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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Matalina

The First Age: Deep Dark Tunnels

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It had been a rather long night, between Dawn waking up and squalling twice because she didn't know where she was, and Nox's thank you to Dorian and welcome home all rolled into one, there was little sleep had.  Dorian was still in bed.  Nox was downstairs in the training room.  Dawn had woken up and was happily playing in a playpen he hadn't exactly known they had.  Apparently people has been busy while Nox had been at the charity dinner.  

 

She sat safely behind the half wall while Nox practiced with various semi-safe weaves.  Dorian said it looked like he was dancing with the elements half the time.  One day he'd have to have him record a session.  It could be interesting to watch and see how horribly flawed his stances were.  Aria still commented on them, but she was anal that way - perfection was key to control.  

 

One move too much and Nox felt the stitches in his chest tear.  "Damn."  It was still early.  Not too early - like 9am, but still early for a long night.  He could traverse the stairs, wake Dorian and go though the fight of having a needle strung through his skin again.  Or, he could called Jared, wake him up and do it the right way.  He really didn't want to do either.  But the bleeding was starting to flow.  

 

Nox picked up his wallet and sent Jared a text "I'm in need of a little stitching, care to stop by soon and show me and Cruz a thing or two?"

 

While Nox was texting he got the contact info for both Slade and Barry and sent them identical texts. "Going hunting today.  Your talents could be useful.  Let me know if interested and I'll send details."

 

Now he just had to wait.  Nox sent a ext up to Dorian, "Popped stitches.  Called Jared.  I'm fine.  In basement with Dawn."  He picked the little girl up and put her on the floor in front of the couch and let her wander around.  Everything down here looked baby proofed, at least this side of the half wall.  Nox used his towel to stem the bleeding and waited downstairs, Pavlo knew where he was, he always knew where he was, there was no hiding from that man.

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Jared recieved a text from Nox - he opened his wound again.  Jared shook his head a chuckled.  Part of healing was staying put and allowing yourself to heal.  It was something that Nox had trouble doing, however.  Jared understood - he didn't like to sit idle either. Jared stood, feeling very sore. He would manage, but he needed to let Emily know he was leaving.

 

"Love, Nox hurt himself again." Jared said when he found her with Michael.

 

Emily laughed. "He seems the type to be good at that. I'm assuming you're the doctor today."

 

"And teacher," Jared said. "Not sure they'll be able to, but another healer is always a good thing."

 

Emily nodded. "It's fine.  Go hang out with the guys today.  I have a lot of work to do anyways. If I ever get over how adorable our son is." She rubbed noses with their little boy and he laughed. "Let me know when you'll be home and don't hurt yourself!"

 

Jared smiled and gave her a kiss before heading out. It didn't take long to get to Nox's place and the servant took him downstairs where Nox was waiting with their child. "Morning, how's the dad today?" Jared moved, his movements displaying the soreness he felt.  Maybe if Nox or Cruz could heal, he would have one of them take care of that.

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Slade was in the middle of his morning workout when he heard the text.  Finishing his reps and grabbing a towel he made his way over to the phone.  "Going hunting today.  Your talents could be useful.  Let me know if interested and I'll send details."  Well this was good.  He get to know Nox and his group better and have a chance to make up for last night.

 

"im in."  Slade texted back.  He wanted to be out on the hunt again, he was excited.  While he was waiting for a response he laid out his clothes and weapons and went to jump in the shower.

 

Today was going to be interesting.

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Nox got Slade's answer and sent him a set of coordinates, the time to meet up and a basic pack of Atharim information about what he was hunting.  It contained links that Slade could hit up all mission reports and tests and various other things that he could pull while in HQ and some while he was on an unsecure connection.  He couldn't send the same information to Barry if he was in, he'd have to give the man less information than he'd prefer, but it wasn't the first time he'd hunted with newbs before, and those not Atharim.

 

They wouldn't hit the tunnels until well after lunch or so, it was better to not do so in daylight hours, but Nox didn't want to be out all night either. New priorities and all.

