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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 1
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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 2
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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 3
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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 4

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Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 1


Official Report
Fairhaven Mall
New Hebron, California

With as much muscle Kwrump displayed on jos massive frame, a person might expect him to be slow moving, but he moved with the swiftness of an Olympic runner. He caught Sapphira off guard by his sudden charge and he came hurdling into him the moment he was back on his feet.

If he’d had a longer start, he would have hit the other exemplar with enough force to send him flying across the mall. As he had only been a few feet away, he’d only picked up enough momentum to send Sapphira tumbling to the ground. It was enough to knock the wind out of him and he went careening sideways into a nearby garbage bin.

Kwrump loomed over his victim, a grin stretch across his blood splattered face, and Sapphira moaned in pain and clutched at his chest. Had it not been for Van den Broeke, he might have met his end there that night.

Amy opened fire drawing Kwrump’s attention away from Sapphira. It gave him the opportunity he needed to get away. Not recovered from the attack, he staggered forward teetering on his feet as Kwrump advanced on the agent. More gunfire followed, and he shook his head bringing both hands up to grip the sides of his head. The lights flared overhead, and it was all he could do to keep his eyes open. His head was throbbing, and he thought perhaps he might lose his lunch.

While Sapphira stood there in a disoriented haze Amelia emptied another clip into Kwrump’s chest. Each bullet hit, producing splatters of blood every time, but somehow the giant never seemed to notice.

Though she was moving back the entire time Kwrump advancing toward her, he was gaining ground. Amy gritted her teeth, and reached into her jacket for another clip, but before she grasped hold, her aggressor charged forward and slammed into the agent pinning her against the wall. She screamed out as her left it threw her shoulder back and into the wall, producing a sharp crack.

Her gun clattered to the ground from numb fingers, and all she watched heart hammering in her chest as the aberrant pulled back his fist preparing for another strike. She closed her eyes, knowing such an attack from Kwrump meant almost certain death. When the blow never came, she opened her eyes only to find him standing there motionless his fist still pulled back.

Kwrump slid back, still frozen in position, and Amy fell to the ground clutching at her fractured shoulder. She blinked, confused, but comprehension dawned on her when Sapphira resplendent in his superhero garb stepped between the two.

“This ends now.” Sapphira threw his hand out and Kwrump went soaring away, but he tightened his hand into a fist and the giant stopped hanging in the air, still in the same position he’d been in when he’d been so close to pummeling the agent.

Sapphira gritted his teeth and growled out a single word. This time putting every bit of force into it he could. “Sleep!”

Again, his command failed, and Kwrump fell slamming down a strong enough thump to crack the ceramic titles and shake the floor. This time, prepared for the possibility that his abilities would not respond, Sapphira did not hesitate, but rather readied himself for another attack from the giant.

Kwrump was back on his feet before the other exemplars were able to blink. Not one for planning strategies or thinking thoughts more complicated than ‘Kwrump smash’ or ‘Kwrump bash’ the giant was all too predictable. He came charging toward the pair of them smashing everything and anything that got in his way.

“Hey you big dumb brute! Over here,” Sapphira called, waving both hands over his head just before he took off running. His telekinesis might have been unreliable, but his physical abilities seemed to work just fine. Both moved with a speed beyond that of any ordinary human. That being said. Kwrump was fast, and Sapphira was faster.

Kwrump took the bait coming up behind him as he led the other away from the injured agent. Sapphira led him down through the corridors past store after store before stopping in front of a large stone wall. He waited for the giant to come and once he did Sapphira leapt out of the way, Kwrump tried to backpedal, but with the momentum he’d already picked up it was impossible.

He smashed into it with such force that entire wall came crashing down around him in a cloud of dust and bricks. For a moment, Sapphira let a grin stretch across his face, believing he had, perhaps, defeated the other exemplar, but that smile faded as the dust cleared and Kwrump’s gigantic frame rose from amongst the debris.

“Ah hell,” Sapphira cursed between gritted teeth and took off running once again. This would not be as easy as he’d hoped.

 

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 2


Official Report
Fairhaven Mall
New Hebron, California

Once again, Kwrump proved why he was so often referred to as an unstoppable force. No matter how much he bled, no matter how many times his opponent pounded him into the ground or riddled him full of holes he kept coming. Experts could not explain how or why, he continued on when by all rights he should have dropped dead dozens of times over. Even more baffling, every time he appeared he seemed to disappear into thin air a short time thereafter. Even Sapphira, who tried his best to avoid anything or anything to do with Exemplars, knew of Kwrump.

