log: the neighborhood, force/divine/supernatural(y) Who: Ren, Kratos, Kratos' son Atreus, and a buncha bloodthirsty harpies yhaaaahhhhhh What: A bunch of smelly bird things attack Where: The Neighborhood, outside of Kratos and Ren's place When: Uhm, recently. Before the Masquerades and similar cultured things. It took Chi literally months to write it. Some clinical studies suggest Sabrina will be up for sainthood soon. Warnings/Rating: Fairly safe. Language! Maybe some gore? He's from a video game. Rated M for digital blood. And Ren swears! OOC Notes: The harpies were sent to Repose by Greek divinity from Kratos' home plane. In the descriptions I have tried to make it so that only those of certain supernatural bent would even hear, smell, see, or know they were there. Hopefully this way writers can choose whether or not their characters even noticed anything odd happened. There is also no physical evidence other than another wrecked car and window.
The screams came in the night.
It was past the witching hour, in the middle of a night both clipped and cloudy with spring cold. The Neighborhood that housed the better of Repose's working class slumbered deeply, comfortable in their own world of somnolent normalcy. Kratos, his son and their companion did not come from that world. They dwelt in it, yes, spending dollar bills and learning the American English tongue of old conquerers, but they didn't live in it. The things that screamed and flapped did not, either. None of the normal people sleeping deep on a Tuesday night were going to hear a harpy's scream of rage, or witness their destruction.
Most potent (besides the screams) was the smell. The flock of harpies (there were six of them, weaving in the air and diving the rocking truck on the road) smelled like rotting meat and dried mud, like the waste of birds and offal left to rot. Each was about the size of a large human, featuring an unnecessary number of joints in each limb and faces composed of womens' dainty noses over a hardshell beak. Carnivorous back teeth showed when they opened their mouths wide to shriek their taunts. Two of them clung to the roof of the truck's cab, tearing at the metal with hands tipped like an eagle's, and one punched in the passenger side window with an icy splinter of toughened glass, reaching for the smaller form inside.
Inside the cab, Kratos was trying to shove open the door against twisted metal while a harpy stuck a limb through the roof. Atreus shouted as a claw caught his shirt and yanked, and Kratos bellowed in rage, a baritone like a bull that no normal person in the Neighborhood was going to hear.
It was a pity that Dante's second-hand gift of a second-hand truck wouldn't last more than a couple months in Kratos' possession. Not intact, anyway.
It was the bellow - but maybe not the sound of it - that caught Ren's attention. He'd been drifting back and forth between sleep and wakefulness, his mind turning over things about magic, and how he used it and how Adrian used it, and how their previous time together had been. Ren didn't mind the case that sat in his living room, looking more like a decorative coffee table than what it really was - a door to an entire world that one of his closest friend lived in so that he wouldn't harm others - but Ren wanted Adrian to be able to come out again. For Adrian, even, as much as for himself.
But it meant he was awake, this fretful inability to sleep as he turned over half notions and things he'd read in books that Rey had let him borrow and he stood, without turning on the light in his room he crossed to push the curtain back and look out of the window.
He recognized Kratos' truck, and it was easy enough to feel the fact that the man was annoyed, although about what - was at first glance unclear. He tilted his head, stepping forward as if it would give him a better look, as if there wasn't walls and glass between him and Kratos and the truck. The answer was not apparent immediately to any of his normal senses, but there was something here - something… attacking Kratos?
Ren still wasn't really sure what Kratos was. He wasn't stupid to the fact that there were things greater than even his own level of magic in Repose. He might not know specifics, but the underlying understanding that they existed, that was definitely there - and Kratos, based on his own experience, and that of Rey's, he thought rather definitely qualified.
But despite the silence from his neighbor, and the weird sense of humor, Ren didn't want to see him bothered. He reached out, looking for whatever it was, a shadow of something he couldn't quite place, but that seemed angry and flustered. He reached, and sort of as if he were pulling at a ghost, he yanked.
The truck on the street now existed in a strange place outside of 'normal human' perception. Which was a good thing, because the noise was incredible. A screaming, clawing contortion of female and hawk limbs had just managed to tear open the roof like a sardine can when an unseen force hauled it through the air and out of Kratos' immediate vision. He didn't have time to really wonder what it was, nor whether or not it would continue its trajectory and smash into Ren's upstairs bedroom window, because he was lunging sideways to catch his son by the leg as a harpy tried to haul the boy out of the vehicle entirely.
He released the boy and allowed the harpy to haul him out sideways of the truck, and then put his back against the roof of the cab with his feet on the seat. The boy screamed, more out of surprise probably than fear, and Kratos bellowed his bass bellow as he got his knee under him and stood up in the cab. The roof came off like a beer bottle top and smashed into a hovering harpy on the driver's side, skidding end over end into a neighbor's yard. Now standing in a roofless truck cab with a monster hovering six feet over his head dangling his son's Vans sneakers, Kratos almost lost his mind with fury.
He gestured at the house, and Faye's axe came out of the house to meet his hands. "Coming out of the house" in this case, meant going through two walls and the front living room window, the axe sending glass and plaster spewing in all directions.