 

Jared arrived with Pavlo leading him to the basement stairs.  Nox laughed when Jared asked how Dad was doing today, that sounded so foreign to his ears.  Dad...  He heard it all the time, just never in reference to himself.  Dorian was called Dad all the time.  It felt weird.

 

Nox grinned at him, "Been better.  Popped the stitches on top of being tired.  My own fault on all accounts.  Should have slept when I had the chance but I had other priorities to attend to."  He gave Jared an evil grin before he continued, "And I never could sit still.  Never have been a very good patient.  Honestly surprised Dorian isn't down here fussing over me.  Sadly Cruz is gone already.  He'll be back tonight.  I hope I didn't wake you."

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Jared smiled as he hobbled over to Nox. "No you didn't wake me, but I hear you on being tired. I didn't get much sleep last night. New orders - I'm being stationed here as the liason to the CCD. Emily was beyond excited."

 

Nox wasn't a good patient.  Why was he not surprised. "Lay down please." Jared asked and Nox listened as Jared removed the towel to look at the wound. "You mentioned before you used a spirit weave.  That's why it didn't work.  Healing requires the use of air, water, and spirit." As he spoke, Jared seized his magic and began forming the healing weave so Nox could see it. He settled the weave over the injury and cold tell it took hold, the wound sealed itself back up.  The scar would still be there since it had time to age.

 

"That's it," Jared said, offering Nox a hand in standing up. "Was hoping Cruz would be here so he could see it, but no worries - if you can't show it to him - I can later. Also interesting to note, use that on someone completely healthy and it works on fatigue.  It's a two-edged sword though - you're still tired, but don't feel it. You're not careful with it, you can hurt yourself, and you don't need any help on that." Jared teased. "Also, you can't self heal. It sucks, but it's true."

 

Jared was interrupted by a little girl grabbing at his leg. Jared smiled and looked at Nox, "May I?"

 

Nox grinned. "Sure."

 

Jared picked her up and held her. "She's adorable." The baby was curious and kept looking around. When she look at Nox and reached for him, Jared handed her over to Nox. "You get that response, then you're already doing a good job.  If you ever have any questions or concerns, we're just a phone call away.  I remember how daunting it can be to be a new parent, but you have another friend with a child right? No matter, just wanted to let you know that we're a willing resource if you need it."

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Jared was adept at healing,  a scar still remained, and after having had to deal with needles Nox was more than happy to have some lingering mark left for his efforts.  Not that he had any need to create false stories for his scars any longer.  His heart was spoken for, however odd it felt at first, it was how it was supposed to be.

 

Dawn interrupted Jared and he picked her up with ease.  Everyone seened to like babies.  They seemed to like him well enough.  Dawn saw him and she wanted Nox to hold her, he took the squirming child from Jared with a grin.  "Most kids like me, something to do with the childish way I act.  Or so Aria likes to tell me."

 

Jared offered assistance with the whole parenthood thing.  Nox wasn't sure he needed it, he had a veteran of the war as his lover, granted Dorian was a hunter and not home.  So Cruz had been raised by Anastasia and Christian for most of his life.  Though Dorian was a good father, even Cruz said so.  Nox nodded, "Aye, Aria has a little girl with a second on the way.  I'm sure the kids will all get along fine, your's, mine and her's."  Nox laughed.

 

"Now that I'm all patched up."  Nox grinned, "I'm heading down into the tunnels with Slade and Barry, see what they are made of.  I've plenty of mundane in my arsenal if you wish to keep your secret hidden.  You are welcome to come play soldier with a couple of guys.  It's not overly dangerous.  But the numbers can be unpredictable, but I've cleared pretty well where we are going so hopefully we won't get ambushed."

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Barry woke to the sound of his phone ringing, before throwing it across the room, he noticed it was a text from Nox. Getting out of bed always seemed difficult whenever he took the serum, he had the right amount to wear off as he awoke. Barry noticed his clothes were already laid out, light he did not want to hear it from Jeffrey today. A lecture was the last thing he needed. After his shower he dressed in some comfortable clothes, not really sure what to expect as the text contained coordinates, a time, and very little information .

