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January 17th, Evening time

 

Freedom City, somewhere in the Northen parts, or thereabouts or so on...

 

To the door of Lobisomem did come a stranger. 

 

Knocking, he came. 

 

The stranger was tall, and he was thin. But it was neither his excess of height nor his paucity of girth that defined him, no, it was not. The most striking feature about the stranger was his blood stained clothes. All bloody he was, from his brown shoes, up over his jacket, and even to the congealed blood on his head. 

 

"Let me in! Please, I need help!" he banged. 

 

"Please!" he banged louder. "There is something out there....coming to get me...." he said, louder still. Desperation powered his fist, and the knocks become some virulent in force, that they did surely threaten to crack bones in hand...

 

 

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Bang bang bang!

 

Again? An ear shot up from a great, scaly head, immediately trying to locate the sound. The door. Somebody at the door. Fantastic, it couldn't be Father, he'd be inside by now. The neighbors knew her, they would not try to disturb her, so this was some kind of merchant or informant...both were useless to her. So, there was one thing to do, ignore.

 

She expected it to be over, three knocks, and they'd conclude nobody was home, but this particular visitor was persistent. If anything, the noise was getting louder, and more difficult to pretend didn't exist. As the voice joined the cacophony, she had already started storming toward the door, her natural silence obscuring the sheer size of the creature about to open the door...and froze, eyes narrowing.

 

Blood wafted through the door and hung like a cloud in the still air. Despite the fact it wasn't nighttime, her time of activity, she was very awake now. Her scales took on a ashy grey as she nearly tore the door open, looming through the doorway and hissing at the prominent bloodstains on the newcomer's clothing, smelled and looked real.

 

"What is this? Will it slaughter you if you do not take shelter?" Her mouth didn't move, but the words seemed to appear to the man's mind, her horns shimmering softly. Her words were harsh, but she moved aside even before the man answered, eyes flicking upwards behind the man. "What is it?"

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GM

 

"Help! Help! Oh my saints!" gasped the stranger, inhaling deeply. "I didn't realise how ug--I mean large, you are in person!" he spluttered. 

 

"Something attacked me in the Subway...horrible, like an insect. Something terrible! Wants to chew the meat of my bones!" he gasped. "Hurt me too, real bad!" he gasped, the adrenaline wearing of and the reality of blood loss kicking in. 

 

He half fainted onto Lobisomen. 

 

"Please! You got to stop it! Its probably caught me scent, but even if it hasn't its on a rampage by the subway station!" he gasped. 

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And...meanwhile....below that very exchange, on the most splendid Subway System of Freedom City...

 

The Subway had a kind of languid chill today, and nobody was in good spirits. The festive air had evaporated and the bleakness of the new year gently swung into play. Lingering vexations about in-laws and expensive toys broken on Boxing day by crying children crawled into the gestalt. 

 

Marcus Irons, student, was travelling from A to B for one reason or another, in a half empty carriage. A couple of street punks huddled in one end pretending to be tough but they did not look like a serious threat. Various non-descript persons say here and there, peppered randomly on worn seats. 

 

A man in a business suit, fretting over the paper, decided to make comment to Mr. Irons. 

 

"Look at this rubbish!" he said meekly, albeit still irritated. "Giant Ants seen in Subway! Gah! What next? Demonic rats and Mutant fungus? I tell you, they couldn't make it up! Tsk!"

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Marcus didn't really enjoy public transportation. Not necessarily because of the people, but because it always held the potential that he'd fall asleep and miss his stop. Between school, training, his job, and his real job.... things were busy. Of course, it wasn't as if Marcus couldn't get around any other way. In fact, if he worked at it, he could probably make something that would make his life easier. After going months without the use of magic, though... he had to admit, the normalcy felt kind of nice.

 

From behind his geology text, he chuckled at the businessman's incredulous rambling. If you only knew the kind of stuff that goes bump down here... Pretty sure the demon rats avoid those.

 

It took Marcus a minute to realize the guy was staring at him as he spoke.
 

"Oh. Uh... I'm sure most of that is exaggeration. Stuff like that sells more papers. Such is the game, I guess."

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"Yeah yeah, I guess. Huh, Giant Ants, though! What will they think of next!" sighed the suited man, adjusting his tie. 

 

At that very moment, the lights flickered. 

 

"Oh what in darnation...?" moaned the suited man. "Is this what I pay my taxes for?"

