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Mickey Flash

Can You Keep a Secret?

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Glowing green eyes lit up the night as she walked up to the dinghy little bar in the middle of swamp land.  The crooked sign hanging over the entrance looked as if it'd seen better days.  The words carved deeply into the wood read "Swally's Swamp Bar."  She snorted as she looked at the sign, and pulled the cloak's hood forward to hide her features.  Her kind wasn't usually seen around this area, and she didn't want to draw unwanted attention. 

The place got quiet as she walked through the door, even with the heavy cloak to hide her.  It was a small community, and a very small bar.  There were quite a few strangers that came through, but the local community went to Swally's bar to people watch.  It was the only bar for miles around, and most of the village's exciting occurrences happened at Swally's.  

She picked a seat in a dark corner of the establishment, trying to stay away from prying eyes.  The one and only barmaid that worked the bar, Mera, saw the female right away.  It was a little hard to miss the glowing eyes in the dark corner, and Mera walked right up to the stranger and asked if she'd like something to drink.  

Rev could feel the attention focused on her, and she sighed.  She looked down at the table for a moment, paused, and then slowly looked up as she pulled the hood from around her head. Her horns appeared first, and you could hear some uneasy whispers and clearing of throats.  Then her wild burgundy hair tumbled out, before showing her face.  It was unsettling to see such beauty on the face of a demon.  The horns, glowing eyes, and slightly sharper teeth tended to scare away the adventurous folks that weren't demonkind.  Her voice though... was the voice of an angel.  "I'd like a bottle of your hottest hot sauce, please," she purred, her green glowing orbs daring anyone to inquire about her request.  

Mera wasn't the bravest soul, but she wasn't the smartest either.  She let her curiosity get the better of her as she asked with a shaky voice, "Will you be having anything with the hot sauce?"  

"No," was Rev's blunt answer, as her eyes bore into Mera.  Mera finally picked up on the fact that Rev wasn't feeling chatty, and scurried to the kitchen to look for some hot sauce.  

Rev slowly plucked off her gloves, one finger at a time.  She looked around the room, trying to see where the trouble would be coming from.  She was glad she'd decided to show herself to the small group.  She'd never had to wear heavy clothes for warmth, and wasn't used to the constricting feel of them.  The gloves disappeared into a satchel that she had hanging over her arm.  The satchel was then placed under her table at her feet.... bare feet.  She just couldn't bring herself to put on the tight little shoes she'd acquired, and had thrown them into the swamp long ago.  She pulled some of her hair from her eyes, as she sighed from fatigue.  She was tired from her travels and just wanted a moment to rest, drama free.  She looked around again at the other patrons, wondering if she could be drama free in this little shabby shack in the swamp.

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She sits at the bar counter, dark spectacles casting thin shadows across her cheekbones. She's tall, with an air of authority. Her face is wrinkled from her many years of service to the people of Dawic.

But today, something is off with the science teacher. She has not been to class for two days, today being the second. Rumors go around of the students rejoicing. Many of these students bear red marks on their wrists and knees. Perhaps their joy is justified.

Two students entered the bar as Rev did. It is quite obvious that they are students of the science teacher, as their eyes go wide with dread when they see her sitting with her back facing them at the bar. Without a moment of hesitation, the students leave.

The bartender knows the teacher. She goes up to her and asks, "Aren't you supposed to be teaching the kids?"

The teacher merely shakes her head, smiling dryly without offering a single word.

The bartender looks down to notice that placed before the science teacher, is a pocket watch. The science teacher stares at it with blazing intensity, prompting the bartender to leave her to her thoughts.

There is also another peculiar object that rests on the bar table. A strange diamond shaped object wrapped in cloth. It is about the size of a shield; it could very well be one.

But of all the uncertainties that lie in this bar, the one thing that is certain is that the science teacher is not what she seems to be.

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He has traveled far, far longer than he’s ever walked, farther than he’s ever been before.

