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Promises, Promises
Walking the streets of Moscow had been a past time. Now she used her knowledge walking with a purpose. She missed the maps and the software, but she didn't need it. She could avoid people better without the technology of it all anyway.

The Red Light district was the home of a great many things. It brought on memories of happier times which brought on crushing pain that Aria holed away in the emptiness of the void she'd made home so long ago and now took up once again. Feeling nothing was better than the crushing pain of losing Dane. Lucas hadn't hit her as hard.

And Aria didn't take a look at the reason. She didn't care. She was done letting the Atharim and monsters take things from her. But first she had to test the weapon on a god. She had a plethora of gods on her list but she needed an isolated one - the red district had several likely targets, Aria chose a sickly kid who was friends with Mia. It seemed that the camps held a few of them. But they would be easy to take out. Aria wasn't sure why these gods still lived - yet they did.

Aria made her way to one of these camps where she had found Stone's daughter. Mia had lost her life much the same way despite her inability to wield the power of the gods. Aria was about to do the same thing.
Kissing Sage had had an interesting effect on Nox and it had affected Sage much the same way. It felt like forever since he’d last gotten laid. But it was a matter of days. So much shit had happened. Nox still oped Jay was alright. It was the first time a one night stand had made that strong of an impression. Jaden apparently had too.

Nox sighed as he pushed aside his personal problems and feelings and headed to the address Sage had a new wallet waiting. It was a reputable electronics shop at first glance. Nox pushed opened the entry door way with a jingling bell as he passed through it’s threshold. A boy no older that Cruz with glasses stared back at him. ”Can I help you?”

Nox nodded. ”I’m here to pick up a new wallet. My friend sent me, said it would be waiting.”

”I wasn’t sure this was real or not. I don’t normally do this, but I was paid. So here you go.”
The kid handed Nox an unboxed wallet that was already pulsing a message. ”It’s been non-stop blinking since I typed in the number.”

Nox grinned at the kid. ”Thanks.”
Nox handed the kid a tip on top of whatever Sage had paid him. Hopefully it didn’t look like he was cheap - but Nox was, he didn’t exactly have a lot of cash to spare specially with the Atharim hunting him.

The furiously blinking light was a message from sage <small>SHE IS STATIONARY AT THE MOMENT. I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE WEIRD. NO EXPECTATIONS.


Nox headed to the train to catch the next one headed in the right direction that way he could at least text back to Sage his response. Thankfully he had a seat by himself and he didn’t have to worry about someone else seeing what was on his screen. Nox was pretty sure here were not so legal things on it.


</small> Nox closed his eyes and rested. He was about to take on Aria. The same girl who could best him in any hand to hand fight. The same girl who could control a grown man and make him do something he didn’t want to. She could kill him with her very touch. He was going to have to keep her at a distance. He didn’t want to risk the chance she could make him do things. And with Aurora lingering so close to the surface there was a lot of damage to be brought from that.

Nox’s wallet vibrated in his pocket. He looked at it quickly before tapping out a reply.





Nox sighed. He was about to go head to head with his best friend - his only real friend. But he’d made her a promise.
The small refugee camp was teaming with people. Collateral damages were going to be huge. Did Aria care? She sat in the shadows trying to decide if she did. Only to come to the realization that it didn’t matter at all who died. they were waifs. Children who were unwanted. It was why they were here right?

Aria closed her eyes and waited. She’d wait for a little while but she wouldn’t wait forever.

The world spun around here. People moved here and there. People moved everywhere. Aria’s eyes popped open when her thoughts turned to Dr. Suess and she started walking the block.

Aria went around a few times before she got antsy. People were starting to notice her. And not in a good way. One more block she told herself before the little god was toast - hopefully literally.

The walk was cool in the silence of the night. Aria could feel the cold metal of the new weapon against her fingers. She knew it was cold, but it felt almost like she was on fire. Gods be damned.

Aria slipped the weapon out of her pocket . Her finger was pressing about to press the button when the silver casing flew from her fingers into the shadows. Aria didn’t need to know who it was in the shadows. She smiled at the shadows and walked towards him. ”You won’t like me when I’m angry, Nox.”
Fucking snakes.

The moment he cut the connection with Wicked Truth, Jaxen lept from his chair, freshly energized by the prospect of mischief. Whatever was going down with Wicked, his friend, and the monster-hunters, Jaxen was bored enough (and curious enough) to head out and learn for himself.

