The First Age

Full Version: A New Start
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Gio moved throughout the market. He had no money, having spent all of it on drinks in the Red Light District. If Claire was going to help him, he needed more money to pay her for her eventual services. Markets were always a good place to steal from.

He remembered to keep his thieving small, not to draw attention to it - taking only a few bills so those people wouldn't notice. Gio was well practiced at pick pocketing. He kept his eye open, making sure no one was watching, and kept to the men with baggy clothes so they wouldn't feel his hand slipping into their pockets. Gio passed stalls and took a few coins off a counter while the vendor wasn't looking.

Giovanni had a good collection of money going. He felt like he had enough for now. He could break into a house later that night to get some more money. Right now, drawing attention to himself was precisely what he didn't want to do.
It had been three days since he had met the Atharim woman, and Michael had not spent his time idle. He was now determined more than ever to survive.

Survival was his foremost objective at the moment. As much as he wanted to lash out at the Atharim, the odds were far too grim to even contemplate striking at them. Besides, he knew woefully little about their strength and capabilities. He could wait, watch and learn.

His foray to the Markets, however, was one of a more trivial nature. For some reason, Tony wanted him to buy some black fabric. The man was certainly active, Michael had hardly seen him the past month. He had no doubt Tony was keeping his business a secret, which did not bother him. He would find out eventually if it was anything important.

Michael would have told Tony to do it himself, but he had made progress on his newly discovered use of the power. He did not know exactly how to explain, but it was a type of Warding he guessed - using what he knew from magic throughout history, it sounded about right - and he wanted to try it out.

The Markets were crowded, but filled with the power and spinning threads like a spider-web, he could close his eyes and count each individual. He still couldn't spread the net further than perhaps ten meters, but for now that was all he needed to identify an attacker. He still did not know how it worked, only that he could pick up abnormalities like weapons or even the use of the Power - although when Tony had seized the power to test it, Michael was left with a splitting headache for hours afterwards.

He spotted a stall which sold all kinds of fabrics and made his way towards it. There was a line formed through the crowd and Michael settled at the back, content wait, mind focused on the power flowing through his veins.
Gio worked his way through the market trying to look busy while watching the passers-by. He was content with the amount of coin he had collected, but he felt like he needed a challenge. It had been a long time since Gio had really lived and choosing to rejoin society had him feeling a little lucky. Gio kept his eyes open for a suitable target.

That is when he saw a man standing in line for a fabric stall. He stood approximately 180 centimeters tall and was well built. He wore several layers of clothing and stood to his full height.

He looked exactly like the type of man who would provide a challenge for Gio. Gio changed his trajectory to move towards him, blending in with the crowd as he did so. He moved closer, making sure the man didn't turn around to face him. If he would have turned, Gio would have kept with the crowd; however, the man remained focused on the stall.

Gio moved at a slightly slower pace toward the man to not direct attention to himself. Gio thanked the light for the bundles of clothing. They would ward off any sensation of pickpocketing. With a practiced hand, Gio slipped his hand into the mans pocket pulling out his wallet. He then continued forward and tried to work his way back into the crowd.

It took him a moment to realise what had happened. With his enhanced senses he felt the shift of weight in his pocket, but Michael was focused on the warding that he nearly missed it.

As it was, he caught the man backing away with smooth practise of a experienced pickpocket. Without thought he spun a net of Air and coiled it around the man's legs, holding him fast.

To avoid suspcion he took a step forward and gripped the man's arm. Hopefully he would not notice the inability to run, of if he did, mistake it for fear or surprise.

Michael looked into the man's blue eyes. He was a little taller, older and looked weathered, but he paid no real attention to the man's physique. The strongest man would be no match for him, coiled in Air.

"I believe you have something of mine?"
he said, glancing at the wallet in the man's hand. His voice was deliberately low and steady, a hint of danger slithering through the emotional void that surrounded him.

He looked at the man more closely, eyes narrowing. He had the air of someone ruffled and uncomfortable. He could see the lines of stress around his eyes. The man looked nothing more than a startled hare. It was common of drug addicts, but the man showed none of the other tell-tale signs of addiction; besides the fact that no addict that far gone would be able to sneak through a crowd with such smooth confidence. Something jarred, something Michael would never have noticed if he had not been holding the power.

As it was, he was merely irritated rather than truly angry, but he held himself impassive. The man had no chance to steal his possessions, but the fact irked him nonetheless. "I suggest you return it to me, if you do not want any trouble."
Gio was caught. He couldn't believe it. Everything in him told him he should have succeeded. What he really couldn't get rid of was the menacing feeling that came up briefly before the man grabbed his arm. The feeling only lasted a few seconds, but it was so different from anything Gio had felt before. But in a strange way, it felt familiar to him.

Gio attempted to take a step back, but his legs were locked in a place.

"What is this?"
Giovanni thought, the fear building up in him.

For the first time in a long time, Gio was feeling afraid that the Atharim had caught up with him and they had some new tool at their disposal to stop people from running. With the fear, Giovanni could feel the power begin to fill inside of him and all of the memories of his brother's death came flooding through his mind.

Gio's eyes reflexively fixed on the man's left wrist and even though he couldn't see anything beneath the coat, he couldn't turn his eyes away.

thought Gio, as he heard the low rumble of thunder in the distance. "I will not give into the fear now."

With that the fear began to dissipate, and the power along with it. The low rumbling stopped, and Gio's hands began to shake hard enough that he dropped the wallet he was still holding.
Edited by Giovanni Cavelli, Sep 24 2013, 01:45 PM.
Michael was prepared for the man to do just about anything, but his eyes widened in surprise as he felt the power rush into the thief.

