Title: Causa Mortis
Elaine Storm - February 11, 2012 12:15 AM (GMT)
“Where… am I…”
Ringing. Her ears thrummed with a dull buzz, her head heavy as if the sound had weight to it. The noise progressed and grew louder and louder, vibrating throughout her skull. Her vision swam with hues of red and black, clouded across her eyes like stormy grains of sand. The beat of her heart pounded in her chest, the organ caged within shattered ribs. There was a feeling of being loose and free, an opening in a broken down body where the pain trickled out. That specific spot was the side of her head, wet with blood. There, she was light. Numb to it. Sleepy.
“Damn it, Favon. Stop talking and look at me. Keep your eyes open!”
Her head lolled to the side, and she found her ear pressed against the chest of another. His heart was racing in comparison to hers, thundering with the pace of his footsteps. Finally, she could hear the rush of his feet pulsing against the ground. Left right, left right. It was hypnotic, and she closed her eyes, smiling.
“Don’t, don’t fall asleep!”
She groaned and her eyes fluttered open. The command wasn’t heard, and she simply reacted to the muffled sound of his tone. Weakly, she stared up at the person who held her. Through the haze, she could see a pair of intense and narrowed violet eyes staring down at her. The hair of his head was bright orange, and it seemed to dance and waver in her vision like a flame does.
The woman twitched a little, her body less responsive by the moment. “Reu… what are you doing. Where is he?”
“Gone…” The man panted, arms around her tensing a little to help brace her weight better as his limbs tired. “Bolted the moment we showed up…”
“That doesn’t… make sense…”
“Why is she hurt, Daddy?...” A young voice called out, low to the ground at her left. From the turning gears and clicking and clacking metal with each stride, the she could tell the child was only keeping up by the Organoid she rode.
“You brought the kid… damn it, Reu. He’s dangerous…”
“She found you, now save your breath! You’ve lost too much blood.”
She shuddered at those words. Had she? Slowly, she was starting to forget what happened. The cuts on her arm, the pain in her gut, the dents in her skull, the marks on her throat - they were the key injuries she could feel - but they were mysteries. Where else was she bleeding, what else was fractured, what functions would she lose?
“I’m going… to die…”
“Favon! Favon, stay with me, come on!”
“Stop shouting, Reu… stop…”
“Favon!” His footsteps picked up, a trail of blood behind them. The young girl’s muffled voice now moved behind Reu. Footprint after footprint was left in their wake in the dirt, leaving imprints like ink stamps of crimson parallel designs. They went deeper into the city, the bustle of Guygalos starting to overflow her senses. The dirt trails of the alleyways became paved streets, and a series of gasps and surprised shrieks assaulted her from all sides as Reu ran. The mechanical whir of Zoids, the clack of metallic clawsteps coming up beside them, it all faded into the ringing again.
“Just get him, Reu…”
He didn’t answer this time, swerving down another road, the Organoid at his heels as they came through a tall gate. A siren? More people, something taking her away. Something. Things. Where was she? Reu was shouting, the girl was sobbing, and pale faces stooped in over her face. Who was she?
But she remembered eyes. She remembered two demonic glowing gems of gold that cut through her. Eyes so sharp and precise, so meticulous in the way they ravaged and tortured her body to the state it was in. That sight, she would not forget.
“Make him… pay…”
Reu stood quietly in the waiting room, the image of Vatani Favon being wheeled through the double doors to the emergency room engraved into his mind. Her long black hair, matted with blood. The way her sightless eyes darted around one moment, then gazed up at him like blank white orbs the next. What a beautiful, deep amber color they had been. In the most literal way, the life had been beaten out of her. A body, with graceful curves and lean muscles, was shattered and scarred like a rag doll left to war dogs.
It was not the first time he had witnessed such brutality. But she was the first of the victims to survive.
The man hovered there, petrified. He wondered why and how anything had happened at all, but especially how he had made it to the Guygalos city hospital in time. Reu ran a hand through his ginger hair, fingertips ruffling up his faux hawk. He stood out like like a black pebble amongst a stream of silvery stones. He wore all black, the only color to his outfit being very faint details in the fabric. Around his right shoulder, turquoise and orange-colored bands were stitched into the cloth of his shirt. A matching bag was slung over his shoulder, and a small pouch tied to his belt.
He finally snapped out of it enough to pace around, his boots clicking on the slate floor, necklace jingling as a series of metal feathers tapped against each other with the movement. He did not notice another soul in the room in those moments, not until his daughter’s voice touched his ears.
“Daddy… Daddy what’s going to happen to her?...” The young girl called. She looked to be about eight years old, with shoulder-length dark brown hair. Her attire was similar to her father's, and was mostly black, decorated with soft blue tones. She sat in one of the hospital chairs, her feet dangling off to be resting on the mane of the silver griffon Organoid curled up below her. The child’s bright cerulean eyes blinked up at her parent, lost and confused.
“Ari, sweetie…” Reu murmured, carefully striding over to be standing before the girl and Organoid. He stooped down to the young girl's level, one hand rubbing her arm, the other giving the griffon a gentle pat on the head. "The Doctors are going to try and make her all better, okay? And then we'll bring her home..."
Ari nodded a little, sniffling. The griffon below them gave a nervous 'Ckhrrr..', and Ari, feeling the anxiety, leaped right into her father's arms, hugging his neck and burying his face against his cheek. "I'm scared, Daddy..." She sobbed.
Reu listened and sighed, ruffling the griffon's metallic feathers. It set its head against the ground, regarding them quietly. “I know, sweetheart.… I'm scared too.” He stood up, carrying her, and took his seat where Ari had been, holding her gently in his arms. While she quietly seeked comfort in his embrace, the man stared up at the ceiling, just as troubled.
Reu knew that, whether Vatani recovered or not, once they had done what they could, the medics would come and interrogate him on what he had rescued her from.
Aeolus - February 11, 2012 10:32 PM (GMT)
Talk filled his ears. His eyes rolled about, but nothing of his surroundings was committed to memory. White walls rose on all sides, containing a white bed covered in white sheets, which were twisted around a young man in white clothes. Of particular note was the strange fact that his hair was not white when, in truth, it should have been. The tired grey of his hair’s black dye seemed to hang off of each strand, filled in forfeit and melancholy.
“…match confirmed. It says here he’s been missing for a couple of months now…completely left his property behind. How he ended up unconscious in the mountains is beyond me.”
Aimlessly, his red and green eyes wandered. The burn in his back had long subsided, and yet it felt as though the poison remained, the seed of its blood nestled in his veins until its time of maturity. He expected that, as it had only a few days ago, the infection would awaken and resume its feast. They reassured him that it was gone, the doctors and nurses. The personnel in New Helic’s hospital had said the same, however; needless to say, they had been wrong. He reached up as if to touch his back and only went so far as his shoulder. It was strange to the touch, cool and unfamiliar, like his soul had been dispossessed from his body long ago.
Movement caught his gaze. A doctor and a man in uniform stood near the door, quietly exchanging information. The patient himself sat at the edge of the white bed, head bowed in a tired slouch. He heard the sound of their voices, and yet no room remained in his head for thoughts -- except one.
They found me. I guess I have to go back.
His eyes fluttered as the man in uniform turned to him, nearly the motion of a flinch. Still, he sat unmoved and listless, staring up at this stranger who had come to apprehend him once he had finished recovering from his collapse.
“So, Mr. Astraeus. Let’s try this again. Do you still insist on being identified as who you claim to be? Our records indicate otherwise.”
He’d been caught red-handed. The young man closed his eyes, letting his mind rest for that precious half-moment he could capture. When he opened them again, he gazed straight into the face of incrimination.
”No. You’ve caught me. I’m Aeolus Spades.”
I don’t want to go back.
Twelve ‘til eleven in the morning. Contrary to the picture ID they had procured from his records, Aeolus’s hair had been hacked short and smothered black, although the dye had begun to wear away. He was pale and grimy, and his once-lean form had lost much of its luster to starvation. He reeled where he once stood stalwart and his eyes could not remain focused. Aeolus Spades, they called him, and he would respond, but it was with such a thickness in his voice that they were not sure if he was really Aeolus any more.
He was moved to a private room so that they might further their investigation. Aeolus knew he was in for a bit of trouble – one of his friends had been a policeman, after all, so he knew the drill. They would inquire into why he had attempted to conceal his identity. They would ask him why he left home for such an extended period of time without notifying a single living soul, and they would ask what he had done to fall into such a pitiful condition. The man in uniform seemed more concerned with getting the story from the doctor first. There was a reason the man was there: Aeolus claimed he had no contacts, no way of getting home, and he had even gone by the false name of Astraeus, which left his caretakers standing at a dead end until they contacted legal headquarters for assistance. That made enough sense. That was how someone came looking for him in Guygalos when he should have been somewhere in New Helic – distant, distant New Helic.
Of course, that was how they dug up all these details that he left behind -- the abandoned building at the edge of New Helic City, the utility bills that had piled on until they were called to attention. Several zoids remained in the hangar, registered under one owner, and yet that owner was never around and none of the zoids could identify where he had gone. With the sole remaining member of Cataclysma missing, he became one more number in a statistic of vanished persons. Calls went out for him, some from creditors, some from battle fans. None had been answered until now.
He expected the policeman to turn around and begin questioning him. Instead, just before the doctor could finish naming off some suggestions on how to handle their “patient”, a nurse rushed into the room with hushed urgency. “Doctor, you’re needed in the ER. Sir, your friends are saying you need to come down. We may be dealing with a case of assault.”
Both the doctor and the man in uniform seemed astonished. They exchanged looks and blinked, as if they hadn’t expected to be interrupted so soon. Aeolus had not expected it either, yet he found himself strangely unmoved, closing his eyes to listen the nurse’s voice. As the two men murmured a moment longer with the decision to go downstairs, a ringing came to Aeolus’s ears, and it took him some conscious effort not to reach for his head.
