This forum uses cookies
This forum makes use of cookies to store your login information if you are registered, and your last visit if you are not. Cookies are small text documents stored on your computer; the cookies set by this forum can only be used on this website and pose no security risk. Cookies on this forum also track the specific topics you have read and when you last read them. Please confirm whether you accept or reject these cookies being set.

A cookie will be stored in your browser regardless of choice to prevent you being asked this question again. You will be able to change your cookie settings at any time using the link in the footer.

Lucky Getaway
Nox watched from the top of the hill as Aria walked away with the Ascendancy. He felt lucky and yet he felt conflicted that he should be doing something now that he was away and free of his shackles of power. But the man following behind Aria was more powerful than he could imagine. It was awe inspiring, there was so much he wanted to do but Nox didn't dare touch the power.

He turned to Lucas and they walked back to where their guide was waiting for their return. He picked up his gun and eyed Aria's. He holstered his and picked hers up and held it firmly in his hand. He sighed. "You want to take this back home? Or do you want me to?"

There was a lot of unsaid things. Things Nox really wanted to tell Lucas, but now wasn't the time or place. This was a fucked up situation. Now Nox had to babysit his best friend's boyfriend. How ironic. At least until they got to the hotel, he'd make sure he got there safely. But he wasn't going to get on a plane with that man, without Aria he wasn't getting on a fucking plane period. He'd rather walk.

Nox started walking in the correct direction he didn't care if Lucas came or stayed but he relayed his plan anyway, "We'll go find the dog sled guide and have him take us to town, we can take a cab from there back to the resort. Either leave her things with me or take them. Either way I don't care but I won't be flying back with you. The long round about by way of bus I will be going."
What he wouldn't give for his own car. If it didn't mean getting on a plane he might considering going home to get the Jeep, but no planes, no way, no how. Not if he could help it.
Lucas watched Aria leave, his connection to her almost a thread he could feel, stretching taut, finer and finer until it felt tenuous and delicate. The pit in his stomach grew deeper and deeper the farther she got until she and The Ascendancy crested the rise and disappeared.

It was as if the line was cut and he almost felt a physical recoil. Gone. She was gone. His teeth hurt and he realized he had clenched his jaws tight. His eyes burned. She's gone.

He had no idea if he'd see her again. He felt so helpless and insignificant, there amidst the snow covered landscape. A bug, tiny and fragile. Strangely, though, amid those feelings, he felt a germ of something else, something cold and hard. A kernel of determination. To do what, he wasn't sure. Something though. Something. To save her. To avenge her. From whom, on whom, he did not know. But he couldn't just stand there.

He just stood there, staring, until Nox's words brought him out of his thoughts. For a moment, he didn't understand the man's words, then looked down at Aria's things. Reverently, he took them, the magnitude of what had just happened threatening him.

He heard Nox's words as though through fog and only nodded. He had to think and the sled ride back to the lodge would help. Only once did he speak, as they made their way. "Maybe I'll go with you. The long way, as you said."

The whine of helicopter blades in the distance spoke of what was happening. He strained to hear for as long as he could.
Nox raised an eyebrow when Lucas said he would come with him maybe. He wasn't exactly sure of that, Nox wanted to say things to make him go away, but he kept quiet. Right now Lucas was about the closest thing he had to a friend. And he still had a long ways to go before he got back to Moscow.

They walked the mile or so back to the new Datsan being built and found the guide whittling in a chair outside. Nox grinned, at least he'd had something to do. The man got up with a confused look on his face. His Russian accent even heavier with concern, "Where is your other friend?"

Nox spoke quickly, "She found other means of transportation."
Nox didn't feel like elaborating so he quickly pushed things forward, "We need to get to town. We can take a van back to the resort. You don't have to take us that way."

The guide nodded, "Of course. Payment is still the same."

Nox laughed, "Did Aria already pay you?"

The man looked deviously at him and then frowned like he had remembered something. He nodded his head, "She has, in full."

Nox nodded, "I'd like to be away from here."

The entire ride to the small village was quiet, Nox was lost in his own thoughts. He was torn between concern for Aria's well being and the new possibilities that were running through his head. The ability to cast more than one weave at a time, the spiderweb network that had delved into the earth to find a small necklace. Nox wondered what that could do for his mapping techniques.

But all of it was tinged with anxiety over his partner's safety, her life was forfeit if she failed her mission. Maybe, just maybe, she'd find a way to carry out her mission and satisfy Borovsky without trying to actually kill Ascendancy. Spin a story - survive. Aria was good at surviving.

Nox only hoped she would return to Moscow before he did. Before he had to lie or tell the truth, either way he didn't want to be the one to confront her handler. Borovsky was scary, though not nearly as scary as Ascendancy himself. Nox shivered at the thought of what could have happened.

The guide finally took them to tourist van heading back to the resort where they were staying. It was pretty much empty this time of the year, the bitter cold keeping tourists away. Nox sat in the back seat, it would be colder, there was room for Lucas if he wanted to sit there as well, but Nox didn't really care at this time. He wanted to think, there was so much to think about.
The ride back to the lodge was quiet and uneventful. The further they got from where they had been, the more distant Aria seemed. He felt as if he was losing something.

