Friday, December 8, 2006

The Secret of Life is that It Ends

He stood in the center of a ring of fire, the remains of his enemies. The slow drop of crimson from his fists, red and wet, anointed the earth with their last thoughts, their last dreams. Did they suffer? Did they pray as he beat them to a pulp? Did they regret or feel sorrow that their lives had come to this and now were at a violent, liquid end?

Did it matter?

Matt looks down at his hands, wincing as the pain of the seal on his brow brought him back to the Now. He was still banded, still cut off from the outside world. He couldn't call to his bike. He couldn't summon that sword that hated him so much. He was alone.

Especially now that the Knights of St. Michael were dead. He'd come through the back seat like an avenging revenant, tearing through the steel, fibers, and upholstery with inexorable hands and unstoppable force. The holy golden seal on his forehead kept his magic from reaching outside his person but it didn't do a thing about spells that affected his body internally.

In a way, he'd have to thank the old bum for his advice about learning self-magic. He'd been so focused on perfecting his powers over entropy, he'd ignored the fact that he could empower himself with the self same energies. He'd been practicing that lately, mostly at the elder's insistence. That daft old vagrant had been right; Inner Focus could save his life.

He shuddered as the life of two men rained from his clenched hands. When had he started thinking of that old vagabond as an "elder"? Sure, he had some good advice but Matthew Engel did not need a mentor. No Obi-Wan for this padawan. No sir. He was on his own and he liked life just fine that way.

Of course, it was best not to dwell on the fact that he'd been headed to the Ravenhurst Estate, a manor house known for its hospitality and protection. Better for all concerned not to mention that he was going there to be with his only real friends in the world. No, he didn't like to dwell on such "soft" things. He was a solo act; existence was just batter that way. Matt didn't need anyone and damn anyone who suggested otherwise.

He looked around, trying not to let the sight of the tortured remains of the Knights get to him. One could hardly call what was left "corpses". It was more like a couple of scattered Lego sets made of meat. His hands still hurt from crushing them, from beating them into the consistency of uncooked meatloaf.

There were still shards of bone sticking out of his hands. He wasn't himself feel that pain right now. The Gift of Heracles was still burning so brightly through him, Matt really just wanted something else to hit.

Something else to kill.

He contented himself by searching the refuse of the car he'd torn apart. Life in the trunk had become death in the back seat. Then he'd turned the driver seat into a three foot wide abattoir with four-wheel drive. He didn't remember the wreck but the mangled chassis burning nearby insisted there'd been one. He had been invulnerable to harm then- basically the exact opposite of his normal gift. Just how he'd done that he had no idea, nor was he sure he could duplicate the feat.

Right now, he wasn't worried about that. All he wanted was his guns. He'd earned those and he'd be damned if he was going to leave them here now that he'd dedicated them ritually.

That made him laugh. He had just killed two more servants of the Lord. By all rights he wasn't just damned, he was ensured a deluxe cell in Hell's darkest prison. He chuckled darkly to himself. For the sake of the other prisoners, Satan should be sure to make it in Solitary.

The first gun was easy to find. He was grateful for that; the holy seal on his head made it impossible to feel the weapons. The white handled pistol was laying on the ground where the driver's limb had landed after Matt'd torn it free. He tried not to murmur the "disarmed" joke but it came out anyway.

The black handled gun was a little harder to find. He ended up having to throw aside the car's twisted engine block and dig through about four feet of wreckage and humanity to locate it. There it was, still tangled in the coat of the first Knight. He'd done things he decided to forget to that man on his way out of the trunk. He'd never wanted to consider evisceration a mild word; now he had to.

Tucking both of the guns in his coat, Matt looked around him now with an eye for something other than carnage. The enhancement spell would be ending soon and he'd crash along with it. According to the lore he had on this magic, he'd sleep for at least a day. he had to get somewhere safe; the Order of St. Michael would be coming for this car when it went missing.

Assuming they weren't already.

In the distance he saw electrical poles. It was a start, at least. Everything else for miles around was just countryside. Utilities meant a station on one end and civilization on the other. His father had taught him many things, but right now Fugitive's Law #21 came into play.

"When in doubt, follow train tracks or power lines. Both lead somewhere."

Hands in his pockets, mindless of the dull, growing pain in them, Matt started walking...


Erisraven said...

@_@ Matt's at it again. And I thought Darrus had it rough. I'm thrilled to see you working on this project, and am hoping to see more progress on the system as well. The start looks terrific.

August said...

Well, the Blessed system is still in its infancy.

The next evolution should be Matt's character star, which I'll post soon.