 

He went over and unraveled a casing carefully wrapped. It was a white casing with blue trimming, it was very fine work. As he pulled out his sword he started to think about his friend from his past. He started to chuckle to himself realizing that he was hopefully to make some new ones here, it had seemed ages ago, since he was able to call someone that. Hearing a noise out in the hall he shoved the sword into its sheath, and hid it under his long coat he wore to hide it, and slipped out through a exit he had made. Jeffrey would have to wait, as he had overslept he hoped they were not all waiting on him. He sent a text, I am on my way. 

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Jared smiled. Babies liked Nox - it was just an adorable thought.  Michael was by no means shy, and Jared was sure that Michael would make sure he was noticed if Nox ever met him. The idea of the three of them getting together though sounded fun. "Sounds like we're setting up a future play date." Jared smiled, it would be good for the parents and the kids.

 

Jared laughed when Nox mentioned playing soldier.  He just found the way he said it entertaining given his career. "I'm okay with playing with fire as long as it doesn't put my wife and son in danger, and as for the mundane stuff - I'm a soldier in a country with legalized conceal carry - do you really think I'm unarmed." Jared's grin showed he was kidding, but he was actually armed. It was seldom that he wasn't.

 

"Homework before we leave. Try out that weave. If it comes together like you saw, you can do it, if not - probably shouldn't do it." Jared laughed. "You'll be fine if it doesn't come together and you don't place it on someone else..." Jared's voice trailed off.  Emily was frustrated and he knew he better make sure that everything was okay before he followed Nox. "Excuse me, someone is frustrated."

 

Jared pulled out his wallet and called Emily. "What's wrong love?" Jared could hear their son crying in the background. "Is he okay?"

 

Emily sighed. "He's fine - must be rush week for the fraternities.  I just got him to bed and then someone at MSU decided to light off fireworks. He's awake now, trying to get him back to bed."

 

"Do you need me - you're more upset than just that."

 

"No, I'll be okay, but Andrew is calling me every fifteen minutes, and I'm trying to get him back to bed, and..."

 

Jared interrupted. "Turn off your wallet hon.  Andrew can handle the company for an hour or two - he's competant." Jared could hear her starting to object. "If it makes you feel bed then send him a message saying you need an hour right now.  I'm sure he'll understand."

 

There was a pause and a consoling sound from Emily's end of the line. "Okay.  Thank you love."

 

"Now deep breaths like I taught you."

 

Emily did so. "I love you Jared."

 

Jared smiled. "I love you too. You sure you're okay?"

 

"Much better now - go have fun with the guys now. I'm turning off my wallet, and will let you know when I turn it back on."

 

They said their farewells and Jared returned to Nox. "Stupid fraternities. Alright - I'm ready to head out when you are. While we are on the way, is there anyway that you deal with having someone else in your head - at times it's convenient and then sometimes - well - it's not."

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Nox hadn't had homework in like forever.  He stood up with Dawn neatly curled on his hip as she poked at his wallet as it beeped at him.  Jared went off and dealt with his wife, the bond was something they were getting used to it seemed.  Nox glanced at his text from Barry and sent him the required information.  It was mostly just where they were meeting.  He sent the man a pretty small file detailing the creatures they were hunting.  It was best not to be caught unaware.

 

It detailed their alien nature, there were still more questions than answers.  There was a detailed description and some pictures of a few dead he and Aria had killed over the years.  They were a cross between human and dog, and sometimes they looked more ratlike than anything.  But what they had come to know is that they were a man made experiment gone astray.

 

Nox tried the weave Jared had showed him as Jared finished up the phone call with Emily.  It was so foreign hanging out with the last girl he'd slept with's husband.  So very weird.

 

Jared asked about keeping Emily out of his head.  Nox laughed, it wasn't a funny laugh, it was pain filled and a horrible thing to wish on anyone, but here this man was attached to his wife.  Nox shook his head.  "Try having the world in your head."  Nox sighed, "Who did the weave?  Aria has no control over me, she can't push me away, she's more used to it than I am anyway.  People have been in her head since she was 5.  But I can push her away.  I think of it like putting a sock in the hole to keep it quiet.  It only muffles it.  But I can concentrate on being me."

