The First Age

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Aria put her gun a way the moment Rune moved away from the rougarou. There was no fight at least she hoped not. Aria was tired of the crap these two dished out at her, it made her react well above her normal threshold. She needed to cool down, she knew that. It was time to drown in a hot bath and forget the world and people around her, at least for the moment. But it wasn't going to happen right now.

"It was human." Aria said sadly. Aria wanted to reach out and stop Rune, but she really couldn't take the emotional barrage. "Keeping the monster alive could benefit all of us." Aria looked over at it. "Did you know that it's heart isn't where you think it is? Stabbing where a human heart is won't stop it. You'll just piss it off." Aria stopped a moment to let it sink in. "This thing, was once human. What if by keeping this one alive we can save the others? What if we didn't have to kill every thing we hunted? Think about it. Shoot a tranq gun at some monster and instead of putting it down for a nap, you cure it. Make it human."

But if what really struck her was that Rune thought her life worthless. "And for the record you aren't worthless as you put it. I didn't save your life. We worked together as a team. But we went out to capture one. That was our mission. You think that once they are done hunting monsters they will stop at just them? Anyone who ain't like them is next in my opinion. I'm not going to give them any reason, what-so-ever to take me out."
Aria's arrival on the scene was timely. Maybe Rune would be more prone to listen to one of her own kind. He wasn't sure what they meant by 'Furia'...was it an Atharim term for female hunters? He'd encountered female Atharim in the past, and the term had never come up. Something else maybe? Some sort of 'lone wolf' designation? Whatever the case, Rune backed down.

Or curled up, was maybe a better way to put it. The kid was offended. Hurt, on the defensive. He sighed tiredly and sat down again, letting Aria deliver her speech, and for Rune to find her footing again. He'd wager their higher ups would think that to be a dangerous thought. What if these monsters could be fixed, redeemed, and saved? Hell, what if it turned out to be easy to do? That would raise some nasty questions and doubts. And organizations like the Atharim, even though their heart was in the right place, did not do well when questioned.

"Then maybe you should learn how things work over here. See what's different, why it's different. The Atharim this side of the pond are good at the whole team-work thing, but they're stuck in their ways. Present company excluded."
He offered Aria a nod.

"That idiot you ran into down there. He made it all the way into the Baccarat. Down the elevator to boot. He got inside, and out again. Took a few days to hunt the idiot down, then I got to train a team to keep an eye on him. They lost him the same day I went hands-off of the operation. Not only could they not watch him, they didn't even realize he was grabbed by these idiots."
He jerked a thumb at the grumbling, still unconscious, Rougarou. "These guys don't like to think outside the box. You do, but you can't wrap your brain around the teamwork thing. Pros and cons to both. This day and age, you need teamwork."

"We did a snatch-and-grab of the head of a major drug cartel in Brazil a few years back. The guy is a monster. Pedophilia, sex trade, murder, extortion, yaddiyaddiyaddi. Scum of the earth. But they wanted him alive, to learn what he knew. To find out how his organization worked when seen from the top down. And holy fuck did we want to just leave his corpse in the jungle.

"I see where you're coming from. But it ain't all black and white. Ah hell but I wish it was. But it's not. You ain't wrong wanting to kill this thing. And she ain't wrong wanting to keep it alive. Pros and cons. What's it know? What can you learn? Who can it help? Is it worth the risk? Actions have consequences. Now what the hell is a Furia?"

He glanced at the two women, waiting on one to answer him. And for Rune to either flip the bird and stalk off or to loosen up a bit. There was no need to be so bloody confrontational. Hell, that was his job.
"What the hell is a furia?" Aria laughed, it wasn't meant to sound like he was laughing at Mr. White and hoped it didn't take it that way. But how do you explain to someone what she was who didn't know. How would she explain what was different about her than others, or how others are different. It wasn't laughing at him, it was the question that brought the laughter. It felt good. Aria cut the laughter softly before she smiled. "Ever here of furies: Three to be specific - Tisiphone, Alecto, and Megaera?"

Mr. White stared at her blankly. She smiled more. It wasn't uncommon.

