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-   -   Destrillians: Aftermath Act I (https://thelifestream.net/oldforums/showthread.php?t=3476)

Baldy 12/16/2011 10:44 PM

STOLZ, MILEINA, FLUTWELLE; AVIDEZ' CHATEAU


Even as the Chateau erupted into a warzone and an assortment of Destrillians began to duel one another, Mileina simply stood there, peering down at Stolz with a look of utter discontent.

"You seem to spit in the faces of those you should be grateful to, and clearly the Vizcount, despite his wisdom, does not see fit to put you in your place. But I have no reservations of fulfilling such a duty," she said to the small girl, with such disgust in her voice it seemed the words alone could do harm. Mileina then turned towards Flutwelle who was still calmly standing by her side.

"Teach this one a lesson." The emotionless Destrillian flatly replied; "Clarification of command? This one is under the current assumption that such an action could incur consequences from higher in the chain of command."

Mileina simply gave her fringe a flick with her right hand. "I've no intention of killing the little one. However, even HE must understand that unruly behaviour, if gone unpunished, will only lead to further rebellion."

Her words seemed to have been acceptable to Flutwelle's robotic mind, as she simply nodded and turned her empty gaze towards the small Lyverius. "Roger. Commencing attack."

The words seemed to have caught Stolz by surprise, who was clearly not expecting this course of action. "RUNNING TIME!"

Don't you even! Stand up to these snooty bastards! Virtue protested.

"But...bu--" Before the blonde child could finish rebutting, the two Destrillians she was facing were suddenly knocked backwards off their feet by an unseen force, causing the glass in the windows and doors behind them to shatter.

"Stolz, get out of here," came a voice from behind the girl, only a meter or so away.

Lokka walked calmly past the young blonde and put himself between her and the two rather disoriented attackers.

At first sign of an attack, he'd fled the scene to put Terra somewhere she could wait things out. Now, with the girl hidden away safely - for now - Lokka rested his gaze on the green-haired traitor, and her accomplice. It had only been a few days since he had seen her last, but now there seemed to be something about her. She had a look in her eye that would make even the strongest of fighters a little worried. The girl was unstable, and her disregard for other life seemed to be travelling through every vein of her body. Lokka held the knowledge that he could beat her in a one on one fight, but with the other one there it might prove to be too much. He'd have to be very lucky to walk away from this without any permanent injuries--at the very least.

"Well no arguments from me here! Sorry but I'm not really experienced in using these powers in combat!" Stolz called out to Lokka as she charged off. Seconds later the pair who had been knocked off their feet had pulled themselves back up, and clearly Mileina was even more enraged than before. Without breaking her deathly stare towards the barrier-conjuring Destrillian, she spoke to her subordinate.

"Flutwelle. Go after the child. I shall deal with this one myself." The girl obeyed without question and darted off in the direction Stolz had retreated, leaving Mileina alone with her opponent.

"No ambush this time?" Lokka asked, his feet spacing out as he assumed a combat position. He raised his fists above his chest, ready to start fighting immediately; he wouldn't put it past Mileina to start attacking while he was talking.

"Unnecessary. As is this conversation," she coldly replied, and as expected, she snapped her hands together and forward, out of which emitted a bright ray of searingly hot light.

Lokka covered his eyes with one arm, feeling a sharp pain as they failed to adjust to such a change in light. It was a distraction, and an attack that was highly disabling to any combatant. Unfortunately for Mileina, Lokka was one of the most resistant Destrillians there was to this type of attack. Sight was expendable.
He lowered his left arm, keeping both eyes firmly shut as he darted forward with the speed of an arrow. He brought his right fist back and delivered a punch to Mileina's shoulder, staggering her but surprising her even more.

"Why you--" Mileina scoffed, indignant. She composed herself quickly and charged forward at Lokka, throwing kicks at him in a manner both swift and strangely, haphazardly graceful. Her speed surprised Lokka. He did what was in his ability to react to her body, blocking attacks here and there, but she managed to get a few good hits to his torso. As he recovered from a blow to the abdomen, he managed to catch Mileina's leg in a hold. She escaped from this, however, spinning in midair to deliver a high kick with her free leg. Lokka let go of the girl in order to block the attack with his right arm.

The pair seemed well matched. They were only relying on their hand-to-hand combat abilities which would put them at the same level. Mileina, though, had managed to impair Lokka's sight for the time being, giving her an advantage--despite it not quite being the advantage she was used to.

Lokka used the gap in between them to throw a few words in...not that he believed it would serve any real purpose, as far as information gathering went. As far as anything went.

"Why are you doing this, Mileina?"

The girl laughed at his question. "Because the ones running the show have desired it. That is all you need to know." She once again assumed her battle stance before charging to unleash her flurry of kicks and punches.

The battle was repeating itself. Mileina was launching wild attacks and Lokka was forced to remain on the defense in order to survive the onslaught. This method wouldn't get him anywhere and would only draw out a fight that neither of them could win. Lokka wasn't used to fighting offensively. Ever since he'd been out of Viola he had always had an ally or group of allies to defend. But in this moment, he didn't.

He let out a shockwave-like burst with his powers, pushing Mileina away from him for a few moments. Using his powers so aggressively was draining, but right now he didn't care. Mileina was his equal, so he'd have to pull out all the stops to beat her.
He'd almost forgotten what he was totally capable of.
With a sharp pull of the hand, he sent the light Destrillian hurtling towards him, slamming her forward from behind with an incredible force. With the same hand and with the same force he delivered an extreme blow to her chest, increasing the intensity of the punch with his power. Mileina flew backward, soaring through the air.

Having just had the wind knocked out of her, the level of psychotic rage was going critical in Mileina's brain.
And despite the blow to her chest, she was capable of taking her airborne situation to her advantage. Mileina threw her arms forward again to unleash another light ray; the power, amplified by her fury, emitted heat like the fires of the underworld. In a brief, ridiculous moment, Lokka found it looked like a small version of an IRIN particle beam.

Lokka drew comparisons between this powerful application of Mileina's ability with that of Deyn's. The young man turned away from the intensity of the light and shielded his back from the beam with his own power. Mileina was getting more and more rash as the battle drew on, and the pale Destrillian didn't know whether this was going to have positive or negative effects. Either way, she couldn't keep her pace up.

As the beam took its course, Lokka pushed it back, causing the distance between them to widen. As his barrier got closer and closer to Mileina, he finally up and threw it at her, causing it to collide against her with roughly the force of a truck. He hadn't dealt her any fatal wounds as of yet, but he had knocked at her stamina significantly. Mileina, however, didn't look like she was going to let up, and raised her hands again to unleash another beam.
Nothing happened.
She gagged for a second and coughed up a small glob of blood. At that moment, Lokka knew he'd won as her expression changed from searing anger to that of desperation, and her outstretched hands became fists clenched white-knuckled at her sides.

"Damn you...DAMN YOU!" she cursed at Lokka, taking a moment to glare at him. She knew she was pushing her limit, so with another snarl of disgust she turned heel and retreated, leaving the other Destrillian with his minor victory.

Lokka didn't chase after her. He wouldn't kill her and he knew he could never get away with taking her hostage. She was crippled for now, so that was all that mattered. He needed to get back to Terra and Stolz--
But wait. Just for a second. Just for a moment, he felt one of his comrades.
Their life sign was slipping. Either that, or they were in a pain great enough to resemble it. The young man wasn't adept enough at telepathy to tell who, but he knew he had to help. Getting his breath back from the fight, he began running off in the opposite direction, searching for the one that needed his help. Mileina would fall soon, but not now. She was definitely beyond saving by this point.

Lokka silently hoped that whoever he had felt was still alive. He was having a hard time locating the source as it had begun to fade a little while after Mileina took off, and who knew what that meant. He'd begun making his way across Avidez' sprawling garden in search of what he knew was a distressed friend; by this point he was running in the general direction he had originally felt it in, hoping to come by some other more solid means of evidence to support his chosen direction.

Ahead of him, he could see a forested area. Closer inspection provided no Destrillian but did tell Lokka that he was nearing the spot, as some of the trees were charred black, others fallen from their roots. His pace quickened, but his body did a good job of reminding his forgetful brain that he'd used up a lot of steam just moments before. He was running off of adrenaline right now, and until he could find his friend, he wouldn't be collapsing for a while. In the distance he could hear the sounds of battles taking place around him. The other Destrillians were all locked in combat, and a slight feeling told him that the other group may have arrived. There were more Destrillians here now than there had been at the beginning of this operation.

Lokka navigated through the various branches that clogged his path as he made his way into the forest. The place had definitely taken a beating, but by what, exactly, was unclear at this point. He hadn't seen any of the combatants run off this way. Stealing a glance at the moon, the green-eyed young man was reminded of the time; they ought to have been getting the hell out of there already, they'd already run into more trouble than they'd ever wanted. He'd almost forgotten that they had no option but to stay out of the limelight.

As Lokka climbed over a fallen tree, he saw it. A trail of fires, pyres and ashes carved out amongst the trees, in what even looked like a straight line. He'd had very little doubt that this was caused by one of his enemies, but any hint of uncertainty had been wiped away by this display of destruction. It was quiet now, though. Nothing in the air but the smell of burnt wood and the sound of cracking leaves underneath the boy's feet as he ran. He was getting closer, he knew it.

His body stopped suddenly, and not due to any exertion of willpower. It had gained a consciousness of its own--and that consciousness had been enveloped in pure shock. As he reached an opening amongst the woods, he found what he was looking for. A small girl lying crumpled up in the dirt, motionless and wrecked.

"Idris!" Lokka yelled, falling forward next to her body. Her skin was burned and loose. Blood covered the top half of her body and heat seemed to be rising off of her. Small cuts of her dress were strewn about next to her, and her customary wig was entirely absent from her, exposing her short blonde hair. The girl was barely clothed and barely breathing, but was showing life signs that didn't seem to be faltering.

Lokka examined the wounds that covered the girl from head to toe. She'd been beaten up badly. There were no signs of the one that had done this to her, and it seemed unlikely that the attacker had done anything but survived, with the state the Destrillian was in. What seemed like a lifetime passed as Lokka lay next to the girl, simultaneously listening to her breath and the sounds of fighting. It all seemed to cease around the same time, with the noises of destruction fading away and the constant reassurance of the girl's state suddenly changing. Lokka, briefly panicked, glanced back at her to make sure she hadn't slipped away, but instead he found her eyes flickering.

Idris, for her part, was beyond beyond sore. The body was a miraculous thing, and it was quick in healing itself-- but the feeling she got from the healing process itself was this horrific, itching sort of pain all over her insides that wouldn't go away. Nevertheless, pain meant she could feel something, and that meant she was alive.
She opened her eyes, winced, shut them again. The delicate skin of her eyelids had been scored deeply in the fight and she didn't want to aggravate them any further.
"This is the second time," she wheezed, "that I've passed out from a fight, and woken up with you hanging around. I really hope it's not... becoming a routine." There were lengthy pauses in her speech as she fought for steady breath.

Lokka smiled ever so slightly as the girl spoke. "As long as you keep waking up, I don't care."

"I have a tendency to do that. Help me up?"

"Here." Lokka extended his arm, pulling her gently to a sitting position. "Put this on," he said, handing her his slightly torn suit jacket. Idris obliged, taking it slowly with trembling hands. She sat for a moment, and then a look of something almost like contemplation came across her face before she promptly dove into a massive coughing fit. One, two, three, four, and on five she spat out something that looked a lot like it could have been her throat lining, once.
"Better," she gasped, then squinted her eyes open and gave the thing a purposefully disdainful look before tipping it out of her hand. "That was... more of my insides than I was ever happy to see."

"You've still got insides. That's enough for now." He glanced around the area, trying to get his bearings. Now that Idris was safe, his attention started shifting toward Terra, Stolz and everybody else. He turned back to the fleshy, charcoal mess of a girl. "We need to get back to the others. Hopefully most of them are okay."

Idris finally mustered up the strength to smile. "Sure. Let's just get walking, shall we?"
At least she had her humour, if nothing else.

"Come on." He stood up, bending down to very carefully pick her up without bothering any of her more serious wounds. As soon as she was all good, he started walking back the way he came. "Don't frighten me like that again."

"Because I have a choice." Then, after a beat of silence: "Oh, so you were frightened now, were you?"

"Of course I was, you looked like a corpse."

"What a thing to tell a lady."

"Hey, it could be worse," he remarked, indulging the humourous side of things if only for a little while.
"I could be asking you how you got so heavy."

