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Chapter Four: Reyeto Revealed
By Myths n’ Wraiths
Edited by Vindea
Myth felt a faint tingle as his body was reconstructed on the Paragon Patriots’ tele-pad. Instantly his mind checked Jeremy’s life force, searching for any sign of deterioration from the teleport. Finding none, the young man turned his attention to the people that were now swarming around him to secure the prisoner.
The majority of the Heroes in the room were newer members of the Paragon Patriots, people that Myth did not recall meeting during his brief stay with the super group. Two heroes, however, he knew very well.
Queen strode confidently onto the tele-pad to greet Myth with a gentle hug as
soon as the prisoner was being escorted away; at her side stood the incomparable
Myth exchanged a quick and pleasant greeting with Emerald Queen and shook Pierce’s hand, all the while watching the subordinate Heroes take Jeremy out of the room and toward yet another detention cell.
“This is quite a find, Myth,” Emerald Queen said, taking Myth by the arm in a familiar and elegant embrace and guiding him out of the room.
The Patriot’s base was a vast ten story building situated on the North end of Atlas Park. Its interior was decorated with countless statues and portraits to honor fallen and renowned Heroes that had made a name for themselves in the Super Group. The glossy marble floors and well-trimmed walls were designed for both stability and inspiration.
“It was a lucky break,” Myth agreed as a formality.
Though I am not sure who the lucky ones are, the citizens of Paragon, or its villains.
“Heroes have been turning Paragon upside down for clues about last night’s attacks and have found nothing, yet this man practically falls in your lap,” Pierce stated matter-of-factly in his melancholy baritone voice.
“Well, I wouldn’t say that he ‘fell’ into our laps,” Myth countered. “But speaking of clues, here are our findings on the blood analysis.” Myth retrieved a small portable hard drive from his pocket and handed it to Emerald Queen.
“We narrowed his powers down to unknown magical origins. Whatever their source, he appears to need to be fed by it on a regular basis. We have had him in our custody for eight hours now and his condition has gotten steadily worse.”
“There have been documented cases of normal people being endowed with exceptional magical powers in the past,” Emerald said, her mind beginning to mull over the facts. “Normally some sort of artifact is used as a conduit, but not always.”
“It could be a location rather than an item,” Pierce countered.
“Whatever it is, being away from it is draining more than his powers. He is completely void of emotions now, utterly drained. Even after the beating Anarchy gave him last night, Jeremy saw him a few minutes ago but he didn’t even acknowledge him,” Myth added.
“That could be an added side affect to being granted the powers. If this is a conscious entity we are talking about then the being granting these powers wants to make people dependent on him. It would be a good way to keep them coming back,” Emerald mused.
“Well, that is what I am leaving for you and your Heroes to find out,” Myth interjected, not wanting to get caught up in solving the mystery that he was attempting to wash his hands of. “I do, however, have my people tracing down one last lead related to the matter. It may be nothing, but it piqued Wraith’s curiosity so I let him run with it.”
Myth could feel the contrasting emotions emanate from both Emerald Queen and Pierce at the mention of his brother’s name. Wraith had caused more than his fair share of turmoil during the short time that he was listed on the Paragon Patriots’ member roster. Emerald Queen had been taken by his unrepentant drive both on and off the battlefield. The darker twin had been a reprieve from the self-righteous attitudes that tended to surround so many of Paragon’s protectors. Pierce, on the other hand, had openly condemned Wraith on many occasions for his reckless and borderline criminal tactics.
“And how is your brother these days?” Emerald Queen asked, snuggling a little closer to Myth. Pierce just rolled his eyes.
“Same as always,” Myth said with a smile.
“Surprise, surprise,” Pierce interjected but neither of the other two Heroes paid it any mind.
“I’m glad to hear it.” Emerald Queen’s green eyes sparkled as she spoke and Myth could not help but remember how pleasant he always found her company. The woman seemed to radiate comfort.
“Well, we will not hold you up much longer, Myth,” Emerald said, changing the subject back to business. “We will go over the information you have given us and more than likely turn our findings and the prisoner over to the police before the end of the day.”
“Glad I could be of help,” Myth said with a wink. After short yet sincere goodbyes, he was on his way back to his own base and what he hoped would be the rest of a normal day.
* * *
Using a combination of her teleporting and flying abilities, Vindea was able to follow the disheveled woman with an ease and stealth that no normal human could achieve.
