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 Little Red [closed]

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PostSubject: Little Red [closed]   Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:38 am

She'd found herself here again. This space, clear, fresh, clean. For a second, she thought she could clear her head. Evelyn weighed the knife in her hand, and drawing in a low breath, gave it a small experimental flip. "Ow...!" The blade nicked her as it fell back down, plunging into the soft soil as she stepped back, pressing the small cut against her lips to help the sting. An iron taste. "I'm a dumbass..." she murmured under her breath, pulling her hand away to look at the blood beading up from the graze. It was nothing bad, but she was just glad no one was around to see her failure.

It was stupid to play with knifes, she knew that. But when everyone was packing swords and axes, sometimes she wanted to feel a little more up to pace. She'd been practiced at this before, years ago now. The thing was, she was rusty. Evelyn figured it'd be simple to get back into the groove of things, but evidently not without a few scrapes along the way... What am I thinking? This is stupid. Maybe she should've dulled it first, if she was going to do this at all.

The last time she'd practiced, really practiced, was when Montare had come back to the school all that time ago... And hey, she'd been getting somewhere too, but after that incident, the forest hadn't seemed like such a safe space anymore. She had her other reasons too. In the end, she supposed it'd just all been a distraction. There was something comforting about the weight of steel in her hands, but it was a lonely hobby, back when she had no one else. As soon as people started seeping back into her life, the dagger had taken up a place in her back pocket, almost forgotten, almost never pulled out.

Evelyn curled her lip. I guess I'm a loner again, then. It wasn't like she hadn't known that already. She had her roommates, but Ethan was stiff and aloof, and Kimply... well, there was always a trace of awkward tension, even in the little things. I just wish things were back the way they were. Life would be simpler that way. A fresh start. Now every interaction felt tainted.

She stooped down and plucked the knife out of the grass, brushing the dirt off the metal. "Sheesh..." This whole thing had been a waste of time. Was it too early in the day to get a drink? Evelyn turned to stalk back to campus, defeated, when she froze in her tracks.

A shadow flitting between the trees, tall and hunched. She hadn't imagined it. She could hear the rustle of branches, something dragging through the grass. Evelyn took a step back, her breath caught in her throat.

It burst out from the brush with an unimaginable speed, and Evelyn went spilling backwards, screaming. There wasn't any other way to describe it except as a monster. Raw, pink skin, with razor-like bones ridged along both its spindly arms, almost like a mantis. Eight feet tall. The thing ran like a person. Not a bird, not a raptor, not like any other animal she could think of. A person.

And its face...

The monster let out a shrill, piercing cry, almost like a scream. Evelyn screamed too, scrambling backwards as it swung down its arm, as if trying to skewer her on those sword-like claws. It buried itself in the earth between her legs, just missing her as she somehow, some way, found her footing and began to run, only to stumble and fall again.

This is ridiculous.

That was the only coherent thought that could rupture through the maelstrom of adrenaline rushing through her head. This wasn't her first time running into something like this. You couldn't go to Beata as long as her without encountering one. But never like... this. Never where she thought she'd be in actual danger.

"Its so you can protect yourself. They haven't told you all exactly everything yet, but there's a lot about the world you probably don't know."
"...F-from... Who...?"
"Well, if I explain, are you going to call me crazy? I'm not sure if I'm supposed to tell you guys but... It's not exactly who so much as what."


It was pathetic how that was the only thing that could come to mind. She crawled along the ground, grabbing handfuls of dirt and grass. I don't want to die. Not like this. Not something so random, so sudden, so out of nowhere. So stupid. Capture the flag. They'd released these things into the forest for capture the flag and they'd forgotten one. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. I don't want to die. Idon'twanttodie. Idon'twanttodieIdon'twanttodieIdon'twanttodie.

She could hear it ripping its nail out of the earth. She could hear it coming.

I don't want to die.

Her fingers wrapped around the dagger.

