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The Dead Are Too Much With Us (II)

Started by Nev the Deranged, September 28, 2003, 02:59:29 PM

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Nev the Deranged

I was one of the players in the game Ron was running, which we just wrapped up last week.  After the second to last session, I wrote up a few scenes of fiction based loosely on events during play.  I dramatized some things and changed some details, so it's not really a blow by blow account, more of a creative re-imagining of game events.  I plan to eventually finish this scene at least, and perhaps write more, but I'm an easily distracted and fundamentally lazy person, so who knows.

Nev the Deranged

Kevin Lazaros is about to become a god.

Standing at the center of what was once the living room of his private cabin in the woods just outside Graton, a butcher's cleaver in one hand and a maniacal grin on his handsome face, a face that has graced the front pages of numerous newspapers as he climbed to the top of the local political food chain. Stripped to the waist to reveal the physique of a man who has a private gym on his estate, he towers over the helplessly struggling form of his wife Melanie, bound and gagged at his feet. Her pretty features are hidden under a makeshift cowl, her hands and feet bound with nylon cords.

Radiating outward from her supine body, glyphs of arcane significance are crudely scratched into the polished wooden floor, clearly the work of an amateur practitioner- but functional nonetheless. Of far more definite prepotence are the six arm-thick wooden posts bolted to the floor at the corners of the design, each bearing an occult sigil worked with exceeding care and skill. Just inside the rough circle formed by the posts is a makeshift podium of old law books, stacked waist high, supporting two lit votive candles bracketing an 8"x10" photograph. The photograph is of Lori Lazaros, Kevin's first wife and Melanie's sister, three years deceased, ostensibly by her own hand. Only three people know for certain that Kevin is actually responsible for her descent into madness and eventual death. All three of those people are present in this room.

Kevin looks down at his wife, enjoying her writhing in the abstract way one would be amused watching a beetle try to right itself after being flipped on its back. Very shortly he will put an end to her struggles, and by so doing set in motion a chain of events that will make him as powerful as he is insane. Or so he thinks. But alas, the best laid plans of mice and men...

A noise from near the front door makes him turn his head slightly.
"I told that stupid bitch Jamie to wait in the car!" he thinks, a twinge of anger ruffling his concentration slightly.
Suddenly his vision blurs as a thick cloud of mist envelops his head. Before his mind can process this information fully, there is an explosion of sound as the front door shatters before the force of a human torpedo. Kevin throws himself to the floor, cleaver still gripped tightly, and barely avoids having his head torn off by the leaping, feral form. Belatedly his mind registers the sound of a gunshot that was fired as he dove, but a quick inventory of himself reveals that it too failed to injure him.

Surrounded by voices, crashing, and chaos, Kevin shakes his head in an effort to clear the mist. He rolls to his feet and looks around the room, grinning as only a maniac can. There, by the door, is Jamie Walz, clutching a pistol aimed in his direction. Stupid bitch. He hired her to take care of a few problems and now she thought to double cross him? She'd learn her folly soon enough.

There, to the side, the creature that had destroyed the door and nearly collided with him, wearing what was once a rather pretty evening dress, now a soaked and tattered rag clinging to the form of Martha Widdoes. He knows the dress was pretty, because he bought it for her during the affair they'd been having for the last three months. But the woman crouching like an animal and glaring at him with hate filled eyes is clearly not the Martha he's been seeing.

In the middle of the room, an old man with skin the color of coal kneels by Melanie, using a familiar Tictic-torah ritual knife to sever her bonds. Kevin knows this man as well, for he sent someone to kill him with that very blade. Apparently they failed. A situation easily rectified, and soon.

And finally, standing near a now-scattered pile of dusty books, Craig Liu. For a moment, Kevin's eyes are fooled by some trick of the flickering from where the candles have caught one of the books alight, and he sees instead Corbet Liu, Craig's father. They look much alike- both strong, bodies beaten rock hard by lifelong careers as fighters in the ring and on the street. Kevin's eyes narrow as they focus on the young man's right hand- holding the picture of Lori. His Token.

(to be continued)

Nev the Deranged

Sorcery and Death

The photograph feels warm against Craig's skin. Impossibly, it vibrates in his hand, letting off a low but discernable hum. He sees Kevin Lazaros' eyes lock on it, and holds it up.

"Is this what you want? Well come get it!" he chides as he tucks the item in the waistband of his sweatpants, ignoring it's disturbing animation. Lazaros grins with the confidence of a maniac and steps toward him, cleaver raised menacingly. Craig's grin as he moves to meet him is nearly identical.

Lazaros is a fit man, and his reflexes are good. The cleaver inscribes deadly arcs in the air, the flickering flames now building in the corner of the room reflecting from it's polished surface. But Craig has been fighting since he was five years old, beating his body against every obstacle and opponent he could find, and he has no fear.
He dodges one, two, three strokes of the razor-keen blade before finding an opening, his fist rocketing into the would-be sorcerer's ribs with the force of a sledgehammer. Not waiting for his opponent to recover, he unleaches a barrage of jabs and elbows, pushing forward with his body, driving the other towards the wall.