“Come with us,” the policeman finally said. Aeolus looked at him in the vaguely bemused manner he’d done the entire day. Taking it as confirmation, the men moved out to follow the nurse, Aeolus in tow. He stared down at the ground as they went with his feet moving somewhat like he was on a tightrope. Golden light slanted across the floor from windows and open doors. It hurt his eyes somewhat. He turned his head away.
I wonder what they did with my clothes, he thought. Aeolus couldn’t even remember what he’d worn up until this point.
They arrived at the waiting room sooner than he expected. Aeolus raised his head and took a moment to adjust to his surroundings, glancing around at walls that were not so white, blotched by other colors for the comfort of visitors. Ginger orange was perhaps the most intriguing color at the time. He let his eyes alight on a man sitting in a seat, cradling a girl who sniffled and sobbed quietly. The faint clink of metal feathers turned his attention to the necklace around the man’s neck. They shone and glittered, mysterious and beautiful. Aeolus then noted the bands around the man’s shoulder and wondered if it was fashion or rank that put them there.
He was mildly surprised to notice the organoid that accompanied them. In most situations, it was the organoid who attracted attention first. The fact that he had not considered the creature first, however, did not make it any less important. Aeolus heard the ringing again and turned his head away, supposing that none of it was any of his business.
The doctor hurried into the ER. Three men stood in the waiting room, talking, voices lowered and so muffled that even his ears could not discern the words. One glanced his way and he stared back, slouching where he stood like a common hunchback. He somewhat wished he could hear what they were saying now, but Aeolus supposed he just didn’t care enough to try and listen.
He closed his eyes again. Around him, things moved, and the rustle of clothing turned to the whisper of wind in the trees, the soft commotion of chatter to the joyous thunder of laughter, and the world slipped…
Elaine Storm - February 12, 2012 06:39 AM (GMT)
Her vision was gone. She simply could not see. She was getting to personally know each vein and muscle of her body. The sensations of pain that rippled from one spot to another let her slowly realize how fragile she was. Ancient Zoidian or not, her make-up was not so different than a human's. Vatani was very old and now very weak. Her attacker had nailed every vital of her body, every component to a Zoidian that kept them so strong and immortal.
And it was their fault.
She twitched, not hearing the doctors around her, not hearing the sounds within the ER room. Vatani listened instead to the thundering pulse within her head. It was so reminiscent of pounding fists against bones, or of her body slammed against the wall, the window of a building, and the dumpster in the alley. Yet even those moments, so vivid with pain, became blurry. She slowed down, murmuring to herself, wincing as she tried to flex her broken fingers and wished she could have one last retaliation.
Not much... time now...
It didn’t take long for Ari to settle down, and the young brunette began to paw idly at her father’s shirt, nuzzling the fabric a little and listening to the faint noise of the waiting room. Her father only stared, at last lowering his head when the hairs at the back of his neck stood on end. The authority. He sat up a little straighter, eyes glistening somewhat defensively, muscles tensing in preparation for a fight.
His daughter responded very different, swiveling her head around at the source of the new chatting voices in the room. Her eyes brightened a little at the sight of new people, and she slipped out of Reu’s grasp, staggering to come to her feet on the floor.
“Hey, hey!” Ari babbled excitedly before hobbling over to the group of three. When she approached, the girl realized just how much bigger than her they were. The child stuttered a little, shrinking back instinctively from the authority figures. She huddled against the back of Aeolus’ knee, trembling slightly. Ari was so vulnerable and small there, tears still sticking to her cheeks.
She finally found the courage to speak, although muffled against the fabric of Aeolus’ pants. “Do you... do you know if she’s going to be okay?”
Ari had left fast, but Reu followed just as quickly, leaping to his feet and clearing the distance between them with a few strides. “I’m sorry,” He told them, dipping his head sharply. The man reached out a hand in Ari’s direction, and immediately his daughter scrambled from one hiding spot to another. Her small hand latched onto one of his fingers, once more burying her face, only this time against Reu’s leg.
The Organoid huffed, sluggishly rising from its spot and clambering over to them. its long, wiry tail that ended in a metallic fluff of feather-like protrusions dragged after it on the ground. Elderly or lazy, the metallic beast certainly did not have the gait of a majestic griffon. It stood at Reu’s heels like an obedient canine, gently nudging Ari’s head with its beak. She sniffled, blinking at the Organoid, then rested the side of her head against its metallic face. The pair were quiet, listening to Reu continue.
“She’s just scared, forgive the intrusion. We have a friend who’s injured. Is there any word on her?...” He asked, eyes set on the policemen. Yet he found his violet gaze lingering on the scrap of a man that stood with them. He had skin clinging to his bones, his hair not only without its sheen, but also appearing to be losing its color. He was pale and weak, shriveled in comparison to Reu’s form. He frowned only slightly and for a split second, unconsciously reaching to pet his daughter’s head and feel her soft hair.
Aeolus - February 13, 2012 08:38 PM (GMT)
Aeolus was snatched from his five-second reverie once that little girl came running up to them. He glanced her way in a daze, and then he watched in quiet surprise as the girl took to hiding by his leg. Her cheeks shone with sadness, and the fear in her eyes told every bit of her story. He couldn’t help but smile, pitying the child despite his own misfortune.
”Do you… do you know if she’s going to be okay?”
The young man glanced to the three who had gathered together. Each exchanged looks, uncertain as to how to answer the little girl. One finally tried to give his friendliest smile and bowed his head, saying, “She’ll be fine, sweetheart. You just stick with your daddy, okay?” They glanced to the ginger-haired father in question as he came over, apologizing for her conduct. “Oh, no, it’s not an issue,” said the cop. He glanced over his shoulder with a look of intrigue, and then he let his attention settle on the stranger. “Do you mean the woman who just went in? Are you the one who brought her here?”
Aeolus turned his head to the double doors of the ER. He wondered if he had been wheeled through the same way, prone on a stretcher, the room filled with a panic and bustle he had not been awake for. It filled him with a strange sense of dread. He took his focus to the girl and her griffon, hoping that, perhaps, he would be less uneasy there.
It was an old thing, the organoid. It certainly seemed old. Even then, it seemed the best guardian a small girl could ask for. Aeolus observed the two, silent, admiring, and sympathizing. He finally knelt down as the men busied themselves with the father, and he spoke to the girl in hushed tones. ”Hey… It’ll be all right. What’s wrong? Why are you so sad?”
Two of the policemen looked their way. Aeolus paid them no mind, thinking that they would allow him a gesture as simple as reassurance. It wasn’t as if he was a dangerous criminal.
Elaine Storm - February 16, 2012 06:33 AM (GMT)
“Yes…“ Reu finally replied, hesitating at the question. He had to plant his feet into the floor to avoid twitching or pacing nervously. Innocent. Of course he was. “She’s a close friend of mine. More like a sister than anything.” He too stared past to the ER doors, hoping that the look alone could summon her back, happy and healthy with a cocky smirk on her face, complaining about how he had worried for nothing.
Little Ari gave a quiet whimper, hugging her father’s leg. The stranger seemed to stoop down to her level so abruptly that she jolted, tiny fingers coiling in the fabric of Reu’s pants. She stared, misty blue eyes blinking curiously at him. His tone was strange, and he suddenly seemed so close and reassuring like her precious father was. After a moment of listening to him, she relaxed, stepping out from her father’s shadow and nearer to the emaciated male.
“I’m scared, I don’t want anyone hurt! She was hurt bad, mister! Real bad!” Ari squeaked, hugging her arms. She kept staring at Aeolus, watching him, analyzing his movements and appearance with an eye that seemed trained far beyond her years.
“What’s wrong with you?” The innocent question was finally asked, and the girl, much to the shock of others, reached out to touch his face. Her hands, so soft and delicate and unstained, lightly patted his cheeks and touched his hair, giving his nose a soft poke too. “Are you sick?...”
He had observed quietly throughout, but the single comment threw the man on the defensive. Reu placed a hand on Ari’s shoulder and gently tugged her back behind him, acting as a barrier between her and Aeolus. The hair at the back of his neck bristled, and his eyes narrowed on the one with gray hair, not even addressing him directly. “He better not be sick,” The words came out as almost a growl, shooting the cops an accusing glance.
“Daddy?” Ari called, clutching her father’s hand that was held out to block her path back to Aeolus. From behind her parent, she waved at the stranger, her lips in a gentle smile. Her tears had already started to dry up, the wetness of her eyes replaced with kindness and curiosity.
“Mister… mister your eyes are really pretty!” She told him shyly, skittering back to duck behind Reu after the compliment was given.
The griffon Organoid hadn’t budged. It tilted its head at the stranger, beady red eyes gleaming at him. The metallic creature gave a very low, ragged huffing noise, bowing its head. Its eyes dulled, and in that same instant, Reu’s eyes lidded somewhat, a faint moment of shared meditation, as it seemed. The redhead’s shoulders relaxed, and the griffon Organoid raised it gaze and craned its head at an angle again. Then, with a quiet croak, it sat down on its haunches and extended a claw to Aeolus.
Aeolus - February 19, 2012 05:53 PM (GMT)
Doctors and nurses skittered around inside the emergency room. There wasn’t much of a diagnosis to be had—they had already determined that her condition was critical, driven to the brink by some vicious assault. They couldn’t question the victim in her current state, but that was why they left it up to the police to question the man who had brought her here. Tool trays were loaded, anesthesia applied, and they proceeded to work on disinfecting the wounds.
Aeolus watched the little girl. This wasn’t the first time he went out of his way to communicate with one, and so it was no news to him that she seemed apprehensive of his approach, as most children would be with strangers. When she stepped forward, however, he nodded as if in understanding. Aeolus’s guard would have remained down for her demeanor, but he, too, had a trained eye, and it seemed to him that there was something to the child that was not—so to speak—normal. Still, he was careful not to look defensive.
He was mildly surprised that she had even braved the idea to touch his face and hair. He hadn’t felt human skin on his face in a while; he had only felt the roughened palms of his hands and the wear of wind and sun and rain. Aeolus smiled a little as she posed the question, and he opened his mouth to speak when the girl’s father stepped in to intervene.