Tennyo 12/25/2011 06:09 AM

The Flaming Hedge Maze of DOOM
(Emma vs Brennan)

The tall man stared down at the group of uninvited guests, his eyes hidden behind the glare of his glasses under the bright lights that now lit up every corner of the chateau's entrance.


"This has gone on far enough. Once again I find myself clearing up the mistakes of Viola, and so I shall do what that company failed to." He shot a gaze in the direction of the small, blonde Lyverius. The movement of his head revealed the glowing red eyes that had been concealed behind his glasses.


"You still defy us?"



Stolz placed one hand on her head. "Is Vana a narcissist?"


There was no sign of amusement in the Viscount's expression. "I'll take that as a yes; very well then." He motioned for his subordinates to come forward.


"Take whichever targets you wish. Of course just to uneven the odds..."
Avidez raised his right hand in the air and snapped his fingers; in a few seconds a horde of guards who were armored head to toe came pouring out of the chateau and began encircling the Destrillians and their companions.


"ELIMINATE THEM ALL!"
Avidez shouted.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Without having any time to think, Emma saw a rush of fire come hurtling toward where she was standing next to Lokka and Terra. She instinctively threw up her arms, bracing for the inevitable impact, but it did not come. Lowering them, Emma saw the flames dancing around them to all sides, arcing safely out of the way before finally snuffing out thanks to the barrier Lokka had thrown up around them.

Spurred on by the annoyance of not being able to reach his foes the enemy Destrillian did not relent in his attack, sending one blast of fire after another at them. Combined with the onslaught of energy attacks coming from the guards they found themselves pinned down in one spot.

However, as their comrades fought on in the fray the guards’ attention was being drawn off in other directions. Emma took this opportunity to concentrate hard on their attacker, looking for a pattern and waiting for any chance he might let his guard down.

Then there it was, Emma could sense a growing pain as the usual migraines a Destrillian suffered from exerting too much power began to set in. This was the time to strike.

“Lokka, if I draw off his attack can you keep Terra safe?” she asked, catching the white haired young man’s attention as she tied her hair up into a knot as well as tying the small pouch she carried to a bit of fabric at her waist on her dress.

Lokka nodded, still concentrating on keeping the shield up.

As she began ripping a slit into her skirt to allow for better movement, Emma heard Terra’s thoughts enter her head, telling her not to do it. The red head looked at the small girl, who was still clinging to Lokka to keep herself standing.

“It’ll be okay, Terra,”
she replied, “Just stay with Lokka.”

There was no more time for chatting, however, as the fires subsided and Emma could feel the fire Destrillian take a few seconds to try to shake off his growing headache. She lunged forward, hoping her opponent would be too taken aback to react quickly enough.

Unfortunately, Brennan was not the only one Emma had to worry about. She dove forward in a roll, dodging an energy blast from one of the guards. She sprang up to her feet, grabbing the rifle out of his hands and swinging it around to crack him hard on the skull. He stumbled a bit, but was unhurt due to the helmet he wore on his head.

In that instant, the fire Destrillian made his next move. Spinning around, Emma grabbed the bullet-proof armoring the guard wore over his uniform and thrust him away toward Brennan just in time to protect herself from a particularly nasty ball of flame.

The guard screamed as he was engulfed in fire, dropping to roll on the ground while screaming. Having left her senses unguarded, Emma wretched at the intense feeling of pain that radiated off of him. She collapsed to her knees, doubled over and gasping for air, trying desperately to close herself off.

Sensing someone moving a few feet away, she looked up in time to see her opponent lunging at her, a fiery fist ready to strike. She rolled out of the way as best as she could, nearly being missed. Emma tried to get up and run to put some distance between herself and the guard, but it was at that moment that the poor man died; the heat of the flames finally overtaking him completely. The feeling of the energy escaping his body washed over her with a great intensity she had never felt from just one person before. It caused her to stumble, and while she was barely able to catch herself and remain up and running, it slowed her down enough for Brennan to trip her up with sweeping kick to her feet.

The plant destrillian fell flat on her face in a most ungraceful fashion, grass stains rubbing off onto her skin. Not missing a beat, she twisted her body around quickly, sticking her foot up to catch the fire wielder in the stomach. He grunted as he was pushed away, falling backwards onto the ground.

Emma took this brief instant of triumph as an opportunity to get up and run. Going in the opposite direction of where she knew Terra and Lokka were, she pushed her legs to carry her as quickly away as possible. She didn’t need to look back to know that Brennan was hot on her trail. She probably didn’t need her powers, either; it was a pretty safe guess. The only problem was figuring out how to shake him just long enough to formulate a plan for a counter attack.

As the plant Destrillian began to ponder this, she literally almost stumbled over the answer. There before her she saw a long line of tall arbivitae trees, at the front of which stood a trellis covered in flowering vines. If she could make it through the small archway, she could, idealy, hide amongst the trees, ready to strike.

With a small glance backward, Emma stopped abruptly and pushed her body backward with her feet, launching into the air and spinning around to kick Brennan in the face. Her foot made contact with the side of his head and he was sent sprawling down onto his hands and knees. He quickly countered with a fiery attack which Emma easily dodged, turning instead toward the arborvitae trees once more.

If she could just get him near them, she could spring her trap and this fight could be over. Keyword being could.

Running under the trellis, Emma raced along the line of trees, Brennan closing in behind her. She feigned to the left, expecting another ball of fire to come hurtling her way. It did just as expected, and she dove off to the right to avoid it, bounding on her hands in a forward flip, the rocks of the path beneath them digging into her skin. It didn’t matter, though, for all she could think of was what she was about to do next.

As she landed, the plant Destrillian reached out to the trees to either side of where Brennan stood, pulling on imaginary strings with her hands and lurching the branches forward. The trees grew quickly, enveloping the unsuspecting young man in a tight embrace and lifting him up off the ground.

He pulled on the trees as hard as he could, but the branches wrapped around his wrists tight. Emma had caused them to grow thicker in order to be strong enough to hold him. Panting, Emma stood doubled over, her hands on her knees, staring up at him as he continued to struggle.

It seemed like an oddly appropriate time to say something to her opponent, now that she had him momentarily subdued.

“Oh would you just stop?”
she asked, throwing her hands in the air and making the trees wrap around him even tighter. Brennan lit one of his hands on fire but because of the angle at which the tree branch around his wrist held it he could not do much damage.

“I don’t even understand why we’re fighting. We’re both Destrillians, right? Shouldn’t we be on the same side? How can you work with the Lyverius?”

“Heh, my masters wish me to fight and so that is what I’ll do.”

With a loud cry Brennan yanked on one of his arms as hard as he could, bending the branch to allow himself better aim. Emma was momentarily distracted by the pain of the wood tearing his skin as he did so, but quickly regained her composure.

“Oh no you don’t!”
she said, latching onto the tree with her powers and trying to bring the man’s hand up again. However, she was a second too late as he quickly launched a fireball at her. The action of trying to move the trees slowed her some, and before she could leap completely out of the way the fireball caught it’s mark, brushing past her right arm, far enough away to not completely engulf her, yet close enough to burn severely.

Emma screamed, reflexively clutching her arm and stumbling over and falling to the ground. It was in this moment of distraction that Brennan made his move to free himself, yanking on his arms with all his might and sending out balls of fire in every direction. The intensity of the flames caused the trees to quickly begin to burn as they became weak and tore away, allowing the trapped Destrillian to gain freedom.

When Emma saw what was happening she pulled her left arm away from her right and began to claw at the dirt, trying to will the rest of her body to move. Every inch of her felt like it was going limp, and her joints felt floppy and refused to hold her weight. As the man before her got to his feet she finally found a small flicker of strength that was just enough to allow her to get up and run.

The lines of trees on either side of the path gave way to hedges neatly trimmed in a rectangular fashion. The path turned left, revealing a three-way split. Left already seemed to be working for her so far, so Emma kept up that train of thought and turned once again.

Blinded by a now growing fear, she kept running as fast as she could, turning this way and that as the path went on, bypassing any openings that would lead her in other directions. The fire Destrillian could be heard yelling a short ways back as he set fire to everything around him in anger.

Plants, plants, I’m surrounded by plants,
Emma thought to herself. But plants are no good when they are on fire! She turned a corner and found herself at a dead-end. The abruptness of it caught her off guard. Why did the path just end? After a moment the answer came to her.

“I’m in a maze.”

There was no time to think things over as she could feel her pursuer gaining on her, using his powers to spread the flames throughout the maze as he went. She’d have to figure a way out or be trapped and burned alive. Turning to face her barricade, she concentrated on the life energy of the hedge and willed it to spread its branches apart, creating a hole for her to step through. Once on the other side she closed it up again and took off running, not wanting to find out whether or not her pursuer would be foiled by her trick.

It didn’t take long for her to run into another dead end, and once again she made herself a shortcut by creating her own door. She felt like she was on the verge of going into panic, fueled by the stench of her own burned flesh and the ever lingering energy signature of other the Destrillian somewhere behind her within the maze.

Emma could no longer feel the pain in her arm; no doubt due to her nerves being damaged from the fire. She could, however, feel a dull concentration of her own body’s energy beginning for stir in that spot. It was a sensation she had sensed before in others when someone was wounded and their body began the healing process. The red head found herself feeling secretly glad that it was too dark to see the details of her injuries. She could only imagine what her arm must look like now.

“Oh Squeak, what have I gotten myself into?” she asked while stepping through another make-shift doorway before closing it up again. The mouse had crawled out of her bag and up the front of her dress as she had been going along, nuzzling against her cheek when he reached her shoulder.

The rodent felt very warm against her skin, and it was then that Emma realized just how cold she felt, as well as just how slow she was moving. Her entire body was beginning to feel weak all over, and her skin had become moist and clammy.

The path opened up to a small courtyard within the maze. Contained within were a few small trees, some elaborately carved stone benches, and a decorative fountain that depicted three dancing women in old-fashioned traditional Audoulain garb, water pouring out of pitchers that each carried in their hands. Emma made to approach one of the benches, completely missing the seat and falling to the ground, her upper body draped over it like a rag.

It was then that the young woman got her first real glimpse of the damage that had been done to her arm, thanks to a tall decorative lamp standing a few feet away that served to light the courtyard. She violently threw herself back from the bench in her sudden grip of fear, covering her mouth with her left hand as she gave a muffled cry and almost vomited from the sight that met her eyes.

Black, chard skin, surrounding more skin that was white, dead, and pealing away from her body to expose bleeding flesh underneath. Her dress had also gotten chard in a few places, sticking to the damaged skin underneath at her side. Tears began to stream down her face as she fought back sobs. Losing control now would mean her death, and she knew that. But it didn’t make the sight any easier to take.

Her body began to shiver as she sat sobbing on the ground, drenched in a cold sweat. Thinking back to some basic first-aid training she received while still in Viola, she realized now that her body was going into shock from the injuries she had sustained.

No Emma, get up. You can’t let yourself go down like this! The ever-present voice of courage said inside her mind.

Grabbing the bench with her non-injured arm, the plant Destrillian pulled herself up to her feet.

“I gotta…gotta fight back. How can I do this?” she asked aloud, secretly wishing there would be someone there to give her a clear answer. The fires were getting closer as Brennan burned his way through the maze, and Emma turned to watch as the flames danced high above the hedges into the sky. Even though she was now a somewhat safe distance away, she could still feel the heat reaching her where she stood.

No, she didn’t have time to be afraid. Emma thought about Terra, who was hopefully out of danger’s way by now, and how hard she had fought to protect and take care of the girl over the years. What would Terra think of her now, if she had seen Emma like this? What would the rest of her allies think?

Emma reached up with her good arm and grabbed Squeak off her shoulder. “I should have left you at Telran’s apartment. I’m going to get you out of here and put you somewhere safe, and then I’m going after this guy.”

The rodent gave a reassuring squeak before Emma gave him a kiss on the head and placed him back into the pouch tied to her waist.

She then took off to the other side of the courtyard, disappearing down one of the paths just in time to avoid detection by her enemy. She ran as fast as she could with a renewed vigor, however her body was still weak and she found herself stumbling a few times. Her dress was in tatters and wisps of hair were falling out of the bun she had tied it up in to but it really made to difference to her. This had become a game of survival.

Emma made no effort to follow the path for too long. Once she gave herself a general idea of where the fire Destrillian was she created another opening and stepped through, again making sure to close it up to cover her tracks. She did this over and over, taking the most direct route away from the flames as she could, wondering exactly when the maze would end.