 

Then, there was a horrible, horrible screeching sound, and the subway carriage came to a jarring, terrible, halt...bodies flew this way, and that, colliding with each other and off the walls and beams, a cacophony of bruises, broken bones, and possibly worse. 

 

The suited man tumbled through the air and crashed into the three punks who were flat against the door window. 

 

Broken glass shattered, and sparks flew from the overhead lighting, flaring, and then...darkness and screams....

 

 

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The accident was sudden and jarring, and the impact caught even Marcus unaware. It wasn't his first crash--the crescent-shaped scar above his left eye was proof of that much--but it still wasn't any more pleasant. He, at least, had magical protection. No one else as far as he was aware was that lucky.

 

It took him a moment to get re-oriented. His first thought was to check on the kids and the businessman, forcing himself upright in order to move in their direction... "Is everyone okay?" he called out to no one in particular. In the sparse lightning, he could see--not particularly well, but he'd manage. The screams weren't at all encouraging either... It sounded likethey'd hit another train. And that was the best case scenario.

 

His only other thought was to reach for his cell phone. If this accident was as bad as he feared it was, there was no way he was going to try and extract survivors on his own.

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In almost mocking peace straight above, Kaida almost rolled her eyes as the man made a pretty predictable first impression, "yes, yes, please continue." her voice scrawled lazily across the man's mind. Her face was completely unreadable, but her claws gripped the ground harder as he described the supposed beast. It sounded like something she would actually need to fight in her actual home, it had to be big, especially to frighten and harm this man so much.

 

She let out a chatter of annoyance as the man fainted forward, sticking out one of her legs to keep him somewhat upright, scales rippling with a near inaudible hiss. Caught his scent? "Did it follow you!?" Her voice whispered, and she started attempting to guide the man further within, to any seat within. Her ears were flattened, nostrils flaring as a growl shook her body. "Many apologies, but you must stay here. Understand? Stay here. My Father will be back soon, he can help you, easy. I will go kill the beast, got it? You must understand, many are in danger if you are right. You just have to not die." Without waiting to long for an answer, she hovered around the man for a moment as if she feared he might pass the moment she took her eyes off him, and then tore her way to the entrance. 

 

The moment she was out, she slammed the door shut, flattening herself against it as if the insect might be right outside. The next second she turned slightly to lock the door, clearly trying to make sure her injured visitor wasn't attacked while she was gone. She started darting toward where she remembered the subway, being large meant such travel methods started to fade quickly from memory, but her head swiveled back as she crawled, clearly ready and able to turn back if some enemy made a strike for her house...but this wasn't on the forefront of her mind, Lobisomem was going to battle, and she was ready.

Edited by Drakka

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"Sure...sure...not die...." whispered the man. He then promptly decided to pass out, for adrenaline could only take one so far. And so he fell, onto the mighty arms of Lobisomem, and - in so doing - managed to dribble blood all over her arms. 

 

Click click click, clickty - click click. 

 

And there it was! crawling out of a manhole, and now but a hundred feet away, a giant ant! sniffing the trail of blood. Most vile and unpalatable, it drooled a sickly ichor. Six spindly legs propelled it forward at a most unnerving rate. It must have been six feet high, and twice as long. Great bulbous eyes and insectoid chitin. 

 

It looked very hungry. 

 

And its dramatic appearance lead to a most violent screaming and most speedy fleeing from those pedestrians and drivers unfortunate enough to see it...

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And there was her first enemy. Lobisomem's ears shot straight up, and her face looked almost shocked, and then a steel entered into her eyes as her fangs became exposed. The very sight of her gave her immense space for her next actions, pedestrians running from the frightening insect stopped short as the even bigger reptile stomped forward. Another car shrieked to a stop, and she lashed her head side to side as irritation crept down her ears and filled her head with terrible things. "Oh shut up!" She spat into no mind in particular, a clicking sound filling the air as her frill came loose and extended over her head, flashing an ever changing swirl of bright colors.

 

Stealth was clearly not an option for her. The thing had likely already saw her, or smelled her, or whatever it did! On top of that, with all these humans around, she couldn't pause, they could be killed in a second by such a large creature. So, taking care not to trample the fleeing humans, she surged forward. Her only sound in the brief moment she took to approach her enemy was a gasping breath, tongue flicking out into view as her jaws snapped open like a vice, leaping over to clamp over the thing's neck...or at least what she hoped was going to be its neck.

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The Ant was bigger than Lobisomem, and had the thick chitin of an insect, now magnified in thickness several times over. It was hard and fibrous, but Lobisomems mighty jaws clamped through them. 

