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Falling Sky: Aven

Falling Behind

By: Rui Rodrigues

Hurry…I’m falling…
A soft feminine voice could be heard in the dark.
- Come please…
It seemed desperate, and by the second it distanced itself from him.
You need to reach me…
This time it was closer, more of an echo than anything else.
Then suddenly a shape formed from within the darkness, it was the shape of a young woman, about 17-18 years old, her eyes were shut and yet shone in an almost transparent yellow.
Was it? Was it really her? The love of his life? No. It couldn’t be, she was dead!
In the darkness Kai fell to his knees, the memories of all he had lost in these past few months flooded his mind, and it was overwhelming. Soon faint tears lined down through his cheeks, soon vaporising touching the triangular markings, it wasn’t that odd that effect, recently they had been showing many other awkward happenings, like the fact that they would burn when Kai passed by or was standing near his team-mate League Prodigy as if they sensed something in him.
Kai? – Another voice called, this time a bit more rugged, it was a masculine voice, it sounded tired and yet wise at the same time – Kai, do not cry – the voice spoke again.
You have to be strong for what is coming.
Kai soon recognized this new voice, and so to confirm his guess rose his head and gazed upon a tall man with green eyes much like himself’s, his hair was of a dark brown colour with a thin grey stripe falling on his forehead, age had marked his face with many scars and wrinkles, which gave him a bit of an old and sage like look.
You’re dead aren’t you…Dad? – Kai asked, and right away he was answered – Yes…And I regret the fact I did not have the decency to say goodbye a last time…
It was his dad Hannibal Vallant who had been gone for about two months which looked like months in Kai’s mind.
- Why say goodbye? What happened to you? How did you die? – Shouted Kai in doubt.
I am sorry son, but I cannot answer those questions, it is up to you to find the answers. But I assure you that you will see me again, and you will finally see who and what I really am.
For what you really are? What do you mean dad? – He shouted again desperate and confused.
Patience, please son, have patience, all your questions will be answered soon even those concerning yourself…
Now wake up Kai – this time it was Lisa’s voice, she was also dead, it had been a very recent loss to Kai, it had only been two weeks since she had left this world to join the next.
Wake up – she spoke again this time reaching him with her soft hand.
Kai too reached back with his own hand, but the more he stretched his arm the more it seemed she was farther from him.
Then suddenly he was pulled back, he tried to fight the pull but it was too strong. He stretched his arm as far as he could, trying to grab her hand.
Just two feet away, he stretched farther…
Another pull…
One feet away…
Another pull, this time stronger
He stretched again, reaching his limit, he could almost touch her….
LISA!!! – He screamed being pulled back in a swift and strong stroke.

Kai jumped off his bed hitting hard into the hard plaster floor in his back, he was drenched in sweat, his clothes reeked, and himself felt a bit bad.
“Lisa”… - He thinked to himself,
“Dad”… - he sighed softly as he rose from the ground heading to the bathroom.
Taking a good look at the mirror just above the sink, Kai could see the vapour which emanated from his markings, he put his hands on them, they weren’t hot actually they were pretty cold, he could also feel that they didn’t distinguish themselves from the surface of his skin, as if they were a part of it.
He decided to take a cold shower, something his parents always recommended when having a hard time sleeping, but he wasn’t going to take it to sleep, no, he guessed that since h couldn’t get some shuteye why not go out patrolling? – Crime never sleeps.
Opening the shower door he saw that it had been used not too long ago, probably Killswitch trying to get some oil grease out of his hair after his long hours tinkering with his power-suit. That was one of the many disadvantages of sharing a room with a 14 year old blaster.

The water which poured out of the shower tube wasn’t that cold it was actually pretty warm, mostly thanks to Kai’s control over heat, it was a very soothing feeling, so he let himself relax, something he hadn’t done since Lisa’s death.
Time passed and he walked out of the shower now feeling a bit more at peace.
Putting on his grey Levi’s Kai noticed how long it had been since he had wore normal clothes, in his mind since he had joined the Dawn League his hero uniform was the only thing he needed.
He fetched for his yellow t-shirt and found it hanging lonely on the bedroom cover and smelling a bit musty, he finished his patrolling attire with his trademark dark grey fingerless gloves and his favourite jacket.
Not wanting to wake anyone in the floor Kai chose the window as an exit, and so he opened the clear window and jumped onto the balcony, a quick glance at the sky let him know that this was a quiet night and that no clouds would put themselves between him and the city’s thugs and criminals.
Kai mustered his strength and soon was flying amongst the rooftops of Steel Canyon, he didn’t no what he should do next, if he should go after random criminals, or maybe do a mission or two for his contacts, he chose the latter.
He took his cell phone out of his back pocket and called one of his most trusted contacts, Juan Jimenez.

A few miles from Steel Canyon, a cell phone rang on the bedside table of a modest home’s sleeping room.
- Yeah? Who the heck calls at this time of hour? – Asked a tired and grumpy Juan – Achem! Sorry Juan, it’s me Aven, I wanted to know if there’s something you might have for me? You know like a mission or something? – Said Kai a bit sorry for interrupting his contact’s sleep – Oh, it’s you. Well, ok, I might have something. It seems that some Circle of Thorns mages have been causing some trouble here in King’s Row. But, let me warn you that there’s the possibility that they might be working with someone outside the cult. – Juan informed – Hum…you mean like a villain? – Kai asked – Might be, but recent clues indicate that it is more probable that their “helper”, so to speak, is a hero and quite possibly a rogue one.
Things like these shattered Kai’s heart, to him the possibility of a hero turning villain was as bad as Lisa’s death, but still there had been cases like these before, Kai had heard something about a hero named Voyager turn into such a powerful and vicious arch-villain that the FBSA had him locked away in someplace unknown.
Oh, yeah, Kai?..I mean, Aven? – Asked Juan in a worried tone – Yeah what is it? – Replied Aven – be careful…
With this Aven shut the phone and flew at top speed in direction to King’s Row’s War-wall, unaware of a watchful eye hidden between the low rooftops of Steel Canyon’s buildings.