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:10 am

There was nothing quite as intoxicating as a proper hunt. The only thing that could make it better was being paid for it, and by some miracle, the stars aligned and he was tasked with chasing down a stray monster that had been let loose for the Capture the Flag game from what felt like eons ago. Some sort of semi-bipedal humanoid raptor creature that wouldn't look out of place in one of Guillermo del Toro's classic fantasy films that he remembered seeing on the holonet. The skin of the creature looked fragile, like something he could crispy fry. The file hadn't been all that forthcoming, but nothing could stand the full heat of the sun coupled with radiation, fretting about little missions like this was other people did. Not him.

Tracking the creature was surprisingly harder than he expected. Travelling mostly by leaping from tree to tree, there were very few marks for him to find on the rich earth, a lot of tree-climbing was involved and really, tree and his high physical temperature didn't do too well. If it wasn't for his physical sturdiness from energy density, he would broken his ankle a few times over by now from falling when his handhold turned to ash. Though not all his efforts were fruitless, he'd found some bone chips imbedded in wood, a deer carcass and deep grooves in the earth where the creature must have prowled on foot. Not bad work for someone who had no real tracking experience, his expertise in finding individuals who didn't want to be found was better suited for more urban landscapes with people who can be threatened or bribed.

The final 'hint' came in the form of the monster's scream intermingled with the high pitched one of a girl. A human girl.

"Well shit." He'd been told with no uncertain terms, if he didn't track down and get rid of the creature before it struck a student, he would be in a world of trouble. The school staff were a little too shrewd for his liking, guessing that it would be in his nature to watch from the shadows as a student attempted to fight off the beast for his amusement. Swiping a rock off the earth, Cayden broke out into a reluctant jog then a run till he came across the creature ripping it's wing-talon thing out of the earth and getting ready to pounce the girl? He couldn't quite make out if it was a girl or boy. They didn't matter, the creature was his goal.

Tossing the rock from before in his hand up and down, he heated it up until it was near molten. "Duck!" That was all the warning he gave, tossing the stone a second after so that it shattered from the sudden pressure against the creature's back into hot shards. The creature was less than impressed, roaring so that it's weird face flaps made a rather disgusting jiggling noise. "Hello to you too."

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Mon Aug 29, 2016 3:44 pm

This was it. That's how it was all going to end. No warning, no build-up, no dramatic last words, no one to hear them even if she could come up with any. There wasn't a point to any of it, no rhyme or reason or anything resembling some sort of purpose. One moment she'd be alive, and the next moment she'd be mincemeat along the forest floor. Then what? Heaven? Hell? Nothing at all? What kind of life was that? What had she done with it all?

It was all in the flutter of a heartbeat. She couldn't do anything except clench her eyes shut and scramble through the brush, as desperate and pathetic and pointless as it was to try to escape.

Someone's voice rung out through the trees.

She felt a gust of air as the claw swung over her head, too high, sending up a flurry of leaves. The air filled with a sharp roar as she continued to pull herself along the ground and into the cursory safety of an overgrown bramble. Evelyn finally cast a glance over her shoulder, narrowing her eyes against the afterglow imprinted on the air.

The creature had turned its back to her now, its skin split and bloodied where something had struck, like a grenade blast. She wrinkled her nose, a light shaking breath escaping her lips. It reminded her of charred brisket.

Another shrill scream of rage filled the air as it turned on its new prey, lowering its body in a full-on charge toward the blond. Evelyn didn't have time to register any of it. She stood up on shaky legs, her heart ready to burst in her chest, breathing twice as much as normal, but for once, her hands were steady. She could feel the adrenaline pulsing through her as she flipped the knife in her hand.

It spun tail over blade, and this time, she caught it.

Run.

Let them take care of it. If they were smart, they'd run to, and if not, then they could handle themselves. She'd just had her prayers answered. She couldn't just throw that chance away.

Run.

One foot in front of another. Her knees were jelly but felt as heavy as lead at the same time. Another step, shaking like a leaf. She took another breath, drawing air into her lungs, and it all seemed to move in slow motion.

I can't run.

She didn't know what was going through her head anymore. She couldn't fight. Damn it, she needed a shot just to get through a conversation. But her mind was made up. Maybe death just didn't feel like a real possibility anymore after a close call, maybe it was some primal survival instinct kicking off in her brain, maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe she just couldn't bring herself to look away, but she straightened up, gripping the knife tighter.

