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The Hunt
Michael had not expected that he would be made to return to the Undercity quite so soon.

The dank claustrophobic tunnels rubbed his nerves raw and the smell made his nose itch. He would have done without the heightened senses that holding the power brought, but his memories of this forsaken place were not exactly pleasant.

He had already fended off two prostitutes who had offered their services for his indigo coat. Even if it wasn't freezing and the coat meant nothing to him he still wouldn't have taken them up on their offer. Like as not he would catch something deadly, and he already had enough people trying to kill him without adding whores to the list.

He had been offered the usual range of drugs as well. He had never been interested in them - he barely drank as it was - but with the power he held the prospect seemed laughable.

What could be more potent, more addicting than the rush of the power singing through his veins? It was so very dangerous, but he was learning - like the young learning how much alcohol they could take without falling over. Except, it would be death if he stumbled with this drug, and he had no intention of falling.

He arrived at his destination, a rusted door with one of those knobs he used to see in the movies. The ones that you had to spin like a wheel to open.

He approached and gave the door a soft knock, which reverberated around the damn tunnel like he had kicked the door in. After much mumbling and cursing, the door squealed and opened, revealing a young woman in a mini-skirt and bra. She looked him up and down with a deliberately seductive gaze.

"I'm afraid I'm not working at the moment. Come back tonight, though, and I'll give you a discount."

She made to shut the door but Michael stopped it in a vice-grip, his rage cold and controlled.

"I am not here for business. I am here to talk,"
he said in a cold voice. "About Katalina Soloyov."

The woman's face drained of colour and she backed herself into the far wall. It was a small room, perhaps as big as two prison cells. She had little more than a bed and a collection of trinkets which had no value aside from the sentimental.

"K-Kat? I don't know anything about that! She just disappeared, I swear." It seemed that murdering one's neighbours was a common accusation around these parts. Michael could not remember much beyond his training in the Undercity. It was all cared about at the time.

"Tell me what you know,"
he said, not taking his eyes from hers.

"Like I said... I don't know much. She just disappeared."

"And you heard nothing? You saw nothing?"

"I was working..." she took a breath, wringing her hands.

"Do not lie to me,"
he said, regretting how it made her wince even as it happened. "Katalina may still be alive. If you hide anything from me, I will kill you."

Simple words, so simple, yet they tore at his heart. He would not relent though. He would not see an innocent woman dead because some whore was afraid he would call the Custody of Defence.

The woman sat down on the bed with an audible sigh. "I...I only saw shadows... I heard something like screaming... I'm not sure. I was high...It could have been a bad trip."

"What did you see in the shadows? Did you hear anything said?"
he pressed.

"Shapes...people. You know, the usual. I don't remember words. Just screaming. Terrible screaming." The woman shuddered, wrapping her arms around herself.

"Is there anyone who would want to attack Katalina?"

The woman laughed although she looked like she was about to cry. "This is the Undercity. Half of the place would jump at the chance to get a hold of a pretty girl like her, but nobody had tried for a long time. The last idiot who did got his cock cut in half."

"So she was not defenceless?"

"Are you an idiot? Any young girl around here needs to learn to defend herself or she ends up in a whorehouse worked like a slave."

Michael mused on what Tony had said. "What about strange tales? Unusual occurrences - even for the Undercity
," he scanned her face for any reaction as he spoke. "Ghosts, demons, monsters, cannibals."

There. He saw the hint of fear in her eye at the last one. "Cannibals, then. Tell me, what do they say about people eating human flesh?"

She was reluctant, but he held her gaze until she answered. "Stories... Rumours. Rapes, disappearances. They say that one woman had a chunk of her arm eaten while she was raped. All kinds of tales, none of them are ever true though." She didn't seem convinced.

"Where do these things happen, anywhere specific?"

She shook her head. "Happens all over the Undercity, it doesn't matter where you go, you will hear strange tales. People vanish in the middle of the night without a trace, that kind of shit."

Taken in the night. Alone.

Michael walked out of the room, and turned before he closed the door. "Thank you for your help, I shall remember it."

He didn't wait for a reply. He strode down the tunnel, the power raging through him. Tonight, he would be taking stroll, it seemed.
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Continued from: #4 A Chilly Abode

"Just give me the fucking money and leave."