Dazed, but still dangerous, Lazaros lets out a bellow of pure rage and throws his arms around Craig's torso, pinning the young fighter's own arms to his sides. With psychotic strength, he heaves his aggressor off his feet and flings him bodily to the floor. Two decades of training has Craig rolling to his feet without thought, coming up in a defensive stance, feet planted firmly. Right into the path of the cleaver Lazaros has just thrown, full armed, in his direction.

His father's voice whispers in his ear.

"Not today, boy."

He wishes it were merely a memory dredged up from his childhood, but the breath on his ear won't let him believe that. As he feels the now-familiar synchronization of his muscles with something... alien... the shining spiral of the oncoming blade seems to slow down until he can trace the grains of the wooden handle as it spins toward him. Gathering himself, he leaps into the air, shoulders grazing the short ceiling of the cabin. He watches the weapon sail beneath him in a leisurely trajectory before somersaulting forward off the stuccoed surface and coming to rest in a wary crouch before Kevin Lazaros' disbelieving eyes.

As time slips back into normal speed, everything happens at once. There is a whooshing noise and all the air seems to be sucked out of the room towards the front door. Eclipsing this sound is the steady report of a pistol as Jamie empties her clip into her former employer's chest. Craig spins on his heel in time to see Urma standing in the entryway, silhouetted by the afternoon sunlight, with the cleaver embedded three inches into his sternum.

(to be continued... again...)

Nev the Deranged

On the River

Urma looks down at the shiny chunk of metal in surprise, blinks once. Then the cleaver falls to the floor and the sunlight through the doorway is occluded by dense fog as Marca unwraps itself from around the old man's body, the mist-armor dissipating. The Peruvian sorcerer breathes a deep sigh of relief- for one brief second he'd been sure his time here was done. But before he can muse any further on this near-miss, his attention is drawn by Kevin Lazaros' demented laughter echoing through the cabin.

"Foolish puppets! You're too late to stop me!" he howls, not seeming to feel the five sucking chest wounds that even now pour his lifeblood in rivulets down his body to pool at his feet. He takes a step forward, outstretched hand reaching towards the photograph still tucked in Craig's waistband. Urma can see the picture writhe sickeningly against the martial artist's body like a living thing. Suddenly, Urma knows what must be done.

"Give it to me!" he hisses urgently to Craig, reaching into a pocket of his voluminous overcoat. He takes the picture from the younger man, adding it to the one he has just pulled out- the surveillance photo of Kevin Lazaros they had gotten from Detective Stone. Urma's other hand grips the Tictic-torah ritual knife grimly as he drops to his knees, slapping the two photographs on top of one another on the floor. Kevin's eyes widen, and his next step is more urgent.

"No!" he roars, willing his body forward despite its wounds. Craig turns to face him, ready to hold him off as long as necessary for Urma to do his work. As the dark-skinned sorcerer begins chanting, knife raised over his head, his other palm presses down flat on the pair of pictures to prevent the increasingly animate photo of Lori from crawling away of it's own accord. Kevin lowers his shoulders, about to charge, Craig steels himself to meet it- and they are both taken by surprise when Martha, still driven by Veniamen's mad spirit, leaps onto Kevin's back from beside the now-emphatically-burning pile of old law tomes in the corner of the room.

Kevin is driven off his feet sideways by the human missile that was once his lover, landing beneath her feral, shrieking form. Clutching his head between hands with the strength of death, she raises it and slams it against the rune-scratched wooden floor with a sickening thud. Unsatisfied, she raises it again and this time floorboards and skull give way simultaneously, wet splinters of wood making a jagged halo around the lifeless face.

At once, Urma ceases chanting, grits his teeth against the pain, and drives the ritual knife home- straight through the back of his splayed hand, pinning it along with the two pictures to the floor. He can feel Lori's Token shriek through his palm, but his own agony is instantly replaced by a cold so deep it drives out all other sensation. He cannot feel it, but he can see his blood flow outward from the wound, spreading along the floor, up the walls, impossibly fast. And where the wave of crimson passes, the room changes. Walls and ceiling vanish, replaced by a darkness not unlike that of deep space, faint motes of light sparkling off in the distance. The floor gives way to a rushing torrent of ice-blue water, an inexorable current leading downstream under a towering stone archway so vast it defies description.

A quick look around reveals that the others in the room are aware of the change... or changes, for other hidden things have become revealed as well. A well built Afro-Asian man stands beside Craig, one hand on his son's shoulder. Urma knows Marca's ephemeral form has coalesced into the shape of a middle aged Peruvian man standing over his own shoulder, but he has no wish to turn towards the malevolence he knows burns in those dead eyes.

Martha's features are only dimly discernable beneath the scowling, horribly disfigured image of a deathly pale young man crouching like a rabid beast over Kevin Lazaros, holding the would-be sorcerer's ruined head under the rapid, icy flow of the River. Lazaros' limbs flail weakly against the water as his body makes a final, doomed effort to prevent its inevitable demise. When Veniamen/Martha pulls its arms out of the flood, making no splash or ripple in that icy tide, and raises them above its head in triumph, it is not Lazaros' corpse that it holds- it is his soul.

(to be continued some more...)