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In the Heat of the...Tunnel?
#21
Giovanni sat down, and the tired feeling intensified. The room began to spin again as the lightheaded feeling returned. The blood loss, fear, and emotional turmoil drained at Giovanni's energy reserves, threatening to shut his body down for awhile.

Giovanni gave into the exhaustion. He could do nothing else as his body screamed for rest. Giovanni's body fell backwards, landing on the stone floor of the underground chamber they were in. In his exhaustion, Ordine and Caos grew louder, almost yelling in his head incoherently.

The emotional confusion was the last he could take and the last thing Giovanni remembered was Mikhailov's concerned face as he checked to make sure Giovanni was still alive. Giovanni fell into a deep sleep, his breathing becoming deep and unlabored as his immune system got to work to repair the damage.

Continued in Choices


Edited by Giovanni Cavelli, Jul 21 2014, 09:05 AM.
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#22
Drayson nodded slightly to her comment of him being particularly surprised with what had happened. Truthfully, he had never seen such a beast before, but while some small part of him hoped he never would again, he had to accept the reality of the situation. These things were real, and they were under his city, in it's streets, preying on the people he was tasked to protect. So he would again adjust his understanding of reality, of the workings of the 'natural' world, and move on.

He studied the fallen creature for a moment, listening to the not-so-distant discussion going on behind him between his newest recruit and the two squatters. "Well. I will have paramedics on scene soon. They could see to your wound."
He glanced at her with a ghost of a smirk. That would not go well for her; they would patch her arm, of course, but then she would be taken into custody. He doubted she would agree to that deal.

Vigilantism was illegal. Even if one's heart was in the right place, she was wandering the undercity armed to the teeth and hunting for trouble. Not exactly the mind-set of an emotionally balanced individual that may be prone to rational decision making skills. Vigilantes were dangerous, trouble waiting to happen. And that was giving her the benefit of the doubt that she wasn't Atharim. She hadn't tried to kill him yet, after all.

"Or, you can take this handkerchief, and be on your way."
He pulled one from the breast pocket of his shirt; it was a simple, white linen thing. Not particularly expensive nor fancy; no initials sewn into it or anything of that sort. Purely functional. What little medical supplies they had left would be used to keep the wounded man stable until his teams could arrive on scene, so the walking wounded would be forced to...well, walk.

The wounded man's accent finally seemed to seep through. An Italian. Wonderful. They were always so melodramatic. He shook his head ruefully, then tossed the handkerchief to the swordswoman.

He would not stop her from leaving, but he would not broker any resistance to his claiming the scene. The creature would be taken to a proper facility for study. Such a thing would surely be a huge boon to science. He had no interest in promotion or praise. He could not be bothered with such frivolous things, but such a thing would be exactly what would be needed to justify his new task force and secure the budget he would need.
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#23
He was going to let her go. That was pretty amazing. Aria had no interest in going to jail, much less since having seen Dane there. The whole damned thing, going to see him, attempting to talk her way out for him, getting in the Jaguar after him and going to his hotel. Everything had been a mistake. It was the reason she was down here in the first place, feeling bad for what she'd done.

Being let go with out a scene was in her best interest. Aria took the piece of cloth, it would do very little for the wound. It would soak with blood far faster and be even less useful. "A pleasure. It's called an Oni, if you are going to keep it, you might as well know it's name. I'm sure your scientists will love it."


Aria had dissected the last Oni she saw. It had killed an Ahtarim in the process of killing it. Their anatomy was interesting. She'd have to look it up in the tome that Father Dimitri had sent her. Her studies had been interesting to say the least.

Aria backed away from the officer. "I'll be taking my leave now."


And that was exactly what she did. Aria left the situation. She walked past the godling with a glance. The man lying on the ground, that was Giovanni. She knew him. He didn't look good. Aria looked back at the officer who'd let her go and then back at Giovanni. She knew if she stayed she'd be in jail. Aria sighed and looked to the shadows the way he had come. Someone had followed him. Aria couldn't get a good read on them. She thought it was a her, but she felt very different in her mind. She couldn't place it.

