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World of Darkness: Attrition - [AU] Knights of the Obsidian Age

Adrian Moss

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Knights of the Obsidian Age

“We are living in the End Times,” someone once told me. I should have known. I should have seen how right he was. The city is a ruin. Most of the people have fled, making this more a City of Lost Spirits than Lost Angeles. It’s 2013 and nothing is the same.

Multiple sources had predicted that December 21, 2012 was the end of an Age. It was the Dawning of the Sixth World and the old existence was going to be swept away. The Magi I knew began dreaming of Abyssal Storms like nothing else encountered. Some went into deep hiding, trying to escape the Primal energy that was twisting out of their control. Others rallied around their Towers and Orders against an illness only they could perceive. Demons slipped through and lives were lost and all at the edge of perception. Before that day, the human populace saw none of this … unless they were the victims.

There was emptiness in the not-so-young feeling Mekhet; so many of his friends were gone now. His coterie had fallen apart in a scramble for self-preservation. The Ordo had burned up in the fires that raged after the Fall or in the nights afterwards while too few of them fled and too many sought to understand the chaos. He knew a few who hung around, some of them hostile, some friendly, and some driven crazy by the fear and hunger.

The emptiness was exacerbated by the loss of his few friends – the Weres. Adrian had been there on that Moonlit night, some days before the End, when they had traveled to their locus in the Grotto and traveled over to the Shadow Realm. Mysterious Ariel, Friendly No Moss, Frightening Amber, and Declan, his friend had gone – slipping away. Even Sarah had gone with them, torn between the honor of defending their territory and her place with her pack. He remembered Declan’s grin as he left holding the unspoken promise that they would be right back.

They had been gone a year. They had been gone, fighting some terrible fight in the Deep Shadow against Unspeakable Creatures of Immense powers. They had gone. They had all gone to this fight. Adrian could only imagine that all the packs in North America, if not the World, had gone. He wasn’t exactly hip to Lycan affairs, but for the longest time the only howls in the LA nights had been the dog packs. There were not even wolves crying out in their loneliness.

Not everything was really dead. The city’s organs beat on even after the heart was dead. There were still police and the occasional fire engines to be seen. You could even get an ambulance if you were really lucky, and they could get through the streets. People had headed into the deserts. The luckiest ones made it into the East and glistening Vegas. The not so luck ones came back here. The unlucky died under a burning sun, forgetting that most of Southern California was a desert.

A good many kindred had passed that way, trapped in the crossing – unable to get back, or go forward, they had burned up, bleed out, or had to be put down once they lost it. The Las news he had from Vegas was a Covenant war breaking out and kindred feasting on kindred. Cannibalism – Diablerie – what ever you wanted to call the soul death. It seemed like someone had sucked down the city spirit, its soul was gone. What was a young kindred supposed to do?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Cults of the End Times; that is how it feels most nights here in the City of Lost Angels. Everyone has their own ties to something that’s just not right. I would like to say that my cult was trying to make things better and fighting the good fight – something Dec could be proud of, but that’s not the case. My people are bottom-feeders, the poor and dispossessed. We have guns, but everyone has guns now. We have crossbows too. There are some crazy-ass kindred still out there. It gets really bad when the crazies run in packs.

It makes me wish I could hide some of my people, but I’m not that powerful yet. The best I can do is hunt head and avoid any traps or dead-falls. I keep them alive even though we both know the situation. If they go somewhere else, with someone else, they are as likely to be seen as food as anything else. At least with me they know the feedings are minimal and constantly rotated. I’m not out to drain everyone and I’m willing to wait days to get back into ‘fighting form’.

So basically they are like me- Cowards and skulkers, these people of mine. We don’t struggle for electric lights, or running water. We get pill and food packs from the relief centers and drink from the runoff. When we are out and about, we dig in the ruins and crawl into places that the less sane, or less needy would go. There is something more to us, though that may be my imagination. I’ve equipped us well. We may not be good shots, but we have guns. None of us are trained martial artists, but we have fists, bats, pipes, and even one sword. We may not stand and fight, but if you chase us, you are going to bleed. I swear it.

So far, we have avoided the comfort of the Centers. The rumors of gangs and worse running large sections of it are endemic. That and they take your weapons away if you go in keep us on the outside. Besides, Vampires feast on the people inside. Everyone knows that.

Really, no one knows that, but I wouldn’t put it past some of the powerful kindred I’ve known. It is the ultimate scam – the illusion safety for blood. Too bad the rumors and my extrapolations of those rumors were all wrong. What can I say, times suck? We were all to learn that before the end that all this was someone else’s beginning.

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  • 3 weeks later...

