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Which is More Dangerous
Nox and Dane agreed to meet outside an entrance to the Underground that opened up into the Red Square. It wasn't used as a trash hole like most of the others being so close to the Kremlin and all. It was an upscale dump.

Leaving the Moscow airport for the first time was a bit nerve wracking. The last time he'd flow into Moscow he'd fallen out of plane - not even seeing the airport at all. He thanked whatever deities were out there that he didn't have to fly again. He never intended to return to his old life again. His life was here - with Aria. Wherever the hell she was.

He'd received a text from her - several actually with information. He was to take her old journal form her hiding place in the shop below where she used to live - where Asha now lived and deliver it to an address. Supposedly their new home. Nox had grabbed the text before he found himself in a hotel room. He didn't want to meet this stranger right now. He had more pressing matters - sleep.

Not that when he actually laid down in the lumpy bed did he actually sleep long. But it was the first step in getting things under control and his body back into it's usual rhythm. It had only been a matter of days since Ascendancy's announcement, but Nox could feel the tension in the air. Everyone was suspect. Every cold and every fever was getting second guessed. There were crowds outside the Kremlin protesting. Crime was ramping up.

Hell even the Atharim were ramping up, and Aria was in the thick of it. He didn't know what. She was leaving him out of it. He was grateful for that. He was a reborn god. He was the enemy. And when push came to shove he'd out himself to save her skin, or his. It was better to stay away.

So Nox did what Nox did best - he hunted. He was actually looking forward to going hunting with Dane. He wasn't sure which was more dangerous - the monsters or having Dane at his back. He could only hope that the other man was more interested in killing monsters than killing him.

Nox had prepared himself well. He'd stopped by HQ the day he arrived and dropped his report of his trip on the right desk and took two landwarriors and some random weapons - a cross bow and a few handguns and the appropriate ammo. His were all gone in the explosion. That had been a bitch of a report to write. He was surprised no one had questioned him on Bas' actions at his place. But so far so good... ignorance was bliss. He knew nothing of Bas, only that he'd run into him at a bar - that's all they needed to know.

It was early in the morning 9am. Not early for him, but early the crowds were just starting to form in protest. Nox waited for Dane outside of the entrance tunnel. He leaned against the ungrafittied wall - it had to be a rarity - but it was close to the Kremlin - it was probably scoured nightly. The pair of landwarriors sat on top of his head like sunglasses and he had a gray hoodie wrapped around his body against the chill of the Moscow spring air. It was colder than Mexico, but it felt good. Sadly the jeans were new, but that's what happens when your entire possessions get blown up.
Groggy, Dane carried a látte as he navigated the streets to meet Nox. It was an uncommon day that he consumed a coffee based drink, given his preference for tea, but the caffeine did more than stimulate. The warmth was invigorating in the chill morning air.

He pulled a wallet map from the pocket of a thermal fiber jacket. Another source of warmth. After so long in Mexico he had grown accustomed to desert climates.

The map directed him along a canal off the Moscow River just before it bent to the Kremlin. There was a charge on the air like electricity that gave his steps swifter purpose in a way that caffeine could not. Once in a while he sensed the disturbance of power rippling in the distance. He would smile to himself and ponder the circumstances around its use. How the world was different now.

When he found Nox, he still had half his coffee to drink, but while there was a public trash can nearby, he had no intention of discarding it simply because it was about to get darker.

"Good morning." He said, eyes roaming the tunnel gates. They were pristine. "Clearly we can get through these bars but they will be damaged and draw suspicious attention in this area. How do your kind get in and out on a regular basis?" Always methodical, Dane was expert at avoiding the eyes of police.
Nox muttered "Morning,"
as Dane inspected their entrance. He smirked at the choice of words - his kind. Nox laughed. "My kind wouldn't use this entrance. There are many others. This one prevents entry and exit no real need to patrol it"
Nox glanced up towards the security cameras installed making sure this entrance was watched at all times. "However I am not like most of my kind. Our kind has ways around simple security measures. I want to see why this entrance is watched. It's not on my previous mapping excursions. So who knows what lurks in it's depths."
Probably something horrible with this gate on it.

Nox reached into the darkness and pulled the black light towards him. The struggle of it was intoxicating. He loved ever second it took to embrace his gift - the fulfillment of actually controlling the willful spirit. Once the power was wrapping itself around him he set electrical sparks towards all three cameras. They popped and sizzled with the desired effect. "No more audience."

Nox sank his gift into the wall. The bricks and mortar just glorified earth. He could feel the metal deep within holding the gate strong in it's grip. But Nox was stronger. He wrapped the gate in a second weave - one of air so it wouldn't fall when he softened the moorings of the gate.

