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 ... In Need (To Survive, I Must Fight), Open To All
Natacha Wiess
 Posted: Apr 9 2012, 04:08 PM
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"No!" The clatter of a basket hitting the ground reverberated off the alley walls as the contents spilled out. Bread crumbled against the cobblestones as eggs shattered their shells and leaked out their liquids like bleeding corpses. Jam and jars of slightly stale spices broke and splintered, smearing the already dirty stones with their sticky insides. Rice burst from it's bag, spreading across the ground like the maggots that will soon be feeding off the mess when the people were gone, scavenging off the remains like so many of the poor in this city.

Men gathered around a lone figure, like wolves who have scented a helpless little lamb, licking their chops. They smelled the fear, tasted it on the wind. It invaded their nostrils and penetrated their brains, filling their minds with blood lust, hungry for the kill.

"Wats wrong, little lady? Nothin' ta be scared about. Me 'n me chaps just wanna talk, maybe take ya along fur a little date, eh?" One of the wolves said, approaching the little lost lamb. "I like your chok'lat skin, I bet it tastes sweet, eh boys?" One of the wolves told another, flashing his sharp fang.

"Don't worry about this, miss, jus' fur pro-tekshun, tis a dangerous place, and sumbody can't be too careful." He smiled, flashing his brown and yellow teeth at the lamb. "Now why did ya go and drop yer gro'shres? We jus' wanna ya ta share," The alpha wolf looked at his pack. "Now we gonna have ta eat sum'ting else, eh boys?"

This is bad. Really really bad! Natacha thought, looking at the group of ruffians that had accosted her while she was heading home. She was still in her nurse's uniform, and had stopped by the grocery store and picked up some of the things she needed to make her cupboards look not so bare. It wasn't her fault she could only afford a basement in the more seedy part of the Kesky. She could only afford so much, and rent took up most of her pay.

Her first thought when her basket fell as she was dragged into the alley was that all that money was wasted. Then her mind was fixed on the more troublesome problem. There had to be seven, no eight of them. The men may have been scrawny, and malnourished, but life on the street had made them cruel, heartless, and ready for anything. Even though Natacha had been away from the family for years now, she was still unused to how rough and dangerous the world around her actually was.

"Come on, little lady, wut? Ya got nut'ng ta say to us, ya too good for us? Well boys, I tink she tinks she's too good fur us!" The others snickered as the closed in. One reached out for her, but she drew back instictivly. "No! Please don't!" She immediately shouted, then covered her mouth, but the damage was done. Her high pitched voice pierced the silence like a bullet. The men stared at her with open mouths. One pointed to her and said to the main thug. "Hey! Did ya hear that? That can't be reg'lur, she mus' be onena those wundas!" One, then another agreed with him. They all turned back to the cowering figure.

The boss sneered roughly, "So I guss we pick'd a freak, eh boys?" and called over his shoulder "Ralph, didn' yer dad get killer'd by onena them wundas?" One of the men behind him shouted "Yeah! He did, right dead! I say we carve her like sum'on did ta that scaly bugger. One by one the men sneered and agreed with the ruffian called Ralph.

Natacha's eye grew to that of dinner plates and looked for a way out, but they had completely surrounded her. She looked around, trying to find a weak spot, but like wolves, they had hunted in a pack before, and knew how to corner prey. "Hey, befur we gut the wench, lets make shur she goes out widda smile." One sneered to her as they all got the same idea in their heads.

Natacha saw what was to come and broke. Her resolve to follow one of her father's last orders to her, that she may never use her power again, shattered like her eggs on the old cobblestones. As the men approached, she drew in a breath. Two lunged at her, noticing that she was about to scream, thinking to just silence a woman shouting for help.

She let out a piercing, glass shattering screech that felt like it shook the ground. The two immediately dropped to the ground, holding their bleeding ear, trying to stem the flow of blood from their broken eardrums. The others staggered back, feeling the effects of the shout. Natacha saw this and stopped, diving for the exit to the alley.