It was the third time that Michael had run afoul of a meth-head or some other user riding on a low. The first two he had managed to scare off with petty tricks, but he did not want to do anything to bring attention to his powers if he could help it. He was not keen to end up in a lab as a guinea pig for some government experiment.

He decided to try something different this time. He pulled out a few notes - he wasn't sure which and didn't particularly care, it wasn't any great amount. "Take it then."

"All of it. Don't fuck with me, man. Just give me your wallet."

For a homeless man, he was a greedy bastard. Michael would have taken the offered money and ran. Perhaps that's why he wasn't homeless. At least, not any more.

He pulled another two notes from his pocket and threw them on the floor. The man was not pleased. He lunged forward with his cheap and rusted knife - the biggest danger would have been the possibility of Tetanus.

The charging man frightened him - he had not made a habit of getting into fights - but it was a distant fear, dwarfed by the thrill and potency his power brought.

He timed his attack just as the man came into believable range, he jabbed at the air with a fist that would have looked to be aiming for his head and slammed his ready weave of Air forward like a club.

As it hit the man's forehead he stumbled backwards and fell to the ground limp in unconsciousness. Michael checked that he had not killed the unlucky assailant before laying him down on a more comfortable pile of trash. It wasn't the safest place, nor the most hygienic, but the man had tried to kill him.

That done, Michael moved on. He did not have any real plan. He was not exactly sure how one would go about finding a rapist, kidnapper and possible cannibal, and he did not have the experience nor the resources to conduct a real investigation. So he did the next best thing.

Make himself a suitable target.

He was not sure that they would try to rape him, but if they were cannibals like Tony hinted at, they would not turn down the prospect of an easy meal. He would have been, if not for the gift life had seen fit to grant him.

He lingered on that thought. No longer a curse, but a gift. One that came with great hardship and danger, but he was beginning to believe it was not something evil, merely a tool that could be used, a very extraordinary tool.

The night dragged on and it was hours before he stumbled upon anything, but eventually he crossed paths with a woman in her middle years who seemed to be either extremely drunk or high.

She sat in the corner of an alley scratching at her needle-scabbed arms in wide-eyed delirium. Looking up, she hissed at him like an angry cat. "What do you want? Get the fuck out of here! I ain't got nothing for you."

"Should you be out alone at this time?"
he asked, concern leaking through, even though he had a task to accomplish. He couldn't just leave the poor woman there.


"Never mind,"
he said, cutting off her reply. "I am sorry to have bothered you."

Michael turned away and found himself a dark corner in which to hide, his eyes fixed on the woman who was now whispering to herself.

His enhanced hearing alerted him to the presence and he pivoted, but too late.

Before he could unleash a weave something hard and cold collided with his head and he lost his grip on the power. His eyes swam with tears as he heard a low guttural voice in his ear. "You're a sneaky one, but I'm better."
His head throbbing, he lost consciousness....

Michael's eyes sprang open and he snatched at the power despite his aching head. He must have only been out for moments, as he heard the frantic screams of the drug-addled woman nearby.

He put aside the pain. He embraced it. He had been careless, arrogant. He would not make the same mistake twice.

Rage burned distant in the hollow of the void that surrounded him and the shining power as he scrambled to the woman's aid.

The scene was horrifying, he would have wretched, but he put aside all feeling with savage force.

The...thing - for he could not imagine a human so depraved - had forced himself on the woman, torn her meagre clothes to shreds. Rape was one thing, but he went further, she screamed in agony as he chewed on her shoulder. Not with the careless savagery of a rapist, but a real hunger for human flesh.

He wove threads of Air with all the speed he could muster and threw the monster from it's gruesome deed, slamming it into the side of the tunnel with a metallic thud.

He turned to the woman who lay shuddering, clutching at the bloody mess of her shoulder. "Go, now. I will take care of this."

The woman took one dazed look at his face and ran.

Attention turned to the monster, he gathered its limp form in bindings of Air so it floated a foot from his face, eyes level.

It was groggy, but conscious, and he could see the confusion and fear in its eyes. Good.

He forced a savage smile - more of a snarl - which did not come difficult as he looked at its blood coated face.

"Tell me, monster, where have you taken your other victims?"
he said in a quiet voice.

The thing spat blood on his face. "Go to hell, I will tell you nothing."