The night began like many others. I rose from my slumber to see my followers, my herd, eating their dinner. They had done well that day. I could tell by the smells from the cook pots. When they finished, the ceremony of sorts began. I chose four – ones I hadn’t chosen in three days – and fed upon them. After each feeding, I gave to one of my Chosen, the ghouls. This would help them with the Celerity that my blood had gifted them. Only Gwen had had developed Vigor, but she had been with me so much longer too. If they lived, the others would learn the discipline of Strength. It was too damn handy.

After the feeding and gifting, we moved. This time we found a good house. It was two stories and relatively intact. Actually, it was totally intact. It showed signs of having been recently abandoned. Most likely some other band had tossed in the towel and surrendered their fates to the Relocation Centers. At least I didn’t hear such mutterings from my people. They were diehard Angelinos.

I was making my rounds on the perimeter, cloaked in shadow, when I heard it. It was a howl. It could have been confused as a coyote, but not by me. I had spent too much time, had too much invested in my life, to not recognize it. It was a wolf, a wolf in Los Angeles. It wasn’t a lonely howl, either. It was a howl of pain. As I said, I spent too much time amongst the Lycans.

“Bernie, Dalton! With me,” I shouted. “Follow the howl.”

Bernie was an ex-LALE and a good man in a fight. Dalton was an ex-Broker, but had been an avid huntsman. They had lost everything in the collapse and now followed the Crescent Sun. Tonight I needed their loyalty, I would need their guns.

We took off at a loping gait. For a while, the ghouls kept up, but finally the untiring vampiric stamina began to show. “Follow me as best you can,” I told them as they fell back. I was on my own, changing course slightly as I heard another howl. My heightened senses told me that we were diagonally moving toward one another then I heard the helicopters.

I made out two separate helicopters, one tailing, and one leading the howl. This wasn’t good. The only groups who had helicopters in the City of Lost Angles were hostile to people like me – homeless and a leech. Mindlessly, driven by some desperate impulse, I plunged on. I crossed San Monica Blvd. and I realized I had run past my old home. I also realized were I was heading – Sarah’s old territory. I turned on the speed.

I was coming to the end of the Los Angeles Country Club when I spotted one of the helicopters rising up off the ground. I was still dwelling with the fear of what that meant when I heard a heart-rending howl of pain and despair. Pulling the shadows to me once more, I started running again. I didn’t like what I was hearing. Gunshots were going off, but I was far enough away to not lose my hearing. I dampened down my senses and drew my sword and Mac-10.

They had them boxed in. There was a wolf with a glittering spike in it, lying on its side. Huddled over it (her) was a raven-haired Magus. It had to be a Magus because there was a shimmering shield around her and the wolf. She looked like Morgan. At the time, I think it was a trick of the light, but made it was the fickle hand of Fate that confused my senses. They were surrounded by ten men in black, wearing body armor with a mixture of P-90’s and funny looking rifles. Eleven to three – make that two and a half. In back, and closest to me, was an enemy magus. He was weaving some kind of spell, or rote. It seemed to be draining the barrier the faux-Morgan had set up. All I could think was what would Declan do?

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So, I’m standing there and all I can think of is: What would Declan do? Well, that answer to that was pretty simple, so simple I almost broke cover and laughed. He would go down there, take the first guy, slam him up against the closest tree and tell him to bring some friends. Then he would disembowel the fuckers and choke them with their entrails … or something bloody and descriptive like that. I almost laughed at the imagery. I’m so not him, but I can try.

I felt the blood pumping into my muscles as I ran. Fucknuts the Mage had his back to me and I knew he’s got to get dead first. He scared the crap out of me. All Willworkers do. I came on at a run, slowed down to steady my aim, and when I was about two meters away, and lit him up with the Mac. His body sparked as the bullets tore into his back and spine. He stumbled forward, trying to stop himself from falling as he twisted around to see what’s killing him. He saw my blade coming up, his eyes grew wide, and I took his head.

Everyone else either had their backs to me, or where concentrating on the lady and the wolf. The head bouncing down the slope changed that. Too late for the shadow trick, not with all these eyes upon me, so I pumped blood into my body for that heightened speed the Mekhet are renowned for. I was among them, firing as I came on. I chose two with the MP-5’s. The rifle’s looked single shot and I really didn’t want to be showered down with bullets. The first man staggered back – slightly. Oh, the joys of smashing small pistol rounds against body armor. The second guy I nailed in the groin and he spun down to the ground, hating life but still alive.

Their turn.

The whole area erupted into fire. They were professional enough to fire short controlled bursts, but I was vibrating like a Jameson-3000 Pleasure model. One of the guys clipped me in the side while I took another shot in the arm and chest. I was thinking my vest when I heard groin guy going down beside me. Bullets had to go somewhere.