Does everyone I meet have a damn secret up their sleeve?

The man was terrified, it was almost palpable in the air as he stated at Michael's arm. He prepared a weave - the same he had used on the Atharim woman days before- but hesitated. He did not want to draw too much attention to the situation; people might start asking questions, and he did not want to bring the Atharim down upon their heads.

As it was, he watched as the man lashed out with the power in a flailing of unconscious panic. Michael knew the feeling well, and he wondered what had triggered the episode. Fear? Surprise? Anger?

It was difficult to tell, and he had no time to think much of it. He dare not interfere - things could go very bad for the both of them - but waited, poised for action.

All this happened in a span of seconds, thunder rolled overhead and the power vanished from the man's grasp as quickly as it had come, his hands trembling so hard that he dropped Michael's wallet.

Michael did not let go of the man's hand, nor did he release the restraining net of Air. The fool would get himself killed as it was, and likely take anyone around who was unlucky enough to be around him.

"Calm down,"
he said in a tone like polished marble - as hard as stone with a cool undertone that belied calm confidence, enhanced by the power that flowed through him.

Potential thief though he may be, Michael felt no anger, in fact, he found himself wanting to help the man. He was not foolish enough to try to save them all, but the man looked lost and alone, just as he had when he arrived in Moscow. At the very least, he would deny the Atharim a helpless target. "That is dangerous, you know. There are people who don't react well to our abilities. I think it is best we continue this conversation somewhere more private, if you don't mind?"

Edited by Michael Vellas, Sep 25 2013, 12:13 PM.
The man told him to calm down. That alone made Gio calm down. It just isn't something an Atharim would say. Of course, he could be trying to confuse Gio. Gio was caught off guard by the next comment the man made. He made a reference to people with our abilities. Was he admitting to being able to channel? Was that what the feeling had been moments before the man caught him?

Gio slowed his breathing and nodded, "I'll go with you."

Gio slowly bent down and picked up the wallet and handed it to the man. "Sorry about that."

Gio waited until the man accepted and turned around. Gio followed.
Michael accepted the wallet, bemused. A strange man indeed. His emotions swayed like a flag in the breeze, one moment terrified, the next calm. Michael wondered what had happened to the poor bastard to make him so unstable.

Thoughts aside, he nodded, turning on his heels. The market was a hub of human interaction, the din of thousands of toneless voices rising in a constant dirge harassed his ears as he held onto the power. It was far too dangerous to let it go after the man's show, so Michael clenched his teeth and bore on through the crowd.

He led the man towards one of the less frequented cafes in the area - a small building filled with cracks and rusted metal roller doors. Michael briefly examined the the menu - written in barely legible English with a black marker upon the rotting wooden wall above the counter - and nodded to the sour looking woman who stood awaiting them. "Just a bottle of water for me, thanks, and whatever my friend here wants."

Michael paid the woman, not really paying attention, and found a table in the corner farthest from the entrance. He sat down, examining the man's face for any signs of duplicity, but it seemed he really had no idea what was going on.

After a moment of silence, Michael spoke; relaxed but direct. "My name is Michael. Do you know what you did back there? That was extremely dangerous, not in the least for yourself. There are some people who would kill you for what you have done. Lucky for you that you tried to rob me. Now, why don't you tell me about yourself?"

He knew about them. He knew about the Atharim. Giovanni sat down with Michael at the table, ordering a water as well. He took a sip before speaking.

"My name is Giovanni and I'm well aware of what happened back there. Unfortunately, I have very little control over it. It rushes into me when I'm afraid. If I can get my fear in check, I can usually stop it."

Gio stopped and took another drink of water, trying to decide whether or not to trust Michael with his whole story. After a moment, he elected not to.

"I thought you were one of them. They will always be hunting me, and why shouldn't they. I'm an abomination that should be killed, but even knowing that, I don't want them to find me and I don't want to be killed...especially by them."

Gio say back feeling tense, but at the same time he felt a little relieved. It was the first time he had voiced his concern about the Atharim trying to find him. For a moment, Gio wanted to tell him the rest. He moved as if wanting to speak, but decided at the last minute to wait for Michael to respond.

Edited by Giovanni Cavelli, Sep 26 2013, 10:04 AM.
Michael listened, and his rage was fanned once more. As this Giovanni spoke, Michael could detect the accents of Italy in his voice. Another foreigner, another man running from the hunters. But why Moscow? A thought for another time.

It was clear that Giovanni knew more of the Atharim than he let on - perhaps more than Michael knew himself, although that wasn't a hard feat all things considered - and he could see the deep roots of fear alongside sprouts of defiance in Giovanni's words.

He took a moment to reply, allowing the rage at yet another example of the callous nature of the Atharim to abate. "Abomination? Do you feel like one?"
he did not wait for an answer. "No doubt something happened in the past, it happened to me. The power ran wild, and I killed someone."
The memories no longer hurt. "A mistake, but nothing that an ordinary man hasn't done. How many people have killed someone by mistake? The only difference is the method."

Michael paused, taking a drink. He could not read Giovanni, his reactions were unpredictable. From a thief to a frightened child and then a self-professed abomination. Who knew what toll the past had taken on the man's sanity?

"I can't tell you if we are an abomination or not, and I don't really care. However, I can show you how to control your power. At least then you can choose for yourself whether you become the abomination you are supposed to be."

Edited by Michael Vellas, Sep 27 2013, 08:34 AM.
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