Their leader saw this and intercepted her, plunging his fist into her stomach, sending her against the wall. She hit the wall at an angle, skidding against it and scraping skin off her hands, elbows and side of her face as she tried not to smack hard. She slid to the ground, the blow to the stomach winding her, combining with the after effects of the scream left her breathless and disoriented. She could feel the rest of the men closing in on her. She wondered what she could do as the shadows of the six men left crawled over her slumped form...
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Clara Grayson
 Posted: Apr 19 2012, 12:33 PM
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It really was an odd day, she reflected as the sun stared down. The weather was lovely for this time of year, though she did feel a bit of a chill now and again. The fair weather called to her, bringing her from her dusty rooms in the nicer side of town to the brisk chills of Kesky. She adored walking around these streets, oftentimes finding that this area harbored more than a few characters. Clara loved characters. She looked at faces, wondering who they belonged to and where they rushed to. One woman paced by, a scruffy child looking up at her mischievously. What kind of prank had he pulled - or had he done it yet? She gave him as stern a look as she could manage anyway, just in case. Another man in his early thirties, walking quickly. He passed her roughly and continued, causing her to turn and watch his back recede. Was he running to or from something, and what?

The day carried no sense of urgency whatsoever, as if nothing had to be done and anyone could do nothing more than laze about. She worked often, as much as she could because if she didn't she felt terrible. There were people starving from lack of work, and her job allowed her luxury in comparison. What other line of work gave such malleable hours? For all of her talk, though, she did set her expectations high. Her latest work was partway done and ahead.

These sorts of thoughts distracted her from her walk, but an impossibly shrill scream did not. It sounded higher than any person should have been able to make, and very very close. Moreover, it was the shriek of a woman. Clara walked as quickly as she could around corners and across roads, trying to zero in on the sound she'd heard. Again she heard it, this time strong enough to hurt. Round another corner and she saw her, saw the man punch her. Clara ran in without a thought as to what she might do. Typical, a cynical part of her brain remarked later.

"Oy! Pick on someone your own siz-" Clara ducked as her statement was punctuated by a wild swing. With it, her bravado vanished. Instead, the analytical portion of her mind kicked in. She noticed the man's ears bled, saw in the corner of her eye the tell-tale signs of broken yolks that lead to groceries all over the cobblestone. She now stood in front of the poor woman slumped against the wall, her attackers menacing. Her eyes echoed back only ice-cold danger. "Back off," she warned, her words now calm and deadly. She'd always been one of the Protectors who stayed out of the fray, but when worst came to worst she had her power, at least.

It was the biggest one who punched first. She knew he would, both because he was nearest and because she saw the muscles in his arm tense, his jaw locking and knuckles clenching. He punched, and she willed herself to become light as air, as if she was a ghost. For a moment she saw nothing, but then the man's shock registered. He pulled his hand from her in surprise, and she chose that moment to plant a knee firmly in his manly inheritance.
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Natacha Wiess
 Posted: Apr 20 2012, 01:46 AM
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The world was a blur of shuffling feet and fuzzy with the sound of the scuffing of boots on the cobblestones. The world was revolving around on a separate axis. She felt like throwing up, but she did all she could to get her breath back. She got on her hands and knees, gasping for breath. The combination of her ability and the punch to the stomach left her breathless. In the extreme levels, her ability could make her faint.

She finally go the world to stop spinning at such an odd angle. It was at this point the she heard a man grunt and hit the ground. With effort she lifted her head. She saw the man fall, grabbing his crotch with both hands. Natacha tried to get steady, the men all but forgot her for the real threat now in front of them. Two of the men were still on the ground, blood dripping from their ears.

Natacha never knew her ability had that power. She had just let it loose at the top of her lungs, as loud as she could. She had no idea of the effect it could have on a person. She had never used it as a weapon before. There were still five men against two women, and one of the woman was still trying to get to her feet.

She finally could see her rescuer as the said woman was able to get to said feet by bracing her arm on the wall. She noticed two trying to flank her rescuer, one on each side. Natacha's head still swam, but she was able to focus on the situation. She had to help someway, somehow. She couldn't scream, that would give their attention on her, which, being the battered and less mobile one. The looked next to one of the men on the ground. there, next to him, was a knife. She looked at the knife, then up to the man closest to her, trying to edge sideways around the woman.

Natacha made her decision. She stumbled for the knife, scooping it up clumsily and trying to run at the man. He turned slightly as the blade came down. The blade was going to hit his shoulder, biting into the skin. Instead it came across his throat in a diagonal gash, severing his jugular vein and windpipe. He went down in a torrent of blood. Natacha stood there stunned. She had never harmed another person before, at least not intentionally, and the act caused her to freeze. On of the other men noticed his friend fall to the ground. He firmly put a boot into Natacha's stomach, sending her back against the wall again, with him following close behind.
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Cyrus Wise
 Posted: Apr 28 2012, 12:26 AM
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Cyrus slipped in and out of the alley ways with practiced ease. He'd been coming and going from the slums for a number of years, partly as a smuggler, other as an information dealer, and then again, they always had the best booze. The girls at the bar were always nice, and the ruckus and rompous attitudes of the poor suited him better than most. No pleasure today, purely business, he was indeed, on his way out, when he heard the scuffle of feet, and raised voices.