Nox was quiet. For once, he wasn't so much with the jokes. Clearly, what had happened unnerved him. It was plain that Aria's being taken weighed on his mind too.

They got back to the lodge and got their things. Silence seemed to envelop them like a cloak, muffling everything. Even when purchasing his ticket at the station, Lucas noticed how soft his voice was, saying just enough to be heard and understood.

The train sat idling, the stink of diesel exhaust and the rumble of the engines seeming to fill the station. Periodically a ding could be hear and then muffled announcements in a few languages, none of which were very intelligible. It didn't really matter anyway. Nox boarded the train and made his way to the back of the car. Lucas followed. For some reason he wanted to be close to Nox. Nox was all he had left of Aria. Nox shared power with the Ascendancy. Lucas wasn't sure what was going to happen, but Nox had to know more than he did.

Still, he didn't sit right next to him. The car wasn't crowded at all and he could of sat in the next row. Instead, Lucas sat in the back, an empty seat between the two of them. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, trying to quiet his mind for the moment. The trip would be days. There would be time to talk.

For now he just had to....He wasn't sure what he had to do. When the train finally began moving with a jarring lurch, then another, then another soon after that, he felt as if he would be sick. Aria was gone. He swallowed. She was gone. Silently he said a prayer for her, felt the hotness of unshed tears in his closed eyes. And that kernel of anger grew.

Edited by Lucas, May 14 2015, 04:47 PM.
The hotel was no longer a place of fun and games. They were to stay longer but neither Nox nor Lucas really wanted to stay. They had checked out shortly after Nox found them a ride home. Sadly buses didn't run through Siberia and it was by train. At least it was still on the ground.

Nox moved to the back of the train once they'd gotten there. The car was empty and Lucas followed him. It seemed the other man didn't want to be alone any more than Nox really did.

As they started moving the weight of what happened pressed down. Aria was where ever Aria was and there was nothing more he could do about it. They rode in silence for a while. This was far more comfortable than flying, there was no panic, at least not from the journey itself. There was panic. Panic over what to do now. Aria would be fine. He knew that much. She was a survivor and Nox knew that much about her.

Nox closed his eyes and listened to the music pumping through his earbuds. It was hardly relaxing and his mind was wandering. The power called to him, and this time he answered its call. He grabbed at the power inside and the world came to life. He could feel the air circulating in the car they were in, he could feel the vibrations of the wheels on the rails. Every scent and sight were clear and crisp. Nox smiled to himself. There were so many things he wanted to try, so many things that could be done, but now was not that time to do it.

Nox opened his eyes and leaned forward in his seat, he was grateful Lucas was in the same row, he'd help block anything from view. He'd learned his mistake with the plane, something innocuous, something innocent and incapable of harming anyone. The last thing they needed was an explosion. The weaves didn't have to be large, they didn't have to be complicated. They just had to be.

Nox wove small cyclone of air, it spun at his feet disturbing the dirt and debris on the floor barely enough to move dust in a small whirlwind. The hard part was trying to create another weave while maintaining the existing one, the simpler the better. Nox looked up from his seat and smiled, no one had noticed. If Lucas did he wasn't overly attentive right now. Nox took a deep breath and tried to create a similar weave. Nox sat and tried, each time he started the other, the first weave began to dissipate, but there had to be a way short of tieing the weave off, Ascendancy had done it.

Nox sat hunched over trying to create the second weave without losing the first. He could feel the sweat starting to form on his brow. The power was draining him of what little energy he had left. It wasn't simple work learning new tricks.
He was tired. Not just from the hike to the old Datsan, not just from the cold that had seemed to seep into his bones and leech the warmth from his soul. His mind had chased around and around the possibilities. And in the end, he knew nothing, could do nothing. What was happening- would happen- he didn't know and could do nothing to change. He was powerless. It threatened to overwhelm him.

He prayed over and over again- for Aria, for her safe return, for her sanity, for her life, for himself, for them- and his words jumbled together and he wondered if God was listening to his mess of things. He found it hard to focus. And he felt the desire to make it all go away, to hide from it, to escape. He tasted the cheap rot-gut wine of his youth in the back of his throat and his mouth watered. It frightened him. He breathed evenly and deeply, tried to calm himself, prayed yet again. Gradually, the momentary urge subsided. In its place, a remembrance of the serenity prayer from AA. "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference."

It helped. He couldn't do anything at this point. He had to accept that. But he could control how he responded to it. He felt a sort of peace of mind wash over him. Enough, anyway, to stop his mind from running in circles. He was tired. With a feeling of thanks and a shadow of hope he drifted off to sleep, the click clack of the train over the tracks gently rocking him.

