Demon Bear: Souls

September 25, 2017:

The Demon Bear is on the haunt for Dani Moonstar. It finds Emery instead. Like meets like.


NPCs: Brightwind


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Dusk has fallen. It's that in-between state where it's neither day or night. Where both the light and the dark battle for supremacy. In the end, however, the struggle is brief as darkness always wins.


The sun hurriedly sets, casting the sky in various shades of pinks, oranges, purples and blues. Those pastel colors don't last long, as the sky continues to darken when the sun finally dips far below the horizon. Even with the light pollution of Gotham City the majority of the stars above still glimmer bright, twinkling against the blackness of the sky.

Beyond the light pollution something else likewise blots out some of the star field. It's moving too. And it's animal shaped. A bird to specific. A bird that's as dark as the sky above and soon it becomes clear what type of bird it is, as suddenly a sharp and echoing CAW splits the air. A crow isn't an odd thing, but a crow at night? That might be.

The feathered creature flies unhindered towards a lamp post. It lands with a flutter of wings and a softer, grumblier call. A rusty caw of a sound. It's only after it falls silent that the bird focuses its intelligent black eyes down to the ground below. Upon the streets of Chelsea. It's watching people. Searching the milling forms below for something. Perhaps a spot of food?

And while that bird sits atop its perch a vague feeling of unease starts to ooze outward. A dark sense of danger, of foreboding, of nervous energy and paranoia.

There are many things that bring a single father and professional butler to Gotham…and by many, that is actually to say 'not many that make sense at all'. Clad in a pair of comfortable dark brown boots, dark jeans, a simple dark green henley with a light dark brown leather jacket…he's sporting a bit of a faint shadow of stubble that still seems to be well groomed and his hair is pulled back in a loose manbun. Presentable enough for evening mass. He adjusts the strap of the leather man-bag/messenger bag that bumps against his hip. He spent alot of time praying so the Irishman is slipping a slender white cigarette from a breast pocket and placing it between his lips, letting it dangle there as he inhales deeply and tucks a hand in a back pocket. He leans against a lightpost and just stares up at the sky.

Whatever thoughts may be running through his mind do not flicker in his dark gaze, but the tension caused by their weight causes his hand to slip to the appropriate pocket to pull out the silver lighter. Hand is cupped around the cigarette to he can light it. It is through the cloud of smoke that is his exhale a few second later that he catches that dark shape, eyes tracking the path of the crow curiously. Between two fingers he holds the cigarette, flicking a bit of ash as he looks around himself and shakes his head, pushing off the lightpost to start walking.

Wouldn't do to linger…his nerves were already on edge, now senses are tingling and he takes another drag on his cigarette.

The bird flips its head this way and that. Its gaze bounces from one person to another, and even to Emery, as the flare of light catches the attention of the crow.

The feathered being will watch the man push away from the lamp post and begin to walk away, but only momentarily, before its attention shifts again. This time it looks upon a woman with long black hair. She can be found with two other women and the trio is obviously dressed for a fun evening out. And even as the three women laugh and talk, they can't help but feel that brush of that dark energy. It's enough to cause all three of them to look over their shoulders. Around them. To be alert and cognizant of everything near, and everyone. It's what causes all three of them to look to Emery with vague suspicion.

Others nearby find their shoulders hitching upward slightly, a protective gesture, a warding off gesture, as the itch between their shoulder blades strengthens. It's like they're waiting for the other shoe to drop, for disaster to loom, for it to suddenly appear.

And appear it does.

It starts with the crow and ends with shadows.

Once more the feathered bird offers a sharp echoing retort before it flings itself upward to the night sky. As it spirals higher upward it continues to squawk that familiar call and with one final cackle of sound the bird abruptly quiets.

What takes its place is something more.

Something worse.