Eventually Emma stepped through one more self-made hole and found herself on a path that for once was not surrounded by hedges. Before her stood more arborvitae trees- no doubt they surrounded the perimeter of the entire maze- and beyond them, the lake. She could still hear the sounds of battle off in all directions, and the dull feeling of energy radiating through the air that she could easily recognize as being the result of Destrillians in battle.

Reaching into her pouch, Emma pulled out Squeak and placed him into one of the trees outlining the maze. “Stay here until it is safe. Try to find the others if you can. If the flames come this way run away.”

She turned to walk away, but stopped as she heard her small friend squeak at her. Facing him again, she almost began to cry. “I’m sorry, I never should have brought you with me on the run in the first place. Find Terra if you can and stay with her.”

Summoning up the resolve to walk away, Emma spun around and made her way down the outside of the maze toward the lake glittering in the moonlight off in the distance. When she came to a corner that turned away from it she followed. Once she felt she had put a safe distance between herself and Squeak, she made her move.

Reaching into the branches of one of the trees she grabbed onto the trunk. Using her powers she made a few of the branches down below grow longer and thicker so as to support her weight. Then concentrating all her thought into it, she caused the tree to grow higher, lifting herself off the ground.

Emma immediately regretted the decision to do this. She had been left far too weakened and felt herself teeter on one of the branches and almost fall off. But she righted herself and peered out over the hedge maze.

A good three-fourths of it was now on fire, including the courtyard where she had stopped to rest not long before. She didn’t need to use her senses to be able to pinpoint where the fire Destrillian was, as she could see his silhouette against the fire as he continued to direct where it spread. She didn’t think he had yet noticed her up above in the tree, and she would use that to her advantage. Reaching out with her one good arm, she again grabbed onto what felt in her mind like imaginary strings and began to pull.

The hedges around the young man grew tall. They then folded over into the path where he stood and attempted to pin him down. He dodged, rolling away from them back into the flames. Emma had been counting on this, and when she reached out again, she could still feel the tiniest flicker of life in the burning hedges. They, too, toppled over on top of him, and Emma heard a cry from within that suggested he had felt the sting of his own element.

This did not deter him, however, as a sudden rush of fire shot fourth, disintegrating all in the young man’s way as he made his escape. He stopped, and Emma could feel his eyes fall upon her right before he lashed out with more fireballs.

Emma leaped from her perch, only to stumble onto her burned side when she hit the ground. She cried out, partly in pain, partly in frustration. At full health she could have made that jump no problem. But now she would have to hobble away the best she could.

She made a straight line for the lake, and a standing of trees she saw near the water’s edge. If only she could get to some water, perhaps she could put this guy’s flames out.

Despite how fast she attempted to run, however, in her weakened state the fire Destrillian was much faster. Even with the dull irritation of the migraine that threatened to take him over he was still in far better shape than Emma was. She would need to get him to expend all of his energy in just a few attacks if she was going to drain him enough to take him down.

As she ran, though, she started to have her doubts that it would even be possible. She knew he wasn’t stupid, and he wouldn’t expend himself beyond what he could handle unless he really had to.

I really didn’t think this through, did I?
She asked herself.

Maybe not, but you have to survive!

Emma was almost to the trees running along the shore of the lake, where hopefully she could find a way to combat her opponent, but she wouldn’t make it there.

A hand engulfed in flame reached out and grabbed her by the arm that had already been burned. What little bits hadn’t been completely burnt to the point of not being able to feel anymore certainly were being rendered useless now as Emma screamed from the pain. She quickly spun around with her left arm, her fist colliding with the man’s face and sending him backward a few steps. She then leaped up and brought a round-house kick to the side of his head, sending them both sprawling to the ground.

Out of breath and groaning with pain, Emma pulled herself to her feet, facing the other Destrillian and preparing to fight. He came at her quickly, and even with her ability to sense body movements she was not quick enough to react. Brennen made to punch her in the face, and while she managed to block that she could not avoid a knee to the stomach.

He wasn’t even using his fire abilities anymore. He knew that just straight up hand-to-hand combat would probably be enough to finish her off now. All she had done was given him a chance to win their fight without even exerting himself. He’d be able to save his strength to go off and fight the others before the migraines took him over.

You have to survive, Emma!

She was on her knees, and a hard slap with the back of his hand sent her sideways unto the ground. Now he was just toying with her. She could see his smirk in the moonlight.

Regardless, Emma slowly pushed herself to her feet, only to be slapped in the face again. This time she managed to stay standing, however this only served to bring the man’s onslaught on even quicker. He punched her in the face once, then with the other hand, and then brought a kick around that took out her legs and sent her stumbling sideways.

They were near a small grouping of bushes surrounded by rocks. She grabbed one as she was down and threw it at the other Destrillian’s head, momentarily dazing him. She jumped up and ran at him, punching with her good arm and kicking him in the knees. When he tried to get up she dropped low and swipe her leg underneath him, sending him backwards.

Acting fast, she reached out to the bush with her powers and made it grow, attempting to once again pin him down. He immediately tried his previous tactic from before and made to burn the bush as well, but Emma was ready and had grabbed a larger rock. She lunged at him, ready to strike him in the head and end this as quickly as possible when he broke free and sent a fireball straight at her. As the flames made contact, the girl’s momentum sent the rock flying where it hit its mark square on the forehead. Being already on the ground, his head shot back and smacked into the ground, causing the man to momentarily black out.

Emma, however, did not see whether or not the rock had hit him, nor did she notice when he blacked out, as the attack had almost engulfed her entire body from the bust down, setting her dress on fire.

In all her life, Emma had never been in this much pain before. All free thought left her as she fell to the ground and rolled around, kicking and screaming and wanting nothing more than for everything to just come to an end.

Then there was that voice she often heard inside her, once seeming to be a part of her, coming from her own mind, but now sounding distant, almost separate.

“But this can’t be the end!” It said

Everything around her was suddenly cold and wet, and instead of air she was swallowing huge gulps of water. She got up on her hands and knees, sputtering and coughing, fighting to get air. Every inch of her body stung with a great intensity. Just moving was enough to make her want to cry out.

When she looked up, the plant Destrillian was surprised to find that she was in the lake. She knew she had been near the shore, but close enough to roll into it while her dress was on fire? She didn’t understand, but she didn’t want to question it, only thinking about how she learned years ago that one should never submerge a sever burn. But her dress had been on fire, and if she was doomed anyway what did it even matter?

It occurred to her then that there was a familiar presence not too far away from where she was. Somewhere along the lake shore one of her friends was partaking in a battle of their own.

“Thetis?” she asked, not really thinking that anyone would actually hear her. “When did you get here?”

Before Emma could pinpoint just where or how far away along the lake shore Thetis was, a hand came down and grabbed her by the hair, roughly pulling her up and out of the water. She was unable to gain her footing as the hand proceeded to throw her backward, a second hand adding to the momentum as it slapped her across the face, causing her to land on her bottom near the shore. Another hand darted out of nowhere in her blurred vision and pressed against her face, pushing her backward until her entire head was submerged in the water.

Intense hate and anger radiating off of her opponent was all she could feel as she fought for her life, her arms flailing as her fists tried to collide with something, anything. One of them found her attacker’s face, but given her angle and the fact that she was under water she didn’t seem to be doing any damage. In any case, her arm was pinned to prevent her fist from continuing to collide with his face as Emma began to realize she was running out of air.

Emma almost felt as if she were outside her own body watching as the fire wielder tried to drown her. In that moment she felt no fear, nor did she feel any panic. If anything, she almost felt bemused at the sense of irony at being drowned by someone who controlled fire. She would have laughed if she were still in control of her own body.

She felt her knees lift up to her chest allowing her to kick the other Destrillian with her feet, pushing the man off of her so she could lift her head out of the water and breathe. It was all a very surreal feeling, seeing everything in a first person perspective and still feeling as if she was watching from off to the side, as if it all were a movie.

As her body began to stand up, Emma heard that voice again, the one that was always there in the back of her mind, always present, yet always still a part of her, now coming out of her mouth as if it were someone else speaking entirely.

“You are going to survive.”

Wait a minute, did I say that? Am I speaking to him?

Emma felt her left arm reach out, as if she once again were pulling on invisible strings, this time coming from Brennan himself instead of a plant as he stood up in the water to face her.

He wasn’t up for very long before his knees buckled. He yelled in surprise, not understanding what was happening. Emma could feel very a sense of confusion and disbelief radiating from him as he looked up at her completely perplexed.

“What? You…you’re one of them?” he managed to ask, before beginning to choke as the part of her mind that was now in control of his body caused his airways to constrict.

What’s going on? What does he mean? How is this happening?

“Like I said, you’re going to survive, Emma.”


Who are you?

She then saw red eyes, clear enough as if she were looking at herself face to face. Red eyes like the ones that Stolz showed her. Like the ones that all Lyverius possessed.

Before anything else could be said, however, Emma was brought back to her senses and back in control of her body as a great surge of power emanated from somewhere up the shoreline of the lake from where she was. A large column of water spouted up into the sky as the red head felt a familiar presence within it.

“Oh, so that’s were you were, Thetis,” she said before once against losing control of herself.

She didn’t remember anything that happened after that. All Emma knew was that she had somehow come to be lying on the ground near the shore of the lake, the familiar tickle of tiny feet on her face, of soft fur brushing her skin, and whiskers from an anxiously sniffing nose, awaking her.

Her body was no longer in any pain from her burns. The only feeling of discomfort that remained was an intense migraine from exhausting too much of her powers.

“You came back for me,” she whispered, before passing out once more.

Alessa Gillespie 01/06/2012 11:33 PM

The last she saw of Emma, she was running off to fight. Lokka helped hide her amid the chaos, she could only feel the embarrassment and fear of being the only one left behind, yet again. She was sick of feeling like a burden the others only bore with because they were forced to. The bushes started to blaze brightly as she watched from a distance, keeping wary for any danger she’d need to hide herself from. Not that this had proven very necessary, as the chaos from the fighting proved more than capable of keeping people from noticing her.

Terra could feel her friends around her, fighting, giving their absolute all. The green-haired woman focused on Emma’s energy, feeling the comforting strength it gave her. She was going to be alright, Terra knew she had to be, because she knew they had the strength to keep fighting. All of them did, except for her. It made her sick to her stomach, knowing that everyone else was out there, and she was here, the same useless little girl that she’d always been, even when she had her powers. Everyone else had changed on their journey, but she remained the same useless child that she knew she had always been.

Her stomach jumped when she felt someone through her mental static having fallen. It was purely instinctual at that point: she scrambled out of the makeshift hovel she'd been hiding in, forgetting entirely how defenseless she was. She was too late when she realized she needed to hide again: someone had already spotted her.

"You....you low, worthless little scant. If I can't remove any of the others the least I can do is erase your repulsive existance!" Mileina snarled at the other Destrillian with murderous rage in her eyes.

=====

The Destrillians' desperate flight from Limnades was marked mostly with terror, as they took deep gulps of air, gasping for the breath that the Lyverius had seemingly stolen from them. Truly, the doctor had become reacquainted with a feeling he had not experienced in many years: fear.

The group, upon their arrival, splintered off and went their separate ways, shards of shrapnel flying apart as they each undertook their separate missions. Thetis and Fiona went off to meet their fate, while Nova sought out Jettison to aid her. Telran's eyes lit upon the chateau itself; flames had begun to spread, threatening to consume it whole from within. This is not good, he thought, heading towards the main entrance at a run, slipping past a pair of screaming women who were running in the other direction. Lyverius on our tail, and another inside...we need to get the hell out of here. His face creased with worry. Did they even find Terra?

=====

Terra didn't have time to defend herself before she attacked. It didn't take much to knock her to the ground, unsteady as she was. Her head cracked against the pavement (it didn't break, luckily, it just made her very dizzy and left her feeling ill). She smashed her fist against the ground, bringing up some dirt but nothing near enough to distract Mileina in any form if she'd wanted to. The psychotic girl now stood over Terra, and wasted no time in landing a swift kick to the fallen Destrillian's gut.

"So pathetic." Mileina scoffed as she kicked Terra again. "You rebel against those you should be grateful to," she added, continuing to batter her enemy with her foot. "And even when you're forgotten about you come and interfere with their affairs." After which she stopped her attack and leant over to calmly place her hands around the earth Destrillian's throat.

"Therefore I shall set things right by my masters with your death." She whispered to Terra, then began squeezing her neck.