The next thing he knew he was jerked awake by a loud whistle. For a moment he didn't know where he was. They weren't moving and for some reason that bothered him. He felt like he had been shaken out of a cocoon or something. He opened his eyes and looked out the window and saw they were stopped at station, passengers making their way on to the train. He looked over at Nox silently. Finally, "You think she's gonna be ok?"
The train rattled along the track and Nox couldn't try to weave anymore, he dropped the power. He was sore, his head was sore, his body ached, it was like he'd run a marathon and he'd been sitting still the whole time, and he had never managed to maintain two weaves at once, but he would get it. He would die trying if he had to, he knew it was possible and he would master it. But right now he wanted to sleep.

Nox pulled his hood over his head and stuck his ear buds in, the music a dull roar in his ears barely covering the clickety-clack of the train wheels on the rails. Nox tried to sleep, but his nightmares came at him full force. And new images sprang to life every time he closes his eyes. Fireballs flying at him, at Aria, at everyone he even remotely cared about. He startled awake as the burst came into full view. His heart was racing. Great! Just what he needed, another nightmare to keep him awake. He wished Aria hadn't shown him what Ascendancy had done to the last assassin.

Nox would have prayed to Aria's god, if he believed it would help, but he didn't believe, he'd leave that to Lucas. Nox sat quietly listening to the music, his eyes closed pretending to sleep. His mind rolled with experiments in his head, things to do once he mastered more than one weave at a time. Since he couldn't possibly hold the power now, it was the only thing that could keep his mind from his predicament. He was without a friend, his partner, and she was in danger. And he could do nothing.

The whistle blew and the train lurched to a stop. Passengers rustled about, he and Lucas stayed where they were. Nox dropped a bag in the chair between them, the last thing he wanted was someone sitting next to him, anyone other than Lucas anyway. It was almost like that seat was meant for Aria, the only real connection the two of them had.

Nox was content to sit in silence. But Lucas broke it, finally asking if he thought Aria would be alright. Nox pulled his ear buds out but he remained behind the hood, it was comforting and warm and if Lucas thought it was rude, he'd have to say, he didn't care at this point. Nox smiled wryly. "Who? Aria? She'll be fine. She's far tougher than either of us."
It wasn't strength of body, but strength of mind and will, anyone who survived what she had, had to be strong. She survived a true monster she could survive a god.
Lucas was glad for Nox's casual confidence. It encouraged him. Nox worked with Aria, knew her mettle from working with her, the way she handled the challenges she faced. Aria wasn't one to talk much about herself. Or rather, not much to talk about how she felt about what she did. She was fatalistic that way. Lucas' own intuition and empathy had given him insight into her, into the deep loneliness that surrounded her. In many ways, they were very similar people.

But in many ways they weren't. Nox knew a side of her he didn't. He didn't begrudge him that, not really. At least, not at this moment, anyway. He was getting the feel of Nox and knew that the man seemed to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and Lucas just couldn't help reacting as he did. Still....he wanted to know. He wanted to understand her better.

"So what's it like, what you guys do?"
It seemed such a vague question, but he really wasn't all that sure what he was asking himself. It was a start to the conversation anyway. It felt right.
An odd question, but Nox was more than happy to talk about what he did to someone who didn't know. It's not like he had all that many people to talk to this about anyway. Aria knew all too well what they did, what it was like, there was no need for words.

Nox looked ahead of them to see if there were any close ears, he could probably block sound from traveling far from them, but that required touching the power and just the thought of doing so was exhausting.

Nox leaned forward pushing the hood of his back. He put his elbows on his knees and hung his hand in front of him and turned to look at Lucas with a grin. "It's the hard and thankless but the best thing in the world."
Nox shrugged, "Except for the killing people."

Nox sighed and leaned back in his chair as the train started moving again and stared off in the distance. "Hunting is like nothing you'll ever do in life. Even if you hunt animals, it's not the same. The thrill the safari hunters get for hunting large game, it's that and ten times stronger. They aren't innocent creatures. They kill most of the time to survive like big game, except their prey isn't other animals, it's humans. Even before the power I loved a good hunt, now it's extraordinary. Knowing you are saving humanity helps too. And that's the sole purpose of our existence."

Nox grinned, "I'd take you one day, but Aria would kill me."
He turned back to Lucas, "There is nothing like it. My friend seemed to enjoy it enough that he went and found his booty call girl afterward."
Nox laughed silently to himself, the lady in red ...
Nox's face seemed to light up as he talked about it. Lucas had never hunted himself- nobody who lived grew up on the streets of Moscow did- and the idea of the hunt and the chase and the kill was alien to him.

He thought about Aria, and about what Nox was saying, though. These things they hunted needed to be hunted. They preyed on humans. That's what they said, anyway, and Lucas had no reason to really doubt them.

That did lead to a question, one that only now came to him despite having known Aria for a while now. "Where do these things come from?"
He tried to remember what he could from the catechism and Mother Church. Monsters didn't really figure in the Bible, as he could recall. Other fairy tales he'd heard growing up- and from his art classes- but those were expected.

"How'd they get here? Or people like you, or like Aria?"
Suddenly he realized that it was all part of the whole mystery. And he had no idea what the hell any of it meant.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)