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Storm Brewing
Her calm was gone. The place she'd saught to find peace gone forever. It hadn't mattered when he fled to Mexico, he was still there, still in this world. Now she'd never feel that unique calm even when he was excited about things he was calm.

Nox had pulled her from her dwelling - the darkness that had started to take over. He carried her over his shoulder like a child. Aria hated him in that moment. Hated the man he was. Hated he wasn't sad at her loss. Hated that he was a god. Hated that he was Atharim. She beat at his back and tried to press him with her emotions but they had worked hard to defeat that chance. Her manipulating him.

He was empty of everything as the fires around them burned. Dane burned. The girl burned. the building had burned around them and Nox walked through fire like a phoenix rising. Her hatred for him and what he represented made her cringe inside. And when he set her down Aria could have killed him then. But he was holding the power. He'd stop her - kill her. He'd break her in half before she could pull the trigger or sheath her sword in the soft center of his chest.

Instead Aria jerked away and ran. Ran as fast as she could away from him. Away with her fury and her hatred. The Atharim would pay. Gods would pay. The world would burn for their folley.
Marcus watched from the distance. He'd let the force go. He was just a shadow in an alley, now. He still had the disguise from the restaurant. He had no interest in striding about, visible any other Force users. A whirling cloak of darkness would cause excitement as well.

He would do this the natural way. He would reach out to Aria later. But he wanted to see what she did. Was she victim or acvomplice? He needed more data.

He watched as the man ran into the building. Curious. After a few moments, he came out carrying her over his shoulder even as she fought him. He readied himself. If this was yet another....he could almost feel sorry for her. She just had the worst luck in the world.

The man set her down and Marcus could see the shape the growing fire took. He couldn't see the flows from here, but it was evident he was keeping things from spreading. He raised an eyebrow. Just as well. The bodies would only raise questions.

Who was this woman? Her friends were as odd as could be. He became aware of another watching and steooed back. This guy had surveillance equipment. Disguise or no, he had no interest in being recorded and analyzed. Too much was at stake.

Truthfully, as much as he hated to admit it, this was getting risky. He'd gone too far to lose it for something so petty. He'd have to find another avenue.

Tomorrow. Tonight he still watch Aria. When she left, Marcus began to follow. She was angry and moved quickly, but kept up. Her clothes were black with blood, he could see that from here. She'd have to change unless she wanted to be arrested.

And so Marcus continued to follow.
Aria ran until her heart was pounding in her chest. And then ran more. The stitch in her side grew tight and unbearable and she bent over and gasped for air. Her senses flaired wide, if Nox had dropped the power she'd feel his tell-tale sign but it wasn't there. If he had the power she was fucked anyway so it didn't matter.

There was a blip. Nothing close, surely not following her but there. Almost like she knew it. That was rare. She didn't know anyone in Moscow well enough to have them in the Red Light District. But the familiar sense was there. Aria walked slowly to regain her bearings. The fury and anger had subsided to a dull ache inside her body while her senses were wide.

Aria sat down on the front stoop of the apartment - she'd ran far enough housing complexes started to dominate the cityscape. She'd need to change clothes. She was covered in blood. Dane's blood.

Aria took a deep breathe and caught the scent of blood that lingered on her clothes. Dane's blood.

They would pay. Everyone would pay for this death.

But Aria needed to find a safe haven. For now she saught the comforts of an Atharim safe house. A dual purpose in mind.
She moved fast. It was hard to keep up. More than once he wondered what he was doing. He'd had his hunt. It was late. And whilenhe didn't have work, there was always too much to do.

Still, he liked the night. The moon overhead was so close he felt like he could touch it. There was a wet to the air, mixed with the smell of asphalt and dirt and apartments, that somehow felt home. It reminded him of another time and place.

And she slowed. And he slowed. He stopped, thinking. What was he doing? This wasn't Malik. This was all him. He didn't understand this woman.

Somehow, he actes, without actually making a decision. He started walking casually in her direction. Not toward her. Going by her. As if he didn't see her. A man with a secret life, disguised so no one knew, walking in the small hours of the night.

Would she see him? Recognize him? A thrill ran up his spine. He was prey. He smiled at the thought and a giggle wanted to leak from him. There she was. On a stoop.

Walk by. Just casual. Heading home.
The familiiar blip was full of odd emotions. She watched from down cast eyes as he walked past. Her mind still flipping between what she wanted to do and needed to to why this man was here. Why he felt familiar and why he was here.

But Aria said nothing as he passed by. She took in his emotions. She could follow him to the ends of the earth if necessary. She'd know it the moment he was in range, she'd know who it was then. She knew the feeling but it was drifting out on the ends of her emotions. She wanted to make them pay.

