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Fated, Faithful, Fatal

- - - - - Nadir Maena Point Nadir

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#21
Aver Brand

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Time slowed down to a trickle. The doors chimed, sliding open to reveal the muzzle of a gun and its grinning gunman. White walls lit up with red as blaster fire filled the tight corridor. Bolt after bolt exploded against their shield of black, roaring into nothing. His effort was the taut line of her spine and she lent him strength with the baring of teeth.

 

Fire streamed forth – the distance slowly consumed with each step.

 

Aver pinpointed her consciousness, crawling into the intricate mechanism of the chaingun. Past the bolt, through the helix of the spring, and right into the actuating module. She felt the heat of molecules passing her by, the sizzle of power as they danced around and through her.

 

And then she flexed.

 

Her arms wrapped around Loray as the elevator exploded, pulling him into her and down, down, down. Expanding gas and flames swept over corridor, scorching the sterile décor of the lobby. The desk erupted into expensive mahogany splinters; the bantha leather armchairs cracked apart and crashed through the glass statue in the middle of the room.

 

Smoke swirled around their motionless bodies – the acrid stink of burning fat wafted from the ruins of the lift.

 

Groaning, Aver rolled off her partner. Explosions did wonders for cracked ribs. Every aggravated injury was screaming, little pinpricks of fire in her chest and gut.

 

“Frak,” she breathed, and gripped the edge of the broken counter to find her feet again.  “Guess we’re gonna climb another elevator shaft.” A dry chuckle escaped her mouth as she gestured forward. “After you.”

 

A short breather – just a minute – to let those ribs stitch together again.

 

 

Loray Tares


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#22
Loray Tares

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He was content to let the explosion consume him, the barnacle fibers of the soul saber were dug in deep and coursing through every synapses and vein. Every decision he made felt guided, like the choice was there but blanked out – always preselected, on rails that led towards destruction. The power vibrating through him made him feel powerful, awake, and attuned to all the nuances of the world. And in the face of those nuances, he lumbered forward toward direct path.

 

But instead, her hands wrapped around him and dragged him to the ground. Fire engulfed the air above them as the shield popped and dispersed upon contact with the ground. Smoke furled through the columns as some stood upright, paneling sliding off, while others collapsed and threatened to drop the ceiling down on top of them.

 

As she rolled off, he slowly came to before following in her wake. Scorch marks covered white walls and tiles, cinder and ash were thick in the air. His crimson gaze focused on her as he felt a sudden shudder. Looking across the room, the soul saber sat against the ground, emanating power and calling to him. But the call was subtle, almost silent, and hardly what he would consider provocative.

 

No.” He stated quietly, looking to her as she leaned against the counter. Approaching, he placed his hand across the small of her back. His other pressed against her shoulder. She could heal quickly but it appeared that it simply wasn’t quick enough. “We have time. Aidrano can wait.” He pulled on the ache, feeling the spindle fibers and electricity of her neural pathways. He gripped on to her back, fingers curling around and beneath armor, applying pressure to the wound, as he consumed what pain he could find. With an eye closed, he could almost feel the bones re-attaching, feeling the marrow retract back into the core and pull the calcium deposits across open wound. He could feel the spasm of muscles around the bones, tightening to constrict and reduce movement. He could feel the ache of every breath, splinters of bone threatening to punch through the pleural space. Feeling the reprieve seep in, the intensity of the pain reduced for a lingering time, he retracted his hands.

 

Where they were attached to her plates, they extended out to call the saber back. In hand, it extinguished and slurped back into the interior of his Voxyn palm. With that same tone now back in full volume, he moved towards the elevator shaft and looked up. Through the broken shambles of what remained, he spotted dangling emergency cables. Looking over his shoulder, he gave a lingering glance towards his lover before hopping in and jumping upwards. With a grip on the cable, he began his ascent. 

 

Aver Brand


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#23
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Her eyes were closed, her mind a mile away – his touch caught her by surprise.

 

Still, she did not fight him. The kiss of his presence was as familiar as the back of her hand. Where she was cold, Loray was warm, stealing the ache from her bones. Aver said nothing as he worked, let herself float on his steady tides. He could not take it all, but he could take enough. Pain was his purview, much as destruction was hers, and they both excelled at what they did.

