Primal Forces: Knight of the Balance

Summary:
March 15 2015: Fenris hunts a trio of mistfiends only to be hunted himself. Fortunately the Witchblade is at hand.

Queens Alley

The back alleys of New York are getting rougher every day.


Characters

NPCs

  • Mistfiends

Mood Music:
[* None]


Magic never sleeps. It would be eaiser sometimes if it did. It's a particularly cruel twist of fate, though that Magic is most powerful at night. Midnight in particular. The lines of power around the planet swell with energy at midnight. And during conjunctions. And eclipses. And… well, a lot of things.

That power makes wonders possible, but also horrors. Tonight, one of those horrors is at work. A shadowy presence near a block of apartment buildings in Queen. It moves down the street, never in sight but always able to be felt. Something in the shadows, hungry. Always hungry. And it's looking for someone, in particular. It's already torwn up four people tonight doing it.

***

Sara Pezzini works slightly more regular hours since she started at the Triskelion. She's available for the weird hours when she needs to be, but increased resources and manpower means she isn't the only person who can deal with…well, anything. It's taken a bit of adjustment for her, which probably explains why she's just leaving the local dive diner where she's eaten so many meals on the way back from a shift.

***

There's a feeling of impending doom that starts to cast a shadow over the streets approaching the diner. The streets go still the way a forest does when a predator is about. Sara's probably familair with the feeling since a lot of things in the supernatural end of the block evoke it. Moments later there's a feeling of… scratching at the edges of the awareness. Like someone is running their nails over a blackboard that's just baaaaarely audible. And behind that, for those that can feel it, a sense of malice.

***

Sara knows that feeling well. It's always followed by a warning from the Witchblade, that flash of fire and steel in her mind as the bracelet starts to send out tendrils down her fingers and up her forearm. She doesn't react visibly to the threat, keeping her hands in her pocket and her shoulders raised just a bit. But she also keeps alert, eyes at the ready, as she heads toward a darker alley to draw whatever it might be away from civilians.

***

As Sara moves, the lights start to dim. Not go out, but it's like a cloud has gone over the moon, only there's no clouds in the sky. Nor any fog to obscure the lights. Something's drawing near. Or maybe more than one something. There's a brush of cold, wet scales at the edge of awareness. A phantom feeling. Nothing's really there. A tall figure appears at the end of the alley casting a crooked shadow and begins to walk forward. There's a gleam of too-bright steel in it's hand. "Witchblade?" The voice is distorted, as though coming through a really bad phone line. "Detective?"

***

"You guys need to update your info," Sara says to the figure, a short, wickedly curved blade in her right hand, the Witchblade a gauntlet over her forearm as she faces the mouth of the alley. "I swapped out agencies. SHIELD now." There might be something threatening in the air, but it's not the only threatening thing in the alley, as the Witchblade puts a faint, golden glow behind her eyes.

***

The figure with the too-bright Sword pulls up short. "Detective, I can't understand what you're saying." The darkness starts to congeal around Sara. Whispers, scratching.

The Balance is wanted for a lot of things. THe Darkness and the Light both want to tip it in their favor and the bearer of the Balance is the key to that. But some things are beyond the politics of Light and Darkness… some things just want to feed.

Though feeding on Sara seems like a bad idea. It just wants to cut her out. Prevent her from intefering. From Fenris point of view he can see a silhouette. Which suddenly whirls and swirls as the darkness shoots both inward right at Sara and outward at the god-wolf.

***

The Witchblade is a versatile weapon. Obviously, it can be any weapon it needs to be. But as the offspring of darkness and light, it's able to call on either to fight the things that may come after it. As the darkness attacks, the blade disappears from Sara's hand, more armor protecting her as light shoots out from her hands to meet the darkness, actinic bright.

***

The flash of light burns away the darkenss around Sara and suddenly it becomes apparent that some kind of vapor or mist had surrounded her. She can hear now too, much more clearly, the clang of steel on steel. Fenris is wounded, bleeding and fighting against three shadowy figures all of which appear to be some kind of ancient warrior. The outlines of ancient armor are quite evident. As are the battle axes. Some kind of viking replica seems clear though what it is, not so much.

Except that all three of them are drawing something from the god-wolf.

