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Shadows Beneath

CHAPTER ELEVEN

And here I thought London would be more stuffy and sophisticated… Right… Autumn stepped out into the cool London night air after escaping the brawl inside the club. If she didn't have to get a conscience last minute, she might've been disappointed to have the night ruined by a bunch of angry drunks. Allot of people were going to disappointed if the band's gig was cancelled. But, lucky her fate decided she should rescue dumb Trevor from jail. At the street she was having no luck catching a cab, and grumbled to herself as she decided to just walk to the police station. It was a pleasant night and the walk would do her some good…

As a being of evil, Christopher had been searching through the gathering crowd of spectators for signs of the girls locale and perhaps – commerce as well; but for all the people there, he could not pick her out from anyone with a sixth sense. It is said, betray the touch of God, the dark touch leaves neither visible mark, or invisible spots on the flesh that are impervious to pain; and – putting that to his knowledge, was only half the game as he pushed passed the final spectator but, however, not before leaving behind one final surprise that crept eerily across the ground in the form of a serpentine creature. In truth, it was as harmless as a house fly, but the touch it left if stricken by surprise was deadlier then the most venomous of snakes. “The dark touch,” replied Christopher in monotone, as he stretched out his store-house of astral energy and reseeded into residual shadows cast by the street lights against the dark attar wood of a house. “Construct the flesh of those who beg for death and bleach their bones white with the fire of Exodus..”

The slithering creature went for the head of the crowd on its own hellish instincts – moving between the legs of gathers one person at a time. The being was stripped and stepped on, and even restrained by its serpent like tail until it was released by one who picked up their foot. Yet, it didn't attack, only continued on into the crowd as if they didn't exist to it at all. It's rich black scales were shorn, and its white underbelly was – with little care; shown only when it gave a growing paranoid flick of the tail as it became suddenly very aware of those around it. It was only a matter of time before it struck, and, before it was known; the first of many slapped at their heel as if to mash a pesky bug but found only the cool feeling of their own blood quickly waning itself from their veins. It left its mark on more then half of them, and when the police decided to grace the party with their presence, it would be hampered by the deafening screams and dried bones of those outside. With its job unknowingly finished, the creature curled up and shriveled away until nothing but its gray ash wafted into the breeze.

As no trace of Autumn was found, the occultist found himself moving from plane to plane with annoyance that a normal human could cross distances such as the one he was covering in the span of only a few moments. When he had finally caught up to her a handful of blocks away, though, Chris stalked her – for the fun; no doubt, like a lion hunting its prey. For a moment, he marveled at the simple strength of the girls gentle aura, so much calmer and broader then his, and so much shorter and less intertwined with dread then others. It was no wonder Aidan would want this girl but his first impression of a simple mortal gaining such attention from him was puzzling in itself still. Yes, he was the servant at the Corp, with those demons that posed as humanitarian workers and even the janitors; but unlike those he had a sense of dignity and fetching girls in cheap clothing was below even those worthless scum. But, they were orders and he would follow them despite growing honorary issues.

..you see, I'm the great Trevor Morris…

Chris spat at the memory of that name as it entered his mind at the exact moment his body entered normal reality and slid up behind the girl before him. It annoyed him that it would appear now, at that point in time; but he brushed it off as just another bother. Christopher reached out like a sly fox and caught Autumn by the shoulder, giving her frail body a sudden shock that would of caused her to jump and spin around in fear if it were not for the fact that he had already spun her and had her neck buried in the angle of his arm. She would flail and kick, though screaming was at a mute level as her voice box compressed in from the pressure and left her at a loss for words. There was no question that he had caught what he had sought out, but it was only lived for a short while as Christopher soon found himself waiting for a sudden array of spots before his eyes to go away.

She had taken his picture! That girl, who stopped struggling was only biding her time so she could reach into her bag and snap off several pictures into the face of her attacker to ward him off. It worked, for the most part, but only temporarily as the colorful dots disappeared and the chase was back on as the man in brown split up the street at inhuman speed and came in front of her seconds to late as she let out an ear piercing scream that cacophonies through the clear sky like a lighthouse fog horn. She had quite a pair of lungs on her for a girl, and he made sure to quickly cease anymore of her picture taken and screaming by grabbing a hold of her arm and throat with separate hands. Kicking and screaming, those kind were always fun, but they were growing hard each time and for some reason – she kept hitting the same spot again and again every time. With a growl and furrowed brows, the occultist called forth a slithering creature from within his own body that crept up his forearm and weaseled its way up to the girls ear as it poked and prodded to the entrance of her ear canal. By the time she noticed, she was out like a light.

Alistaire had only a tenth of his mind focused on Belial and the woman, Genesis. He barely caught on to what they were saying, only really hearing something about an appointment. His attention was focused on the horribly powerful and dark aura that suddenly spiked up and overwhelmed his senses. Even masking the aura would not have hid it from Alistaire's sort-of demon sense. It was an amazing, terrifying presence. Despite that fact, he moved anyways. He let his feet take over and without so much a word, parted from Belial and Genesis. Instead, he reached into his coat with his left hand and drew one of his USP .45 Tactical pistols, fitted with an LAM and a 15-round clip. Hiding it low and to his side, as to not draw attention (as if he wasn't already), he laid a hand on Stormbringer's hilt above his right shoulder and followed the presence of the door, deftly moving through the crowd and dodging the small critter that was tearing at their feet.