Terra squirmed under her grip, her hands instinctively grabbing Mileina's wrist, pushing it away from her. It didn't do much help, considering her already weak arm's uselessness. some1 help plz

Mileina wouldn't let up, her grip getting tighter. The look on her face was that of insane ecstacy; it was all too apparent that this girl had a sick obsession with causing harm to fellow Destrillians. Terra gasped for air, making a sick, wheezing noise. Black spots were clouding the earth destrillian's vision, and her body started to feel only distantly connected to the rest of her.

=====
Telran sped off in the direction of the loudest and most recognizable sounds within the chaos of the chateau: gunfire. Everybody, we've got two Lyverius on our tail - we need to get the hell OUT of here! Did you find Terra?!
=====

"Just die now, just die now, just die n-" When it seemed like at was all about to end, Mileina suddenly stopped. She let Terra's throat go, staring blankly into her eyes for a moment before casually standing up.

=====

eyem... Her words and output faltered from the beating, but she forced herself to continue, out

Terra! Where are you?!

mil foun mii eyem by emma. left hidin spot shud nawt Mileina's shoe cracked against her head, hurting her worse than before. Her vision was spotty and something was dripping from her nose, which she could only barely feel at this point.

I'll be right there!
=====

"I sense him."

The electric Destrillian now found a pair of uniformed (and heavily armed) guards heading in his direction. Under other circumstances, he would likely have let them live; wanton slaughter was cruel and unnecessary. But leaving them alive would mean two more people to hinder their escape...and their prospects there were already looking rather grim. Without slowing down a bit, he spread his arms wide to catch both of the guards with a clothesline, breaking their necks on impact. Time running short, he hurried on without pause, until he suddenly found himself in what, had the situation been different, would have been a garden of exquisite beauty.

But now it was a warzone.

All around him there was fighting - guards and Destrillians, both friend and foe. Most notable was the hedge maze, ablaze from collateral damage, Emma and Brennan doing battle within. The smell of charred plantlife filled the air, choking him wth its cloying stench, smoke clouding the outskirts of the maze. And, nearby, Telran espied a small hovel of debris, a tiny figure lying prone nearby. And towering over it...

"MILEINA!" he roared, charging toward her at full speed, electricity arcing wildly from his hands in his fury.

Never again.

"Too predictable!" Mileina shouted as she leaped back to distance herself from her attacker, gracefully landing a few feet away.

The girl stood tall, with a scene of blazing fire providing her background, and smirked at her new adversary. "Telran, Telran, Telran....Tant va la cruche à l'eau qu'à la fin elle se casse. I spared your life once before and you repay me by allying yourself with my enemy. I shall not let you walk away twice."

"Let me? Let me? For what you've done, you'll receive no mercy." Telran's voice was even, but filled with a cold, almost palpable fury. "Make peace with whatever gods you pray to, Mileina, because no one can help you now."

"Hmpth, let's see how long that confidence lasts." Mileina tauntingly replied, reaching under the right side of her skirt and withdrawing a gun-like device that had been strapped to her thigh. She then placed the end of it against her neck and pulled the trigger, at which she closed her eyes as the rush of the chemical worked it's charm, relieving all the stress on her brain from the previous fight. The smirk on her face now grew to an overconfident grin, then her eyes suddenly flicked open and the attack begun.

Telran barely had time to raise an eyebrow at her strange actions before a beam of intensely hot light came speeding toward him. He rolled to dodge and found Mileina bearing down on him as his feet touched the ground. He smiled inwardly; it seemed she'd forgotten that close quarters combat was where he was most at home.

He had time only to block her opening kick before a quick quartet of punches followed them up; Telran waved off the first two and blocked the third, but he'd forgotten her speed and the fourth struck home, a solid blow to the stomach that knocked the wind from him. She lashed out with another kick and it sent him crashing to the ground.

Her wild grin was short-lived, however, as he rose again to face her, a small smile spreading across his face. Ah, the thrill of battle... In the blink of an eye he flicked one of his knives at her from within the shipping uniform he still wore, dashing in behind it. The knife was easily evaded, and Mileina had been expecting him to close the gap, but when she began to dodge the incoming blow, she realized, too late, that the right hook was a feint, as he reached out and struck her in the chest with his open left palm mid-dodge. The brief contact allowed him to send a small jolt to the pain receptors in her nerves; Telran was not cruel, but if anyone deserved to be in pain here, it was definitely the emerald-haired woman opposite him. She skidded back a short distance, then lashed out with a kick of her own to control the distance as she jumped back, hands coming together to fire another beam of superhot light at her foe.

Telran dodged, remaining on his feet this time so as not to give her another opening, and the two combatants began to circle, Mileina clutching her chest, breathing heavily. Mileina had reach, but Telran hadn't just come from a fight with another Destrillian. The injection she'd taken was cause for some concern - probably Distrum - but the hits she'd taken from the fight with Lokka were starting to slow Mileina down. He didn't know where her injuries had come from, but he knew she couldn't last as long as he could, and so did she. All he had to do was outlast her, and he'd won. Unfortunately, she could still hit pretty hard.

And she knew it.

The advantage of speed belonged to the doctor, however, and he knew that to effect a speedy end, he would have to press it. He went on the attack, forcing Mileina to focus on defense, rather than offense, and when he saw his opening, he took it: Mileina's counterattacking kick left her open, and he latched on to her calf, giving her enough of a jolt that she crumpled to the ground on recovery, her balance thrown off.

As Telran rushed in to finish things, Mileina lashed outwith one last, desperate burst of power; Telran's fervor meant that there was no backing down, and instead took a partial hit, which left an angry burn on the side of the doctor's tattooed neck. He grit his teeth against the pain and closed in, hand around Mileina's throat, lifting her into the air.

The fight was over.

Mileina stuggled in vain to break Telran's grip, gasping for breath. His face a stony mask, the electric Destrillian spared her only a few last words - the last words she would ever hear. "End of the line, Mileina."

And then something struck him, sending him flying, crashing to the ground near Terra.

The Viscount Maruca Avidez had returned from his previous battle and clearly not in a good mood. He clamly walked over to the wounded Mileina, and crouched down to check her. After a moment, his attention directed towards the two beings lying on the floor nearby. "You know Destrillians....perhaps I could have been persuaded to overlook you defiling both the sacntity of my chateau and my corporate headquarters; however, daring to harm my dear Mileina is an act that cannot go unpunished," he said to them as he pushed his glasses up along his nose, the once charming tone of his voice now cold and bitter.

Just managing to get back on his feet, the electric Destrillian made his way to Terra. Gotta get her outta here! Telran was determined to get her to the others; her captors would not lay a hand on her again. He helped her up, and the two had managed to get a few feet when a sharp jolt of energy impacted their bodies. The Viscount was enraged, not holding his power back in the slightest. His oustretched his left hand and relentlessy unleashed a concentrated flow of electromagnetic lightning onto the pair of lowly lifeforms.

For a moment however, his concentration broke as Mileina, trying to stand herself up, instread found herself coughing up a small pool of blood. Avidez knew he had to get her medical attention or she was going to die so would have to cut things short, thus he threw one last massive jolt of energy to finish the two Destrillians.

All Telran could manage to do, as he lost all control of his body, was shove Terra away, hoping to shield her from the brunt of Avidez' power. Every muscle, bone, and synapse screamed out, as did Telran himself, writhing on the ground in pain from the Lyverius' attack. While their two powers were related, Telran's body had never experienced strength of that magnitude, and now it was shutting down. His blood was now freely flowing from his mouth, and his burn had erupted, as well; the blood pooled around him, a deep, angry red, soaking into the earth. He managed one last thought - Terra...please be...all right...

Then darkness took him, and he knew no more.

The Lyverius saw the Destrillians fall, and without even a second thought, picked up Mileina and took off in a hurry to seek help for his companion.

=====

Her fingers sparked with electricity, after she woke up. She remembered when that scary guy had shocked her, and every nerve in her body had been set on fire. Even when Terra opened her eyes, the signal seemed to skip across her nerves, like they'd been overloaded. After her moments of blindness, she let out a low, shaky breath, swallowing. Her throat felt like some piece of jerky jammed down her windpipe.

And she reached out her hands to push herself up.

And she did.

She pulled herself to her (steady?) feet, and took in her breath even more slowly than before. The Destrillian picked her glasses up from the ground, placing them back on the bridge of her nose. Telran wasn't far from her, she saw, though he didn't seem to be as recovered as she was. The green-haired woman bent down and shook his shoulder, but he didn't respond. "You okhay?" She said, without realizing it, voice cracked and dry.

When it finally struck her that she just fucking talked oh holy fuck how did that happen she couldn't talk when did that happen holy shit holy shit holy shit. But she realized this wasn't the time to start celebrating, she had to do her best to help. If that meant carrying one of her friends out of here cause he couldn't walk, she was sure she could do it.

Her right arm hadn't seem much use in a long while, though to be honest, neither had her right leg. She stopped caring about how much they ached from disuse, she only knew she had to be strong for once. She was going to get them out of there, one way or another. Terra slipped her bad arm under Telran's neck, and her good one under his knees. Her good one would be capable of carrying his weight, she assumed. The earth destrillian attempted to pick him up, but the first try, he slipped from her grip.

She tightening the muscles in her legs. She readjusted herself, holding onto him with all the strength she had in her arms. Over and over, the earth Destrillian told herself she could get them away from there. She got to her knees, Telran bound in her arms, as she lifted him from her knees to her feet, and she was up, they were both up, and they were moving.

"We are gohnna leave 'ere." Her green eyes shone in determination as she dragged his unconscious form from the battlefield.

Tennyo 01/13/2012 06:59 AM

Emma - On the Shore of the Lake

Emma wasn’t sure how much time had passed when she awoke on the shore of the lake, nor did she really know much of all what had been going on since her near-drowning. All she knew was that her head was still pounding something fierce, which struck her as a very odd thing. She hadn’t felt much in the way of pain in her head before she passed out, and she usually seemed to be able to go longer than most of the others before the migraines were too much.

Must be my injuries, she thought to herself. Yes, that had to be it. She had been hurt pretty badly. It would be surprising for her to not be in pain all over.

That’s when it occurred to her: everything else that should be hurting wasn’t. The moon was higher in the sky now, and there were no tall hedges or trees blocking its light from reaching her. Combined with the light emanating from the still-burning hedge maze, she could see her immediate area fairly clearly. Emma sat up, the mouse on her shoulder adjusting himself to keep from falling off. Upon the inspection of her arm the nature Destrillian wasn’t sure whether she should be relieved or horrified: all of her burns were gone.

Indeed, when she stood up to look herself over, she could feel no pain anywhere. There was no more burnt flesh for the tattered, charred remains of her dress to stick to.

“I don’t understand. What happened?”
she asked allowed, not knowing if she really even wanted an answer had there actually been someone around to give her one.

A sudden flash of images in her mind sent her sinking to her knees, groaning as the world spun around her. Red eyes appeared before her as she sat in darkness with her eyes closed. Someone was looking at her, but when she opened her eyes and looked up she was alone, still sitting by the shore of the lake.

The Destrillian she had been fighting was nowhere to be seen, and Emma could not feel their life energy nearby. Either they were dead and at the bottom of the lake, or they had somehow been able to run away. A tiny part of her wished for the latter, for the idea that she had killed him in the manner in which her memories were suggesting seemed to be the most horrifying of the choices that lay out before her.

The young woman clutched her head, shaking as if she could will the truth into nothing.

“No, it’s just like my dream. But it can’t be true. I don’t have the ability! I can't possibly be a...”

Just then a shout from farther away along the beach pulled her out of her thoughts. Looking up, she reached out with her senses and could feel the presence of some of her comrades not too far away. Including…Fiona?

Another fire Destillian. Emma almost laughed. She also felt a sense of relief at knowing that her comrade was well again, despite the two of them having never really been big fans of each other. But in the end they were all in it together regardless of personal feelings, and with that Emma forced herself to stand and make her way along the beach in the direction of where she figured the rest of the group may be gathering.

“Let’s go see if everyone is okay,”
Emma said. Squeak made a small noise in reply.

Joe 01/16/2012 11:45 PM

The crimson-haired Destrillian had watched with interest as his old acquaintance battled with Mileina; the battle had gone better than he could have imagined. It seemed like Lokka's skill with his powers had increased since their days in Viola. Castiel was interested in how it had come to be that Lokka had ended up with ANY Destrillian-- he had always assumed Lokka was a loner from his time in Viola. Or maybe that was down to the fact he had repeatedly tried to kill the white-haired Destrillian.

