A series of short reports from the Stormhand, regarding his hunts, to his handler.
Haven Report 001Edit
No success on my mission to track down Smokeout yet. Woman is elusive, and she doesn’t leave much of a trail. Still, she can’t hide for long, and we have plenty of sources in Haven. If anything known to be stolen turns up, I can likely be on site fairly quickly.
I’ve also been exploring the city. Mostly the bad parts of it, to make sure that I know them well enough should she flee into them. I doubt I am in much danger there, consider the fact that I look like a predator (wolf, not the other kind) when I walk, and I don’t really look like I’m made of money. Also… I had a slight experience.
I was wandering through an alleyway down in what looked like a bad part of town to me. I could tell by the only school I saw looking like a small fortress. Honestly, if a war broke out in the streets then I would take cover in that thing, thing looks like it could take an artillery strike to me. I have it on a list of places to explore, since its summer I might be able to use it as a safe house if I could figure out a few concealing spells to hide medical supplies.
Anyway, I was in an alley about a block away from the school. Place was dark, out of sight. Perfect place to spring a trap, so I should have expected the kid to show up. He was a quiet guy, clothes didn’t rustle, and his steps were silent. Considering how good my hearing is, that’s impressive in itself. What wasn’t impressive, was his choice of prey.
I felt the knife poke at my back, not enough pressure to cut through clothing, but enough to let you know it’s there. I froze for a moment, locking down my combat instincts so that I wouldn’t rip his head off. I breathed slowly, and tried to act the part of frightened prey. I’m not very good at that.
“Wallet, IPod, Phone,” he said, not quite calmly, and quietly, “Now.”
“Walk away,” I said, my voice level and with only a slight growl to it, “now.”
He pushed on the knife for a second, probably as a warning shot. Would have drawn blood too, just enough to make a point without permanently marking someone, if it hadn’t been for my jacket. Should thank Grandma for that thing, knife couldn’t even scratch the hide. Anyway, after his little warning poke he said, “Not going to ask again. Hand it over.”
I smiled, and let my shoulders drop. I made my left hand go for my pocket… and then I moved.
My muscles went from relaxed to tensed in less than a half-second. I darted forward, out of his range, before the first second was even up by my measurement. My mind opened to the power in my blood, as my combat instinct began to scream. I let my left leg slide, pivoting on my right to look at the guy. My left hand flew to my right forearm and undid the Velcro straps on my gauntlet.
The kid was shoving his knife forward, reacting to my initial movement, as the gauntlet came free, exposing my arm. I intended to just intimidate him a little by showing some dragonhide. It made him pause for a moment, before rushing forward, leading with the knife. Kid must have never used it before, because he was sloppy.
I brought my arm up, sweeping it through the air to intercept and redirect the knife. I felt the mortal steel come in contact with the thick scales on my right arm, the only sign of my Dragon Blood. In the kid’s defence, he managed to keep a grip on his knife as I parried it with my arm. However, he didn’t keep his eye on my left hand, which darted up to his right and locked down his arm.
My arm’s apparent knife-proofing must have surprised the kid, because he didn’t react at all as I grabbed the knife with my right hand, blade trying in vain to dig into the fine scales of my palm, and tore it from his grip. I don’t think I broke his hand, but I didn’t bother to check.
There was fear in his eyes as I met them after ripping the knife out of his grip. I dropped it right there, and then grabbed him by the throat with my right hand and slammed him into a wall. I put a shoulder into the kid’s chest, and then said, “Try anything else, and I will crush your windpipe like a tin can.”
The kid was smart enough to listen to me. But not wise enough not to ask a question, “What are you?”
I chuckled a bit, mixing in some draconic growl for effect, before saying, “Kid, you just tried to mug a literal dragon.”
He blinked once, and I gave the kid the kind of grin that wolves give to baby deer when they are full in return. I brought my left hand up, filling the tiny space between my own face and the kid’s. I focused both of my eyes on the space in the middle of my fingers before saying, “Normally… I don’t use this hand for this sort of thing… but since my usual hand is occupied…” I squeezed slightly to make my point before easing up, “it will have to do.”
I took a deep breath, and then willed a portion of my blood power into the hand… and lightning began to arc between my fingers. It wasn’t high voltage exactly, little more than little static sparks, but when you look at those sparks arcing mere inches from your face… well it makes an impression.
The Kid’s eyes grew wide, with either fear or curiosity. Probably a bit of both. I let my hand fall, and then I said, “Know this, I can literally strike you down with lightning if you try anything else. You do anything I don’t like, or so much as toe that knife, then nothing will be left of you but a pair of shoes. Understand?”
The kid tried to nod, and was fairly enthusiastic with it. I nodded once in return, and then let off the pressure on his chest and released his neck… and then put the same arcing effect across my entire arm to make sure he remembered what kind of power I wield. I made sure it was bigger and more obvious than the little static bursts between my fingers and palm. It wasn’t that much harder to do really, Dragon Magic is much easier to do with my Dragon Arm.
I locked my eyes on the kid, throwing every ounce of venom and anger in my body to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid. I didn’t want to kill him after all, murder investigations have a way of complicating things, and Grandma wouldn’t approve.
“Why did you just try that?” I asked.
“Needed the money,” the kid said. I didn’t detect any dishonesty in that. I somehow doubted he would try anything but the truth anyway.
“Why?” I asked.
“Have to pay off a guy,” the kid said.
“Why?” I asked, slightly annoyed.
“Guy runs a protection racket,” the kid says, “you don’t pay, he and some friends come and bust up your entire family’s kneecaps.”
I closed my eyes for a moment, and considered what he said. There was a good chance he was honest. The neighborhood… looked off to me. Lots of graffiti, shattered windows, barred windows, and the fortress of a school. Seemed like the kind of place where a police patrol was unlikely. So I asked, letting anger seep into my voice, “Can you lead me to him?”
“No way,” the kid said, “guy has a lot of friends. They even think I’m involved with something against hi-“
“Just point me his way,” I said, “and I will take care of him.”
“No,” the kid said, “you might as well just kill me now. Would be less painful.”
I sighed, a bit dramatically to for effect, and then I brought my Dragon Arm up. The kid actually yelped and hid behind his arms, but I didn’t fry him. I did think that he was probably one of the smart ones since he immediately went to cower instead of trying to fight. I gripped one of the larger scales on the forearm… and pulled hard. It came loose after I shape shifted it slightly to disconnect it. It was just about the most shape shifting I could pull off with or without prep-time.
I held the scale up where he could see it, and then I ran it across my palm. The edge was sharp enough to draw blood. I winced slightly at it, and then I tossed the scale to the kid and sealed the cut up. Then I said, “That’s a token, if any blood is shed within ten feet of you I will know it, and I will come running to find out why someone is bleeding near you. You have my word on that. Oh, it also gets set off if you lose it, and I will come running to find out why.”
Then I tossed the token to him like a coin, and he caught it almost by instinct.
“So,” I asked, “can you lead me to him?”
The kid nodded, and then he said, “But only within a block. I don’t want to ris-“
“Understood,” I said, growling slightly.
The kid actually gulped, and then started walking.