 

“Thank you,” she murmured as he retreated, leaving only his waves lapping at her shore. Always.

 

Aver followed him after a beat, testing the responses of her body with measured movements. Fighting with lacerations and sprains and even broken bones was nothing unusual for either of them. Often, the sting of an open wound served as a driving focus in the chaotic din of battle, anchoring her presence to the moment.

 

The stretch of muscle had her grimacing, but Aver pulled herself up nonetheless. At least they fought light – plenty of equipment, but never so much to weigh them down. CERS did its part, reducing a grueling climb to an uphill jog.

 

As she swung out to the top floor, he was already waiting, Soulsaber in hand. Her blue eyes lingered on the dragon hilt for a moment before flickering to the corridor ahead. Her HUD revealed nothing until she switched to thermal, and hissed.

 

“They set up an ambush in the ceiling vents ahead.”

 

A quick search of her belt revealed a sticky grenade, and Aver gave a grunt of satisfaction. With a precise measurement helpfully displayed on her overlay, the merc armed the explosive and cast it through the air.

 

It clamped to the paneling with a sinister thud, its sole red eye winking in and out of existence.

 

Then it exploded.

 

 

Loray Tares


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#24
Loray Tares

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He didn’t linger long enough to hear the gratitude. But it was implicit, inherent in the give and take that defined their relationship. As it always had, though it approached the peak of clarity. For her ability to heal, to overcome injury, he was more than happy to take every ounce of her pain.

 

He worked his way of the cable, her movement apparent in the weight of the sway below. Armor and body and muscle and anger and pain, clamoring together in nearly inaudible grunts. Pulling himself up over the ledge, the Soul Saber ignited in the same fury that is always had. Though, he couldn’t quite place it, a muffled film seemed to be missing. Lifting the beam to see better, he inspected the inner core from a dangerous proximity.

 

Kill

 

Kill them all

 

It was a subtle message, but one he was content to follow. As the blade dropped to his side, the harshness of the red slit turned to look at Aver as she breached the shaft of the elevator.

 

Yes.” He agreed, unusually loquacious given his tendency to remain silent in times like these. “I can smell their fear.

 

Like a pungent odor pushing through the vent, he could almost taste the sweat. The cowardice. The lingering evidence that men shook with anticipation, trembling the foiled metal that ran along the vents. Vision lifted to watch as the orb stuck into the material, making blinking promises of things to come. And then it exploded.

 

The shield was erected quickly and only for further concern for her injury, the battering of her body was clear. Bits deflected from the dome, bouncing into the nearby wall or tumbling down the elevator shaft. As soon as it was evident that damage was all but done, leaving nothing but a cloud of smoke in the wake, he leaned forward and threw the lightsaber. Twirling forward, it banked as it approached the floor, whirling into the field of haze. Screams echoed out, followed by a wet sound of fluid as solid objects plopped against tiled floor. Loray lifted his hand as the blade returned from the dust, spinning back only to bank back into his hand.

 

Sending his left hand forward, he released a force push as the haze was pushed towards the exterior walls. What stood there were the remains of three men who had fallen through the ceiling, surviving the explosion. Legs and half forms remained standing with the top half of each sprawled across the floor, loosely connected by entrails. Behind them, another blast door. Loray quietly wondered if it would be the last.

 

Aver Brand


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#25
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For once, Aver was content to hang back from the thick of the action. Tanking two explosions in half an hour had a way of dissuading even the strongest of fighters. The pain Loray had lifted would stay at bay so long as she allowed her body a moment to rest. Where humans needed days and weeks, the firrerreo only needed minutes and hours. Already the ribs felt sturdier in her chest, and the flow of blood had stopped sometime during the climb.

 

When the smoke cleared, no-one was left standing.

 

The merc bystepped the splattered viscera, unclipping the LeMat from her belt.

 

“Alright, Aidrano. All of your people are dead, so how about we hold that meeting? We’ll be quick. Promise.”