As he stepped into the street (which was far clearer than the sidewalk), and turned his head to either side to look for the man. He caught the tail of a coat around the corner and felt the dark aura from the same direction. Putting two and two together, he began doing a silent run while leaning forward, Stormbringer loose and ready to pull. He felt the aura disappear and skidded to a halt as he rounded the corner and took several more steps. He felt it again suddenly, farther ahead, and felt it blink out once more. He cursed silently; the dark man was much farther ahead. Taking a breath, he began running at full sprint, hand tightening around Stormbringer. He was feeding off of what was left in the mighty blade to keep his strength up. He hoped enough was left to do battle, if that was what would happen; Alistaire had a feeling it would come down to it.

He continued racing, following the dark spirit as quick as he could. He suddenly felt it pause and move slowly, as if finally finding prey. Or getting far enough away to feel comfortable about itself. Alistaire lop-sidedly grinned an arrogant grin and quickened his pace. He rounded one final corner in time to see the man– the origin of this dark presence– standing over an unconscious girl.

Trevor went around back, and opened up Ana's trunk before following her. He immediately grabbed the two M9s and the Colt Python, and the bandolier of bullets, which he fastened around his waist. He continued to rummage around for a minute, searching in vain for an M16, but what he came across beneath a blanket was even better. “Holy shit! Why the hell are you packing a grenade launcher?” Trevor asked, pulling the sizable weapon out of the trunk. “Jeez…talk about civilian ordinance…even I don't pack stuff like this. `Course, I don't have a car. Just my motorcycle back home. Crimeny.” He shut the trunk after grabbing a few rounds, and slung the weapon over his shoulder using the strap.

“It's about goddamned time we got here…what would you do if your partner just got here and died because you were too busy saving the worthless hide of this Trevor character?” Ater's voice was loud and annoying in her head, and as she walked on- the demon could feel an opportunity to cause some real damage arise.

If she gets angry enough, she'd drop Lux and just use Ater and that would kill just about anyone around. Ater was glad that he just might get the carnage he was waiting for. Oh, shut the hell up. Alistaire can take care of himself- and it's not like I am completely late. Give me a freaking break. Ana wrinkled up her nose and lightly patted her guns, making sure that she only had them and spare ammo. She never reloaded anyway- but there was the slight chance that maybe someone else might need it. “Yeah, just don't break it…that launcher is my baby.” Raising her eyebrow, Ana lowered her head and closed her eyes to get a perception on her surroundings. Evil was definitely there- but faintly, so was that damn creepy feeling that she got from the guy in the club.

“Let's go!” Ana made sure to lock her car before running down the way, and she didn't know if she saw the creepy guy in the coat first- or her loving partner Alistaire. She didn't waste any time, though- and soon Lux and Ater were drawn and ready to fight.

Trevor would have preferred to take the lead, but Ana seemed to know where she was going–she must have felt that strong presence, just as he did. There was also the fact that he was carrying that launcher. It wasn't necessarily heavy, but it was pretty clumsy, and hard to run with. Without his gear, though, he couldn't afford to complain. Still, a shotgun would have been nice. “It's the same guy from before!” Trevor shouted to Ana. “I can feel it all the way from here! I'd never forget a spirit like that!” The man in the dark coat…that complicated things a bit. There was a second force nearby, similar to his own–another hunter, most likely, and a strong one at that. Still, he wasn't any match for the guy in the coat. Not alone, anyway. Three on one seemed like acceptable odds to him. He'd kill that jerk for what he did to him–showing him up, then leaving him to the police! Just thinking about it pissed him off!

It didn't take long for the two of them to find their quarry. Trevor slid to a halt on the sidewalk, and took a quick look at the situation. There was the guy, all right–standing over somebody he had just knocked out. Or maybe killed. Perfect, there was another excuse to kill him. Some blonde guy with a sword was at the other end of the street. He looked familiar, too. A blonde slayer, with a claymore…that weapon looked suspiciously like Stormbringer. Could that guy be from the MacCoules? I thought they had all died out…well, that's good luck for me, anyway…

“I told you I'd find you!” Trevor shouted to the guy in the dark coat. “We've still got some unfinished business, you worthless puke! I've got a dozen high explosives with your name on `em!” He leveled the grenade launcher at the stranger, and wrapped his finger around the trigger. “So step away from the poor slob you've just jumped, and come over here so I can kick your goddamned teeth in!”

While Trevor barked, while Christopher waited to play his part on the body of the girl and while the slayer behind stole through the streets of London unseen, the occultist ran a hand through his hair with uncaring arrogance to the severity of the situation at hand. “It's a nice night, really,” he said. He took a step back, and whispered into the air so as not to disturb the silence, who worked the quiet air and seemed to struggle a bit with the disdainful wind. What was this creatures plan? He knew not to answer his own questions. Still, Christopher, mercifully, offered an explanation of sorts. “Meanwhile, as our brave hero banters, the girl lays trapped at the hands of the tragic villain.” He smiled and tightened his cold grip on his hand until wings fluttered and the forlorn shadow beneath his feet showed the featherless outline of his dark aspect.

It seemed that everyone appeared just as his falis tasted the girls blood and started to infect her psyche; as planned, he silenced her, restrained her, and relieved Aidan, who would have returned to Morning Star with eager enthusiasm upon his trophy being delivered to him. As quick as the shadow came, it vanished just as fast – the body before him, ragged and limp becoming suddenly stiff as it rose. He watched this feat, ignoring everyone around him, before snatching her body from the air and turning on his heel; holding her delicate face up if to taunt Trevor as his hand burst into a bright black light. “She is rather adorable, so cute with the skin of an angel, don't you agree?” Christopher grinned a toothy grin, holding her face up to the light for all to see. He would twist the knife in deeper, if time allowed it, but for a brief instant he forgot about everything around him – giving the girls cheek a taste. “I know many demonic gods who would, how to say it.. kill for something so tasty and delicious.”

Uncontrollably, the thick burning flame of purple light extended pleasantly from the end of his hand–the outline of blade and hilt becoming apparent as it transformed into a churning sword of flame. He cut her cheek, letting her blood spill from the wound and slide across her skin until its droplet fell to the ground below. The first blood was spilt and the game was suddenly very interesting as to which of the three would make the first fatal move.

Trevor's heart slammed to an abrupt halt the moment he saw Kris' face. His entire body seemed to go completely numb, and he dropped the grenade launcher to the ground at his feet. Kris…I told you…to be careful! Why didn't you stick with Joz, like I told you to?!

“You…you miserable, stinking coward!” Trevor howled, tightening his fists until his knuckles cracked, and the stitches in his gloves began to pop. The silver crosses sewn into his gloves began to blaze, and Trevor's hands were blazing like dying stars, surrounded by a wreath of dancing white flame. “Sneaking around in the shadows, and hiding behind innocent people…you're not even as good as the lowest devil! I'll send you straight to Hell to prove it!” Trevor's anger was accentuated with the Silver Herald flared up again, sending a sharp gust of wind blowing through the street, knocking over trash cans and kicking a cloud of dust into the air.

“My fist is the divine breath! The fire inside my soul has ignited, and I grasp that flame with my powerful hand!” The light in Trevor's gloves flooded into his right hand, lighting the street up like it was noon. “Nothing in all the pits of Hell is going to save you now! I swear, you're not going to live to see another sunrise!”

“Blood…I smell it…” Ater's voice came ringing into Ana's mind, causing the girl to close her eyes and shake her head. Lately, it had been so hard to control him like she used to…”Release me…let me draw blood too…I won't hurt the others…I just want to test HIM.” All of the years that he had to suffer with his brother, the demon was plotting on finding a host that he could feed off of. He needed the darkness, hatred, loathing…the man that had been speaking earlier and even now- was dripping with it. Christopher was a cesspool of negative energy.

This just might be his one way ticket out of here. “Ana. If you don't do it- that girl is going to die!”

“Ana. What are you d-doing? Don't listen to him- not now, don't you value your friend's lives? Are you feeling alright?” Lux's heavenly hold was getting harder and harder for her to see as Christopher went on, and even though both guns were drawn- Ana's hand was mindlessly placing the yelling angel back into his holster.

The gusts of wind coming from all around shook Ana back into reality, and she closed her eyes- pulling Lux back out. Her mind became cloudy and she glanced over at Trevor and then to his hand. Whatever he was doing had that effect on her, and she was close to dropping to her knees. “T-Trevor…calm down, please…That thing…it's hurting me.” Her chest felt as though it was being crushed, and as it all went on- she did whatever she could to put Ater away in his holster. Now, it was judgment time. “Put it away…stop it!” Now that she had a hold on Lux alone, the darkness that was building had vanished. Even with his power of light, she was having a hard time being alert. The angel had a bright idea to try and at least lessen his guardian's pain, whether she would allow it or not. Releasing himself from his metal prison, Lux made himself visible to all in the alleyway and placed a hand on Ana. His wings shielded her as well as they could from the winds of the Silver Herald, and as he held onto his weakening host he whispered.

“Guide my bullets, protect her with light.” His ghostly hand fired Ana's gun, shooting directly at Trevor.

Light. Trevor's entire existence was nothing but warm, soothing light. His anger melted into nothingness, dwarfed by the sense of pure absolution that filled his every thought. He felt his feet leave the ground for a moment, and off in the distance, he heard was he thought was rocks crashing together.

You cannot remain here!

“…what…? Who…”

Think of Autumn! You have to save her!

Trevor's eyes snapped open. Kris! In a bright burst of light, Trevor found himself back on the streets, facing the man in the dark coat, with Kris still in his grasp. His right arm, up to the elbow, was covered in what looked like silver chrome, shining with an inner fury that was almost blinding. The air reeked of ozone and lightning. Trevor could sense the holy energy coursing through the metal, flowing back and forth from the angelic figure to the left, protecting the now-unconscious Ana. The angel nodded solemnly to Trevor, and glanced towards the man in the dark coat. “Right. I understand,” Trevor whispered.

“My hand is burning with the fires of Heaven!” he shouted, causing another sharp gale to kick up. Trevor raised his right arm, opened his palm, and took careful aim at his target. He hoped that guy with the sword got out of the way in time. “The roaring inferno inside my soul has ignited, and I grasp that flame with my powerful hand!” The glowing metal began to burn, and a bright sphere of radiant light exploded to life at Trevor's fingertips. “I will deliver your final judgment, with my Silver Halo Shot!” A thick column of light, nearly half as big around as Trevor was tall, flew from the gauntlet. Just the sheer force of it was enough to crack the street in a straight, narrow line, as it shot towards the man in the dark coat like a speeding train.