 

The Ant thrashed around, this way and that, unbalanced and mindlessly furious. Lobisomem could feel sickly sweet juices flowing into his mouth. Whether they were palatable, unpalatable, or delicious, well...

 

Despite the thrashing of the ant, it could do no more than wobble this way and that. Its head did not fall off but it was torn and bruised. With a little rather creepy muscular jerk, it went stiff, and through off Lobisomem from its neck. Then it wobbled again, unable to coordinate its six spindly legs. 

 

It still looked hungry. But now it was hurt and hungry...

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Lobisomem chocked down an instinctive spit as the sweet taste overwhelmed her taste, the absolutely stomach churning liquid spraying as she attempted to hold down the insect to no avail, but she was almost glad when it tore away. She spat to the side, lips twitching up and bringing up her claws to wipe her snout. She could tell such an attack wasn't going to repeat, she couldn't stand the taste twice in a row, heavens! She was going to taste it a week from now!

 

She stumbled sideways, tail whipping as she attempted to keep her balance, and started to support herself on only four legs. A guttural snarl shook the air as she slashed at the ant's head, aiming to finish what she started.

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Another gouge of flesh and chitin, and the Ant rattled its head like a giant tin full of lots of smaller tins. It took a few skittish steps back but rallied. 

 

It was mindless, intinctive. Now, it wanted to eat the larger meal in front of it. Or at least attack its attacker. It snapped its jaws with great abandon, but was slower. Or, perhaps, Lobisomem was faster. 

 

Beep Beep....BEEEEEP!!!!

 

Was it the sound of da police? No, it was not. It was the mighty horn of a large truck, with Crazy Charlies Crazy Cream on the side. Crazy Charlie did a mean goop that was not quite ice cream but full of artificial colours and sweeteners that had zero nutritional value. Or, some said, less than zero. 

 

The huge truck was probably speeding - after all, one could not deprive the public of Crazy cream, could one? - but had spotted the brawling insects in front of it. Would it swerve? Would it break? Could, in fact, it do either? The driver looked shocked and panicked, and that made his intentions and, even more so, his actions, unpredictable. 

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The crash of her claws against the near wall of the insect brought a puff of satisfaction from Lobisomem, who drew forward again to continue her vicious assault, up until the point she caught the insect rearing back, and threw her head backwards. Not a moment too soon, as the mandibles cracked right in front of her nose, and she meet the mindless creature eye to eye, and grimaced. 

 

Beep Beep....BEEEEEP!!!!

 

Again, Lobisomem acted before she could think, seeing movement in the corner of her eye and moving to intercept it. A truck, cause of course it was, cause who saw pedestrians running and decided it was the best place to drive through. Damn idiot.

 

At the very least, he tried to swerve, but even with normal hearing one could hear the tires squeal and the metal scream under the pressure. The driver looked scared, about as scared as the people running from the terror of an insect before them. It only took a second for the truck to close the distance, far too fast for either insect or reptile to land a blow, and looked ready to bash straight into them! Lobisomem's legs bent, and she leapt up. High up. Her desperate leap was her attempt to avoid the truck, hopefully smashing into the ant would both stop the driver and kill the ant...

Edited by Drakka

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GM

 

And meanwhile...deeper underground...

 

How dark it was. And how the dark quelled screens. For whilst panic ruled the heaets of those in the carriage, panic focussed the senses. Bereft of light, one could only strain the ears, and screaming would not help matters.

 

A few lights pinged on. Mobile phones. Dim and limited, but light all the same.

 

"Help on my god help...." came one panicked voice. This guys arm... it shouldn't look like that..had bleeding out! Does anyone know first aid?"

Edited by Supercape

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Marcus was outwardly calm as he moved in the direction of the voice. Even in the dim lighting, the man's arm was clearly broken. "It's gonna be okay," he said, his voice even and unwavering. "Help is on the way."

 

Inwardly, he was freaking out a little.

 

I wish Teresa was here. She was an EMT; this was what she did every day. For all his magic and the Beast Rune's power, it took him a minute to even remember what search and rescue protocols were. He could feel the anxiety building.

 

He didn't have time to think about his broken magic or his wounded pride. All he could do was offer what help and comfort he could. He ripped the sleeve off of his hoodie. "Hey... don't zone out on me now. You're tougher than this; I can tell. What's your name?" As he spoke, he tied the sleeve as tightly as he could to slow the bleeding. It would buy him time, he hoped, but he wasn't sure how long. He had to think of something else... anything else..