Your legs ache? Your feet tire? You prove to be nothing more than a mere human, Stranger.

Quiet.

He pushes through the wooden door of Swally's Swamp Bar, takes no notice of the hush that washes over the locals scattered throughout the room—curious ones, aren’t they?—and immediately heads straight for the bar counter further into the shack. His eyes are downcast, fixed on the floor where no one may take notice of them and their unusual quality. Moving swiftly, he heaves himself onto a stool with a quiet sigh.

How mortal of you.

Sadly, yes.

He gives the horned woman beside him a fleeting glance, then the spectacled woman on his other side, the moment too brief to catch his gaze before it turns towards the counter, then to the second woman’s pocket watch, then towards the bartender’s steady hands as they fix up what seems to be a bottle of thick red liquid. Perhaps it is a sauce of some kind.

Well, then, how about it, Stranger? Days through the swamp and now, finally, a respite.

Yes.

What next?

We shall see.

He clears his throat like dusting cobwebs off an unused piano before speaking. “Your finest ale, if you have any.” The bartender simply nods before continuing on with her duties. His fingers tap on the table, an unsteady rhythm born from neither anxiety nor fear, as he waits for his order to arrive.

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"Are you sure about that?"
 
A dark-skinned woman pushes the door open and enters. Her white clothes are slightly dirty from the swamp. Her blond hair is tied back in a braid, exposing the flashing orange runic tattoo next to her ear. She pays little attention to her surroundings, instead concentrating on her conversation.

"Alright, alright. Keep me updated."

Alise sighs as the rune dims to a duller shade of orange. Only then does she perk up and look about the bar, yellow eyes blinking. She walks forward slowly, looking at the people around her.

The horned woman reminds Alise of similar-looking people from her line of work. When the city was invaded by monsters, outcasts started offering to help protect the city. Thank goodness for them, seeing how long the invasion has last so far.

A man tapping out music(?) upon the table, waiting for ale. An woman staring at her pocketwatch. Probably attempting divination, or just checking that her watch works. Runescribes could be weird at times, and Alise had a little brother for a runescribe.

Only now, does Alise realise she's wandered oddly close to the group she's observing. Awkwardly, she puts her backpack on the ground, then takes a seat among them. The bartender walks up and asks her want she wants.

"A mug of beer, please." The bartender nods and walks away. Now sitting with a bunch of strangers Alise twiddles her fingers awkwardly. Her left hand has a large yellow rune, while her right hand has a blue one. Both of her arms are completely covered in runes, but a majority of them are dull grey.

Her eyes fall on the shield-sized object sitting on the table.

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Rev looks with only the slightest of interest at the other strangers in the tavern, as she saw no immediate danger to her person.  Finally her interest is piqued when the hot sauce arrives.  She places a coin on the table, a lot less than was offered for a mug of beer.  The beer was more expensive than the sauce, and for some reason coveted more in this area.  Rev looked at the tiny circle at the top of the bottle, made to keep the liquid from coming out too quickly.  She scoffed and ripped off the covering.  She drank straight from the bottle, letting the liquid rush down her throat.  It wasn't that hot, but it would do in a pinch.  She sighed happily and covered her mouth as a little burp was prevented from coming forth.  It didn't prevent the small puff of smoke that escaped through her nostrils, that floated up the her horns to frame them.  

"Excuse me," she whispered, an old habit of social mannerisms taught by her parents that was still religiously practiced.  

The door to Swally's Swamp Bar flew open, causing Rev and others to look in its direction.  A young male stood there, panting and wild eyed.  He ran over to the bar where he saw someone he recognized.  "Mera!" he shouted in her face, as if she needed more incentive to look his way.  She was ignoring him and polishing mugs, so Rev figured that maybe she did need incentive.  "Mera!  There's a herd coming this way!"

Mera looked at him calmly, not in the slightest alarmed.  "A herd?  Herd of what?"

