A/n: Here is yet another chapter for your veiwing pleasure. As always, R&R. Thank you.
The woman on her right, the one who had just risen from the dead- Jocelyn if she was getting it correctly, and the man, Tyrell, had weapons appear in their outstretched hands as they stalked towards her.
They were fast, faster then any humans. It was obvious that she had been right to strike them down; they obviously knew what they were doing. In fact, she barely had time to size them up before they were on her.
She eyed the tonfas in Jocelyn's hands, black lacquered instruments of pain as they struck out, one at her knee and one at her unprotected stomach. She dodged the one to her stomach by slipping to the side- but the other tonfa sent her down on one knee, a sharp pain lancing through her leg.
As soon as it she felt it, it was gone. She leaped straight up, aiming Atraluna at Jocelyn's stomach. She knew evisceration wouldn't kill the thing, but it would certainly distract it. Having ones guts spill on the floor would distract the most disciplined Tibetan Monk.
But at the same moment the tip of her blade was piercing the flesh, three lines of fire appeared along her back. She turned, still thrusting the blade upward, so it twisted with her as she moved. There was a gasp behind her, as warm liquid trickled from the mortal wound and down the blade.
She stared up at Peirce, expecting to feel rage or something similar. But her emotions remained quiet, as if knowing she was in the middle of something, and the white static of pure motion filled her.
Peirce just gave her that testosterone-filled smile and brought the whip up to strike her again. She braced herself for another lash, her sword arm still trapped in her victim's sticky flesh. The whip came down, lashing down her chest, ripping open the black cotton shirt she was wearing under her duster. And at the same time, a hard blow came down on her shoulder as Tyrell struck her with his Morningstar, and she tumbled down, falling to her knees yet again.
She tried to struggle to her feet, but two sets of arms, Fayth and Tyrell, pushed down on her shoulders, assisting gravity in keeping her down. Jocelyn stood against the wall, sweat matting her chestnut curls to her face as she tried desperately to hold her intestines in, and Atraluna had fallen, lying now in the dust only a few feet away.
"Oh, I am going to enjoy this." Peirce whispered, stroking the side of her face with the whips handle. "You see, no one mars my pretty face and gets away with it." Then he brought his hand back, gathering momentum, and smashed his meaty hand, still holding the leather whip handle, into her nose with a crunch, to match his bloodied face.
"Oh, trust me; your face was marred before I got here." She replied feebely. The pain was already starting to dull as the wounds started to stitch together. One positive about belonging to the gods- she could take a lot of damage, more so then even these demi-titans.
He scowled at her and raised his fist again, but Fayth extended her arm with the staff, stopping his hand from coming down, the bare-bulb up above glinting off of the black of her sunglasses. "No- watch." Fayth said, eyes anywhere but on her face.
Her nose, as well as all of her bruises and cuts from the morning star were slowly starting to clot up and heal, well, slow for her. The demi-titans just stood back and watched in amazement as the nose straightened itself out, still pink around the edges.
"What are you?" Peirce asked, his eyes full of horror and amazement.
She just smiled, an almost cruel twist of the lips, her watery, light red blood still matting her dark hair against her flushed cheeks, making her jade eyes sparkle almost supernaturally. Her nose was bright pink, the color of new skin, almost glowing against the wan olive of the rest of her skin.
But on the inside she was frowning- it was as if she no longer knew how to answer that question.
"So- what are we supposed to do with her?" Peirce asked, his eyes searing with accusations as he stared at Fayth, pushing her staff away.
Fayth gave him a cruel smile, mirroring her captive's face. "Perhaps we should just skip all this foreplay, as mmmmm…" she breathed in. "Fun as it is, and get straight to it. Let's kill her and get the hell out of here. We have to find the others."
William, who had been surveying the scene with mounting discomfort, started to wring his hands. His wan, too-thin face was dripping in cold sweat. "I-I thought they were meeting us here?" he stuttered.
"It would seem there has been a change in plans, whether intentional or forced." Fayth replied, not even expending the energy to look at him. "For, as you see, they are not here."