"I suppose the names don't matter. The Greeks and the Roman's beleive that the furies were creaturs of Gaia - The Mother of All. They were fearsome woman who avenged the crimes of the natural order. The myths give furies a bad rap - ugly and into the dominatrix type gear. But they were to be feared."

Aria nodded, "It may have been that way back in those days but today, Furia or furies if you'd rather, aren't scary monster, they are human girls born with the ability to sense emotion. Some can sense the most violent crimes and the really intense emotions. And then there are others who can sense a whole gambit of them." Aria smiled. "The latter is where I fall. Rune probably falls in the middle since she did a very good job of maintaining her control of the scent she followed even days after the hunter fell."

It wasn't lecture time, but it sure felt like it. Aria looked to Rune, "Am I missing anything?"
It was human. Rune stopped herself again, shaking her head sadly.

The comment about its heart made Rune turn and look at the creature's chest. Sure, on the outside it looked human, but Rune knew better. Her mom had looked human after all, her uncle explained sadly, yet there was always ALWAYS a line in the sand that once crossed could never be crossed back.

"Putting a bullet in its face will stop it." Rune shot a glance at Hood. He'd had no idea about its heart, yet he managed to drop a bastard with a single pull of the trigger. But Rune was beating a dead horse here. Aria saw ten thousand shades of gray and Rune knew only black and white. Rune would rather kill them all. It was the only way to undo the unbalance it unleashed.

Aria's bullheaded committment did strike a guilty chord in Rune though. They had set out to capture one. Rune had agreed to take the job to begin with, and no matter how much she regretted it, she had given her word!

She turned aside and paced back and forth while Hood took his turn. At least he wasn't screaming any more. He didn't really scream before, but he didn't have to. The sheer intensity of that much fury aimed her way stirred such a fright in Rune she'd never known anything of its kind before. She hated being scared and she hated that he'd scared her. That he could scare her.

He went on about teamwork again, and Rune wanted to roll her eyes. It sounded like to her that Hood himself couldn't operate a team if he, as their leader, lost someone so important. Or maybe that someone was just better than all of them combined? Boy, Hood would probably rip her head off if she brought that up. So she kept her mouth shut.

She also chose to not bring up the point that he had a point. Stupid pros and cons. And snapped her head around when he asked about a furia. Rune looked to Aria for her answer, and found herself riddled with surprise. "You feel all that?" The emotion in her question probably shocked Hood right out of his boy band tight shirt.

She glanced at Hood, serious, but cool-headed. Kind of. "I only smell violence. It lingers, plastered to an area and trailing off after the one involved in the crime." She wrinkled up her nose in disgust, explaining to Aria as much as to him. "Its different for different crimes. Rape is bad, but rape where there is a child fathered is different - like rotten eggs versus rotten egg-drop soup. Fighting, beating, torture - those smell like babboon's ass. But the worst," Rune cringed, looking like she was going to spit, "is murder." She didn't even try to explain what that was like.

"Don't worry. I won't make you choose between killing me or it. But it goes against everything I am to just walk away. But.... I'm going to need some...." she rubbed her temple. It was like tearing a piece of paper in half. To walk away was leaving something of her behind, shredded and worn. Yet for some stupid reason, like they'd asked her to, she left without ever giving their lab rat a second glance.

She ended up back at the trailer, dumped all the gear (well the heavy gear anyway. She kept the glasses), and shoved her personal stuff in her duffel which she slung over one shoulder and stalked to the door.

She punched the door open and it violently swung around on its hinges. She was on the first step when the clank of empty bottles toppling from the edge of the porch stopped her.

They scattered. The nice little pile that Hood left for the homeless to collect, and Rune turned to look behind her. She really was exhausted, and her duffel bag felt heavy as a mountain on her shoulder.

She rolled her eyes, dropped the bag to the stairs and went to pick up the mess she'd accidentally made.

By the time anyone found her, she was sitting in Hood's spot, feet propped on her bag and sipping one of his AK's. It really was an awful beer, but at least it was cold. As soon as a beauty store opened, she had plans to go by a few boxes of hair dye. At least seven or eight. She hadn't done rainbow hair in a long time.