"Raptors!"  The way the youth said it made it sound like an awe inspiring moment.  Rev took another sip of her hot sauce as she waited to see what would happen next.  The moment almost felt unreal, like she was taking in dinner with a show.  

Spoiler

The Raptors -

Type: Reptilian Beast – dinosaur.

Description: They aren't usually spotted running about, to see one is most rare – and to see a wild one and live is even rarer. Those who have never been to DashKanchay before wouldn't be the wiser. But at each gate into the City they are statues that guard the entrance. - And unless provoked, or sensing a threat they are just that..Statues. These Raptors stand five and a half feet tall, razor sharp teeth – stone colored scales. They are still as the night sky and unreal appearing. If you were to touch one of these raptors at the city's gates it would feel as cool and smooth as stone. 

"Raptors don't come this far silly," she sounded unperturbed, but Rev noticed that she'd stopped wiping the mugs.  

"I don't know why, but they're here.  They've already hit the edge of the village.  There's been an evacuation.  You might want to seek some shelter."  He said dramatically.  Rev looked around.  She wondered what the boy was talking about.  They were in a building. 

She stood up, finding her curiosity aroused.  "What are these Raptors?  And why do we need shelter when we are inside this bar?"  She thought those were reasonable questions.  Others had already stood up and started to make their way to the back of the room.  Mera was ushering them back.  Apparently the locals knew the drill, and knew where the 'shelter' was located.  

"No time to answer questions, miss.  This is the way to safety.  We have a basement located in the back for just such an occasion.  You're more than welcome to join us there."  

Rev eyed the solemn lot as they hurriedly scuttled to the direction that Mera was pointing.  She shook her head.  "I don't want to be inside a hole.  I think I'd rather face the Raptors," she scoffed as she took another sip from her hot sauce.  

"Suit yourself.  It's your funeral," the young male said with a sniff. 

Mera smacked the back of his head, "Don't mind Jym.  No manners.  If you change your mind you can always follow the rest of us." Mera then concentrated on hurrying everyone along.  

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It was odd that everyone followed the drill with little to no resistance. Had none of the customers evaluated the possibility that the boy was spouting nonsense? The herd mentality was indeed strong with these few. The science teacher didn’t want to be locked up with a bunch of defenseless cows. 

But even though the science teacher’s wooden rule had stricken fear into the hearts of students in Dawic for years, she was a foreigner. The wise thing for a foreigner to do would be to do what the locals did. 

As she was about to get up, she witnessed one of the customers volunteering to fight off the apparent raptor invasion, "I don't want to be inside a hole.  I think I'd rather face the Raptors.” 

"Suit yourself.  It's your funeral," the young male said, essentially echoing the science teacher’s sentiments. The girl clearly knew nothing of Dawic, neither its threats nor its procedures. Why would trying to be a ‘hero’ ever cross her mind as a good idea? 

Giving the remaining customers some incentive to join the group down in the basement, she lifted the shield-like object with ease and strapped it to her back. The cloth fell onto the ground to reveal a gleaming black crossbow. Following the boy to the basement, she shared a moment of eye contact with Rev as they brushed past one another. The message was unspoken but clear. 

Don’t meddle with powers beyond your comprehension.

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Raptors, the boy says, and he cannot help but lift an eyebrow at the statement. He continues to listen to the ensuing dialogue, his hands reaching out to nurse the mug of ale set out before him on the counter. His gaze flickers towards the dark-skinned woman, those hands covered with runes, before returning to his drink. The horned woman then takes a step into the conversation, inquiring about these raptor creatures and the idea of shelter, and he observes the crowd of locals shuffling away, the room slowly emptying.

Shall we watch and wait?

Bored, aren’t we?

I find myself spoiling for a fight.

Taking a tiny sip from his mug, he subtly eyes the lady with the crossbow as she trails after the others towards the basement, watches the unspoken message fly in the space between the two women. He does not move from where he sits perched against the counter.