The runaway’s face fell away as he heard the growl under the father’s breath. ”He better not be sick.” He followed the stranger’s eyes to the policemen, questioning yet somewhat wounded. He thought it better just to withdraw his business when the girl spoke again.
”Mister… mister, your eyes are really pretty!”
He looked at her, and he could not help but smile once more. ”Thanks,” Aeolus said. His eyes snapped then to the organoid as it finally moved, catching his attention, and he observed as it bowed its head, which seemed to correspond with the father's behavior. Now things were beginning to piece together. He hesitated as the beast extended its claw. Aeolus regarded the creature for a moment, then reached forward to give it a shake.
"Pleasure," he murmured.
“Okay, well, we’re going to have to ask you a few questions,” continued the first cop, stepping toward the father. “About the victim.”
Elaine Storm - March 10, 2012 04:01 PM (GMT)
The Organoid squawked, an ancient sound leaving its beak. There was a very distinct feminine tone to its voice, like an old woman’s cough. It politely lowered its claw and backed up, returning to Ari’s side. The little girl bounced in place, hugging the Organoid’s neck. “Mister! My name is Ari, and this is my best friend Avery, and my Daddy!” She squeaked excited, pawing at each of them in turn. Reu glanced down at his title, quietly regarding the girl, but withheld any comments this time. Instead, he raised his head back up, focused on the people that aimed to question him.
“Yeah… Yeah of course,” Reu gulped, eyes darting between the authority figures. He hesitated for several moments, nervous and lost for a solution to how he actually would explain. “The victim, she-“
A glass on the table rattled, the fan overhead clicked as it swayed out of place. A sharp, repetitive chittering noise filled the air as the floor above them seemed to creak and shiver. The ground at their feet trembled; it was so minisucle, yet so unusual. And finally, a thundering roar split the air, and the crash of the right wing of the hospital collapsing under a great weight.
Red light filled every hallway and open room as alarms and sirens rose, nurses and visitors rushing about in a panic. A young woman's voice on the overhead cried out over and over again, each time a slight variation of the same warning:
Caution, rampant Zoid spotted-- Northeast wing—Fuhrer type--Please evacuate the local premises--Do not panic, Security is--
And while officials and civilians alike either ran toward or away from the mentioned chaos, one soul charged right in through the hospital entrance. A single man, fast on his feet, muscled arms pumping as he ran, spine somewhat curled for him to be leaned in and plowing forward like a train. His skin was dark, Indian-like in its tone with a faint shade of grey. A mess of black hair sat on his head, spiked in all directions, long strands of hair brushed back to frame his ears, the rest reaching down to the base of his neck. He was dressed in leather pants, hiking boots, and wore only a vest for a shirt, leaving most of his front bare. A black cloak clung to his shoulders, only long enough to reach down to his knees, its hood drawn up over his head with only a few of those dark strands of hair peeking out.
He was disturbingly covered in scars and tattoos. Nearly every inch of his skin was marked with either cuts and bruises or black tribal markings.
And his eyes: two blazing hell pits of furious gold.
“Avery!” Reu screamed, not hesitating to rush forward to try and intercept the stranger. In a flurry of metallic feathers and spiraling cables, the little girl was swept up into the griffon’s Organoid System. The metallic creature sprang back and swooped up into the air out of harm’s way.
The two men collided, Reu aiming a punch in the invader’s gut to stop him short. The other man, taller and bulkier, caught Reu by the neck , tossing the redhead off to the side before he even had the chance to strike. Reu was thrown twenty feet across the room, slamming right into the wall. The stranger similarly plowed through the cops with ease, not even sparing the emaciated Aeolus a glance or flick of his finger. His black-cloaked form crashed through the ER doors and charged down the hallways, right for the direction of Vitani’s room.
“S-stop him…” Reu coughed, clutching his gut, slumped against the wall. Avery swooped down, chirping nervously and nudging his hand. He thankfully wrapped an arm around her neck, trying to get back on his feet. He coughed and hacked, and it was impressive he was conscious at all.
“He’s going…” The father was shivering, muttering the words out. “To finish her… Finish her off… please stop him! Save her!”
Aeolus - March 15, 2012 12:46 AM (GMT)
"Ohh, okay. Nice to meet you, Ari. And you, Avery. I'm Aeolus." The young man chose not to pay the father any heed at the time, knowing that he wasn't about to receive any happier looks than before. He instead let his ears fix on the conversation at hand so that he could understand the situation, and perhaps Aeolus could glean an answer as to who was in the emergency room. Maybe Ari was just concerned for anyone who was wheeled inside. Maybe the person was someone she knew. Aeolus wanted to know so he could call his curiosity satiated for the day, before he was convoyed off to his own fate.
The police were prepared to listen. The father had begun to speak, his words stuttered by hesitation. Aeolus could not keep his attention trained on the exchange, however; a rattle in the woodwork bade him pause.
He could hear it all. Even through the wear of time, Aeolus's keen ears had not blunted. The click of the fan prompted him to look up, and he could see it sway from its place. The rattle of glass turned his eyes onto the nearby table. The world trembled, and Aeolus turned pale, for he knew that tremor which shook the walls around them. A bellow attacked the peace then, and Aeolus whipped around in a vain search for the source while the policemen froze.
Perhaps it was just a passing zoid. That a passing zoid would cry out like that was unusual, but it wasn't unheard-of. What was unusual was the fact that it was so close to the hospital. Of course, when the building quaked and threw around the people inside, everyone knew something was wrong.
Red light filled Aeolus's vision. He covered his eyes as the alarms struck his ears, and he heard the policemen nearby draw their guns from their holsters, shouting for civilians to make their way outside. As Aeolus pulled his eyes open to see the happenings around him, he could spot the cops making their way toward the emergency room, reaching to throw the doors open and to help the doctors and nurses flee or carry out whatever procedures they had for a zoid attack.
The policemen must have forgotten about him, or maybe they would deal with Aeolus after this was all over. Aeolus didn't care either way it went, not so long as they were in danger. He struggled to form words at first, stuck to the spot where he stood, and then finally he found the ability to speak, letting his eyes light on daughter and father. "We should g—"
He was nearly bowled over by a figure cloaked in black, red light flashing off of his dark skin. Aeolus gasped and stumbled, and he caught himself on the edge of the table. Things happened quickly, almost too quickly—Ari whisked away in a flash of metal, Reu flying twenty feet to crash into a wall, the cops in all places as they were scattered by the intruder. Aeolus went first for the crumpled man, eyes filled with concern and question. Reu had to support himself against the organoid Aeolus had just gotten acquainted with.
Aeolus snapped his head to the double doors of the ER. The cops had scrambled back to their feet and were shouting after the intruder, and one burst through the doors in pursuit.
"He's going... to finish her..."
Aeolus panted. He didn't realize he was breathing hard, as the familiar rush of adrenaline had not occurred in a long time, but something in him seemed to know that it was time to fight. The world blurred and noise and voice grew hazy, yet the father's voice remained clear as day, and the image of the doors sharpened.
"Finish her off… please stop him! Save her!"
The pilot was right on the cops' heels. He hadn't run in a while, let alone fought with his bare hands. But it was clicking that someone was about to die, and Aeolus couldn't let the police attempt to handle such a situation on their own. He couldn't ignore it. While the cops circled the golden-eyed intruder, guns fixed, Aeolus hurtled in with all the force and speed he had behind his weakened body, a flash of white in a room filled with red. He leaped straight for the cloaked man, running entirely on instinct, reason blinded by the pounding of blood.
Nearby, a doctor shielded the body of the victim, Vatani Favon. It was all he could do not to collapse from shock.
Elaine Storm - March 15, 2012 05:07 PM (GMT)
Reu blinked blearily up at Aeolus, panting as he did, eyes hazy from the near concussion. He hardly heard himself mumble the warning, and so it baffled him to see Aeolus bolt off toward danger. Not just a dangerous figure, but danger and murder itself. The father tried to scramble to his feet again, clutching Avery's neck, only to stumble again. The griffon Organoid squawked with concern, it's voice croaking after Aeolus as well. Reu snagged the griffon by a paw, pulling it around to be facing him.
"No matter what happens… stay away. Keep my baby safe…" He whispered to the Organoid though his coughs and pants. Avery flicked her ears and clacked her beak nervously, but understood and obeyed. While Reu finally managed to heave himself to his feet, the metallic creature bolted through the exit to safety from the cloaked menace, as well as avoiding the rampaging Zoid somewhere outside.
The stranger bolted down the hallways with the intuition of a bloodhound, not even sparing a glance to the other rooms. He was on a beeline for the room that held Vatani, a prison where he could properly execute her. The dark-haired man was deaf to every call from the cops, never calling back behind him to acknowledge their pursuit.
He did, however, fight back.
Upon passing an empty stretcher, he grabbed the head of it and whirled around to face the cops. With even more force than he used against Reu, he pushed on the bed to send it hurtling down the hallway to impact with one of the cops with a collision equivalent to being hit by a vehicle. He kept running ahead, pausing by a fire extinquiser enclosed and hanging on the wall. Without hesitating, he slammed his fist into the glass, splinters of it piercing his skin and drawing blood, yet he accomplished the task without so much as flinching. When another of the cops had drawn closer, he threw the canister right for the man's gut. After that impact, he rushed into him for an uppercut and headbutt to send him barreling into the last cop behind them. Not taking a moment's pause after the conflict, the stranger charged onward, at last skidding into Vatani's room.
He snarled at the doctor, hands raised up like claws. He stalked forward like a predator, eying how to most effectively neutralize the doctor and finish his target. His growl elevated into a loud hiss, coiling his legs to leap, when Aeolus flew into the room and latched onto him. The man roared with surprise, trying to shake the emaciated man off. He reached around in an attempt to grab him by the neck, fierce golden eyes glaring at the nuisance. With a growl into the other man's face, he threw Aeolus off best he could, trying to toss his attacker right for the doctor, leaving the patient unguarded and at the madman's mercy.
