Rebirth

Based on the MMORPG City of Heroes by Cryptic Studio’s.

Disclaimer: This is a work of Fan Fiction, all names, places, titles are property of Cryptic Studios and NC Soft and are used without permission. Etc etc….. you get the drift.

The dreams came more often lately, visions wreathed in fire and pain tore at his mind, savaging his sleep…

...the fire raced through the house, burning timbers, incinerating furnishings and charring everything before I. The flames moved with an unnatural quickness and purpose that defied the best efforts to halt its advance or to extinguish its source. No one knew what had started the fire but far too quickly it spread through the mansion cutting off rooms and filling them with smoke and flame. A soot covered man coughed from the smoke that had filled his lungs, he stood in front of the house watching, his elderly face grave and terrified, a young boy barely able to know what was happening clung to him his eyes brimming with tears. The Boy watched as his mother appeared briefly at an upstairs window, a burst of flame flashed horribly bright in the night air and a scream cut off with sickening finality. With a cry the boy slipped free of the man and raced towards the burning building his parents where still inside, the man lunged grabbing at the boys shirt, his hand scrapped across the fabric, the boy raced up the steps to the mansion not feeling the heat, faint cries echoed after him. Across the room pinned under a fallen beam the Boy saw his father, as he tried to move forward the fire roared up reaching for him, the flames curled around his body and this time there were no hands to rescue him, no one pulled the boy free of the burning house, fire flayed the flesh from his arms, charred muscle and liquefied fat, the boy screamed…