 

Jared blinked in confusion.  Nox grinned, "What exactly is confusing you?"

 

"The world in your head?" Jared asked, "How has she had people in her head for that long?"

 

"Aria is special too.  Just not in the way that we are.  She's what we call Sentient to you she'd be an empath.  She came into her power at the age 5, when all Sentient's do.  But she didn't know what she was, was trained very differently.  She feels what everyone around her feels, for miles if she extends her senses.  But usually it's in the immediate vicinity that pound at her constantly.  So when I screwed up I got bombarded with every feeling of everyone in the nearby neighborhood because she was tracking someone.  My body couldn't handle the strain, but with the screw up we kept each other alive.  She woke up and walked me back to myself.  If I don't concentrate on being me inside, I can lose it quite literally."  

 

Nox grinned, "But you will learn to adjust, even if you can't block her from your head."

 

Nox heard the basement door open and the heavy footfall of Dorian walking down the stairs, he was dragging, he'd just woken up.  Nox grinned at Dorian, "I'm fine."  he handed Dawn to Dorian, "Go back to bed Dawn's ready for a nap.  You two can share a bed."

 

Dorian laughed, "Where you going?"

 

Nox smiled, "To test the mettle of our new friends.  You don't want the rest of the details.  Jared's coming so I won't die, well not if he doesn't anyway."  Nox grinned playfully at Jared.

 

Dorian sighed and kissed Nox softly, "Be safe."

 

Nox laughed, "Always am."  He turned to Jared and sent him the same information that he gave Barry.  "A little light train reading."

 

Nox opened the door to the small arsenal in the basement that was kept under lock and key.  nox grabbed a clean shirt and pulled it over his head then he grabbed a sling with little black vials hanging from it, a hand gun and four land-warriors.  He handed a pair to Jared and tucked on top of his head.  Nox clipped the other two to his sling and then slipped it over his head.

 

The last thing Nox grabbed was his black leather jacket.  "Good to go?  Or you want to take some toys?"  Nox gestured to the room.

 

(( OOC:  They will be meeting outside a small cafe, I don't care the name if you feel advertureous... and then when they all are there they will head down the alley way into the tunnels ))

Edited by Matalina

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Jared smiled when Dorian came down the stairs - clearly the man had just woken up, but Nox diffused the situation. Nox's joke about dying was met with a raised eyebrow and a grin. "I'll bring him back - and if I die, and you come back - then you'll have Emily to deal with. You wouldn't like her when she's angry." Jared laughed, but it was true.  Angry Emily didn't make an appearance much, but when she did it was bad.

 

Then Nox opened the armory, and Jared was like a kid in a candy store. Not to mention that said child was just told "get whatever you want." Jared's eyes lit up as he stepped into the room. Jared grabbed a sling such as the one Nox carried and took a few magazines of .45 rounds as well as another Glock 21.  He attached the borrowed pistol and his own to sling along with the magazines and land warriors.  Jared pulled the combat knife out of his boot and attached it as well. His own pistol was modified so he could hold both knife and gun at the same time, and although the borrowed one wasn't, switching to the second pistol would be seconds faster than reloading and those seconds could be the difference between life and death.

 

Jared took his own leather jacket and put it on over.  It was purposly a little too big in the chest to accommodate such equipment. "I'm ready when you are."

 

The two men took the train and Jared spent it reading over the materiels that Nox had sent him. It was kind of appaling when he though of it. Man made experiments creating monsters. Someone call Mary Shelley. Jared held back his questions - those could be saved when the entire group was together. Instead when he finished, he engaged in some idle chit-chat with Nox - things like how he met Emily and some nifty alien stories from home - growing up in Roswell was fun.

 

The train stopped and they walked the rest of the way to Chesterfield's. It was a favorite of his and Emily's and they'd have to set a date there soon.  It would be good for them. Jared had an idea though. "You know, Nox, I'm kind of a nerd. Love Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, all of that stuff...and in Lord of the Rings, Gimli and Legolas often have a competition.  I propose one just like it - the one with the least kills buys drinks at the end of the night. What do you say?"

