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Prey Mate

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“...love will find its way / Through paths
where wolves would fear to prey...”
-Lord Byron, The Giaour

 

Prey Mate

by

Lynx Klaw

 

Chapter 1

~§~

-=Kamala=-

It had rained earlier and the streets of Jump, now darkened and damp, glistened in the light struggling to pierce the overcast and freshly unburdened clouds. The atmosphere was slightly humid—warm, but not hot in the latter half of May. Kamala’s black Converses with pink skull-and-crossbones treaded over the sidewalk, meandering her down random blocks and across varying streets.

Eventually, the sound of something... unique—something for her—came to her ears. It was loud, carrying from several blocks away, and she knew that was her destination. She always sought out the same place on Wednesdays, but that place often moved. Therefore, sometimes it was a bit of a walk to hunt it down. The closer she drew the louder and more distinct the sound became. It was fast, driving, and percussive.

Kamala adjusted the shoulder strap of her case and picked up her pace. Even as she neared, she was able to pick out the djembe’s rhythm from beneath the driving force of sticks and buckets. Her destination would be on the sidewalk beside some subway stairs on summer and spring days like this; when weather was worse, her destination took to the underground. It didn’t take her long see a small gaggle of people idly hovering about two blocks away.

Kammie’s grin grew. Already, her steps began to move to the beats. She was blissfully unaware that she had a tail.

 

-=Raven=-

Last year had been unbearable. Raven had warded her doors to keep everyone out—and even then, she had nearly broken down those barriers herself after going stir-crazy. There was no way she was going to go through that again... even if it meant doing something she had never done before. Worse, it wasn’t going to be a one-time thing, she was sure. She had 15 days to endure. Raven hoped she could keep this low-key... and that it wouldn’t demolish whatever reputation she had.

A Demon’s heat wasn’t something anyone could just ignore and she came close to doing something catastrophically stupid last time. This time, she would choose the healthier—if seedier—approach. That was why Raven, in a pair of loose, black pants and a blue hoodie despite the warmth of the humid day, wandered the streets. She was on the prowl.

Raven wasn’t driven by any shallow set of parameters. The mystic Titan didn’t really know what drove her, honestly. It was purely guesswork, supposing she would realize what she wanted when she came across it. Up and down the blocks and streets, random districts, in alleyways, on sidewalks, in clubs... So far, nothing had caught her fancy.

The demi-Demon had just cut through a random alley when she caught sense of something—raw power, potential, and the heady scent of magic undetectable to any nose. Raven’s head jerked up and she blinked several times.

What was that?

Almost instinctively, she stepped out onto the sidewalk and began tracking the mystical, mystifying sense. Her empathy picked up emotions of camaraderie and anticipation. Underneath that was a chaotic swelling of joy and self-assurance. Altogether, it was irresistible and Raven scanned the heads for someone to pinpoint.

Mm, who might you be?

Then she saw it. Under a black baseball cap, shocks of pink stuck down in a mass of spikes. There was some kind of black, nylon case—an instrument case?—over the carrier’s shoulder. The purple tee and pink sports bra beneath were all she could make out from the back and in the gaps of people moving along the sidewalk.

Raven caught another whiff of that pungent magic hanging about the woman. Oh, yes—this was the one. Their emotions, their obvious capability due to the residue of magic around them... this was clearly a keeper. Her mind locked onto the girl, found herself almost forcing back tunnel vision... and restraining herself from shoving people aside, likely into the street, just to reach the girl.

She stamped down hard on those notions and took a deep, steadying breath. Raven needed to control herself, ignore the curling and coiling heat in her gut just a little longer. She hadn’t even introduced herself and she would prefer at least to know the name of the person she was trying to seduce...

How the mighty have fallen. Behold—Scath; Goddess of the Cult of Blood, Overlord of the Eighth..., virgin seductress. ...I’m so glad I killed Father before he could witness this particular disgrace.

 

-=Kamala=-

Kamala almost flinched. Something had nudged—kicked—her probability sense and it took everything she had not to bolt down the nearest cul-de-sac and scramble up a fire escape just to get a bird’s eye view. What the Hell was that?

Jinx let her feet carry her unconsciously even as her frown deepened and she tried to divine what the best course of action to take would be. Sure, she felt that swift shift in the future, but there were no further urges. She supposed that meant that either she had absolutely no control over it... or the outcome was totally up to her.

For now, she decided to wait it out. If whatever she felt wasn’t going to endanger anyone, then she would just continue on to her destination and see what unfolded. Kamala shook her head and blinked. She was fast coming upon her destination; somehow, she’d managed to ignore the loudness of the street performance until she was practically on top of it.

Kammie slowed and hedged around the edges of the small crowd for several moments. Finally, she found a little niche and slid toward the front of it. The street performance in question consisted of two men. The performer on the left from Kamala’s perspective was a black man in a black tank and dark blue jeans sitting on a bucket. In front of him were several buckets that he was pounding with an amazing proficiency.

To the right stood a man in a red tee and some wide, denim shorts in dark grey. He was a tanned Caucasian—not unusual for the area. This guy wore some frameless, rectangular glasses, and had a mass of curly brown hair peaking under a dark grey flat top cap. Strapped around his waist was a djembe, which he was using to provide an accompaniment of wicked, varying bass lines for his fellow drummer.

She waited for the rapid beats pounding out from the buckets and the djembe to reach fever pitch. They had a wicked beat going, but they eventually broke it with an intense finish to set up for the next round. There was an all-around applause and even a few whistles. She waited as the people’s praise began to die down and stepped forward.

“Ah, yer drummin’ sucks!”

The crowd looked mildly affronted, and both men looked over to her with raised brows. She broke into a grin. Seconds later, they did, too.

“Hey! Kammie!” they warmly greeted.

Kamala wandered over and settled herself to the left of the bucket drummer, who poked her with a stick. She stuck her tongue out at him through a Cheshire smile. She pulled her case off her shoulder and began unzipping.

“You two been at it long?”

“Only about half an hour. Darryl happened along not ten minutes after I got started,” the drummer jerked a thumb behind himself, “but we figured you’d be along. Amp’s all good to go, jus’ plug yourself in.”

“Wicked. Gimme a minute to make sure I got tune an’ everything. Pick a beat out and I’ll hitch on your rhythm.”

The two nodded and took a few more moments to catch their wind. They could go on for hours, which was impressive given Terry’s drumming frenzy, but that didn’t mean they didn’t need a break every now and then. It wouldn’t take her long to set up, anyhow.