Besides, he hated those snakes enough that the idea of cornering one was appealing. Especially now that the power was close at hand.

He wore black denim and a gray/green shirt for the occasion. The ends of his hair was still damp from the shower, spiked in myriad directions. The glint in his eye didn't dampen as he summoned a driver, nor when he input the location Wicked found into his Wallet.

The driver was none too pleased to penetrate a less-than-reputable part of the city, but Jaxen lit from the car with ease. He was hardly ignorant of the passageways, alleys, and streets in the Red Light District. Hell, this was practically his home-away-from home. His gaze dared anyone to screw with him, even as the power fluttered through his body like electric shocks. He had the girl's picture, Wicked may come to regret over-sharing. A civvy pair of Land Warriors blocked the gleam in his eye.

He entered a sort of tent-city that stretched along back roads off the main drag. Boxes, dumpsters and other temporary shelters became the neighborhood. Smoke wafted from trash cans. He stepped nimbly around steaming mounds of questionable material, whether from stray dogs or people, he didn't care to get his shoes dirty. They were nice shoes. Of course, he attracted attention. More than one dirty face peered up as he passed by. He flicked some digital coins on the asphalt and planted himself in front of a pair of men hunched over brown bag lunches. He crossed his arms and interrupted their meal while they scrambled for the digital money. "Anyone seen a girl about yay-tall, black hair, pale face and carrying a sword?"
They hadn't. He moved on.

The tech-sensitive fibers of his jacket sleeve powered up the Land Warriors and as he stood there, the world was overlaid with a reddish tint as he swung his gaze slowly around. The facial recognition alogorithms did their work, in case they caught sight of Aria before he did.

Wicked never explained why they wanted to find Aria. Only that she was either in trouble or was the trouble. Either way, it seemed like the perfect time for Jaxen to stroll onto the scene.

When he felt the yank of power darken his senses, a dark grin curled his lips and he headed toward the channeler, having a feeling he was about to encounter the very person he sought.

He saw her stalking toward the shadows while the residue of the power faded. Someone had channeled at her, and he had a feeling it was the friend that Wicked described. If so, he would be sensing Jaxen's presence by now, even if he may have trouble pin-pointing his exact location by sense alone. He huddled along a brick wall and surveyed his surroundings before they saw him back. The alley was wide enough to drive down, although it was too filled with refugees to allow any kind of vehicle passage.

The traceur in him was ready to spring to life. He retreated a few steps, eyed the ledging of a wall and the fire escapes dangling far overhead, and grinned with anticipation. He retreated a few steps, eased out the muscles in his arms, waggled his fingers and his legs sprung to life. He dashed at the wall in three bounds, pushed against the brick with one foot and threw his momentum upward enough to grab the under bars of the fire escape. A twist, kick and pull later, he hooked a leg through the ladder and popped up. The hollow bang of landing on the metal thudded louder than he anticipated, but hopefully no one noticed. From there, it was an easy walk around the building ledge to watch from on high, like some lazy, curious cat, what was about to unfold, hoping to learn whose side of trouble Aria was on.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
As soon as Nox was off of the train he seized the power within. It churned like a fire storm ready to be unleashed, but Nox was unready to let it lose. He held the reins firmly in his grasp. The power would not overwhelm him. And he wouldn’t let Aria overwhelm him either. Keep her at bay. Don’t let her touch you he kept telling himself.

He watched the holo display in front of him as he walked. Her beacon moved around the block several times. She was getting antsy, Nox could tell by her pattern. He had to hurry.

She didn’t feel him coming and in the distance there was a blip of power too. He couldn’t make it out, too far, too weak, whatever Aria was hunting gods. That didn’t bode well for him.

Nox followed her pattern and when Aria stopped to corner her quarry he was watching from the shadows of a nearby building. The red light district wasn’t shadowed in the way a normal city street was. The red neon lights gave it not only it’s name but a distinct sickly hue of color.

Aria was sans swords which was odd. But Nox vaguely remembered her story about sliding it through Martin Borovsky’s body while he tried to kill her and Ascendancy. Why the Ascendancy trusted Aria was beyond him. Sure she looks sweet and innocent but she hasn’t been right in the head for a while - since before he’d met her anyway.

The other male god was somewhere near by but Nox couldn’t take his eyes off Aria to wonder where he might be. As long as he stayed away. This was going to be hard enough as it was without some gung-ho god trying to play hero for an innocent looking girl.

Aria pulled a silver tube from her pocket and Nox shuddered. He’d seen the woman holding something similar at him before. Fuck me! Nox didn’t wait to let her fry the people in her path, he plucked the device from her hand and tucked it safely in the kanagroo pouch of his hoodie where his wallet now safely sat with his hands on both. He wasn’t going to give Aria a chance to touch him. He drew up a wall of air between them. She wasn’t getting close to him.

The light in her eyes as she walked his way - no she wasn’t walking - she was stalking him. Undernormal circumstances that might actually be hot, but right now Aria was fucking scary. The lights only enhanced the devilish glare in her eyes. She was gone. The girl he’d become friends with was gone.

”You just going to kill innocents now?”

Aria laughed. ”Gods aren’t innocent. You know this. You are one.”
Aria nodded in the direction she’d come and grinned. ”Only play things until I can find the real deal.”
She waved her hand in front of her at Nox. ”Seems I have the real deal all wrapped up in a pretty red bow. Did the Atharim find you, Nox? They burn you? I might have helped there.”

Nox sighed. ”I know you did. I saw it before Dorian lost access.”

”Are you getting more people killed because they know you Nox? Just like Aurora.”
She laughed.

”Leave her out of this.”
There was a quiet echo inside his head ”Yeah bitch! I never did like her little brother.”
Two stories above ground level, Jaxen squat on a fire escape. The only reason he was able to hear the exchange below was from holding the Ancient Power. Eavesdropping never became so easy in his life, but if they dropped their voices any lower, he would have to build a funnel of air to capture the words.

The voice from the shadows accused Aria of killing innocents. Jaxen was dying to know what it was that the channeler stole from her, but he'd lagged too long to see what the whip of his power confiscated.

Aria spoke a name, Nox. Jaxen itched to retrieve his wallet and set about searching for "Nox's" identity, and what his connection to the Atharim actually was. He knew Aria to be Atharim. That much was obvious and he didn't need the cannibal monsters holed up in the abandoned bathhouse to know it. She was a hunter through and through, and while Jaxen looked generally favorably upon anyone that slaughtered ear-eating cannibals, it seemed she had turned after all. Nox accused her of hunting innocents as well as gods. Jaxen almost rubbed his chin thoughtfully at that thought. He'd never considered himself a god, but suppose it made a sort of sense. People could equate their ancient power with that of godhood. There were likely to be a channeler or two out there who thought they were a god as a result of it, Ascendancy notwithstanding. How he itched to teach them otherwise. Actually, it gave him a brilliant sort of idea for Saturday's ball, but he pushed the creativity aside for now. He had to stay focused. He really wanted that trinket Nox stole -- whatever it was.

He didn't understand what she meant about burning Nox up though. Jaxen mentally filed that away to puzzle out later. More names exchanged: Dorian, Aurora. But nothing particularly revealing. He was growing bored. Nox bricked up a wall of air with the ancient power. The threads pulsed faintly with color that Jaxen found odd. Why would he barricade himself?

Was Aria evil? Maybe she was. Maybe she wasn't. Jaxen only knew one thing. He wanted to find himself some snakes. Now that he had, what to do with them?

For now, he waited and watched for the perfect moment to intervene.

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Feb 13 2018, 04:40 PM.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
Aria laughed at Nox’s responses. She wished she could feel his angst, his turmoil over what he was contemplating doing. Aria knew she was stinging his tender heart. He’d broken a little after his sister. Broken more than he was anyway. Nightmares were his insomnia. They’d bent a few early mornings hitting each other to wake up in the mornings. He was never good at sparring. Aria smirked.

But between one step and another Aria’s path to Nox was blocked. She ran her fingers across the wall invisible to her eyes. ”That’s not fair. You get to use your powers.”
Aria waggled her index finger at her one-time friend. Aria supposed he was still her friend. He’d promised to kill her if she ever went rogue. This probably counted - killing innocents as he said. But now one of her targets were in her sights. But not so easy to kill and he stole her weapon - her toy. She hadn’t even gotten to try it out yet. She almost wanted to pout.

”Come closer, let me use my power too.”

”You know it doesn’t work on me.”