Aria saw the fire and stopped. It was better than walking around bleeding. The Atharim at HQ could help with it, but she really didn't want to go to them for help. Father Stone would be all over the fact that the police got the Oni. She sighed and drew her sword and stuck it in the fire. It wouldn't take too long for it to heat to a searing temperature. It wasn't easy. But Aria blocked the pain out as she put the swords steel blade to the wound. She felt the pain, it was wonderful, but it was overwhelming, she had to concentrate on not feeling it or she'd end up withering on the ground screaming in pain. Not a scene she wished to present.

The smell of burning flesh and the pain in her body Aria got up heedless of who was watching. It didn't matter, she had to go. And going home was a priority. She had a first aid kit. While not bleeding anymore it would still need attention. Attention she was more than capable of handling. You never knew when you'd be the lone hunter hurting or with a team that was injured, she wasn't as good as someone trained in field medicine but she could hold her own.
Edited by Aria, Jul 24 2014, 07:47 AM.
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#24
Ivan still had his hand on the woman's shoulder when he noticed the injured man grasp Mikhailov arm and pull himself up. "Oh come on!"
he exhaled frustratedly. He shook his head as he watched Mikhailov bring the man over. To Mikhailov he said, "What the hell do you think you are doing? He's injured. Any moving around will only make things worse."


"He told me if he didn't he'd crawl over here himself. I figured that'd be worse,"
was the man's reply. Ivan rolled his eyes. By that time the injured man, hanging off Mikhailov was speaking to the woman.

"Look here. You need to lay down until the wagon gets here. You're not helping yourself."
The idiot definitely looked out of it. He wasn't sure the man heard him. Almost immediately he asked to be lowered to the ground. Ivan helped Mikhailov get him to the ground, at which point the man went limp and fell back. Ivan caught his head and helped it to the ground gently. He wasn't going to use his hands as a pillow. Instead, he looked the man over, trying to see where the blood was coming from. Very likely, that moronic walk over here had broken it open and he lost more blood. He didn't even notice that while his back was gone the woman had slipped away until Mikhailov mentioned.

"Shit!"
He stood up. "Watch him. And DON'T let him wander off."
He shook his head and ran down the tunnel to where it opened up and Drayson was talking with sword-girl. "Did you see her?!? Did she come by here?"


Very likely they hadn't- well Drayson anyway. Sword-lady and her may be working together. But Drayson woulda stopped her. He shouted "I'll see if I can find her!"
He dashed across the open space and then slowed down as he approached another tunnel. His heart was pounding as he looked into the blackness, the image of that bear-thing in his mind. He pulled on the power until he was as full as he could hold. Then, he wove fire and air to make a light and sent it into the tunnel. It lit up and he could see water and slickness on the walls. He looked back. There were other entrances in the room. He had no idea which way she had went. But this was the most direct.

He entered the tunnel and walked slowly until it opened out onto another space, ears straining. At least with the power he could hear everything, could see every little detail. Course, down here it wasn't exactly a rose garden. The stagnant pools and grime and rotting trash created such a delicious aroma that his stomach turned. But he wasn't gonna let the power go, no sir. Wasn't gonna be any bear thing that attacked him. Again he thought of Zoya. He was going to have to tell her about this encounter tomorrow, provided Drayson didn't tell him to keep it hush hush. She deserved to know that he believed her, that she hadn't imagined it.

A scraping sound in the distance caught his attention. He stopped, straining his eyes. Moron! He sent his light over in that direction, the light moving across the floors and walls, which were lined with boxes and broken sections of wall and pieces of would, creating the illusion of movement. He watched the direction where he sent the light, ignoring the the resulting moving shadows. When the light stopped he couldn't see anything strange. Well no more strange than being down in the tunnels under the city and looking for a strange I-live-in-the-tunnels-and-have-no-problems-running-deeper-into-them-to-maybe-meet-another-bear-monster-or-a-sword-happy-girl. He shook his head. Drugs are a hell of a motivator, he thought sadly. Dude, don't be a prick. She might just have been scared and panicked. He really hoped she was ok. He had to find her.

He walked through the space, bringing the light back to him. He saw the shadows move, but ignored it as he looked behind the larger stacks of debris.