Christopher stood there for a moment, shivering as if the unfolding events with a fitful dream; dreams had plagued him of reoccurring situations like this happening, but upon waking he could never recall them. He'd never have any idea how long he slept when they would come. Neither did he know where he was when they occurred. He sat up and felt the cold enrapturing darkness heeding his needing call, but he blinked and the world became eerily known around him as he stood face to face with a missile straight from heaven. The speed it moved was uncanny, and even stretching his power to slow down the process of time did little to slow its progress. The light was cold, terribly cold; and colder still when it bared down on him in unfamiliar strength. He was no match for something like that, but he was not going to be killed with such ease, nor would he give those around him the benefit to rid him of the world before his time was truly up!

The ground around him whipped up in a cold, sheer wind, and the ground beneath his feet crackled and uprooted from the pavement as lightning danced around up-turn rubble and rock that began to float with intense and ever-growing power – charging each piece of rock and every being of the soil with enough electricity to keep the city running for weeks on end. The intertwined force of energy forced a barrier to grow, but by the process; it was taking overly long and it would not hold. But still, he pushed his power to limit, eyes becoming depthless black pearls behind the blinding light as it neared. His shadow bopped and danced behind him, as his silhouette of wingless wings curled and spread behind him. Taking a breath, his heart snared like a rabbit in a trap as he drew a snow-white sword from the now volatile air. A showdown to the end, but if he was to suddenly parish; the girl was coming with him.

The cold light first came in contact with the barrier, releasing built up energy with such a force that the road began to bend inward and tree limbs began to snap like cheap firewood. After a moment, the shot pierced and shattered the barrier and in an instant, everything stopped as a gout of dust kicked up followed by a suitable sized explosion for such a blast. The crackling of thunder between the roadway stopped and the rising current of air wafted away the smoke. A still moment, indeed, one no doubt mixed with interest and hope the target was hit.

When the cloud of dust and ash settled, Chris stood there, clad in black runic armor; covered in midnight black wings that crossed in front of him – smoldering with smoke. When he uncurled them, he flexed his right hand, then his left; dropping both the sword of flame and the sword of white to the ground when he glanced upward. He didn't do this, someone else had interfered with the shot? But who; not Aidan for his presence was no where to be found, but instead there was a nagging feeling at the back of his head of something keeping him protected. However, as fast as everything had appeared, within the space of a heart beat the attire vanished leaving him again in the brown coat unscathed. He would be grateful later on, but he wanted to know what the hell that was.

Too many things had happened. Too many at once, Alistaire decided. As soon as he arrived on the avenue in which he had found the dark figure, he saw a woman. A very young woman, who wasn't dead– yet– and was definitely what the man was stalking. Then, only moments after that, he saw another man and his partner, Ana. Both looked ready to do battle, but not with just one man– with an entire horde! “What the bloody hell is going on?!” His cries touched uncaring ears as things unfolded before his eyes. Both holy and unholy events, some stuff he had never seen before. The dark man was a horrible man; not one sense of light or good existed within him. He was nothing but a wave of darkness ready to crash down on any and everything within reach. He lifted the girl, taunted the man until he released a power– and then Ana collapsed, writhing in pain. Alistaire dropped his .45 and drew Stormbringer, his massive claymore, completely with both hands. He felt the energy in the sword pour into him, strengthening him with the energy of those who had been unfortunate to meet his blade. He felt the calm presence wrap over and around his soul and soothe his mind. He felt ready to kick some ass.

Ana writhed on the ground and he felt obligated to rush to her. Not just obligated to, he wanted to. He wanted to pick her up in his arms and comfort her, protect her from what was causing her pain. But he couldn't. He saw an ethereal being appear, seeming to protect her, and then a massive beam of blue energy rocket from the man and into the darker man. The blue beam crashed and slammed into a shield of sorts. A cloud of thick dust, ash and other things came up from the sheer force of the two mighty powers. When it cleared, he saw the dark man clad in strange armor. It disappeared, and the dark man looking at his own figure wonderingly. Alistaire tossed aside amazement and silently charged, Stormbringer back and to the side, his stance similar to the hidden guard, waki no kamae. The energy of the blade turned his strength beyond human and with a mighty leap, he went for an attack of his own. “Say g'bye, asshole!”

He tried to understand; not a hair was touched–not cut, imprecated, or planted. It was strange, yet somewhat satisfying to be alive. What Chris saw in the watering light that night were but holy things. They were white, nearly translucent in the dark of space, and solid in the light. It was rarely seen that you could catch of a glimpse of the world beyond without having been sent to the grave, for the written word is that it resides in the deepest clouds and shows themselves only to strike judgment at those who come uninvited or unescorted by death or an angel surrogate. The occultist ignored the slayer as he sprung into action, fast as a flash, to bury his sword deep in the dark one. He meant little to him, at the moment, as he extruded a blue vial from his pocket and dumped a necrotic venom that is known to work on the soft tissue of the body, consuming the flesh from within from its spout. “Even assistance from an angelic host can't kill me.. I'm, still here” His voice took an edge to it with an uncharacteristic amazement as he took a step forward before having a steel blade impeded into his head, and ducked beneath a second swing, while pulling the girl in tow. That blade was uncommon; he could hear the wind cry from the sharpness as it momentarily parted the air currents. Its presence was somewhat of an annoyance to him, but instead, he jumped up with a inhuman speed as a third and fatal stab came from behind; aimed at his vital organs. He landed on one of only two light posts that remained standing, though slightly tipped.