Michael wiped his face with a sleeve, his eyes never leaving the monster's. He prepared a weave of Fire and Spirit.

"You will soon."

Edited by Michael Vellas, Aug 11 2013, 07:21 PM.
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Michael had never had to torture anyone before, monster or otherwise. He had never even seen it done, but he had time, tucked away in a room that hadn't been used in years.

So far, he proved to be miserable at it.

The thing thrashed and screamed - until Michael tore some cloth from the thing's pants and stuffed it in it's mouth - but it was resistant, or stupid - or both.

Whatever it was, it was not talking. Michael wracked his brain while he let his weave of Spirt and Fire burn the monster's extremities.

It was the first thing that came to mind. He did not want to accidentally kill the thing by pushing too hard. He had learned the lesson of control all too well, and he would not break it now.

It was disconcerting to think of the best way to hurt someone. He could plan out the battle of Gaugamela in a way that would put Alexander to shame, but hurting... that was a different prospect.

Frustrated, he double checked that the bindings of Air were perfect and released the weave of burning. Approaching the monster which floated upside down in mid-air, it's head placed at Michael's eye level, he ripped the cloth from it's mouth.

It let out a ragged moan, but little else.

"Would you like to say anything to me?"
he asked.

"Fuck you,"
it replied.

Walked into that one, I suppose.

He was careful to remove any trace of emotion from his voice or face. "It will only get worse as you resist. Surely you would want to end the pain. A few simple words could do that."

It tried to spit in his face, but it's mouth was dry. Michael had managed to drain just enough fluid to make it thirsty. "I don't know who or what the fuck you are, but I will die before telling you anything."

It was impressive, if nothing else.

"Don't worry about that. I won't let you die so easily," he replied with a tight smile. "I have many, many games we could play. Like this -" he wove a net of Fire, Earth and Air - something he could not quite recall learning - and muffled the agonized screech of pain with a flow of Air.

He could not be sure, but his memory told him that the complex net was slowly turning the blood in it's hand into something akin to lava, molten chunks of burning blood and tissue.

He allowed the weave to continue - he could see the hand turning red, brown and black in turn - until the thing sagged into unconsciousness.

He allowed it no rest after the weave was release, pressing a sliver of Spirit and Fire against it's brain. It jolted awake with wide-terrified eyes, it almost looked human.

Best not to think of that. Focus.

"I will kill you!"
it hissed in pain and rage. "Just like the damn girl!"

With a cold anger he seized the thing with his own hands, "Tell me what happened to her! Did you kill her you bastard!?"

Despite the waves of pain Michael sent through it's body, the monster smiled at him. "She's not dead. Yet. We like to keep our food fresh."

Anger escalated to rage and Michael took a step back, weaving razor thin threads of Air which dug deep furrows into the skin.

He let it howl without restraint for a while as it's blood trickled down to the floor before halting and weaving identical threads, but of Fire this time.

It howled no less as the cuts were cauterized than it did when they were made.

"Talk. Now."
He could not say any more without releasing a torrent of frustrated fury.

It didn't smile this time, but the words were taunting. "We had a bet between us, me and my comrades. We wanted to know if someone could hear without their ears. It seems they can. She cries every time she hears one of us coming."


Michael acted on pure instinct, he rage let loose. He seized as much of the power as he could, ecstasy mingled with white-hot needles of pain.

He could not follow what he wove, something of all Five of the powers. The thing's scream was silent, a note above hearing as the weave settled and Michael ripped free every single vein in it's left arm.

Blood poured down to the ground like raindrops, the exposed veins hanging like leaves off a tree from the thing's limp arm.

Michael took an involuntary step back, his rage extinguished, hand going to his mouth. He wanted to vomit, but he managed a semblance of control, if only for Katalina's sake.

Still alive.

He wove, numb with shock. With Fire he sliced the dead arm from the creature's body, the wounded instantly burned to a charred stump.

It took a moment for Michael to compose himself enough to speak. "Now, I will ask you once more. Where is she?"

The creature stared at it's arm on the floor in a puddle of blood, then back to Michael and croaked one word. "...Okay..."

He spent no time regretting his actions. That could come later. For now, he had to save Katalina.

Continued in: Shh.....We are Wabbits, eh Rougarou

Edited by Michael Vellas, Aug 14 2013, 03:34 AM.
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."

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