Will’s gloves dropped.

“Never gonna be the religious type, are you?” Ronnie’s head tilted to the side, the weight of his scrutiny on his partner growing.

“I used to pray. Some serious ***, right there.”

“Don’t think anyone’s listenin’?”

“Oh, they’re listening.” Will grimaced. “I’m sure. But most folks with power listen and then do what’s best for them anyway. I say screw th--”

POW!

The massive gloved hand came from nowhere and caught him squarely beneath the chin, lifting ‘Iron’ Will clean off his feeting. Given the fantastical nature of Rhy’din, he’d always wondered if he’d get to live out his greatest Saturday Morning Cartoon fantasies and see little Tweety Birds flying drunkenly around his head. Sadly, there weren’t even stars. Just blurred vision and a whole hell of a lot of pain.

“Don’t blaspheme,” he was somewhat aware of Ronnie saying, thought it sounded much more like ‘Bone asscreme’ until he’d taken more than a few moments to thing about it. As he grew increasingly more aware and the blurriness began to face, a gloved hand locked on his wrist and drew him to his feet.

Ronnie had just opened his mouth to offer a fresh sermon when the bells began to go off.

Then the PA sounded: Fire in the Marketplace. Fire in the Marketplace.
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Will
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 03 Apr 2015
Posts: 56
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: [Firehouse 316 - Auxiliary Fire & Rescue]
2284.16 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

“The fire’s spread into the shops!” Ronnie called from the driver’s seat of the ambulance as they raced towards the danger. Will was quickly stuffing extra supplies into a medical bag in preparation for their arrival. “Other crews are already on the scene, but ***’s poppin’ up everywhere!”

Glancing up from the bag, Will squinted and looked ahead through the windshield, as if staring far down the street would do him any good. It didn’t. The smoke he could see, but a hard turn ahead and the rooftops beyond obscured anything. “Is the Chief on the scene? If we’re gonna get redirected, find out--”

Will was thrown from the bench when something struck the side of the ambulance hard enough for the right side wheels to rise off of the street, tilting the whole vehicle. He slammed hard into the cabinet on the other size, briefly dazed and aware of Ronnie’s cursing. A moment later he was thrown forward, nearly launched into the front seat, after they struck something hard enough to stop the ambulance’s advance.

“R-ronnie? You good, man?” He managed the words while gulping in air, dropping back and no longer doubled over the bench seat in the front. He could hear the coughing but found some measure of relief moments later when the bigger dark skinned man gave him something resembling an affirmative with a single, silent thumbs up.

Will cut loose with a low groan and an inappropriate curse word often reserved as slang for raucous sex, having the sense to slip his medical bag over one aching shoulder as he shuffled for the rear doors. “Try to get out. If you can, climb out this way.”

The ambulance was level again, but he had no idea of the extent of the damage done to their vehicle. Throwing a shoulder into the doors without considering the actual necessity of it, he just barely heard the scream from outside when he stumbled into the wall of pure darkness. It was thick, almost tangible, like the feel of a heavy mist clinging to the skin in wetter months, only impossibly and depressingly black. At first will thought he was going to choke on it, as if swallowing despair until his lungs were full of it and ready to burst. One hand slung to the edge of the open door, his balance lost in the moment and causing him to swing with it around to the vehicle’s right side. It nearly sent him supine on the icy and unforgiving pavement.

Then, in the back of his mind, he heard the music.

It was very light at first, reminiscent of his neighbor down the hall turning her radio on in the summer, so she could dance away while repainting her living room for the sixth time in a month. Except, this wasn’t popular latino music with small tidbits of english thrown in to attract the linguistically impaired. This was less whimsical and more focused for all of its softness. With a dim awareness, he likened to to Gregorian chant, if someone had remixed it for dropping a beat at the club, gave the guy scratching some Speed, and then turned down the volume to annoy the hell out of everyone.

Just trying to concentrate on it was enough to bring Will back into the moment, refocused, and coughing out the darkness to stumble free of it. Another scream brought his head up sharply, blues eyes that were watery from the trek through the black honing in on it’s source. A woman was screaming and crying out for help as she tried to pull an unconscious child from a card half overturned, shrinking from something large and leathery even in her refusal to abandon the little boy. The scent of blood was in the air, familiar though he wasn’t sure how he could even tell, but the thought was erased from his mind the first time the creature roared.

“Holy Mother of Grunktar!” Ronnie’s exclamation was loud but muffled from inside the cab, as he had traded fussing with a stuck seatbelt to trying to start the ambulance again, it’s front end smashed in when it had struck the crashed car. “Will, run! Go! Get out of here!”

Frozen in the moment, Will looked from his partner, to the leathery beast whose presence itself was half hazy, and then to the woman struggling with her charge. Then to the beast. Then to the woman. In his head, the volume of the music increased just a small fraction, resonating within him for the first time. It called to him.

Will looked at Ronnie.

“Get it started and get ready to go!”

When the beast reached for the woman and the child, Will broke into a dead run right towards the scene.