Aeolus - March 21, 2012 03:14 AM (GMT)
The first cop went down in a flash. As he paused to recover from the flying stretcher, his comrades hurtled forward, cursing and furious that the attacker was practically outrunning them. Even as the second was hit by the canister, the third continued to shout, ordering the golden-eyed man to stop until he, too, was overthrown. All three of the policemen came to one judgment: they had to approach the golden-eyed man as a team. Individual performance was sure to be fatal.
The doctor’s eyes were big. His instinct was to back away, but with the victim’s bed at his back, there was nowhere to run. The doctor was prepared to spring out of the murderous man’s way when another came leaping onto the man, and the doctor froze up, dumbstruck by the brawl that ensued.
Aeolus yelped as he was torn from the intruder’s back. The sight of gold lined his mismatched eyes, and he gazed into the face of wrath, apprehended by firm hands and an ungodly strength. The growl filled his ears and the minute distance between the two, and the smell on the greater man’s breath proved strong and repulsing. Aeolus, paralyzed by a moment of fear, did not think to shut his eyes or turn his head away, even when the gold seemed to burn into his vision. He only knew a fleeting feeling of certain doom.
However, for all his instinct to flee, another force appeared to work his hands. He clutched the cloak of the golden-eyed man, and though the intruder snapped him back in a staggering effort to throw Aeolus off, Aeolus held strong. His arms ached from the shock of the other man’s strength, yet he mustered his will to slam his forehead into the intruder’s, hoping to stun him and to buy more time for the cops.
Once the doctor’s shock lifted, he scrambled to the patient’s side. Perhaps many others would have reasoned that the best course was to flee, but this one reasoned that his duty to save lives was intact. He rushed to move Vatani Favon back to her stretcher so he might wheel her out of danger, away from the murderous man and out of the policemen’s way.
Elaine Storm - March 21, 2012 02:51 PM (GMT)
Aeolus's retaliation was effective, and certainly not a maneuver the hostile was expecting. The stranger's balance staggered with the shift in his weight. His breathing was interrupted so abruptly from the tug on his cloak that he hacked instead of growled. He closed his eyes, the agitation and fury building in such great amounts that he had to practically shut down to control it. And then he released it. Blind rage became focused. Pain became inspiration.
With Aeolus still grappling to hold onto him, his enemy lashed his arms around to try and snap the other man off with quick, concentrated force instead of shaking him off so thoughtlessly. Yet, before he could strike, Aeolus's forehead slammed into his.
The golden-eyed man's skull was thick, a painful object to collide with. Perhaps it was delicate, or perhaps the attack had caught him so off guard, but the intruder was stunned. His arms dropped, missing their mark, and he swayed, stumbling backwards with a groan.
In her bed, unconscious from the sedates, Vatani was helpless. She shivered from the atmosphere of the room, the pure hatred and fury of the intruder that was heavy like fog even to her dulled senses. It was the presence of the person determined to put her to rest, an aura that caused her, from the depths of her soul, to want to cry out and scream for help.
Reu took down the hallway the moment his world had leveled out and became clear. When he could tell which way was up and see the double emergency doors, swishing wildly back and forth from the pursuit, he was charging after the others. It was the adrenaline rushing through his veins and the feared vision of his companion, murdered, that gave him speed. The father pelted around the fallen cops, skidding to a near stop before the door to Vatani's room, and then burst in to the conflict at hand.
The last person he expected to see going head to head with the stranger was Aeolus. In terms of strength and hostility, they were near opposites. He hesitated there, simply captivated by the willpower the man with mis-matched eyes had.
Reu was also the only one standing who understood just how horrifying the golden-gazed opponent really was.
"Back away from him, quick!" The ginger-haired man called. He charged in and rammed the stranger's side, shoulder bones cracking against shoulder bones and ribs straining to stay in place. The cloaked figure tumbled back into the corner of the room, still dazed, one hand braced against the wall. His head hung low. As he tried to recover, a great shudder took him, shivering right up his spine, muscles tensing.
Reu came up to Aeolus's side, still weak, but prepared to fight. He couldn't be relieved, not even in the moment Vatani was wheeled past and to a safer position. "He doesn't… have any weapons." He panted to Aeolus, hoping the cops would rush in soon too. "It's just what you see, if we can overpower him-"
The intruder cackled, hands coiling into fists. The corner of his lip turned up into a sneer. He raised his head, glaring at the two. Orbs of gold, glinting with his murderous intentions, were enough to paralyze Reu. And when the stranger spoke, his voice was deep and harsh, a thick, exotic accent to it that held a growl behind every word.
"…Are you rrready to die too?"
In the time it took Reu to gasp, the dark-haired man rushed again, surprisingly fast yet just as brutal with his force. One hand aimed to pummel into Aeolus's gut and the other for Reu's, he graciously spared them a few seconds of his complete attention. Once he finally illuminated the nuisances, then he would feast on the demise of his true target.
Aeolus - March 22, 2012 09:43 PM (GMT)
Aeolus winced at the impact. He’d expected as much from his foolish attempt to stun the man, although something told him that there was something abnormal about the intruder’s skull. Maybe it was just his imagination, but the way it bounced him back, or perhaps the way it felt seemed unusual. Aeolus had no time to think about it, however. He skittered away, and the golden-eyed man staggered. A flutter of the man’s cloak signified the father’s dramatic arrival. To the corner went the golden-eyed man, dizzied by the father’s flying tackle, and Aeolus hurried to him to ensure that opponent did not get an opening.
The man had no weapons. Truth be told, neither did they, and Aeolus wondered if it made a difference in the end. He snapped his head to the man as their foe let loose a cackle, and he shifted his weight on his feet, prepared to spring for the next attack. The voice that came from the golden-eyed man was mangled with growls, and Aeolus could hardly understand the words that were uttered. All he had to hear was the grating on the ears and the threat of death, and up his hackles went, blood burning in his veins.
Aeolus was fast, but he was starved and weak. Add to that the fact that he underestimated his opponent’s agility, and therein lay the framework for his mistake. The golden-eyed man stood before them in a flash. His fist bore into Aeolus’s stomach, and the smaller man went sprawling with a pained gasp, his bones rocked by the collision. The shock of the blow had caused his knees to give way; he lay on his back, staring dazedly at the ceiling.
Still, with his gut groaning, Aeolus pulled himself onto his knees. He could hear the police at the door. Surely, this would be over soon.
The doctor in charge of Vatani Favon had made his way to the waiting room. He would soon be outside with the stretcher (if he could find his way down) where everyone else had gathered. Authorities were on the way, the doctor was certain, and they could take care of the zoid rampaging outside as well as the man rampaging inside.
Elaine Storm - April 15, 2012 08:52 PM (GMT)
Reu tumbled back at the blow, coughing for breath. He collapsed beside Aeolus, crippled on the floor. The intruder stood over them, a foot shoved firmly into Aeolus's chest to shove the thin man back against the floor. The ravaged ends of his cloak settled around his legs, and for a fleeting moment, the man was still. Yet even in his stillness, the man reeked of power, an immovable obstacle and terrifying threat. He craned his head around, golden eyes flashing as he stared at the wall. The dark-haired man strained his ears and listened. A faint crackle gradually amplified into a hiss that made the air seem to tremble and spark. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and the man sneered at cries for help outside.
"Cease fire immediately - restrain that Zoid! Hurry- we can't let it-"
The authorities trying to corral the Fuhrer type Zoid were decimated in a chorus of screams, quickly drowned out by the Charged Particle Cannon that was unleashed on the squad. The crackle of flames were in the air now, and the hospital rattled again as it was banged against by the Zoid.
"You have to stop!" the father roared suddenly, forcing himself up, adrenaline pumping through his veins at the sound of life being lost. Reu swung his right fist for the man's throat, but he was caught. Their hands collided, the dark-haired man's fingers coiling around Reu's hand like a claw. Tiny, odd clicks filled the air as his hands tightened around Reu's.
"It's not yourrr turn yet, Rrou," the man snarled in Reu's face.
He clamped down, and Reu's hand gave a sharp crack, bones splintering. He shrieked, quickly cast back down to the ground. The golden-eyed man's gaze flickered to Aeolus, holding him in place with a look of both fury and pity, quietly offering him the same treatment if he attacked.
When the cops reached the doorway, the criminal turned his head, and coolly, quietly stepped off, standing in the center of the room. The floor shook, then the ceiling as another earthquake rattled the architecture, only more massive this time. The man quickly dropped down to his knees, crouched against the floor.
Reu's eyes went wide, and he quickly rolled over to rest above Aeolus, covering him protectively. "Get down!" He cried, body shaking with his efforts to move.
The outside wall cracked and the window shattered. A flurry of sharp glass projectiles and broken debris flew through the room, right for the man and the cops. The cloaked figure remained still, only wincing forward as his back was riddled with splintered glass. The rest shot toward the authority figures in his way, and some bounced around to hit Reu. Where the wall had fallen, a Storm Fuhrer's snout rested.
The father slumped off of Aeolus, leaving the other man unscathed while he suffered injuries to his back. He whistled, and then collapsed against the ground with his eyes closed, clutching his wounded hand.
The murderer ripped his heavy cloak off, prying the fragments of glass free that had penetrated his skin. Underneath, he was not wearing any shirt or jacket. His bare tanned skin clung to powerful muscles that flexed with his breathing. Trails of red dripped down his back from deep gashes, obscuring what looked like a series of large black tattoos in the form of wings. All around his body, more intricate tattoos could be found. Overlaying every inch of his skin were terrible cuts and scars, some recent, some ancient. It was hard to find an area of flesh that was not marked or decorated.
He stepped back, not even stumbling, and sprang onto the Zoid's head. The cockpit opened, and the man slipped inside. With a roar, the Zoid stomped away toward the entrance to the hospital where they would find Vatani Favon.
A moment later, the head of another Zoid peeked through the destroyed wall. This time, it was a silver and ultramarine Battle Cougar.
"Daddy! Aeolus! Come on, hurry!" Ari's voice said. It was distorted, almost mechanical, coming from the center of the Zoid. The panel of the Zoid's head flipped open to reveal an empty cockpit.