I won't run.

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:00 pm

It gave chase, it's spiny wing-like limbs tucked aside for maximum maneuverability as it snapped with the weird tubular creature that crawled out of where it's face split into four. The more rational part of Cayden felt a jolt of fear, he was only human after all, elderitch abominations freaked him out just as much as it would anyone else. But unlike most people, he was good and using that fear to propel him, to not freeze up or blindly run as his lizard brain screamed for him to do. Though it was against all rational instinct, he took his focus off the monster to survey his surroundings.

Trees.

Trees were a good thing. They provided cover, height and projectiles.

Shooting a beam directly at the floor beneath him, he shot up to the safety of a higher branch, just out of reach of the humanoid raptor that seemed a little too keen to take a chunk out of him. In response it jumped, it's worm-like face appendage stretching to the max but just missing where he was perched. In relative safety, he couldn't help look a bit smug, though he wasn't stupid enough to get cocky quite yet. Battles were never over till the enemy was roasted and split into itty bitty pieces in Cayden's mind. He'd fought too many gifted people that could piece themselves together from the most absurd injuries and endure things that would surely kill another. It wasn't even their gift's work, gifted folk tended to have a sort of mental and physical fortitude that was unbelievable, like the protagonists of superhero films that seemed to inexplicably pick up martial arts and parkour with little training. Creatures like the one below, they had a sort of resilience comparable to the gifted, the dossier had made it abundantly clear that he couldn't take this lightly.

So instead of toying with it, he took out one of his precious marbles, tossing it up and down in the air as he did the stone. Then as it came down, he flicked it towards the monster, the superheated metal propelled like a bullet. It left a stream of fire behind it as it seared and tore through one of the creature's joints, but to his annoyance, it didn't do the damage that he expected. Surprisingly hardy considering it's skin looked like a humans, paper thin and fragile.

He should warn... Ah...

He couldn't quite remember where he was going with that train of thought. Was he going to warn someone? No one was here. Shaking his head clear, Cayden took out another projectile, heating it for tossing.

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:26 pm

Sometimes she couldn't help but be dazzled. Even here, all these years later, where monsters and swords and gifts had become her new normal, seeing it all again with her own eyes brought her back to her own strange reality. He jumped—no, flew on a beam of light, propelled like a jet engine up into the treetops as the monster charged. Her own power wasn't a quarter as impressive. It wasn't even real invisibility. No one would've been able to tell if she had a power at all if she didn't wear the uniform.

So what was she doing here? What kind of pretension was it for her to stay and watch, let alone try and help?

The monster leaped after him, just missing, but if anything, he looked smug. Now that she got a stable view, she realized it was a face she'd seen before. Blond, not all that tall. They'd met here in these woods. He'd slung her a beer at the truth or dare party in the lounge. For the life of her, she couldn't remember his name.

All those thoughts broke apart in the summer air.

It tore through the air, streaking down from his fingers with a burning reddish glow that shot through the monster like a slug. Crack. Flesh ripped, dirty black blood spewing over the forest floor, and she thought she heard something snap. Then it  burst out the other side and into the ground. She threw her arm over her face, almost thrown off her feet by the explosion of earth and rock, a choked scream hitching in her throat.

Evelyn dared to look up, even while soil came raining down around her. You have to be kidding me... That thing was still standing? Ruptured flaps of pimpled flesh hung from an ugly exit wound where the super-heated bullet had scorched through, but it just looked more aggressive.

The monster reeled, and then charged forward again, leaping. This time it dug its bird-like talons into the bark, doing its best to try and scrabble up the side of the tree.

For her, the rest was just instinct. Turn, pivot. Evelyn spun on her heel, swinging out her foot, and flung the knife out of her hand so it went twirling through the air, flashing in the sunlight.

Of course it missed. It was a miracle by itself that she hadn't sunk it into the dirt right in front of her. But it was as good of a throw as it needed to be. The blade was a foot too far to the right of her target, but that was still enough to nick its arm as it went flailing up the side of the tree. Polished steel tore through loose skin with surprising ease, even at this distance, and blood began to drip from a shallow gash like a faucet. The knife hit the wood at an angle and bounced away from the bark with a dull ring of metal, spinning away into the bushes.