Kamala removed her instrument—a lovely sitar gleaming in the soft daylight—then took off her hat and shook her head. Those spikes, no longer held down under the hat, sprung into her signature horns and she took a quick moment to bind them with two black bands. It was the work of only a few seconds to jack her sitar into the amp. Afterward, she did some quick, soft tuning; most of it was already good to go... Still, she liked to check rather than leave it to her unique brand of ‘chance.’

Darryl’s djembe provided a deep base line, and she began nodding her head. It sounded familiar, but it wasn’t until Terry began a more sedate pace on his buckets that she knew it was a cover. She quickly tried to place it.

Suddenly, she smirked and leaned over to bump Terry’s shoulder, ‘Ah, you do love your grunge. ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ it is, boys.

They gave pause to their drumming and she nodded, picking up the initial bars to start the song off on the right foot. As she played those few notes, she felt another slight nudge, and pressed herself to bring out her best. She wasn’t sure why she had to play so deeply to her heart, but whatever it was, she began pouring more passion into her sitar—throwing those tricky extra chords to cover for the lack of a second guitarist.

Terry and Darryl perceived her almost frenetic emotion and threw all they had into it, as well. Soon their little crowd had become a much larger crowd. All three of them pitched into chorus when it came about.

“Hey! Wait! I got a new complaint! Forever in debt to your priceless advice...”

Certainly am that, aren’t I, Mr. Chaos? No, don’t answer that. I’ll just sing your song, ‘kay?

 

-=Raven=-

The thrumming, buzzing chaos in her mind was hard to control. She could scarcely think at times and that was bad in such a crowded place. The gawkers were growing in number—and she was among them. However, as the new song began, she felt her heart ease its slamming thrashes against her ribcage. It felt like she could breathe again...

She had the vague but firm impression that she had narrowly avoided a major blowout; she could have lost control—so tightly pressed amongst so many people and boxed in by their emotions. It had been overwhelming. Now all she could sense was a harmony. Everyone seemed in agreement, somehow, and they liked what they heard. Raven closed her eyes, listening to Jinx sing.

She had been surprised for all of five seconds before an entirely new surprise took her. Jinx’s voice was intoxicating, just like everything else she felt about the girl. In that moment, Raven didn’t care what their history was... she just knew she had to have that bewitching witch.

I have heard that music has charms to soothe a savage breast... I wonder, Jinx, what else will you soothe within me?

Slowly, the driving compulsion that had been troubling her slowly began to abate, and she focused purely on the song and the music Jinx and her friends evoked. The burning didn’t completely douse itself, but became far more manageable. It was a simmering heat, nestled warmly just below the pit of her stomach; it was less aching and almost... sensual. As far as Raven was concerned, that was by far a more endurable sensation than when she’d been too stir-crazy to remain in the Tower.

However, Raven was also aware that these things came in waves. She wondered if she would be able to rein herself in a second time. She supposed time would tell...

Raven saw someone approaching from her right; the only reason she really noticed them was due to their asynchronous emotions from the crowd. The young woman that approached had more in common with the bucket drummer than Jinx or the djembe-player. The case carried in the girl’s hand gave away the intent.

 

-=Kamala=-

It was only her first song, but she had already attuned herself to her friends. She could feel the order of the songs, mixed with the chaos of their off-instruments’ improvisations and their personal additions of flair to the grunge piece. Kamala felt improvised music and cover songs like this in an entirely different way than other people could. Even as her mezrab plucked the strings of her sitar, her mind plucked at the strings of Fate—traced the song along all its possible paths.

As she concluded Nirvana’s grunge, she took in the subtle shifts in probability. Kamala decided not to start another song. Something was about to happen and she might as well let it.

“Hey, Pinkie. Go home and learn to play a real guitar.”

Jinx grinned, her eyes flicking to the edge of the crowd. There was a Thai girl standing there, case in hand, with a mischievous look on her face. The young woman wore light blue jeans and a lavender tee. She and her percussionists exclaimed as one.

“Nintendo!”

Nin took her place beside Darryl and opened her case to reveal her Yamaha electric violin. It was a cool ocean blue and charcoal black. Kammie motioned her to the amp sitting between Darryl and Terry.

“We saved you a spot. Hop on in. I got one for us, but it needs backing on the vocals.”

With the four of them together, their little group was complete. As Nin got herself situated on the amp, Kammie took them into the beginning of their next song, repeating the opening few bars in minimal for them to see where she was going. Once she saw Nin pull her bow, she began to throw in chords.

“Cherish,” her voice rang out, “Two circular views of blue with a grey shade; So captivating; More than you know...”

Even though she had just started, Kamala could feel that urge again... that nudge to play above her typical. However, this time, she decided to open up her senses. There was a tangible aura hanging in the air. It wasn’t Human, that much was sure; it had an almost electric effect, making her feel as though the hair on the back of her neck and arms was standing on end. She suppressed a little shiver as the hairs followed her aura’s example. Kammie felt the light brushings of mental contact sweeping out through the crowd—and against her.

Nin backed her up as her voice drew louder to be heard over their louder playing, “False perceptions; That brought forth these questions; Of truth, love, and hope...”

When it brushed her mind, she tensed only slightly. Whatever was hovering about them didn’t press; she was infinitely grateful for that mercy. Kamala had typically... violent reactions to any sort of mental contact. So long as whatever was in their audience respected her privacy, she wouldn’t mind it basking in the auras.

Likely, it was just some random Demon out on a feed... possibly a Conditional Demon. Considering Fate’s urge to play better, she felt it was likely a passion Conditional soaking up her love of music... possibly one of happiness? Well, regardless of what it was, the best path was probably to just immerse herself and give the Demon a nice snack.

“Now that you’re injuring; I’ll carry you with me; Just please hold on...”

Darryl and Terry ramped up the group for the chorus. Kammie knew she was pushing the envelope and Nin was probably not expecting all the little extras she kept throwing in—forcing the woman to play catch-up for a bit. However, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she needed to delve deeply and utterly into the song.

“Disappear and dissolve; A weakening wall; Will one day fall... It’s wise to sever our loss; A redefined pulse; Through your iris...”

She felt the four of them finally fall into synchronization, a harmony between them as they each discovered their place in things. It was probably the fastest it had ever happened. Jinx knew she was mostly responsible, pushing out minute bits of power to manipulate probability. Her friends struck more spot-on chords, were on the ball with all their beats, and everything went swimmingly.

Kammie didn’t really feel guilty about manipulating things like this; if Darryl, Terry, or Nin weren’t good musicians, no amount of luck would have helped them. She was merely promoting the best they had to offer. Their audience slowly swelled, and was starting to push pedestrians toward the edges of the sidewalk.