As he watched his old acquaintance struggle with the weight of the female in his arms, Castiel felt a tremor of loathing run through his body.
"Why? Why did they all get to live out their lives while I was left to sleep? WHY?!" Castiel pondered this to himself as he watched Lokka struggle to stand, let alone carry the unconscious girl.

Lokka was nearing him now, albeit slowly. The girl looked in bad shape, and even Lokka was looking as if he would collapse at any second. Stepping out from the darkness that concealed him, Castiel dusted the remains of the mansion off of his suit jacket and moved towards Lokka, barring his way ahead.

"Never pegged you for the knight in shining armour type, Lokka." Castiel spoke in a tone devoid of any emotion.

The beaten young man looked up to see a familiar face. It was of no surprise to Lokka that Castiel was here; he had told Telran to ring him just the night before. Still, during such troubling times it wasn't a welcome sight to the Destrillian of defense.

"Stay out of my way Cass," the man said, focusing back on his knees to keep them from buckling. Idris weighed an absolute tonne - which wouldn't have been a problem if Lokka weren't wrecked himself - and the fact that she'd now slipped into a partial sleep meant that she was effectively as close to dead weight as any one living individual could be.

"Tch-- or what, you planning on bleeding on me? Hand the girl over so we can talk. I want answers and you're going to give them to me," Castiel replied, his face still stoic. "First, you're going to tell me who the fuck these other Destrillians are, and then you're going to tell me exactly what the fuck happened in the last ten years!" Anger tainted Castiel's voice as he remembered waking up in the basement of the club.

"Careful there, boy. I may be exhausted but I could still kill you - I suggest you shut up if you want anything at all," Lokka replied, a lot more calm than his peer, though there was still a varying degree of emotions to be found behind the voice. He raised Idris slightly in his arms. "The other ones, including this one here, are from another facility. There were two, Castiel." Lokka allowed for a few moments to let it sink in, as such information had come as quite a shock to him at first.

The information hit Castiel like a slap in the face. "Two facilities! How could they have had another facility? That bitch did nothing but talk about becoming the best out of everyone in their base. There were others all along?"

"Two facilities... You mean we got put through all those procedures and battles for the sake of what? Being number two guinea pigs!" Castiel's hands tightened into fists, his grip so hard he felt his finger nails bite into the palms of his hands. Trying to calm himself he took deep breaths; he didn't want to lose control here, not now, when he had finally found others.

"O-okay. Two facilities. What else have I missed?" Castiel's voice was calmer, although his hands still trembled and spots of blood from the little crescent marks in his palms fell to the ground.

Lokka kept walking. The red-haired Destrillian was following the whole time alongside him but his pace was obviously slowed to matched the crippling stagger of movement from the carrier of comrades. How had Idris even got all the way out here, anyway?

"It's a long story. I'm sure you'll be caught up."

There was silence for a few moments, a brief reprieve from the dangers of their lifestyle. All fighting had stopped by this point, leaving only the relatively unscathed to pick up the pieces.

"So Castiel." Lokka glanced at him for the first time. "Where have you been?"

Castiel continued to walk in silence for several seconds; his eyes were stuck on the girl Lokka carried. She was from the other facility, and thus a Destrillian, but she was a stranger all the same. Lokka was obviously struggling with her weight but his question ran through Castiel's head on repeat.

"I-I don't know. I woke up only a little while ago in the basement of a club." Castiel remembered his initial awakening, the goons who had surrounded him and then the bloodstained walls as one by one he ended their miserable lives. "I don't remember a thing between then and the incident with Garcia in the rec room when she tried to kill Tao. I know something happened but I just... I just don't remember." Castiel sighed. The anger in him had all but dissipated, but it was replaced by a dull ache he could only attribute to loathing of the time he had lost.

"Drop the girl Lokka, your breathing has become more and more laboured the more we've walked. I'm not here to attack you, nor do I harbour any intent to hurt your friend. I just want to know what happened to me, and to find Tao and Kram." Castiel looked Lokka in the eyes to show him how serious he really was.

Extending his hands he stood in front of the Destrillian of defense in a show of friendship.

Lokka gently pushed Castiel's hands to one side with his elbows, carrying on with his walk.

"I don't trust you Castiel. I never did. Even if I wanted to, even if I had good reason to, there is all of this." The young man gazed around the area of Avidez' prized location. "We are in this mess because of Destrillians, rogue Destrillians, from our own facility." He looked down at Idris again: burnt, scathed, cut all over. "Some us might not have got out of this with our lives, so while I have I'm going to do what I can. You just try not lose your temper."

"You haven't changed a bit have you? You're still a stubborn bastard." Castiel flashed a grin at Lokka this time. "Fine, fall over unconscious while carrying that girl. Just don't think I'm dragging both your asses up there."
A few more minutes passed by. Everything was getting a little nearer as the distance between the forest and the château closed.

"Castiel?"

"Yeah?"

"I know where you can find Kram." Lokka recounted the events of roughly a week ago now, after escaping Osea. The boy had gone wandering back off to the city they'd just escaped, like an excitable child searching a scrapyard for precious junk.

Castiel listened intently to everything Lokka told him: Kram, it seemed, had changed a lot from the kid he knew back before he was placed in stasis. One thing troubled him throughout Lokka's story. "Why isn't Kram protecting Tao?" Castiel asked, his voice again dead as if he knew what the answer was going to be.

"The two got split up. Don't know why," Lokka said. "He is looking for her though. Find Kram and I'm sure you'll find Tao soon after."

"One thing I need to know. How the hell did everyone escape that place? Last time I checked, those who even hinted at resisting were put down...quick."

"We didn't have to," Lokka replied calmly, any vigor left in his voice slowly passing with the night. "The whole place fell through. Viola just got up and left." The young adult thought back to his first moments of freedom, and how they didn't really taste as sweet as one might imagine. "Who knows how long it took us to wake up after that."

"So what you're saying is that Viola just gave up on all their little pets? That doesn't sound quite right... What about those who I'm guessing remained loyal?" Castiel cast a look back towards the battlefield, laughing slightly as he looked upon the carnage both Lokka and the unconscious girl had left across the land. "I slept a long time Lokka, no-one was in a rush to wake me up and sign me up for a war... Something just doesn't seem right about any of this."

"You think any of this right, Castiel?" Lokka felt his nerves tensing after what he'd just heard. "You think that the problem is hiding behind some screen of smoke?" His anger began to boil - as much as his body would let it - as he thought about all of the chaos that had taken place in the last few weeks, all of the fighting, and all of the betrayal. "We're being attacked by our own kin, the only people we should be able to call allies. What does that tell you?!"

"It tells you," came a small but sharp voice from somewhere around Lokka's chest, "that you oughtn't cause more bad blood with all this shouting. Shame, Lokka." Idris cracked her damaged eyelids open, resurfacing from her short respite. She noted the itching pain was slightly less, now. Thank heavens for the small things.

Lokka was slightly startled to see Idris awake so soon, though he didn't show it. His blood cooled down after that and wouldn't be raised again for a while.

"Hmm, so sleeping beauty finally wakes up, huh? Here I was starting to think Lokka just liked going around picking up unconscious women on battlefields." Castiel stared at the small bundle Lokka held so close. "And what might your name be?"

Lokka gave the man a quick glare before returning his gaze to the uncomfortably slushy mud underneath his feet. "With an attitude like that, I'm not giving you so much as the time of day," Idris snapped back. She was in short temper. Granted, though, she was rather justified, considering her circumstance. Lokka's smile was unseen but all the more real. "If you'd been struck by lightning, you wouldn't be feeling quite so hot yourself."

Castiel burst out laughing at the quick response from the tiny girl. "My apologies, I'm just not quite accustomed to seeing Lokka interact with anyone in a way that doesn't involve a barrier cutting off the air around them.
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" Castiel turned his gaze forward and slowed his pace. "So I'm assuming you're one of the other facility's Destrillians, hmm? I'm Castiel, just in case you were curious."

The apology softened the bruised and beaten girl a little. She threw a glance askance at Lokka, intrigued at the... peculiar, way this 'Castiel' seemed to speak about him. Perhaps Lokka's sense of teamwork was considerably recent. "I'm Idris," she replied, shifting her gaze back to the new Destrillian striding with such fresh strength, compared to her carrier. "My basement was different from yours, yes." Tiny smile.

"Cass has been in cryo for ten years," Lokka replied to the unspoken question. "He's not quite as...up to date, as the rest of us."

"Heh, that's one way of putting it. Regardless, it's nice to meet you Idris; it's a pleasure to meet another Destrillian who isn't hell-bent on killing me." Castiel flashed a smile, reminiscing about his past and the only other female Destrillian who had been kind to him.

The green-eyed Destrillian didn't reply to that comment. Lokka had no intention of killing Castiel - not yet anyway - though given such a circumstance he was determined to be the one that fired first. Castiel would fly off the handle if he hadn't already been separated from them long ago.

"Likewise. I think." Idris allowed for a grin small enough that it didn't strain her aching muscles. "I'd ask if the feeling was mutual, but I assume--" The blonde gave way to a small coughing fit and took a moment to regain her breath before finishing. "...I assume if you'd wanted to get rid of the little that's left of me, you'd've done it by now. I'm not exactly impenetrable at the moment." Truth be told, she was feeling a little better than before: medium-rare instead of charcoal.

"If he wanted to do it, he'd wait until I wasn't around," Lokka muttered without breaking stride. Although he was being purposefully aggressive toward Castiel, he hadn't yet decided whether he was actually a threat. It had been ten years and, even if the boy had spent that time asleep, people change drastically as they grow older. Still, his stance toward the crimson-haired runt was enough to give Idris a wary impression of him. That would be enough until Lokka could find out more.

"Don't flatter yourself Lokka, a lot can change in ten years. Don't forget I know how much strain it takes to hold off against my powers-- and right now I could fart against you and knock you over." Castiel's face hardened at the comment from the weird-eyed Destrillian. "That said I don't lurk in the shadows when I fight. I like looking the person I'm going to kill straight in the eyes before I do it." Castiel knew he was pushing Lokka's buttons, but he didn't care if the other Destrillian trusted him one hundred percent yet. There would be time enough to prove he wasn't out to kill him anymore.

"Do you smell that?" Idris asked the two young men, looking around the scene. When neither showed any signs of understanding, she added confidingly: "It's the smell of testosterone."

Lokka ignored the 'joke,' too fed-up with the current situation to allow people to make light of his actions. Castiel, on the other hand, laughed out loud once again, the tension he felt previously almost immediately dispersed with one little comment. "I like this girl, Lokka."

"'This girl' is right here, and you know her name now," Idris said, with a bit of her usual lightness finally returning. She made the mistake of turning her head a fraction to face Castiel and paid dearly for it as a lance of pain went through her skull all the way down her right side. Clearly, moving was a bad idea, then.

As for Lokka, the well-dressed, limping man had reached his limit. If it wasn't already enough that they'd been attacked by a group of their own kind - twice - there was also this. Another potential threat had walked along and, although a lot less direct at this point, it wasn't in any way worth dismissing or giving the very human 'benefit of the doubt'. Taking charge this one time, for the sake of everyone there and their respective limits, Lokka addressed the pair. "Idris. Rest." His voice was quiet and calmer, moreso than usual. The fact that it was an uncommon tone only added to the fact that it still sounded stern. "We have so few chances to regain our strength with the way things are, and it's not worth your mortality, trying to save your pride. Use this opportunity." He didn't expect a response.

"And you." He turned his head, looking Castiel in the eyes for the first real time in over a decade. "Shut up. I'm the one that let you come here in the first place. Don't do anything stupid and you'll have no reason to earn anybody's trust." He returned his gaze forward once more, this time with no intention of facing elsewhere until they arrived at the others. "You may have grown older, Castiel, but you need to mature. Properly. Don't waste this chance right here."

Both Castiel and Idris thought, to themselves, that Lokka was acting pretty rich talking about saving pride. But they kept this, for once, to themselves. Idris did nothing but give the green-eyed man a look that clearly said "we are having words later" before closing her own weary grey ones to try and enjoy what little time she had to rest, and to heal.

Castiel bit his lip to hold his anger in; as much as he wanted to punch the defense Destrillian in the face he knew he had to play nice to find out more about Tao and Kram. For now he would play nice but he would remember this moment and Lokka would have his payback. "Fine, we will do things your way Lokka...for now."

And then, for a long while, there was silence.

