Hungry Like The Wolf, Part Seven: Roles To Play

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(April 11th)

The street was still and dark, streetlights flickering wildly from the aftermath of Melchior's blast. On one side, Fenris stepped slowly towards the two heroes. “So, you're the all-powerful Magisters that I've been hearing so much about.” He frowned. “Two of them, anyway. Where are the chicks?”

“We don't need a full roster to deal with punks like you,” Invictus sneered, cracking his knuckles.

“Really.” Fenris's voice was flat. “And here I had my men spread out to force all of your police support away and everything. Got to admit, feeling just a wee bit underestimated here.”

Jack looked around, nervously. “Roland, what are you doing?” he hissed.

“Trust me,” Invictus said with a smile, turning his attention back to Fenris and raising his voice. “Yeah? You've got an old man, a dude who we can see through, a fast girl and a furry. Not that much to underestimate.” He grinned, stepping forward. “Care to prove me wrong, Fido?”

“Oh, I am going to enjoy this.” Fenris hissed through gritted teeth. His claws flexed, sending fragments of pavement scattering across the ground as he tossed it aside. “I am going to tear you in half.”

At that moment, Invictus' walkie crackled, and Director Henry's voice echoed faintly across the street. “Invictus, do not engage the Winterwolf alone! He's too powerful!”

Invictus and Fenris turned to stare at his walkie as one. Invictus swallowed, suddenly looking less confident, and reached down cautiously to grab the walkie in one hand. “Uh…”

“What did you say?” Fenris leapt across the gap between them, his claws raking down towards Invictus. The hero stumbled backwards, caught off-guard, at the fury in the wolfman's eyes. “WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?!”

Fenris's claws impacted with Invictus' wrist with a meaty tearing sound, and the two combatants stumbled backwards. Fenris shook his hand several times, looking surprised. Invictus looked down at his wrist. “Son of a…!” He stared at the four long red lines sprouting blood, and up at Fenris. “You cut me!”

“I cut you,” Fenris echoed. “Your arm should be off!”

“Damn it, this stings!” Invictus muttered, then looked back to Fenris. “Okay, you can cut me. Can you take me?”

Fenris took a half-step back, then grinned savagely and flexed his claws, running a tongue over Invictus' blood. “I am just dying to find out.”

“That's our cue.” The voice came from behind the heroes, and Jack spun as Proteus and Kitsune leapt back into the truck. Proteus tossed off a salute as he gunned the engine. “Ta!” The truck roared forwards, as Jack grabbed for its handle. A moment later, he was hanging for dear life as the truck raced down the street.

'Any time, ladies!' Jack hissed through his link, feeling a hint of panic. He swung through the doors just as Melchior mimicked him, the older man's staff sending off a long golden thread which wrapped around the truck and pulled him easily in. For a moment, the two faced each other, and then Melchior smiled.

“So, you're the mystery member of the team. What possessed you to join these people, Mr. Beauregard?”

“You can call me Nimble.” Jack straightened, sliding his gun out of its holster. “What I do is provide insight, and occasionally tactical support.”

“Mm. Our roles are not dissimilar, then.” Melchior smiled, raising his staff. “Although I expect that my power rather exceeds yours.”

“Possible,” Jack acknowledged. “What is it that Jormangadr has let you do? Control the flows of magic, I think? Very useful. You've shut down my pearl while we were talking.”

Melchior raised one eyebrow. “Appealing to my curiousity, I see. Yes, you are correct. I didn't want your team to use it to track you, or to listen in on our little talk. Kitsune!” He raised his voice, calling to the front. “Come back here and make yourself useful!”

There was no immediate response, but a faint thump sounded from the roof as Kitsune flipped from her seat to dash back to the edge. A moment later, she flipped down, and stood framed in the doorway. “You need help with one man, Melchior? Losing your touch…”

“Nothing like that, my dear. I simply find brute force distasteful, and would prefer to let you do it.”

Kitsune smiled, opening her mouth to respond. As she did, a long, leafy whip shot out from the side, wrapping around her waist. As she looked down in surprise, it yanked, pulling her out of her position.

Jack shifted his stance, pointing the gun at Melchior. “It looks like you're going to have some distasteful activity ahead of you.” He fired two quick shots at the staff, which promptly exploded with golden light, surrounding the elderly man with a protective halo.

Melchior raised his staff grumpily, letting golden light leak from its tips. “Indeed, it seems that I will,” he grumbled.

Outside, Kitsune drew a knife, slashing down at the vine holding her, as Blossom dropped from her streetlight to the road. “Fan of the surprise attack, I see,” she said, looking her opponent up and down.

“Just making sure you can't take that truck. Sorry,” Blossom replied. “If you'd like to surrender now, it would be quicker.”

“I never surrender,” Kitsune said, flicking the knife at Blossom. Blossom batted it out of the air with one hand, as Kitsune dashed into motion, running forwards to spin around her and kick at her back. Blossom rolled with the hit, as Kitsune leapt over her and resumed chasing the truck.

“Hey! That's not nice!” Blossom exploded into motion, creating a brace of wooden knives. “Come back! No leaving!” She triggered her pearl, with urgency and a hint of petulance clouding her thoughts. 'Truck's on Seventh Avenue. Where are the police?'

'Not coming.' Meredith's thoughts were grim and fractured, and much of what she was relaying doubled and tripled as she considered its implications. 'We have at least twenty unknown assailants making hit and runs on all of the nearby squad cars. You're on your own.'

'This is Piper. I'll stop the truck, you just worry about stopping that woman.' Piper's thoughts were razor-focused. 'Any suggestions, Director?'

A surge of anger and concern. 'Blossom! Abandon pursuit, and get back there to help Invictus before he gets himself killed!'

Blossom sighed audibly over the mental link, turning around. 'I'm going, I'm going. Why's he so dangerous, anyway? He's just a guy with claws. If Roland just doesn't get hit…'

'The Mythica are merely posers, ordinary humans taking on the names of ancient legends. Jack has confirmed that their power is drawn from Jormungadr.' Director Henry's thoughts were precise and directed. 'Fenris is not. He is the real thing.'

There was a moment of universal silence, before Piper sent, 'The actual wolf from Norse myth?'

'I believe so.'

'Oh. Okay.' Blossom nodded out of habit. 'I'll just go help Roland, then.'

A moment later, she dove to one side as Kitsune's knives flashed through the space where her head had been. “Trying to help your friend?” Kitsune said, taking up a stance across from her. “I don't think so. Fenris said one-on-one, and that is what he's going to get.”

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