Atira was wearing pants today. This was a bad thing for all involved, and those that knew the little reasons behind her usual clothing scheme looked decidedly uncomfortable as she got up from her seat at the head of the table, heels making quiet clicking noises as she circled the assorted and assembled demons. There was ice in her movements, a cold predatory intent that made Nahollo want to curl up as small as possible and hide under the table. She flowed around the table a few times, finally settling on the individual at the furthest end of the table from Nahollo.
The dark-haired man had skin darker than Nahollo’s, but was fairly obviously Native American to Nahollo’s eyes. He had dark hair, and overall he nagged at a back corner of Nahollo’s mind. He was familiar- and that familiarity had instinctively made him sit at the far end of the table, next to his former classmate. “Saevita.” The masked and hooded demon turned his head in response to his name, tracking his leader with eyes alone.
“Lady Caligo?” That voice was even more familiar, and Nahollo frantically tried to make the odd, jagged edges of what he knew fit together. He was a familiar Native American man, a few years older than him but not quite in his forties- and a demon. He was Saevita, which was- the demon of cruelty. Nahollo fussed with the end of his braid as the pieces of what he knew collided in uncomfortable ways. “Do you need something?”
That tone of honeyed, false respect and innocence was something that sat wrong with the sole angel in the gathering- it rattled at things he could only half-remember, and the only people who would remind him of that would be his relatives. This demon was related to him- he wasn’t quite sure how he’d come to that conclusion, but it had fit. Nahollo stood up, pushing his chair backwards and settling his cloak around him, trying to ignore the piercing feeling of eyes turning to focus on him as he made a further spectacle of himself. “Chase Graves,” Nahollo rasped, resting a hand on the table. It was solid, much better than he felt at the moment- and, oddly, the fact that he felt sicker seemed to confirm what he felt.
“You know Saevita?” Atira’s smile would have terrified the sun out of the sky, and it took all of Nahollo’s will to not shrink back into his chair. Everyone here, with the notable exception of himself and two girls, was an adult. He was just a teenager- he had barely even Awakened. In their eyes, he was a toddler, someone just learning to fumble his way around. “How odd… I had hoped to hear some confirmation of this, though, seeing as he’s left a… mark on you.”
“He what?” Nahollo fumbled for breath, taking one just slightly too deep and feeling his body react. His lungs and throat burned as he coughed, trying to keep his balance on the table and failing, finding the older Sexton twin- Tractere- holding him up. He struggled to resume control of his breathing, but it simply was not going to happen- not in time to cover that blunder, and not in time to hide the weakness he presented to the assembled demons at the table. He was supposed to be a leader, inspiring fear and awe in the opposing forces the way Caligo- Atira- did. Instead, he had been forced to show them all how weak he was- how easily any of them could kill him.
“That is Saevita’s mark. Tell me, Thanatos- how long have you been ill like that? A year or two shy of the entire time you’ve known him?” All he had to do was nod. It wasn’t hard, but it was shameful- and a horrifying realization. “And you know just how broad some powers reach.”
It made sick sense. Saevita the sadist, Chase, who had impossible aim for all the little places on a person or animal that would make it suffer- and the amount of sheer hell his illness had put him through. Nahollo sat down carefully, offering Twyla a worn smile as she offered him a handkerchief. The blood oozing down his hand was uncomfortable, but familiar- and, perhaps, all Saevita’s fault. “Yes, Caligo.” The wheezed response was all he could think of- and it would have to be enough to impress upon the rest of those scavenger eyes he felt watching that he was not prey- that he was Caligo’s equal. He alone was allowed to address her without the title she insisted upon. Of all the people here, only he was allowed to call her Caligo without fear of her anger. He was already almost down- but, somehow, he had to convince them he wasn’t prey.
“Lovely. Then you won’t mind if I do… this.” ‘This’ was not something Nahollo wished to ever see again in his lifetime. He hadn’t been aware that Caligo’s ‘weapons’, the direct physical agent of her power, were the sharp little nails on each finger. He hadn’t wanted to know that. He hadn’t wanted to see her haul Saevita- Chase- his cousin- up by his shoulders with little regard for his weight, each of those ten points digging into his flesh and causing him to cry out. Nahollo’s scar hurt sharply, sending bolts of pain up his left arm, making his fingers twitch uncontrollably.
‘This’ was throwing Chase across the room so hard that Nahollo could hear several loud snaps, meeting him with inhuman, unholy speed, ramming an arm that should not have been able to cause that much damage into his back, and hissing something Nahollo couldn’t quite make out but felt in a way that burned at him, making him nauseous. It was not death. Death did not generally entail the kind of keening, traumatized screeching that was coming out of Chase. It did sometimes involve convulsing and throwing up- and occasionally blood. It did not entail the would-be deceased’s pale-haired cousin feeling physically better in an abrupt way.
He’d wanted to close his eyes against the sight, wanted to stop watching as she casually turned Chase over and slid a fingernail up his abdomen, reaching in and yanking and raising a bloody, stinking mess. He couldn’t. Closing his eyes would be a weak reaction to the eyes of the demons. “Caligo! Enough!” His voice was still weak, he sounded ill, but it got her to stop and look at him.
“Yes?” She sounded entirely like she was enjoying herself, and that just made Nahollo sicker. He scrambled to think of a way to make this end- and all he could think of was himself.
“He wronged me. Don’t I get to do something?” It sounded weak- but at least this way he didn’t have to watch Chase suffer, didn’t have to feel his left hand set off alarms for something he was already witnessing. She gazed at him for a moment, as if his words didn’t quite make it to the less animal part of her brain- and he could see it when they did.
“Yes, Thanatos, you do.” Nahollo didn’t take a deep breath- those were long out of habit with him, and that was ignoring the smell. Instead, he stood once again, closing his eyes and tuning out the room, reaching, grasping for the life that he could feel about to end regardless. At least ending it this way would be less painful.
“Rest in peace, you sadistic asshole,” Nahollo muttered, jerking his left hand back and to his body, feeling the snap of Chase’s lifespan.