Friday, September 21, 2007

Painful Memories

He clenched his fist, almost flinching as the carborundum blades flicked out of their bracer sheathes and slashed the air on either side of his arm.

"Who did you say this armor came from?"

Lethane grinned his usual wide grin. "I didn't."

Ravyn sighed and pulled back the concealed bolt that folded the blades back into their housing. His legs had similar gear-driven knives and even had a spike retracted into the knee plates. That one was impact sensitive; if he drove his knee into someone, the point of ruby crystal would come out with the force of a gunshot.

"Seriously, I want to know."

The big blue man, who was more cat than human, stretched languidly on the hood of the car he'd stolen thirty minutes ago. "Trust me, cub scout. You don't."

"Would you please stop calling me that?" As he spoke, his voice growing more exasperated by the moment, Ravyn checked the power leads into all of the suit's components. All of his old armor's systems were here, enhancing his powers and protecting his body...

...not that he seemed to need much of either any more. He had no idea why he was exhibiting any powers at all outside of a latent genetic strain increase-matrix, which was a fancy way of saying a field of tachyon emissions designed to complete the guanine and lysine gaps in his DNA and provide the biologic connections needed to access his mutant abilities.

Come to think of it, that was the fancy way of saying it. Basically, or as basic as he could phrase it to himself, the suit made him whole. It did what nature and the biologic trauma of nearly dying when he was six years old had kept him from doing during puberty. Only now, there didn't seem to be as much of a need for it. He was certainly not powerless now, with or without a suit of powered armor like this.

Of course, he never had these kinds of powers. As Nightravyn, he had been faster than normal, stronger than he had any right to be and he possessed the ability to fly.

Flying... He missed soaring through the sky with... with....

Her. His eyes darkened, remembering Anthem in a rush of emotion. Her smell, her soft, blond hair, the way she smiled every morning. He remembered the first time they met on separate assignments against the same villain. He remembered their first date. Their first kiss.

Their wedding.

The window near him did not survive. SHATTER!

"Hey! I just stole this thing!"

Ravyn glowered, trying to banish the memories. That was another life; he wasn't that man any more. He didn't have a wife. He only had enemies... "Well now it's got air conditioning."

Lethane clapped, grinning again. "That's the spirit! Now you are talking like a real Rogue Island thug! Wanna go hit a liquor store? I say we drive this one-windowed beauty into the front of the place without seatbeals and let the crash send us through the windshield and right into their faces! It'll be gr...!"

"No." Ravyn was already manifesting his stone armor, sections of cragged obsidian and basalt forming around his limbs as he turned and walked away.

Leth blinked. "No? But... why not?"

Bloodravyn's voice was a tectonic rumble. It no longer even sounded human. Plates of black glass had crawled across his throat and over his brow, forming a vicious looking mask and cowl of rippling, volcanic fury. "I have something better to do." He wasn't even looking back; he was just walking towards the labyrinthine fortress in the far distance.

Back at the car, Lethane tilted his head, still not apparently understanding the refusal. "But... killing people... and stealing.... and booze...." His voice was almost plaintive, as if no comprehending how anyone could turn down such a sweet plan.

A few minutes later, Ravyn heard a vehicle pull up beside him on the road. Idling forward at his walking speed, the car's driver side window splintered and broke outward, raining glass all over the sidewalk. He just kept going, grinding the little jewels into pale powder.

"Might as well make 'em match, right, Duck?"

Ravyn scowled inwardly but he refused to talk. If he ignored Lethane, perhaps the marauder would go bother someone else. Obviously, he did not know Lethane very well at all. The walk took half an hour. Leth idled the car next to him the entire time.

"Okay. No liquor store... but what in the Nether is so important you have to pass up on a perfect night for mayhem?"

"I have to get back to Kalinda." In truth, he wasn't sure why he felt that way. He just did. Thinking about Anthem had made him start to think about the fortunada woman. He had a need to see her. To talk with her and tell her about the Snakes. There was no reason for the desire but it was there all the same.

"Oh... sex." Leth said it like that explained everything. "Hell, man, we can get that in Cap au Diable. In fact, I can set us up with some hot bitches that work at Pocket D. Let me tell you, they have got some 'extra-dimensional spaces' of their own if you know what I mean."

Ravyn could feel the leer. It unnerved him but he just kept walking. "No."

Lethane sighed, then looked up from the steering wheel with a gleam in his eyes. "Oh! Well, I can get us some guys then. There's a new bridge going in and the rig workers are hot. Abs like granite and muscles for days!"

Ravyn almost stopped at that, stunned by the suggestion. "No. No women. No men." It was all he could to not to punch the annoying bastard in the face. It was at least another twenty minutes back to the Arachnos base and he had a feeling he was in for this all the way there.

Leth stared at him hard. "Whoa... okay, okay. Just for you, I'll go find you some sheep. It's not my thing but hey, whatever you are into, I'm willing to give a shot."

That did it. Ravyn stopped and turned to the car. "SHUT UP!"

The force of the shouting blew out the remaining glass in the car. It even broke the mirrors, cracked the dashboard and made Leth's hair billow backwards. It did nothing, however, to affect the blue-skinned mauler's victorious grin. "Heh. Made you stop. I win."

Ravyn had no idea if, when the car landed somewhere in the next few blocks, Lethane would survive the impact.

With his luck, probably...

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