"Damned drunks..." He muttered to himself. No doubt in his mind until he heard a woman scream. "Damned drunks!" He said again, with vigor of a younger man in his voice. Getting into a tustle with a few louts wasn't his worry, it was arriving too late that was his real concern. He sprinted off in the direction of the scream, turning this way, then that. The problem with all of these back alleys was that they carried sound incredibly well. Better still, they seemed to criss-cross, and all very much looked the same.

Rounding a corner, he took in the scene. A group of men, looked to be six of them, one splayed out on the ground, spewing blood from his neck, separating him from the would be assailed. A dark skinned woman, slumped against the wall with a man approaching her, clutching her stomach, and a brunette woman as well, squaring off with a beast of a man, doubled over and grabbing his plumbing. Good girl He thought t himself as he shot his right arm out and took aim with the derringer pistol tucked up his sleeve, letting the bullet fly.

The man lunging at the dark haired woman gave a sharp jerk left as his skull caved in from the right hand side and sprayed what little gray matter he had all over the pavement.

The other two men whirled about, their ears bleeding, and jaws working in wonderment. He smirked as they stared agape in wonderment. It took them a moment when he looked a question at them both, and they started rushing towards him. "Oh you silly bastards..." He took aim again at the closer of the two and fired. The man jerked back, clutching his left shoulder and dropping to the ground with a yell.

Cyrus dropped the derringer and took a defensive stance.

This was not how he wanted to spend his afternoon.
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Clara Grayson
 Posted: Apr 28 2012, 04:04 AM
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Clara jumped at the sound of a gun before ducking slightly. The corner of her eye was glaring red from blood spurting from one of the men's necks, and she mentally applauded the girl. Some might have found it aggressive or violent, but they were defending themselves, after all. They had a right to fight back. Her instinctual ducking proved fortunate, as a moment later a punch came, one that would have sent her reeling but instead only glanced off of her shoulder. The thrower of the punch howled as his knuckle found the hard bone there, giving her a smile even as she winced. It hurt him more than her, anyway.

Her hand dipped to her purse and snatched a small holdout pistol from its depths. She rarely used it but to scare a potential attacker, didn't even know if it was loaded or still worked. Clara was not a marksman and had never actually fired a gun at someone. Just holding it gave her a swell of exhilaration, like she was one of her characters. Such a simple, inelegant weapon, really. All it required was to point at the enemy and pull, but she instead held it facing at her assailant's head, staring him down solidly.

"I think," she began slowly, a catlike smile widening across her face to hide her bluff, "that we should all calm down." They might have had more people, but with their newest savior's weapon and her bluff came a note of reality. This fight suddenly seemed far more dangerous with the introduction of firearms, ringing with a note of mortality. Her face was carefully controlled from the fear coursing through her, forcing herself not to feel it. The man obviously had a working gun, but she probably did not. The only thing protecting her now was bluffs and assumptions.
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Natacha Wiess
 Posted: Apr 29 2012, 09:05 PM
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Natacha felt the breath go out of her yet again. This was the most she has ever been winded in her life. She was a healer, a medical assistant, not a fighter. The fact that she had more than likely just killed a man did not make her ready to fight. It just made her ready to survive. She struggled to make sure her feet were still under her. She grabbed onto the wall, trying to stop herself from meeting the dirty cobblestone alley floor again.

The gunshot made her literally jump. She hit the ground awkwardly and did not have the decision to meet the floor again, it chose for her. She hit in on her hands and knees. The second shot made her cover her head. Trembling, she waited for the next shot to hit her, spill her blood across the cobbles to join her ruined groceries. She was too afraid to move.

When the third shot never came, she looked up. There was another man over there at the other side of the alley, smoking pistol of some kind at his feet. The other woman who had stepped in to stop the men was holding a gun, pointing it at the remaining two. But that was not the first image that Natacha centered on. Her line of sight when straight to the man laying next to her, bleeding fom a hole where the side of his head use to be. She gave a high pitched shriek purely out of fear.