Passing a pothole as he sprinted (there was a reason Rhy’din’s civil engineers didn’t get much love), he picked up a pathetically small chunk of stone and whipped it towards the beast’s back, whistling sharply. “Hey! Buddy! No means no!” The stone bounced harmlessly off a bony nub rising from one of its shoulder blades, causing its head to swing around suddenly and at about the same moment the man launched into a baseball slide that took him between the large legs, beneath the bulk of the creature, and beyond. In the moment, he wasn’t sure which was funnier, the blinking of blood red eyes in surprise or wondering whether or not the ice in the street would lessen the chance of road rash from the slide. He came up with a grimace and nearly lost his balance when he slammed into the car door hand enough that it fell open,dropping to one knee next to the woman and the unconscious child.

“Hi.” He greeted the woman almost cheerfully, regretted it immediately, but tried to maintain a reassuring smile. “I don’t know who your insurance company is, but I’m totally willing to testify that that dick,” he said as a finger was pointed at the big leathery monster, “ was publically intoxicated.”

The beast roared.

“...and jaywalking.”

The woman didn’t scream, but started crying anew and finally succeeded from pulling the child from the car. The boy couldn’t have been more than ten and lay there slack jawed with a sizable gash in his forehead, half covering his freckled face in blood. Unconscious, Will thought. Probably a concussion.

“Head wounds are messy,” he mumbled allowed, but was unable to reassure the woman, because the beast rose up on its haunches with another roar and then brought great clawed hands down towards them.

The music exploded inside Will’s head then, a dam broken that filled him suddenly, painfully with light. Half aware of what he was doing, he snatched at the hanging driver’s door of the wrecked car and wrenched it free from its hinges, bring it up like a shield above his head and the heads of the civilians at his side. There was a sickening crunch where the claws struck and then the whining scream of rending metal. The bellow of frustration was concussive, rebounding off of the surrounding area in a palpable wave of sound, before the beast drew back and struck again, only to be met by Will’s rise to his feet and the continued use of the door as a makeshift shield. It struck a third time and he resisted again, shifting a step or two as the oversized predator refocused its attention on the being that presented a perceivable threat (sort of).

“Go!” He barked at the woman. His tone grew more serious as the words spilled from his mouth, a copper tongue gone barbed in the moment. If he failed, someone innocent was going to die. No. No! Not here. Not now. Not while I draw breath. “Get the kid into the ambulance! Ronnie! Get that damned thing started and get them out of here!”

The door was hefted easily, as if it were made of cardboard, and thrust at the beast when it brought its claws down on him for a fourth time, two of the scythe-like appendages finally punching through the steel and vinyl to stop three uneasy inches from his face. He pivoted a foot and twisted the door, using the leverage to draw it and its attention further from the woman, who had gathered her senses and was pulling the little boy away.

“Look,” he tried to appeal to the (what in the hell was it anyway, a demon?) thing’s reason, beyond likely a futile gesture. “You’re drunk. Go home. We’ll just tell the Watch and State Rhy’din Insurance the lady hit a giant lawn gnome or a walking telephone pole. Everyone wins. So, what do you sa--”

The music burst through him again, preventing him from buckling under the next blow. But damned if he didn’t want to fall down just then.

“Fine. Have it your way.”

Behind the beast, the ambulance’s engine sputtered and then growled to life. Right after, the back doors slammed.

“Or not.” Will grinned.

There was another whine of metal when Ronnie pulled the ambulance away from the car and a squeal of tires as he swung it around. His partner knew the drill. They’d had this discussion before and while the older man didn’t quite understand the reasons behind the mantra he’d drilled into his head, the ink of the tattoo that was subtle on ‘Iron’ Will’s left forearm, he respected it:

So Others May Live.

The ambulance sped off as fast as the damage it had sustained would allow, in the other direction.

“So, ironically, I’m a turn the other cheek kinda guy,” he rambled at the thing, minutely smug in the face of certain death. “But you’d just rip that cheek off and I’ve been told I have a nice a--”

The next strike landed on the shield-door harder than the last, driving the bulk of it down onto Will’s head. For the third time that evening, his vision blurred, and this time the world faded into nothing. Nothing and the soft, dying sound of the music…
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Will
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


Joined: 03 Apr 2015
Posts: 56
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: [Firehouse 316 - Auxiliary Fire & Rescue]
2284.16 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An hour later he woke in the nearby alley, cold, wet, and with a throbbing in his skull that forced him over onto his hands and knees. What came up didn’t taste anything like the gyro he’d had for supper that night. Still wretching, he started when his shoulder radio came to life with a crackle and a hiss, and then the garbled sound of Ronnie’s voice.

”Will. Will! Boy, you out there?” Crackle. ”C’mon! Answer me, damnit!”

Coughing out the last of the bile and rolling onto his back with a groan, fumbling for the radio and drawing it down towards his face.

“Tower, this is Ghost Rider, requesting a fly-by. Over.” The words came out in a croak.

”...” Crackle. ”What?”

“You were supposed to say ‘Negative, Ghost Rider. The pattern is full’.”

”...” Crackle. ”Now I’m kinda wishin’ you were dead.”

“By the time I walk my ass back, I will be too. Merry Christmas, Ronnie…”






It is better to conquer yourself than win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, Heaven or Hell.

-Buddha




[OOC: I'd like to give credit where credit is due for the Midnight Sun, Polar Night playable inspiring this, but it seems to have disappeared. Regardless, to whoever it was who originally had the idea, thank you!]
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