|Rating Warning: Minor violence. Non-specific reference to imaginary violence.|
Emitter: Rey Devoss
Cornelius Kaiser's magic sword
The day is fairly cool, as most seem to be in the city, especially out here on Angel Island, and because it is the off season, there aren't a lot of tourists and only a few other fellow fitness enthusiasts. Levi is on his second run from the dock to the peak, down the other side to the gates of the old military base and back again. Since he started learning from the book on Immortals, he's been pushing himself, learning that the limits of his fatigue are more because he expects to get tired than the reality of it, these days. Dressed in a pair of long basketball shorts, a hoodie and running shoes, the young man is headed back up the 'mountain' again. Though just shy of 800 feet is hardly a mountain to his way of thinking. Still, the elevation makes it a workout and not just a light jog, especially with fitness stations in a few places along the path. As far as he can tell, it's just him and the wildlife, and Levi is just fine with that.
Levi's peaceful joy is interrupted by a strange, new sensation--a feeling like a kind of buzzing in his head, an awareness he's never felt before. As he confronts that feeling, he'll hear the crunch of booted feet on the ground, then the sound of a sword being drawn from a scabbard. If he looks around, he'll then see a big man, bald and craggy-faced, dressed in matte gray military-style fatigues charging at him from behind a tree--a broad arming sword in hand, murderous intent clear! The man snarls as he swings his blade, very clearly going for a direct killing blow, trying to take off Levi's head. The light flashes along his blade as it cuts its deadly slash through the air.
The young man stops as he feels that sensation. A sense of presence and a thrill of danger in one. And then he hears the boots behind him, turning to see an attacker. The big guy looks quick on his feet and swings that sword as though he knows what he's doing. Almost instinctively the former hunter jumps backwards, the point of the sword so close that he can feel a wash of cold air across his throat were his neck was a second ago.
The younger man's hand darts to the small of his back, under the hoodie and comes out holding a small pistol. A Berreta Nano, to be specific. It's a very small 9mm, designed for self-defense. Like when a psycho with a sword comes out of nowhere. The safety was disengaged even as Levi brought it up to bear. His voice is almost steady as he commands, "Stop! Stop, asshole! What the hell, dude?" He doesn't shoot yet, because he's not willing to casually kill anybody. "Drop the sword or I drop you!" He's new to the whole immortal thing. He knows it's technically bad manners to bring a gun to a swordfight, but 'The Game' is also supposedly over.
The attacker doesn't even hesitate. He just presses his attack, moving as if to charge and close the distance between them!
When the big guy keeps moving towards him, Levi fires, two shots, center mass. He's customized all of his guns and ammo and between the integral suppressor in the frame of the pistol and the fact that he's using subsonic ammo, sacrificing a little penetrating power for a huge noise reduction, the sound isn't the deafening crack one would expect from even a small pistol, but rather a sharp and mechanical chank! of the mechanism at the same time as a clap. Not as silent as the silencers in the movies, but still not enough to disturb the wildlife.
The guy stops, his sword moving with blurring speed to swat the bullets out of the air. A keen eye may spot, though, that the movements are fast but jerky, almost as if not fully under his control. Regardless, he quickly puts on a contemptuous grin and points the blade at Levi, growling at him in a gravelly voice, "Boy! You've got more tricks an' as I gave you credit for. Figured you for an easy kill. But right enough. We'll do it proper." He flicks the tip of the sword up in a kind of salute, sketching a bow with a nod and motion of his off hand, saying, "My name's Cornelius Kaiser. I'm here for your head!" The Game may be over, but apparently this guy never got that particular memo. He begins to advance again, though more carefully now, and laughs, "Don't worry, boy! It'll be over soon, and your power'll live on after you!"
Levi watches the man slap away the bullets and mutters, "Oh fuck!" He starts backpedaling and at the same time reaching out with those new senses of his. "Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa! First: Cornelius? Really? Did your mom loose a bet? And second: We don't have to do this, dude." And as he found what he was looking for, he used the techniques he's been studying, reaching out, feeling the life, becoming one with it and ...borrowing a little of it for his own needs. "In fact, nope, not going there." His foot taps the path, impatiently, he tosses his head and then ... bolts. Using the speed of a nearby deer to bound into the heavy brush, hoping surprise and his smaller frame will help him evade the other immortal.
Kaiser grunts, then snarls as Levi "borrows" the speed of the deer. "Damn whelp!" he snarls, reaching out to "borrow" a bit of his own--and soon enough, Levi will hear the sound of creaking and groaning trees, as the man seems to be scrambling rapidly to catch up. He moves to get ahead of Levi but doesn't entirely make it, instead coming down--from a tree! He'd borrowed a squirrel's nimbleness for the same, though the trees are looking much the worse for wear for it. Coming up alongside Levi instead of out in front, he makes another wild swipe with his blade, snarling, "It were my father's name, ya scuttlin' rat!" The man moves like a freight train. He has speed, and he's agile, but he's more power than finesse.
Levi is more than a little worried as he hears the big guy catching up with him. This is not good, not good at all. He doesn't have the skills he needs to beat this dude. Also, the guy can knock bullets out of the air. The young immortal considers his options and turns towards the dock. He needs to make things too public for Kaiser to kill him. But to do that he has to find a way to keep the would-be killer off-balance. And then the blade is lashing out again, so damned fast. Levi throws himself to the side, but not before he can feel the kiss of razor-sharp metal cutting through the cloth of his hoodie and then the flesh of his bicep with almost no resistance. The younger immortal drops the gun in the brush as his fingers spasm. The pain and blood don't start for another second or two.