But the wall said otherwise. He was afraid of her, afraid of her power. ”Come on, Nox, let’s play like we used to. I promise I’ll make it real slow this time. I’ll make you feel all that guilt that you have over you not saving your mother from the hellhound.”
Aria watched the pain flare in his eyes and smirked. ”Or the torment of your father dying in his own vomit. Finding your rock broken and shattered.”
Aria laughed. ”Let’s not forget Aurora. Strangled to death by a human boy. He wasn’t even special. He was a fucking musician.”
Aria taunted again. She knew what would make him react. She didn’t need to feel his responses he knew them. They’d shared those moments. Those memories. Now she used them against him. He could rub the fact that Dane was dead in her face. He could. But he wouldn’t. Mostly because three things happened when she said what exactly happened to Aurora. The reason it had hurt so badly.

Nox’s grip on the device on his pocket tightened and his finger was on the button.

Nox formed a directional flashbang and dropped the wall at the same time allowing Aria to rush at him.

The power collapsed and the light and sound stunned the diminutive fighter as Nox let the weapon lose on his friend. ”How do you fucking like it bitch.”
His blood boiled at the memory. He couldn’t do it anymore it was just seconds. Nox formed a firey whip in his other hand and snapped quick ease of practice and it wrapped around her neck. Her eyes went wide as the fire licked her neck and then Nox yanked pulling it free with ease.

As Aria’s head tumbled to the ground like her obsessions before her Nox fell to his knees flicking off the dangerous weapon and felt the silent tears start to fall.
Jaxen was fixed on the scene below, literally perched on the edge of his toes to see what would happen. Aria and Nox parried words, but the spar was short-lived. Nox's draw on the ancient power deepened and threads of attack whipped from his chest, lashing out at Aria. She stood no chance, not really. Nox was so fast, Jaxen wasn't even sure if he would have stood a chance against him. Careful then, he would be careful.

He slipped from his perch, dropped onto the ladder of the fire escape and fell to the ground with a practiced and silent pad of soft-soled shoes. Nox was wrapped up with emotion, but the ancient power continued to radiate off him. Jaxen approached warily.

"Now that escalated quickly,"
he said as he picked his way around Aria's body. The release of her head from her shoulders sprayed a wall ten feet away. A red trail made a line on the ground.

"Tell you what, friend. I'm sure she deserved it. No blame from me."
He curled his lip slightly as he passed by, but rather than dirty up his own fingers with blood, he thread some ropes of the power around one arm and searched for the tattoo. Sure enough, it was there. His otherwise innocuous expression darkened with disgust momentarily, before he fixed his sights back on Nox.

"And that was some impressive channeling,"
he added, obviously impressed by the feats. His own power was minuscule in comparison to such a man as Nox. "Let's get you out of here,"
he offered a hand up. "I have a car at my beck and call. Probably best to not hang around a headless corpse long. Not even in the red light district."
He eased the offer with a grave smile. Channelers had to stick together, yes?

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Feb 13 2018, 05:49 PM.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Jaxen +
Loki +
+ Jole +
The tears fell but he didn’t sob . it wasn’t that kind of emotional display. He was sad and angry. Nox jumped when a voice sounded near by. He looked up and blinked at the well dressed man siding his way. He stopped to look at Aria’s arm. He knows how to Identify Atharim. Nox wished he had Aurora’s or Aria’s memory. He thought he recognized the man but he sucked at faces. And he didn’t really care right now either.

It took him a realize what he’d said. Nox nodded but he couldn’t just leave Aria on the ground. But there was no time to burn her like he had Dane. The power called to him. The earth called. His hand on the ground he felt like it belonged there. Nox pushed his power into the ground. He’d done it a few times before but this was different.

The ground shook as it swallowed the body. Nox waved his hand and fire engulfed the blood spatter. That he had time for. Nox watched as Aria’s body sank into the ground the head following and soon there was nothing left but the rocky pavement almost like it had been before he’d come. Buried.

Nox stood up and drew his hand across his eyes wiping the tears. The device still clenched in his fingers. Nox wanted to destroy it. Wanted it gone but that wouldn’t do him any good. No, now he had something to test his defenses with. He’d be prepared the next time the Atharim came at him with one of these things.

Nox followed behind the man. ”Only one other person knew where I was going. But I’m sure others will be behind you soon. Aria stole this from someone, they’ll be looking for her.”
Nox felt like he was a walking corpse his entire body felt numb as the power churned inside of him. He should let it go, but right now that was the only thing keeping his sister’s voice at bay. ”I’m Nox, I don’t know what you heard or what you saw, but why stick your head out for me. You obviously knew to look at Aria’s tattoo so you know about the Atharim. Are you going to freak out when you find out I’m one too?”

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