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January 22, 2021

Sidewalk Outside Satyr Stadium, 9:30pm.

 

 

And there it was.

 

The most stupid fucking thing that could ever exist.

 

Wind whipped its sharp breath once through the street, almost as if it had been reading his mind, rifling the edge of his dark hoodie enough to slip the hood from around his features.  Gloves were pulled off, then the Navy beanie as the normally clear kelly green slid from the massive goliath he was looking up at.  It was brazen, and arrogant, and apparently unstoppable. 

 

Bare fingers rifled through his hair a moment before pulling the skullcap back on and over his ears.  He’d barely broken a sweat in the last five miles, cold gelling what little there was almost immediately on the back of his neck.  Hood pulled back up, gloves back on, fingers interlocked to reach high above his head in a languid stretch before thoughts returned to continuing his run.  Even the layers under his zip-up had done nothing to elicit more of a sweat.

 

He didn’t know why he came… strike that.  He knew exactly why.

 

Hiding for so long. Forced to hide for so long.  Hunted.  His presence a death sentence for the woman he loved that was now out of his reach again if she ever mentioned what he was to those around her.  Now, what the world hated and feared was on display for all to see.  The blood, the infection… splattered all over the ring like it was a fucking joke.  Money passing between hands to see who had the bigger fangs, and cheered in bars like a goddamn super bowl.

 

Lips pursed, tongue running across a canine.

 

Apparently it was okay now to pretend to be powerful and also be infected.  He’d needed to put his eyes directly on the pompous monstrosity for it to be real.  It blew the door wide open for every single fear the population had about the infected.  For the Vanguard to have all the fodder they needed to continue its rabid hatred, for the those that came to him terrified and hunted to have more demons to run from.  More suspicions and fear for some, less threat for others to think the whole Were infected community were fluffy toys to be bought and sold in swag stores.

 

The question was, what would he do about it.

 

Kneeling, he adjusted the laces on his right shoe, retying it before dusting off the knee of his black Adidas running pants.

 

This was a fucking nightmare.

 

Few, if any had the eyes he did… every weakness, strength and point of entry locked into his brain before turning them back to the sidewalk to decide which direction he wanted to go.

 

A Colosseum worthy of an empire, a modern day Caesar.  Two thousand years ago it took sixty men and twenty three stab wounds to take down a god.  He only needed one well-placed bullet.

 

 

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A singular breeze froze Pandora to the core.  Fingers gripped her long coat and tightened its collar around her face.  She needed a break from the confines of the church.  One would think someone damned by God himself wouldn't find comfort within the walls of one of his holy houses.  Yet something about having Rome and the other bible thumpers around gave her some strange sense of security.  Mostly because that damned fire magus or whatever he was could snuff out a life faster than one of those candles he lights.  

 

Yellow eyes scanned the street with each step.  She hadn't heard much from the Order since taking refuge.  Yet something inside her knew to stay ever vigilant and to keep that trusty sword in her hands.  

 

I don't know why you put yourself in danger like this Pandora.  Being on the Order's hit list means "stay out of the street and don't be stupid."  Not, "let's go out and get ourselves killed."

 

If I wanted to know your opinion, I would ask for it.  

 

Fair enough.  The biggest issue with that is you're an idiot and I'm trying to keep us alive.

 

This is where I say fuck you and go to your corner.  I can handle a walk. 

 

I just thought I should voice my concerns.

 

Noted, now fuck you and go to your corner.

 

A bent over figure caught Pandora's attention and those eyes squinted.  Looked to be out for a late night run, but it was a wee bit cold for that.  Gaze shifted to that of the mountainous stadium nearby.  Satyr Stadium.  Mindless violence in her eyes.  It seemed the world was slipping back into the old ways.  Gladiatorial combat minus the weapons.  Head shifted beneath the hood atop her head as she approached the figure noticing a rather familiar looking face.  A man she hadn't seen since her freakout and disappearance from the world for years.  Granted she never forgot a face and this beauty of a were-man would be impossible to forget.

 

Fingers unlaced from the collar that obscured her face as she drew closer.  "Mr. Morgan?"  Voice was soft as she came to a stop several feet away, hands deep in the pockets of her coat.  "It's a bit late for a run.  Everything alright?"  Eyes again shifted to the stadium and a thought came to her mind, a disturbing one.  "The last time we spoke you were running a self-defense class to teach people to fight against the supernatural.  I really hope you aren't thinking about fighting in these barbaric games for small minded people."  Gaze returned to Kai, frown slowly crossing her painted lips.  She couldn't exactly tell him not to do it, hell not like they were friends or anything.  A shiver later and her gloved hand returned to holding her collar around her mouth, nose running ever so slightly.

 

Why do you care Pandora?  You know a part of you wants to see these barbarians fight each other.

 

I've seen enough violence in my life, I don't want to willingly watch it.  Dealt enough blows myself.

 

Ah, but I wish to see these monstrosities fight.

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He couldn’t say it didn’t tempt him.  To let loose completely with the intent to fight without abandon was always something that seemed attractive.  Accepted for the brutes they were… not hiding, or running.  He was different though.  If he threw a punch, even once, there was no turning back.  He’d come so far, and the thought of disappointing those that he’d counseled and supported all this time was the one thing that was holding him back.  Did that mean that a shred of humanity still existed?  That he was unwilling to go back?  Or was he unwilling to let himself hurt others?  All of the above? Weres were Weres.  Problem was he had been trained before he was a Were...  He would kill things.  There were no bells in the world that could be rung to call him off.  It was, just a bad idea.  This whole thing was a terrible idea.

 

An odd thing about his old habits, they never stopped ticking.  Each rustle of movement in a radius around him was always a blip on his radar.  Add to that mortal sense, Were ones on top of it made life sometimes unbearable.  Especially scents and colors, they were enough to send him over the edge.  Someone was coming close, someone the cat recognized

 

"Mr. Morgan?"

 

The vibrant green moved in her direction, never forgetting a face.  Names were fleeting, especially after what had probably been several years.  Hers though, had been unusual, and at a poignant point of his growing practice.

 

"It's a bit late for a run.  Everything alright?  The last time we spoke you were running a self-defense class to teach people to fight against the supernatural.  I really hope you aren't thinking about fighting in these barbaric games for small minded people." 

 

His eyes followed hers back up to the giant building.

 

“Never too late for a run.  Pandora, isn’t it, if I remember correctly.  Please, call me Kai,” it was so easy for him to smile, to look cordial, to feel cordial.  “I’m still helping people, moved closer to Manhattan, expanded my practice quite a bit.”

 

Fingers went up to pull down the hood, adjusting his wool scarf and tucking it neatly before pulling the hood back up.  Sigh was quiet.

 

“Honestly, I hope the thing fails miserably.  All the work I’ve done… somehow I know though it won’t.  Probably will be wildly popular.  Demystifying the dangerous.  I’ve got my work cut out for me I think.  What are you doing out on this incredibly fine evening?”

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