…the young man jerked awake, his heart pounding and his breath coming in vast gulps like a nearly drowned man, perspiration beading on his brow, he looked around the dark room at first not seeing anything but slowly his body calmed itself and his mind placed where he was, it was early in the morning, a little before dawn, he was home in his bed. Swinging his legs off the side of the large bed he rested his head in his hands, the vision had been terrible, he swept his hand across his face feeling the roughness of his palms, for a while he sat not moving, not thinking until he realized he was trembling slightly. A faint murmur caused him to turn, a lithe figure lay next to him on the bed, covers long forgotten lying in a pile on the floor, the first few rays of dawn glinted through the blinds revealing an athletic body, beautiful in its naked glory, lightly sun tanned skin marred only by the passions of the previous night, raven dark hair from which she gained her name spilled about her head and shoulders, a wry smile crossed his face, he pondered about how for such a powerful individual she was incredibly submissive, and yet she was very protective of her hair not wanting to change its colour, not even for him.
His mind wandered as he watched her sleep contemplating trivial thoughts and feelings until an ironic thought surfaced, how difficult it was to wear out someone with such natural endurance and stamina as her, the advantages of being a regen scrapper, he laughed under his breath not wishing to disturb her.
Putting on a pair of silk pajama pants the man padded on bare feet across the darkened room and quietly slipped through a set of Japanese styled sliding doors, a waft of air drifted through the door and the figure on the bed curled up a little as the cool air picked at her skin. He slid the door closed behind him and sucked in a breath of air still fresh given the pre-dawn hour, the man moved to the edge of a balcony that surrounded his penthouse and gazed out over he landscape of Paragon City, far below he could hear the noises of the city coming awake, a garbage trucks brakes screeching, a car roaring to life and in the distance the sound of police sirens. He rested a foot upon a lower railing of the balcony and an arm on the top, he surveyed the city, tall buildings surrounded him, apartments and businesses for the most part with small shops closer to ground level, his gaze was broken only by the glowing of the war walls that broke up the city, to most they where a sign of protection but to him they where a constant reminder of how much trouble the city was in, before coming to this place he had visited very few cities but none before the Rikti war had used such measures, walls of concrete and force separating up the city into zones to curtail crime and destruction, he doubted that New York or Los Angeles would have such measure even now. He sighed inwardly, the war walls spoilt the sunrise, they reflected the light casting a strange glow everywhere, he could see the sun slowly climbing in its path across the heavens, the orange a fire hotter than anything else, he shuddered and rubbed at his bare skin as if chilled, the nightmare had been so real, there was only one truth for it. His patron La’Non an entity known as the Lord of Nightmares was warning him, as La’Non’s presence on the mortal world he had never had such a deadly dream, for the most part his rest was devoid of such things, he was no longer human, years before a magical spell had stripped away his flesh leaving a drifting spirit who La’Non rescued and sent forth cloaked in a powerful magic of black shadow and red energy, a wraith, a creature of terror and wrath. He studied his hands clasped before him, toned forearms resting easily on the metal railing, his skin was a light gray the illusion that gave him the semblance of a mortal form was difficult to maintain while he was asleep, his skin was the first thing to change shifting from a more human colour to its present state, if his concentration wavered further he would begin vanish or slip back into his wraith like figure.
As he gazed at his skin his mind turned over the images of his dream, seeking the hidden truths, pondering La’Non’s less than direct method, normally he was simply told what to do, whom to seek out and whom to bring his wrath against. They called him Rayth and he was according to the greater populace a hero, a person who protected innocence and freedom, he scoffed at them, he was no hero, he cared very little for those he rescued, most just were very lucky that his patron sought to bring Nightmares that would last forever to those deserving them. To that end she had granted Rayth with considerable powers which had grown and flourished over the past year and a half since coming to Paragon City. He had already been a student of magic thanks to his Uncle Theodore before his accident and joining with La’Non had accelerated the growth of his powers, he knew spells of energy and ice, how to create bursts of destruction and auras of frost, spells of levitation and flight and spells of imprisonment and agony. His studies of magic had even given him a powerful incantation that unleashed a wave of energy sweeping away most opponents around him with the power of a small Nova. Lately his powers had changed, they became erratic and his mastery over new incantations took a different path and he had added spells of fire to his repertoire, there was one such spell left as yet untried. It was a complex weave, far more powerful than his other spells, it had no verbal component that he could fathom and even when he tried it there was no effect. It was funny the spell had been there the entire time he had served La’Non, yet he rarely gave it any thought, La’Non had told him that such an ability was there only to be used when truly needed and at such a time it would all make sense.
Rayth shifted leaning his back against the railing feeling the morning air breeze through his hair and across his skin. He looked at his penthouse, high atop a building it was fashioned after an old Japanese home, he liked Japanese thing, enjoyed their culture, he couldn’t speak more than a word or two of their language but he enjoyed it none the less, the fortune his parents had left him allowed for a ridiculously comfortable life which allowed him to indulge in certain passions. He was not a playboy or a socialite he was always too busy for such things but where he could he lashed out buying those things he enjoyed. For a while he leaned there listening to the world, his mind cleared of all thoughts the breeze rippled at his pants he shut his eyes and relaxed, the world slowed and stopped, everything was as normal as it could be.
With a burst of movement he vaulted over the side of the building, his eyes opened fiery energy blazing from them, the wind whistled in his ears as he plummeted head first for the distant ground below, his body positioned as if a diver leaping into a pool. Windows raced past as he twisted in his fall exhilarating in the uncontrolled feeling it provided, with the ground rushing up to meet him he uttered a half-spoken word, his flesh vanished, power filled his body, clothing itself in night. Where his head was a black void appeared surrounded by a deep hood only his fiery red eyes gave it a semblance of a face, a long cape streamed from his shoulders which were adorned with huge organic looking spikes that swept out in a huge mantle, metal gauntlets and boots armoured his fists and feet, his clothing blended together with detail apparent only in the brightest light but normally so black that his form seemed a hole in space. His body grew, swelling with unleashed power, becoming larger until it towered over most men by a head and shoulders. With nothing more than a thought his descent changed from an uncontrolled fall into a directed path curving away seconds before reaching the ground, a loose piece of paper whipped about madly in his wake as he raced inches above the street, he darted past parked cars and pedestrians, a man honked his car horn screaming abuse at heroes in general out his window, a lady clutched at her hat and skirt letting out a surprised shriek as the movement of the air generated by his passing caused them to flutter wildly showing more than a fair bit of graceful leg, gaining enough height to survey the area and still make out details he slowed looking about. Everywhere people started their day and not just good people, lurking in the shadows he saw them, all forms of trash trying to corrupt the innocent and encourage the guilty to more desperate acts. Many cowered when they saw Rayth speed past, previous run-ins having taught them their lesson, Cyborg Junkies of the Freakshow, Demon Worshiping Thugs of the Hellions, Robotic servitors of the Clockwork, he had fought them all and many others at La’Non’s request. Today he did not stop, he was not interested in such petty criminals, there were other heroes in this city who could and would deal with them, his tasks had become larger, the dangers even more real, facing foes of enormous strength, they would all suffer the lessons of the Lord of Nightmares or he would die trying.

