Shifting Sands

Summary:
January 15 2015: Aspect goes looking for magic. He finds Shift in the Dark.

Gotham Warehouse

A deserted, dilapidated gotham warehouse.


Characters

NPCs

  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]


What with all the odd magic flying around lately Jericho is more on the lookout than usual for the odd, the strange and the unexplained. Not that he can really do more than watch the internet and actually look. Unless he's practically on top of it he has no sense for magic. K'nert does though and sometimes the little imp tells the hacker useful things. Like the fact that someone got spit out of another dimension in Gotham not too long ago.

A stepping disk opens from Limbo not far from the old Dackleman safehouse and Jericho steps through with K'nert, soulbound blade already unfolded and in hand. His traces are glowing blue but he hasn't powered up quite yet. K'nert said there was a man… so let's see if he can be found…

Deep within the industrial sprawl of Bryanttown, there is an old warehouse that was once dedicated to moving product from Wayne Chemicals into the shipping district. The place sat derelict, ever since Wayne Enterprises outsourced their dermatology business to Metropolis in favor of tax breaks only Delaware was willing to offer. This, of course, left the building ripe for occupancy by one Richard Dackleman, the criminal mastermind behind the smooth.

While Dackleman's empire has crumbled, the smooth virtually vanished from the streets, and Dackleman having skipped town for brighter pastures overseas, the place has found a new occupant in the past two days. A shadowy figure, keeping to the dark. He was more comfortable in the dark now, more so than ever before.

Deep within the old warehouse, a single fluorescent bulb lights a dirty bathroom. The dirt-stained sink gradually finds itself filled more and more with the curled shavings of African hair. Through the small mirror, Kwabena can see the beard coming off. He's already shaved his head down to its skin; the beard was next.

With each swipe of the razor, the African's manic eyes seem to grow calmer. Falling hair signifies the transformation from someone more animal in nature, to someone who appears very confused, alone, and lost. He wears but a towel upon his waist, nothing more.

He just doesn't seem to care.

There's a glow behind him, in the dark, the soft, almost inaudible step of boots and the pit-pat of clawed feet on concrete floor. Moving in utter silence is difficult but Jericho isn't trying to be completely quiet. If there's someone where who doesn't need swording he wants to find out in a way that doesn't involve one of them scaring the other out of their wits.

The address of an apartment in the Bronx. Four phone numbers, six e-mail addresses, multiple hiding spots throughout the tri-state area, with others in Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas. Two laptops, three cellular phones, and a smattering of IP addresses. All of these things bounce about inside of Kwabena's mind, but he simply can't connect them to their purposes. He knows what they are, he knows why they are there, and he knows how to find them. But why should he know why they are there, and how would he find them when he already knows where they are?

Logical thought, it seems, has been nearly obliterated by the Darkness.

The noises come as the last chunk of roughly-hewn hair falls from the Ghanaian's face. Eyes glaze over in a wary manner, and he reaches out to slowly close the tap. He stares into the mirror heavily for a long few seconds, while his chest begins to rise and fall with an increasing measure of adrenaline.

The razor, gripped in his hand, begins to tremble.

Suddenly, Kwabena comes bursting out of the bathroom. He wields the razor like a knife, flipping it over with a skill he never possessed before, and raws it back into his hand. There are a few pops and crackles, hardened flesh shattering the plastic around the razor, until its small blades are flung with deadly speed toward the source of the noise. This is all paired with the rearing of teeth and the hissing of an animal.

The towel drops to the floor, and a cloud of smoke goes flying toward the hallway.

It's the bang of the door that sets Jericho on alert and prevents him from getting skewered with razors. His blade comes up as he spins, a pair of metallic 'pings' echoing in the hallway. He doesn't quite get away from the flying metal though. One scores a nasty cut across his cheek as his eyes flare bright amber and narrow. K'nert hisses and moves out of the way. If Jericho's going to fight he doesn't want to be in the way.

Stop. Stop. STOP!

The logical part of Kwabena's brain screams at him, but the avenues of 'fight versus flight' are still overwhelming his conscience. The cloud goes whirring around the room, two, then three times, gaining speed until a soft wind vortex can be noticed. On the third pass, the smoke begins to solidify.

The intended assault would have sent Shift crashing through a wall, showering Jericho with shattered concrete and busted I-beams. Instead, the attack is delayed just so, sending that same destruction into the next room over. Now solidified and unclothed (he knows where he stowed his molecularly-unstable costume, but why does he need it?), the man skids to a halt, leaving tracks on the floor in lieu of supersolid heels. "T'wa kee sana po ne BADA!"

Why did you come to me? FRIEND!

''Trent!!"

Kwabena blinks twice, for the angry tone of his words doesn't match up with his recognition of the would-be enemy. He goes chillingly still, with only his chest rising and falling, a mad look in his silver eyes.