Aeolus - April 28, 2012 05:35 AM (GMT)
Aeolus wasn’t far onto his knees when he was pushed back down. He stared up at a dark man who rippled with power, a presence of vengeance steeped in something strange and ancient. He didn’t know from where it came, but he knew this man was not one to be trifled with. Aeolus lay still beneath him, scarcely breathing, hoping that perhaps the man’s murderous streak would simply pass over him. His eyes darted to the distant wall as his breathing subsided to let him hear the cries outside, the shouts of police–men and –women rising to a terrible pitch under the roar of a Charged Particle Cannon. Aeolus knew that sound all too well. It was a constant neighbor in the realm of Zoid battles.
His heart pounded in his ears. Death was banging at the door, and he was loath to be denied his share of the bounty.
The father was flying at the attacker. Aeolus snapped his head up and struggled to find his feet. He wanted to shout, but his mouth was dry and he only uttered a frightened hiss. The father swung at the dark man, who caught the attack, and the clicking of machinery filled the air and crawled in Aeolus’s skin. His eyes flew open as the man crushed Reu’s hand and cast him down, and when those golden eyes turned upon him, Aeolus submissively shrank down. He’d grown thinner and arguably frailer—his bones were sure to do more than splinter was he to experience the same punishment.
He swung to face the wall before he realized why. In the next instant, the father had tackled him to the ground, and glass shot across the room like sharp rain. The policemen shouted and yelped as they were pelted in blood, one squinting past the chaos to get a lock on his target. None knew for certain their fellows were dead, but they felt it in their instincts. To them, that authorized lethal force. The man speckled the room with bullets, gunfire ringing through the compound, but the tremor in his arms and the speed of their target emptied his chamber all too quickly. He cursed as the Storm Fuhrer carried the dark one away.
Aeolus lifted his head in time to see him flee. In the flicker of LED lights, he’d caught a glimpse of the tattoos and the scars, and he gazed after the stranger, stunned. The police yelled and swore and bolted down the hallway. They had to be swift to catch the Fuhrer. Aeolus, recognizing their situation for defeat, carefully rolled onto his feet and crawled to Reu’s side. It was funny, he thought. People died in hospitals all the time. Sometimes they died beside them, but rarely did they die shrieking in a blaze of charged particles, and rarely did they die from glass thrown at them by an intruding Storm Fuhrer. Aeolus let a starved hand hover over the pieces, but he was not sure of what to do.
Yet again, he acted before he understood why. Fingers shaking, he plucked the father free of the glass shards, hearing the metal approach of another zoid. Aeolus whipped around as the Battle Cougar peered through the hole in the wall, prepared for some unstoppable beating. What came instead, however, was a startlingly familiar voice. He stopped, remembering the face of the little girl named Ari, and then he hastily collected the father and slung the man’s arm over his small shoulders, pulling him to his feet.
”Let’s go,” he muttered, guiding Reu to the Battle Cougar.
Everyone fled. The doctor who wheeled Vatani Favon out of the hospital was reluctant to leave his patient, and yet when the Storm Fuhrer loomed near, he wanted to run. His legs locked at first as he struggled with his options, but once again his courage won through, and so the doctor turned with the stretcher and ran. He didn’t know where to go—he only knew it had to be away from this place, oblivious to the importance of the victim he was escorting.
Guygalos trembled with the weight of reinforcements. An Energy Liger pounded its way through the streets, accompanied by a party of Helcats, sirens blazing as the cops secured a location on their target.
Elaine Storm - April 29, 2012 12:41 AM (GMT)
Reu's eyes shot open and he gasped as the shards of glass came free. The father turned his head, panting and blinking at Aeolus. He grunted as he was heaved onto Aeolus's back, but did not complain. He only wished he could be less of a burden on the other man's thin shoulders.
Over here, hurry! Ari's young voice called again.
"I can't pilot like this…" Reu wheezed, still clutching his hand. He glanced over at the Battle Cougar, the most reassuring sight in the past few minutes. "Tehri…" He whispered, and his eyes lidded.
The Battle Cougar's optics flickered a greeting, responding to its name. The red glass went from opaque to transparent in appearance, and the glow dimmed to reveal the interior. The cockpit pulled back, revealing a front and back seat in the head of the Zoid. For a flying Zoid, the controls were very similar to a ground Zoid. There were secondary joysticks for flight, stored compactly away. Above the back seat there was a compartment with provisions and possessions of the father and daughter. Reu slumped into the back seat when they were near. With his good hand, he secured his seat belts and shifted into place.
"I'll tell you… Everything you need to know," the father huffed, hanging onto his consciousness. He still clutched his hand, the bleeding knuckles making his entire arm tremble.
Avery and me will fight with ya! Just tell us what you want us to do! Ari's voice sounded from a speaker in the console, filling the cockpit. Avery's elderly screech accompanied her, prepared for combat. The Battle Cougar's wings flexed, considering flight. The Storm Fuhrer wasn't far, but was gaining distance. It sped down the length of the hospital, arriving at the entrance where the doctor protected Vatani Favon.
The Fuhrer kicked off suddenly, white-hot thrusters roaring at its heels. The silvery mecha soared over and then crashed down in front of the doctor's path. It roared, maw gaped open, the barrel between its jaws extended. The metal still crackled with charged particles from its recent massacre. A platinum metal zi pincer dove into the ground at either side of the stretcher, closing them off from escape.
The man's voice called out, loud, but hardly clear, his words still masked within a growl. "Give her-rrr to me."
Aeolus - April 29, 2012 11:47 PM (GMT)
Watching Reu climb into the Battle Cougar pained him. A broken hand and no one to tend to it—the thought tormented him, even. Aeolus climbed into the open seat and examined the console. He knew immediately which were for movement, although the rest were more or less guesses as to what did what. A couple of years as a pilot gave him enough of an idea of what fired a gun and what opened the commlink. The controls for flight, however, were beyond him. Aeolus took the movement controls and started the Battle Cougar into a couple of steps forward.
”How do I lift off?” he asked. Aeolus thought that they might simply fly away from all danger, but as he saw the Storm Fuhrer slip away, he could not help but follow and see where the golden-eyed man was going. Jerking the zoid about too much was not his intention; he did not want to hurt the father more than necessary. Still, he pushed the Battle Cougar into an urgent lope, wondering if he was behind the movement or if the organoid was. The stride was unusual to him but not too unlike that of other ground zoids. Steps were quick but wide, the Battle Cougar keeping its head at an even level. Aeolus figured he could work with it.
The doctor in charge of Vatani skidded to a stop as the Storm Fuhrer obstructed his path. He did not stop to contemplate the fact that it was there—he let his instincts flow, wheeling the stretcher right back around and charging away. Just down that way he spotted a silver and ultramarine zoid with its guns fixed on the one behind him. Knowing what lay in store, the man ducked his head and hastened to get the woman to a safe spot.
All this chaos, he thought while he stared down at her wounds. Would she live even with the killer gone?
The Storm Fuhrer had its pincers spread and cannon deployed. Aeolus did not think twice. He fired the short-range beam cannons mounted on the Battle Cougar’s shoulders, hanging tight to the controls as the shots rocked the zoid. Barely, he could hear the whine of a siren as reinforcements approached, although there was no telling how far or close they were.
Elaine Storm - April 30, 2012 04:07 AM (GMT)
Lift off? Just hop into the air, and we'll take it from there! Tehri's flight controls opened up on cue, activated by Aeolus's fighting companions in the Zoid's core. The second pair of joysticks extending out to rest beside Aeolus's hands. They were positioned so that they could be easily held alongside the main controls, and they also flexed with the movement joysticks. There were triggers for his thumbs that controlled the guns on the wings. These work like the normal controls. Only vertical movements are different! Push in to dive, pull back to go up! We'll help!
Reu was very calm throughout Aeolus's piloting. He winced now and then, but always withheld any growls or yelps of pain as the Zoid shifted or trembled. The father was too afraid of distracting Aeolus from his cause to show any weakness.
The Storm Fuhrer snarled as the doctor avoided them. Copper optics flickered and turned to the approaching Battle Cougar. The Fuhrer ripped its claws from the ground and adjusted the arms to shield its face instead. The tips of the claws touched together, and a golden energy shield was projected around the front of the Zoid. Sparks flew and debris rose around the Tyrannosaurus Zoid at the shots, but it came out unharmed. Minor dents gazed the shield. It dissipated, and the Fuhrer tossed its head in a roar.
"No time for-rrr you…" The gold-eyed man hissed at the Battle Cougar. The Fuhrer lunged forward, swiping around one pincer to slice the Zoid in half.
Avery screeched and Ari yipped, the two reacting twice as fast as Aeolus would be able to at the controls. The griffon Zoid jumped straight up, wings catching the air and beating against it. They soared right above the attack, harmlessly hovering above while the Fuhrer slashed at thin air.
The enemy Zoid and pilot snarled. The Fuhrer jerked her head around, hearing the sirens closing in on their position. It whirled around, teeth bared, attention once more locked on the stretcher. This time, there wasn't time wasted on trying to compromise. The Zoid charged for the doctor and patient, snapping wildly at them. All it needed to do was catch them on its sharp fangs, and the hunt would be over.
Aeolus - May 2, 2012 08:43 PM (GMT)
Push to dive, pull to rise. Those were very standard controls, nothing that he had to commit to memory. Aeolus nodded in thanks, forgetting that they were likely unable to see him, and he flexed his hands on the controls. Flight in this situation was unnecessary, but the option was there if he needed to make a speedy charge. He had no desire to take to the sky, anyway.
That was proven to be mostly out of his hands as the Battle Cougar leaped away from the Fuhrer’s incoming attack. He jerked with the motion and gasped, his head reeling from the sudden shift. Shakily, his hands clicked at the console to check for damage, and once he was satisfied with what he saw, he checked their surroundings for the current situation. Aeolus swiveled around and found the Fuhrer hurrying after its target.