A small shadow near the trio of women suddenly moves. It twists and turns and grows until it's nearly twelve feet in height and when it reaches that height it suddenly shifts. No longer is it a shadow of some length, now it's worse. The upright shape of a bear can be seen. An indistinct shape except for the head, the glowing eyes and all four claw-tipped paws. The body itself is blurred, warping, something that seems to move within itself; something that might hold a person's gaze, or not. Like an optical illusion almost.

Though this bear is no illusion. Not when it suddenly turns to the trio, its hate-filled eyes landing upon the black-haired one. With that one look at the woman the Demon Bear knows this is not the prey it seeks. That, however, doesn't stop it from offering an angry roar that sounds both upon the physical plane and also upon the psychic and mystical.

And elsewhere, in Westchester County a woman sleeps. A nap hastily taken thanks to an odd shift at SHIELD. Within that sleep darkness emerges and Dani Moonstar makes a small noise of distress.

That noise echoes down through the link between herself and Brightwind and the winged horse raises his head.

A hand is lifted to the ladies as Emery nods his head in his effort to look as non-threatening as possible. "Three lovely ladies like yourselves, should get on home before it gets too late." Comes the Irish lilt that adds a level of natural charm to his rounded tones.

Then an exhale of smoke is stuttered into 3 puffs. There's no screaming, or running, or pissing himself but he does almost drop his cigarette, eyes narrowing as the shadows move and twist and shift. An eyebrow raises slowly as time around him seems to slow down as it often does when faced with danger. The bear if facing those three women and that roar is a whisper in the litany of prayers that swim to the surface of his mind.

"S·ncte MÌchael Arch·ngele, defÈnde nos in proÈlio…" His lips start moving through the familiar latin words, calling on one of his patrons of light against the darkness. A hand slips into his bag, flipping the leather flap back as he draws out a slender silver dagger, his grip shifting as he steps and pivots into a throw, flinging the dagger in the direction of the bear with the type of precision that comes with causing a distraction.

"Lemme try again…get the f*ck outta here!" Is barked towards the women. Two more daggers are drawn from the bag, black leather grips and they are stilleto like in length as he shifts into a fighting stance, taking a deep breath.

That Irish lilt of his definitely brings a few smiles from the women, but that's about all they can offer, especially as the shadows churn.

When the bear appears and roars the women can't help but stop in shock. That shock lasts for a few unmoving seconds before the screaming finally begins. And it's not just the three women screaming, it's others too as dozens of eyes turn towards the dark beast that has appeared.

A claw-tipped paw rises upward, the bear intending to attack the dark-haired woman first, but before it can swipe those sickle-shaped talons downward that prayer crashes nastily against the Demon Bear's ears. Whether it actually understands the Latin words of prayer or not, it understands the meaning behind them. Holy words of protection meant to hurt the dark. To push and ward it away, but this darkness is strong and it will not bend.

Not for a single line from that prayer.

That silver dagger of Emery is flung and while it won't kill the bear it does tag it. It slices through its side, or what should be its side, before it clatters down upon the ground. The edges of the Bear are poorly defined, but whatever the dagger hit causes a reaction as the demonic animal finally whirls about to face Emery.

The muzzle of the bear crinkles back showing yellowed rotting teeth and with eyes blazing red, the Demon Bear moves. It's fast like a snake. Faster than a bear has any right to be, but that doesn't mean Emery couldn't side-step away if quick enough. There's enough space between him and the demon to do that, especially as it lashes outward with its preternatural sharp claws. As the claws slice through the air a faint sound might be heard, a note of sound, of something, that denotes the claws as something more than just layers of keratin.

The women, who are still mostly in shock, suddenly start at Emery's shouted words. It's enough to cause them to scurry backward, each of them pulling one another as they run away. The rest of the people nearby are doing the same thing. Some of them even go so far as to shout the same warning to Emery. "Get away man! Get away!" Comes one young man's words, as he rushes past.

In Westchester the winged stallion known as Brightwind snorts softly with concern. While most believe the horse to be just that (albeit with wings) he's so much more. More intelligent, more aware, and more powerful than even Dani realizes. As such, he uses the link between himself and his rider to search for what causes her unease. It's a twisting path from reality to dream and then further into the ether that surrounds all living things.