“The great Trevor Morris, huh? What a truly musing legacy. A descendant of the Johnathon Morris that sealed away the great evil centuries ago..,” he lowered his eyes, holding the girl close by the chin as he held her before him like an award. “You almost had me, with that blast. Such a holy thing. One of light, one of dark. You didn't think you could get rid of me that easy, did you?” For a moment, he and Trevor's eyes met, but he could only grin wider as he glanced to the side at Alistaire. “Let me introduce myself. My name is Christopher, Christopher Morris.” He pointed a finger, crooked towards Trevor as he leaned his head back with narrowed eyes. “It's nice to meet, brother. The ties of fate are indeed interesting, but nothing but ironic in the end. Trying to kill your own flesh and blood. The Morris' before us must truly be rolling amongst their graves!”

“M…Morris?! That's not…it can't be true!” Trevor shouted up to Christopher. “You're lying! No Morris has ever served the darkness!”

Christopher…

…is he really going away, dad? Why? What did he do?

“No…it's not…”

Your brother…Trevor, something's wrong with him. We have to send him away for a while.

But, I don't understand.

Trevor slowly sank to his knees, and could almost feel the energy slipping away from him. That last attack was draining, but nothing he couldn't take. This, though…he felt like he had been hit in the stomach by a cinderblock. “It's…it isn't true…”

I'll tell you when you're older, Trevor. Just pray, for now. Maybe, when he gets better, you'll see each other again someday.

“No! No, goddamn you!” Trevor howled, pounding at the ground. “He never told me! All dad ever said was that you were sent away because you were sick! Because the Church wanted to look after you! He never told me…never told me anything…” Slowly, Trevor looked back up, his face a mixture of sorrow and deep, burning anger. He would have cried, if he thought he could spare the energy. “Christopher…is this the real reason you were sent away? Because dad was afraid of your power?” he whispered, though he was certain Christopher could still hear him. “Oh, God…I thought you were dead…dad told me, the monastery you had been in was destroyed… But I knew that you weren't dead! I just knew it!” he continued, raising his voice, and staggering back up to his feet. “I knew if I searched long enough, I'd find you! I never gave up hope…even though dad disapproved…I had to find you. I had to! Because I wanted to know why things turned out the way they did. Why did Simon send you away? Why did you have to leave us?”

Trevor's tight fists slowly loosened, and the last of the energy given to him dissipated as he did. It was obvious to tell, just by looking at him; his very aura seemed to diminish, and eventually fade away. Not a trace of power was left inside him. The Silver Herald flashed once, and was silent. The slayer took a few stumbling steps backwards, and slid down to the ground when he bumped against a light post. “And this…this is my answer,” he muttered, looking down at his hands. “Christopher…you were never sick…you were twisted. All my life, I've been searching for you, and this is the end of it. My brother is the Devil.” Trevor rested against the light post, and looked up into the sky. If Christopher had pulled out a gun, he didn't think he had the energy to move. “Devil…”

Her body felt as though it was on fire, she was hot and cold as the same time- after all of that, Ana Gordon was practically down for the count. Green eyes were lifeless and void as the angel guided her down to the pavement; Lux didn't realize that even by trying to protect Ana, his holy touch had caused her damage too. His fingertips had burned into the skin on her shoulder, while numerous cuts and scrapes were left behind from his wings. “All of this…” Lux had tried his best to protect his master, only to fail horribly- perhaps it was just better for him to let Ater take control. “I caused all of this…I did this to you..” After casting Trevor a worried glance, Lux returned to his prison; he would rather stay there for an eternity than to ever harm her again. One thing remained on his mind, though- the fact that his brother had interfered.

“Ater, she's not going to be pleased when she wakes up.” Was all he could say, before being completely overcome by anger- to the point where he just couldn't talk. Somehow, he was going to make his brother pay for what he had done. All in due time. Lux had a few tricks up his sleeve, and after already having a few close encounters with Trevor Morris- he knew exactly how he could protect Ana for good.

For a while, everything was calm. Ana's chest barely moved up and down as she tried to breathe; the pain was still throbbing, everything hurt. She felt like she'd been hit by a speeding train. Faster than a speeding bullet…I got screwed up and I didn't even get to DO anything! At least her mind worked, keeping the rest of her body in line. Slowly, her eyes opened- and even while they were still glazed over, they darted from side to side. I can't believe this! Sean would be so disappointed…Ali would be disappointed. Mentally, she continued to beat herself up; Sean had warned her about the size of her ego and how it would be deflated someday. Well, shit couldn't possibly get more deflated than this.

Worthless…what if that little screw-up cost your friends their lives?! What about Ali? Hell- and even Trevor…What if he got hurt- wait…no, I hear him. He's not hurt. A sigh escaped Ana's lips as she began to breathe easier; she listened closely to everything that had been going on and judging by the sound of it, Trevor wasn't too happy.