Suddenly he flew forward, the breath completely knocked out of him. He hit the floor hard and rolled twice. It was hard to think, he'd hit the ground so hard and his shoulder hurt to. Gutteral sounds ran at him and he turned in time to see another one of those bear things coming. He scrambled to his feet as the creature flew at him. If it wasn't for the power surging in him, allowing him to see things so clearly, those razor sharp claws would have raked open his stomach. As it was, throwing himself off to the side gave him a nice deep gash along his calf. He screamed and the power in him pulsed. He let the weave of light go and slammed air into the creature, throwing it hard into the wall. It didn't seem to phase it but rather made it angrier.

But Ivan was too pissed off to care. "Fucking monsters!"
he yelled. "Are you kidding me?!? Is Baba Yaga down here too?"
He hoped so. He wove fire and threw it at the bear thing and it screamed. But it kept coming. "You like that you son of a bitch?!? Huh?"
He hit it with air again, slamming it once more into the wall. That time it slowed it. But Ivan wasn't done. Limping, he advanced on the thing, angry and filled with rage. "You fucking piece of shit! You want me? Come on."
The thing looked at him through eyes its long hair, eyes filled with rage and pain. It wore torn clothes around its waist. Modesty? Really? "How about covering up that face, asshole!"
he yelled. Then he wover fire again, but this time fine as a thread and threw it around the creature's head. He heard sizzling as the the thread cut the head off. It hit the ground with a sickly thud, followed by the body.

The quiet was deafening after all the noise. Or maybe it hadn't been that loud. It seemed loud to him though. His heart pounded in his chest and he was drenched in sweat. Or maybe it was the slime or water from the ground. He ached from where he was hit. And his leg throbbed in pain now, his socks and torn pants leg drenched with blood. He looked around and saw nothing else. He hoped there had only been the two of those things. Probably not though. But he was hurt and Drayson was back there with at least two civies and one sword happy woman. He needed to get back to them in case another one of those things came. They could come back later and scour the tunnels.

But he hated leaving. That girl was gone. He didn't know where she went. This place was like a maze. FUCK!! Why hadn't she just stayed with them? The idea of her getting killed sickened him. Shaking his head, he limped back to the tunnels. He looked at the creature and sighed. He wove air to grab it by its leg and started dragging it to him. The head remained. His stomach dropped. He had to do it. Drayson's crew needed to get this one too. He went over and looked at the thing. It was singed and covered in blood. Not just its own. The thought of touching it, of putting his hands in its hair, sickened him. Finally, he grabbed it by one of the horns- it was maybe 30 pounds- and started back, pulling the rest of the beast with the power. The head brushed against his leg. Great. Well at least the suit was already ruined.


Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Jul 24 2014, 05:50 PM.
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#25
The swordswoman took her leave, after a brief pause by the fire to cauterize her wound. Modern medical science made the gesture unnecessary in most cases, but the woman wasn't likely to check herself into a hospital any time soon. For those that lived outside of, or beneath, society had to rely on the tried-and-true methods of bygone ages.

As she took her leave, the situation with the wounded Italian seemed to get out of Mr Sarkovy's control. The man's lack of field experience came through in the rookie mistake. He could not keep eyes on everyone at all times, and relying on a civilian like Mr Mikhailov was unreliable at best. Before Drayson could return to the group, Ivan had bolted down one of the dark tunnels, trying desperately to find the missing girl.

He would not fault Ivan on his motivation; the young officer wanted to protect the woman, and was understandably worried about her safety in light of the creature he now knew existed.

Drayson left Ivan to it; the man was far better equipped to protect himself then Drayson was; his pistol was more then enough to deal with the usual human trouble-makers, but something as big as the Oni...that was a stretch, at best. So he returned to the unconscious Italian and Mr Mikhailov, and knelt to give first-aid to the man's wounds, with the old crew chief on watch. The fire still gave off enough light that they could consider themselves almost safe, at least from anything trying to sneak up on them.

There was a commotion from the dark tunnel the man had vanished into, led by a glowing light that seemed to come from no-where. More of the 'magics' Alric had spoken to him of before Mr Sarkozy had been transferred to his care. Drayson had to chastise himself for how hard it was proving to accept such things as reality. They were, and his pre-conceived notions would only get in the way of doing his job.

The commotion ended in short order, and from the sounds of it, it was in Ivan's favour. Drayson finished applying an impromptu bandage to Gio's wound, getting the bleeding back under control, then indicated for Mr Mikhailov to take over, holding pressure to the wound.