 

Steel laced her words, sharp as a razor and just as piercing. Didn’t even need to shout. Aver knew the bastard heard her – could feel his racing heartbeat, the cold sweat streaking down his spine. When she was younger, and went by a different name, it was this she lived for. The intoxicating power over life. To hold a soul in her grip and know, truly and deeply, that it lived and died by her mercy.

 

Playing god.

 

The luster had faded, washed away by years of blood. Aver found joy in smaller things; a long night in bed, undisturbed by gunshots or work; a lazy morning, bereft of armor and just existing; a good game of sabacc; a fine dinner; a brush of her consciousness against her lovers – conversation held with no words at all.

 

War slumbered in her breast only so long as willed it so. At the end of the day, strife was still her home, and the end of the day was fast approaching.

 

 

 

Loray Tares


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#26
Loray Tares

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Stepping in pace with her, he looked quietly over the controls to the blast door. Based off the geometry of the building, this was the last bastion for safety from the equalizers. He could feel the sweat pouring out of the door, the chill of the spine, the loud thud of a nervous heartbeat. Just as he was prepared to break open the door, the metal doors slid open.

 

An empty space of tiling, a large lofted ceiling with long columns on each side, and windows that overlooked the entire theme park. At the very end, a desk of obsidian black. Based off the destruction of the interior of the building, the lights had shifted to emergency power, bathing the room in a glowing red hue. Loray looked towards the desk, crimson slit narrowing as a dead body laid on the floor next to it.

 

Across the desk, even from this far away, he could see the white powder. And from it, a bearded man lifted his head and looked towards the equalizers with a starry blue eyed expression. He wore a track suit of white with black stripes, finger-less leather gloves, and had a hand cemented to a tumbler of whiskey. Loray watched with growing anger as the man leaned back from his tower of powder, wiping the residue from his beard.

 

"Good good, I'm so happy you all could make it to Maena. It's beautiful..." He spun in his chair, eyes open and arms wide. "Just beautiful!" Stopping as he completed one circle, he held the tumbler up in cheer to the duo. Loray felt the blood drain from his knuckles.

 

"You all do splendid work. Artists! Impeccable!"

 

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Aver Brand


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#27
Aver Brand

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Glacier slid ominously downward. Aver extended a deliberate arm to her left, bracing Loray – for his sake, and for Kranos’. She could feel his seething anger climb up her spine, much quicker than they scaled the elevator shaft. Not that he’d ever been slow to give to fury, but this was… unusual.

 

A concern for later. They had a wayward drug lord to deal with.

 

Aver stood before the obsidian desk in the blink of an eye, shoving the table away as if it were air. The powder scattered in a wide white arc, and before it ever began to settle, the merc was holding Kranos up by the neck.

 

His expensive suit was half-ripped in her vice grip, heavy necklaces clanging as they swung against her armor time and again. Her arm was steady as a pillar of ferrocrete, no matter how much the junkie scrambled his bejeweled fingers over the unyielding metal.

 

“Talk, asshole. Make it fast.”

 

Maybe she didn’t really care if Loray pulled out a knife. Competent or not, Aver had little doubt that Nadir could produce a suitably intelligent individual to take Roger’s place if the man… expired. Intelligent and smart enough to know he was employed by people you didn’t cross.

 

 

Loray Tares


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#28
Loray Tares

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He felt the cooling sensation of her presence, burner turned down to reduce the heat. He felt the hushed desire to boil over, to trudge forward and yank the man from his seat. To beat him until there was nothing left. No suit, no jewelry, no beard. He had interacted with Kranos before, a long time ago, and the benefits of the relationship were pronounced. But now, Loray felt inconvenienced.

 

He watched in steaming silence as Aver moved forward. Desk of pitch tossed away, a trail of powder falling in the wake. He watched the expression of the dealer, the disappointment in the loss and scattered remains of his drug tower. Neck clenched in hand, suit torn to shreds, jewelry clacking against Aver’s armor.

 

Loray stepped forward and knelt by the dead body as the bearded man responded. Loray rummaged through the pockets, finding identification information.