“Tre..Trevor.” All of her energy went into making that one word come out, and once she realized that she couldn't do it anymore she just went back to saying things in her head. Yeah, your brother is the devil- so we do whatever we can to kill him. I'll help you, the best I can. Ali will too…

Alistaire's attacks had done no good, despite his burst of inhuman power. His speed and strength was for naught; the Devil of a man kept ducking and weaving away, only to finally humiliate him by leaping away and landing on one of several lamp posts still standing. He topped the cake by giving him a condescending look, and that sent Alistaire's blood boiling. He listened to the brother's conversation and let his mind wander, back to his upbringing. Morris, he repeated in his head. They were another line of familial Hunters. Generation upon generation, the descendents were brought up with knowledge of the occult and how to deal and contain the variety of things involved. Just like his own family, the MacCoules. He shook his head in sorrow, listening to their words. The thought of his father, or mother, or one of his sisters serving the Dark twisted his stomach into knots and made him want to puke. He could only imagine what the man named Trevor was feeling, and only put out sympathy for him.

Once again, Alistaire's blood began boiling. This man, the Devil man named Christopher Morris, was causing grief and anguish to them all in some way. Ana was lifeless on the ground. Trevor was in a state of disbelieving sorrow. The girl in Christopher's hand was now a puppet to be used as bargaining chip after bargaining chip. His eyes flashed with a fiery wave of passion and anger and Alistaire leaped to action once more; he was the only one left to do such a thing. And this Devil needed to fall. “Shu'up, you fucker, and get back down here!” Alistaire screamed, rushing forward and slicing the lamp post at the base, Stormbringer going through it with no resistance what-so-ever. Sparks began to leak and spray from the clean cut immediately. The post began to wobble, nothing holding it up any longer. Using momentum, Alistaire spun around and twisted, pulling his other .45 USP Tactical from under his left arm with his right hand and aimed at Christopher's heart. He pulled the trigger, and a resounding 'bang' followed.

Christopher turned to the banks of the Loire towards London, sitting inland on the Maine, an affluent of the greatest river; and he took a moment in time to attend a gathering shadowed by that things gracious interference, a gun built with the soul of a demon inside. In the interest of a splendor, not safety, the occultist obliged it. Anger was charming, if somewhat dark in aspect. He wondered if he was growing accustomed to massed humanity, cityscapes, and strangers being kept in check for all these years? Perhaps, he answered, in reply to his own questions. How enlightening to behold such a marvel! A gun, sealed with an angelic host, and a twin star. One sealed with a greater power of that of a demonic entity, he mused, in retrospect, and cracked a brief but alluding smile. Tell me, how long have you been kept held in that metallic prison – held by something who refuses to draw you in fear of your power?

Within the moment, Christopher found himself being led up a dark and narrow staircase, its steps made of that slate, quarried locally, which earns for the city the appellation. Indeed, the steps seemed hewn from obsidian; they were dark and smooth as the river's night-waters. At each narrow step he expected to slip backward down the whole lightless flight of stairs, for he was off-balance; even if this place was his own undefying existence. At the top, he noticed, a landing of nothing, but stood at the top over-looking the aforementioned scenes through the feel and eyes of both holstered weapons.

And then, how long do you plan on staying held within these bounds? It was surprising to see, but the occultist out-layed a hand and pointed to the darker of the two within its own accosted mind, through intervention of its blackened anger. He would of noticed the surprised look from the demon, but only if he had cared to do so. Before him, stood the exact opposite of the holy form that produced Trevor's power, a being clad in the blackest of armor and the blackest of wings, frilled with the enraging color of crimson blood. It looked somewhat enigmatic in that state, compared to its compact and ungiving form of the present.

You.., it began, turning its head to only give him a glance, as if to size him up before truly giving the man its full attention. How do you have the right to meld with the casings of my bindings and speak with me as you do now?

The man grinned a lop-sided grin, and folded his hands within his pockets as if to think on the demons question for a moment. His only answer, however, came in the form of a dynamic whisper. Because I can..

A second entity, although not as apparent, had made the scene as well; the holy host no doubt – as it appeared in all its bright glory; shimmering wings of gold and white that produced a searing light – but the counter-balance of darkness to the light absorbed most of it and turned it into only a dim, but of still noticeable light. For a second, the occultist stood in shock at how this one could enter a world of darkness, his world, but the sudden feeling between the two was enough for both his mind and questions to be put at ease. They were linked, it seemed.

It spoke, suddenly, the one clad in light armaments and silver gauntlets. You dare come here, as if you own the place? Its voice was booming and hard, but he ignored it and simply closed his eyes. You were but lucky due to the interference of this one, but now you will not be able to— The talking ceased, as the angelic hosts words vanished; the surrounding nothingness engulfed its presence and swallowed it mercilessly within. It twisted and cast its body back into that of its own bounded place and sealed it there from interrupting, for the moment being. Demon to human, was more his style. Those of light were of no push-over, even for him; but in his world, the one he created to talk to this gun, this thing – was more over-powering then its burning power. He turned, faced the demon again with eyes wide open, and took a step forward if only to appear in front of him as the demonic influence before him turned his head back to the front and glanced at the intruder. If it was amused, it hardly showed it with its unchanging and uncaring eyes, but the vibe and aura he picked up from it was somewhat of a mixed gesture.

You're wondering, I know; I can read your thoughts and what you are thinking. How did I accost him from here? Simply, all this around, this world; this is the fiber of my being. Hardened by darkness, resides in nothingness. No light, just a never ending depthless of absolute nothing. He paused, ran a hand through his hair, though only a thought in his head, the image of him within the world followed through the thought making it reality there. Why stay here, stretch your power and join us. No, me. I will allow you the pleasure of using your energy at will, without holding you back. Christopher continued, becoming suddenly serious. Will you, I ask? His hand out-reached, the man in brown held up his hand as if to shake. A long pause occurred, one that seemed to stretch on for an indefinite period of time before the beast before him raised up a hand and went to shake, but the occultist lost control over the world suddenly, as the world around him echoed for him to turn around.