Let me finish this ale first. It’s been a while.

Fine. However, do not let your gratification be the death of us, Stranger.

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"I'm not going down that basement. I live to protect people!" Alise quickly stands up from her seat, the runes on her arms lighting up dramatically. Well, the few runes that aren't dull grey. The grey ones remain grey and undramatic. 

"And I've dealt with raptors before. Flying raptors. This shouldn't be too much of a problem." She turns to look at Rev. "With you all the way."

A smile crosses Alise's lips as the teacher's crossbow is revealed... only to turn into confusion as said teacher heads to the basement. Such a perfectly good weapon to deal with raptors! What is she planning?

Nor does Alise understand the unspoken message. Hailing from a city of magiscience, she is not one to believe that any power would be beyond comprehension.

Only now does she realize the boy is still enjoying his ale.

"I'll buy you drinks after this, alright? Right now we've got a bunch of raptors to deal with!"

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For Rev it seemed surreal.  The noise of the feet shuffling across the floor as the people scurried to the door that lead to the basement, the sound of screeches coming from the distance, even the aftertaste of the hot sauce in her mouth seemed to be a heightened sense.  She only felt things slow down and become heightened when she was in a moment like this, a moment when her life could be in danger.  It made adrenaline pump through her veins, and she felt jittery and tense.  She didn’t know if she liked the feeling, but it was better than being blasé about death and just waiting for it to happen.  She could feel her tattoos being to light up on her arms.  They have their own purpose, and that purpose could work in her favor or against it on this day.  Each design burned her skin with an in tense cold feeling.  She shivered, and took another swig of the hot sauce to counter balance the feeling.  

An older woman with spectacles stared Rev down for a moment, and the look seemed to have hidden meaning behind it.  Maybe it was a warning from a wise creature that was telling Rev to listen to the locals.  Rev had a nasty habit of not listening, and just going by her own code. This did not always serve her well, and the look didn’t give her confidence in her decision to stay out in the open.  She just hated the thought of going down into the crowded room for who knows how long.  She would just be stuck there, possibly a sitting duck for a bunch of raptors to snack on.  The thought gave her a shiver as she considered going in the hole with the rest of the group.  

Before she could make a decision though, another person spoke up.

On 10/20/2018 at 10:24 PM, HotPizza said:

"I'm not going down that basement. I live to protect people!" Alise quickly stands up from her seat, the runes on her arms lighting up dramatically. Well, the few runes that aren't dull grey. The grey ones remain grey and undramatic. 

"And I've dealt with raptors before. Flying raptors. This shouldn't be too much of a problem." She turns to look at Rev. "With you all the way."

Rev raised an eyebrow, and wondered if she sounded as cocky as this female did. The runes that lit up also reminded her of her tattoos, and she wondered if the other girl’s story of how she got them was as interesting as Rev’s.  She didn’t know the woman’s fighting skills, but she was willing to take on another helper against a bunch of raptors.  She hoped that she wasn’t going to be a hindrance instead, though she did talk a big talk about being able to fight off the on coming creatures.  

There were a few others that stayed as well, all seeming to gear up for the fight.  Rev heard the shrieks become louder, and she looked out of the curtain of a nearby window to see what was on its way.  Her eyes widened ridiculously as she saw the rushing reptiles charging and weaving through the swamp trees toward them.  

“So many...” she whispered.  She began to realize the absurdity of having so few fighting against so many.  “Maybe the basement might not be such a bad idea after all.”  She could feel the tattoos freeze up on her arms, the lights that formed from them glowing with malice.  She might not be able to control herself this time, not with the odds stacked against her and the survival instincts taking over.  The adrenaline pumped faster in her veins, and she took a deep breath as she had that one second to decide if she wanted to fight or hide.  

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In the confined space of the underground bunker, the science teacher huddled together with the others. Many of them murmured among each other as they shuffled around in the dark. It was only when the rumbling began that the murmuring stopped. 