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Barry arrived at the coordinates, maybe he wasn't late as he looked for everyone else. After a minute or two he decided to have a seat, as he ordered a beverage, hoping the had something alcoholic. Not knowing what to expect, he took the extra time to look over the file he had received. Going in with this info seemed a lot better than blind. When he saw the creature he was taken back, these things lived in the sewer he though... light what else was down there. 
Getting excited he grabbed the hilt of his sword, pulling it out of his sheath. He hadn't use this in a while, because it was awkward carrying a sword like this around, luckily most folks that noticed it just thought it to be some sort of collectors items when they would bring it up. Barry would of just used a pistol, but being inaccurate at farther than a short distance, he did not want to endanger anyone lives because of his mistake. 

 

Finally his drink arrived, "thank you" as he gave the person a tip, and waited on the rest to arrive.

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Jared was like a kid in a candy store when Nox offered up his armory.  Nox hardly relied on anything more than his talent, the handgun being only for emergency.  He didn't typically hunt without Aria and she guarded his back while he watched everything else.  It was perfect.  He missed hunting with her these past few months.

 

The train ride was quick, they chatted, it was good.

 

Jared said he was a nerd, now that was something he hadn't quite expected.  And his confession was hardly uncommon.  There had been a great revolution of geekdom and it still held common fancy to the day.  Nox's parents never really being settled, the most geek thing his father had been into was comic books.  Nox didn't have many hobbies, the only one really was the only connection he really had with is mother, dancing.  But that wasn't something he tended to share with random men.  

 

But Jared's competition seemed enjoyable.  He held out his hand.  "You got a deal."

 

They walked into Chesterfields, it had changed alot, he hadn't been here often since the day that he'd meet Connor and Ayden and the damned PI that had lead Emily to him.  Nox laughed, the irony of it was probably completely lost on Jared, he knew of their history, but he wondered how much the PI had told him.  There was so much irony in that memory.  

 

He remembered the scene playing out.  The issues he'd had then. "I definitely don't do guys so if that's your game I'm out."  He told the PI that in jest.  the PI's response was nearly as memorable, "And Nox you may rest easy. I'm not interested in a hookup either." Nox  had laughed as he wiped his hand across his forehead like he'd been sweating the fact that the man might be trying to pick him up. "That's a relief." He had grinned playfully.  

 

Two very big ironies played out that day.  Nox shook his head and knew that his companion had to be wondering what was going through his head.  They found Barry had already arrived he'd a drink in his head.  Nox sat down across from the wolfkin and smiled, the waitress came over with a questioning look on he face, Nox grinned, "Just water for me."

 

He turned still with ag rin on his face, "So, ready to hunt?"

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Nox came over and took a seat by barry, "ready to hunt he asked".

Barry chugged to rest of his drink," am now" as he chuckled " I thought it might help with the nerves".

 

Barry smiled at Jared,"She let you come?" He chuckled again " oh I'm kidding of course, I have never been one to get tied down". Barry sort of frowned as he spoke. He was thinking about Selena, what would that feel like he wondered, To have someone worry for you like that.

 

While keeping half his attention on the other two he sent Selena a message. " I Had a wonderful night. I was upset it got cut short, so I thought we could meet up in a day or two so we can finish our dance :) "

Barry realized he was speaking aloud, to try and cover he said,"they like smiley faces right??"

 

"I mean honestly how do you guys do it. You have family's while working dangerous jobs. I feel like I will just be putting someone in danger that they could avoid."

 

He also sent a msg to nox asking if he should reveal himself to jared. Plus it would be nice to take the contacts out again. He could focus better that way.

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Jared followed Nox in, bit didn't take a seat. He asked for a glass of water and sipped it while listening to the other two men talk. When Barry chugged his drink and then spoke to Jared, he turned his attention to the other man.

 

"While the drink may help with the nerves, even the slighest bit can inhibit your reaction speed. The amount you had shouldn't be a big deal, but its soemthing to keep in mind."