I heard one of the goon squad shouting orders. He had to go. I burned more blood into my reflexes and gave the bastard my sword. I let him keep it in his torso. It was too much effort to pull it out and I needed my hands free. Afraid of a repeat of groin boy, they moved in closer to light me up and not stand in each other’s line of fire. This time there was going to be pain.

Maybe I was lucky, maybe it was the witch guarding the wolf, I don’t know. I took another clip to my left thigh and three of the rifles shot barbed-tipped wires into me. There was a clicking sound, I felt tingly and smelt ozone. They had tasered me … with giant, werewolf strength tasers. I imagined it would have sucked if I was still alive. I looked into the guy’s helmet of one of the taser-totters. I saw his grin fade into disbelief. I should have stopped myself, but just couldn’t. I grinned. Someone screamed “Vampire!”. The honeymoon had to end sometime.

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I dropped the Mac. I was better with my pistols anyway. I drew the way that hunter had shown me so many years ago, brought both barrels up into the face of the closest guy with the MP-5, and put two .45’s through his face plate. He went down screaming. At the same time, the other gunners kept firing at me in controlled bursts. The taser-totters all drew their pistols and took a step back. I felt the bullets tear into me, but I also felt the blood red tinge of rage biting hard at my mind. How dare these puny creatures resist. My Beast counts lousy.

I’m definitely feeling like I’m going to be nickel-plated and dimed to death when one of the two remaining gunners goes down under a rather hair, nude woman. Abstractly, I became aware that Nude Girl isn’t a good fighter. Must not be Rahu.

I turned slowly as my body kept getting hungrier. My blood burned but it kept me fast. I put my guns up and fired into another face plate. The guy screams as his face plate shatters and he spins down to the ground. Right before that smile came to my face, they made me dance. Damn, that hurt. I was running out of options. Naked Girl was losing her struggle against her chosen ‘victim’. The area became lit up with the large halogen light from a hovering helicopter. Damn, at that juncture I figured I was dead. At least I got to see that Magic Girl hadn’t run away from us yet. She was picking up one of the dropped.

‘About time she did some damn thing,’ I remember thinking. Silly Vampire shouldn’t doubt the Magi.

My blood was getting desperate and I was running of options. I had bullets a plenty, but I was getting the feeling I wouldn’t get to use them, so … I vanished. It was the cowardly thing to do, but I have always been the cautious one – tonight being the exception. I ran around behind two of them while the Magi opened up on the last gunman (the one with my sword in him. The wigged out guys with the pistols tried to track me, and the poor werewolf went Garou and her assailant freaked. It was about damn time. My werewolves had made me lazy for the world of Werewolf Smash. I wasn’t used to seeing a pup go at it.

Faster than though, I stepped up behind two of the pistol guys. I put the guns against the back of their necks and pulled the triggers. One of them sensed something at the last moment and flinched. I cut him across some major blood vessels and he staggered forward, dropping his pistol as his hands reached for his fountain of blood. The other one lost his head. A through and through from a .45 caliber can make a hell of a hole. One of the two remaining guys with pistols tracked me and fired. The shot went wide. The last pistolier turned to fire at the Magi, saw the Lycan and freaked out too. The Naked Garou ran down the guy she had been wrestling and bore him to the ground. Magic Girl shot the freaked Pistolier. Wounded, the guy began staggering away.

The fight temporarily over, I fell on the bleeding guy like a cannibal onto a barbequed baby. His blood rushed into me and I felt my wounds beginning to heal. In the distance I could hear more gunfire. It was the Magic Girl finishing off the guy Naked Girl was fighting. It seems that even in Garou form, she wasn’t that impressive. When I found that out, I really felt like crying.

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  • 1 month later...

The man died in my grasps. I got up and frantically ran around grabbing my stuff. The Mac was the hardest to find (some guy fell on it, the bastard) while my sword was the easiest. I had t put my foot on the leader’s chest to pull the damn thing out but I wasn’t leaving it behind. Do you know how hard it is to get a good sword these days?

All the while, Naked Girl (who is back to being just naked and a girl) and Magic Girl are watching me. The beacon on the hovering chopper above us was lightening up the night and it’s time to go.

“Where are you going?” I shouted.

“We don’t know,” she responded.

We needed to run and a place to hide. I couldn’t take them back to my place, because that would have been death. Then I remembered that I was on Sarah’s Unholy Ground … and on the SUG, there was this place they had taken me to once, long ago that had some spiritual significance to them. I couldn’t help laughing at the location. It also allowed me to use a movie line I had been dying to do for ages.

“Come with me if you want to live.”

Magic Girl looked at me like I had lost my mind. She had heard the line before as well and we were probably the same age – she looked to be in her mid-twenties while I looked to be in my late teens but was in my mid-twenties too. She scrambled to get the Naked Girl while I grabbed another guy to feed off of. I was desperate for vitae, having burned so much in the fight.