The longer the two fought, the more Sapphira became convinced that he would have to try something a little less conventional. He was already so far out of his realm of expertise that he’d run out of ideas. If only he could read the other’s mind and…

Wait? Could he?

The great brute lurched forward, and Sapphira held his hand out and licked his lips. He reached out, but nothing happened. He dodged a series of swinging swipes from the giant and turned to watch him go barreling past.

Gunfire blared from across the room. Amelia, retrieved her weapon, somehow reloaded it with only one arm and was using the back of the bench to help level the weapon as she took aim. Kwrump came to a sliding stop and watched the Agent pepper him with gunfire. The giant glanced back at the Sapphira and back to Van den Broeke.

Sapphira focused, clearing his mind and taking a deep breath. Kwrump’s hesitation gave him the opportunity he needed to steady his thoughts and bring them under control. It was difficult with his heart hammering inside his chest and his hands shaking, but somehow he managed it. All at once, his awareness came into sharp focus and he became aware, not just Amelia’s feelings, but those of Kwrump, a young man and woman who’d spent the entire confrontation hiding inside a mall kiosk, and a pair of security guards one injured and the other frozen in terror.

Sapphira moved forward, not once realizing that his feet left the ground and that he was hovering just a few inches above it, and held his hands out. From Kwrump he sensed new resolve, and determination and when he lurched into motion toward him, it did not surprise Sapphira.

The longer Sapphira read his emotions, the less he became convinced he was dealing with a thinking reasoning man. His emotions though powerful, were almost infant-like in their simplicity. He could make decisions and even reason out simple problems, but the rage that fueled him was all consuming. Whoever or whatever this brute was, he was not acting on a rational level. All he wanted to do was destroy and cause mayhem. He needed to stop him, innocent lives were at stake.

Sapphira’s mind flashed to the night of his daughters death, watching her die while he bled out on the ground beside her. Over the years, he’d played the events over and over in his mind so many times he’d lost count, wondering if there was something more he might have done. If he had, perhaps, Clara would still be alive that day. Here, he saw an opportunity to prevent even more death.

His hands still extended Sapphira reached out, digging deeper. He gasped startled by the intensity of what he found within. The Giant’s thoughts were almost too primitive, but the rage that fueled him burned so bright it was almost inhuman. There would be no calming the malevolence within this creature. They would have to snuff it out. Not through use of violence that fueled him and made him stronger. They must use other means, but as he strained his mind, he could think of no way to defeat the giant.

Again, he used his telekinesis to halt Kwrump and lift him from the ground. Moving across the room he met the brute’s gaze and turned back to the agent, between gritted teeth, sweat beading down his face. “I think, maybe, I can hold him like this for a while, but you need to call for backup.”

Amelia grunted in pain, dropped her gun and slipped a hand inside her jacket. She produced her phone and bit her lip. “Already. Done.”

The agent was in a great deal of pain. Sapphira suspected adrenaline may have been what allowed her to open fire on the other Exemplar, but now it had faded, she didn’t look like she’d be much help in a fight. She clutched at her shoulder, and stared into the open space between them, her teeth gritted, and sweat dripping down her brow in great rivulets.

Sapphira, lipped his licks, shook his head and focused all his attention on Kwrump. Short of defeating him for good, it was up to him to keep the brute in line until back up arrived. He only hoped his powers didn’t fail him again and unleash Kwrump. If that happened, he shuddered, there was no telling what might happen.

 

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 3


Official Report
Fairhaven Mall
New Hebron, California

By then all the denizens of the mall had fled, save for Amy and Sapphira. Had it not been for her injury, the agent would have stopped them before they left or else gotten their information so they could be contacted later, but she couldn’t string two words together let alone form a coherent sentence.

When help arrived, Sapphira focused on holding the giant with single-minded determination, stood in place. Sweat dribbled down his face, rolling down his forehead and stinging his eyes. Somehow, he kept them open, never removing his gaze from the giant, daring to blink or budging a single muscle. It was all he could do to keep Kwrump held in place, but somehow he managed.

Three armed agents burst into the scene, each armed with semi-automatic weapons and looked ready to give hell to whoever or whatever stood in their path. Sapphira saw them out of the corner of his eye and he did not dare turn to get a better look for fear of breaking his concentration. It wasn’t until the foremost approached that he realized that the man was, in fact, Matthews.