 

Jared smiled at Barry when he texted the girl from the night before. Oh he remebered those days. He laughed, hoping the girl didn't take the message too far. It really could have a double meaning. "Iworry if Emily doesn't send a smiley face in a text, but I'm sure some don't like it. I wouldn't recommend a wink with that one though."

 

He laughed at the comment about Emily. "Can't say much for Nox, but I'm sure its similar. For Emily and me, its about trust. Emily knows my abilities and instincts and she trusts in those as much as she does inme to get home at the end of the day." He paused for a moment. "Its not that she doesn't worry, but that she's trained herself to function at the same time. She knkws when I'm in the field, I'm careful. Honestly speaking the hardest part hasn't been the worry; it has been the distance."

 

Jared took a long drink of his water feeling glad he was stationed here. "But as for her safety. She's not in danger - not anymore than most people. And quite frankly she can take care of herself."

 

Jared of course had seen her in action as a mage, but the girl could shoot too. She had learned that from her best friend Ayden some time ago. Jared had been surprised when he had seen her pull out the pistol for the first time. The memory wasn't a good one, but it had forever changed their relationship.

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Worry.  Nox didn't like to think about it.  Jared said it was about trust, and Nox agreed to a point.  But really they had no real choice in the matter.  Nox and Dorian met on the job.  They knew what the other life entailed.  Yes it was dangerous to bring a family into it.  But at least they weren't ignorant of the challenges of the fight they were about to have to keep their small family whole.  Worry was new to him.  Aurora and his family they'd lived the life, their entire lives.  But being in love did weird things.  Sure he loved his family, missed them everyday to be exact, but loving Dorian had made him worry.  Their first episode of worry had been their first meeting really, Dorian had gotten himself kidnapped.  Nox had never felt that particular way before.  It was odd, and now he tried not to think about it.

 

Nox just nodded his head, "It helps that I was born into it.  My father was a hunter, his father was a hunter.  Six generations of hunters in the Durante family line.  I don't know if we'll have a seventh but only time will tell.  "  The Atharim were going to change, that much was for certain, so the his legacy might be the last. "And Dorian is a big boy, he can take care of himself.  He had been for longer than I'd been truly hunting myself."  The age difference was pretty large, considering Cruz was two years younger than Nox.  But neither of them cared and those that did could be damned for all they cared.

 

Nox texted Barry back.  "You can to Jared, but Slade I would not.  Gods he may be ok with but you not so sure."

 

Nox took a swallow of his water, "Drinking is for after."  Nox winked at Jared.  "We are waiting on Slade before we head out."

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Slade recieved his text with the directions.  Slade got dressed and grabbed his weapons and gear.  He called a cab to pick him up.  He was looking forward to working with Nox and his team.  He was looking foward to going into the tunnels.  He needed to release his anger on something. He kept his emotions bottled up.  He knew it wasn't good but he knew he wouldn't make the same mistake he made on the street again.

 

He would take out his pain of Sara's loss on the monster's in the tunnel.  It would be a focused rage and also in doing so prove himself to the others....

 

He got into the cab and the whole ride over Slade was excited and ready...he paid the cab driver and got out at the location in the directions and looked for Nox.

Edited by Zander

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Barry nodded to jared, "I was just trying to help my jitteryness."

Barry jumped when jared replied to the smiley face, he hadn't realized he was talking out loud, let alone ask a question. He replied it a worried manner," Yea it was a regular one, if you can't tell I don't have much experience with this kind of stuff."

 

Hearing nox and Jared talk about there lives not being that different, which was comforting. It may be hard barry thought, but it's possible and that is worth the risk.

 

Barry was about to let his secret out to jared when he saw slade. He pointed to the man,"look who finally showed up"

Edited by seph

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Jared smiled at Barry's explanation. "No worries - some guys are just good at talking and being around women, and others it's harder and there is a whole spectrum in between." Jared chuckled. "I was always pretty good at it, but I had to work for the one that mattered." Again, Jared thought he could feel the hand print against his face from before they had started dating.

