While road testing equipment Ethan runs into the Hawk Nosed assassin.
|Lady Clara Schafer looked out at the masked crowd of ball gowns and suits. A collection of feathers and glittering faces. Her fancy leather riding boots clicked as she pushed herself forward. Her feminine form was the definition of poise and posture. If Clara was a flower, she was in full bloom.
Her father had encouraged her to throw these inane parties where the rich and noble, would speak of their dull accomplishments. Her eyes looked at vibrant artwork decorating the walls of the ballroom. Scenes of heavenly ascension, clouds, and adorable cherubs with horns, heralded the appearance of the divine. It was then her eyes caught the most dreadfully interesting character staring at her.
Several young men had asked her to dance, but Clara refused to betray her Ethan. Why would she settle for anything less than a man willing to sacrifice his life for her?
He seemed familiar with his hawk-like nose and malignant eyes. He looked like a specter with his limbs hidden in the folds of his cloak. His face sneered, while he drew a fiery blue potion from the folds of his cloak.
"You won't escape me this time, you little bitch," he said, gulping the potion down. "I will be vindicated in the eyes of my employers..."
The hawk-nosed assassin fell to his knees, wracked with pain. The dagger clattered to the ground. His back pulsated before the skin and cloth tore to reveal midnight black wings.
Clara tried to scream but couldn't. Where were the guards? The last time this blackguard attacked, she had someone to save her. She gasped in horror as a long nose turned into a shiny, razor-sharp beak. The eyes glowed with the same blue fire as the potion he drank. Hands became sharpened talons. She watched as the bird-like assassin stared at his hands. He bent down slowly and grabbed his dagger,
"Shall we pick up where we left off?"
She looked around. Everyone saw what was going on, but didn't seem to care. "Where are the guards?"
"Oh, they are preoccupied with Balors Apathy, or dead. The same with your guests. They should begin to care again by tomorrow.
Lady Clara Schafer knew the twisted creature was going to kill her. She had two choices. One she could scream loud and give this demonic thing satisfaction before she died, or she could throw insults and give herself some satisfaction before she died. She chose the latter over the former.
"May I see your invitation? I don't recall you being on the guest list. Not that a wretch like you could ever be worthy of such an honor. Might I inquire your name? I would like to know the name of my killer before I die." her voice trembled a little, and she held her ground bravely, despite her knees knocking together.
The bird-like assassin laughed with a ruk ruk sound, "I won't tell you my real name, but I will give my assassin name, Valraven."
"Do try to be original with my death."
"Don't worry, my lady, once you are done dancing with me, I shall leave you in care of death. He will be your last dance partner." He slowly walked toward her, dagger raised. The blue fire eyes were aglow with glee.
Clara hoped someone would come and save her.
Streets of Rathmore.
Freedom, Ethan hadn't felt it in a while. His second experience through the streets of Rathmore was far more pleasant from the first. For starters, the armor fit his slender physique. Second, he finally had some training under his belt. Third, he had a reason to be out and about doing his own thing away from the insanity of Lady Clara and Constance.
He loved the gothic architecture and Celtic decoration that gave the city a distinct and pleasurable flavor. He loved the craftsmanship of the cobblestone streets. He stopped to say hello to the marble statues that seemed to be on every corner. Tonight would be his first public appearance as...he hadn't figured out the superhero name yet.
His eyes looked toward Avalon heights, where Schaefer manor rested. Ethan's mission to crash lady Clara's party and give her a piece of his mind would finally drive the lovesick idiot from his life. Would it be enough? Probably not. He needed something obnoxious and offensive.
Ethan reached into his pockets and pulled out his Mp3 player, and the blue tooth speaker. No self-respecting teenager would ever leave the house without music. The young hero was no different. He selected a playlist and linked the devices.
People on the street gasped and pointed as he bolted through the streets, gangster rap blaring from the speaker. He gathered most people didn't appreciate the lyrics. In those moments, he had found the perfect weapon to end the ridiculous communications between him and Clara. Tomorrow he could look Constance in the eye and get her off his back. Tonight would solve everything.
A sinking feeling entered Ethan's stomach when he reached the iron gates of Clara's home. Two guards were dead, and he could smell traces of Balors Apathy on the body. A potion designed to create smoke and generate apathy in people. Assassins favored it for their work.
"Hawk Nose is here?" Ethan's mind backflipped with joy. The opportunity to punch Hawk Nose in the face had arrived. He owed the assassin one for stabbing him in the leg. Ethan was not too keen on saving Clara again, but it came down to what he wanted more.