It wasn't as easy as he thought it would be now that he could manage more than one weave at a time. His heart raced but the euphoria of his newfound accomplishments coursed through his veins as he pulled the grating free of the wall. Nox walked inside and gestured for Dane to join him, before he settled the gate back in its position and let the mortar and brick solidify once again. He grinned "Good as new."
Nox dropped the two weaves but not the power and wove a floating orb of white light.

Nox took the second pair of landwarriors out of his pocket and offered them to Dane. "Night vision is already set up for a touch of this button."
Nox indicated the top of frame. "The HUD is synced with my wallet with a map of where we've been and where I've been prior. Just in case we get separated - the red dots on this level are exits."

Nox pulled the second handgun from his holster and held it out to Dane. He knew it was dangerous to give this man yet another weapon but he wasn't about to get him killed either - Aria would kill him. "We tire eventually. I'd rather not have you defenseless if that happens while we are down here. I have no idea what we'll find."

Nox knelt down and picked up a handful of rocks and stuck them in his hoodie pocket. He wished for his gear, but such is life. He'd have to recreate everything again, but that was for later, the stones would have to do.
The use of power was creative. Dane watched the fibers make their forms as he finished the látte. The security camera was disabled in a way Dane noted, and done much easier than his method. Nox's explanation for this choice of tunnel seemed logical and Dane didn't think he was lying. Did every tunnel always lead somewhere sinister? How did Nox know this one went somewhere besides conduits of excrement?

He dropped the empty cup on the ground and followed him inside.

The darkness was more consuming than mere shade should have been. Dane zipped his jacket, and programmed the setting to keep him comfortable in the temperature. He wore tight black gloves, supple but not expensive. These were his preferred brand to discard after they were soiled.

With them, he accepted the sunglasses although he hesitated to put them on. The gun was met with an even greater scoff. "I have no idea how to shoot a gun. I'd be more likely to shoot you than anything else." He let his fingers curl around the metal and trace the ridges as he took it from Nox. It was heavier than he expected and was glad for the holster to secure to his waist for to carry it. Nox had to show him several times the sequence of events required to draw, aim, and fire. Even how to grip and brace himself in a stance. Dane accepted the teachings seriously. Neither did he want to shoot himself in the process.

The rest of the information about the sunglasses he flat out frowned about. He had no experience operating such a device let alone trusting it to guide him. "Must we wear them?" He asked, and wondered at how such maps came to be at all. And who drew them. With a growl, he finally put them on and hated the fit. The operating system flashed across his line of sight then, and he took several more minutes learning the navigation. He signaled when he was ready. All this work had taken the excitement out of the adventure. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go at all now.
Nox could sense Dane's disappointment he didn't need Aria's gift. "Sorry man. Better safe than sorry. You'll need every advantage where we are going."
Granted Nox didn't know exactly where they were going, but something here wasn't right so he might as well figure it out. He only hoped that there were creatures to take down or he might have a very unhappy friend who could just as easily try to kill him in the his disappointment.

They walked down deeper into the tunnels. The light from their entrance long since faded and the only light was that of the glowing orb he let float behind them.

The tunnel they were in split into two - one clearly looked man made. Nox made a marker on the map to check it out later. Man made didn't mean monsters in most cases, and it looked newer than what should be down here. Not something to impress his dangerous friend with. So Nox took the cavernous tunnel instead.

Soft scratching sounds could be heard in the distance. Rats or worse lingered there he was certain. Nox curled a whip of fire and earth in his hand with practiced ease.

There was no telling what lie around the next corner. The scratching grew louder. There the sound of things moving ahead. Nox sent the orb in front of them to light the corner and a rat skittered underfoot past them. It was the leader of the pack apparently, dozen's of rats fled from something. Nox grinned and glanced back at Dane. "Be ready."
Nox let the orb go and it faded into nothingness, only the glow of the whip lighted their path.

((Pick a monster any monster))

Edited by Nox, Jul 20 2016, 06:23 AM.
((My bio takes place around the time Theo Andlain starts the riots, but idk how long ago that was IC, so I just took a stab at the timeline))

So it turned out that getting to Moscow was the easy part, unfortunately. After months of hitchhiking and stowing away on trains, boats, or whatever mode of transportation he could sneak into, he'd hoped that Moscow would be a salvation of sorts. It only took a few incidents for Cain to realize that being afraid led to the activation of his magic, generally with explosive results. While it was often dangerous and inconvenient, along the way he'd gotten some semblance of control, and the fire became useful at times.

Still after so long running, terror and fire his constant companions, he'd hoped for better in the capital. Cain had learned on the road that he could trade manual labor for food sometimes, and other times he would steal, bargain, or beg. His situation in Moscow was virtually the same. He'd heard Ascendancy's announcement about the validity of magic. Everyone in the world knew about it, probably. For Cain though, it hadn't been a huge surprise; he of course knew that magic was real. Therefore he'd underestimated how panicked the average citizen would be. The redhead had arrived in Moscow to scenes of protests and disorder. He could hardly go around asking random strangers where he could find a magical terrorist to help teach him about magic.