Motion with a flying zoid was very complex. Even now he felt the griffon bob in the air, and it made him anxious, yet he knew all he could do was work with it. He yanked on the levers, slammed them in precise directions, flicked the joysticks to adjust how they fell, and he sent the griffon hurtling down at the Fuhrer, slamming the heel of its claw into the Fuhrer’s head. The griffon would land in front of the zoid then, swiveled about to face the Fuhrer, and Aeolus’s arms would be tensed for an evasive maneuver.
”Leave her alone,” Aeolus warned. Behind them, the doctor had nearly tripped on himself in his panic to get away. He ended up inside the building once more, and he hastily picked up the woman’s wrist to check her pulse.
Elaine Storm - May 15, 2012 09:22 PM (GMT)
The Fuhrer snarled, its jaws narrowly missing a snap at the stretcher. It reeled its head back to strike again. Poised like a viper, the tyrannosaurus Zoid flexed its claws, anticipating the strike. What came instead, was a sharp blow to the skull from the incoming Battle Cougar. The collision made the larger Zoid stagger, slumping onto one leg, even its short arms bracing against the ground from the impact. The Fuhrer roared and snapped in the griffon's direction, but the Zoid nimbly avoiding and moved in front of it.
Nice, Aeolus! Ari chirped. Tehri screeched his agreement, black claws scratching at the pavement in anticipation to evade..
The Fuhrer pilot had roared and hissed at the attack. He heaved the controls back to their default center position, forcing the Fuhrer to stand straight and balanced. His breathing came out in hard, ragged breaths, projected over the speaker.
Step by step, the Fuhrer started advancing on the Battle Cougar. It slashed at the air, snapped its jaws, and tossed its tail and head. Vatani would come after. Even the thrusters revved, and the Zoid leaned down, prepared for a brutal frontal assault.
Aeolus spoke. The Zoid paused, the duo confused by the different voice coming from Reu's Zoid. The Storm Fuhrer's boosters withdrew, and metallic beast planting its feet on solid ground again.
Yeah, leave her alone ya big bully! Ari shrill came from the Zoid's core.
The Fuhrer ducked its head slightly, and took a single retreating step back. It glanced over its shoulder at the hospital, back to the Battle Cougar, and then away. Another step, and then another, and the Fuhrer continued to back off. From behind Aeolus, Reu let out a surprised gasp, scrambling around and trying to sit up and see. He grunted instead, clutching his hand and slumping back into the seat. "What…"
A screen was projected before Aeolus's face, showing the interior of the opposing Zoid. The gold-eyed man wore no seatbelt. The chair of the Zoid cockpit behind him was streaked with blood from the wounds at his back. His shoulders were heaving with effort, dazed from the previous blow. Red washed down the right side of his face from a fresh head wound, surely bashed against the frame of the cockpit, yet he was miraculously still conscious.
His piercing golden eyes locked onto Aeolus's.
"Insons Insontis," he snarled over the intercom in the ancient language. The words jumbled further under his accent, vicious and spiteful.
The farther perked his head up, and then flattened back in his seat, hidden behind Aeolus. He held his tongue, remaining thoughtfully quiet. Avery's weak voice rumbled nervously, and Ari gave a soft whimper.
The thrusters revved again, and the Storm Fuhrer shot straight up into the sky, its sights no longer locked on the Battle Cougar. The dark silver Zoid shifted toward the lights and sounds of the approaching police reinforcements charging through the city. The pincers spread out to the Zoid's side like rudders, helping it to hover in the air. Panels on its throat and tail opened, and the barrel within its jaws extended. Once more, the air filled with a steady, rising hiss of charged particles.
There was no pulse.
Aeolus - May 16, 2012 06:15 AM (GMT)
With the patient’s pulse lost, the doctor rushed to check every other hope that Vatani Favon lived. He felt for the pulse at her neck and felt none. He looked for signs of respiration and saw she was still. He felt her forehead, peered into her eyes through the room’s poor lighting, patted her on the arm and pleaded quietly for her to answer. When none came, the doctor slumped at her side. Although he required equipment to validate her vitals, Vatani Favon seemed lost.
Aeolus was petrified. The man’s heavy breath sounded artificial over the zoid’s speaker, again grating on his ears. If he had been the Battle Cougar, he would have backed away from the enraged Fuhrer, but the griffon remained strong and still. Then the Fuhrer stopped, and it seemed that time stopped with it—and then, without warning, it began to back away. Aeolus held his breath. He couldn’t help but bat a lash as he realized the man had uttered a phrase of some sort. Each syllable was stressed with a snarl that meshed the sound together. He could piece nothing together from it. Aeolus tilted his head back and watched as the Fuhrer took to the air, and then he sucked his breath in, afraid of the light that came from the zoid’s jaws.
He thought he could hear the police shouting. Hands scrabbled for radios as able units ordered their fellows to clear the way. Their reinforcements swerved into varying detours in an effort to elude and perhaps confuse their adversary. Voices went up in an uproar as the police sent out orders and civilians scrambled to get to safety. Aeolus leaped for the controls, but as soon as he realized where the Fuhrer was, his heart dropped.
After all, Aeolus couldn’t fly.
Angrily, Aeolus pressed himself to take the levers. It was an extremely basic operation. All he had to do was to fly the griffon to the Fuhrer’s position and use the ground controls to operate its combat system. Yet as he tightened his hands on those very levers, fear stormed his head. Perhaps he would forget a vital process of flight and come tumbling down as soon as they launched. Perhaps he would manage to make his way up, but fumble with the rest and end up doing injury to himself and his company. If they were particularly unlucky, the Fuhrer might just turn around and blast them as they clung for dear life.
The young man quickly shook his head. He quivered again, yet he searched the console for a way to initiate flight, and he pushed the griffon into a leap before pulling the levers back. Aeolus had forgotten that there was help behind him—no doubt they would lend him a hand. He raised his eyes to the Fuhrer once he felt the bob of flight and clumsily tried to maintain stability.
”Stop!” Aeolus cried, hoping his voice could reach the stranger before he or the next row of deaths could.
Elaine Storm - May 16, 2012 04:21 PM (GMT)
The Fuhrer was relentless. The Battle Cougar's takeoff, the maneuvers of the policemen, the cries from below - none of it deterred the charging of the infamous particle canon. The particles made the air hiss and scream, numbing to the ears of those below.
The golden-eyed man peered down at the Battle Cougar for a moment, hearing the pilot's plea. He rolled his shoulders and gripped the controls, preparing for the recoil of the beam.
"Nex," the man muttered.
The optics of the Storm Fuhrer blazed like fire, burning with bloodlust. While Aeolus hesitated, the charged particle canon was set free. A beam of gold with a core of ruby streaked across the peaceful sky of Guygalos, the intense light of the weapon seeming to dim the atmosphere in comparison. The blast collided with the streets, and slowly the Fuhrer turned in the air. The beam was dragged down the roads, and burned through the escaping authority figures. The asphalt boiled into a lava-like substance, swallowing up the fleeing Zoids. The Fuhrer fired until the city below was a highlighted maze of burning crimson and gold among metallic buildings.
"Damn it…" Reu snarled under his breath. He flattened back against the seat as the Battle Cougar soared up toward the Fuhrer. The sensation was nothing new to him. He wished he could reassure Aeolus's anxiety, but there wasn't time for that.
Tehri screeched, beating his wings and darting up through the air toward the Fuhrer. We'll help you, Aeolus! Ari called, her voice racing up with Aeolus's. The moment Aeolus had the Zoid take off, the child and her Organoid companion drastically smoothed the flight and guided the path of the Battle Cougar.
The Fuhrer snapped its jaws shut. It swiveled in the air and adjusted to face the incoming Battle Cougar. The Zoid twitched and snarled the moment the other Zoid was in its sights. A dent in its skull was still present from their former encounter. As the Battle Cougar raced in, the pincers of the Fuhrer snapped between them, catching the Zoids wings and preventing it from closing in. Avery screeched, and the Zoid started to squirm, slashing wildly at the space between them.
Again, a screen came to life before Aeolus's face. The murder's form was projected for the passengers of the Battle Cougar to see. The man sneered at Aeolus, his features still smeared with blood. "Give up. I've won," he growled lowly.
"Don't panic, shoot him down! He can't protect himself like this. Come on!" Reu finally roared, calling the trio controlling the Battle Cougar to action.
Aeolus - May 17, 2012 01:07 AM (GMT)
Aeolus winced as the beam blinded him. He kept a tight grip on the controls and shut his eyes, bowing his head as if braced against the impact itself, and when it seemed the danger had passed, he looked around. The smoldering of the city streets told him everything. Aeolus bit his lip, feeling that he had failed.
He couldn’t dwell on it for long, he knew. He held on while the griffon thrashed in the Storm Fuhrer’s grip, his eyes locked on the screen before him. Aeolus was accustomed to trash talk and gloating; a small command like give up could only bounce off the pilot. He scanned the situation for options. The pincers held them at a good distance, so there was no reaching the Fuhrer with the griffon’s lightning horn. Too much movement would damage the zoid, so swinging about with their claws was hardly a good idea. He decided to take the father’s advice to heart and flicked the joysticks for the guns. They jolted and adjusted, and he was satisfied that they were in just the right place for at least one shot.
The short-range cannons moved inward to lock on to the Fuhrer before them. Without allowing himself any room for second thoughts, Aeolus pressed the buttons and let loose a blast, tensed for the shock of the attack.
Elaine Storm - May 17, 2012 03:21 PM (GMT)
The rounds went off, and the Fuhrer was caught off guard, unable to protect itself with the shield at close range. It roared in defiance at the first few shots, determined to cripple the Battle Cougar from the sky.
Pew pew pew! Ari cried. The young girl kept a constant stream of fire to pummel the Fuhrer with damage. Aeolus's companions also let loose shots from the other weapons on the Zoid. The Fuhrer's silvery armor lit up from the barrage of shots. It tossed its head and wailed, and the pressure lifted from the Battle Cougar's wings. The enemy Zoid pulled back, the shield-like arms on the pincers drawn up before the Fuhrer's face to try and help protect it. Areas of the Zoid fizzled with sparks where the armor had been blasted away. The Fuhrer seemed to be limping in the air, bobbing slightly as it hovered.