***

As the darkness clears and Sara sees what's going on, she calls back the sword in one hand, though the palm of the other continues to glow. "Hey!" she calls toward the fight, firing off another blast of light at one of the warriors. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" Has that taunt ever worked out well for anyone in the history of the world? Probably now. But Sara follows it by diving into the fray, that short sword lashing out in vicious sweeps.

***

The witchblade bites through the misty forms of Fenris attackers which disappate and reform a few paces away. The Godwolf looks up, wipes his jaw. "Sara…" He greets her. "Mistfiends. Magical vampires. Exactly the kind of thing I'm not very good at dealing with." He can hack at them sure but they can weaken him just by being near. And as powerful as he is… Fenris can't deal with everything. "Careful, I think they're eyeing your sword…"

***

"That's the definition of biting off more than they can chew," Sara snorts at Fenris' suggestion that the creatures might be going after the Witchblade. "What's their weakness?" she asks as she gets closer, situating herself with her back to the god-wolf. She's gotten much better with that sword since the last time they met.

***

"Their blades. They have to manifest through this world through a solid focus. It's their weapons. Shatter them and they're gone." Fenris narrows his eyes and then flips his blade to the hilt side and offers it to Sara. "Give 'em hell."

The Mistfiends eye the Witchblade… then charge as one, coming in from three sides at once.

***

"I kind of brought my own. Besides, what're you going to do?" But they're sort of being charged, which is not conducive to playing twenty questions. Growling to herself, Sara restricts the Witchblade to providing armor, diving forward to make use of a blade that doesn't respond immediately to her thoughts. Sure, let's just do things the hard way.

For the better part of the last seven months, Sara's been spending a solid amount of time training in the sword. She's always been a quick study, but the added advantage of the Switchblade's knowledge has meant she's picked up skill at an incredible speed. And now? Now it shows, as she spins and ducks amidst the fiends.

***

Fenris warps behind Sara, turning from a man to a relatively small (horse sized) wolf in moments. The mistfiends attack in perfect coordination, blades coming in from the right (all of them are right handed) in quick succession - one, two, three. Despite all that the blows sing through empty air. Sara's training has paid off, that's for certain. As they turn to face her once more, Fenris is among them, slapping one aside with a paw the size of a bowling ball. Their mere presence weakens him but he may be able to make things a bit easier for Sara and if he can he most certainly will.

***

"Well that's an option, sure." Sara's startled by the first appearance of the wolf, but it's still not the strangest thing she's ever seen. Not even close. She's keeping up with the attacks, but three-on-one is hard to manage, even when you're good. She needs to try something else. So when one of the fiends gives her enough space, she fires one of those light blasts at its blade, even as she parries a strike by another.

***

The light seems to be absorbed into the blade and for a moment, it's as if nothing happens. Then the blade begins to glow from the inside out and shatters with an earsplitting sound. The other two mistfiends seem taken aback by this. They back and give way before merging into one being. One being that shifts and flows before resolving into a silhouette of Sara herself. A dark mirror. "Let's see what you've got, Balance." It hisses.

"Careful." Fenris growls, stalking off to Sara's left, moving to flank - "It's trying to adapt to you." As if the words were prophetic, a bolt of darkness flies from the dark doppleganger's left hand.

***

Sara throws herself down into a slide when the bolt of darkness flies toward her, striking upward with her blade to try to cut it. "Best of luck with that," she grunts to Fenris. "I've had the damned thing in my head for six years and I'm still adapting." And so is the Witchblade, though it's hard to trace the hows and whys. As they face off against shadow, the armor shifts. Black and steel turn brighter silver and gold, jewels shading to blue as the influence of the Angelus makes itself known.

***

Fenris lunges in to force an opening and the Mistfiend turns and strikes him square on the nose with one of those bolts of darkness. The impact knocks the god-wolf aside and dark veins begin to spread through his fur, inky black against his already dark fur. His eyes blaze as the Destroyer begins to surface. "Not… now…" He grits, looking back to Sara. The large canine closes his eyes and lays down, concentrating. There's a wash of magic of Sara. The God-Wolf's blessing to fellow hunters. Be swift, sure and deadly tonight.