“Well,” he said, with his too-deep voice, holstered his weapon, slipped both hands in his pockets and turned to eye Sapphira. “You seem to have everything under control Miss Scott.”

Sapphira scowled and shook his head, but did not turn away from his captive. “I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. If you know any way to subdue this bastard, I’m all ears.”

“We haven’t had much success dealing with Kwrump. He appears every couple of months and wreaks havoc and disappears just as suddenly. I believe it’s something he and Chemosh would seem to have in common.”

“You’re not suggesting a connection, between… Kwrump and Chemosh, are you?” Sapphira risked a glance at the other exemplar, panting between words. It was getting harder and hard to hold the brute in place.

“No.” Matthews shook his head. “Kwrump seems to exist to wreak havoc and nothing more. He does not ally himself with other exemplars he just destroys everything in his path. Chemosh is every bit as destructive, yes, but he seems to have a motive that goes beyond simple destruction.”

Sapphira, bit his lip nodded and returned all his attention to Kwrump and narrowed his gaze. If these dumb shits with AEGIS were unable to contain such a threat, then it fell to him to put an end to his rampage. In his previous life, and in particular his early years, Everett Howard had never been one to solve his problems with his wit. He had been the sort to confront problems head on, letting his passions lead him, which had gotten him in trouble more than once in his many years. What he needed to do was something more subtle, something which was beyond him.

Marveling that such a simple creature would necessitate such deep reflection, he stood there staring at the big brute for the longest time, trying so hard to come up with a solution. The longer he held on the more difficult it became and he worried he was loosing his concentration.

The solution came to him as if whispered upon the wind. It was a memory from the distant past, something his mother had been so fond of saying. He had never put much thought into those words, but somehow they held a particular resonance with him in that moment and all at once he knew what he had to do.

‘If you can’t control the current of the river, then don’t fight it, just go where it takes you.’

He reached out again touching Kwrump’s primitive mind. This time, at the brink of collapsing from the exhaustion, the sheer force of his malevolence almost overwhelmed him, but he gritted his teeth and fought to keep hold.

The reason his previous efforts had failed was that he had attempted to force his will upon Kwrump and this was a creature he could not force or coerce. Instead, he did the one thing all his instincts were screaming at him not to do. He released all his anger and hate and cleared his mind.

All at once, the battle against the malevolence within Kwrump ended. His desire for destruction was still there, but it no longer impeded Sapphira. He reached deep into the others’ mind, delving past all the chaos and anger and found something that didn’t belong, another presence. He understood how to stop the great brute. The other mind, was distant, separate from Kwrump, but also linked.

He started off slow, building a barrier between the pair of consciousnesses, layer by layer. He did not understand, what he was doing or if it would even work, but he had to try. Kwrump let out a low moan and thrashed about, but he remained in the air. A moment later as the last few pieces of the barrier snapped into place Kwrump let out an intense agonizing scream and collapsed to the ground.

Sapphira’s connection to his mind, came to a very abrupt end as his almost eight-foot frame bulged and swelled with violent intensity. For the briefest of seconds, his remains, now a huge unidentifiable flesh-colored and gelatinous husk, wobbled about upon the ceramic tiles and then it exploded outward over four hundred pounds of clear liquid splattering in a wide radius around where his body had lain.

Sapphira lifted his hands up, just in time to keep the substance from splattering his face and spun about to face Matthews who had been close enough to the watery explosion that it had drenched him. When he glanced back at the spot where the great brute had lain, nothing remained save a puddle of liquid.

Psyren’s Redemption | Ch 12 Pt 4


Official Report
Fairhaven Mall
New Hebron, California

“That was unexpected.” Matthews eyed Kwrump’s remains and turned back to Sapphira who stood there mouth agape staring at the puddle of, what appeared to be, water with unblinking eyes.

“What the Sam Hill was that?” Sapphira asked rounding on Matthews who’s look of nonchalance seemed out of place.

“I should think, you would seem to be the better person to answer that question.” Matthews raised a single eyebrow and let the barest hint of a smile touch his face.

Everett scowled at the man and gritted his teeth all the while muttered under his breath. Matthews raised his eyebrows more than once during Everett’s long tirade of mumbled slurs and insults, but did not speak a word.