Ren would have taken a moment to wonder what the fuck, had he not found himself thrown back from the window by something invisible. He could sense it - whatever it was - the fury of the thing definitely was tangible, if not visible, and Ren had this very real sense that if he stayed, it was probably going to be dangerous. He stepped through the bedroom door and threw the door shut, telekinetically, latching it magically, and he headed through the main room towards the front door and then the outside front door, and he stood on the front steps staring at the truck and the axe, and whatever the fuck Kratos was doing.
The sense of something from his bedroom window caught his attention, and he cast about again - grabbing towards whatever it was, a little bit blindly, attempting to hold it against the brick wall. This seemed to work for a moment, although the fury of the creature made him wonder how long he'd hold it. There was a broken glass window, and there was Kratos.
"Kratos? You have a 'thing'?"
Descriptive, but considering Ren couldn't tell much about it other than 'pissed off', that was about as descriptive as he could be.
Kratos was standing in what must have looked like an asteroid impact site. Bits of truck metal and shreds of cloth from the interior were all over the street, spreading into their front lawn. Kratos was standing on what was left of the passenger seat. The axe in his hand looked like it was made to split people in half several eons ago. Aetreus was hanging in mid air held up by his arms. Ren wouldn't be able to see exactly what was holding the boy, though the other man could apparently sense it. Kratos had no idea what Ren could see or couldn't see. He didn't know exactly why the harpies were here. He barely knew what Ren said. Honestly, it was a miracle Kratos could process thoughts at all, much less in a fourth language he barely knew.
He said Atreus' name at a bellow (that, Ren probably knew very clearly). He glanced once at Ren, or rather past Ren at a harpy who was pinned against a wall. Kratos vaguely remembered Ren had some invisible thing he could do, and the big man catalogued him as friend-not-enemy before turning away to stare up at the sky. A harpy dove at him, and Ren could watch Kratos duck at nothing, then the appearance of four large gashes along his back and shoulder before blood sprayed over the hood of the truck. Far from being diminished by this, Kratos just roared and threw the big axe at something. The harpies bled red too, and though Ren might not see them, they stank like a rotting butchery, even as one skidded down the residential road in front of the house with Faye's axe in it, and more tried to grab at Atreus and get him higher in the air where Kratos could not reach.
Kratos bellowed something in old Greek at either Ren or the harpies, which amounted to bring him down, and the flock cackled in many voices as their wings stirred the gravel of the road.
Ren had never entirely 'got' his neighbor, if he was perfectly clear. Like he'd seemed friendly enough, if odd, when Ren had first moved in and Ren had therefore classified him as probably chill - well before the whole situation with the music and the whatever the fuck powers Kratos seemed to possess.
Which, at this particular moment, Ren was realizing were probably something beyond what he'd seen. But fine. Kratos had been well within his rights to be annoyed at the music, and beyond that, whatever was happening here was an all out attack on his neighbor whom Ren generally liked having as a neighbor.
He could sense the harpies, if it wasn't clear to him what they were. But whatever the things were, they were dangerous, and they were causing damage. Ren didn't let go of the one he was pinning down, but as the Thing created gashes along Kratos's shoulder, he reached out, trying to pinpoint and count, perhaps without actually garnering attention. Telekensis was an option - but it might not be a great one in this particular case, because scattering his attention between multiple creatures, particularly when he didn't really know their powers wasn't ideal.
But then there was the boy - who Ren could see - and he might be able to do something about. He focused energy on the Thing that had the boy, and pulled, in a targeted way, towards Kratos - towards the ground.
There followed a farcical pantomime, which might have been funny but for the blood, the stench, and the boy's obvious adrenaline-tinged fear. Perhaps to someone like Ren, the boy's fear and the father’s incandescent rage might be more of the scene than the harpies’ exclusively physical pain; certainly without the creatures’ screeches and curses, the din was considerably less. Kratos' current emotions were to his earlier musical annoyance the way a flood was to a leak. These things dared attack him, his home, his son. Few things made the god of war this angry and lived to tell about it. Rage fueled Kratos in ways both good and bad, but right now it served his power in probably the same way it might fuel Ren's in roughly similar circumstances.
In the moment before Ren acted, there was a pause, an exact match of strength that sometimes happened in battles: the metaphorical lock of blades. One harpy was still pinned to the wall, struggling in Ren's invisible grip. A second was dead on the road several yards away, with the massive axe stuck nearly upright in her twitching body. A third was still crawling out from under the remains of the truck drivers side door. The other three were in the air: one was licking Kratos' blood off her claws, which left two holding the boy aloft by either arm.
The brief silence was broken without warning by a short whistling noise, soft and high, like the keening of a bird. The axe had separated from its kill and was propelling itself back to Kratos, and at a speed that literally cut the air as it went. In the span of a lightning flash, chaos resumed. Rens' ability hauled Atreus' captors downward like a deadweight. The axe cut cleanly through the wrists of the highest harpy. Atreus dropped safely the few feet to the ground to which Ren had dropped him, rolled, and came up with a knife. The boy, twelve if he was a day, leapt back up and slashed the maimed harpy’s throat. It fell with a gurgle. Meanwhile, a nasty crunch was Kratos landing on the torn door, crushing the creature under it.