The shot slammed me into the ground, having come from above. The helicopters had snipers in them. More happy fun times, while I dragged my prey under the canopy of the tree. I needed time and I didn’t think I was going to get it. A shot come down to the Magic Girl, grazing her. She and Naked Girl took shelter as well, casting about for help.

I could see the guy leaning out of his harness trying to get a shot. I slammed another clip into the Mac while still sucking this guy down. I was getting ready to take shot when someone beat me to it. I didn’t hear the shot ring out, but the bullet did its damage. The guy slumped and his gun tumbled to the ground. Had it fallen with a few extra clips, I would have jumped for it.

The first helicopter pulled off and the second one took station. A second shot hit it. It was my guys. Who else could it be? Bless their damned souls, they had kept up as best as they could and were no supplying covering fire. I picked the walkie-talkie out of my pocket and tapped it to life.

“Bernie, Dalton, is that you?”

“Bernier here. Dalton’s taking the shots. You okay.”

I drank while Bernie talked.

“You’ve done all you can do guys. Get the hell out of here before they cock-suckers bring company.”

“Adrian, No! We can …”

“No! I’m ordering you to go back to the group and defend them with all you got. Were I’m going you can’t follow. Go now!”

“Roger that, Adrian. Watch your ass.”

Another shot hit the helicopter and it banked wildly to the side. The light came off us and it figured this was as good as it was going to get.

I cut off the walkie-talkie, dropped my meal, and headed to the two girls. There was no preamble, just a hustle up and run. Naked Girl would stop and look at me in somewhat awe akin to fear while the Magic Girl seriously looked like she expected me to fall on her at any moment. We got to the hedge and it was my turn to lead, not hustle, and pray they would do as I asked. Already there were lights back were we had just been and the circle of searchers would be spreading out soon.

I got on my hands knees and crawled through a weak point of the hedge. I had to put my gear up because you don’t’ want to be walking a sword something like this, and it would probably do no favors to my Mac. Thankfully when I got out I could hear them struggling to follow me. Naked Girl come first, scratched up. I should have thought to give her my coat - too late now. Magic Girl come out next and looked around. She didn’t realize were she was. Well, she was a girl after all.

“This way,” I gestured toward the grotto. They followed, Naked Girl shivered. Once more I considered her giving her my treasured trench coat then I remembered what she did to clothes when she shifted. I could have put an arm around her, but I had no heat to give. We stepped down into the infamous Grotto and we all looked around. In this matter, I was totally blind except for my mental roadmap. I knew were I had crossed over. I could almost touch the place.

“Where are we going?” the Magic Girl asked.

“We are here,” I replied. She looked at me skeptically, so I continued. “This place is a locus – a portal to the Spirit world and she,” pointing to the Naked Girl, “can take us.”

Naked Girl gave both of us a ‘Who me?’ look, but Magic Girl nodded.

“My spirit magic sucks, but I know the principles. Are you saying that this Shifter can take us across?”

“They all can, or so has been my experience. Alls she has to do is reach out and focus. She can take us with her for some extra effort.”

“I can’t do this,” Naked Girl begins sobbing. “I don’t even know what’s wrong with me. All I know is I had a nightmare and I woke up with this.”

She shows us a crescent tattoo on the meat of her hand between her thumb and forefinger.

“There is nothing wrong with you,” we say simultaneously to Naked Girl. Magic Girl and I looked to one another. She nods to me.

“You are a Lycan, a werewolf, a member of a race of beings, both physical and spiritual beings that have been around since the beginning of time. You may be scared now, but you need not be. You have all kinds of spirits that can aid you. All you need is time.”

“I don’t have time, do I? I mean, why are they hunting me?”

“I don’t know about that,” I said as the helicopter drew closer. “I do know that we have to move us out of here now. We have to go to the Spirit World because …”

“Because they have rituals that allow them to track you anywhere on the world, Lauren,” Magic Girl stepped in. “Going to the Spirit World will break the link and give us time.”

Magic Girl looked to me,

“I’m Suiki. You are?”


“Thanks for saving us. Now, do you know of another way out of the Spirit World once we cross over? As I said, I know jack and squat about that side.”

“Yes, just a few miles from here at the UCLA campus.” Suiki nods.

“Okay, Lauren, reach out with your senses and your hands to right about here,” I point to my best estimation of where No Moss has brought me over so long ago.

Lauren reaches forward and tentatively touches the face. She makes a few passes then suddenly her face lights up.

“I feel something … like a resistance. I think I can do this.”

Her smile lit up the night. No, that was the light burning down on us from above.

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