*****

A disturbance had occurred within the Astral Plane, that place which was the home to powerful mental entities both ethereal and material, the disturbance had been there for some time, years in fact but until recently it had remained passive, small, weak. Now it was like a vast storm, the gray clouds of the Astral Plane boiled with darkness. Probing spells were crushed or reflected, revealing little or no clues as to the cause. In the Palace of Nightmares La’Non sat in her throne crafted from pure magic, a ball of energy hovered before her flashing with random visions of the storm, she surveyed the disturbance, something in there had grown beyond itself, had over stepped the limitations it had been prescribed, it had avoided the gaze of La’Non for a while, but it had now stirred her ire, it was time to act her power must be put into action.

*****

Harvey Maylor was the editor and owner of the Tattler, one of the gossip magazines published in Paragon City, it dealt primarily with many of the less famous heroes, those unable to get on the front page of the Paragon Times and with mysteries a more reputable paper would refuse to publish. His business was located within the section of the city called Peregrine Isle, the locale was one of the more troubled spots within the city that wasn’t classified as a Hazard Zone, mainly this was due to the presence of the Portal Corporations main facilities, and this to Harvey made great sense, with so much trouble focused on the area, stories would come to him, rather than he having to go looking for stories. Too many of the various criminal organizations such as the Malta Group, Circle of Thorns and Nemesis made their way here in the hope of appropriating new technologies or gaining illicit access to the various other realities catalogued by the Corporation, others like the Rikti hoped to find a way home or to disrupt the wards separating the two realities so that the Invasion might resume..
Crowds of people filled the streets shoulder to shoulder with lunch time traffic as business men and women all dressed in suits moved to and fro, it was a break in the monotony of their work, some did a little shopping and others sat and ate with friends chatting about various things. Harvey stepped out of a small bakery with a sugar-dusted sweet roll in his mouth, his left hand held a mobile phone to his ear, he was an over-weight man, balding with a bad comb-over, dressed in a dark brown suit, yellow shirt and chequered tie, he muffled words down the phone line around the sweet roll, lunch did not mean a break for Maylor, their were always stories in the making and today was busier than usual, it seemed one of his best writers had vanished, probably just trying to avoid a deadline, or kidnapped because of a story he mused to himself, either was a likely reason especially in this city. He wandered through the crowd before turning a corner into a quieter boulevard lined with trees
"Harvey Maylor." A soft voice spoke his name, it was not a question. All sound died away as a figure draped in night stepped free of a concealing shadow, Harvey’s eyes widened and he gasped in fright promptly choking on sugar dust, the roll dropped to the ground as he pounded on his chest fighting for air.
"Jeez, don’t sneak up on a man like that will ya." Tears streamed from his eyes as he finally stopped trying to breathe and cough at the same time.
"I am called Rayth" the sound emanated from the hooded figure, try as he might Harvey couldn’t make out a face.
"Yeah, I know who you are, been wondering when you would turn up, sooner or later all you hero types come to Maylor, begging for a piece in my magazine, well listen I got…" his words stopped abruptly as Rayth strode forward, towering over Harvey, his shape blotted out the light, Harvey gasped as their eyes locked, he felt his mind swept away, his vision filled with fire, he whimpered trying to break free from the intense gaze.
An eternity seemed to pass before Rayth spoke. "Ellie Wiessman" the name whispered from the dark figure like a wisp of smoke.
It was as if a horrible pressure had been lifted from Maylor’s mind, Harvey dropped to his hands and knees feeling as if he had been pole-axed. His strength still seeped from his body, he sobbed uncontrollably, he had seen things in that burning red gaze, terrible visions, things his mind refused to identify. His eyes fixed on the forgotten sweet lying between his hands.
"S-she’s missing, no one has seen her for t-two days" The crunch of a boot turning on loose gravel caused Harvey to start, he looked up to see Rayth pacing away his cloak snapping in the air, with a word and a gesture he flew off, gaining altitude swiftly, his body disappearing, cloaking itself from sight.
"If your going to rescue her, at least take some pictures!" yelled Harvey at the disappearing figure.
Clambering back to his feet Harvey looked around, the sounds of the street returned, the hubbub of voices, the noise of traffic and the sounds of what nature still lived in the city, the roar of the ocean not so far away, no one seemed to have noticed what had just happened, feeling slightly awkward, Harvey quickly walked away, putting as much distance between what had just happened as he could.
A pair of sparrows seeing the discarded roll alighted on it chirped to each other and set to their feast.
CONTINUE >
Review this story
Review this story
Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors