Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Where Buzzards Dare

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    Mortis
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    Posts : 942
    Join date : 2014-03-22
    Location : Deadworld
    Level : 60

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    Health Bar:
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    Where Buzzards Dare

    Post by Mortis on Fri Sep 23, 2016 4:04 am

    Time: 9:30 AM
    Date: September 14, 0007

    Already the sun was blistering, heat shimmering in wavy mirages from the miles of sand before it was even beginning to draw close to noon. On the ride out, Mortis could see a few stormy clouds in the distance, but by the time they began to make their way over to the wastelands, the arid environment devoured them. Thick, dark shapes dissipated into fine wisps, barely blotting out the sun as they slowly, steadily wasted away.

    Yet, as the retired Dark Judge had arrived in the middle of this cracked, dry place, he could not help but find some amount of peace that rivaled that of the grasslands. Out here, there was even less life to distract him, as only a few scarce lizards skittered about the surface. They ran to soak up the suns rays now, but soon would retreat back into their shady burrows until it grew cool and dark. Overhead a small grouping of buzzards circled in the distance, a carcass undoubtedly drawing them. Fine, good; he thought. Better whatever they found over there, than bothering him. Much like the lizards and other crawling denizens of the desert, his faithful steed decided to seek refuge inside the dome, investigating its ruin and snapping up any scaly thing that thought to make their home in its decaying walls. Mortis, on the other hand, had decided to make his way up to the roof.

    The presence of a little black ewe was sensibly vacant, as around this time was when she tended to have her morning graze. Angemort gladly kept her company for the time being, though the undead superfiend promised he would not linger out here for too long. The ghoul just needed time to himself, time to think.

    Hm, thinking... The word had become a distasteful thing as of the events of the prior year, though at the same time was something he had not done enough of. Failing to think about the right things, the things that mattered in the long run. Yet, all that he had feared to lose ended up being lost one way or the other, in their own, small ways. Subtle ways. A quiet, sudden disappearance. Safeguards that silently died with no fanfare, no final breath or sound. Things that were, and then suddenly ceased to be with little warning. Perhaps at first he was struck with these losses, griefed with the possibility that it was his fault, that he did not do enough... But days turned to weeks, to months, and soon they would become years. Like sand between his fingers, time and all that were a slave to it kept flowing and slipping, yet he remained.

    His aura would remain, his state of being would remain, and all the horrifying knowledge, those traumatic lessons learned of the past year; they would remain too. Could there be a way to change? Perhaps, but the methods as of currently were beyond his reach. For now, distance was the best medicine, his aura could not corrupt and derange the ones he cared about all the way out here. Perhaps the Sanctuary would be safe to visit every once in a while, he supposed, but at the same time... He could not help but remember. His presence still clung to the Anitra lady, it still threatened to corrupt her. Even in that 'safe haven', his aura was potent enough to defy those unfathomable barriers and kill. Veskur was the first, and the ghoul held little interest in finding out who the second victim would be. Perhaps that was why the wilderness was quickly becoming a comforting place; barely a soul live out here, as many preferred the bustling safe metropolis to these lawless miles of untamed land. In a way it was reminiscent of how the Mega City went about it's iniquitous existence. Sure, some thought that the Cursed Earth was more home to them than Mega City One, but the majority stayed firmly put behind its massive walls, secure with the law and its upholders. After all, for all the sin and criminality that occurred despite the ever vigilant gaze of the Justice Department, it had to be better than what was outside.

    Muties, rad-dust, bandits, and who knew what else.

    Perhaps that was what motivated the citizens of this world to keep themselves safely tucked away in Portal City as well. Out here there were no ISOs, no watchful eyes of the law that would step in should anything happen.

    It made the rest of the world a lonely place, but Mortis hardly complained. Isolation and him were becoming fast friends; it was what motivated him to raise his ewe, to tend and grow his garden, to feel comfortable in his own decaying, rotten skin. It even motivated him to take up some new pursuits that would otherwise leave his hands idle. At what point in his career did he ever see himself taking up acoustic guitar to pass the time? Yet, here he was; practicing outside under the stars each night while Woolie was fast asleep in her bed.