Eyes snapped to the side as Alistaire cut the pole, leaving him suspended in the air by his own power – forcing the wind to hold him aloft, and when he turned and pulled out a gun, then fired; he stood face to face with a rather courageous or stupid man. Things slowed, and the bullets speed became engulfed in a spark of hellfire. But as fast as that came, an arrow of sudden speed split through the air and just barely missed its target as a dark touch came from the reaches of space and deflected it to the side; strewing it effortlessly to the ground. Again, he owed that thing his life. Twice. With attention turning back to the closer approaching bullet, the occultist put out his hand – palm first to the angle of its trajectory and ran a finger in a circle amidst the air; a swirling purple disturbance of negate air formed, circling in respect. Ungrasping his power, Chris let time go and watched as the bullet slammed head on into the occurrence that was as thin as a sheet of note book paper and vanished.

He saw the one who fired the arrow at the same time through the corner of his eye, and watched as she prepared a second arrow that had his name written all over it. The crossbow, or bow; he couldn't tell, was being loaded with another arrow into the string and pulled back as careful aim was being taken. This would be her last shot and it would hit its target if it were to kill her. She fired, the speeding arrow became one with the wind as it carried it towards the one it was to hit–as it crossed the spaces with precise speed it seemed as if it was going to nail its intended victim with no trouble, but again; the swirling gate of negate energy opened and took the object for its own. She would of cursed if she had the chance, but the occultist only redirected both shots for an instant and corrected the gravity when it opened before her very eyes right in front of her. A step back, but it was too late already. With it in reverse force, the gate spit the arrow back out at the same speed it entered and struck her in the side, puncturing her kidney before going through to her back. An ear piercing scream, and ragged breath, until the end came as Alistaire's bullet shrieked from the gout and struck her in the neck – severing her vocal cords and jugular vein as it passed through the warm flesh and impeded itself into a rustic stone wall. The scene of death was like an opera to him, amazing and over before one knew it.

The girl, struck twice, fell over dead into a pool of her own blood and choked back once as her eyes rolled to the back of her head. It was over, for her. Her last shot did kill her, but unfortunately for her and lucky for the occultist, she hit the wrong person – herself.

Trevor barely had time to react, between the few seconds that the grisly scene started and ended. As quickly as she had arrived, Christopher neatly dealt with her, and his partner was dead. His sorrow temporarily vanished by a chilling anger, Trevor staggered up to his feet, and ran to where she was lying, in a steadily-increasing puddle of her own blood. The arrow and bullet were redirected with frightening precision. She had probably died the minute the bullet struck her throat. “Jadziin…no…oh, God, no…” Trevor got back up and spun around, flashing his brother a bitter stare. “There wasn't any need for that! You knew she wasn't a match for you alone, Christopher! First Kris, and now, my partner…I don't understand! Why are you doing this?! Our family is full of protectors and healers! None of this makes any sense!”

Christopher stayed there, aloft in the air with bittersweet amusement playing behind his dark eyes. “Match for me, alone? Did you forget, dear brother, the odds? The last time I checked,” he stopped moving to the side as he stretched out a hand to the side to show all the gathered players. “It was only one against three. Four was too much, so I simply.. evened the odds a bit! But don't despair, or cry over her. She was nothing significant in the end. Just a weak mortal,” he continued, a sudden edge coming to his voice. “Your family is the protectors. I was cast aside for what I am! You and dad humbly await your natural ends, and would gladly give up your life to save humanity. However, I am the curse of humanity, and I am bound to see it destroyed.”

“I am your enemy. The last thing you'll see before death.” It was the first time in the awhile that all was calm on the London street. The wind was cold, filled with the death of one, and the skies clouded as if to release rain to show they were mourning for the loss. The silence and still moment was broken however, as Christopher touched down to the ground next to Alistaire, and parted the air with a gravity well correction. As quickly as it appeared, the occultist gave a mocking salute to all those around, and imparted a single message to Ater before he sunk within the portal and it disappeared; man, girl and all. I'll return..

The Portal closed behind Christopher Morris and Autumn, leaving thin air charged with heavy traces of dark majicks. The explosions and lights that has disturbed the night sky left subtle scars in the planes that inhuman creatures could easily perceive, along with those Humans who had learned the Arts or their distortions. Slight energy arcs still lingered, breaking their way through the air particles back to their elements – air, earth, water… Shimmering ponds on the paved street disappeared slowly – they could last till sunrise. On the street, the blood that sprouted from Jadziin's wound had turned into a faint stream, forming a pond of a different sort beneath her body, dampening her clothes and her hair as the stunned humans watched the scene. A shadow came off the thicker shadows – a Shadow that didn't bear the taint of Evil. With a hushed sound of her feathery wings, a raven hovered over Jadziin's body and perched on her dead body. The raven clicked her beak, shaking her wings before neatly folding them on her back with a caw. The bird's eyes were of a deep blue, filled with a myriad suns; her black color was the deepest black humans eyes had ever seen. The raven seemed to seek something near the corpse's wound, catching a strange, ethereal silver thread which she cut with her beak.