She noted with a degree of unease that their path was leading them steadily toward Kings Row, a place that on the surface only supported Paragon’s more common and trivial gangs. She knew from experience that at the heart of Kings Row lay more sinister and deadly organizations. While walking the streets, a Hero might only encounter Skull members and Clock Work machines, but once you stepped through any given door, it was not unusual to come face to face with a mob of Freakshow, Nemesis or even the mysterious Malta organization.
Landing atop an abandoned sky rise apartment building, Vindea watched her quarry scale a dilapidated fence and enter through the back door of what seemed to be an old church.
It was a large building with an arching roof and a large circular hole over its front double doors where a stained glass window used to reside. Ivy grew unchecked up the sides of its red brick walls and a small cemetery lay to one side.
Vindea’s jaw set uneasily on her angular face and she pondered the options before her. If she followed the woman into the building, she would be at a distinct disadvantage. The building was large enough, but inside of any building she could not move as freely and quickly as she did atop the skyline. She did not have Wraith’s knack for stealth, but she did have his hunger for the hunt.
Against her good sense, she decided to enter the building, but not by the same way her prey had. Summoning her ability to manipulate and expel raw kinetic energy, Vindea lifted her slender frame off of the building top and flew down through the broken stained glass windowsill and into the church’s attic.
The musty smell of mold and decay greeted her senses in the shadowy loft. Light shone through faint cracks in the floor and Vindea dared not land for fear that a creaking board would betray her presence. All around her dust-coated books and sheet-covered furniture sat, aging beyond its time in the dank attic.
Faint voices could be heard coming from the sanctuary below. Vindea lowered herself so that her ear was near the floor and strained to hear.
“Did you speak to your brother?” the raspy voice of an older man asked.
“Yes. We won’t have any more trouble from him, I promise,” a female voice replied, which Vindea guessed to belong to the woman she had been following.
“You never should have spoken to him about us. It could have ruined everything,” the man persisted.
“He deserved to know. We were given these powers so that we could find peace and he deserves it as much as we do,” the women retorted, a defensive edge taking hold in her voice.
Vindea drifted slowly across the floor, intently peering through the cracks between the wood beams, and trying to get a look at the two people conversing. She found it increasingly difficult to do so since the sun seemed to have passed behind a cloud and the already dark attic grew even darker.
“Reyeto would not be pleased,” the man said finally.
The woman seemed to take the words to heart and replied sincerely, “Reyeto would understand.”
Catching a glimpse of movement through a larger crack, Vindea pressed her face lightly to the floor and focused, trying to see the speakers’ faces. Still, her attempts were frustrated by the growing darkness and she spared a glance at the open window to see why the sun had been dimmed so much.
The darkness sprung on her with all the fury of a storm, wreathing about her and dimming her vision to the point of blindness. Vindea let out a startled cry and ignited the formidable energy that she held inside of her, hoping to light her way, but to no avail. The darkness held a life of its own and seemed to suffocate any light it could find.
Then the presence came, wading slowly into Vindea’s senses; she could feel its power creeping into her and attacking her very consciousness. She lashed out blindly, swinging her arms in a wide arc and unleashing short blasts of kinetic energy. The cracking sound of splintering wood told her that all her shots had gone awry.
Suddenly, a chilling blast of unearthly power struck Vindea in the back and consumed all feeling and life from the muscles it touched. Her skin tingled at first then slowly lost all sensation. Another blast landed on her thigh and she quickly fell to the floor.
With the growing loss of her senses, Vindea felt an aberrant fear creeping into her mind and driving her to panic. Blinded and stumbling, she lashed out again and again at her attacker but it did nothing to stop the impending blows. In rapid succession a barrage of horrific energy cascaded over her body. The blasts drained her very grasp on reality until finally a different type of darkness took her, the darkness of unconsciousness, and Vindea welcomed it.
* * *
Here, here is where it will happen. The fear of shattered comfort, the fear of violation, fear will give me everything I need.
Melting into the faint shadows of Chris Pantin’s master bedroom, Wraith made himself virtually invisible. His command over negative energy gave him an inexplicable bond to darkness and, at his bidding, it concealed him to an unnatural extent.
Taking up a position near the entrance to the gaudily furnished room, Wraith waited patiently for his prey to enter. From the common areas of the condo, faint noises could be heard, telling him that Chris was opening a beer, hanging his coat in the closet, and finally heading towards his bedroom.