Sheva Alomar 01/21/2012 11:27 AM

Fiona, Nova, Jettison, Kerr, Emma, Terra and Telran - Lakeside, Avidez' Mansion

A haunting hymn whispered through Fiona's ears as she came to; she groaned, slowly opening her eyes. For a moment she forgot where she was, the evening dew of the ground beneath her giving her an almost immediate reminder. Her vision was a little blurry as she stumbled to her feet. A large boulder sat next to the fire Destrillian, conveniently giving her a surface to lean on as she nearly fell when standing fully upright.

No sooner than as she put her weight on it, it moved, almost throwing her off balance again. A moment of confusion was punctuated by a rough chuckle. "Hey babe. You takin' a time out, huh? Wouldn't wanna give these fuckers out here a powerplay for too long, but man, you look like shit." Nova turned away to face the direction of the noise, of the carnage in the distance, cracking a wide grin as if he had paid Fiona the biggest compliment.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, jackass!" Fiona exclaimed as she rubbed her eyes. "If I look like shit, then don't start coming at me, you freak."

Nova guffawed, seemingly oblivious to her seething. "Then again, you probably look a damn good sight better than that other chick you hang around with. Oooh, man was that a show! Highlight reel stuff, baby. Dunno if she got out of the wet, though. Can't see shit." He fell silent as a quiet mumbling noise caught his attention. He chuckled as he looked down at the body cradled in his arms. "Well, at least this girl ain't dead. Goan' be real sore about all this though." He flicked away a loose strand of hair from Jettison's eyes as she tried to shift position in his arms. She looked like nothing more than a child, mauled and bloody from some vicious animal attack.

"Talking about Thetis?" Fiona's voice was surprisingly soft as she uttered the blunette's name. It took her another moment to process the rest of what the dark shapeshifter had said. Her features tensed. "Where'd she go?"

A glaring void was all that Fiona felt at the base of her head as she came to the realisation that Thetis was gone. All of her senses sobered up and shot to high alert, stretching to their limits to get a fix on where the water Destrillian was. Was she dead? She had to be-- but Thetis wouldn't die so easily. Did their fight carry them even further away? How could she have covered so much distance? Fiona’s mind became congested with all manner of thoughts. The redhead felt dizzy. She gripped her stomach as a heavy wave of nausea washed over her.

The fire Destrillian violently shoved past her company, focusing solely on feeling out for Thetis. Her first few steps were slow, as if each enforced a sense of denial that the water Destrillian was truly gone. Fiona paused several feet away from the others. Her breathing grew heavier. Orange eyes darted in every direction and blood began to boil.

"THETISSSS!" The redhead broke out into a full-on sprint towards the lake. The calm, impressive expanse of water betrayed a typhoon of emotions. She skirted the shoreline of the whole waterfront, looking, feeling, listening for anything like Thetis. The fire user ran about halfway around the lake to see a very wet and still carcass poking out of the water. Without thinking, the fiery redhead dashed toward it, falling to her knees and skidding to a stop. She hastily pulled the body out of the drink a bit more and brought the face into view. The sick feeling in her gut churned and became unbearable. The body she was hovering over was Flutwelle's. "SON OF A BITCH!" Fiona shoved the corpse away and rose to her feet. She stared at the water and wished she had any sort of power to fizzle it all away. Instead, the fire prototype tore off her vest, took a deep breath and dove into the lake.

Frantically did she paddle the depths of the drink, covering as much space as she could before she ran out of strength and oxygen. Nothing. No sign of her. Fiona shouted incoherently, hushed by the large mass of water around her. She clumsily broke the surface, splashing and spluttering as she swam to the shore. Pebbles crunched under the redhead’s boots as she stumbled onto the bank. With a cry of frustration, Fiona punched the ground. In seconds, the fire Destrillian had leapt to her feet and shot straight back into her search.

As Fiona was frantically searching for her blue haired counterpart, Emma was slowly making her way around the edge of the lake. The nature Destrillian's head still throbbed, and her vision kept blurring in and out of focus, but each time it threatened to overtake her she would stop and try her best to shake it off.

"No, I gotta find the others. I need to make sure everyone is still okay."

She continued on in the direction in which she thought the others might be based on what her senses were telling her. Hopefully everyone would be there.

As Fiona rounded a small patch of lesser bodies of water adjoining the lake, she saw a figure slowly treading beside the shoreline. In her panicked search, the redhead had focused all of her energy on finding Thetis and no one else. So in her state, the fire Destrillian quickly knew it wasn't her water counterpart that was headed toward her and tensed up. The person coming toward her seemed to stop for a moment and then slightly picked up their pace. Fiona reasoned the only option now was to rush whoever it was and ask questions later. At full speed, the fire prototype ran toward the stranger and lashed out. Just as she came within reaching distance, Fiona used one hand to grab the person's leg and the other to press against their breastbone as she tripped them up and brought them both to the ground.

"Fiona! What are you doing? It's me!" a familiar voice cried out.

The Destrillian of flame released the flattest sound of disgust she could muster as she recognised Emma's voice. Not only was it Emma there on the ground, but her pesky little rodent was also there, resting on the nature Destrillian's shoulder. You gotta be fucking kidding me. "WHY are you out here and what the FUCK were YOU doing out here? If you don't give me a straight answer, Chubbs, I swear I won't make life pleasant for you," Fiona shouted right into Emma's face as she pressed on her sternum.

"I was busy almost getting killed. Don't you see that fire over there?"

"The only fire I give a shit about is the one I'm gonna put you in in a second if you don't tell me where Thetis is!"

"The last time I saw Thetis she was by the lake. Do you mean she's gone missing?"

"Obviously, dumbass! Now, you're gonna help me if you know what's good for you or your little rodent pal may be next to go missing!" Fiona had shoved a finger in Emma's face, going so far as to flick the nature Destrillian's head further into the muck to get her point across.

Emma swatted Fiona's hand out of the way before glowering up at her. "You don't have to threaten me! I care about Thetis, too. Of course I'll look for her. But I also need to check on Terra."

The fire Destrillian had already returned to her feet and was stomping away, effectively disregarding anything else her fellow Destrillian had to say. Fiona left the pair in the mud as she stormed into the surrounding forest, half-tripping on overgrown roots and shrubbery. She nearly ran into a tree or two, more concerned with scanning the area than paying attention to where exactly she was going. The redhead passed the slowly-forming group of comrades without a second look. The fire prototype blazed back up the incline that she, Thetis and the now very dead Flutwelle had fallen down from the mansion. She didn't get too far before her heart stopped cold. Hanging from a stray branch was Thetis' plaid shirt. Slowly, Fiona approached the article of clothing as if it would disappear if she made any sudden movements. Her fingers gently grazed the fabric before she plucked the shirt from the wiry branches. She brought it close to her face and studied the rips and blood stains. It smelt completely of Thetis. A quick glance to the others showed that they were squabbling amongst themselves. In this small, precious moment of isolation, Fiona wrapped her arms around the shirt. In the back of her mind she hoped her counterpart was alive. It was unlikely. With that thought, all of the anger, fury and frustration of before bubbled in the pit of her stomach.

Meanwhile, Emma slowly picked herself up from the mud, cursing under her breath at the, for lack of a better word, cold reception she had just received.

"Well that was completely unnecessary," she said, staring off in the direction the other young woman had gone. There would be no point in trying to follow her when she was like this. Emma turned once more toward the direction where she felt the majority of the group may be and headed off again. Perhaps they would know where Thetis went, and if not, they would need to be told she was missing. But more than that, and Emma did feel a tad bit guilty for the shift from one missing friend to another; she needed to find Terra and make sure she was all right.

It didn't take her long at all to find where her friends were all beginning to gather, though her estimates as to how large the group would be had been a little overzealous. Nova and Jettison, along with Stolz, now. Fiona was still storming around, but she still counted, Emma supposed.

"Hey! I am so glad that you guys are safe," said Emma, bent with her hands on her knees as she smiled through the dizziness she felt.

"Have you guys seen Terra or Thetis anywhere?"

Thetis was long gone, but as if a signal from above, at that very same moment a certain Destrillian heard her name spoken. Terra saw Emma ahead, and her only thought was to keep going until she got to everyone, ignoring how much her arm and leg was hurting. She made it to the group, positively beaming in delight with seeing everyone looking generally in one piece. "Hi ehvehrywon. I brohght Telrahn."

For a moment, there was nothing but the wind in the trees (or what was left of them) as the group stared in shocked silence. Then--

"TERRA!" Emma launched herself at her friend, the first to break from the grip of sudden change. She's alive! She's safe! The redhead wrapped her arms tight around Terra and held her there, shaking with relief. "You're okay! You can-- you just..." She pulled back and stared, wide-eyed, her hands on Terra's shoulders. "You can SPEAK!"

"Yeah," was pretty much all she could say to that. "I goht schocked and then I was ohkay."

"You sound all garbly and stuff!" came Stolz' enthusiastic - if slightly unsavoury - reponse. It was to be taken as a good thing, Terra thought.

"Yo, the doc' ain't lookin' too good," bellowed Nova, the sympathy in his voice not really shining through his large-in-charge demeanor. Jettison, still cradled in his arms, managed a look over at the unconscious Destrillian and grunted her agreement. Telran hung loosely in a rather similar position, though not quite as lively.

"He goht schocked too, I think, maybee," Terra said, not terribly sure of what happened during the fight near the end.

Emma pulled Terra back into a hug, though slightly less manic this time, and at the same time quietly felt about for Telran's lifeforce. It ebbed and flowed a bit more weakly than she would have liked to feel, but it was in no true danger of flickering out or fading away. "I'm pretty sure he'll be all right," she said, feeling a light flush steal across her face as she said it. Looking at Telran, no one on the face of the planet would assume "he'll be all right" to be the words of choice.

"Where are Eyedriss and Lohkka? Are they ohkay?" Terra inquired, still trying to settle back into her jaw muscles. As glad as she was to see Emma, she remembered what she had told Idris, that she wasn't alone. If someone else knew where she was, they could at least make sure they were okay.

"Nobody fucking CARES ABOUT THEM. Where's THETIS!?" Fiona bellowed from further down the small path. In the commotion caused by Terra and Telran's return, the group had seemed to forget about the group's other notable absence.

"She's been taken."

Kerr's voice sliced through the small group, ending any further celebratory gestures, or medical concerns, or anything. The three words replaced the worrying pit of fear they had all felt for one of their comrades with a new, fresh kind about another. The Destrillian of gravity had emerged from the woodlands to join the group, still soggy from his trip into the lake and dressed in the bloody remnants of his dress shirt and suit pants. His voice was strangely quiet.

"Taken?" asked Stolz before anyone else could. "Popsicle girl? But by who?"

"The other Destrillians." Kerr was forced to raise his monotone to shout over the sudden barrage of questions and cursewords from the group.

"And how do you know all this?" Emma's voice rose above the others.

Kerr shrugged his shoulders, as if how he came to know this information wasn't important.

The flame Destrillian stomped menacingly back over to the group, back slightly slumped, teeth bared and nose flared. A red tint encompassed her vision as she gripped Thetis' shirt firmly in one hand. None of her comrades acknowledged her until she burst through their tight-knit huddle.

"God-fucking-damn you all!"

"Would you give us a moment to think here, Fiona?" Emma asked pointedly, quickly becoming irritated with the fire-weilder's seemingly single-track mind. She had a few choice snide remarks floating around in her brain that she only kept to herself due to the fact that she was also worried about Thetis.

"Where the fuck is she?!"

"She ain't here, girl. She's gone," Nova spoke up, crossing his colossal arms gravely over his chest.

"THEN FUCKING GET HER BACK!" the fire prototype bellowed, chest heaving in anger. She grit her teeth and watched as the group exchanged uncomfortable looks. After a moment's awkward silence, Jettison finally broke her silence, her voice weak and raspy but still clear enough to form her sentence.

"'Destrillians'? As in, plural?"

"Yes," Kerr replied bluntly.

"We know there are other Destrillians from the same facility Lokka and Telran come from," Emma said, frowning in concentration, "but what would they be gaining from taking another one of their kind? Mileina was working for Avidez-- who are these guys working for?"

The brief silence before Kerr's answer came was utterly deafening.

"Jason Spencer."

So much was rushing through the fire Destrillian's head that the name 'Jason Spencer' didn't ring a bell at first. "Who the fu-- No. You ARE NOT telling me that that FUCKING ASSWIPE TOOK THETIS FROM ME! How THE FUCK did he manage THAT?!" She paced around the group, ready to strike at anyone that hinted at conspiring with the loathesome man responsible for so many crimes against their kind.