The monster slid down the tree with a screech, tearing off strips of bark with its claws as it fell onto its haunches. Whether she helped at all, or if it would've fallen down anyways, she couldn't say.

Just for one moment, it turned its head from the greater threat to look at her. Straight at her, its eyes peering into hers. It can see me. Her gift. Her gift didn't work against anything not human. She stepped back, defenseless now, patting her clothes for something, anything, to use as a weapon. Stupidstupidstupidstupid...!

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Wed Sep 14, 2016 1:58 am

With a whistle of metal, a throwing knife sliced through the thinner membrane of the monster's arm, leaving a bloody gash that oozed thick pus-like fluid that sizzled against the tree bark. A few splatters hit his shoes as well, it easily eating through the plastic of his shoes, making him quickly abandoned them in haste, not giving him a chance to look over where the blade came from. A part of his mind seemed to tug him away from looking, focusing on the relief that came from having a quick reprieve to remove his shoes.

Socks off too, he still didn't doubt his odds. The sun was still shining beautiful above the canopy, and the explosion from before had dislodged enough branches that he had an ample supply of sunlight. If his bullets wouldn't do, well, he was hardly a one trick pony. Languidly, he twirled a finger, forming a golden orb and followed behind the creature that was slowly ambling it's way towards something. Probably a squirrel or something equally insignificant, it was hardly intelligent. However that was when he spotted her.

She was a slight thing, there wasn't that much in the way of difference between their two heights yet she looked significantly smaller than him. The girl was stepping back away from the creature, almost fearfully? He couldn't quite tell from this angle. Something about her seemed a tad familiar, like deja vu meeting in this forest, but that wasn't possible. He had an excellent memory. However that thought nagged him, almost enough that he'd accidentally built up his orb a bit too big.

Looking away briefly, he pinched his thumb and pointer finger together, he minimised the orb into a dense ball, ready to flick it at the lone monster. It would be a good hit, possibly take out most of the forest. He'd be fine, his powers left his immune to the burst of heat and radiation and there was no one around.

But. But for some reason, he hesitated and fumbled in his execution. The orb sliced through the air, searing off a chunk of the monster's head before flinging into the lake where it caused a ground shaking explosion.

Why was he hesitating?

Confusion overtook his mind, scrambling for answers while the enraged creature spun around to face him. Did the beast have mind control powers? Why didn't he just end it there? Then through the now gaping hole in the creature's head, he saw her. A girl, a slight thing. She has mousy hair and almost violet looking eyes. She wasn't there before, or perhaps she was. It all felt a little unsettling, but before he could speak the creature slashed him across the chest with it's claws.

"Oh."

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:30 pm

It was screaming. She was screaming. Or at least trying to scream, but it choked in her throat, and the only thing that passed her lips was a scratchy whimper, hardly louder than a whisper. So this was how she was going to die, by blind bad luck, random chance, no purpose, no meaning, just a forgotten scrap of flesh and fabric somewhere on the forest floor. This thing was going to kill her and it wasn't going to be pretty.

Even right now, when she needed it the most, her gift was useless. Ineffective against animals... What kind of stupid limitation was that? Why couldn't she have been born with something a little less pathetic? Fire, water, earth, air, ice or electricity, hell, even just normal invisibility...! "Ah...!" It swiped down, and she leapt back, its ridged claw tearing a clean slash across her shirt. An inch closer, and it would've sliced her stomach open. Evelyn went spilling to the ground and scrambled back to her feet, a rock clutched in her fingers, still backing away as it crept closer and closer. God, it stunk... Rotten eggs and compost. Fluid dripped from its wounds, fizzling where it hit the ground.

Of course, if she hadn't been born with a gift in the first place, she wouldn't have been in this situation.

An orange haze.

Chunks of flesh blew away in a spray of blood and flame, and something like a fireball flashed past her and into the lake. The explosion rattled the ground beneath her feet, and Evelyn hit the ground again, the force of the attack ripping apart her sense of balance.

The monster had spun around, whirling, the air blurring around it as it slashed her savior across the chest.