    Out on the roof of the tech dome, Mortis came to edge and sat down, his thin legs dangling over the side. Isolation did a lot of good for his soul, as lonely as such an existence was. But, in order to prevent repeats in history, certain sacrifices needed to be made. He supposed there was a certain amount of irony to his fate; as a Dark Judge he often refused to suffer the living, and now that he was retired, his very state of being and the circumstances that be ensured he never would, regardless of whether he wanted to or not. Granted, it was simple enough to speak with Fear across their mental link, and he could always ride over to Kev's house if he wished to visit and send a gift, or even speak with them over the phone... But lately things had grown more complicated. Livewire yet again had to suffer another loss, and with it a number of changes were made to make the process more bearable. Changes that made the undead superfiend wary about visiting, due to the nature of their plan, and how his aura could affect them after it was implemented. It did not seep into metal or dead flesh like it did the living, and with his upcoming month-long leave, speaking over the phone was not an option.

    Of course, Mortis did not wish to drop out of contact with his troubled niece, his brother, or Kev over something so simple as distance. There had to be some way for him to be able to keep in contact while he was in the lower continent. A phone would possibly break or short out during the trek down into the humid environment, and while the mail inexplicably always arrived on time, he doubted the strangely omnipresent delivery service would be so ready to serve down in the jungles throughout his month-long trek.

    The answer hit him like a brick from the heavens.

    Literally.

    "SSSSS!" Bone buckled, sinew and rotten flesh crumpled, and Mortis tumbled down from his searing perch. Down, down until he landed in a cloud of dust right before the entrance of the techdome. A squeal and clatter of hooves echoed from within the depths of the dome as the undead's steed was successfully startled out of her hunting, the mare quickly trotting over to her master that was now laying face down in the dirt. She gave a few nickers and nudged the undead with her sneering snout, nibbling and pulling encouragingly at the fabric of his overcoat to get up. Her efforts were met with a groan and cacophony of crackles as Mortis willed himself upright, now kneeling on the ground and looking up at the roof. Just what had knocked him over?

    A scan concluded that the dragon had not been the culprit, although the massive shadow that passed lazily overhead mimicked the red beast closely. Large, dark wings temporarily gave shade to both horse and rider as they circled around once more and fluttered noisily to land on the roof the living corpse had been perched on moments before. A few muffled grunts could be heard from the bird as it flapped its wings a few times, its wingspan easily wider than Mortis was tall. A glimpse of a white streak spread jaggedly alongside the dorsal side of its blunt wingspan could be seen just before it folded its wings, and tilted its bald, beaked head to stare down at the strange duo. In fact, there was not a single feather upon its neck until the soft white ruff on its shoulders, leaving greyish skin bare to the blistering summer sun. Other than that flash of white and patch of skin, the rest of the mammoth bird was covered in black feathers.

    Samhain's lip curled into a snarl, her tail snapping from side to side. How dare this bird think to knock her master off the roof! Once she figured out how to get up there she was going to take great joy in ripping all those feathers out. She snorted and bowed her neck, pawing the dusty earth as her owner got to his feet, resting his hands upon the edges of his utility belt while he stared up at the offensive creature. The bird turned its head to glare down at the undead horse, puffing up its feathers and hissing at the mare's threatening display.

    Well, it certainly had an attitude, whatever this bird was. Given its thoughts, Mortis deduced that this creature was nothing more than the common buzzard. "Ssshoo! Go find sssome roadkill to peck at!" Mortis rasped, briskly waving his hand as if to scare it off.

    You are roadkill.

    Oh, just his luck he had to find a saucy buzzard to boot. The undead's hands popped and crackled as he removed them from his hips and moved to open the edge of his overcoat. Even if this bird was bigger than the average vulture, it did not make it anymore durable. The twin barrels of his shotgun glinted in the morning sun, both of them fully loaded as the undead tended to before leaving his farmstead. Evidently the carrion eater had seen a gun before, as it hissed again and retreated further behind the edge of the roof, wings spreading as if in preparation to escape.