“Are you sure you didn't have anything to do with this, Kerr?” Emma asked knowingly, crossing her arms as she shot Kerr a look of contempt. “You did try to kill her in Osea—”

“What?” It took Fiona a moment to process the information. Her eyes went wide and wild, zeroing in on the short Destrillian. "Is that true, you soulless piece of shit?"

"Yes," Kerr said with a scowl.

With all of the strength she presently had, the redhead stomped up to the gravity Destrillian, pulled him off his feet and slammed him against the boulder immediately behind him. "What the fuck is wrong with you? Why? WHY DID YOU HAVE TO FUCK EVERYTHING UP?!" Fiona's orange eyes glowed with fury, staring into Kerr's empty orbs.

Kerr had no answer. None that he could easily express in words. It had seemed like years ago since he had launched that attack on Thetis in the ratty Osean motel.

The silence was unbearable. So much so, that the lack of a reply triggered the flame Destrillian to brutally connect her forehead with Kerr's nose. "Answer me or I swear on my own miserable life that I will give you so much more hell than that next time!"

The blow had hurt, that much was immediately apparent. The Destrillian of gravity had been tired when he had rejoined the group, but the force of the headbutt had nearly knocked him from his feet. Kerr was momentarily grateful for the rocky edifice behind him stopping him from stumbling backwards into the lake. He felt the fresh, wet blood spill from his nose.

"What do you want me to say?" The words felt awkward coming out of Kerr's mouth.

"There's nothing for you to fucking say. What you're gonna do is FIX. THIS." With her last two words, she shoved the dark-eyed Destrillian into the large rock twice more and let him drop to the ground. She waited for Kerr to rise back to his feet before dealing him a swift uppercut which threw him back to the ground. Fiona knelt down beside Kerr. "Do whatever the hell it was that you did to track Thetis in the first place. GIVE HER BACK TO ME!"

Kerr's vision had disintegrated completely. His world was a confused sea of wavy black lines and a sickening milky red haze. It had been easy to forget over the past few days just what kind of raw physical power Fiona commanded. That last hit had caught him right in the temple and though he could tell that nothing was cracked, it took the Destrillian of gravity what seemed like an eternity to piece his thought process back together into something resembling coherency.

Very slowly, Kerr got to his feet again, barely aware of the complete and total silence that had fallen over the large group as they watched the two Destrillians.

"You'd be smart to come up with something, or I will rip those goddamn marbles you call eyes out of their GODDAMN SOCKETS!"

He rubbed the tender spot on the back of his head where it had connected repeatedly with the large rock, only opening his eyes once more to check his hand for blood. The Destrillian grimaced at the small red stain that sat neatly in the palm of his hand. With a look of disdain fired in the direction of Fiona, Kerr began to speak again.

"I have come up with something," he spat back at her as he wiped away the thick rivulet of blood that had poured from his nose.

Everyone was listening. All eyes were on him.

"I have a plan."

Alex 01/21/2012 05:53 PM

10 Years Ago
MALCOLM ABADDON
VIOLA – FACILITY 1 – DR ABADDON’S OFFICE


“-hopelessly inept at teamwork, shows little aptitude for using his abilities for any protracted length of time, all of the work we had to do to keep him alive during the muscle atrophy and he’s yet to even show that he can use any beyond the absolute basics! We were clearly wrong about his suitability for this project,”

Dr. Andrew Lennox was frustrated. This much was obvious to Malcolm Abaddon, who had sat behind his desk and endured what was supposed to have been a monthly report but was in fact closer to an hour long rant drenched in personal bias and unprofessional tone of voice. His heavily-lidded brown eyes studied the man before him (by this stage his ears had long since started tuning out what he was saying).

Dr. Andrew Lennox was the personal doctor for the eleventh Destrillian housed here at Facility 1, Kerr Nordstrom. That was a frustrating task in and of itself this much Abaddon had already become aware of. But Andrew Lennox was frustrated for many other reasons in his life too. In his mid-fifties now, the only hair left on his head was the grey bristles of his thick beard and eyebrows, the rest of it having long ago abandoned ship. His cheeks seemed to permanently flushed a ruddy shade of red and his watery grey eyes were frequently speckled red with a spider’s web of pink blood vessels. Signs indicative of half a dozen extra glasses of whiskey before bed for what Abaddon could assume were a good many years beforehand. He was a short man with broad shoulders and a substantial gut which gave him the image of someone who might have at one stage of their life been quite brawny but who had long since gone to seed.

These details weren’t important on their own. But they were essential to Abaddon for understanding why this man was wasting both of their times with this report. Andrew Lennox was clearly frustrated with a lot of things in his life and it was poor scientific form to take those frustrations out on your own work.

“-complete failure to interact with any of his comrades, whatsoever,”

Was he still talking?

“Lennox, shut up,” Abaddon finally snapped, rubbing his eyes with the cuff of his white lab coat. He had suddenly become aware that he had absolutely no idea what time it was.

Immediately, the older scientist stopped talking. Having to take orders from someone at least twenty years his junior was probably a factor in all this latent frustration too, come to think of it.

“Don’t you think I already know everything you’ve just told me? It’s part of my job to process daily reports on every one of our Destrillians from both facilities. You made your thoughts on Number Eleven’s progress quite clear in those,” Lennox opened his mouth to begin speaking again, but Abaddon’s sour voice had already steamrollered on.

“You have already brought to my attention in those reports that his issue with stamina, his inability to work in a team and your fears that his lack of development will leave him outstripped in terms of ability by the other prototypes. Repeating these concepts over and over again to my face cannot be the reason you’re here,”

“They aren’t.” Lennox growled back, defiantly.

“Good. Tell me what the problem is or piss off and leave me to get on with some real work,”

Lennox scowled at the thin, straw-haired man lounging behind the untidy desk who spoke to him with such impertinence. Abaddon had always remained something of a conradiction to him, one who simultaneously highlighted the most and least professional aspects of their profession.

“I’m beginning to think that it’s time that we wrote off this Number Eleven as just another failure,” Lennox admitted through a taut grimace. “I think that his body is beginning to reject his element.”

Lennox was right in his estimation that this would catch Abaddon’s full attention, as the senior doctor did not respond with any retort or criticism. Instead, he sat up alert in his chair, eyebrows raised into the mess of sandy hair in surprise.

Lennox had been counting on the promise of any breakthrough in this uncharted area to grab Abaddon’s ear for good reason. It was a bold statement to make and would definitely be the first documented case among those that had survived the Destrillians process. But the idea that a subject’s body could reject the element that had developed within it was not an undocumented hypothesis. After all, it stood to reason that just as a subject’s personality and attributes would be dramatically influenced by the element that they had control over, then a failure of the power to effectively bond with the individual subject would result in a stunted or failed experiment. The exact mechanics of how this would come about remained the subject of lively debate and research but with no concrete findings.

“Go on,” Abaddon urged.

“I’m listening.”

“What we see from Number Eleven is completely at odds with what we understand about the law of gravity. His powers are erratic, his stamina is woeful and he is prideful beyond his abilities,” Lennox carried on. The volume of his voice (as well as the redness in his cheeks) was rising dangerously.

“None of those characteristics are in keeping with what we understand about the nature of gravity,”

Abaddon’s eyes seemed to drift out of focus for a moment as he considered the argument. His rapid-fire mind going over everything that he had ever been told and everything he had ever seen for himself about Subject Eleven as he looked over every fact through the lens of this new information.

“It’s a novel idea,” Abaddon conceded, as his light brown eyes focused once again on Lennox’s face, which was even now contorting in fury at the premise of his argument being called ‘novel’. “But I don’t think it’s quite right,”

“You don’t think-“

“Let me finish!” Abaddon snapped back, cutting off Lennox’s bellow of indignation before it could even get up to speed. “I don’t think you’re giving him enough credit. I’ve seen everything you’ve based your argument on, but come to a different conclusion,”

“You’ve-“

“Shut. Up.” The interruptions were beginning to get annoying. Abaddon pinched the bridge of his nose. There was a headache building up just behind his right eye that had a 90% chance of being sleep deprivation related, though the constant presence of this belligerent idiot was not helping matters.

“Look, Lennox, what defines gravity?”

“It’s consistency, obviously! Gravity is a universal principle, but Number Eleven’s performances in training are anything but consistent!” Lennox continued to bluster.

“That’s because you aren’t paying attention to the right results,” groaned Abaddon. “Look, I have to go over every report that gets sent to me about every one of the prototypes. You’re worried about Number Eleven behaving erratically? Name me a single doctor who doesn’t have to deal with that constant concern.”

Lennox finally didn’t have a response to this. There was no arguing with Abaddon and the superior quality of information he had to draw from here.

“You’re reading into all the wrong things. Number Eleven’s affinity for the element of gravity can’t be found in any of your training room analysis or even in your psych logs. Much like gravity, Number Eleven is more subtle. Consistency in his loyalty to the company and loyalty to himself, these are where your idea falls down. Number Eleven has never doubted us, or himself. His other performances will eventually stabilise, just like all the other prototypes because of that. Just watch.”

====================

The Present
KERR NORDSTROM
THE LAKESIDE, AVIDEZ’ CHATAEU, AUDOULA


From her small clearing on the forest floor, Ariel could still see the burnt haze of smoke smeared grey against the perfectly clear night sky. The fire might have long since burnt itself out, but it was likely that the smoke would continue to billow upwards for hours. The sight of it was slightly upsetting, a dark polluting presence poisoning what would have otherwise been a picturesque landscape.

She sat cross-legged on a large flat rock in the centre of the clearing, staring out towards the two moons that dominated the starry heavens. The colossal face of the near moon visible even through the dense cloud of dirty smoke, ominously hanging in the sky and silently judging the events that at transpired in the Audoulan valley.

It would not be long before IRIN or an Artolian military task force showed up here at the Sponsors’ request to investigate the actions of Kerr’s group of Destrillians and renegades. Time was short and Ariel knew that Lorelei would be getting impatient with her waiting around, with her and her team already having collected Thetis and preparing to move out. The thought of Lorelei getting worked up about this was far from a major concern though, that girl had no idea how to take things easy.

Kerr would arrive back here long before any military presence showed its face, the Destrillian of sound was sure of it. It would not have been an unfair estimation that she understood her fellow Destrillian better than any soul alive, more so than any of the doctors from Viola who studied his endless psychology reports. It was one thing to study the way he interacted from afar, but it was completely different to actually talk to him and get to know him, to have a genuine interest in understanding the way that his mind worked for reasons beyond that of just objective study. And she certainly knew him better than any of the current group that he was travelling with, or anyone that he might have encountered in the years that had transpired since the Viola Corporation fell. That was for sure.

Ariel sighed and jumped from her rocky perch. Landing with catlike grace on her pair of worn, denim blue trainers. She could feel the concentration of Destrillians amassing a few hundred metres down the lake’s shoreline. But so many of them were concentrated so close together that it was impossible to discern what any of them were thinking, or even an exact number of how many there were.

Not that Ariel would pry. The Destrillian of Sound was in good confidence that she could predict exactly how they were going to react and what exactly would be going on over there. The group were worried, confused and exhausted from battle, but they were still Destrillians. She knew how they would react.

The sound of the undergrowth being crushed underfoot caused her to whip her head around in a whirl of black and white hair. She had been so preoccupied with thinking about the others that she had completely missed Kerr’s shaky psychic signature. It was obvious that the Destrillian of Gravity was not in a good way. His dress shirt and pants were liberally splashed with blood and shredded by bullets and broken glass. His narrow face was also bruised and one eye was slightly swollen. If anything he looked to be in an even worse state than when she had seen him half an hour previously. A frown of concern graced her delicate features as her fellow Destrillian stumbled into the clearing, a look of indignation burned onto his face.

“I knew you’d be back,” she attempted to joke, though her voice betrayed her concern at Kerr’s bloodied and battered state.

Kerr said nothing, merely glaring at her and continuing to stagger into the clearing.

“They didn’t take your decision to leave well then?” No reply. Ariel sighed. Kerr definitely hadn’t changed that much. Sometimes it was less as though Kerr chose not to waste his words and more like Kerr chose not to use the formality of words at all.

“What changed your mind?” she asked in a softer voice, the question was rather more personal after all.

Kerr sighed and came to a rest at the large rock in the clearing’s centre, holding out an arm to the rocky edifice in order to steady himself and breaking his stare to blink rapidly several times. It was hard to tell with Kerr’s jet black eyes, though she suspected that if they looked normal then they would look bloodshot and out of focus. The large wound at the back of Kerr’s head had not escaped her notice.
"So what now?" he asked, choosing not to look at her. Business as usual. Kerr didn't seem to care an inkling for the fact that he had just left the other Destrillians. Ariel breathed a private sigh of relief at the fact that her old friend had remained as easy to read as ever.