Aven couldn’t stop thinking about where he was going and who he was going to face – Cot’s. . .I HATE Cot’s!. . . – He muttered as he reached the war-wall, looking up he gazed upon the soothing greenish light of the Rikti shields which separated the city into it’s various quadrants, also keeping certain parts of it, in a somewhat safe condition. It was strange to know that those shields once protected the world’s most fearsome threat, the Rikti. In the war these shields kept the alien invaders safe from most harm, excluding magic and the attacks of the most powerful heroes the world had.
 Since King’s Row wasn’t considered a “Risk Area”, it didn’t have a gate, just a tunnel passageway for pedestrians and cars.
Aven saluted the PPD cops guarding the tunnel, they greeted back and asked him for his card, as he flashed it one of them, a young tall about 5 foot seven, African-American guy gazed at it surprisingly.
How old are you Cape?- the cop asked – 16, why? – Aven replied.
The cops surprising look widened as if it had seen a ghost – You have gotta be kidding me right? A 16 year old punk with security clearance 46? – Suddenly the other cop stepped in – Sorry about that Aven – the 54 year old big cop said.
No worries Bob – Aven said smiling.
Bob was another one of his contacts, he had been a cop for nearly 30 years and knew his father, so, he also knew about his secret identity, and that was actually pretty easy too! Because Kai didn’t wear any masks, just his suit, so, for the people who knew him, especially close ones, it was a pretty easy job to catch his sight in a crowd of spandex wearing heroes.
Kai put his card back in its pocket and walked away soon to blast away through the tunnel, and as he left Bob approached the younger police officer – You see that kid, rookie? – He said pointing his finger to Aven.
Yeah, why? – The rookie cop replied, a bit annoyed with the outcome of the previous intercourse – Well – Bob sighed – He is definitely a true hero. Not only did he uncover an undercover conspiracy against the Phalanx a couple of weeks ago. Yup – he said – That is a true Hero.

Kai had just left the underground tunnel when he heard a shout for help, by the sound it could from a young woman, but she was nowhere to be seen.
Then another shout, this time louder and even more desperate, Aven turned, sighting four Thorn Wielders and a Life Mage hounding on a young girl, she was about 12 and had long black hair, her face was wet with sweat, the fear in her eyes was truly present, but something was off. No matter, he was a hero, it was his obligation to save her. And so, he did.
Hovering back to the ground he kicked the pavement hard enough to send him straight at the Life Mage, at lightning fast speed all he could see was the green blaze flowing out of his foe’s evil eyes, and the aura of which he used to trap the girl emanating from his weakish hands.
The mage never stood a chance, in what seemed like a mili-second the Life Mage had been sent flying 80 feet into the air and then plunged hard onto the ground, the Thorn Wielders froze in shock of the sudden and invisible attack. Then Aven appeared in front of them hovering 5 feet above them, a huge grin marking his paper white face. But surprisingly for him they too smiled, he became suspicious and turned around to face the girl “in distress”. Aven gasped at the sight, the girl wasn’t really a girl but a Madness Mage in disguise, his eyes glistening in a maniacal red, and his hands engulfed in flames of the same colour, Aven readied himself for battle but soon felt a sudden jerk on his chest.
Something or someone was pulling him, but certainly wasn’t the madness mage since he was too busy gibbering some dark magic, Kai looked up and what he saw threw him into a shock, a man in black armour and red hair floated above him, his arms crossed and his eyes staring directly at him, Aven knew him, but he was supposedly dead, he now understood what had happened, who had betrayed him and his friends, and who had taken away the love of his life.
Suddenly anger overthrew reason, and Kai became engulfed in blue fire, energy circling his body, he pushed his arms in front but was cut off when huge dark tendrils encroached and grabbed him, slowly pulling him down, down into a portal, a portal not of common use, no it wasn’t a dimensional portal, it was a time portal.
Kai’s anger only grew with this new obstacle, and since he couldn’t use his power over flame he used his power over energy, concentrating he opened his eyes now red with power, he unleashed a wide blast hitting the traitor and three of the Thorn Wielders, it was a last effort to escape the grasp of darkness, but of no avail. It was too strong and Kai had no option but to let go, let go of his power, let go of his anger, let go of his time.
Soon all he could see was one single star in the sky, probably the last time he would gaze at that familiar sky, and then all was darkness. Time slowed down as Kai became more and more stricken by the dark power of the portal, all of his feelings, memories, and thoughts freezing in a single moment which seemed to last an eternity, but as just that moment had arrived it fled as a sudden jerk of speed took over Kai, the velocity of this new pull made him feel like he was being torn into a million pieces, he didn’t feel pain but he felt like he was being pulled into hundreds of different directions on stronger than the other, one was stronger, Kai became trapped in a wormhole, only able to see a distant light that got bigger and bigger as time passed.
A brisk flash of light temporarily blinded Kai as he was thrown out of the portal, he hit the ground hard and felt as he had had the beating of his life, his eyes were starting to adjust to the light when a loud noise came it was almost as if everything around him was shaking. Pain, acute pain took over his mind as the noise became louder and stronger, it seemed to have no end when it stopped. Kai opened his eyes, what he saw was terrifying, everything around him was either in flames or in dust, pieces of skyscrapers lodging deep into the ground. He looked up to the reason of such devastation, when he saw It his heart froze, metal glistening in red, vibrating as it hovered above the now hollow buildings of Paragon, it was horrible, it was frightening…
It was, a Rikti Warship…

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