Aria got up and headed the opposite direction of the man. If he was following her she would know now.

Next stop the nearest Atharim safe house.
The quiet was not disturbed by anything except the occasional breeze. His wig was back on, though he hadn't been able to check it to make sure it looked alright.

She wouldn't be able to make out details at this distance anyway. The street lights cast only shallow pools of illumination. He imagined he could feel her eyes on him.

If he passed her...then what? She had some ability. He knew that. Twice, she had found a killer. The second, she was connected to in some way. The first, though, had been more like a honing in ability.

Too many unknowns. Too many variables. If he passed her, what then? But what if she were using the force? Unlikely, as he already had surmised. What if she could sense him? He'd only had a cursory look through the registries, but already he had been surprised at some of the things people confessed to. Things that weren't necessarily Force related, and people wanted answers to. Dreams. Talking to animals. There was much more going on than anyone had imagined.

He could no longer see her. What to do, what to do. He could double back- and perhaps she'd know. Or he could continue on his way. But how would he know if she were following him?

There was a way. It wasn't perfect. And there was also the simple matter that he had no reason to expect her to follow him. But he could seize the Force so his senses were enhanced. So he could be better prepared.

But that was if she wanted to follow him. As far as she knew, he was a nobody.

If he wanted to bebait, though. It was only a theory. He could try it and if it didn't work, double back and follow her. Either way, it would tell him something.

He thought about the man at the store, the bodies in the fridge. he imagined the Butcher, the cruel and sadistic methods he used to break a person down and destroy him. He focused on all the ways- the casual cruelties- that people used to dominate or hurt the weak and the helpless. He focused completely, letting Malik come out. Letting his rage and hunger for retribution come to the surface.

Almost, he seized the Force. The desire to avoid the attention of other Force users was still there. But after a moment, he ignored it and did so anyway. If she were to come after him, he'd need to be able to sense her. And if not, he'd need to be able sneak about and find her. Ten minutes, he would give himself. And then a search for her. And if nothing came after that, he'd head home. He could pick up with Aria tomorrow. As the Consul Marcus DuBois. An ally.
There were so many emotions at the edges of her senses. Love, lust, desire were common place in the Red Light District. Hatred, sadness, desperation, all had their place in this underworld of life. Even happiness and joy could be found. But there was burning beacon of rage behind her. It came on suddenly, and before Aria could take a look at the feeling it was gone.

She'd gotten a general direction. But Aria hadn't gotten a who, it was gone before she knew it. It was not something she expected. There was violence in a place like this, and rage was common place, but this, this felt different. Displaced, not at a given thing or moment, displaced, judged and then winked out.

Aria stopped her forward momentum and slid into the shadows of the alleyway beside her. The last one she remembered greatest had been the one where Dane had killed a Draniaka. He'd been the foresight and Aria found the body. It had been the start of the end and so much more.

Aria sat in the shadows on an old crate. She could see down the end of the street, but the shadows were deep and her form obsured by the other debris in the area.

Aria sat and waited. If the rage came at her she'd be wary, but for now she was not going to take her own rage out. There was no rush. The Atharim and the godlings were going no where, but this new found threat - well maybe it would die tonight with Dane's calm!
Malik walked, the night now lit up like day. The breeze roared in his ears, and yet he could hear every creak, every dog bark in the distance. Every noise.

And nothing. Not a step in his direction. At one point, he stopped. Waited. Waited. Nothing changed.

Marcus felt foolish and laughed to himself. If she was drawn to evil, to pain and rage and whatever else emotions the butcher and this guy might have had, he imagined she'd have noticed him.

His supposition was wrong.

With a shrug, he let the Force go. Tiredness washed over him. It had been a long night. And he had meetings in the morning. He needed to head back to his apartments. Aria would be there tomorrow. If not, he'd track her down.
Aria sat and crossed her legs on top of the crate and leaned against the wall. She closed her eyes and became one with the world. Inside the empty space with the flickering light of her single pin point candle every emotion sat on the edge of her space but she knew each one. Could find each one and feed them into the void of nothingness that had gotten her through her childhood.

Now it was a calming comfort in her loss of self. The rage didn't return. No one followed her into the darkness and no one saught her out. Inside her mind was nothing. It wasn't the calm center of another, but her own solitude. It was lonely and dark and empty. But no one came and Aria sat seeing the quiet.
The rest of his trip was uneventful. Near the complex, he removed his disguise and emerged Marcus DuBois, if a bit more casually dressed than normal.

And he felt dissatisfaction. He'd not gotten what he'd wanted. Malik hadn't either. Still he looked forward to speaking to Aria now. To find out what she was about.

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