 

I…” Loray looked up to watch as bejeweled fingers wrapped around Aver’s offending wrist. “I was trying to help!” He stated through gasps and clenched breaths.

 

Satisfied with his search, Loray stepped past Aver and found a tall window pane of glass. There were many, all in an outward progression that overlooked the theme park. Finding his reflection starring back, he stepped forward and smacked a knuckle against the material. It shattered and fell forward, littering the park below with shards and sparkles. “We could toss him from the tower.

 

Loray looked over his shoulder as he saw big bulging blue eyes strafe towards him. “Oh come on man! I’m here to help!” Loray watched as the man’s eyes drifted upwards. “Wow, that’s a really big window! Man…what a window!


 

Aver Brand


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#29
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Loray Tares

 

Easily ignoring the drug dealer’s bawling, Aver took a step forward to peer through the broken window. Whistled.

 

“That’s one helluva drop. See that, Kranos?” She shook him for good measure, pulling his wandering attention back to the present. He grinned, mad or nervous or just karking high, she couldn’t tell.

 

“We could totally toss you from this tower. You know how long that trip down’d be, Kranos? Do you?” Her HUD helpfully supplied the calculation, but Aver swiped it aside with a gesture of her eyes.

 

“All I want, Roger… really, all I fethin’ want in my business partners is some communication. Is that so much to ask?”


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#30
Loray Tares

Loray Tares

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Kranos squirmed beneath her grip, like a worm on a hook. Moving, tranced by a high, and fearful for his life. That was the appropriate response, given the tendency of equalizers to destroy as they saw fit.

 

Aidrano was stealing from me…” He squirmed some more as Loray looked over, assessing the truth of things. “He was shaving off profits at every turn. Stealing from me…and you too!

 

Bulging blue eyes looked over towards the dead body as Loray followed his gaze. “So I poisoned his drugs and scheduled a meeting. Well…” Loray glared as the slit narrowed in show of intensity.

 

I lied to him about the potency of the drug.” Loray stepped forward, hands gripped into fists, as he ran fingers along Aver’s armored back. Siphoning off ounces of what pain was left, either through the injury or the healing, as he attempted to cool his tempter.

 

Lies.

 

Lies.

 

Uhh…” Kranos blurted out as he watched, clearly bemused. “I can’t be blamed for Aidrano being a lightweight! I did the same drugs and look at me! Right as rain.” He said that last bit with a tone thick in confidence, the sort of thing that could have sent Loray over the edge. If it weren’t for the cooler head of his lover.

 

Arrogant.

 

Unworthy.

 

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#31
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Aver ran a hand over her face – well, over her faceplate. Roger Kranos was at once amusing and obnoxious. His life in that moment depended solely on which end of the scales would end up tipping in the end.

 

Could’ve turned out very differently for the man if it weren’t for Loray’s touch along her back. It wasn’t so much calming (Loray wasn’t calm) as it took away the deep-seated irritation of cracked bone and blackened bruise.

 

With a grunt, the merc yanked him back inside and relinquished her grip. The man flopped back down into the leather seat like a sack of potatoes.

 

“Next time you interfere with our business, you’ll be wishing we’d throw you out a window,” she spoke, strolling over to right the desk again. “You will inform us of your little plans in the future… won’t you, Kranos?”

 
 
 

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#32
Loray Tares

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Never had a more impressive figure landed in such mediocre standing. The pleather felt obtrusive, lumpy, and abrasive to the specimen of clothing that now clung to the crime lord in strands and ribbons. He looked down, bejeweled fingers running across his now exposed body beard and nipple jinglies, as he inspected the clothing. Then to his muscular neck, taut and sharp and muscly, as he stretched it out and felt the impression of those delicious fingers around it.

 
Well you say plan like I actually planned it…” He said as he laughed, scooting off the chair and plopping down in the powder. Turning over, he delved deep into the lost art of making snow angels while giggling. “You two sure do take this chit seriously!” He stood up, pointing his finger at Loray.
 