 

Nox winked at him and talked about the drinks. "Yeah, I have a feeling Nox will be buying the drinks tonight." Jared gave Nox a wink too. "No cheating - the big ones still only count as one."

 

When Slade arrived, it looked like Barry was about to say something, but Jared didn't draw any attention to it. Jared turned to face Slade, offering his hand. "We didn't really get to meet the night before.  Jared Vanders."

 

Jared drank the rest of his water, and turned so he was facing as much of the group as possible. "Shall we?"

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Nox chuckled at Jared's last one he had to work for.  Nox hadn't really worked for Dorian, it kinda just fell out of no where.  The whole guy thing fell out of no where.  Still rather shocking if he thought to hard about it.  But he was truly happy - real and truly happy and that was all that mattered to Nox.

 

Slade showed up  but Nox let him grab something to drink as he checked the time on his watch.  He had to make the timing right.

 

Ten minutes later they headed out.  The entrance to the tunnels was around the corner.  It let to the subway, but there we all sorts of hidden things.  As long as you don't get caught by the security you are golden and catching the tunnel empty was your first step in that direction.

 

Nox used this entrance on a regular basis, he threw up a passive wall of mirrors.  It reflected what things were supposed to look like as they jumped the separation barrier leading deeper down the subway tunnel.  

 

The weave vanished as the last of them cleared the railing.  There was no danger for on coming trains and they weren't going to be there long anyway.  A maintenance door Nox used the power to unlock and they all filed through into the darkness.  Nox wove an orb of soft light to light their way as they navigated the tunnels.  Nox locked the door behind him, they wouldn't be returning this way.  

 

Nox grinned, "Goggles on, I'm turning out the lights and then we'll walk down.  The land warriors are all connected I'll control them, Jared and Slade you might have used similar ones, but these are not your ordinary land warriors, Cruz and his team have made some modifications.  But if you know how by all means when necessary use everything they have to offer."

 

Nox orb winked out when everyone had the land warriors on.  It was seconds before the night vision kicked in.  Nox flicked open a different HUD to show what he meant about the modifications.  On top of whoever they looked at it was like looking at an x-ray.  Except it wasn't.  It was an estimation of what their internals looked like based on all human models.  It wasn't 100% but it was a good feature when you were hunting lots of various kinds of monsters.  It could even tell the difference between a human and a rougarou, where the organs shifted.

 

Nox removed that aspect of the HUD and overlayed a map.  "This will be more useful for the moment."

 

Nox headed down the maintenance tunnels, they were clearly manmade, but soon things started to change.  The walls started to crumble and soon, there was nothing but dirt and pillars for support.  They were going three levels down.  There would be no wireless communication except where residents and placed relays, and where they were going there was none.  If someone got hurt there had better be a survivor to hoof it back topside with you, or you'd end up dead meat.

 

Nox hadn't been down in the tunnels for two months.  At least not that far down.  There was no telling what had spawned in the dwellings he'd already cleared, but chances are they'd only find a few things.  Nox was heading towards a former next of the creatures he'd sent them all.  He hoped a few had returned, or maybe something lese showed up.  Oni were in those parts.  Maybe a nest of rougarou, but that was probably pretty slim considering they feasted on humans, and this particular area was pretty unpopulated with the experiments gone rapid pop on them.

 

It would be an interesting day.  He was truly going to enjoy this!

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Slade was impressed with the gear the group was given.  Slade was more used to doing things the old fashioned way but this would make things much easier.  The anticipation was pallable.  He could feel the rush run through him.  His hearing was sharper his relfelxes on the edge.  Slade loved truly loved thee hunt and the thrill of battle.  His hands were steady as he had his sword out.  Most now like to use guns but Slade loved his balde...he was his blade.  It was an extension of his body.  Filling the void with all his unwanted emotions he followed the group along the tunnels.  He would soon get his chance to show the group what he was made of and see how good the others really were....

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Barry was excited as they started to enter the tunnels. The power he used was so fascinating.