 

The applause to their song was quite loud and she decided it was about time to see if she could get Terry to bring his actual drum set to a club. They weren’t a typical band by any means, but she was certain that they would get some positive reaction—not to mention the pocket money they would make. It would be better than the occasional donations.

None of them did this for the money, and likely none of them would stop playing the streets even if they did the occasional club, but it could prove fun.

“Wow, Kammie. What got a hold of you, today?” Darryl asked.

Nin looked confused, “What, this wasn’t some big finish for you guys?”

“Only her second, she started like this.”

Kammie shrugged ineloquently, “Hey guys, can I discuss something really quick with ya before we get up to our next song? I have one more idea for this one.”

“We were about to break for lunch,” Terry mentioned.

Kamala nodded; the sun hung high in the sky and she was getting a stirring of hunger.

“I gotta do one more—there’s someone out in our audience and I feel the need to impress.”

“Oh, does someone have an admirer?”

“Not the way you think, Nin. I wish,” Kammie laughed, “Whoever’s out there, we’ve never met.”

They looked at her oddly, but they didn’t really argue with her. One thing they learned early on was that, no matter what Kamala’s idiosyncrasies, it was always better to go with them. Somehow, things seemed to work out for them. Jinx hadn’t explained a whole lot to them, and to this day remained thankful they never asked her any hard questions. Some questions they had might not have had answers she could readily give.

At least they didn’t have problems with the fact that she was a Meta. They didn’t really get what she said about her powers, but it was a moot point. None of them had ever even seen her so much as flick a mini-hex off her fingertip. The random, favorable probability thing was inherent, and they just accepted that she had some strange kind of preternatural sense.

“You guys mind covering something for me? It’s a little different than our usual stuff.”

“Shoot; if we know it, we’ll do it for ya,” Terry supported, “Jus’ name your beat.”

“You guys listen to Evanescence? Know that one, ‘Lose Control?’”

“I know that one,” Nin supplied.

Terry had heard it a few times and he could at least improvise what he didn’t know. It wasn’t really in Darryl’s interests, but he said he could support whatever Terry put out. That was more than enough for Nin and Kammie, who would lay down everything they needed to fill in the blanks.

Kamala started with a high plucking in replacement of the piano. Nin was supporting some vocals, supplanting them with violin and voice. Terry slipped in with a soft beat shortly before she began singing.

“You... don’t... remember my name,” she slowly sang out, “I... don’t really care. ...Can we play the game your way? Can we really lose control?”

Then Nin took to some harder playing and Terry followed suit as the song caught its pace. Kamala could feel the aura of her Demon patron practically throbbing and she couldn’t really figure it, but smiled nonetheless. She wasn’t usually about vocals all that much, even though she had been greatly complimented on it before, but she was going to push herself for it today.

As Nin brought their song back to a softer note, Darryl provided a subdued bass line for them that had feet tapping. Their supernatural lurker’s aura practically pulsed in time, as well. Jinx grinned.

“Mary had a lamb... His eyes black as coal,” she crooned almost flirtatiously, “If we play very quiet, my lamb... Mary never has to know!” Nin and Terry brought their song to higher volumes again. Kammie brought a wispy rasp to her next lines, “Just once in my life; I think it’d be nice...” Then her voice rang out over the instruments, “Just to lose control, just once!”

As the song progressed with her sitar soloing for a little, she looked to Terry and bobbed her head. His buckets came in mutedly at first, but began gaining definition as he fully brought them to bear. Soon Darryl issued a bass-line as Jinx came in with a few more soft vocals before Nin brought in the heavier lines.

When they concluded their song, Terry wiped his brow and grinned. The man loved to play. Jinx was sure he hadn’t really intended to do as much with the past few songs before she had raised the bar... but he couldn’t say it wasn’t fun.

The applause was more than she was expecting. From her sitting position, she couldn’t see the whole of the crowd... Kamala idly wondered just how large a gathering they had drawn. If there was a Conditional involved as she expected, then it was entirely likely they had quite an amassing.

“Thanks for enjoying, everybody! A late lunch beckons, but we’ll be back in a bit.”

 

-=Raven=-

Raven knew, on some level, that Jinx had played for her. Somehow, the hex-caster had felt her presence. Empathically, she sensed that the girl had calmed herself and then threw herself into the songs—practically projecting her emotions right at the demi-Demon. Well, that was as good as an invitation. She did wonder, however, if Jinx knew just to whom she had catered. On the tail of that thought, Raven concluded that it didn’t really matter.

She followed the four as they made their way to a small pizzeria. She ordered a pepperoni slice to keep appearances, but her hunger was fixated in another direction entirely. The sorceress seated herself in a booth set beside theirs to listen to the conversation. Raven wanted to know more about her chosen prey.

As the supreme pizza slid onto Jinx’s table with breadsticks, the friends got to chowing down. Raven patiently waited; learning about someone took time. At least this way, she could hear and sense their emotions, rather than only getting vague notions from her empathic senses from a distance, as some of her stakeouts often entailed.

“What time ya got?” the other girl asked.

“It’s 2:12,” Kammie replied, “You wanna pick up at 3 or 3:30?”

“I’m good for 3. How do you do that, anyway? You don’t even wear a watch.”

“Well, I could mention the sun’s position—which helps—but the truth of the matter is that I got a superb internal clock, even when I sleep. I wake up at 5 AM on the dot, most days. I never had need of an alarm clock.”

“Okay, okay—so you’re awesome... Now, how ‘bout you tell us about this special somebody?”

Raven heard Jinx sigh.

“I can’t really say much, Nintendo; I don’t know who it was. Just some random passer-by.”

At that, she could feel the other three emitting cloudy miasma of doubt. It must have shown on their faces, too. Jinx pushed her earnestness.

“Really. It was just some Demon who happened on us.”

“A Demon,” the drummer, Darryl, dubiously clarified.

“I know you guys don’t really have a lot to do with that side of my life, but yeah. There’s a whole mystical element to the world around you. Some Demon taking a moment to listen to us play isn’t that farfetched.

“Demons are people just like you and me. Their society is different, but they live lives just like we do; they have wants and desires, likes and dislikes. So it’s not entirely unheard of that one might have happened by while we were playing.”

Raven canted her head to the side slightly. At least Jinx didn’t sound like she had problems with ‘otherworld entities.’ More and more, the demi-Demon felt confident she had chosen the right person.

“So... why play so hard for someone you barely know?”