 

He shifted his weight forward a bit, wincing a little as his hand pressed against a piece of glass. He shook his hand out a bit and, as the small cut closed up... it hit him.

 

"Listen. I want you to close your eyes for me, okay? I promise, this won't hurt..." Not you, anyway.

 

First, he needed a medium. He stuffed his hand into his pocket. A quarter? Perfect. The animagus pressed it between his palms. He began mumbling under his breath. Hidden inside his clasped hands, the faint light of Lux and Tenebrae swarmed inside his palms. It had been a while since he'd actually needed to make a runestone for any reason... and under normal circumstances, a proper stone would take hours to make. This man didn't have hours.

 

Several minutes passed. Marcus separated his hands. The glow from them stopped, and in its place, the coin glowed with the silvery white light of Lux, the Light Rune on its tails side and Tenebrae, the Shadow Rune on its heads side. He placed the coin on the man's chest, heads up. 

 

"Vulnere... Transfero." Blackish-red skeins of light shot up Marcus's arm, simultaneous with silvery blue ones down the injured man's shoulder. The first thing Marcus felt was the bone snap in his right arm. His eyes blurred as he gritted his teeth against the pain. When the magic subsided, the man's arm was practically brand new. Marcus's... not so much

Edited by GranspearZX

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"What the sweet I never holy my God!" babbled the man beside the injured. Or, more accurately, ex-injured. It was hard to see in the light, but something most unnatural had happened. 

 

Unnatural, but most welcome!

 

A screeching metal sound came from the front of the crashed subway, prompting gasps of fear. 

 

"What did you do? What happened?" asked the man with the ex-broken arm. Now, Marcus could see it was the man who had sat opposite him, tsking at the papers. "God, you don't think the ants are...real?" he gasped, cold sweat on his forehead. 

 

There was another screech of metal, and the smell of damp mushrooms hit the nose. It was not a precisely unpleasant smell, but it did have a languid kind of aftertaste...

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And at the same time, above ground...

 

Lobisomem caught her foot on the incoming truck, and she proceeded to spin through the air from the impact. She landed flat on her front, but for all the violent cartwheeling of the impact, she was fundamentally unhurt. 

 

The truck and the ant collided, sending the Ant flying and onto its back, five legs twitching uncontrollably. A sixth legs looked bent, and then decided to fall off, leaving more unpleasant ichor (my! what a nauseating smell it was!)

 

The truck has skidded to a stop and only just avoided jack knifing. The driver had his seatbelt on, but he had knocked his head on the steering wheel, cut it open, and given him self a dazed concussed look - alongside a stream of blood that looked a lot worse than it was. 

 

The front of the truck was caved in, the radiator grill bust, and steam flowing freely. There was the wisp of smoke that Lobisomem's acute nostrils could pick up....the trucks engine was on fire...

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Marcus shoved the enchanted quarter back into his pocket with his good arm. There was no way he was using that again any time soon. Natural healing ability or not, a broken arm hurt. A lot. It was making it hard to concentrate on anything.

 

"I guess you weren't as hurt as you thought..." He smiled, despite the nauseating pain pulsing through his arm. The Beast Rune was doing its due diligence in trying to healing him, but it wasn't exactly an instant process. The sounds and the smells instantly put him on edge, and Marcus forced himself to focus.

 

"Get everybody who isn't too banged up over here. Keep away from the windows." He stood up, staggering a few steps forward as he cradled his right arm against his body. He wasn't exactly sure what he was going to be able to do with one arm, but that wasn't going to stop him from trying. He inched forward towards the noise. I really hope it isn't actually a giant ant...

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From the wrecked carriage in front of the one Marcus in, he could see man slam himself against the door between the carriages. 

 

"Help! Help!" he cried, muffled through the cracked glass. "Somethings back there! An infection! Or something! Argh! Let me through!" he screamed, trying to pull the jammed doors open. 

 

His face was blotched, full of angry red welts, and his voice gurgled a little bit. He was no zombie, as far as one could tell, just a frightened man who looked like he had had some kind of allergic reaction. 

 

"Hey man, don't let him in! it could be contagious" mumbled one of the punks, pressing himself against the carriage door to prevent any movement between carriages. 

 

"Are you crazy? Let him through, you idiot!" replied the newly fixed commuter; whilst fixed, he was still getting his bearings. But from Marcus' perspective he seemed to be the passenger with this head screwed on the tightest right now. Not that it was stiff competition - everyone was scared or terrified. Possibly both. 

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I might need that coin again after all.

 

He could only imagine what Teresa would think about him even considering this. The Wound Transfer spell was intended for physical wounds; he could heal those pretty easily on himself compared to something potentially viral. And he could smell something fungal in the air. Something in his head clicked.

Mutant fungus... Hm.

 

Something about it seemed off. He couldn't tell what.

 

"If he was contagious, you'd have it already. These subway tunnels aren't THAT well ventilated." Marcus winced inwardly, absently realizing that might actually cause even more of a panic. Hell, he wasn't even sure it was true. He looked at the swollen man and continued forward. ""Back up. I'm gonna come out there, and you're gonna tell me what you're running from."

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Literally right above the drama in the subway cars...

 

Lobisomem couldn't help but let loose a shocked yelp as the truck caught her legs and she kept flying to the side! The world spun in the most unatural way, and the impact of the ground felt alien, up until she gave her head a good shake, she didn't even process she had hit the ground yet. It took a second for her to form a diagnosis of herself, and she came to one conclusion, she...was perfectly fine. The driver, not so much. She almost yelled at the unconcious victim, she was so mad at the interference, but even her vision could not mistake the smoke pouring from the truck. "Oh my-shit! Shit!" She hoped everybody was still running, this was probably very bad.

 

She didn't even get up, her tail pressed against the ground and flung her prone body forward. Her legs didn't touch the ground, she appeared to be some serpent as she raced toward the truck and injured ant...and ignored the ant. Instead, she yanked on the door and came face to face with the injured driver. She wasn't small enough to get the seatbelt off, fine, fine, she could just...do...this! Her front claw shot forward and she started attempting to cut through the seatbelt, simultaneously raising her wings to try and shield the man from the no doubt recovering ant.

 

And everything smelled so terrible.

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GM

 

Up Above....

 

 

The seatbelt had that annoying fibrous quality with annoying resilience (as, in fairness, was required of a seatbelt), but it was torn easily enough by sharp claws. 

 

"Mmmwh...what? mmmm...lizard.....aaaahhhh!" screeched the half conscious driver, blood now all over his face. It was not that he had a serious injury, but that scalps bleed profusely even with minor injuries. 

 

Said blood seem to invigorate the giant ant, that jumped to its five remaining feet and, without any apparent loss of speed, scuttled with hideous speed onto the crumpled bonnet of the truck, slobber dripping off its jaws. 

 

"mmmmaaah! ANT!....GIANT ANT!" screamed the shocked driver, the terror of the situation cutting through the concussion with a shot of adrenaline. 

 

And more fear was on the cards, for the engine of the truck started to smoke profusely, with dangerous wisps of flame curling around the fuel tank...

 

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...So below....

 

The punks parted, too shaken to either protest or aide Marcus. The door was somewhat jammed, but a good tug on the handle and it opened easily enough. The welted man stumbled forward looking quite ill. And shaken, so very very shaken. 

 

The smell of damp mushrooms was much more powerful now. 

 

"Somethings...back there!" he gulped, leaning on Marcus. It looked like has having an anaphylactic shock, his face turning a beetroot colour that looked most ominous in this light. 

 

There was another grinding metal sound, and the carriage tilted a foot or two. It felt like the carriage was sinking. Or the rail collapsing. 

 

"Oh gods what was that!" gasped the welted man, clinging onto Marcus tightly. His knuckles seemed immune to the redness on his skin, for they were quite, quite, white. 

 

"There was some kind of...I don't know...like a fungus. It was eating the metal! How can that even be? Nothing eats metal!" he gibbered. 

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Lobisomem shook her head weakly, blinking tightly as the scent of blood cut through the horribly sweet cloud of smell, not even correcting the terrified man, who's voice slashed at her ears like a knife. Instead, she took up the man in her claws, managing with only one. She hoped he didn't struggle too much, the ant was coming right for them, and she'd hate to drop this little troublemaker. Truly.

 

Before the ant could try anything, she was on her feet, side-eying the smoking engine right behind her. That...was a problem, something had to shield it. Well, she hoped this idea was better than nothing. She started to rear onto her back legs, keeping the man clear of the ground and staying startlingly still as the ant approached. Her tail lashed, her claws pressed deep into the concrete, and her frill pressed down until her body was near streamlined...except for the human she hoped to keep safe.

 

She was ready.

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