War of the Chaos Beast: Chapter 20

Pressures and release. A month of building pressure and the release valve opens.
The beast had to think carefully about its next move. It was indeed aware of how correct the child it held captive was and this bothered him. The rider was making strides as were those that had faced him before. While he was sure the sorceress would turn again he had doubts, minor though they were. His captive was yet to break entirely, the hunters had been compromised by the mix of light and darkness that had infested them. Every soul they claimed had to be fast so the heroes would not find and destroy them. It was like getting a small sip of water in the desert. Almost everything he gained was being spent in the attempt to gain another proverbial sip.

The only comfort it had was that in this realm he was king and the flow of power though slow was still coming. That's when a thought hit him. If he was frustrated what were the heroes feeling. They were having enough issues as it was. Perhaps he could use this to his advantage. Ideas ran through its mind as he stared out of a window across the scarred landscape of his chaos realm. Soon all traces of order would be removed and he would be in absolute command. So long, as he could hold out and hope that the heroes would turn on themselves, victory was still possible.

In the home the heroes shared one could almost see the beast's point. It had been a frustrating month. Every time though a hunter was going to go down and get themselves closer to the beast the foul creatures vanished with their prey. To this end they formed in to their sub teams of the elements, forces and primal energies. Whenever a hunter showed they would strike but even this was barely working. The rider and Chang viewed it with a long-term perspective, even a victory of a sort. The rider had learned long ago that some things would take days or weeks, even months to years. He had waited a millennium to reach this point but now that it was here he found that time had seemed too slow to a torturous pace. Chang was busying himself with the day-to-day details. They had gotten into a schedule of training with their powers and comparing notes over meals. Even he was beginning to think that they needed a new strategy, but what that would be escaped him.

Adrienne and Victor had progressed to the point that they could speak to each other in a nearly friendly way. The rich girl still had issues with the others but at least she was being civil to them. Dria felt left out still. Not only because she was the only one without a 'paring' but being interested in those that shared a gender still made her feel like an outsider. Despite the support and care that she was being shown, it made her feel like she stood out when they weren't in training sessions. At least they were showing the grace to not use names, insults or ask questions about what she did in the bedroom. That always bothered her. Some things were private and should remain so. She didn't ask for the details of what the others did behind closed doors and had no desire to know tell what she did in the same setting. For her the training sessions were a godsend since it was the only place they were all equal.

Victor had no idea what he was feeling. There was a strange emptiness inside him, the woman that he had every reason to hate was looking more like a friend, or possibly more and the pressure was finding cracks in his resolve as well. Just yesterday the three of them nearly had a hunter beaten only to have the soulless creature slip through their grasp. They followed every step as they trained and planned in the drills. Despite that it never seemed to be enough. Victor was used to ending fights in a single setting, this slow pace was killing him. Furthering the confusion was this strange feeling for Adrienne. She was the person he had every reason to hate, yet after what Lisa had done, she seemed different. He wanted to hate her since that was easy but he felt drawn to her now. It felt like that of the moth had to the flame though.

Adrienne felt the same way. She had even caught herself thinking about flirting with the tattooed giant. That was crazy though. She explained it away as stress. Her world had been shaken to its core and there had to be something she could cling to for strength. She couldn't go shopping or even do any of the old things that made her feel good about herself anymore. Lisa saw to that with her little show of power. The best she could guess was that the situation and closeness of the others was changing her and the socialite wasn't sure she liked it.

Lisa and Adam could at least cling to each other. Their pressures were coming from missing the kids. Sure they could look in on them through the globe in their shared room, even hear their voices, but it only served to make them want to touch them. Both wanted to tell them it would be okay, that mom and dad were doing important work. Adam was more steady than Lisa in this but that was the cop coming out. Years of training had allowed him to separate the desires from reality. Reality was they couldn't see the kids right now and he could understand if not really, accept that. Lisa had spent the last night crying herself to sleep and that hurt him. Partially it was due to the inability to change the situation but also because he wanted the same things she did. He was able to compartmentalize these feelings better than she could but that only masked the pain, not prevent it.

Steve and Amanda seemed to be taking it better than the others. Maybe that was because they could snipe at each other like they always had or that they lived lonely lives in their own ways. For Amanda she could be in the same room with her father and still be thousands of miles away from him. It was a feeling that she was used to after a decade of living as a girl in the shadow of a 'great man', never able to escape it. That was coming into focus very clearly now. Though she hated that feeling and always striving to please him, being without the shadow felt cold and lonely.

Steve, despite his many 'friends' and fans, never really formed any real or lasting bonds with anyone. He always rationalized it by saying he had to be free to move, find another wave, find another beach. Only now was he learning how alone in the world he really was save for those that he lived here with. The only person he thought could understand was the one that he hated and hated him but now it seemed that they had to put that aside and finally be brother and sister.

Neither was willing to do so due to their pride.

Bottom line was they needed a win and short of a miracle that would not likely come, or so they thought.

Back in the chaos realm a small pocket of order was discovered and the beast could not tolerate that so he used some of his power to crush it. It was short-sighted action that took much of his strength and the hunters had to act more boldly than their hit and runs. If the heroes knew they would smile as did the rider's child. Soon the heroes would be active and have some hunters to kill.

The alarm in the house went off showing that there were three separate attacks happening at once. It was not an ideal situation but it was better than sitting there and being miserable. Dria opened the doorways and the three teams went on to their duties. The elementals appeared in an alley behind a dingy hotel. The forces walked through their door to appear in the area of Baltimore known as the block. Lastly the primal energies appeared in the last place they wanted to since the hunter and zombies could get cover, a horror convention.
Published: 1/25/2012
Bouquets and Brickbats