At that moment, with all the attention off of her and the pressure on her shoulders starting to ease- she located the already wounded one- Jocelyn, standing apart from the rest of one in a slightly shadowy corner, face racked with pain as she held in her intestines so her stomach wound could heal.
She jerked away from her captors and rolled away, picking up her sword and jumping to her feet. As soon as she had her balance, with a burst of speed, she lunged, swinging her sword across Jocelyn's neck, simultaneously willing it to lengthen. She landed, not even able to look back and see if she had hit her target- Faythe swiftly brought up her staff and knocked her back, all the way to the feet of young William, who was starting to seriously panic.
His heart was beating much faster then before, his electric blue eyes nearly bulging out of his head as they fell on Jocelyn's severed head, the blood still slowly seeping from the wound. As Jocelyn's murderer fell to his feet, literally, his heart beat even faster- if that was possible. The panic was swallowing him whole, the lizard part of his brain starting to take over- that fight or flight response.
And for the first time in his life, geeky, almost powerless, William chose fight.
At first it was nothing, at least nothing visual, but his blood started to boil- literally, as the fear was swept away by anger. And anger is always a conduit for power. The first physical sign was the apparition of a throbbing vein in his temple. This was quickly followed by the balling of his fists. They were clenched so hard that the imprint of his fingernails, tiny half-moons appeared on his palms, quickly welling up with blood.
As the metallic, almost oil-like liquid slipped down his palms and through his fingers, sparks began to fly through it, the blood dripping down onto the floor being the first thing that caught fire.
She rolled away from him, her eyes reflecting the radiance of the flames, feeling the first waves of fear. They were muted at first, but soon what had started as little licks against the shore turned into tidal waves, crashing against the shore. She moved away from the group, flattening herself against the wall, hoping to go unnoticed, however slim the chances.
In a few seconds, the fire spread up his arms, spreading over his body in a Human
Torch-esque way. But despite the obvious scene of human spontaneous combustion, there was no scent of burning flesh. In fact, instead of being consumed by the fire, it was just coating him.
But despite the fact that she was moving away, he located her, and started to step towards her, slowly but surely- the ground burning up as he went. His gaze seemed to pierce her, his eyes turned from a weak, almost watery blue, into two burning coals, set in the blaze of his face.
By this time the fire had started to race across the floor. Even the demi-titans were starting to panic. They were all starting to back away from him, save Tyrell, who had a pained look on his face.
"Come on man." He said, fighting to keep his voice calm, sweat rolling down his ebony visage. "Come on, Will. Control it, don't let it consume you. You can fight this."
Fayth held out his hand, silencing him. "It is too late, Tyrell." She said. "The power of his mother has taken him, consumed him. He will be lucky if he survives this power surge. Now the only thing we can do for him is get out of here before we get burned to cinders. And hope he survives." Fayth started to hustle them towards the door, like a shepard leading sheep.
It had seemed she was forgotten in her shadowy little corner, even by William, who was watching them leave, apparently unable to move.
The fire was spreading over the floor, racing across the ground to the nearest walls.
Faythe had gotten everyone out before she paused before the door, wreathed in flames. She turned back, the fire mirrored in her sunglasses, shimmering slightly as she slipped them from her face, revealing eyes of milky-white set in her milk-chocolate face. "If you survive this, Godling." She said, her lips smirking at her, blind eyes searching, voice practically dripping with venom. "We will meet again. And when we do- I will destroy you." And with that she turned and sauntered out of the burning building.
The flames had started to crawl up the walls, like flaming strands of ivy, a few of them even wrapping around the roof, as if they were trying to pull the building down. Together, they wiggled a rafter free of its moorings and set it down on her. She dodged just in time, but the corner of it clipped her in the left arm.
Pain lanced up her arm, and she nearly fell into one of the lakes of fire that had sprouted from William's blood droplets. She stared back at said pyromaniac, who was still standing in the center of the burning building, unmoved by anything going on around him, as if he was entranced by the dance of flames.
She had half a mind to go back, but what for? To finish him off, or to save him?
She took a step in his direction, but all at once the heat flared up, a flame wall stopping her from getting any closer, the oppression of the heat driving her back. She threw up her good arm to protect herself. So she ran for the door, hating herself for her cowardice even as the fire seared her skin.
When she reached the door, she looked back for one eternal second, the memory of William's body consumed by fire, and Jocelyn's headless body wreathed by them, cremation about to be done for free, promised to haunt her for quite some time. She felt a tinge of regret, a little voice in the back of her head- not the voice of a god- but the muted voice of guilt, wishing she had handled it better. Wishing she had done all sorts of things differently.
Unexpectedly, tears started to form in the corners of her eyes. "It's the heat." She murmured to the darkness. "I don't regret a thing."
She stepped into the forest, letting the darkness consume her.
Jennifer snuggled up against him, head on his shoulder, her body pressed so tightly up against him that there was no space in between. He settled himself into her plether couch. They were watching How to loose a Guy in 10 Days. He thought, jokingly of course, that she was trying to tell him something.
He shifted a little bit- a frown appearing on his face that had nothing to do with the movie or anything Jen might or might not be telling him. He usually felt a sense of warmth, of closeness, of at least friendship when snuggled all up with her like this. But he was devoid of feeling, as if he was holding a stranger rather then his girlfriend of two years and soon to be fiancée.
The weight of the ring in his pocket was an almost unpleasant reminder of that fact.
Ever since he saw that girl…
Eumelia. His mind echoed with her name- his heart racing at the very thought- a tumultuous mix of emotions- regret, confusion, steeped in depression with a tiny ray of… was that, hope? Hope for what?
Who was this girl, that she could bring all of this out in him, without them even being formerly introduced?
It was insane, really. All his life he had been plagued with unusually muted emotions, as if he were feeling the world through kid gloves. He had thought himself nigh incapable in the kind of emotions that had been whirling through him lately. They had always been too diluted, like coke diluting the fiery taste of rum.
And among all of those emotions, intense love- that Hollywood style, eyes locking across the room sort of love was one of the emotions that escaped him, despite the almost perfect marriage that his parents had been lucky to have. In fact, his childhood had been near idyllic. All the doctors and psychiatrists he had been to couldn't figure out the problem.
He could feel happy, even content, but he had never felt real pleasure or reveled in joy; he felt sad, but never bone-achingly depressed, angry but never enraged. He could like, lust even love, but he had never connected with a person. Even with Jen there was nothing more for him then fondness, even though by the passionate look in her eyes he could tell she was feeling something more. Something he had never experienced.
But that muted sense of love, the acceptance and understanding she had offered him had been enough, until he had locked eyes with her.
Suddenly he had been swept away in a tide of strong, unfamiliar emotions. The world had narrowed down to one infinitesimal moment; his world became those glittering jade orbs.
It was an enigma he just couldn't solve.
So, he resolved to solve it, promising himself that he would find this mystery girl- Eumelia or whatever, and find the answers to his questions.
She entered her motel room, clutching the spot on her arm where the falling beam had clipped her. The bleeding had finally stopped, cauterized by the heat, and it was starting to knit back together, albeit slowly and painfully.
She closed the door with her good shoulder and surveyed the room. It was worse then she remembered- every time she returned it became harder to bare. The place reeked of desperation, despair and cold-sweat. They were almost palpable.
A little dejected, she sat down on the lumpy bed and peered at her wound. It had healed, mostly, a pink scar from shoulder to elbow standing out against the washed-out olive-wood of her skin.
She sighed. It was the first time a wound had left a scar instead of healing right away. It was like her body was reverting, she could feel it in her bones, in her aching, bruised, bones. While her nose was half healed, it was still a little pink and crooked, so she could tell that her god-given accelerated healing was starting to slow.
Exhausted, she fell onto the bed, and even Zephyr's wing beats as he came in from his nightly hunt could not rouse her from her sleep.