Jericho's blade stays in what longpoint enthusiasts call a 'mid guard'. About chest high held at an angle across his body. His HUD provides translations (after a tense thirty seconds or so) but the tone is so at odds with the words and actions that he's left not at all comforted. "Shift, right? I remember you. We worked together a few months back. You okay buddy? YOu don't seem… quite right."

Shift. Yes, that was the code name he'd adopted. At Jericho's words, he seems confused, but luckily, a bit less feral. "Few… monts," he echoes, speaking with a heavy accent. One might guess that he hasn't used English in some time. "Dat is how dey say, some few monts." While he's not yet adopted a friendly stance, the expression can best be described as confused, perhaps a bit guarded. "But, not possible. Not possible!"

The man finally recognizes that he's naked, and hisses again. He spins aside, disappears for a moment, and comes out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist again. "I was…" He struggles to find the right word. "Present? In dat place. At least… must one year, it was. More dan dat!" Silver eyes dart left and right, before he levels a finger at Jericho. "How can tell dis is no… no illusion?" Muscles flex, as if he's about to engage in another wicked bout of fight versus flight. "Ne waa t'kai moma bainawana?"

Translation: where are your blood sucking eels?

Jericho blinks again. The blade is starting to lower but he's still clearly wary. "Eels. Do you meen demons, Shift?" He steps slowly to the lift, keeping an eye on the silver eyed mutant.

"Illusion? Gone a year." He only knows of one type of thing that does that. "Shift, were you in a hell realm?"

Demon. At that word, the mutant's lips peel back, pearly whites not exactly as white as they used to be. More than a year of dental neglect, it seems. It's been two and a half years since he's brushed, after all.

The grimace is joined by more flexing, and soon, the popping and crackling sounds that follow his super-solidification. Skin becomes rock-like, and the floor beneath his feet dips down at the added weight.

Then, a single word is partly hissed, partly growled, with more ire than he's ever found in his tone before.

"Dahkness."

"Darkness." Jericho isn't sure he likes the sound of that. He definitely doesn't like Hulk-Shift. "Gotcha. What are you doing here with just a towel." And why did his imp tell him there was magic involved here?

"Alright take it easy. I'm here to help you."

Hearing the word spoken back seems to break Kwabena of the paranoia, the confusion. One pinprick of clarity, the place defined by something other than his own head and those freakish voices that followed him, taunted him, sang to him in his feeble attempts to sleep. He lifts a hand to his face, and slumps back against the bathroom sink. "Auugh..!" is blurted out while flesh softens to its normal state.

All of those disconnected lines, coming together. Evaluated by the mind of a mercenary who, until now, was struggling to believe that four times four is sixteen. "Yeah, dat's what… what it's called. De Dahkness. Like…" The hand comes down, rubbing his face. "Like it was a thing. A pahson, or a… how to say… a presence. Everywhere." He pinches his nose, eyes screwed shut. "It was, how to say, finished with me. It spat me out, like dis." Naked. He found the towel here.

"How did you find me?"

"Long story. You pinged on my radar let's say and leave it at that." Jericho finally folds his blade away and slides it into it's case. He's not about to tell the man that his imp tracked him down. Seems imprudent at the moment.

"We'll get you some clothes. You need medical help?" Or psych help, perhaps.

"Whiskey," is Kwabena's answer. The offer to find clothes seems important. He still knows where all of his belongings were left, along with the addresses to his crash pads. For some reason, locating them still seems like a disconnect. "Ken… Kentucky's finest, dat should do de… how to say, de trick."

And a goddamned burger. Nobody wants to know what he resorted to eating while trapped inside The Darkness.

"Alright, we can get that." Jericho goes in for vodka himself. "Just wait here for a few. Do you have anyone you want me to contact. Rant, maybe? You two seemed close."

There is a longer pause, during which Shift seems to be remembering something. He opens his mouth, pauses again, then shakes his head. "No. I know how to find hah."

Meaning, he's probably not quite ready to see her again. Eyebrows furrow, and he looks back toward Jericho hesitantly for a moment, before blurting out an address. It's neath, only a few blocks away. His sparsely furnished Gotham safehouse, where, should anything go missing, he'll know to quietly remove Jericho from one list and add him to another. "Bring my black jacket."

Jericho nods slowly. "Alright. Wait here. Won't take me long." He's not sure if he shouldn't try to get Shift some help, but the merc was pretty reclusive before his disapperance. And where the hell do they make airtight psych wards anyway. Probably wouldn't do any good. So clothes and his black jacket it is.

There's a nod of the head, before Kwabena turns away and walks toward a window overlooking the dirty neighborhood below. He reaches down to open it, letting the cold air torment his half naked skin. Yeah, it was damned cold, but it was a reminder that this place was real, not an illusion. At least here, what's hot was hot, and cold was cold. There, in the Darkness, there were no such things, except for what you carry deep inside.


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