It was quick after that. The axe did more fleshcutter’s work, bringing down the creatures still in flight so Kratos could pull them down, where they met no better fate.
Kratos' rage took the form of particularly gruesome violence, most of the harpies were in pieces when he was done-except the one still pinned in Ren’s hold against the plaster wall of their house. Shirt stained and eyes shining, Kratos stalked across the lawn to where Ren stood, and visibly tried to collect himself so he could manage civilized speech. Atreus recovered first. “Thank you,” he said to Ren, gravely, his American English flawless and without accent.
Through all of this, Ren had no clearer picture of what had been slashed or killed than he'd had prior to exiting the house. He did know that whatever they were had sharp weapons or teeth or talons maybe, as he got a closer look at Kratos' shoulders. That would make sense with the flight as well. But he still didn't know exactly what he had pinned to the house, other than its mates were dead. He didn't release his hold on the creature, but instead he looked at the boy, then back to Kratos. Ren considered pulling it down so Kratos could deal with that one too, but he decided talons or swords aside, the thing was probably safer pinned to the house.
He nodded, an easy acceptance of the appreciation as his eyes glanced over his neighbor's appearance. "What do you want to do with this one?" he inclined his head towards the creature on the wall without really looking at it.
The big man did not object when his son moved away from Ren and toward the harpy still struggling against the wall. Atreus was skinny, pale, and red-headed. He looked absolutely nothing like Kratos, except perhaps the expression of stern disapproval with which he regarded the world. Atreus spoke to the harpy in his father's native tongue, the Old Greek fast and full of clacking syllables. It was a short conversation. The harpy would not divulge from where it had come, nor who (or what) had sent it.
Kratos used the time to calm himself, so that by the time he moved over to the captive and took her head off with a lateral woodsman's swing of the axe, he was no longer seething nor roaring with anger. The harpy's head rolled away, and Ren no longer had resistance against his hold. All three warriors were then left on the doorstep amongst the wreckage and an awkward silence. Kratos hefted the axe again so it was flat in his hand. A cold chill exuded from the metal, periodically clouding the night air. Steam came off Kratos too, but it was just exertion and sweat rather than anything supernatural. "I fix the window," he said, finally, in his thick accent.
Holding the thing hadn't been that difficult for Ren, but he was fine when the resistance slackened. He still wasn't certain what it was that had tried to attack them, and he looked at his neighbor in front of him and then glanced to the window, and then back. "I can help if you need." He offered. Granted it wasn't really his thing and he knew it was more Kratos' but whatever it was, it seemed like offering felt like the right thing to do.
"What uh," he glanced up at the skies as if something might come down upon all of them unbidden and unseen. Although it seemed possible that Kratos and the boy could see them. "Should I be worried about this?"
Kratos stared at Ren. He'd never seen the man physically lift anything since he moved in, unless it was with his strange invisible hands. He blinked, and with no visible trace of humor, he said, "You can help fix?" He pointed his axe at the front window. Since the axe had come flying through it at high speed, it hadn't bothered with aim, so the frame was in splinters, glass was everywhere, and tattered blinds hung out from each side. Plaster chunks had spewed out over the lawn.
Kratos grunted at the second question. He too looked at the sky. His gray face was set with a deep frown. The answer, perhaps, was "yes." Atreus came back to stand next to them. "There are people that don't like us, I guess," the boy told Ren. "They weren't supposed to know where we were."
Ren's gaze flickered to the window and then back at Kratos. "I've done set building. I don't have a lot of experience outside of that, but I can follow instructions and I know how to use a hammer and nails and drills and that sort of thing. I don't want to be in the way, but if you think I can help," he shrugged. He was available.
He considered the younger boy and then looked back to his father and a sort of frown settled on his features as well. This wasn't a notion he was completely unfamiliar with, because he'd had some of that when he was younger. His Uncle had drug him across half of Eastern Europe one summer at least partially on research and the other part to keep from being discovered. Without knowing much more than what the boy said, Ren didn't know how to help, but he supposed he could be more aware of what was happening around the place. "I couldn't see them, but I could feel them," he offered.
Kratos hefted the axe again, readjusting his grip on the handle without taking his eyes from the empty horizon. "You feel the snatchers come again, you say to me," the big man said, in the exact same voice he always used, and yet with a disturbing intensity in the set of his jaw and the jab of the axe blade in the air toward the stinking bodies. He was still angry, muscles tight, steps heavy. The big man moved away from the doorstep and toward the window, stepping on the splinters. He started yanking on the blinds, slapping them with the axe blade to free the plastic, and only then did he grunt a question to his son in Old Norse. "Are you hurt?"
The little redhead frowned at the question, as if he had been insulted, and he rubbed his shoulder where the harpy had held him dangling in the air. "I'm okay." Then he looked up at Ren, chirping, "Uh. Thanks for your help. Sorry about the mess. We'll clean it up, okay?" Atreus looked back at Kratos, whose shoulder was not healing while he tore off pieces of the former window, and grimaced. "We're really sorry we woke you up." And with that, the boy turned and scampered back into the interior of the house.