Edited by Rune Marx, Aug 24 2013, 11:50 AM.
That certainly explained a thing or two, like how Rune had been able to lead them in to the Rougarou camp after they had passed the dead hunter's wallet. And how Aria was able to know there were non-combatants in the lair and where they were. It was hard to believe, on a conscious level. Sure he had seen plenty of strange things in the past year, things that had already proven to him that his concept of the impossible was wrong, but still...they could smell violence? sense emotions? It was...hard to accept. And just as hard to deny.

He let it sink in, and would think it over, but at the end of the day it was just one more straw on the back of what he had always seen as the real world. He'd either have to come to grips with it all or hope he could just keep burying the stress of it.

Rune took her leave, and Hood didn't give her any more flak. The girl had a lot to think over. So he remained in his seat, although he did accept the bottle of beer from Aria with a appreciating nod, and resumed his vigil over the slowly stirring Rougarou. If the thing came around fully and proved to be nothing but trouble, he'd knock the damn thing out again; he hadn't the patience to put up with any more shit for one night.
"You feel all that?" Rune exclaimed. Aria thought they had covered that before, yet there was still surprise. Perhaps she hadn't been as clear in explaining it then. Aria sighed. Here she thought someone at least understood. But Rune went into what she smelled and Aria could only nod, but Aria thought any death was horrible. It stuck to anything and everything especially the killer. It could last for years, and depending on the act itself even longer than that.

Aria handed Hood the bottle carefully. She wondered if he even noticed it, but it didn't matter really. He nodded and Aria smiled. "I'm going to go back and crash." She wanted to drown in the tub again, but there were other people in the place and she'd already 'cleaned up' once before. Sleep would have to do it for her.

The living room, or what passed as it was void of all things Rune. Aria sighed. Aria opened the door to look down the street to see if she could see her, but she didn't have to look far she sat drinking a beer. Aria nodded and before turning back inside, "Sorry about before. I'm past my limits. But it's no excuse."

Aria didn't wait for an acknowledgment, she was beyond her limits. She could feel the neighbors fighting and that was a clear sign to her. Aria slipped the door shut again, and lay on the cot, pulling the blanket over her body and the pillow over head. It hardly helped but it didn't matter Aria was too tired to care.

Continued back in Renovations

Edited by Aria, Aug 27 2013, 12:38 PM.
Rune twisted around when the door opened behind her. Someone had to show up eventually, and she was still working her way through Hood's beer. It wasn't the kind of thing you just chugged. But it was a gesture. He'd probably just slap her for stealing his stuff without asking, but it was Rune's (probably horrible) way to attempt connecting.

It was Aria. Rune did feel kind of bad for everything that was boiled up between them, but she wasn't sure what to say about it, if anything. But Aria dropped her apology, which she really didn't even need to have anything to apologize for, in Rune's opinion, and was gone before Rune had a chance to even realize what happened.

She sighed. Moscow was hotter in the summer than she pictured it to be. It was going to be a warm day. Not like Phoenix warm, but definitely warm enough to work up a sweat just sitting there. The dogs had lopped off, either to find food or to pad around whatever streets they ran off to. Rune felt sticky. Not like hot sticky but like she was covered in filth sticky. Which was funny because she was. She figured Aria would claim the bathroom first, and since Rune was content to sit alone, brood and drink, she thought it fitting to put off taking a shower. She probably stank to high heaven too.

She lifted an arm to get a good whiff of her armpit.

She shrugged to herself and took another long swig of AK.
It took some time to navigate herself to the correct coordinates, in part because a Wallet was not the sort of possession you wanted to openly brandish at this hour and in this neighbourhood. By the time she’d reached to where the path took her to the Undercity its signal had begun to jitter anyway, and she was forced to take a moment to revise the rest of the route. It was an option to simply go to the safe house and send a message from there, but she preferred the independence of learning her way without relying on a guide.

When she arrived at the service door a single tap announced her presence, then a pause to keenly listen out for concerning sounds before she entered. The beam of her flashlight preceded her footsteps, and she was tense until she identified the rougarou – or more specifically its bonds. Her dark gaze hovered over the creature a moment, but any reaction remained private behind her stoic expression. Then her gaze landed on who she presumed to be White. No furia, though that was hardly surprising; given normal circumstances, Tehya wasn’t sure she’d want to be left in an underground bunker with the rougarou either, let alone one that must reek to their heightened sensitivities.