All was quiet as everyone waited in dreadful anticipation. The rumbling gradually grew louder as its source neared the tavern. There was a bit more maneuvering on the inside as the claustrophobic began to realize the folly of their decision. 

It was all so sudden when one of the men underwent some sort of mental breakdown. Little could be deciphered in the darkness, but it felt like someone was shoving people aside to get to the door. Seconds later, the door burst open and a man charged out. 

442a2cd05f1d787bee67e013c48bef68.png

It was unfortunate that moments later, the first of the raptors crashed through the door, snapping him up and charging straight through the wall on the opposite side. More excited squeals were heard from the pack as they swarmed the tavern.

Edited by Phoebe

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You hear that, Stranger? She offers ale in exchange for victory.

He shifts his gaze to the woman who had addressed him, his eyes hooded under the shade of his silver curls, the draped dark fabric over his head. The curl of his lips comes unbidden, curious and keen.

Perhaps I should take her up on that, then.

In the distance, rumbling waves dart through the thicket, and the shrieks are harmonious to his ears. A man throws himself out of the basement doors and immediately gets snatched by the first creature in a blur of crimson and shattered screams. The first is followed by a flock of snapping jaws and harsh snarls.

They come. A little more preparation would be appreciated.

His body seizes almost imperceptibly, an ivory sheen of scales slowly crawling up and out over the skin visible to those around him.

To coil or to strike?

Strike at the vein, and watch them kneel.

Poetic.

He grins up at the horde of raptors, his lip parting to make way for sharp fangs as he waits for any of the creatures to approach him. If he is to lift a finger, let it be at their expense.

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As the screeching rins through the bar, Alise starts to regret sounding so confident just now. She just wanted to stay positive and keep morale up. And when the raptors come crashing through and take out a man, she actually does regret it. These creastures sure leave no time to prepare for a big fight.

Nevertheless, the fight has started.

Alise flicks her right hand upwards. Cobalt blue energy emerges from the blue rune on her arm, flowing along her wrists, and collecting in her fingertips. She then flicks her hand outwards, towards the door that the first raptor crashed through. The energy zips off her fingers, and transforms into a large blue energy shield.

The shield is in the shape of a quarter-sphere, the outside surface facing the door. The raptors should find the outside surface rather solid, perhaps painful if they run straight into it.

"Attack! I'll back you up. All of you!"

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The death of the male spurted crimson blood all over the tavern.  This aroma seemed to spur the raptors on as they could smell the scent of fresh meat.  There were two raptors in the tavern's main room, and many more outside of it.  The two that had made it through the door first were distracted by eating the downed male, the sound of breaking bone all that was made from the now dead carcass.  Rev knew it was only a matter of time before they attacked those that were still standing around.  One of the people from the tavern had thought to form a sort of shield against the opening where the door used to be.  The raptors were slamming their bodies into it, driven mad by the smell of blood.  Some were trying to climb through the small window that was the only form of ventilation for the establishment.  It wasn't too far from where Rev was standing, and she could see that the lower half of the raptor's body was stuck in the frame.  It made a loud and horrific screech as it tried to force its way into the opening.  

Another raptor, the one that had charged through the wall, found himself in the kitchen in the back.  Pots and pans rattled as it was apparent he was stumbling around in unfamiliar territory.  Rev hoped he fell on a cleaver.  She didn't know where the people from the basement were at this point.  She knew it was in the kitchen's direction, and she hoped that they weren't being attacked.  She had to worry about what was going on right next to her before she could think of other areas though.  The raptor in the window shrieked again, whining about not being able to join in on the feast.  