Even demons.

Sensing that the stallion noses his way out of his stall and trots out of the stables. He'll take a moment to paw the earth below, before suddenly snapping his wings open and rising upward with a powerful downbeat. Then he's rising upward into the night sky and streaking across it; a white arrow aimed in the direction of Gotham City, specifically Chelsea.

People are running, and the former assasin holds one dagger at bout hip level, the blade pointing behind him and the second at about heart level, the blade pointing at the Bear, weight shifting to his back foot as his marks the movements and the charge. It is super fast and Emery moves a few seconds faster than a regular human will, that DNA that carries myth about angelic origins coursing through his lithe figure.

"CÛntra nequÌtiam et insÌdias di·boli Èsto prÊsÌdium…" He continues the prayer and asks for protection against the malice and snares of the devil. And malice seems to be the name of the game today.

There is that slice of claws and the Irishman spins counter-clockwise to the strike, feeling leather rip and material part…possibly skin as well along his side as he avoid the brunt of the strike then spinning clock-wise almost just as quickly to attempt to drive one blade into the beast's shoulder and the other into its side…having calculated where his first dagger struck.

"Õmperet Ìlli DÈus, s˙pplices deprec·mur…" Asking for the Lord to rebuke this creature because he feels like he's trying to fight a dragon with two butter knives. Even though he moves gracefully, light on his feet and fast. The latin falls from his lips and his breathing is even.

He's faced many dark things in his life. But this…this is different. This is real.

More lines of prayer. More supplication to a God the Demon Bear doesn't necessarily bow down to, but one that can still command demons, no matter the difference between their inherent belief systems. Or their ideology.

The claws catch leather and cloth, shearing through them like nothing. A hum from those terrible claws might be felt from that nearly completed touch, but the micro-space between skin and talon is enough that Emery finds his soul safe.

While the Demon Bear is fast, so likewise is Emery, and while the Demon Bear moves to retract his arm and prepare a second strike at the man, the man finally lashes out with his own 'claws'. Small they may be, but they still strike. The first blade sinks meatily into the Bear's shoulder, the feeling as normal as stabbing any living creature. The blade that sinks into the Bear's side, however, is something else altogether.

The shadows and blackness shift and move, even as they're pinned by the blade in its side. And even as the bear ROARS with its pain and anger, the attack doesn't seem to stop it. Nor does the rebuke Emery asks for appear.

Instead the Bear will wrench itself upward, standing like a man, versus animal, and showing its true height. Only that height suddenly changes. Instead of twelve feet it begins grow taller, larger and whether the knives are pulled free, or not, the shadows within the Bear reach out towards Emery. The outlines of grasping hands might be seen within those shadows as they reach for Emery's arms, trying to trap the man.

And to note, those hands ring as something else than the Bear. Yes, it still rings part of the Bear, but beneath that there's something more. A spark of a soul. Souls, even. Three souls all together. If it can be felt two souls are men while the last is a woman's.

Almost, Brightwind is there. Soon enough he will see what haunts the dreams of his Rider.

"…tuque, prÌnceps milÌtiÊ cÊlÈstis, S·tanam aliÛsque spÌritus malÌgnos…" The soft prayer comes out more quickly now, momentary relief to find that the knife sinks into what feels like flesh and blood but his second strike doesn't seem to find as familiar a home as he is used to. The utterance about Satan and all evil spirits seems to be fitting background music to that shift and transformation.

He did not release that first knife in time and the bear moves too quickly for him to yank it out and as the Bear wrenches forward, Emery is lifted a few feet, dangling for a moment from that dagger in the shoulder before he releases it and lands in a crouch, second blade still in hand as it is yanked free.