"Nice work…" Reu smirked, resting his good hand on the shoulder of Aeolus's seat.
We'll show you who's boss! Ari called, a screech from Avery rising up with the child's voice. They steadied the griffon's flight, and then waited for Aeolus's command. The lightning horn glinted, prepared for a close-range strike, and the Battle Cougar's claws twitched. Let's get 'em, Aeolus!
The figure on the projection before Aeolus had yowled. He closed his eyes tight, recovering from the bombardment. His focus didn't seem on the controls anymore, perhaps being disoriented. The golden-eyed man gave a short whine before the connection cut out. The Fuhrer hissed weakly in turn, shaking its head. It adjusted the thrusters and leaned back to drift away from the Battle Cougar.
Aeolus - May 21, 2012 01:04 AM (GMT)
Aeolus grunted and reeled away from the Storm Fuhrer. He started at the hand on his shoulder, relaxing only once he remembered who was behind him, and Aeolus instead turned his attention to the monitor at his side. He observed the blood running down the man’s face with an inward grimace, familiar with the throbbing pain that must have accompanied it. He wasn’t supposed to sympathize with a murderer—nobody was—but Aeolus supposed he had a reputation for doing just that. Wanting to put the thought out of mind, the pilot slammed the controls for another attack.
He couldn’t help but initiate the attack only halfway. The man had seen several opportunities to kill them in person; he could have snapped their necks, run them into the wall, chewed them up with his zoid, but he was fixated on one person and one person alone. He’d run hoops and loops to kill one defenseless woman while at least five able-bodied men rushed to disarm and arrest him.
And now he’s burning up the streets while the rest of us stay mostly unharmed. Alive, at least.
"It's not yourrr turn yet, Rrou.”
He needed to stop hesitating. No matter the circumstances, he was letting another criminal get away. Aeolus slammed forward, forgetting he was in the air. Motion did not work the same way it did on the ground. He would lurch and stumble without help, and the Fuhrer was sure to get away if he did not recover quickly.
Elaine Storm - May 21, 2012 11:28 PM (GMT)
The Battle Cougar fumbled forward in the air after the Fuhrer. Ari and Avery hesitated as much as Aeolus did or did not, feeding off of his level of confidence. In comparison, the tyrannosaurus Zoid seemed to snap back into full performance. Enraged, it reared up, dodging the tackle by swiftly angling up higher into the sky. The larger Zoid crashed down on the Battle Cougar with its talons, aiming for Tehri's back and neck to stun him. The pincers clamped down around the griffon. Once more, with the Fuhrer's head close to the Battle Cougar's, the Fuhrer's jaws parted and the barrel extended. Yet there was no audible hiss, nor a visible glow, from between its fangs.
The man could be seen beyond the glass of the cockpit, still snarling, still bleeding. His golden eyes seemed to burn, a different light than what Reu and Aeolus had seen before.
There was a vision that clouded Aeolus's eyes. There were mountains all around him, tall spires peaked in white. It was snowing, blinding the sky with falling flecks of white. The scene was blindingly white. When the snowflakes melted against his skin, they did not become water, but blood, like the crimson scars and wounds of the murderer's body. The mountain seemed to shiver, and then the ground at his feet. Figures rose in the mountains. Snow-covered mechanized forms clawed and squirmed their way free of the rock, roaring and towering over Aeolus. The farthest white figure in the distance was so massive and tall that it blocked out the sun, turning the sky red. Another figure, much closer, rushed Aeolus's position; a Storm Furher, dark silver, glistening with red sparks.
"Memores acti… Prudentes futuri…"
The golden-eyed man's voice softly snarled in his head, quiet like a whisper. The Zoid's shadow swallowed up Aeolus's weak body, followed by a snap of its jaws. The world around him screamed for help, for freedom, for revenge.
The cry morphed into Reu's familiar voice as the father roared into Aeolus's ear and shock his shoulder, "Pull up! Ari! Avery, come on, get us out of here!"
The Battle Cougar was plummeting, spiraling toward the ground. Taking over for Aeolus, the Organoid shifted the griffon Zoid around to hastily set its course again. The Zoid's wings opened to catch the air, and it harmlessly glided to safety before they could hit the ground. The Battle Cougar skidded to a halt outside the hospital entrance, it head tilted up at the air.
The Fuhrer was a black shadow in the sky above. It swiveled away, then shot off at its top speed, vanishing against the clouds.
"You're okay… girl, you're okay, right?" Reu called to the young girl, banging on the top of the cockpit with his good arm until Ari and Avery opened it in response. The father climbed out, glancing around worriedly. His breathing was sharp and ragged.
"He ran... but he didn't reach- Shit!" The fiery-haired man leaped down, forgetting the injury to his hand. He stumbled through the front doors of the hospital, searching for a sight of the doctor with the stretcher.
Avery flashed out of the core of the Zoid, landing on edge of the canopy. She gave an elderly, tired chirp at Aeolus. Her red eyes were worried and mournful.
Aeolus - May 22, 2012 05:51 PM (GMT)
The Fuhrer crashed down on the Battle Cougar. Aeolus gasped, violently jerked in his seat by the motion. All of a sudden, the griffon was moving faster than he could perceive, color and form rushing in a mad blur, but it did not give him the exhilaration of dashing on level ground. They were dropping altitude by altitude, and his body could feel it, his mind imagine it. The vision and sensation made his insides lurch and reel, and without warning Aeolus put his face against the console, hands tight on the controls in a white-knuckled grip, refusing to watch the world around them fly by.
Roaring wind turned to howling gusts as mountains loomed around him. The sensation of dropping fled him as quickly as it had come, and he staggered on the wild ground, eyes big with fear. Aeolus dropped to his knees, long white hair sliding off of his back. He carefully lifted his eyes and glanced about him. One could have called it beautiful if he’d been able to see a single thing through all the white, the scenery so bright he found himself squinting. Slowly, Aeolus picked himself up.
He was still himself, he could tell, and yet he felt strangely distant. One part of him thrashed in a panic to find the real world; another part of him understood that he was here for a reason. With his form locked between fear and understanding, Aeolus could only manifest in a grave calm. He stared about and wandered until it began to snow.
As though he’d felt the cold coming, Aeolus looked up. Snowflakes descended from the sky, seemingly slow in their approach. He extended a hand to catch one. Aeolus expected it to be cold, but instead, it burned. Horror crossed his face as blood trickled down his finger, then a lock of hair, then his cheek, and then from all over. Blood slid off as though he was plastic. He shook the snowflakes from his hand and inspected himself, increasingly distraught by the morbid phenomenon.
Aeolus stopped as massive figures clawed their way out of the snow. He shrunk under the reddening sky in terror, and then whirled around as a far more immediate danger advanced on him. At first, he only locked up upon sighting the Fuhrer, but then he turned and ran, fleeing as fast and far as he could on his mortal feet.
Reu’s voice hurled him back into the real world. The sickness overtook him all over again, so abrupt he thought he had blacked out momentarily, and Aeolus kept his face against the console, his grimace unseen beneath his scraggly black hair. Even when the griffon managed a safe landing through the organoid’s control, the pilot kept his head down, wanting to keep his world dark. Reu opened the canopy and left Aeolus on his own. The rush of air finally pushed him over the edge, and Aeolus scrambled to the side of the cockpit before emptying his stomach.
He hung limp there, drained by the fight and the vision. Inside the hospital, the doctor had switched to administering CPR in an effort to keep Vatani Favon’s brain in function, though she seemed lost to the world.
Elaine Storm - May 27, 2012 05:14 AM (GMT)
Reu crouched beside the woman's crippled body. She hardly resembled the proud, agile woman he remembered. Just behind her mangled, bloodied dark hair, he could make out Vatani's familiar features. Yet they were lifeless and damaged. He gently took one of her cold hands and held it tight, trying to will life into her body.
"Favon… Come back, please…" the ginger-haired man slumped beside the stretcher, still cupping her hand.
She did not wake up, and she did not respond. Finally, when both Reu and the doctor had given up, the father leaned back, letting his broken hand leave hers. He stared at her face, his wet violet eyes the only sign of the sorrow that crushed him from the inside.
"Thank you for protecting her…" he muttered to the doctor with a respectful bow of his head. The man stood, clutched his wounded hand, and strode out the door. Compared to Vatani's death, his injury seemed minor. He had forgotten about the pain the second his gaze had rested on Vatani's corpse.
Outside, Avery jolted at the sight of Aeolus's nausea rising to the surface. She reeled back at first, curled up on the Battle Cougar's face. After a moment, the griffon Organoid stepped up, close to the cockpit. Sections of metal plate on her chest and abdomen opened up, and from her hollow core, young Ari stumbled out. Cables and wires retreated, giving the girl free movement again. She sat on the edge of the cockpit with Avery, regarding Aeolus sadly and quietly. The duo's heads snapped around at the father figure's exit from the hospital.
Reuven returned to the Battle Cougar's side, not seeming to notice the Organoid, his daughter, or Aeolus. He rested his forehead against the Zoid's metallic hide and finally wept. Occasionally he beat against the armor of the griffon's leg with his arm, frustrated and defeated. He spoke to no one, and ignored the world around him, completely absorbed in his grief.
Ari watched her father sadly, unable to find the strength to comfort him. Instead, the young girl slipped into the cockpit seat with Aeolus. She carefully shifted into his lap and reached up, brushing around his mouth with her sleeve.
"Aeolus…" she whined softly, "This happened before. Lots. Daddy dug many graves. He hasn't cried yet… Not until now."
The young girl clutched Aeolus's shirt and buried her face against him, trying to block out the sounds of her father's distress and the scene of destruction about them. She held Aeolus as if he were her father, seeking reassurance and protection. "He got her too, didn't he?" she sobbed, rubbing her face against Aeolus's shirt. "The bad man killed again, killed auntie Tani… He won't stop. He'll make all of our family gone!..."