“Well, I could feel their aura... I imagine they were trying to get a feed off the crowd or us or somethin’. So I just kinda gave over and threw myself into it. It reminded me of a passion Conditional and I figured that’d help.”

“Who else is lost?” their violist inquired.

Raven heard the shifting of others, likely in show of hands.

“Okay... uh... quick lesson. Demons take in energy to grow stronger. Certain Demons can absorb some pretty abstract things—states of being or emotions and such; those are called Conditionals. As the name implies, they get power from a certain condition being met. Passion Conditionals are known for looking for people who have great passion... and we love our music.

“Historically, Humans know them as Succubi and Incubi. The sexual connotations were all sorts of misplaced. I mean, not that sex doesn’t bring about passion... but that’s not the sole or best source of it.

“Anyhow, it felt like they were feeling out the crowd, so I played it up.”

‘Nintendo’ put forth her concern, “That’s not dangerous or anything, is it? It’s not like... trying to steal our souls or something?”

“Nah,” Kammie negated, “it’d defeat the purpose. That’s another stereotype. I’m not saying Demons don’t have things to do with souls... but not generally in the negative way movies show ‘em.”

Their drummer cast a curious flavor across the table that seemed to mingle with the moderate interest from the others, but he didn’t say anything just yet. Raven wondered if she might sometime try to find friends that she could have without bringing in the Titan side of her life. Honestly, she had never thought it would work out well. Jinx seemed to have a handle of it, though... maybe it could be done. Before she could contemplate it further, the man finally mustered up his courage.

“...This is actually pretty interesting. I mean, we have aliens and weird creatures all over the place, but I never hear much about the real thing. The internet is too full of shit. We definitely gotta sit down and talk about this more. I’d like to know more about what’s out there. I mean, we don’t hear a lot about—well, that side of your life. Never wanted you to feel obligated, but I am curious.”

“Sure thing, Terry. It is some pretty interesting stuff. I can’t really mention much about the extraterrestrial side of things; I’m more the supernatural type. How about we sit down this weekend and I’ll spin a tale or three for you guys?”

The other three met this proposition with enthusiasm. Jinx was about to bring up something else—the topic Raven would never know, as the hex-caster was interrupted. There was a humming noise and she felt Jinx’s sudden apprehension.

“Oh... speaking of the other life.”

“You need to go?”

“Nah—it’s my day off, they know that. Just lemme... remind them of that.”

 

-=Kamala=-

Kammie flicked open her communicator, “Jinx. Go.”

Jinx, we got an offer,” Gizmo informed.

“It’s my day off, Mike, you know that.”

It’s not a job for today. They wanna schedule a briefing next month; mission appraisal and starting date TBA.

Jinx paused, and then sighed. Digging into her pocket again, she pulled out a small notepad with a pen in its spiral.

“Alright, alright—shoot.”

The wanna meet us for Repo,” Mikron expounded, “Discreet, OTR, minor B&E, no A&I, no Black Hats or Gloves. The-

“Wait, wait,” she interrupted, “While it’s good they listened when we went Vanilla, they wouldn’t bother saying all this if there wasn’t someone.”

Yeah, just getting to that. Guest list reads no white, no blue, no red, no green, no grey, no black. Estimated 6 purple. No capes.

“Standard or private firm?” Kamala clarified as her notepad page slowly filled to the halfway point.

Standard, but they said they’re not worried about that. It’s the system they need us to beat.

Kamala’s pen scrawled lines of Devanagari script on her notepad, completely focused on the details of the mission the following week. She missed the strange looks her friends were giving her.

“Uh-huh. Score, Package, or Mark?”

Package.

“Where and when?”

Biratnagar, it’s-

Gizmo froze when her eyes stabbed the communicator. Her friends, who had never seen such an intense look on her face, felt somewhat uncomfortable as the conversation took a negative turn.

“South-east Nepal. As in bordering Bihar.”

I checked into it; no India involved.

“...Double—no, triple check them. You know how much they want me after I fried their big dog at IMRO. This is the kind of shit I’d expect them to pull.”

Mike nodded grimly, “I’ll look into it. Promise. I’ll tap the big H and set up insurance and extraction, too. I’ll let you know what I find.”

“Thanks, Mike.” Flipping the communicator shut, she stared at it for a moment before sighing. She capped her pen, closed her notepad, and stuffed all three items back in her pocket. “Well, that escalated quickly.” Finally, she turned her eyes back to her fellow musicians. Noting the look on their faces, she winced slightly. “Uh... sorry about that. Kinda went the exact opposite way I wanted that conversation to go.”

“Well, I guess it’s as good a jumping point as any, so... what is it that you do, exactly?”

Kamala squirmed for a moment, taking a sip of her coke before answering. What could she say, really? She didn’t want to jeopardize her friendship, but she didn’t want to lie to them, either.

“...Short answer or medium? We don’t have time for the long, drawn-out answer. It’s 20 ‘til 3...”

“How about we just go with short? You can tell us more when you’re ready. No stress, okay?”

“...Thanks, Darryl—you really don’t know what that means,” Kammie claimed sincerely, “Okay, uh... Short answer: I’m a mercenary.”

The three civilians exchanged glances, and then they turned back to her. Terry and Darryl’s brows had risen. Nin’s had dropped into a frown. Finally, their resident violinist pressed.

“Can... we get a slightly less short answer?”

Jinx rubbed the back of her neck, “In my business, I’m known by my codename: Jinx. I’m a freelance mercenary; agent-for-hire, jack-of-all-trades. I take solo and team contracts. I’m the team leader, so only I can authorize team contracts; that’s why Mike called me. I’m part of a paramilitary, Extra-Normal organization specializing in civilian and business contracts...

“If—if you want more than that, then I can tell you I never really went to a normal school. I went to Dark Way Prep, then finished my education at the privately funded Academy for Extraordinary Young People. Both are schools that specialize in teaching and training Metahumans and Extra-Normals.

“It’s always been my dream to be a mercenary. As you just heard, someone located in Nepal’s southern border wants to hire my team. ...For reasons I can’t go into right now, that makes me extremely suspicious and edgy.”

“So... a soldier of fortune, huh?” Darryl said.

Jinx was reassured by his accepting tone, “With me, that’s kind of a pun. Considering my Metahuman powers are related to probability, ‘fortune’ isn’t a bad way to put it. Misfortune might be more apt, though... hence, the name—Jinx.”

“Sooo... do you know all sorts of martial arts? Got a stock of weapons hidden in some secret place at your apartment? Have you fought ninjas? Y’know, all that Steven Seagal stuff?”