Drayson stared down the tunnel Ivan had moved down, seeing the distant glow of the man's will'o'wisp, and flashed his own flashlight towards him in a simple Morse-code-like pattern to see if the man was alright. There was no point in yelling, as his voice would only become garbled as it echoed.
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#26
Ivan's left leg throbbed with each step. Thankfully the cuts hadn't been too deep- he wasn't losing a dangerous amount of blood- but it was enough that each step was an agony. And he didn't even want to imagine all the creepy-crawlies this funked up thing had under its claws and that were now in his leg. He'd get it looked at though. He wasn't gonna miss tomorrow.

Course it didn't help that he had this damn head in his right hand. Holding it by the horns meant he didn't have to touch that matted hair and what-all-else he could imagine could be in there- monster lice and sweatmaybe? But that just meant the head was at an angle and he was getting all that sweet monster-bear-whatever-the-hell-it-was juiciness rubbing up against his right leg. And each step just seemed to rub more and more of all that funkiness into his pant legs and against his skin. His stomach turned.

He stopped and looked at the thing. It was dark, except for ambient light up ahead. The head was a big black mass of yuck. He laughed at the ridiculousness of carrying the thing out. He stepped forward onto his left leg- You stupid moron he thought wincing in pain- but already had the head swinging at a good clip. It was 30 pounds and had a nice momentum going. It'd easily make it out into the tunnel and into the main area.

Just as he let go he saw flashes of light a ways from the tunnel. Damn it!! It was Drayson asking if he was ok. "WATCH OUT!"
he yelled and tried to run the rest of the way despite the sharp pain. He was still dragging that stupid corpse too. That was all he fucking needed his first day with the Chief Inspector. Oh yeah. Was an awesome day. Took down one monster by myself using magic that Ascendancy taught me to use. Helped a little psycho chick cut the head off another one. Oh, and I clocked my new boss right in the face with a nice 30 pound head. What a can't-be-any-better-than-this!-Let's crack-open-a-nice-tall-one-to-celebrate day!

Thankfully, the head sailed passed Drayson- without depositing all that great gunk right in the middle of his face- and and proceeded to land with a sickening thud before rolling along, kicked up by one of the horns so it roll into the opening of the tunnel across the way. It had bounced like those weirdly shaped balls the Americans or English used for their sports. Rugby?

He flew out of the tunnel wincing and said, "Sorry Cap. Didn't see you till the last minute."
He nodded back to what he was pulling out of the tunnel with threads of air. "Found another one back there."
He showed his leg. "Damn thing snuck up on me- almost took my head off, it was so fast. All it got was my leg though."
He looked back down the tunnel he'd gone. "Didn't see the girl though. I looked and looked."
He kicked at the thing. "Then Dr. Funkenstein here jumped me and I had my hands full."
He shook his head sadly. "I tried Cap. I really did."
Exhaling he said, "I really hope she's ok. I really do. She just up and disappeared."
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#27
Slit pupils focused on the goings-on outside her tunnel. The man she’d followed was taken away and kept in relative safety while events continued to unfold in front of her. For a moment, the woman with the swords seemed to turn her attention in Akantha’s direction. Though the woman showed no signs of heading the Naga’s way, Akantha could feel her body tense, the sting of her wound forgotten, while her eyes narrowed. In the end, nothing happened, and after dealing with her own injury the woman eventually left.

These humans were different than the sort that huddled around the tunnels, but Akantha’s interest dwindled as things seemed to be taken care of. As she straightened and turned to leave, the male from before rushed off into another tunnel. The commotion was enough to make her pause, and a short while later the sounds of a fight made their way to the main opening.

You ssshould go… she silently berated herself as the dark skinned man approached the opening of the tunnel across from her. She was back far enough that should he turn, it was unlikely that he’d see her. However, his flashlight would have no trouble spotting her. One altercation had been enough for her that day, and having already dealt with one beast, there was no telling how jumpy the man with the light may have been.

Interestingly enough, what she should have been worried about was something Akantha had never really expected. A second Oni’s head flew out from the opposite tunnel. The grotesque mass managed to miss the man whose back she’d been watching, land with a squelch, and roll into the opening of her hiding place. The empty eyes stared up at her, making her sneer beneath her face covering. It appeared to be a day for beheadings.

