13.6 Locative Attacks

by Matt P.

Walter cursed. The knife sliced through his vest and scored him across the shoulder, but not nearly as bad as it could have. Whatever it was that hit him could have done a lot worse, but had also been trying to disable him with a tackle. He had these thoughts in the seconds before he was carried to the ground by the tackle, grunting as it drove the air from his lungs.

He looked up to see a man he didn’t recognize with a knife in his hands. It wasn’t a sword like Tania or Morgan carried, just an iron knife the length of a bowie knife that he knew would nonetheless kill him very dead. The hilt was wrapped in a lot of leather, creating a thick handle so the man didn’t touch it—meaning he was a Faerie as well.

The man tried to stab Walter’s face, and he moved his head to the side at the last second. The knife hit the stone ground and chipped out a notch in the blade, and the man cursed. Before he could pull the knife back for another attack, Walter punched him in the jaw. Pain radiated through his hand as it impacted the strength of a Faerie jaw, but it threw the man off balance. Since he wasn’t heavier than Walter, just able to take more of a punch, Walter grabbed him by the coat the man wore and pivoted in to a roll. With a grunt he ended up on top of the man, and as an added bonus the Nightmare that had been swinging his sword missed by mere inches.

Walter cursed and pulled out his pistol, firing quickly at the Nightmare. Two, three shots deflected by the man’s magic, but it did apparently take an effort as the creature danced back and out of range. Walter tried to turn the gun down on the Faerie man underneath him, but the man brought his knife up and pushed Walter’s gun out of the way. The shot hit the stone next to the man’s head, but Walter reached out and grabbed the man by the wrist and pushed, trying to use his one hand to push the knife against the gun more and force it out of the man’s hand.

Right up until the Lord of Nightmare came back in with a thrust at Walter’s neck. Walter dropped, rolling off the Faerie and under the blade, right in to the legs of the Nightmare. That sent the Nightmare tumbling over Walter’s body, and all three of them were on the floor. Stunned for a second, they all exchanged a look before each started to move. The Nightmare and the Faerie both tried to stand, and with their speed made a good show of it.

Walter new he couldn’t get to his feet in time, so he didn’t try. He rolled away from them, which both gave him some distance from the others and left the arm holding his gun out and free. He fired his first shot, and it took the Faerie in the side of the head. As fast as he had been starting to move, that speed now played itself out as inertia as his body hit the ground. Walter wasn’t sure if he had managed a kill, but he also didn’t have the time to worry about it. He moved his arm to try to shoot at the Nightmare, but as his arm move the air around the creature darkened and pulsed. By the time the barrel was where it had been, it was gone—only a shadow remaining, hanging in the air like an oil slick on water.

“Shit,” Walter cursed, shaking his head. He turned to look at the Tania/Oberon/Tennyson fight, and felt like he should have saved his cursing for what he saw.

**** ****

The boy was completely unprepared for the onslaught of a Queen of Faerie, and it only took a moment for him to realize it as well. Morgan swatted aside his first strike with contemptuous ease, and then pivoted with a speed that even many of her kin would have thought was impossible. She brought her leg around quickly and kicked him in the face, sending him sprawling and sliding back toward the exit. She kept the momentum and spun as the Hound leapt at her. She caught him by the neck and fell with his momentum, bringing her legs up under his massively muscled body and kicking as she fell backward.

The Hound let out a baying cry as it flew through the air, not used to flying except for its own massive leaps. It crashed in to the boy and sent them both tumbling to the ground again in a crunch. With the weight of the Hound if she had thrown it at a mortal they probably would have been killed, but she knew it would only leave him on the ground for a few moments. She turned back to face the other men coming upon her. They were tall and strong, each a fine specimen of Faerie breeding, and at the sight of her outstretched sword and wicked smile they stopped for a hesitant moment.

“I am Aoife inghean Oberon. Knight of Frost, and White Rose of the Morrigan. Mab and Queen of Winter, full of power and rage. Stand before me and be shattered; stand against me and be buried.” Her voice was clear and strong, and as she spoke she breathed in more of her power than she had since she was banished. Hers was the power of cold nd the waning of all things, and in November there was much to cloak herself in. It sang in her words, and set the metal lockers ringing. She could feel her power’s twin, held by her own twin, fighting outside in desperation. She knew she would have to get to it soon, or risk everything. But she also knew if she used too much of her power now she risked not having it outside, where she might need it most.

Even the Hound and the boy, standing from their collision, paused at the sight of her. In to that silent, quivering moment, she heard Walter call for her with panic in her voice. It seemed to give the warriors surrounding her some of their mettle back, as they turned back to her. She did not give them a chance to steel themselves further, but leapt forward to those standing between her and the exit. In the span of a single heartbeat she was between them, her sword flashing and her teeth bared like a wolf among the sheep.

Frost crackled around her sword as it lashed out, burying itself deeply in to one man’s chest before she pulled it out and whipped it around to block the blow from a warrior who recovered more quickly. She blocked high and then stepped under the blades, spinning and dropping her blade down in to the man’s leg. He screamed and she spun to find the boy coming up to her, the Hound behind him and still looking at her as if fighting to recognize her.

The boy held his blade low and out to the side, rushing at her full speed and trying to take advantage of her distraction. The problem was she wasn’t distracted, and she turned to face him full on. His eyes grew wide as he tried to stab at her, but she didn’t bother blocking, simply stepping in close to him faster than he could react and bringing her leg up.

“Wha-” he began, but she didn’t let him finish. She put her booted foot against his chest and gave it a power fueled shove. She might have put a little too much power in to it, as his feet left the ground and he sailed out the double doors and out in to the courtyard with a cry of surprise. Never one to pass up an opportunity, she let out a war cry and charged after him to go see what the hell was happening outside.