That guy is kriffing scary…”He looked over his broad shoulders, as broad as any building he had seen, as he dusted of strands of residue from his collar. “Like really scary.” He held his hands up, fingers extended to describe just how woah the figure was. “Like really really scary…” He waved his fingers towards the two and plopped back down, sending a plume of drugs up around him. “I like you guys.
 
~~~~
 
Loray watched quietly as everything happened, fingers balling into silent fists. Steaming, venting, he looked up towards the ceiling with something resembling stoic aggravation. Then Kranos was accusing him of being scary.
 
And Loray wasn’t sure how to take that.
 
Was he trying to be scary?
 
That seemed like the plan. If it wasn’t the plan, it was an artifact of his posture. Turning back towards the open window, he considered jumping out to rid himself of this nuisance. Instead, he looked over to Aver with a hidden expression that stood somewhere between mania and exhaustion.
 
 

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#33
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The stunt with defenestration and a twenty-meter fall had been incredibly satisfying. Seeing him collapse into the seat, thoroughly trashed? Even more so.

 

Aver relaxed against the table, arms crossed over armored chest. She regarded the twitching, gesticulating man with a mixture exasperation and frustration. The latter only grew as he flopped down into the scattered drugs, flailing about with a dopey grin on his face.

 

Oh, how she wanted to punch those gilded teeth out. “If you say it one more time – window’s that way.”

 

Releasing another calming breath, Aver instead dug her fingers into the lacquered wood of the desk. It squealed. Her back ached. Her ribs ached. She wanted to fall face-first into a bed and sleep for a day. Or two. Then kark the living daylights out of Rev, then sleep some more.

 

Dealing with Roger Kranos was more exhausting than leading a war campaign against the Republic for seven years with no respite.

 

“Get the feth out of here, Kranos. Maybe get clean for once in your life.” From what she’d managed to take in between one firefight and the next, the theme park held great prospect as an investment. It would need some reevaluation, rebuilding, restaffing… but that’d never been an issue before.

 

 

Loray Tares


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#34
Loray Tares

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"Clean..." He blurted out amidst a giggle. Shaking his head, he started filling his pockets with white powder. Shoveling the powder towards his chest, he cupped whatever he could before standing and laughing. "That sounds boring." Eyes darted around as if he might caught the sounds of sirens, blasting through the streets, just as he finished off some amazing deal. But no, that was the second wave coming through. "Toodles you two..." He chortled out before running head long down the hallway back to the elevator.

 

In his wake, powder floated through the air in tasty ribbons.

 

Loray stood quiet at the window, gaze moving across the theme park as it slept in this state of vibrant slumber. No one there to enjoy the arena, no one there to take part in the rides. No one there to die, stuck beneath the anger that Kranos brought out. Unwrapping his fingers from the metal frame, where the glass once sat flush, he moved over to Aver.

 

His hand dropped, pressing over the divots formed by her fingers in the wood, as his other moved to the small of her back.

 

"You look tired." He cooed, uncharacteristically soft, given his disposition with the saber and with this armor. But her pain, and the absence of the drug dealer, was enough to loosen most stone. "More so than usual." His hand drifted upwards, shifting between the plates of armor as he pressed against taut muscles - hidden beneath the black overlay. "We can find a place here, in Maena, to shore up before heading back. We can use the time to assess these new assets.

 

Clarity, cutting through the clouds of otherwise persistent anger. It came in waves, it seemed.

 

Aver Brand

 


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#35
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Syncopated footsteps sounded down the corpse-riddled hall. She waited, heard the wet of a leather sole digging into flesh tendered by a grenade. Kranos never failed to disappoint.

 

“I’ll be fine in an hour,” she replied, seconds late. “You know that.”

 

Aver dragged her faraway gaze back to Loray and the present. “You seemed off back then,” she spoke then, words spilling out of the blue as she turned her gaze to the impassive crimson slit. “Like you were…” the merc blinked, biting off the rest of the sentence.

 

“Ah, forget it. I am tired.” She stood, wry smile curling red lips as she held a lingering hand to his metal cheek.

 

“Think Matsu’d mind if we crash in her bed for a night?”

 

Words spoken in humor, but not without a shred of truth. Never knew with the Spider.

 

 

Loray Tares


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