Grunting in pain but giving his voice a kind of false good humor he asks, "You actually know who your dad is? Man, I would have lost that bet. C'mon, Corny, catch me if you can!" And he's bolting for the more public areas of the island, running as fast as he can, hoping like hell that there are some people (and cell phone cameras for his attacker to shy away) near the docs. Bravery is good, keeping his head is better. Literally.
Kaiser's cry of delight at drawing first blood turns to furious curses as Levi darts away again, but within a second or two the big man's charging along after him, foregoing any attempt at caution and really driving home that impression of being a freight train as he rages ahead, sword flashing in his hand as he pumps his arms to try to pour on the speed. The big man may be clunkier in his movements, but he seems absolutely tireless, throwing his full strength into every movement without even beginning to seem even winded. The land stretches out between the two, but that span begins to narrow steadily as it becomes now a race: can Levi reach the hope of witnesses and public exposure before Kaiser catches up with him? The big man's boots beat a slamming pulse as he begins to edge closer and closer to the retreating younger man....
Levi is sweating and bleeding, wide-eyed and youthful looking as he makes for the dock, hearing and feeling Kaiser closing the gap. Having to chose between pride and survival, Levi chooses survival, taking a deep breath and starting to yell, pitching his voice up to sound a bit younger as he screams, "Oh my god! He's got a sword! He killed everybody! All those kids! HELP!" Looking over his shoulder, he gives Kaiser a grin and says, in a quiet voice, "Hey asshole, prepare to be famous!" And then, hearing the barks and hoarse roars of the sea lions near the docks, waiting for tourists to throw them food (rules be damned), Levi gets another idea. Alright, this is going to suck. But it's his best chance. The bloodied boy continues to literally scream bloody murder as he runs towards civilization, hoping that Kaiser might hesitate a moment after Levi points out he's making their conflict very public.
Kaiser nearly gets close enough to end it. But then Levi's cries of terror and clever ruse give him literal pause, and the big man slows down, glancing toward the docks. He drops back, suddenly, and starts to cut in another direction. Soon enough, he's moving out of sight as Levi approaches the docks and buildings, seemingly having given Kaiser the slip--for the moment, anyway. Soon enough, Levi's being approached by a throng of people, among them a park ranger who, having been answering questions about the sealions rushes up to him with concern in her eyes, saying, "Whoa, whoa! Slow down. What happened?" She reaches for her radio, seeing Levi's bloodied hoodie, and quickly motions for the other people to move back, just in case a violent killer really is about to burst into their midst.
Levi Levi gives her his best 'innocent tourist' expression and says, "Big guy. He has a big knife. Or a machete or something. He said he wanted to kill me!" He clutches his arm, which is actually already healing, but is suitably bloody. And then, with flair for the dramatic, he points back where he last saw Kaiser with the blood-covered hand and says, "He's crazy! He just jumped out and went crazy!" All the while, he's backing towards the dock, even though the ferry isn't there yet. But he starts reaching out again, borrowing another gift as he gives his performance.
The ranger looks where Levi's pointed, frowning, and glances back after him. She seems to think quickly, then gets on her radio and calls out the proper warning for the situation, requesting assistance. She then starts to carefully herd the tourists back toward the ferry that brought them, directing them to move in an orderly fashion for their own safety. She doesn't move back toward where Kaiser was, but she does make sure to keep herself between the people, including Levi, and that direction, as though to serve as a human shield if she needed to. But, as the people begin to quickly board, the hostile immortal does not yet appear. Still, Levi can sense that buzzing still. The head-hunter must still be somewhere nearby....
Levi Retreating until his back is against the rail, Levi swings his arm so the blood splatters a little as he says, "Oh, I'm dizzy! Too much blood loss!" He gasps and falls back against the rail, adding, at the top of his lungs, "He said his name was Kaiser! Corny Kaiser! And he's a giant asshole!" And then, dramatically, Levi adds, his acting much worse than his planning, "I... I think it's too late for me! Avenge....me!" And then, he allows himself to pitch over the railing into the water, using the borrowed lung capacity and swimming ability of the sea lions to stay deep underwater and make his way back towards the shore, too far underwater to be tracked, unless Kaiser pulls the same trick. But it's damned hard to swing a sword underwater.
The ranger is still getting people aboard the ferry when Levi pulls his theatrical stunt. A few people caught him on cell phone video, having instinctively started filming after his earlier outcry, and people start to really freak out as he plunges overboard. The ranger doesn't even seem to pause to think. She cries out as he goes under, then ditches her jacket and hat, then she dives overboard after him. She frantically searches for him, but he's got the advantage in being able to dive deep and swiftly, and human eyes don't see exceptionally well underwater.
She makes several dives, but when she comes up, helped out of the water by the people on the ferry, it is with an ashen face and grim expression. Her hat and coat returned to her, she at first tries to stay behind, but the crowd gets so unruly that she has to stay with them. As the ferry shoves off, she's still calming them, and eventually she finds a place to sit at the rear of the boat. She rides the whole way across staring back over the water, eyes haunted as she looks after where Levi went under. This is a moment she will probably never forget.
Later, as the ferry is emptying on the far side and people are starting to give statements to the authorities, a big man in a rumpled suit approaches her. He lifts the fedora from his bald head, then slides off his sunglasses while offering her a warm, fatherly smile. He tucks the aviator shades into a pocket, then extends his hand and introduces himself in a downright folksy southern accent, nothing like the harsh and vaguely accented voice that had used as "Kaiser." He says, "Mighty brave of you, I must say. I'm federal agent Bob Forester." After he shakes, he fishes out an ID and hands it to her. While she looks at it, he continues, "I wonder if I could ask you just a few questions, Mizz...?"
"Ramos," she answers, looking up at him with those still-haunted eyes. "Angelica Ramos."