Fortunately there were all sorts of charities in the wealthiest city in the world, so he could at least get decent enough (if somewhat grubby) clothes and a shower now and then. Even so, he still ended up where every other homeless wretch in Moscow landed: the Underground. Here, he was a bit more liberal with his use of magic. Cain had seen a few people here and there doing strange and miraculous things, usually subtly. On the streets, people respected power, and it didn’t take more than a few flashes of fire to make thieves and bullies think twice before approaching him. Unfortunately while it kept enemies away, his magic didn’t earn him any friends either. That’s what lead to him getting into this situation.

The tunnels in the Underground didn’t exactly have signs or directions. He was starting to get the hang of things, but every now and then he’d find himself in an unfamiliar place. Cain swung his flashlight (one of the first things he’d realized that he’d need to steal upon living Underground) side to side, hoping for a familiar marker, when he heard the scurrying of little feet. Before being homeless, Cain probably would’ve jumped or felt uncomfortable, being surrounded by rats. He’d since learned that the running ones weren’t a problem. They weren’t about to stop and bite him, not when something was clearly chasing them. It was the ‘something’ that he needed to be worried about.

Luckily, his fear allowed him to access his magic, and summon a ball of flames above his outstretched right hand. It took a moment for Cain’s eyes to adjust to the light, but unfortunately his ears had no such compensation requirements, and could hear perfectly well the hissing snarling of whatever beast was before him. The noise increased in volume, as if the creature was afraid of the fire. Once he could see again, part of him wished that he couldn’t. The source of the sound was a strange, dog-like animal. It was large for a canine, tall as Cain’s waist, and it seemed almost shriveled. It was hunched over and the redhead could clearly see the bumps and knots of its spine along its back. Most disturbing though were its bloody fangs, clearly wetted with the blood of the rat lying before it.

Cain had heard the stories of course, of animals found dead, drained of blood like the vampire victims of lore. This must be what was responsible. And judging by the way it was stalking forwards towards him, humans probably made more appetizing meals than rats. Living on the streets had taught the redhead a thing or two about wild animals, and while defensive ones sometimes postured and growled, they wouldn’t approach a human. No, it was the aggressive ones that did so. If he ran, the monster would chase him.

he swore, his spike in fear conveniently causing a spike in the intensity of his fireball. Cain threw the flames out towards the monster, hoping for the best, never noticing the people coming up behind him.

((In case it wasn’t clear, the monster is a Chupakabra. Does the fireball hit? Does it miss? Is it enough to defeat the Chupakabra or is there a whole pack of them? That’s up to you all!))
(( another flunky not the same one being used in Elyse's thread))

This job sucks! Trudging through the underground all for Alistair Pavlo's stupid research. Stupid man and his stupid ideas! Stupid creatures. Anders got the good job this time - nabbing the zombie like ones... No today he had to do the ones that bite and can kill you. Just fucking great!

These dog like creatures roamed in packs. Catching one was a bitch. Not getting bitten even harder. Their nest however was close to the facility - that made it nicer anyway. But it was harder. Pavlo said one more - last one. He better be right!

He'd dressed in full riot gear he doubted the kevlar would keep their teeth from him but it was the only chance he had if he got bitten. He'd seen what had happened to Gregor - he'd changed right in front of them until Alistair put a bullet in his head. But he hadn't had a gun... it still was all so very confusing.

Down in the tunnels the rats ran away. He caught them scurrying past him. The world errupted into flames and the creatures around him came to life. It was like the shadows moved. He hadn't seen them before, their gleaming eyes, their spittal dripping from their teeth. But they didn't have eyes for him any longer. Their attention turned towards the flames...

Readying the net to capture one and only one of these foul creatures. He waited until they ran clear of him. He hadn't counted them. Hadn't seen how many had slithered through the tunnels around him. He was glad for whatever was happening.

He pulled the trigger. The net flew forward towards it's intended target and wrapped itself around the horrid thing. It howled but it was the last in a long line of it's fellows. To slow dumb ass!

He walked up to the creature and kicked it. It lashed out at him and he jumped backwards with a yelp. Stupid! He stabbed it with the tranq rod and it was quickly dozing. Stupid creature! And now to drag the sob back to the lab... This better be the last one.