His leather is torn, his shirt is torn…several strands of hair have worked their way free of his man-bun, falling in soft waves to frame his face and he's just craning his neck back further and further to watch the creature stand up. Then there are those hands, grasping and the shadows…

There is a moment, where kind recognizes kind. A flashback to the first man he ever killed. Then the second. Then the third. Then the fourth. Flashes of warm and breathing in the life of another, cradling their souls temporarily and releasing them with residue lingering on your own.

Reality crashes back around him as he's staring, because he can feel…sense them, like a dog might pick up a unique scent. He even inhales deeply, nostrils flaring. He cannot finish the prayer because every fiber of his being is straining to make sense of that which makes no sense. He feel the presence of those souls, more souls than there should be in one being. Its a feeling that brings back memories of being around others like him, and then the memories of watching them all die. Bittersweet and frightening.

So he just twirls that dagger in his hand. "Well then, brother…looks like we skipped introductions and went straight to teh sibling rivalry…now on my cue, ye say 'Moooom, e's touchin' meee…" And then he brings the dagger up to cut his own thigh, blade parting denim and flesh as he throws himself into a roll. Physically rolling so that he can reach out to grab what should be an ankle of the bear and he looks up for a moment and there's a faint almost glow to the white of his eyes…very faint and he lets the pain and discomfort he's experiencing ripple through his body and channel into his hand.

…he has to hold on, if just for a little longer. Make sure everybody who was around is clear. Listening for a siren. Highheeled boots. Gunshots. Anything…Gotham's famous for its vigilantes and Emery would give anything for one to show up about now so he can go back to being Emery as the Samael he once was rattles around in his cage, demanding to be set free.

Like knows like.

A soul-eater versus another. Brothers, as he so voiced.

While the Demon Bear can't speak its own thoughts in actual words, those feeling manifest in the ripple that flows through its form. It causes those grasping and reaching shadow hands to retract, as Emery drops back down to the ground. Crouched with those blades in his hands.

The man's words, about siblings rivalry and mothers causes the bear to pause. There's a lessening to its gaze, its self, as it begins to shrink slightly. Something within what he just said has caused confusion within the Bear. A slight lessening of the madness within its eyes, its self. Within those three souls that are so entwined. It's the woman's soul that seems to make itself known with a soft echo of thought, almost a word, but not, 'Danielle', it sends.

A daughter. Lost. They're so lost. Those souls. Those people within. Sanity is gone there's only madness.

And then, just like that, that momentary weakness shatters. It's helped by the touch upon the Bear's ankle, the pain that suddenly flows from Emery to the Bear. That pain, for the bear, is almost cleansing. Cleansing in the sense that it once more brings forth the crazed mind of the Demon Bear. Once again the beast grows. Rising upward as the pain flashes throughout its body. Another roar can be heard from the beast and then the darkness within the demon lashes out, like sharpened knives. They seek to cut the man's from his link, a surgical strike to gain control of it, to use that link as a conduit against him. To help it wrest control the Demon Bear slams all the torment, the pain, all the confusion and bleakness felt by itself and the souls within back at the man.

It's a ruthless distraction meant to knock the man senseless long enough for the Bear to reap this fourth soul so near. This shining, powerful, fourth soul.

Years of being told about peace and torment and balance, seem to collide into the wall of finally 'getting it' for Emery. Its always been reap, release. Reap, release. Reap, release. Sleep, get tortured by the souls you reaped. Reap, release. Sleep, get tortured by the souls you reaped. Layer upon layer of lives taken all forming a thick crust around his own soul, like a dark pearl of some sort. Its always been for the Light however.

The name is submitted to memory though…a woman's soul. Its even more incentive for the Irish Reaper to grit his teeth and pour what he feels into the link…but it is a bit too superficial.

Madness, pain, lonliness, confusion, bleakness, darkness…it is a dark abyss that is easy to get sucked into and it pours through the invisible veins that run through the empathic link, back into Emery like a very bad hit of heroin. Lips part with a wordless gasp and eyes widening and his swarthy complexion paling slightly. His slip up is momentary though as he yanks his hand back as if scalded, scrabbling backwards and groping for his dagger as he turns, still on his knees to kneel before the bear, panting now and just glaring, eyes watering slightly and a single tear running down his cheek.