Kamala blinked and stared at Terry. For the moment she wasn’t sure quite how to respond. Her mouth opened, and she frowned when no words came with it.

“Ignore him, he’s being childish again,” Nin suggested.

“No, it’s just—I’m just trying to figure out where to draw the line on that stereotype.” After a few more seconds, Kammie shrugged and barreled on with her response. Instead of thinking it over, she just decided to take the questions at face value. She nodded in affirmation and tried not to think about how her life was like a C-list action flick. “I utilize Muay Thai, Krav Maga, Silat, and Eskrima; sometimes I use a dash of Jeet Kune Do. I do have a weapons locker, in fact, but it’s not hidden—just very, very secure. ...And... Yeah, I actually did fight a ninja, once. It was only an exhibition match, though. Didn’t win, but gave ‘im a run for his money.”

“Wow,” Nin muttered, “So... um... You travel the world doing missions? Are they dangerous? ...And does that pay well?”

“Some are. And they better pay impressively, since I’m risking my health and life on some of them. My team was top of my class at the Academy, and our organization has always kind of fast-tracked us; we don’t take the small jobs. Recently, I’ve taken to... lighter contracts. More ethical ones, too. Still, the jobs we’re doing now are heavier than those they’d give to my other classmates.”

“I take it you’ve done some... unethical missions, then?” Terry asked tentatively.

Kamala took a breath, “That’s... one of those things I’ll really have to go into later. Yes, I’ve done a lot of questionable things in the past. ...The kind of things that put me in conflict with the Titans. However, in my defense, there was brainwashing and mind-control involved. I’ve... mostly put that behind me.”

“Whoa, the Titans? ...That’s—wait, mind-control?”

“Sorry, Nin, but I really... really don’t want to talk about that, just yet. That’s not something I think I’ll be able to address for a while, actually. I’m not ready.” Jinx rubbed her right temple, eyes locked on her plate with a half-eaten stuffed pizza crust and frowned. “Just... suffice to say I had about two-and-a-half years of my life stolen from me. I could think and see and hear and feel... but I wasn’t able to do anything. The fucker had me all twisted up; I was locked inside my own body and-” Jinx ground to a halt with a slight shudder, forcing the words to stop spilling out. It was absolutely too raw for their current setting. She looked to her left fist, which had—at some point—clenched to the point of aching and slowly opened it. “That’s all I can say. That’s all I can stand to say for now.”

“Shh, it’s okay,” Nin reassured, “You don’t have to say anything else. Let’s talk about something else. All this other stuff can wait. What covers were you thinking about this evening?”

Kammie drew in a slightly shaky breath and let it out slowly. She hated how Blood was still affecting her. Bastard was still kicking her from beyond the grave. Still, there was the satisfaction that he was gone... and she was living her dream. Kamala was happy, now, and that was all that was important.

“Sorry for the drama. I’m still dealing with it.”

“No worries, Kammie. If you ever need us, we’ll be here to listen.”

Kamala nodded and took in another, cleansing breath, “So... feel up to doin’ some Seether covers?”

 

-=Raven=-

Talk turned to their music, and she could feel the gloom that hung over Jinx like a pall slowly beginning to dissipate. She wondered if the hex-caster might not need therapy, but it wasn’t like she could suggest anyone or anything—their line of business was... rather exotic. There weren’t many people qualified to help with the kind of problems superheroes, super-villains, and super-mercenaries faced. At least this super-mercenary had some friends who would listen to her.

Jinx’s reveal went over quite well, all things considered. Raven wasn’t sure how people might react to her lineage, but probably not as positively as the witch’s friends had responded to her mercenary career. As Jinx’s explanation broke down, Raven was at once sympathetic and enraged.

Blood,’ Raven seethed, ‘It’s been three years, and we still haven’t found him or had word of him. After hearing this, I might have to urge Dick and Vic to review that case and do some follow-up. That kind of abuse of power can’t go ignored.

Raven hadn’t known that Jinx had effectively been trapped in her own mind. That was a unique and horrific form of torture that made Raven cringe. Victor had described Brother Blood’s powers—how they had partially affected him, but he had said the others were under tighter control. She doubted any of them knew just what it must have been like in HAEYP.

Jinx was something of a conundrum and a puzzle for Raven. Here was a girl filled with dichotomies and other fascinating quirks. Outside the purely physical and metaphysical—which were endlessly pleasing to her sense of the aesthetic, she would admit—Jinx had a personality that Raven was swiftly coming to respect. The more she considered her choice of partner, the more sure Raven became.

That someone—that Sebastian fucking Blood—had done something to Jinx... something that could reduce that sugary-sweet, pale and pink, grinning gremlin of a girl to a state of shellshock? It was intolerable; made her Demonic instincts balk, made Anger thrash about inside Nevermore. Even though Raven was seeking a purely physical release regarding her heat, she wasn’t frivolous. Jinx had many, many merits if looked upon objectively and without the bias of certain legal trappings. After her heat had run its course and she could string two thoughts together without sexualizing them, she may well wind up courting the hex-caster...

She would have to protect her interests. That meant finding Brother Blood and breaking him... grinding him into nothing—slowly, but completely. The fantasy evolved in her head; Raven would sweep back from some secret base to the Tower, where Jinx lay in wait. In their room, with curtains drawn and the lanterns casting dim, romantic light, her mate would recline in sensual repose upon the bed. Raven would prowl across the room, slink to the girl, and victoriously loom over her. Their lovemaking would be frenetic, cathartic, triumphant...

The sorceress shuddered as the heat swelled within her again and she almost doubled over. She needed to make this stop. She needed Jinx. It took an inordinate amount of will-power to keep from lunging over the seats and throw Jinx upon the tables—to take her right in front of her friends and the other pizza patrons. How clear and definite it would be, then, that the pink vixen was hers forever...

Raven gave a little gasp and clenched at the table. She could hear it creak in protest and she swiftly let go before she broke it. The mystic Titan squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

Black Hells...!

Finally, Raven’s will forcibly took hold and she pulled herself together at length. Jinx and her friends had left. She stood, dumped her empty plate and cup in the trash, and moved to follow the quartet. Those jutting pink horns were like flames, and she wandered after them as the enthralled moth. Once the group went their separate ways, Raven would isolate Jinx... steal her away, back to the Tower... and then...

...then we purr, kitten, like dragonflies buzzing around frog bellies.

 

-=Kamala=-

As they made their way back to their typical spot by the subway entrance, a tension worked its way into her spine, and she felt the hairs on her neck and arms stand. She still had a tail. Even though she supposed it could be the Demon from before, it made her no less edgy. That level of paranoia was profoundly ingrained and it was hard to shake.