Three monsstersss.

The one the man had disposed made three monsters she knew of in such a short period of time. The idea that more of the beasts were venturing higher up in the tunnels bothered her. The Naga looked down at the head for a moment, making up her mind just as the one responsible for the kill finished his talking, then stepped out onto the opening to reach down and grab one of the creature’s horns. With a quick, effortless toss, the thing made its way back out onto the open space. “Looksss like you dropped sssomething.”

Edited by Akantha, Jul 29 2014, 11:08 PM.
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#28
He heard Ivan returning before he saw the man come lumbering into the beam of his flashlight, which he kept always just off Ivan so as not to totally blind the man, and of course to help keep an eye on the tunnel to his back. The flashlight was even held out to his side, rather then tucked close to his body. A simple technique; shooters tended to aim for the source of the light, and holding it out meant they would have been aiming off from where Drayson was actually standing.

He cocked an eyebrow, peering closely at what Ivan was carrying, then frowned as it was flung towards him. The thing seemed heavy, arching lazily through the air, and Drayson was forced to side-step to avoid the spray of ichor from what he was then able to identify as a stump. Another head. Another Oni head, apparently.

The thing cracked against the hard ground, and it's wicked horns caused it to fumble and bounce into the mouth of the next tunnel. "No harm done, Mr Sarkozy. I will not fault you on your desire to protect, but in the future, you cannot charge off. Especially down here."
His tone was calm; he was not angry or disappointed. They had run into a situation he had not even fathomed possible.

"These tunnels are a maze. Built over the past two centuries, many under the old Communist regime during the Cold War. Too many project heads, too many departments, too many secret plans, not enough communication. It is a wonder they have not come crashing down yet. But the people who live and work down here, they have a sense for such things. I think she will be fine, Mr Sarkozy."
He waited for Ivan to pass him, giving the tunnel one last inspection before turning away to move back to Mr Mikhailov, but he was stopped in his tracks.

The creature's head arched back into the center of the room, coming to a stop near he and Ivan, and Drayson raised his flashlight towards it's point of origin, only to find an oddly clad figure reveal itself from the shadows. There was a moment's thought given over to wondering how long the person had been hiding back there.

Their voice was oddly lisping, but feminine if he hadn't missed his guess. Although there was certainly something odd to her tone and pitch. Not exactly the most soothing of voices. With the figure emerged from the tunnel, they were revealed in the guttering light of the fire, so he lowered his flashlight to the head and glanced at Ivan with a ghost of a smile. "She has a point, Mr Sarkozy. Littering is a crime, you know."


He turned his light back towards their newest guest, after sharing a glance with Mr Mikhailov to make sure the man and his charge, Gio, were alright. "Mr Sarkozy, we had best find a way to bind that wound till the team arrives. I have enough paper work to do now, I would rather not add your untimely death to the pile."


He hadn't dropped his guard yet; two Oni had been haunting that section of tunnels, and as he understood it, they were not so far underground that such things could have been there for long, unnoticed. Which meant they had to have come from somewhere. Migrating, perhaps? It was bad enough worrying about gangs.

Whoever the newcomer was, she was not surprised by the existence of the creatures. Neither had the swordswoman, but she had likely come searching for the things. He was willing to believe she were not Atharim if only because she had made no qualms with being dismissed from the scene, leaving living witnesses behind. Was that the case with this one?

"I am Chief Inspector Drayson McCullough. This is Mr Sarkozy. Mr Mikhailov, a city worker. I am trying to learn what is happening down here, ma'am. Knowledge is power, and I hope that I can start making a difference for those of you living down here. Off the record, of course."
Anything on the record would lead to deportations, arrests, families being torn apart as children were taken by Child Services. Those were all things he hoped to avoid.
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#29
Ivan had to give it to Drayson. The man was one cool cat. Head flying at you? No biggie. Monsters? Yawn. Crazy chick with sword? Eh, all in a day's work. Ivan liked the guy immensely. He hoped it would turn into something more permanent. And truth be told, he kinda liked the idea of being on a special team to deal with all that crazy shit. It was a damn sight better than writing tickets or dealing with the day to day. Truth is, this stuff right her, in the long run, was much more important. And Ivan had wanted what he did to matter more than anything. He had a job to do and damn it, he was gonna get it done.