The mistfiend moves on Sara, blade dancing in an imperfect reflection of the Witchblade's own skill. It can't copy her experience and ituition perfectly, but it's making a good try.5r

***

Sara's skill isn't just her own. Her style isn't just her own. The Witchblade feeds her memories, and she fights like dozens of different women, from different times, with different backgrounds and different weapon preferences. It's hard to copy someone who hardly has a style of their own. Add in Fenris' blessing, and she's…a machine. And right now, her goal is to disarm the wraith. That should give her her best chance to destroy the blade.

***

The mistfiend lunges in a textbook fifteenth century fencing move, then turns when parried into a slicing chop from the left. That too rings off Sara's defenses and as the Witchblade counters, faster and more unpredictable than the dark copy, the thing gives ground until it's cornered up against a wall and an opening in it's defense appears, small to an outside viewer but glaring to Sara's practiced eye.

***

Sara upward stroke into that opening is a brutal strike that comes out of Aztec Mexico, along with the backhand across the face of the creature. "Bitch, I have been down this road with the 'blade itself," she snarls back at the fiend as she knocks the blade loose. "Knock-off." And that's when she looses another blast of concentrated light into the fiend's blade.

***

During the fight those dark veins have spreading along Fenris, more and more extensively. When Sara's light strikes the knock-off, the blade shatters instantly. No delay as in the last time. The twin mistfiends screach in hatred and denied hunger and begin to disappate into the ether, their anchor to this world destroyed.

In moments Sara is alone with the God-Wolf in the alley. The black on him recedes and he opens his eyes, looking… a bit saner. He stands and shakes himself. "Well done." He rumbles quietly. "Are you injured?"

***

Sara has a hand out toward Fenris as the fiends disappear, palm glowing. She may not be entirely sure what she's supposed to do about it, but she noticed what was happening to him. Once he comes back to himself, she seems relieved, letting out a breath. "No, I'm good," she answers, though she does pause to take a look at herself, making sure that's entirely true. "Yeah. No injuries. You okay?"

***

"I will be." The God-Wolf shakes himself once more and his form shimmers and resolves into the familair profile of Jeremiah Wolfson once more. "The feeding was provoking an… instinctive response. You finished it just in time." The Destroyer Wolf is not something anyone wants to see. Not in the middle of Queens, anyway.

"That was rather foolish of me." He admits ruefully. "I had assumed that you were being stalked. It was actually me. Simply tried to lure me somewhere that it might attack me without being noticed. It's fortunate that you were-" Fenris had been putting his gear away as he talked. As he does though something clatters out of his pocket and snakes right over up against Sara's foot. On inspection it's a silvery-grey cut of metal - faceted as if a crystal - on a long chain with a small medallion at the other end. "Oh… that's interesting."

***

Sara offers back Fenris' blade once he has himself in order, quirking a brow as the crystal falls against her. "That safe to pick up, or should I let you handle it?" It's like she's been around this weird magic stuff for a while now or something. "Getting jumped on the way home is disturbingly normal for me," she adds with a smirk. "Then again, I live in New York. It'd probably be normal even without the 'blade."

***

Fenris chuckles. "It's safe. I made that one. Actually…" He cants his head slightly. It'd gone to her like a magnet. Hrm. "It's interesting that it reacted like that to you. It's a Ley Pendulum. Which is a… minor enchanted tool I've been passing out to people I trust. They're… well, smart isn't quite the word for it. But they have affinity for those who might be able to wield them well."

The wolf considers Sara for a moment. "Are you particularly busy at the moment?"

***

"I've heard that story before," Sara says ruefully, leaning down to pick up the pendant. "Enough to know it's already too late not to be stuck with it if that's how it works. At least you're not holding tournaments to the death to find someone to take it. That's a step in the right direction." At his question, though, she sighs. "I'm trying to pin down some temporal anomalies that may have something to do with my current boyfriend's sort of ex, but no, I'm done for the day, at least."

***

"That sounds fun." Fenris says rather wryly. "And no, actually, you're not stuck with it if you don't want it. It won't haunt you or whisper in your dreams. I'll just put it back in my pocket. It's only about as smart as a dog." He's not in the habit of 'sticking' people with this kind of responsibility.

"But if you're not immediately of a mind to dump it, I've a proposal for you. You've probably noticed more than most, but magical things have been gettting kind of out of hand lately. That's… kind of the fault of those of us on the more spooky end of things who are supposed to be watching out for things like that before they get so big that they can't be ignored. For a while it's been just me and for a while I thought I could handle them myself. But I'm spread too thin so I've been… recruiting help, and giving them some tools to make their life easier."