    "Ssss! You are the one who will be roadkill, ssso make like a buzzard and buzz off! Alas, Samhain did not find the quip to be as witty as her owner thought, her ears flicking back at the pun. Sometimes, she thought, her master's humor was drier than a mummy's bandages. Mortis did his best to ignore his transportation's input, claws wrapping around the grip to pull the weapon from where it rested snugly between his hip and his utility belt. The bird flinched again as he pulled it free. "Go on! Get lossst! He threatened, pointing the business end of the gun in the buzzard's direction.

    Not again! Not dying again! It hissed, flapping its massive wings and taking to the air in a panicked flurry of feathers and loose rust.

    Again? Mortis paused, watching the huge bird retreat. Did the creature get shot another time during its stay here? The undead did not get much time to think on it as Samhain nudged his arm with her wrinkled nose. She wanted to go home, more or less because she could not fly after the feathered menace. Her master hissed again, his empty socketed gaze breaking off from the giant carrion bird and to to his carrion steed. "Very well, Sssamhain, we will get moving." he sighed, glancing to the empty blue sky once more before holstering the shotgun and hoisting himself into the saddle. They spent enough time out here as is.

    Though as they made their way back through the sandy wastes, they did not do so alone.

    Overhead a dark shadow followed them upon broad wings. Although it had been repelled for the time being by the shiny death-stick that the tall dead thing wielded, the bird had never seen a carcass that walked before, or ran. Though it also was driven by something else, hunger. It had been days since this specimen had come across anything remotely rotting or decayed, the mountains decidedly far more plentiful than the wastes. But the mountains were also deadlier; if they were not crawling with odd things that this bird had never seen before, nor digest, there were the people that had the shiny death-sticks that spouted sparks and pain. Things that knocked him out of the air, things that made the world turn black and icy.

    However, usually the people fired the moment they took out their death-sticks, usually the time between shimmering glint and icy blackness was instantaneous. Today that was not the case. Maybe the walking carcasses did not know how to use the death-sticks. So he followed, allowing the thermals to kept him aloft while he watched the two below.

    ---

    Master, why haven't you asked me to jump us home?

    The stump of Samhain's right ear wagged in a phantom mimic of when she still had the full ear. The left one pricked itself forward, attentive to her passenger's unspoken commands. The undead leaned back in the saddle, reigns held loosely in his grip as they walked beneath the afternoon sun. "Sssamhain, mon dessstrier fidèle... Your massster hass a plan." He hissed, giving the animal and found pat on her decayed neck.

    A plan, for what? Both of her ears pricked backwards, her attention upon the undead that sat perched upon her strong back. What did master have a plan for this time, she wondered, and what was her part in it? "Sssimple, that bird had admitted that it had died before. Do you know what that meansss?" He rasped, eagerness starting to seep into his dead, graveled bass.

    The horse flicked the scant, wispy remnants of her mane. She had not a clue what Master meant by that. In fact, it only made her confused, everything she had come across only died once, by her. There were no second deaths, or thirds, or fourths. There was a sigh, the ghoul catching onto his travel companion's frustration. Alas, he supposed that even with a beast as clever as Samhain, there was no denying that he was indeed working with animals. But, in the absence of his brother, he had to voice his thoughts to someone. "That bird isss esssentially immortal, Sssamhain. It wass brought here through a portal and hasss the will to not let itssself sstay dead." He explained, his horse nodding her partially rotted head as if to say 'oh'. "It alssso iss hungry and well outssside itsss usssual territory. We happened upon a true ssstroke of luck."