“Hey, Kammie, you okay?”

Jinx jerked her head up, staring into the concerned face of Terry. Her eyes had been focused on her footsteps, allowing her general senses of fate to guide her and prevent any collisions. She blinked and adjusted the strap of her carrying case.

“Uh—yeah. Just... we’re being followed and it’s kinda tweaking me.”

Nin’s head whipped around behind them with a worried glance.

“Not there, Nin. It’s probably just that Demon I mentioned; meaning it could be anywhere—and possibly invisible to most of our senses. I just have a... thing... about covert surveillance. It puts my instincts on high alert and just... yeah. Don’t mind me—if there were actually something wrong, I’d know it.”

Kamala could tell the others weren’t exactly comforted by that fact and neither was she. However, there was nothing to do for it. They made it back to their spot without incident and they proceeded to set up as they had before. With everyone there, it went quickly and they had come to mutual agreement on the set of songs they were going to play. Seether was the general set for now, and they’d narrowed down the songs they knew how to play between them.

Jinx began with a series of low sitar plucks, setting the first song for them. It was somewhat haunting... a little sinister. Darryl picked up a support and bass rhythm that Terry slid in to accompany. Nin was waiting for her cue to play the fuller lines of the song.

The hex-caster’s head bobbed with her plucks, head bowed over her instrument. Then she began with an almost vindictive tone; the others took note that she was once again pushing herself, but she couldn’t be bothered. The recent topics had wound into her head and she had found the perfect way to vent that feeling.

This one... goes out to Blood and the IMRO,’ she silently and angrily dedicated.

“Leave your mark under my skin,” she crooned with a malevolent tone, “Oh my, how strong you are...” Her expression was straight—perhaps even blank, but her voice was full of emotion. “And feast your eyes on my disdain; And hope this one won’t scar.

“I will never belong... to you, again. I will never belong to you...”

Terry and Nin brought them to the hard part of the song as Kammie belted out a harsh, vicious vocal. The others picked up on the weighty, personal nature of the song, but nevertheless continue to play. Jinx refused to make eye contact with anyone as she sang.

Push—if you still need my pain; ‘Cause I will never tell... And scream—if you still hate my name; ‘Cause I’ll be where I fell...”

She lightened a bit, finally a smirk covering her mouth as she beckoned.

“Come sit close to me...”

 

-=Raven=-

The emotions that rolled off Kamala were bittersweet. She loved how honest Jinx was being, but she could tell that the conversation back at the pizza parlor had influenced this song. What she was sensing had the same flavor. Already, people had made a small gathering; several had come back from last time. She slowly sifted to the front before it became more packed.

She could intimately understand the feelings running through Kamala. Trigon inspired a similar reaction from her. That was why, when the dangerous request came, Raven accepted. She pulled her hood lower and pulled at the overcast murk that created, reinforcing the shadows to hide her features more fully. From the small half-ring the listeners made around the musicians, the demi-Demon stepped out and squatted down in front of Kamala.

“Come sit close to me...”

The other three took notice, but continued to play. However, she could feel their concern. That didn’t matter to Raven quite so much, at the moment. They couldn’t possibly hope to be a threat to her; they also cared for and felt protective of Kamala. Those were good things.

When the chorus started, she closed her eyes and listened to the little Siren weave her tones...

“If I decide, that I am alive; Then I’m diseased and ungrateful. And if I confide, that I am a liar; Then I’m diseased and ungrateful. Push it in! ‘Til it breaks! If it bleeds! I’ll be okay!”

Kamala’s almost shouting voice sent a shiver through Raven’s body—not all of it heat, but all of it desiring the pink-haired girl. There was a slight shift, her Demonic side was coming out to play more and more as the heat progressed. Raven found she had little will to fight it.

She opened her eyes—four, bright red gems that cut through the darkness she’d pulled over the upper half of her face. The lower half of her nose and her mouth were still in sight. Under those lips, she hid a few more fangs than her heritage typically showed when she was in full control.

The song neared its closing, and Jinx was in high form.

“Come sit close to me!”

She idly considered stealing the girl away right then and there... Somehow, she resisted that particular notion, even though it was clamoring within her. She found herself somewhat relieved that Jinx’s singing had strangely settled her heat into less violent forces. It made Raven at least feel like she was in control of herself, even if that was a barefaced lie.

She reached out and put a finger under Kamala’s chin, slowly lifting her head up. Gently, she pushed a few feelings of reassurance, trying to assuage those raw emotions and nerves that had riled the pink-haired mercenary so much. Jinx’s eyes opened as her head lifted—she didn’t look surprised. Judging from the fact that the girl had somehow sensed her presence, she supposed it was probably rather obvious.

Raven grinned, her fangs on slight display. Her witch didn’t look bothered, though. Instead, Jinx’s lips quirked into a half-smirking smile.

 

-=Kamala=-

“Well, hello there...”

The hand withdrew and she gave the Demoness a quick once-over. She was a little inhuman, obviously. It made sense why she was still wearing that hood up when the day had cleared. While her curiosity had her wondering what was under that hoodie, she wasn’t going to push. At least their lurker had come forward.

“Dai mos alkerzi.”

The voice had a slightly scratchy, but smoky quality to it that sent warm chills through Kamala. Everything about it was elusively reminiscent. In spite of its vague familiarity, but she put that thought aside almost immediately. She didn’t know that many people that spoke the Daemos tongue in the first place—most of them Demons to begin with—and this wasn’t anyone she had summoned once upon a time or bumped into recently.

The hex-caster held her hands up. She supposed that previous song was a little dark, emotionally speaking. It was probably for the best if she did slip into a more peaceful frame of mind.

“Alright, alright...”

The grin lessened into a softer smile; her red-eyed patron canted her head to the side, “Erlin kel im?”

Now Jinx’s grin grew, “Sure. You wanna make a request?”

“Pare im?”

“‘Course. If we know it, we’ll give it a whirl.”

The Demoness took a moment to look to her right, taking in the other musicians. After what Kamala saw as considering them and their instruments, the female turned back to her. Those shining gems hidden in shadows squinted slightly in response to her broadening smile. There was a nod of the Demoness’ head.

Aerials, orem System of a Down?”

Kamala burst into laughter, somewhat startling her Demonic patron. Even as the hooded woman leaned back a bit, Kammie was waving her back and looking over to her friends. This was something she needed to clear with them before launching into it.

“Hey, guys... You know that one we’ve been kickin’ around at Nintendo’s apartment?”

“She wants Aerials?” Nin asked.

“You feel ready for that one?”

“We’ve hammered out most of the variations we wanted. I can do the rest on the fly. Sure, I’m good for it.”

Terry and Darryl were good for it from the start, as the beat wasn’t anywhere near as frenetic as their normal improvisations. It allowed them to throw more intricacies or flair to the performance anyway, so they immediately agreed. Kammie grinned and nodded to Nin to start them off. She then turned her Cheshire gaze to the Demoness.

“That’s that. Enjoy, hon.”

Nin’s violin began soft and low, and Jinx’s rhythmic plucking soon accompanied. Both Darryl and Terry brought a swelling percussion. Jinx noticed the Demoness’ grin blossom onto her face again as the song exploded with her lyrics.

“Life is a waterfall; We’re one in the river and one again after the fall!” Kamala’s voice rang out over the instruments, clear even over the drums and the amp. “Swimming through the void, we hear the word; We lose ourselves, but we find it all!”

 

-=Raven=-

They played and sang for another three hours. Raven settled herself into a meditative position in front of Kamala the entire time. The songs varied between Seether covers, wordless improvisations, Evanescence, Metallica, and even a few songs they’d come up with on their own. Raven enjoyed the latter most—as not only did she get to hear Jinx sing, but she could also sense the personal nature of the songs and the joy the group derived from performing them. She could vicariously share their love of the music.

Between songs, she would softly converse with Jinx. She didn’t say much about herself, though. However, Jinx was also rather circumspect with her personal information, so she didn’t feel quite so bad. Always, she spoke in Daemos, so as not to rouse suspicion. Already, her ‘disguise’ was lacking; a hood wasn’t much help and were it not for the shadows she’d darkened around herself, nothing would have prevented Kamala from seeing her face. Revealing her identity too soon would likely ruin things.

It was six when they announced their last song of the day. All of them were tired—Terry especially and Darryl wasn’t far behind him. Jinx laced her fingers and pushed them out in front of herself, cracking her knuckles. She then proceeded to pull each arm behind her head and pop her shoulders.

“Okay, everyone. This’ll be our last one for the day. It’s one of our own. We call this one Rabbit Hole.”

Darryl started them off with a light rhythm on his djembe that Kamala piggybacked with sitar plucks at an eerie, bouncing tempo. Shortly afterward, Terry came in—and Nin brought in the actual song with a sedate, haunting violin notes. Jinx shifted her tune away from Darryl’s rhythm and provided an extra layer to the song.

Just past a minute into the song, Jinx opened the first verse.

“An uneasy creeping; This kind of feeling,” she sang as if serenading insanity, “Like a spider hiding, Hanging and biding; Its time on the ceiling...” They played out a couple bars before she continued to the second half of the verse. “It’s coming over me; How can I get free? I see my path winding, The darkness blinding; And I have gone crazy...”

Terry and Darryl ramped them up near the end brought the song to a more complex beat and put Jinx’s fingers to flying over the sitar. Despite the discomfiting nature of the song and the overall chilling tones it laid down, Raven didn’t sense any negativity from Kamala. Indeed, the hex-caster thoroughly enjoyed singing of the madness; she raised her voice over the instruments’ frenetic intricacies.

“I wanna fall in; And watch the fallout. Things are not looking up; ‘Cause I’m falling down. I’m falling down—The rabbit hole again!”

She stretched the last few words out, and Raven was impressed with the steadiness of her voice as well as the volume. Not for the first time since she started listening to the group, she wondered if they had given any serious thought to putting together some kind of album or making some kind of official performance. Surely, it would be profitable...

Before she could contemplate more, the song settled and the second verse began.

“Lucid for a second; I hear it beckon. It’s such a siren song, Never gone for long; And all help I’m beyond.” Kamala grinned despite the somewhat gloomy lyrics. “It’s coming over me; I can barely breathe. A madness so full, Inevitable; No one can hear my pleas.”

This time, Jinx and Nin alternated the chorus lines. That was when Raven knew that they had not one, but two talented vocalists. Jinx was a little more solid on key, but Nin had better volume and carrying capacity for notes. Nin started them off as Darryl once more pounded them into the chorus.

“I wanna fall in.”

“And watch the fallout.”

“Things are not looking up.”

“‘Cause I’m falling down.”

They joined for the final lines, their voices twining in helix, “I’m falling down—The rabbit hole again!”

Suddenly, Darryl and Terry percussion fell sedate for a bridge, and Jinx began a willowy cantillation that sounded like true madness.

“Poor Alice doesn’t know; I’ve something to confess—I’m not late; there’s no date. I have nowhere to go; It’s too late, and I guess—I gave into my fate...”

Then it was back to the duet of a refrain, but this time Jinx started them. Afterward, they returned their gentler dynamic for the second verse. Raven was utterly sucked in; they must have rehearsed this quite a bit for them to be so well synchronized and coordinated.

“The hole’s so dark and deep; And I just cannot keep,” Nin took the verses this time, “All my wits together, I can’t tell whether; I’m awake or asleep.

“And now I’m falling fast; Into depths so vast. Should I just go farther? Should I even bother; To escape from my past?”

Like Jinx before her, Nin did her first chorus solo. However, immediately on its heels, they broke into a partial bridge, and Jinx was back to that almost spooky voice again. It sent shivers down Raven’s spine.

“Poor Alice doesn’t know; I have nowhere to go. But down... and down...”

Nin followed with the alternating chorus. Jinx took the even lines of it. Once again, their percussionists settled for the pink-haired mercenary-cum-singer. Raven could feel them hyping up for their big finish even with the softness of the current lines.

“Please don’t tell Alice; I think I like it here. Sometimes... sometimes...”

And then it was their big finish. Nin and Jinx sang the totality of the final chorus together, belting out lines over the enthusiastic buckets Terry pounded with a vengeance, over the violin and sitar blowing a whirlwind of notes out of the amp.

-I’m falling down—The rabbit hole again!

As they finished, they graduated back to the verse’s notes and played without lyrics a few more bars before the sitar and violin drew out their final notes. Raven only then took notice of the quite impressive crowd almost spilling into the road around them. They had to be obstructing some other pedestrians, but no one seemed to care. They really should have performed in the park or some other open space... perhaps with a stage. She determined to bring it up to Jinx—perhaps after whisking the girl to bed.

 

-=Kamala=-

Kammie had a smile upon her face as she trotted down the street. Having said her goodbyes to friends and fans alike, she was making her meandering way back to her apartment. Today had been a good day; she even got to meet a local Demoness! It wasn’t often she saw one out so blatantly. Sadly, the woman had all but dematerialized from view once they had finished. Hell, for all she knew that was exactly what the otherworldly woman did. Still, maybe they would see one another again when she played next week.

Nearly four blocks away from the subway entrance where she and her friends performed... and about six blocks away from her apartment, Kamala’s powers of probability—her own little early-warning system—blared in her head like an alarm bell. While her mind jolted and adrenaline flushed her body, her startled reaction caught her flatfooted and nearly sent her to the ground. As it was, Jinx’s highly trained instinct to react to her powers had her bolting down an alleyway.

Fate still buzzing between her ears, hissing corrosively of ill portents, she unhitched her sitar case after traveling nearly three quarters of the way into the alley. The alley was a dead-end, but she was confident in her abilities to fight off whoever was unlucky enough to follow her inside. After all, with her powers... that was anyone. Without her sitar weighing her down awkwardly, she was prepared to deal with just about anything.

“Alright, who the—Fuck.”

But not that.

Me.”

The black mass blotted out her view of the sidewalk and street. It was a solid wall of shadowy nothing, like a cascading layer of pitch. It seemed to ripple and writhe in a boiling, liquid curtain. Whatever this thing was, it reached up nearly two thirds of the four-story buildings to either side of her. Jinx’s sitar case clattered to the ground.

And then the assemblage vomited forth its burgeoning mass in perpetually growing volume, like an open floodgate... Viscous, darker than night, but crashing faster than water, it rushed toward her. Jinx immediately turned and ran—then trailed partway up a wall. At the apex of her wall-run, she coiled and shoved off toward the opposite wall. Her hands groped out in desperate hope.

The opposite building’s fire escape was just within reach and she exulted as the dark tide whipped beneath her feet by a few meters. It continued down the alley and slammed into the end of the cul-de-sac. Kammie wasted no time in hauling herself up; she skipped the stairs and lunged up a floor at a time along the outside of the fire escape. It made her muscles burn, but it was the only answer. Already, she could see the mass of liquid recoiling like surf against a cliff-face, climbing higher as more of the voluminous fluid built beneath it.

Finally, she hauled herself to the highest floor and quickly grabbed the roof access ladder. Barreling up it three rungs at a time, she made it four sprinting strides before her nigh tangible link to Fate went from a frantic buzzing to a low-key hum. Her sprint almost immediately died to a few exhausted steps and she panted at the sudden exertions she had made. She gulped down air and hung her head.

There were only two reasons her sense of probability practically went to white noise on her. The first entailed her choices being so myriad and open that it was too incomprehensible to grasp all the possibilities... The second merely meant that all choices led to the exact same conclusion. A low, thunderous rumble behind her answered in muted roar.

Kamala turned to face her fate; she had always embraced her fate, no matter what it had been. Since her powers kicked in fully, the girl followed its prescribed, karmic paths. She would greet Fate on her own terms...

There, from the mouth of the alley, had risen the oily mass in a broad wave the full width of the building upon which she stood. It hung there, defiant to gravity, its curled crest reminiscent of a cobra—hood flared and imperiously peering down upon her like the petrified mouse she felt she had become. Kamala’s pupils slowly widened until the pink was but a sliver surrounding rotund, black ovals.

She drew in a breath, settling and steeling herself. The young woman exhaled in a cleansing sigh, as though trying to cast off her karma so that she might rise above. Drawing in another breath, she spoke softly to anyone and anything listening even as she solely focused on that murky wave of power before her.

“Vishnu... be merciful.”

The stygian matter broke its tableau and descended. It roared over the rooftop and washed over Jinx in a swift swath. The darkness reigned supreme.

 

~§~END CHAPTER 1~§~


Author’s Note:

Hey, all! Welcome to the new Rae/Jinx story! This one’s gonna be a long one, just over 400 pages. Each chapter consists of about 10,000 words. So the chapters are not tiny, but not huge. There’s 19 chapters and a short Epilogue. The story is actually already finished, but I’m going to be posting it in chapters on a weekly or bi-weekly basis just to keep some pace.

Eh, this is something of an addition; at the time of writing this, I’d previously just ended the chapter. But now that I think about it, one of the things I recall people liked was reading some of my commentary on the story. So here it is!

This story will go heavily into my version of how demons and demi-Demons like Raven work. There’s just absolutely tons of glimpses into my system. Yes, some of it will likely be a little info-dumpy... but it kinda fit the bill for what was going on in the scenes. I know if I were ever to meet someone like this, I’d just spend hours talking to them. And that’s exactly what Jinx is offering to Nin, Terry, and Darryl.

And that’s why I kick this off with a bang by throwing in these three OCs. They will play as a foil to Jinx and Raven; a mortal point of view and something to keep us all grounded. They’re not always around, but they’ll help me enrich this story.

Of course, what would I be doing writing a story about Jinx without her teammates, too? I don’t skimp on Gizmo and Mammoth, and you’ll be hearing more from them as this story progresses. These boys have matured, much like Jinx, and they were never exactly little-league players. They’re full-fledged mercenaries now, ready to take on the world and make sure nobody forgets their names.

You may notice the conspicuous use of music within this story. No, I don’t skimp on it and yes, it’s important both to the characters and to the plot. Sometimes it’s referential, other times it’s just because. Still, in this story music is a very important tool. I put together a list of all the songs in the story at some point, but I’ll have to find it again for later, if anyone wants it. I’ll say now, though, that it’s not exactly a superb playlist when put together back-to-back.

That said, I generally dislike song-fics, so I’m not likely to put in the full lyrics to any song unless it’s a song that’s never been heard before. And yes, I did write two original songs that will appear in this story, written out in full... so yeah, there’s that.

There will also be a moderate amount of ‘Daemos’ in this story. Daemos is both a race and a language, the latter of which I created and am still developing. Nevertheless, it’s got just about all it needs to carry on a conversation for a good while. On that note, however, I will never leave you wanting for understanding. As chapter one stands, I have some Daemos that you probably can infer but not actually understand. At no point in this story will I not translate what was said at some point, so don’t stress out about that. I think this is the only chapter that doesn’t get a translation in the very same chapter; the beginning Chapter 2 will clarify.

And so that brings me to the close of Chapter 1. I hope you’ll enjoy this new story, I know I did. It took me 5 years to write, but I had a blast. As promised to all my deviantArt readers, here it is: “Prey Mate” on FFnet! Let me know what you think! Thoughts, comments, critiques; all are welcome!

-Lynx


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