The Cap was cool about all of it though. Even Ivan's barreling off into the tunnels. He appreciated that. In retrospect, it had been stupid. But at the time he really wasn't sure what else he was supposed to do. Just let that girl disappear into the tunnels where there were these whatever-the-hell-they-were monsters? The idea of finding her torn up body had terrified him. He hoped Cap was right about that, about her.

He looked in the direction of where the head had gone. He had been really pissed and had thrown it harder than he'd expected. He wasn't really interested in going to get it. But, if he didn't Cap would just tell him to. Better to do it without being asked. They were going to need it. As he was about to start out in that direction, the head sailed out of the tunnel and rolled to his feet. "Aww shit!"
he thought, readying a weave of air and fire, just in case another one of those monsters came out. Instead, a tall figure, dressed in dark colors with only its eyes showing stepped out.

“Looksss like you dropped sssomething.”
It was such an incongruous thing to say that Ivan just stared. The woman- he knew a woman's voice and especially shape from this distance, despite all the clothing. He was a guy, after all.- had picked up a head that was easily 30 pounds and chucked it as it wasn't anything. He'd not seen that before. At least not on chicks who didn't look like they might kick the shit out of you for fun.

Good old Cap, though, took one look and decided that this too was normal. "She has a point, Mr Sarkozy. Littering is a crime, you know."
He couldn't help it. Not after everything they'd seen. He laughed. Cap followed it up with a comment about his leg and then addressed the woman.

She just stood there but there was something odd about the way she stood. It was as if she were on the verge of moving in any direction. "I'm good, Cap. The cuts aren't deep though I suspect I won't like what's in them. I think I'm gonna use one of the first aid kits we brought."
They didn't need to be losing this woman, not if she could tell them anything weird going on in the tunnels.

Cap was in charge and Ivan junior, so he let Drayson deal with the woman- he still watched, making sure to keep a weave ready just in case- and made his way to Mikhailov and the bags they had brought. He pulled out one of the kits and began to work on his leg. Mikhailov helped, first cutting the pant leg away, and then cleaning and bandaging the wound. Three ragged gashes across his calf were soon covered by gauze and tape. It still stung something fierce though. All told though, considering that thing, he had been lucky. He wasn't limping too bad. He'd be ok for his date with Zoya. And for her surprise too. He hoped, anyway. Come hell or high water, he thought to himself.

He stood up and went back to the Cap.


Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Aug 7 2014, 10:57 PM.
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#30
The Naga watched the two men trying to ignore the light that the older of the two aimed in her direction. Adjusting the back she carried over one shoulder caused the gash she’d gotten in her fight with the Drayken to sting, but Akantha gave no outward sign of the pain.

When Drayson introduced himself, and the others, her gaze flowed from one human to the next. Out of the three of them, and judging by the way he’d dealt with the Oni, Sarkozy was possibly the most dangerous. She watched him for a moment while he limped away to take care of his wound then returned her attention to the Inspector.

He’d called himself a Chief, did that mean that the others were part of his clan? Unfortunately for Akantha, she knew little of the way humans worked outside of the confines of the tunnels. All she knew of them was limited to the vile or the cowardly undesirables that hid underground. As he had said, knowledge was power, but what mattered to her was exactly how he would utilize it.

She didn’t trust humans, and she wasn’t about to endanger her clan in order to help this one. In fact, his last comment struck her as amusing, and despite herself, the serpentine woman gave off a cynical laugh. Make a difference for those like her? How? By hunting them down more? Then again, if she could garner information from him, then perhaps she could be closer to discover what was going on with her people. “It will take much for any good to come to the tunnelsss. You can call me Akantha. I’m alssso looking to find out what isss going on here.”


Gesturing to the Oni’s head, Akantha frowned in disgust and walked up to Drayson. “That iss some of what iss happening down here. Thisss iss a much darker plasce than above, and creaturesss are not unheard of, but it sseemsss thingsss are worsssening. I dealt with one of the pale beasstss earlier, it tried to eat a man that came thisss way. I sshould have let him be, but followed him here. Then the two you’ve dealt with make three beasstsss today.”

Edited by Akantha, Aug 8 2014, 12:57 AM.
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