He felt that. He felt those souls, that bleakness and he just hurts for them…hurts for the release he cannot grant. He came to Gotham, to be granted temporary absolution and now he feels like he's being washed in the sins of someone else for a change and it hurts. - But it isn't the worse pain he's ever felt, it just leaves behind an unsavory stickiness.

"Right…right, just…" He holds up a one moment finger. "Before ye take another move, consider this…ye tink ye're hot shite because ye've got 3 unfortunate motherf*ckers under yer belt…I've got hundreds…" His jaw sets. "And if ye try to take me before me time, I swear to me all powerful God and all the saints I'll reach up yer demonic arse and rip the three ye 'ave out so quickly ye'll tink ye just ate cheap Mexican food after its gone off." He pushes himself to his feet, shakily, crouching a bit in a fighting stance, holding that dagger. "What's it goin' to be Smokey?"

This was not how he was expecting his evening to go.

The link is broken and even the Bear feels something from that. While it doesn't necessarily stagger the form of the Bear does waver. Another one of those liquid-like ripples flowing through the shadows and fur that make it up.

Those blood red eyes turn toward the man. Kneeling and with that tear tracking down his face. It could attack, but it doesn't. Not for a few seconds at least. Not until Emery moves, taking his daggers in hand again and finding that fighter's crouch. It listens to what the man has to say and whether it truly understands or not, isn't clear, but an answer is still given. It's in the form of a silent snarl, just a baring of teeth and a raising of both of its enormous paws.

The souls it houses within itself will not be taken. They. Will. Not.

Clearly, 'Smokey' is not too pleased with that taunt.

Both of those claws slash down toward Emery, faster than previously, almost a blur with the amount of power the bear puts behind it. If one paw doesn't get it, surely, hopefully, possibly, the second will. The beast is attempting to time it just enough that should the man move it could conceivably compensate for his movement with that second claw.

And whether those claws get close, or touch, or even cut, or don't, a white figure from above might suddenly seem to appear, as it comes hurtling downward. There's the sound of an angry horse's scream and then the winged stallion appears and all but slams into the side of the beast.

And it's only now, with however many minutes have passed, that the faintest echoes of a siren might be heard. Someone has finally convinced the police that yes, there really is a crazy bear attacking people. And no, it's not really a normal bear, but it's a bear.

If there is one thing Emery can do…its get a rise out of someone and a rise he does get, the Irishman's nose wrinkles and he winks at that snarl. "Atta boy…" Then he's pushing himself out of that crouch, his own 'claws' extended in the form of his daggers wielded with purpose, he ducks a shoulder barely twists out of the way of the first paw and then the second he's darting forward in time to avoid getting impaled but he does get knocked to the side and down…he may have felt some crack, he's not sure yet. He does get the wind knocked out of him as he rolls and tumbles into the fall, looking up to see that streak of white slam into the beast.

He collapses back against the pavement for a moment, laying on his side and holding his other side and then looking back up. Buh-Link. Yep, that's a…that's a white horse with wings. Because of course it is. His head cocks to the side at the sound of sirens an he murmurs a soft "Oh thank christ…" Under his breath, then pushes himself to his feet, losely gripping his daggers and just staring at the mythological creatures. He peers back towards the sky, warily.

As soon as Brightwind connects with the Bear it goes flying. It's almost comical as its own movements almost mirror Emery's. Though the Bear's fall is much more chaotic versus vaguely controlled.

The winged horse lands with a solid thump right where the Bear just was. It'll go so far as to stomp a hoof against the cement, which ignites a faint spark. The wings of the horse mantle and finally he rears upward before slamming his hooves back upon the pavement again. A challenge in that movement, a warning. The sparks that fly from the two-hoofed stomp are much harsher this time, brighter.

And whether it's from the appearance of the horse, or the pain it traded with Emery, or the sound of sirens, or a combination of all of the above, the Bear rises upward in a crouch. It offers one last roar and then within a blink of an eye the beast is gone. It simply disappears with a flurry of shadows and an echo of a growl. A threat and promise held in that rumble. It will return. It will find Emery. IT will take his soul.

The Pegasus watches the beast disappear and as soon as the threat is gone Brightwind turns his attention to the man. The now standing man. The intelligence found within the horse's gaze is palpable and after careful consideration the winged creature extends his muzzle to Emery. A whuffle of greeting held within that movement, even as his wings settle against his sides.

A look upward in the sky will simply show the stars again. No crow, no bear and no other winged horses can be seen.

The Irishman dares to look away from the sky, half expecting the Lochness Monster to come barreling down like a Scotish Comet. But when nothing happens and the Bear just /vanishes/ in shadows, Emery's grip relaxes on his daggers and he grips them both on one hand so he can lean foward, resting his free hand on a knee and exhaling softly. "Oh /f*ck/ me side ways and call me Maureen…" Comes the profanity ridden 'breath of relief'.

His leather coat is tattered on both sides, along with the dark green henley, showing peeks of toned and muscular fresh that purpling rapidly. He's got a gash in his left thigh, his nice pair of jeans darkening with a wound that should be bleeding far more than it is. His hair is half in and half out of its bun and he looks in the direction of where the bear was with an almost pained sympathy. But not too pained. Because the bear, to be fair, was being a dick.

He's jerked out of that by the whuffle from the Pegasus and he lets out a breathy laugh, straightening up and moving a hand to his mouth, just shaking his head slowly. "…well, hello gorgeous." He clears his throat a bit, lowering the hand and extended his hand in a way that someone who's been around horses knows to do. "Where'd ye come from? Hm? Ye saved me life…I owe ye me thanks and a life debt too." He offers a dimpled smile, a weary one and a nod of his head, bending his knee to bow respectfully. Then wincing and biting back an explicative.

The street has fallen mostly quiet now. Yes, the sirens can be still heard, but it'll be a few minutes before the police cars arrive.

The majority of people are gone and the street only holds Brightwind and Emery now. When the man speaks the horse's ears swivel forward attentively. That extended hand is likewise seen for what it is and so, Emery might feel the faint tickle of whiskers from Brightwind's muzzle from the whuffled greeting.

Amusement might be seen in regards to the greeting of gorgeous, but that amusement fades when at the mention of life-debt. While a horse's features aren't made to show many human emotions, a serious cast will wash over the equine features. The bend of knee is likewise watched gravely. Then finally the horse dips his own head in both agreement, acknowledgement and respect.

It's only with the wince and the bitten back words that the horse offers a whicker. It might even nudge the man. Go home. That's what Brightwind would say if he could communicate effectively with these mortals and half-mortals. Go home and heal.

Whether Emery understands any of what Brightwind says, it soon becomes a moot point, as the horse suddenly high-steps away. Already he's looking to sky, but before he launches upward he does look once more to the man. A farewell held in his gaze.

It has been a while since he's been around horses and the muzzle tickle makes him huff out a soft chuckle. Emery has not had a dull day since he's arrived in the USA, that's for certain. He sighs softly at the nudge and there's another dimpled grin before he turns to give a small nod. "So…m' gonna, eh, go." He gestures towards a random direction. "Emery Papsworth, professional Butler…certified Personal Assistant!" He calls out after the winged…horse, lifting a hand to wave and wince simultaneously.

Then he's turning, shoving his daggers into the dirty, beat up and no amount of dry cleaning will repair the designer man-bag he had with him and he walks off, taking a deep breath as the latin prayer concludes with…

"…qui ad perditiÛnem anim·rum pervag·ntur in m˙ndo, divÌna virt˙te, in infÈrnum detr˙de." Wishing damnation for Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Emery pauses to look back up towards the sky, hand curling into a fist as he remembers that one name…that one soul above all. Danielle. "Amen." And he continues his walk.

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