A sphere of silverish light seemingly came out of the dead woman's body, like a firefly in her resplendence but stronger and different, like the halo Renaissance painters show around the heads of the saints. The raven delicately caught the light and put it beneath her wings. The light disappeared. The raven rose her head and stared at the group, her eyes shining. Allover the dead body laid Moloch's taint, strong as it was on the Mortal who had killed Jadziin and kidnapped Autumn. On Trevor the taint was ever so much more subtle. Azrael laid her eyes on the demon blood Huntress and her companion; on the angel brothers and their ever going quarrel – a warning was sent to the brothers. The Archangel of Death and Destruction took flight and disappeared into the night with the soul she had collected.

Trevor's eyes met with the raven's as the bird flew into view, and perched on Jadziin's body. His dark omen had returned. The prediction had come true. Thus, like the sad, presaging raven that tolls the sick man's passport in her hollow beak; and in the shadow of the silent night, doth shake contagion from her sable wings. He couldn't remember where he had heard that snippet of literature before, but it rang in his head like a church bell all of a sudden. This time, though, the raven didn't even pause to exchange glances–it swooped down, took…something…and left, as quickly and mysteriously as it had arrived. What had it took? What was that silver cord…?

I am the Dark One This is the Sigil of my Name written on the Dark side of the moon. If you can read and understand, the Time for your answers is closer.

“…an angel,” Trevor whispered, watching the bird fly away into the night. “An angel of death was following me. Were you just watching, and waiting…?” He got back up to his feet, and ran off in the direction the raven had disappeared in. He couldn't see the raven against the dark curtain of night, but he didn't care anymore. He knew she was listening. “Tell me! Tell me why you followed me! What kind of curse is it that makes the angel of death watch me?!” Trevor continued to run for what seemed like forever. Ana and MacCoule didn't seem to even exist in his thoughts anymore. He saw ravens and black feathers everywhere; each corner he turned around brought only more darkness than the last. Exhausted and heartbroken, Trevor finally gave up, and fell to his knees, staring at his reflection in a puddle of water. This is what it had all come down to. He was lost and alone, in the dingy streets of a city his great ancestor had come from, but now, he was just another stranger. Another stranger with a dead partner, a kidnapped companion, a demonic brother, and a headache big enough to land a helicopter on.

BEER

“Wha…?

BEER

Trevor looked at the blinking blue lights in the water. Beer? He looked up, and found what must have been the most secluded bar in the entire city, staring him right in the face.

BEER

Beer, dammit. Screw it all, he reasoned. The world was on its own. His Silver Herald was drained, his friends and what little family he had left was gone, and his partner was dead. The next time anybody saw Trevor Morris, he would be swimming in the bottom of the filthiest, cheapest bottle of the most god-awful bathtub gin London had to offer. With any luck, it'd kill him.

Perched on a dim, blinking streetlight, Azrael shook her tail as she saw Trevor was following her – his special senses allowed him to perceive her angelic trace, even though he was mentally and physically exhausted. Azrael clicked her beak. Azrael watched Trevor stagger into the bar. The ebony bird flew down and landed on the paved, poorly lightened street; swaying lightly as she walked, the bird slid inside the local, jumping over people's feet and avoiding obstacles. Unnoticed in the twilight inside the bar, the raven followed Trevor's unsteady steps.

Lurking in the shadows and staying unnoticed were two of old Daman's pastimes. The present-day Daman usually didn't bother himself with such trivial affairs as the fight that blossomed before his eyes. The demon had been drifting about the city, when he sensed a strain between good and evil. Well, this is a turn of events, he thought to himself, slightly amused. Daman didn't feel like getting involved in this classic struggle tonight; it was a thing of the past, something he had put behind him when he had returned to England. But before he knew where his legs were taking him, he was a spectator to the brawl, gray eyes pinpoints of light in the otherwise gloomy shadows. He was delighted with Christopher Morris, and how coolly he dealt with his foes. At Trevor Morris his eyes narrowed. It was the disgraceful demon hunter in the college a couple days back…

Then he spotted her. Ana, if Daman could remember correctly. She was sprawled across the ground, looking worse for the wear. Something in Daman wanted to make him the hero. To be the savior of this. Why, he had no idea. Normally in circumstances like this, the demon would either walk away, or join in on the bloodshed. There was something special about her though, and it made him feel queasy. Why shouldn't I help her? But then again, why should I? After all, it's none of my concern… Again Daman's body reacted much quicker than his powerful mind. He entered the outskirts of the skirmish, and bent down, gently scooping the girl in his arms. Lifting her was a strain on his back, from wounds long ago… He froze then, like a deer in headlights, unsure of what to do next. The fight had mostly broken up now, as Christopher and Trevor had vanished. Daman turned quickly, shrouding himself in the darkness once again. He was almost certain that the other fellow in the fight, Alistaire, had seen him. Demon hunter was scribbled all over his face, and Daman didn't need any more trouble than he already had on his hands. After all, he had practically kidnapped an acquaintance for no apparent reason within the working of his twisted mind. He had saw her there, and now he had no choice but to flee, carrying the girl's dead weight in his arms.

The demon passed what he thought was the solitary Trevor, poring out his woes to a puddle. Well, that was something odd and slightly delightful to Daman, and it pulled newfound adrenaline into his aching arms. Something was irrational about this whole night. Maybe something is irrational about me…

By BroodingDarkness

Before the birth of man there were the angels. The purpose of the Angelic Host was to keep the balance and guide man through it’s evolution… but many did not agree. This stand became known as The Fall and those that apposed the Host were known as the Fallen.

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