“Tehya.” She angled her wrist in confirmation of her identity, the tattoo there simplistic and small. A necessity, rather than a piece of art - which about summed Tey’s presence up nicely. Her hair was tied at the nape of her neck, and her clothes were simple and practical. She loosened the rucksack on her shoulder; all business and little preamble. “No casualties?” It was the most pertinent question to ask, and the only immediate answer she sought. Tey would not be happy to hear anything other than agreement, though she braced herself anyway. Later she’d ask for a report. Nothing formal; she was not interested in how they’d accomplished their task, but she did have questions. Perhaps, as an impartial party, she’d ask White for his opinion too, but not now. She’d lost track of time after traversing the underground tunnels, but she appreciated that it was an inconvenient hour.
The departure of Aria and Rune from the forgotten sub-basement brought with it the one thing he had been craving since he had strapped the damn creature to that chair. Silence. A silence the Rougarou only broke once before he rendered the damn thing soundly unconscious again.

He sat for a time just enjoying that silence, sipping the beer Aria had brought him, but that only lasted him so long before it was gone. The hours of the night dragged on, and it finally became time to be constructive again.

By the time Tehya arrived, he had been busy for hours. Where Aria and Rune had probably made the healthy decision to go to ground, get a few hours sleep. When Tehya entered, Hood had eventually given in and fired up the generator and turning on the flood lights. What little debris that had crowded the floor at the edges of the room had been schooled into a pile. He had stripped down the tac-vest and ballistic vest, and left the SMG tucked away while keeping his pistol strapped to his leg.

When she arrived he had been awake all day but didn't seem any worse for wear for it. A handful of empty energy bar wrappers and zip-lock bags that once held trail mix or jerky, sat on the table. He was lingering near the door, two heavy cinder blocks he had apparently been using as weights sitting on the floor next to him and one hand on his pistol.

He eyed Tehya for a moment, glancing at her tattoo. They still seemed so bloody ridiculous. How had they managed to go unnoticed so long without being noticed by someone? It was impressive. His belief that the Atharim were a predominately male organization was starting to slip too.

He glanced at the again slowly stirring Rougarou then picked up the two cinder blocks and set them in an out of the way corner, "One civilian dead when we got there. Another civilian escaped alive. The would-be burglar from the incident at the Baccarat. Two Rougarou dead. One Bannik. Your girls are probably at the safe house..."
he glanced at his watch and shrugged dismissively, "probably sleeping by now. Better be sleeping."
She absorbed the information silently. Of the Baccarat incident she knew little – she’d only been in Moscow a single full day, which either meant it was something she had not yet come across in her early morning scouring of reports, or it was of a nature she had been deliberately ignoring. Suspicion came with a brief prickle of unease. If this civilian had crossed the Baccarat, however, she was satisfied the matter was being dealt with, so she dismissed it without so much as a crack in her stoically patient veneer.

Her girls. For that, Tehya’s expression did soften, though she didn’t smile. She had no right to feel protective of the two furia, neither of whom she had even met, but she had been used to a strong-knit family unit back in the States. She thought of the Atharim as family, even if in practise that was a whimsical and impractical notion. None of them could ever be allowed as close as her blood-kin, after all. If they knew what she was, what she really was, her Atharim siblings would not blink before ending her existence. It didn’t form the most stable basis for friendship.

She crossed to place her bag on the table. With her back to him, the ‘better be sleeping’ tacked on the end of his words elicited a meagre, somewhat grim smirk. It might simply have been annoyance on his part, having two strangers foisted into his company and on such short notice, but she chose to interpret otherwise. “Good. So should you.” It was not an order. He was not one of them, and Tehya was respectful of that line - if her tone of easy confidence suggested she was used to being listened to. Neither was it a suggestion of concern, though she was aware the night had probably been taxing; her own time as a field hunter was not so far removed that she could not empathise. Three rougarou were enough; an unanticipated bannik an added complication. But he was a soldier; soldiers did their duty.

When she turned her arms were folded. She expected him to be aware of his own limitations; she expected him to adhere to them. And she couldn’t get to work until she was alone.
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