(( Cause it was asked - they are running at the trio now to 'avenge' their pack mate ))

Edited by Aria, Jul 20 2016, 07:58 AM.
Dane was a twitch with excitement. It thudded his heart loud in his ears and flushed his face pink. Nox called it hunting, and Dane found he word fitting. He tip toed beside Nox, light of foot and slender in shadow, but his mind was cast far ahead-imagination bright with possibility. This was an outlet for emotion pent up since he left Aria. In Mexico he crossed a line that could never be uncrossed, one Aria would not approve even if she partook in the act herself - and he knew how the temptation would tickle her mind until she submitted. He eagerly awaited the day he introduced her to that level of intimacy. But Moscow was more regulated than Mexico. Arson and slaughter was frowned upon within the borders of the CCD jewel. But down here.... Dane's mouth twitched in the darkness unseen. Down here was freedom. Down here he could be more than the Mockingbird. Down here, he could be a god.

Nox's pace slowed moments before the first beady eyes of rodents crossed their path. One. Then two. Then dozens skittered underfoot. His foot squished on something soft and with a sharp squeal, it slithered away, nipping at his heel. "Bloody rats," Dane uttered with too much familiarity.

Then he felt it. A presence of darkness and menace growing mighty, stretching its wings across their minds. He seethed beneath bared teeth against a would-be threat to this, his newly chosen domain.

He seized the forces for himself and let it consume him with a strength that straightened his back and hastened his steps.

Fire and light blossomed across his field of vision. Dogs - or mangy creatures that resembled them - snarled. A homeless man faced one down. But Dane's attention swiveled between two others.

He jumped into the storm of forces adding his own - ropes of light that injected themselves into the dog creature nearest him. It yelped high pitched screams but the noise of internal torture was drowned out by Dane's joyous laughter.

He took his time killing the beast.

Nox felt another man grab the power inside of them. The world burned in front of them. A man stood before a burning chup and Nox smiled. It was time to hunt. Dane had already taken steps to become a weapon. He laughed and Nox had to block the laughter out. He had to trust Dane not to turn on him.

Nox unfurled the whip from his fingers and it snapped another chup's neck and when he yanked it slide through it like butter leaving nothing but a stump and a head to thud to the ground. Nox grabbed the man who obviously had no idea what was going on and thrust him behind him. "Stay behind me. Let us handle it."

Nox knew that these were not the only ones here. Chupa's hunted in packs. They weren't alone. Nox could hear the skittering of claws on rock and dirt. "More are coming."
Nox ignored the chup that was still writhing in pain as Dane tortured it. It could be worse, it could be the other man with them.

Around the corner came three more chups. Nox could hear more coming behind it. Maybe 5 or six in addition to these three. Nox formed multiple weaves - fireballs, a wall of air, he sank his gift into the earth ready to bring the tunnel in front of them down on top of the creatures at last resort. Nox threw a fully formed fireball at the first one and watched as it fell into another behind it but it didn't stop it from advancing over it's dead foes.
To say that Cain was surprised would be an understatement. He certainly hadn’t expected strange dog-vampire creatures to attack him. Even so, it wasn’t so shocking that strange beings roamed the underground tunnels of a city like Moscow. What was more startling was the fact that he seemed to have stumbled across the very people he came to the city looking for.

Cain couldn’t help but stare at the strange man who’d jumped into the fight next to him, wielding his own magic. The newcomer killed the monsters with blasts of light, and the redhead had to suppress his revulsion at the obvious sounds of glee he made whilst torturing the creatures. He was so distracted that he almost didn’t notice the dogs approaching his front. Before he could react, what appeared to be a whip made out of fire beheaded the abomination.

Cain yelped as he was pulled bodily behind another stranger. Thankfully he was more startled than scared, because lesser stimuli had caused him to lose control over his gift in the past, and the last thing the redhead wanted was to piss off these obviously more experienced magicians. “Stay behind me,”
the second man commanded. “Let us handle it.”

“No problem,”
Cain mumbled, glad to let him take over.

His protector barely spared him a glance. “More are coming.”
Cain wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a warning to him, or for the man’s companion, who was still gleefully tormenting his captive monster.

The redhead felt a strange, almost buzzing sensation before a fireball leapt into existence in front of them. He could feel the other men using their gifts! Cain had never been so close to another magician using their powers so blatantly before, and he hadn’t realized that he could sense its use. Cain could… ‘see’ wasn’t the right word, exactly, but certainly perceive complex patterns of magic. In fact, he could tell that his protector was using distinct kinds of magic. The nets that caused the fireball were similar to the ones he used to make his own fire, but the other man also formed one… no two different spells that felt entirely different. For the first time Cain wondered if his powers were more flexible than just fire.

Cain felt somewhat useless here, but to be honest he couldn’t be much help anyway. His fear had faded into a sort of numb awe, and with it gone, his ability to access his magic fled as well. So he was reduced to a spectator for now, watching his new companions slaughter the beasts, even though they seemed to just keep coming. “How many of these things are there?!”
the redhead exclaimed.

((sorry I didn't know the color code for your text so I did my best))

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