Avery flicked her tail, perched on the edge of the open cockpit. The elderly Organoid creaked as she raised her head, staring off into the sky where the Fuhrer had left. Her ruby eyes had dimmed with sorrow. Carefully, she pointed her beak straight up and gave a soft, howling cry. The prayer filled the air with a hum, bidding farewell to the lost soul.
Aeolus - May 27, 2012 05:58 AM (GMT)
It was clear the doctor was losing the willpower to continue. He lingered beside the stretcher, his features drawn with fatigue. Despite the bleakness of the situation, he resumed CPR and called out to those nearby that he required assistance with an unresponsive patient. A man and a woman rushed to help him, hearts still pounding from the crisis that had passed, and the male nurse quickly murmured that the hospital had lost power in most areas of the complex. The doctor said nothing as they wheeled the patient out.
Aeolus sat back in the cockpit. He needed a moment to catch his breath, so he was doing just that, staring up at the sky. He rolled his head when he heard Reu come near, but the man’s frustration carried only bad news. Defeat pulled on Aeolus’s heart. Too tired to mourn, he merely fixed his gaze on the sky again, thinking of the vision and thinking of the fight that took place in the emergency room.
Ari wiped around his mouth. He glanced at her thankfully and managed a weak smile, but that vanished altogether as she spoke. She had seen this happen before. The thought cast a shadow over his mind, and he sunk in his seat, wishing he could apologize. No child should ever have to witness that, Aeolus thought, and yet when he thought back to his own childhood, a noose flashed in his mind’s eye. He turned his head away.
The griffon called out. His heart ached, and he dipped his head for a woman he did not know, yet felt responsible for all the same. He knew she had friends just like any other soul on this world, and that was enough to convince him that he must have failed some kind of ultimate good. The grieving father only compounded Aeolus’s certainty of the thought. He pulled his attention back to Ari, filled with the need to understand the events that had come before.
”Why?” he asked, his voice low. ”Why’s he doing all this?”
Elaine Storm - May 27, 2012 07:04 AM (GMT)
Ari did not respond. There was a lost, hopeless look in her sad blue eyes that said she did not understand either. The child lowered her gaze and hid herself against Aeolus.
"He… kills… because..."
It was the Organoid that spoke. Her voice was slow and weak, yet surprisingly calm. Her dark ruby eyes rested on Aeolus. With each word shakily spoken, her beak opened and closed, clacking together and then apart. Her wings twitched, and a feeling of dread came from her elderly form. The way her feathers drooped, eyes dulled, ears flattened against her head - all were signs that the Organoid regretted to give her explanation.
"Master's family owned him…. He worked for… Then escaped. Man ran away. Began to take life. One by one, those he served he destroyed…" Avery chittered nervously toward the end, and looked away. The silence only lasted for a moment, as Reu hauled himself up with one hand, casting a solemn and disapproving look over the group.
"He's a savage. A madman. A murderer," he commented and leaned inside the cockpit, sitting on the opposite edge from Avery. The father tapped at the controls in front of Aeolus, checking the Battle Cougar for damages. Screens were pulled up at his fingertips, showing different views of the Zoid that looked like blueprints. Areas of the Zoid were washed in red or blue, symbolizing damages or malfunctions.
"Daddy…" Ari whimpered, reaching out to paw at Reu's arm. The man frowned, his eyes tearing up again, yet he stayed focused on his task. At last, after he had analyzed the damages, the man turned to Aeolus.
"And soon, I'll be the next he pursues," he looked down, ashamed at the announcement that sounded like his predicted death.
Ari's eyes went big, and she reached out and tried to hold her father's arm. "Daddy, no!" she cried and shook her head.
"Sweetie, shh… I won't let him. We'll be okay. He'll never touch you..." the father carefully took the girl from Aeolus and held her in his arms. She sniffled and beat helplessly at his chest. The man pet her dark hair, and then his violet eyes lingered on Aeolus. Avery too was intently watching the human in the cockpit.
"I'm sorry you had to get involved. Believe me… there was nothing more we could do," he looked away, back toward the hospital, and then returned his attention to Aeolus again. He grimaced a bit, looking confused. "It's a cruel fate that you stood in the waiting room with us. That's all. But…why were you in there?"
Aeolus - May 27, 2012 10:15 PM (GMT)
Aeolus was quiet. He was surprised enough that the organoid spoke, but the tale that spilled from its break was even more startling. A servant? he asked himself. Like a housekeep? There’s got to be more than that… There’s no doubt he was zoidian, though. Why would a zoidian be a servant? In this day and age? He thought back on Ari and began to formulate suspicions that things were not as they seemed, but before Aeolus could come up with the question to pose, Reu addressed him.
”It’s a cruel fate that you stood in the waiting room with us. That’s all.”
Aeolus smiled a little and shrugged.
”But… why were you in there?”
At that, Aeolus frowned and looked down. He had no easy explanation for why he was where he was. He could give a quick one, but it would have raised many questions. Nevertheless, Aeolus supposed that strangers were not inclined to interrogate too deeply and that he was simply overthinking it, so he sighed and let the words go as they came.
”I was running from...well, I was trying to leave some things behind. Kept myself way out in the wilderness, blacked out one day and woke up in the hospital. I’ve been here for a few days now… I guess the police came to figure out who I was and what to do with me since I sorta left everything behind. There was something about an emergency though, so I ended up getting dragged along with them when they went to the waiting room.”
Nervously, he shuffled his feet. Aeolus was doing what he could not to recall a single thing before he ran from home.
Elaine Storm - May 28, 2012 01:35 AM (GMT)
"The wilderness?" Reu asked, raising an eyebrow. He cast a glance toward Avery. The Organoid chittered quietly and rolled her claws on the edge of the cockpit, analyzing Aeolus's condition. The two had another moment were their thoughts seemed shared, eyes looking over Aeolus's weakened form. There wasn't a hint of disapproval, only understanding.
"Running… we know a thing or two about that," Reu commented with a sigh. "And if you're dealing with the police now… probably means you're done escaping whatever it was, huh? It's going to be hard to avoid now..."
He trailed off, thoughtful. The father glanced at Aeolus again, then the controls, and lastly over the blueprints again. Ari clung to her father's jacket, staring at his hand. She reached for it, and the father did not draw it away. The young girl held his mangled hand, frowning at the blood. She closed her eyes, and slowly her palm started to glow. Gentle, soft waves of healing energy were emitted from the daughter to her parent. Reu calmed down, breathing easily and seeming to relax. Ari was deep in her meditation, channeling ancient, untrained powers to heal him.
Reu finally looked back to Aeolus. "You want out? I've never been so impressed by a man's courage. Our family is wealthy. I could pay out whatever fines the cops are charging, and say you're with me. Even if you don't want to help. You fought hard today, and for complete strangers. If you need food or a place to stay, I'll provide. If you're looking for work, I'll make it so you're set for life."
He casually held his daughter's hand, his look and tone serious, waiting for Aeolus's reply.
Aeolus - May 28, 2012 06:15 AM (GMT)
”I guess so. But it looks like they’ve forgotten about me completely…” Aeolus looked to the hospital. It was in ruins, dust billowing from a hole in the side, debris falling from sections that had been crushed underfoot by the Fuhrer. ”And, well, I don’t blame them.”
Aeolus sensed that it was time for quiet when the father glanced away. He watched in silence, leaving the man to his thoughts, and meant to look at the hospital again when a glow of light caught his eye. The daughter had the father’s hand in hers, and she had her eyes closed as if in concentration, the air brimming with an ancient energy. Aeolus’s skin prickled at the sight. Now he had no doubt—he was dealing with ancient zoidians.
Head swimming with questions, Aeolus nearly missed that Reu had spoken to him. He listened, nearly all of his ponderings forgotten when he was offered a chance to leave his old life behind for good. An opportunity to pay off debts (if the police even remembered him); an opportunity to live under a real roof, however briefly it would be; an opportunity to assume a normal lifestyle once more, though he did not know what Reu meant when he said ‘work’. At that, Aeolus hesitated. He wondered if this ‘work’ was of the same kind that the golden-eyed man was committed to. Was it the work that drove him to murder?
He knew one thing was certain, however. He had nowhere to go. Aeolus spoke dryly, able to muster an answer at last.
”I admit, I don’t…know what to do with myself. It’d be great if…I had someplace to turn to. Or, you know… Go to. I might think about work…” Nervously, he rubbed the side of his neck. ”I mean… Maybe we ended up in the same room for a reason.”
Elaine Storm - May 29, 2012 04:22 AM (GMT)
The ginger-haired man nodded. He glanced back at the ruined hospital again and sighed. "We can't stay here. I've said my goodbyes. We'll leave immediately. I'll make sure the authorities won't give us any trouble. Yes, they have enough to worry about it seems… If you have bills to pay, give me the addresses and I'll cover it…"
Reu flexed his hand and rolled his fingers. He appeared to feel no pain. At last, he smiled a little and ruffled Ari's hair. "Thank you…" he murmured, kissing the top of her head. The young girl made a noise like a chirp and settled into his arms. Reu gestured to Aeolus to assume the back seat, relieving him from piloting duties. Once they switched, Reu settled down in the driver's seat, Ari neatly sitting in his lap.
"For a reason..." Avery huffed, raising her wings. The Organoid shivered as she tried to stretch. Her ruby eyes rolled over the humanoids, and then she quietly settled between the Zoids wings. The small metallic griffon had no will to fuse with the Battle Cougar, and fell asleep almost immediately.
"Not far. We'll stop at Light Town. It's the perfect place to recuperate… Oh… and the name's Reu. You've already met Ari. It's Aeolus, right?…"
He whirled the Battle Cougar around, gently, aware of Aeolus's nausea. The Zoid tore its way through the city, set on leaving it behind. It did not hesitate at the sound of sirens approaching the hospital. The calls from policeman trying to organize the wreckage faded out behind them. The pair were quiet, even after Guygalos was out out of sight and mind.
Then, Ari quietly whimpered…
"Daddy, are we going to see auntie Tani again?"
And the father whispered, almost too softly for Aeolus to hear.
"No, baby girl… I'm sorry, we won't…"