Everett spit out the last of his vitriol and Matthews shook his head and watched him go traipsing off toward Van den Broeke. Matthews wasn’t fond of Sapphira’s brand of racism, but he would not let the former old man get to him.

He furrowed his brows, turned away from him and strolled toward what remained of Kwrump.

Matthews wasn’t the most expressive fellow to begin with, and while many of the agents who worked below him respected him, some saw him as a cold and distant figure. It wasn’t so much that he was heartless, but he believed, that being their superior required he maintained a professional distance.

Matthews knelt down produced a standard-issue vial, and the accompanying set a of vinyl gloves from within his tactical vest. He retrieved a sample, careful not to get any on himself and slipped the tube and its contents back inside.

The liquid looked like water and had no discernible scent, but if Matthews had learned anything in his time with AEGIS, was that, where exemplars were concerned, when something looked and smelled ordinary, it seldom was the case.

The water, for lack of more definite label, must hold a clue as to Kwrump’s nature or at least his death. Matthews stood and glanced back over toward the exemplar now known as Sapphira Scott and eyed the young woman with lips pursed. 
His breath caught in his throat as he marveled at her beauty and for a moment he let himself forget who the other exemplar was. She looked so innocent, so pure, and because they appeared so close in age he was reminded of his daughter. When he remembered who the girl really was, he tasted bile in his throat. It made him sick. Not because, he had once been a man, but because of who he was at the core of his being.

His superiors were right to worry about Scott and, while he shared their concerns, he had been with the agency long enough to have seen the after effects of dozens of Kwrump-related attacks. If Sapphira had not been present, the brute might have killed dozens, including Van den Broeke. Some would call such actions heroic, but Matthews wasn’t so certain if that label fit.

Sapphira may have been acting out of self-preservation for all he knew, but he would give him the benefit of the doubt for the time being. He would keep a close eye on Scott. His attitudes were a continued concern and he more than justified such attention, but if he had been acting out of altruism than it suggested there may be something more to him than met the eye.

He might get better insight from him when he took his statement, but that would come later. The other agents on scene would handle the little details. For now, Agent Van den Broeke was his primary concern.

He adjusted his tie and moved toward the cluster of people centered around Amy. Two agents stood guard, following procedure in a hostile environment and keeping a perimeter around her, a third had knelt down beside her on the opposing side from Sapphira still adorned in his exemplar accruements, eying the exemplar with wide eyes. Matthews, paused pondering the costume. AEGIS did not issue superhero garb, nor did the encourage exemplars to don it. He doubted that Scott had taken or even had the time, to stitch together such an outfit, nor did he surmise he would want to. It seemed likely that this was a byproduct of his abilities.

He resumed walking and knelt down in front of Van den Broeke once close enough. “How are you doing, Agent?”

Amelia, looked up at him, her face glistening with sweat and grunted. “I’ve been better.”

“Amelia,” Sapphira put a hand on her good shoulder. “I’m sorry, if I hadn’t fouled-up none of this would have happened.”

“Not your fault,” she gritted her teeth and clenched her eyes shut.

“Agent,” Matthews said straining to keep his voice even. “An ambulance should be here soon.

“Just tell me when they come.”

She exhaled one long breath and then all the strain in her face melted away as she faded into unconsciousness. Sapphira, slipped a hand over the side of her neck below her jawline attempting to check for a pulse, but, before his fingers found the right spot, he froze. It happened without warning, the connection between the agent and her charge flared to brilliant incandescent life.

Her mind, seemed distant and far removed, almost absent since she had blacked out, but he became aware of her in ways he hadn’t before. He felt her heart beating, her lungs fill with air, her blood pumping inside her chest, and so much more. He sensed her injuries, foremost among them her shoulder. Kwrump’s attack had fractured her entire shoulder, not just the collarbone.

He didn’t even know what he was doing until his hands had gripped hold of the Amelia’s shoulder. The agents arrayed around them cried out, attempting to dislodge Sapphira, but only one of them was an exemplar and none had strength anywhere approaching his. Warmth spreading out from his hands, followed by a sharp burst of pain. Blinding white-light filled his vision.

Her bones fused back together, piece by piece, melding back together with searing white-hot heat. It was no small mercy that the agent had lost consciousness, she would have experienced pain the like of which she had never experienced in her life. Sapphira was not so lucky and caught the full brunt. He remained awake, just long enough to sense the Agent herself returning to consciousness, before succumbing to the pain himself and descending into darkness.

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