Wraith stood motionless, allowing Chris to enter the room and walk right past him. Even when the flashy broadcaster turned on the lights, driving away the shadows and destroying Wraith’s concealment, he did not notice the intruder in his room.
It was not until Chris had crossed the room and began to set his watch on his dresser that he noticed the disreputable-looking man in the mirror that rested on his bureau. The reporter opened his mouth to scream, but the sound never came out.
Wraith lunged across the room with blinding speed and body slammed Chris into the dresser, crushing his abdomen against the hard oak furniture and knocking the air from his lungs. Snatching Chris by the shoulders, Wraith spun him around so they were facing each other and pinched down on the reporter’s jugular with his free hand.
Gasping for breath, Chris struggled to free his neck from his assailant’s hand but it was no use. Wraith’s vice-like grip only tightened on his throat, threatening to crush the voice box and silence the reporter permanently.
“Now, listen!” Wraith growled in a low predatory voice. Chris froze in terror at the command.
“I’m going to ask some questions and you’re going to answer them truthfully or I promise you when I’m done with you, you will never want your face seen by a camera again.” Chris nodded awkwardly and a faint dripping sound could be heard over his rasping breath, accompanied by an ammoniac smell. Wraith glanced down at the floor to see a growing puddle of yellow fluid forming at Chris’s feet.
What I wouldn’t give to have that on the evening edition.
“Who was the girl that you spat at in the parking lot?”
“Wha-?” Chris tried to object, still not fully grasping the reality of his situation. Wraith’s grip tightened considerably around the news reporter’s throat before he could even finish the word.
“The woman that you met in the parking lot of the studio, who was she?” Wraith reiterated.
“My si-sister man, she’s my sister,” Chris sputtered hoarsely.
“She is involved in the deaths last night, and I want to know how,” Wraith persisted, giving Chris’s neck a slight squeeze for good measure.
“No, sh-“ Chris’s words were cut off sharply when the back of his head slammed into the mirror on his bureau.
“Don’t bullshit me, Chris. This can go easy or hard,” Wraith growled.
“Ok, ok. She’s involved. She was given these powers by someone. She said that they were so that she could get avenge for our parents’ deaths.”
Broken so easily? So much for family ties.
“Who gave her the powers?”
“I don’t know,” Chris protested, and, when he felt Wraith’s grip tightening on his neck, continued. “I swear, man. That’s all I know, I swear. She said she couldn’t tell me any more. She just wanted me to know that justice had been served.”
Wraith held Chris in a steady clutch, giving the impression that he was weighing the reporter’s answer. Wraith, however, held no doubts that he had spoken the truth. In his mind he knew the reporter did not have the fortitude to lie to him any more.
The vice-like grip slowly released from Chris’s throat and he fell to the floor, gasping for air. The terrified man crawled frantically into the corner where he cowered, not daring to look up at his attacker. He cringed there shaking and soaking in the shame that came from the cold wet feeling between his legs.
Wraith turned his back on the man unfeelingly, leaving him in his fear and humility. The irony struck him that a man who was so accustomed to manipulating people’s fears with his words and broadcasts had been given a true lesson on terror. The cocksure reporter would have a slight headache and a few sweaty nights, but otherwise was unharmed. Wraith almost had to suppress a chuckle when he left the Founder’s Fall condo.
He might even be a better man because of it.
* * *
“Awake, child.” The voice broke through the darkness and burst into Vindea’s mind with the brutality and suddenness of a lightning bolt, commanding her with such force that she dare not refuse. Her blue eyes shot open and she bolted up into a sitting position.
“Gently, now. Gently,” the voice spoke again in a soft and calming tone. A persistent hand settled on her shoulder and lightly, yet firmly, pressed Vindea to lie down.
Slowly, the fog of unconsciousness left her eyes and Vindea began to make out her dimly lit surroundings. Over her hung an elegant grey canopy, suspended from dark, intricately carved bed poles. Next to her sat an elderly man with firm but caring features. His storm grey eyes rested on her face with a concerned intensity.
“You are safe here, madam,” he spoke in a thick British accent. “There is no need to fear.”
For reasons that she could not explain, Vindea did not doubt his words. Still, questions of uncertainty filled her head. “Whe-where am I, and who are you?”“You, my dear lady, are in my humble quarters, and I am Reyeto.”