He pressed the mic button, "Toxic," he said. The heavy metal guitars started. He sprinted towards the door and tore the meteor hammer from around his waist. The five-ounce weights on either end of the six-foot chain were ready to strike.
Ethan did not want to damage the doors. He aimed in between the handles. The goal was to break the strike plates, making the latches useless. It would be easier to repair and would preserve the carved masterpieces.
It was unfortunate Ethan forgot how strong he was, and the weight crushed the knobs and knocked them clear out of place. They clattered against the marble floor. He twisted his body and shoulder charged the door. He released a small electrical current into the armor, activating the shield rune.
Loud bangs of wood on stone echoed through the foyer. Ethan didn't lose any momentum. Metal greaves clanked against the marble. "If I was an empty-headed noblewoman, where would I have my party?" It took a moment for Ethan's brain to catch up with the situation, "The ballroom."
The hallway to the ballroom was full of apathetic people standing around. Ethan's first instinct was to shock the lot of them down. He remembered his greaves, "Didn't Jules say I could run along walls?"
Ethan ran towards the uninterested crowd. He ran towards the wall, while he focused the energy down his legs. The runes glowed, and the greaves clanked against the stone wall. "Sweet," Ethan Exclaimed.
He got past the crowd with ease and kicked the locked double doors to the ballroom open. Lady Clara was backing away from a strange birdman.
It was at this moment, the song on the Mp3 player switched from loud and terrifying to something in the area of romance. Ethan rolled his eyes. The song repeated the word love often.
Ethan, you came," Clara said in a glad tone.
Had he blown his secret identity already? He powered the voice distorter rune, "Who is, Ethan? I am..." He still hadn't come up with a name. He looked around and saw a bolt sticking out of a chair. Bolt sounded good, but it needed something else. His last name, Argent, was French for Silver. "I am Silverbolt and not Ethan at all." His gauntlets clanged against the mask.
The Raven looked up at him blue fire eyes blazing. A taloned hand pointed at him. "It's you, from the restaurant. Why do you interfere with things you do not understand?"
"Because I'm a good guy, and you are the idiot villain. I am going splatter your feathery ass all across this ballroom." Ethan struck a heroic pose.
"I think you are a bit too late. I was just about to finish the job before you walked in. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an assassination to carry out." He raised the dagger above his head. The polished steel shone in the light of the oil lamps.
Clara had closed her eyes and was now making herself a smaller target. It was in vain the raven man was too close. Ethan drew a revolver and aimed. The runes came to life on the liquid black steel. Ethan had never fired a gun before, and the first shot clipped the avian attacker in the butt.
The dagger hit the floor and slid across the smooth marble surface, "If you were in a hurry to die, you should have said as much."
The pair rushed toward one another. Raven got the first attack in, forcing Ethan to power the shield rune. The talons bounced off the armor, leaving Valraven open to attack. Ethan drew back his fist, shielding it. He clocked the attacker right in the face.
Saliva flew from the intruder's mouth, and he crumpled into a pile of feathers and talons ten feet away, "Please tell me that looked as awesome as it felt."
"You were magnificent, my love," Clara said. Her voice hit Ethan's ears like nails on a chalkboard.
"Your damn right it...I am not Ethan."
"Yes, you are."
"You have me confused with someone else."
"No, I don't. It was Ethan's mission to punch the Hawk Nose assassin in the face and look awesome while doing it. Just now, you punched the same assassin and hoped it looked as awesome as it felt. You are Ethan."
"What's that? I can't hear you. I am too busy fighting the assassin," Ethan said. The humanoid bird was slowly rising to its feet. Ethan superman punched the inhuman killer causing it to crumple in a heap once more. He unfurled the silver meteor hammer from his waist, and let a weight land in the open talons.
"You will never kill again." He sent a full charge down his arm. The runes glowed in rapid succession as the electrical current danced down the chain of the meteor hammer.
The Valraven opened his eyes and dropped the weight backing away in the nick of time. A bottle shattered at his feet, causing thick black clouds to cover the area, "I'll let you live this time, Silverbolt. Next time we will finish this once and for all."
Glass crashed somewhere ahead of Ethan. He wanted to give chase, but there was a chance the smoke could kill Clara. He growled in frustration, "Let's get you out of here, too much smoke can kill you."
He lifted her in his arms, and Clara sighed in content, "I am the luckiest girl in the world."
"Who did I kill in a past life to deserve this?"
Once outside, Ethan set Clara down and took off to find the Valraven.
"Be safe, my love. I shall await our next meeting."
"FML" was all Ethan could mutter under his breath as he continued his search.