    It was at that point that the horse's ears pinned back a little further, then flicked to different directions. She was following along with her Master's scheme right up until he said a stroke of 'luck'. To her, a bird that ate dead things, which could die and keep coming back would be a curse. To Mortis, it would have been as well, save for one thing. Mortis had the means to use the flying thing to his advantage, and he knew how to use it. "It isss lucky in that it can be of ussse to me. That bird, that immortal buzzard, isss going to be my messsenger." He confidently rasped.

    His what? The horse snorted again and gave a small toss of her head. Her Master must have had too much sun while he was sitting on the roof, or maybe too much thud when he fell off of it. Her input was rewarded with a crack of the reins over her neck. Of course, Samhain would not be able to see her master's vision, humans were the only animals capable of thinking and planning far ahead, it was a biological advantage that a flighty prey animal like Samhain lacked. Mortis, contrary to his appearance, had been human once. "Keep walking," He dismissed, focusing his attention upon the clear blue sky, and moreso the single black silhouette that diligently followed them overhead. "Keep walking, and prepare for an impact." He hissed.

    In five, four, three, two...

    ---

    It happened instantly.

    Ice penetrated the massive bird's mind like a crisp breeze and washed over his thoughts like a crushing tide. For a brief moment he thought he had been shot, damned to the inky darkness that a person's death-stick often banished him to. Though instead of falling into a weightless void, the bird felt a will other than his own spread itself through his wings, holding fast and forcing his limbs to betray him. There was a startled hiss as his wings tilted into a yaw and down towards the two carcasses that were still walking calmly below.

    Then, his wings snapped shut, and a new chill ran through his feathers. A fearful chill that struck like a lance. He was a few thousand feet in the air, and his wings shut. He could only watch in terror as his body naturally tilted downward and plummeted like a stone through the dry desert air. Faster and faster, the bird's pupils constricted to barely perceptible pinpricks and its beak hung open in panicked panting. He was going to die again, he was certain he was going to die again. Not by a death-stick, not by some strange, large animal, but by diving headfirst into a horse carcass at terminal velocity. If the buzzard were capable of comprehending it, he certainly would be finding some sick irony to the whole situation. Instead, there was a lot of stressed hissing and panting.

    Both horse and rider were becoming closer by the second, any instant now would be his last--!

    There was a snap and his wings flew open at the last second to pull up, catching the air and dragging his speed down as he body was willed to land like a puppeteer skillfully pulling strings. Clawed feet scrambled for purchase upon the horse's flanks as they grew near enough, but instead there was a loud CRACK! The rider had somehow pivoted his spine 180 degrees without moving in the saddle, and plucked the animal out of the air. His wings clamped shut in the carcass' arms and his feet tucked up, though the bird still resembled a large dog in size as it sat confused and scared in the grip of what should have been lunch.

    "My apologiesss, it isss my firssst time flying, haha." Mortis hissed, giving the paralyzed bird a fond pat on its head. "You need not worry about your demissse, buzzard. It ssshall not be arriving for a long while." He soothed, or at least soothed as much as a retired exterminator of all life could. Thankfully what he lacked in words, he made up for in psychic prowess. A subduing, gentle sensation brushed over the bird's mind, effectively whisking away his terror and leaving a sense of calm in its wake. In fact, the bird felt so relaxed he considered possibly taking a small nap in his captor's arms, hardly flinching as another series of pops and crackles preceded the turn back to a normal, natural sitting position.

    "Now Sssamhain, you may jump usss home." He commanded jovially, keeping the bird tucked in one spindly arm while the other took up the reins. Even out in a place as arid as the desert, a dense mist started to overtake them as the undead mare lunged smoothly into a gallop. It grew dense, obscuring both steed and rider, before seeming to swallow them whole before it dissipated. Once they got home, he would let the bird sleep in the loft while he went out for a short hunt, and then pitch him his new way of life once he awoke and got some food in his belly. Where they used to be, a line of large hoof prints lead away from the techdome, abruptly ending in the middle of the searing sands. Within hours, they too would be devoured by the desert's ever shifting sands, the event lost to time for all but the undead superfiend who experienced it.

      Current date/time is Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:51 am