As they go to a certain point, nox handed out these goggles. They were interesting, barry had seen some like them before. Since they were connected he thought it better to not tinker at the moment.

Once in the tunnels barry was suprise to see someone else with a sword. Barry pulled back to reveal his sword, as he smiled at slade. It brought back memories.... he hadn't used it in a couple of months and was itching to use it on a living target for once.

The casing was white with sapphire trim, he made sure it looked as a collector item for a excuse to carry such a thing. The sword itself was something else. His friend didn't understand it but he said he never needed to use a wetstone, or sharpen it in any way, although he did out of habit.

Nox turned on a map hud, barry tried to memorize the layout just in case, you could never be to careful.

As they were getting ready he checked his pocket were his pistol was, just to make sure he had it for emergencies.

"Let's do this", he yelled as he tried to lower his voice towards the end. "Sorry sorry he whispered, I should probably watch what I say."

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Jared was ready.  He was familiar with the Landwarriors - they used them in the Legion. He did his normal calming routine that preceded the majority of his missions and followed Nox's lead.  It was his mission after all.  They dropped into the tunnels, the stench of excrement was there but it was expected. In his hands, he carried his pistol in his right and his combat knife in his left - held together to stabilize the gesture. Gun was pointed downwards at a 45 degree angle, and he was ready to go at anytime.

 

Like Nox, he held the power, his senses heightened by it. He moved with a practiced ease that came from years of training and practice. He heard the scratching sounds as they neared their destination.  He was sure Nox had too. He had no idea about the other two, but he looked to Nox for command.  It was his mission.

 

Needless to say, he prepared himself for the fight.  He wasn't sure about Barry and Slade, and would rather not use the power itself. He had kind of been hoping to though.  Things always became more fun when he released the combat mage.

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Three levels into the tunnels and they were nearing thier destination, the walls were crawling with critters.  Nox couldn't tell exactly what, with Aria she'd have known if it were just rats, but he only heard the sounds in the walls.  But rats typically didn't stick around where there were monsters.  Survival of the fittest at its best in action in the tunnels.  

 

They rounded a corner and found the source of the scatching.  Nox flipped the hud to one of the unobtrusive views of creature information.  He hadn't expected to see an Oni, but it was pretty good.  They were strong and much quicker than you'd think of a large umbering hulk of a creature.  Their skin was resistant to most bullets, their skin hard like diamonds, well maybe not quite so hard, but hard enough.  Their claws were long and sharp, the horns on their head were nearly as dangerous as the teeth in their mouth.  This particular on was a grayish hue, not the dirty green of ones he'd seen up higher in the tunnels.  A lack of light perhaps??

 

The Oni hadn't noticed them yet, it's attention was elsewhere, it's nose held hi in the air, sniffing it surroundings.  It was facing away from them as it crouched down and took up a defensive stance.  Nox heard the sounds now.  The scritching and scratching of nails on rock.  A wave of black sihloutes flowed from the far end of the tunnel, Nox couldn't count the number of weird creatures they had no name they were numberous, always were, they came in packs, more like floods of black water.  The first few creatures leapt into the air at the Oni, a few saw them and ran straight at them.  Nox grinned happily, this is what he lived for...

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Barry wished he would be able to take his contacts out, while it didn't  affect his enhanced vision too much, things at distance he could see clearly were a tad bit blurry and it was always frustrating. 
While headed down levels Barry was very jumpy at every noise, finally Nox said they are most likely rats. That eased his worry a bit, but not completely.
as they round the corner he saw a oni "holy ****" as more creatures attacked the oni, and as some charged there way.

Barry held his sword mustering all his strength and focus, "I will take the one on the left" he stepped forward, never appearing to leave his stance and moved into water under the bridge as he parried the claws and sliced the creatures underbelly. as he did the blood covered half his goggles, making him blind out of one eye. It was a mistake he shouldn't have made but he was rusty, and if the others were not there it could be costly.

after his kill he stepped back towards his friends," my goggles are useless at the moment" he could still see, but he didn't want slade to get the hint he could see in the dark. Barry made sure to stay towards his backside for the time being.

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