She shot to her feet, tossing the rock. It bounced off its back with a dull thud, but it didn't turn around, still bearing down on top of him.

Fuck.

Had it learned its lesson from before?

She didn't have some great gift; she couldn't turn into a wolf and she couldn't throw boulders with her mind. Really, you couldn't even count has a notch above a normal human. The only thing special about her was the main thing that held her back. But she just had to buy him just a few more moments of time. If he died, then what chance did she have? She could've ran while she had the chance, but...

Evelyn snatched up a smashed branch, the closest thing to a weapon she could see in the demolished clearing, and stabbed the broken end into the monster's gaping wound. It reeled back and she yanked it out with a sharp jerk, stabbing forward again into the flapping pimpled flesh. The wood snapped as it jerked its body around, sinking one of its claws into the earth, screeching. She stumbled back with half the branch in her hand and tossed it away, a shaky breath leaving her throat. Fuck, fuck... If this was typical, then after this, she was done with fights for a life time.

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:05 am

Laying on the ground, Cayden looked up dimly at the blue sky mostly in shock for a precious few seconds. Where had the girl come from? She wasn’t there before but then she was just there. He’d thought himself to be quite observational, yet here he was, on the ground with a thin scratch that made short work of his school issued uniform. Only his natural instinctual response to pain had saved him from a nasty gash, the cut was angled in such a way as he’d leapt back that it lessened with severity the lower down it reached. That, coupled with his solar healing, had the worst of it crusting over before the creature abruptly howled in pain, rearing back as splinters of wood showered down around them both.

The girl, whoever she was, had saved him from the rather embarrassing fate of being mauled to death by a monster due to poor aim. Alfie was full of shit but maybe there was something to the idea that bad luck follow premature victory celebrations. Either way, that moved the blonde into action, tucking his legs against his chest and kicking the monster’s chest.

It’s ribcage was weirdly spongy, absorbing the impact creepily well. It didn’t stumble quite as much as he’d expected, but Cayden rolled with it by shooting a beam from his feet that seared a hole through the creature’s chest. It glowed for a bit before tearing through, he only hoped that the girl from before had the sense to duck. He doubted the headmaster would be pleased with murder, he was already on thin ice due to his tendency to instigate fights.

But much to his disappointment, the creature still twitched from where it laid. It looked like swiss cheese at this point, however it wasn't done. Feebly, it snarled and growled, bony claws clicking against each other as it grappled in an attempt to arise.

Not that he was going to let it.

Taking out his combat knife, Cayden sheathed it in solar energy before stepping evenly on both arms. Another time, another place, he might have gloated before killing it but his wound needed a clean and their was some girl somewhere. So with a deft flick, he severed the monster's head, before hacking off it's arms at the shoulder joint.

"Nighty, night, beastie." He couldn't help but add once it stopped writhing post-mortem.

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PostSubject: Re: Little Red [closed]   Wed Sep 21, 2016 7:45 pm

It was dead.

There was more to it than that, but the whole fight had flashed past her in a blur. Compared to all her struggling, if you could even compare the two, the difference in power was almost a little humiliating. But that didn't matter. It was dead. She breathed out a rattling sigh of relief when she saw its hideous head roll out across the earth. Her legs buckled underneath her and she sank to the forest floor, dropping her head. My hands are shaking, she thought, staring down at her fingers. Blood and dirt smeared her palms. No, scratch that, her whole body was shaking. I'm going to puke...

Exhaustion fell on her all at once like a two ton weight. It was a miracle she hadn't passed out during the whole ordeal, or just sprinted off in a random direction at the first shot she had... Hell, it was a miracle she hadn't been gored open. Evelyn swallowed the bile in her throat and looked away from the monster's corpse. Call it bad luck that she'd been attacked in the first place, but if it hadn't been for him chancing by, she would've... she would've... Her gaze drifted over to the butchered limbs, the blackish blood streaming out onto the ground, the severed head, the flaps of naked flesh, like a plucked chicken.

Oh, there was the puke.

Evelyn keeled over on hands and knees and hurled up her breakfast.

Talk about humiliating.

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