"You don't want to talk about leaving them behind?" Ariel pressed, just to make doubly sure.

The look of disgust that Kerr threw her in response was enough for her and she gave him a small grin.

"Now we meet up with Lorelei and the rest of the team that were sent here. There's a medic there who can patch up your head too. Come on!" she kept her voice cheery as she stalked off through the shrubbery, away from the lake. There was no need to look back, she knew that Kerr was following.

"Is Lorelei a Destrillian?"

"Yeah, she is. One of the Facility 2 lot. I know you're familiar with a few of those guys already,"

Kerr grunted in response. Maybe she shouldn't have confirmed for him that they had been keeping an eye on his group in this much detail. Then again, it was Kerr, he probably had already worked that out by now.

"How's your head?" she said again, as the rocky ground beneath their feet began to slope upwards and the trees surrounding them began to increase in density.
"How far until we reach your men?" Kerr responded. Completely ignoring Ariel's questions.

"Not far now, Kerr," she didn't take offence. This was just how Kerr was. Though she did feel slightly guilty about rushing him off his feet and out of the relative comfort of the clearing so quickly, especially when he was in such a bad state. The two continued on in silence for a matter of minutes, Ariel navigating the rocky hillside with deft ease and Kerr labouring several paces behind her in stubborn silence.

"Where are we going?" he spoke up at last, curiosity having gotten the better of him.

"Spencer has a compound in Audoula. We'll be driving there," Ariel responded chirpily. "Almost there," she called back to him, almost cutting herself off in mid-sentence as she climbed over the rocky lip of the hillside. Bringing a dark river of tarmac into view that cut a flat, black ribbon across the scenic hillside.

"Sorry I'm so late!" Ariel called cheerfully to the girl with long, wild blue hair that sat looking disapprovingly at the two Destrillians from the roof of one of the two black military vehicles parked here. They were high up enough now to see the smouldering ruin of the chateau.

"Lorelei, this is Kerr, Kerr, Lorelei," Ariel got the introductions over with quickly. No doubt the two would have more than enough time to get acquianted on the upcoming long, silent and thoroughly uncomfortable car drive that was to come.

Lorelei said nothing, but continued to look unimpressed at Kerr's bedraggled form.
"The team have the prisoner in the van," she nodded to the larger of the two military vehicles. It was big enough to house a hospital gurney and half a dozen human occupants. "We'll be riding in this one," without another word or glance at the pair, she stalked into the driver's seat.

"She'll warm to you, I'm sure," Ariel said cheerfully. In spite of the events of tonight, she found herself in quite good spirits and opened the back door of the car for Kerr to clamber in. The look of disinterest on his face made it plain that having Lorelei warm to his presence was one of the last things on his mind. She let a small laugh escape her lips in spite of herself.

"What's so funny?" Kerr grunted from the backseat of the car.

"Nothing you need to worry about!" she called happily back to him, shutting the door and locking the beaten, confused, scowling Destrillian in the back of the car. It was difficult to put into words why Ariel felt so happy all of a sudden. The sudden rush of nostalgia that came from having her perpetually grumpy friend back after so many years. With a wide grin, she clambered into the car's passenger seat. It was time to finally get out of here.

He hadn't changed at all.

Bex 01/21/2012 06:46 PM

Destrillians: Aftermath Act II
 
SIX HOURS LATER
MALCOLM ABADDON AND ALISON PERKINS
THE SPENCER MANSION - INFIRMARY

"Given how bad your girl got roughed up, I'm surprised how well she seems to be holding together," Dr. Malcolm Abaddon spoke softly to his companion, who shot him a dark scowl. He paid no attention and fetched the chrome plated dictaphone from the depths of his lab coat.

"Subject 006 appears to have considerable bruising to her chest and periorbital hematoma to the left eye socket. Concern is negligible, estimated healing time: three days." Abaddon furrowed his eyebrows and continued examining the lithe, pale figure who lay on the transparent plastic of the examination table.

"Superficial injuries are of no concern, Malcolm," Alison Perkins interrupted her colleague's report. Ever so gently, the doctor prised open one of the prototype's eyelids to reveal the dulled saffron orbs beneath. With a look of satisfaction as the pupil dilated, Dr. Perkins took a step away from the table and folded her arms. She grimaced. Number Six had changed. Skinny, malnourished and covered in old scars and bruises; the last four years had been unkind to the water prototype.

"Superficial injuries indicate she was sloppy, Alison," he made a slight motion towards the puffy bruised skin around the Destrillian's closed eye. Doctor Perkins let the slightest hint of a smile play across her lips. Sloppy or not; Six had won. Though the Destrillian's discipline had taken a turn for the worse, she was stronger than before. The doctor had heard the ways the other scientists and doctors were talking, the bets they were making on the outcome, how they had scoffed when a junior doctor backed Six to win. They underestimated one thing; Number Six was not just any prototype. Number Six was the prototype of one Alison Perkins.

"Who knows what happened beneath the surface, Malcolm."

Abaddon made no comment, though his watchful eyes noted the thin limbs and ashen skin. Number six looked unhealthier than when he had last seen her. His vision was drawn to the ring of angry purple and crimson bruises that enveloped the entire left shoulder of the Destrillian.

"Dislocated shoulder," he noted, bending over to examine the swollen, haemorrhaged skin. "It'll be painful, but I expect a fast recovery time. Four days, maximum. Six days if there has been any additional nerve or tissue damage," he cast a glance back to one of the junior doctors in the crowded room and lowered the small, silver dictaphone, "Make sure we run some tests for that."

"Yes sir," the doctor spoke quickly, scribbling notes furiously onto his clipboard.

"Of slightly greater concern is the slight skull fracture, located just above the left ear," he spoke once again into the dictaphone and nodding towards the blood stained hair around the ear of the Destrillian. "Whilst our field medics stitched the wound to stop the bleeding, it is my recommendation we hand her over to Gudjonssen and his medical unit tomorrow for a more permanent fix. Whilst she's there I also want an MRI and a PET scan. I want to know whether her brush with Derinium has caused any significant neurological damage."

There was an audible snort from the other side of the table. "Neurological damage?" Alison Perkins scoffed as she paced across the laboratory. "If the surveillance reports you gave me are anything to go by, Malcolm, that is the least of our concerns."

"We need to make sure no permanent damage was done, Alison," Abaddon snapped back at her. "She's going to be no use if she wakes up with brain damage. And for that matter," he turned back to the dictaphone "When she wakes up, make sure she receives a thorough psychological evaluation and have the reports forwarded immediately to the Boss."

"No evidence of muscle tissue loss through Derinium," Alison Perkins gingerly placed two fingers on the prototype's wrist and held the arm aloft. "Slight degeneration in triceps and bicep muscle mass since--"

"Wait," Abaddon interrupted her. "We can't be sure that there has been no muscle degeneration yet. When she wakes up, I want her to be put through an eye exam, make sure that the optic nerve hasn't decayed and that this subject can still make use of her scotopic vision."

"Give the project the credit it is due, Malcolm," Alison's let her touch graze Number Six's hand. Callouses hardened each pad of the prototype's fingers, yet the skin elsewhere was soft, almost untouched by the hardships of her life. Slender, yet still strong and unfaltering enough to throttle the life from Twenty-Five. No scars, scratches, swellings, bruises, burns or bumps; they were almost perfect. No.

Six was perfect.

Eyes casually skimmed over the awkward jutt of ribs travelled to the still trim pectoral muscles on the prototype's lower abdomen, down to the sharp black bars on her hipbones. As she read the number, Alison Perkins felt an alien sense of loss. Was it pity? No, no; not pity. For she never pitied Destrillians. Humans, always, as if they lacked something. Destrillians, never, for they had everything. She had everything. It was Alison Perkins who had lost something. To follow her prototype for those lost years had been impossible, yet her departure had inflicted such a chill on the Doctor, created such a hollow that had never been filled. It was all she could do to read over those records, again and again, as if watching Six's shadow fade beyond the horizon. It mattered not.

Now they had all the time in the world.

"You were wrong to doubt her, Malcolm."

Brushing a thatch of shaggy straw coloured hair out of his eyes, Abaddon shot Perkins a wearied look. "I don't deal in doubts, Alison. I deal with facts. Number Six needs to be operating at optimum capacity. Anything else will be a liability.” He paused. "I don't want her waking up before we can evaluate the damage."

Though he had spoken to the room of scientists, his words had been directed at Dr. Perkins, as though expecting her to insist upon bringing the subject out of her unconscious state right this second. The emphasis on ‘damage’ had not been lost on her.

"I think we're done here. Unless there's anything you would like to add, Dr. Perkins?"

The doctor's eyes narrowed. "Nothing."

Fringe burst through the double doors "I would like to add that you brought the wrong prototype back to this facility!" The small doctor's face was more beet-coloured than usual. Abaddon and Perkins simply stared at the flustered man. Fringe reddened further as he leafed through one of the medical reports handed to him by a junior doctor.

“And I suppose you’re referring to Number Four?” Alison Perkins scoffed. "I don’t suppose you’ve read the paragraph in the report regarding Six's--" the doctor chose her words carefully as she became increasing aware of the taste of bile in her throat, "--compromising scar tissue?”

Finley breezed clear over the remark and carried on with his own train of thought as he brought the clipboard away from his eyes, "Number Six is in terrible condition. Whyever would you bother dragging that one back here when there are others far more fit for evaluation?"

"Number Four?" Perkins didn't even attempt to restrain the wry chuckle that fell from her lips. "Oh please."

"And just what are you trying to say, Doctor Perkins? If you even have a doctorate, that is."

"Actually, Finley," the doctor folded her arms as a smug smile curled her lips. "I was told that Jason asked only to retrieve a selection. Number Four didn't quite make the cut."

"Do not insult me with your pathetic lies! Even if it were true, I'm sure Jason Spencer has far better uses for my superior prototype."

Abaddon made an exaggerated coughing sound from the opposite side of the operating table as he watched his colleagues bickering with raised eyebrows.

"Ladies," he took small pleasure in the flash of irritation that crossed Dr. Fringe's face, "It isn't a competition. Alison, you're here to do a job, keep yourself focused." His narrow eyes swivelled as he rounded on Dr. Fringe, his voice was high and cold, indicating a deep displeasure at the short scientist's unprofessional intrusion. "Finley, I'm neither in charge of which prototypes are being brought back to the mansion and nor am I privy to the way in which Mr. Spencer makes his decisions. If you have an issue with it, might I suggest that you go take it up with him,"

"Perhaps. I. Will."

"Go ahead. If you have nothing else to say, then get out." He doubted whether or not he could have made his dislike for the situation any plainer. It was not regarded as sound practice to question the decision making process of Jason Spencer. With a self-satisfied smirk, Alison Perkins rounded on the unfortunately short statured man and gestured to the door.

"As a matter of fact, Malcolm, there is something I would like to add. Adam's vitals have elevated," Dr. Fringe mused as he mockingly stroked his chin. "I assumed this would be pertinent to your interests."

With an unpleasant scowl in the direction of Dr. Fringe, Abaddon tossed the clipboard into the fumbling hands of one of the junior scientists that had been watching the scene unfold.

"Finish up here, Finley. Alison, come with me." Without another word, the long-haired scientist marched from the room, hands stuffed into the pockets of his lab coat and his face taut with concentration. After a smug smile at Dr. Fringe, Alison Perkins let her gaze linger on the unconscious prototype. Something caught her eye. With a disapproving frown, Alison Perkins plucked Number Six's braid from beneath her shoulder. The doctor gingerly rolled it between her thumb and forefinger.

Disgusting, Perkins thought to herself as she dug her finger between the ratty strands of hair and loosened the band which bound them. Slipping off the tie, the doctor carefully brushed the hair free of its plait. A slight smile crossed her face as deep blue cascaded over the Destrillian's shoulder.

"Perhaps we should run some psychological tests on you before your precious prototype, eh Perkins?" Finley Fringe sneered, and a flash of anger cut across Alison Perkin’s face. It only took a split second for her features to settle back into the picture of self-assured professionalism.

“Pot, kettle, black,”

"Alison," Fringe spoke up with a voice drenched with disdain, "Could you stop your whining for five minutes so that we can take her blood sample?

"We have work to do after all."


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