He pauses, considering again. "I know you've already got one magical artifact and it comes with a fairly intense set of responsibilities." He's known other bearers before. "But you could certainly be a very effective Guardian."

***

"I was under the impression I was already being a Guardian," Sara replies, letting the pendant dangle over the backs of her fingers. "I've been chasing things back where they came from for years. Doing my best to maintain the balance. I heard from Blood and from Constantine months ago that things have been getting worse. I've been keeping up with what I can, but…" She trails off, shrugging. "I'm not a wizard. I'm a knight. So if you're handing out…" Pausing, she eyes the pendant. "If you're handing out things that help, I'm in."

***

Fenris grins. "Well yes, you are. More than most of the folks I've talked to." Because he needs the willing, not necessarily the magically inclined. Though that helps. "Though what I'm talking about is something a bit more formal. Nothing quite like joining the police or… did you say signing up for SHIELD? I couldn't quite make you out. Anyway, there has been at various points in history, a group of people given these Ley Pendents and charged with watching over this world's magic. Dealing with things that threaten our reality in one fashion or another." Explaining how the two are connected is a long series of lessions, but Fenris is betting that Sara's get enough exposure to magic to get that there is a connection. "I'm gathering them up again. They've gone by a number of names in the past. The last time they were the Order of the Leymen. This time I think they're calling themselves Primal Force. I think you probably know a few of them." He got Melinda May to sign on after all.

***

"Yeah, I left the force for SHIELD," Sara nods without looking away from the pendant. She doesn't sound like she's quite made peace with the decision, but it's been made. "They've got a more…liberal view of the sort of things the 'blade brings into my life. I can actually do my job, instead of spending half my time trying to cover up what happened." Finally, she looks back from the pendant, brow arching. "Sounds like the sort of group we could use."

***

"Then I'll make some introductions. Hold on to that. You may be able to figure out how to use it, but in short, it's mostly to let you detect, teleport and communicate along the Ley Line network. It will also boost your natural abilities in times of great need." Exactly how that will interact with the Witchblade Fenris isn't sure. A Ley Pendulum isn't an artifact on the same order as the Witchblade. Not even close. Which may work in it's favor. There's no 'intent' or 'agenda' behind it. It simply does what it does.

"I came to the same conclusion after having the living daylights beaten out of me one too many times." Fenris is hard - close to impossible - to kill. But beat him into immobility? That's much easier. And it's happened a few times. One of those times he ended up in Sara's house. "I'll come by at some point to teach you how to use it if it doesn't come naturally to you. Which it may. Oh, speaking of May, if you're with SHIELD, you may see her. She's accepted one as well."

***

That more than anything seems to surprise Sara. "Huh," she murmurs, tucking the pendant into her pocket and then catching her breath. "Ah. Yeah. That would explain that." There's a pause and a frown as she works a few more things through. "That could also be awkward. But this is more important."

***

"If you ever need it, you can send SHIELD superiors to my house to ask me questions. I've got a listed address under my other name. I'm not hard to find." If you know where to look that is. Fenris is ordinarily quite private but yes, this is more important to him. "And Sara, this isn't a lifetime contract signed in blood. If ever you want out, all you have to do is tell me." For now, he's just happy to have the help. "As I said, I'll make some introductions. I'm getting the feeling that you will all want to know eachother. With all that's been happening, I suspect something big and bad isn't far off."

***

"We've been expecting that for months," Sara reminds. "Honestly, I'm relieved I won't have to do it on my own. Seems like the uglies just keep getting bigger." She manages a faint smile, pushing a hand through her hair. "Now, though, I think I'd like to go home and get some sleep. You've got my number when it's time to play meet and greet."

***

"That I do." And he knows where she lives. Quite by accident. Fenris smiles a little. "Did you drive here? If not, I can provide a Way." Portals are handy. He's not sure if there's a ley line near her house off the top of his head. If there is though she'll soon be able to teleport herself.

***

"I'll make it on my own," Sara laughs, starting to walk backward down the sidewalk. "Thanks, though. I appreciate the thought." And with that, she starts back home. She'll have to look into this pendant thing later.


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