She scrambled to her hands a knees, finally stumbling to her feet and ran at full tilt to the other woman. She skidded sideways and hid behind the woman with the gun, literally grabbing onto her shirt and cowering behind her. Natacha had seen enough blood and death so suddenly to last her a lifetime. All she wanted now was for it to end.

While the young African nurse was struggling, the two thugs were having an internal struggle of their own. Now they were out numbered, if you included the downed nurse. They had to choose between the woman with a gun, and the man who just shot one. When the woman's scream blasted, it shook the rest of their nerves. They decided to cut their losses and run, trying to get around the man, trying to get past him.
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Cyrus Wise
 Posted: Apr 29 2012, 09:36 PM
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Cyrus stepped to the side, letting the two men run off behind him,. He turned, cupping his mouth and shouted. "Serves ya right ya fuckin pansies!" He bent and retrieved his pistol, ejecting the two spent casings and loading one new shell, as he approachd the man, who was still bleeding on the ground, grasping at his neck. Blood was still more gushing out than the long spurts that it was issuing a few moments ago.

He raised the pistol and sent the round through the mans left eye.

He turned to the two women, one still holding a pistol, pointed in his general direction. "Mind not pointing that at me?" He asked with a smirk, as he ejected his last spent shell and pulled up his right sleeve. The contraption was fairly simple, a simple vambrace that slid the gun into place with a loaded spring. All he had to do to activate the release was punch his arm out, or give it a good flick and the spring would release.

He mounted the pistol again, and slid the spring back into place. "Or are you in the habit of pointing weapons at old men who come to your aid?"
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Clara Grayson
 Posted: Apr 30 2012, 06:37 AM
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Clara stumbled for a minute but miraculously regained her footing without hitting the cobblestone among the bodies. This brawl had begun for her with the defense of a helpless woman, and it had ended in multiple bodies lying on the street, blood mixing with eggyolk and slush to form pink-brown piles. She was not squeamish, but could understand the poor woman cowering behind her. At no point did she think the other girl was a coward, because she had defended herself valiantly and come out of it alive. She did feel sorry for her, however. The worst of luck to ruin a day, and now groceries and gore lay at their feet. The former Protector lowered her weapon and pulled the ammunition from it.

"Oh," she remarked with surprise, for there indeed was one small lead bullet. She'd expected the weapon to be empty, a prop towards ending the conflict while minimizing the bloodshed as much as she could. The thought that she could actually have killed someone just now was terrifying. She distracted herself from her own fear by turning to the other woman and holding her. It was a gesture of comfort because they both needed one, and she was determined to be strong and still show this person she cared. When she felt that the woman would be able to stand on her own, she let go.

"I am in the habit of thanking such men," she replied as calmly as she could manage. "That was very brave of you." She took the bullet from the gun, now afraid it might still kill someone on accident, and rolled it around in her palm. Such a small thing to end a life, she reflected morosely.
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Natacha Wiess
 Posted: Apr 30 2012, 09:48 PM
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Natacha clutched tight at the footsteps fainted in the distance She tried to hold out as long as she could, trying to grasp at the little bit of strength she had left. She kept telling herself the same mantra, over and over again. I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry. Even as she repeated she could feel the tears well up, and tried to fight them down.

When the other woman turned and held her, Natacha lost what little resolve she had left. She wrapped her arms around the smaller, more courageous woman and buried her head in the woman's shoulder. That is when the tears came. She broke with a muffled shrieking sobbing. Tears streamed from her eyes and melded with the clothe of the woman's shirt.

The realization that she had most likely killed a man this evening. She had gone against the Hippocratic oath. She may have not been sworn into that, being as she was not a real doctor, or even a full nurse, but she lived by that oath. She may not be able to read it, but when it was read to her, she took it to heart.

The sobbing slowly ebbed away, the feelings finally running their course. She slowly loosened her grasp, slowly sliding to her feet on her own strength. She stood and wrapped her arms around her middle, the trauma she had taken to the area was going to leave a large bruise for weeks to come. Right now it throbbed like hell. The pain was rivaled with the throbbing in her head from where it met the side of the building.

"Oh thank you, thank you so much!" She said, her voice raising in pitch with each word. Tears brimmed again her eyes. She wiped them away and then turned to the man, "Thank you too!" She looked at both of them, swinging her gaze from one to the other. "Thank you again so, so much!" She took a moment, her voice had reached a higher pitch than that of most people could hear. Calming her voice down to level her voice out again. "I can't tell you how grateful I am, to both of you,"
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