Rev felt herself shudder as the need to protect herself lit her tattoos up to be bright beacons.  She took a deep breath and let the chill move through her.  She couldn't lose control, not now.  She may not be down in the basement with a load of people, but she was still trapped in the cabin with the few strangers that were left.  The shield didn't just protect them, but it also hindered her.  She would have to do whatever she could to help, without letting loose her abilities.  Her claws were the sharp claws of a demon's, and she decided to use them now.  She squared off with the raptor in the window.  His head followed her every move, and tried to snap at her when she got closer.  With her quick reflexes she managed to swoop in under his head and slit his throat.  Blood poured from him, and it shrieked as it tried to take another snap at her.  She backed away quickly, and soon the raptor stopped moving.  The smell of blood from one of their own didn't seem to deter the reptiles.  As a matter of fact, she could see the raptor body moving imperceptibly.  She could hear ripping flesh, and she knew that they were trying to eat their way through the downed raptor's body.  She shuddered again as the chills of her tattoos began to light up.  

 

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Bolted doors and fortified walls weren’t enough to conceal the smell of delectable human flesh from the keen nostrils of the raptors. Primal instincts led the one in the kitchen to the small door in the basement. As it grew nearer, its claws raking against the rough surface of the ground, the saferoom became dead silent. Not a single one of the customers made a sound. Many of them held their breath in sheer terror. The scraping sounds came closer to the door and then stopped. The raptor was right outside. For a few terrifying seconds, it sniffed at the door. Then by some miracle, it turned and left. As it clambered up the stairs, a man sneezed and all hell broke loose. 

The raptor turned around immediately and barreled towards the door, breaking it open with one thrust. The door slammed against the wall, crushing a lady who had been standing directly behind it. As her body fluids splattered across the wall, only one man was able to muster to courage to attempt to fight off the raptor. Grabbing a goblet, he swung the cup at the creature’s head, batting it aside. The raptor recovered almost immediately, taking a large bite into the man’s arm. He had only barely managed to avoid it by shoving the goblet into its mouth. 

As it struggled with the foreign object between its teeth, the science teacher came up beside it, thrusting her hand into its eye socket in a single blow, burying her hand in its head up to her wrist. Her fingers pierced through sinews and flesh, finding their place around its brain. With a single squeeze, she crushed its cerebrum. The creature went into an instantaneous state of shock, the science teacher barely able to wrench her hand out of its head before it started to convulse on the ground. 

With an unceremonious flick of her hand, she splattered the creature’s brain matter across the floor, much to the shock of some of the customers. The fact that she had downed the raptor meant little though. Without the door, they were sitting ducks. Thinking quickly, she peeled the wooden door gingerly off of the remains of the crushed woman, pushing it back into the doorframe. 

“We need to barricade the door. Someone get those boxes in the corner and move them here,” she pointed to several boxes of miscellaneous supplies that probably contained food that could last them for months if they needed to take shelter. Evidently, imminent death seemed to be of a greater threat than starvation.

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He eyes the sudden brilliant flash of blue energy in the rune-woman’s control, then his gaze flits over to the raptors throwing themselves up into that shield, half-crazed and bloodthirsty.

How lovely.

Envy does not suit you.

The other woman’s tattoos alight, glowing symbols etched on her skin. He takes a moment to admire her sharpened claws as they tear the throat of a nearby raptor, crimson dripping like rain against the floorboards—but only for a moment, as the raptors on his side of the room scramble through the doorway and snap at his heels.

She takes left, you take right.

I don’t need to take orders from you.

An odd snarl erupts from somewhere deep in his chest, the harsh sound mutating into a jagged hiss. A viper’s tongue flicks against his lips, tasting the air, tasting blood, tasting death. The murderous haze descends.

Shall we?

He darts forward, moving with serpentine grace as he weaves his way through the creatures and the flying mess of teeth and wayward claws. He sinks his fangs into the neck of the nearest one, grinds his scaled hands against the raptor’s hide. Puddles of blood make his footing slick and slide, but he slithers through, collides with another one in a cloud of flailing limbs.

You’re slipping.

Shut up and just watch.

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