You know, taking a chance to see if thumbdrives still work is always a good risk. I had thought I had lost these files.

Does anyone even remember this fic anymore? It was forever ago that I posted anything. Here's to hoping a few recall it. :)


Title: Dain af Niohoggr
Author: GW Katrina
Beta: Skeren
Fandom: FFVII: Mercverse
Claim: [insanejournal.com profile] mercverse for [insanejournal.com profile] story_arc
Themeset/Prompt: Thirty Set 01: 10-Hunt
Wordcount: 2,152
Ratings: PG-13
Link to Archive Post: Here



Snarling viciously, Jenova worked on destroying everything that she could reach. Again, outside, she knew her warriors were withdrawing, unwilling to be caught in her anger. Wise of them, though it did limit her in a way.

Still, it did not take her long to work through the more violent aspects of her anger. Then, once that was settled, burned out in a quick and violent burst of destruction, Jenova stood there, panting. Finally, she settled, eyes burning white hot. Her offer had been turned down, and she knew that the protections had been activated. It would not be long now before her true demons would not be able to enter cities. That, however, left plenty of other choices. Before, she had the numbers and strength of hundreds of thousands of followers. But they had all the same limitations. This time, while her army wasn’t as massive, her enemy wasn’t as strong. And, unlike last time, she had the variety of beings to help make up for the lack of numbers.

The lack of Cetra worked in her favor as well.

Turning that idea over, she mused at it. Oh, there were still some out there. She could hear them reacting to the magic of the protections. They could no more hide the bright flare of their power reacting to the ancient spells than the sun to stop shining.

Weakling things, though. None of the ones who reacted and reflected that power was nearly as strong as the ones she remembered.

Half blooded children, perhaps? Weaker blood than that?

No matter. She would -not- risk the danger of having one of them turn out to be the one who could reseal her. She had spent far too long like that.

With a wave of power, she summoned Yazoo. He was the one who had the best suggestions for how to put her plan into action. Loz, she kept by her side, a perfect guard if she needed one. Kadaj still has that charisma of his, and she set him to guiding the main army. Yazoo, her brilliant, vicious middle child, he deal with the more unusual jobs. For the ones who had to be controlled by more than just a pretty face and strength of personality.

“Yes, Mother?”

For one as slim as she was and so very pretty, her son had a surprisingly deep voice. She always enjoyed hearing it. It suited his tricky, cold nature so well. And he could convince so many people to do anything with that voice. Looking at him, she saw that he had knelt in front of her throne, close enough to touch, if she wished. None who were not her sons, or her mortal pet mage, would dare be so close. She approved.

“I have a desire I would like very much filled, my son.” She sat forward, looking at him, eyes back to their more normal red-violet. “Do you remember what the Cetra did to us? Do you remember how they sealed me and hunted you like less than dogs?”

Yazoo’s eyes narrowed. She knew he knew what she was doing, but he could no more fight her will than lesser beings could fight his. “Yes, Mother. I remember. It hurt to die that way, and to know they just left my body out to rot.”

“Would you like revenge, my precious child?”

A hiss. “Yes, Mother. More than anything.” Her cold, cold son.

Rewarding him with a smile, she leaned back into her chair. “We are going to murder their children, Yazoo. Would that not be glorious? We shall take out their little half blooded whelps, destroy them, murder them. Teach the Cetra that leaving ignorant heirs on mortals is not enough to save their precious children.” Her eyes brightened. “Would you like that, my son? My beautiful, brilliant Yazoo?”

He studied her for a long moment, then a laugh bubbled out from him. Jenova knew that the mortals that heard it were probably as scared of it as they were of her. Good for them. It showed some level of survival instinct. “Yes. With all my heart, Mother. I want to see them dead.”

Jenova knew that part of this desire was because they had killed him just for his mixed blood. At least partially. No Cetra wanted to leave such a tainted combination behind. So they gleefully murdered Jenova’s sons.

She was about to set off the actions that would return the favor. If any of them cared about their children, let them weep away in the night upon learning that those children had been slain, all the way down to the babes in the cradle.

Pressing the information into his mind of where to find each of those sparks, Jenova smiled. “I do have a few others that I would like dealt with. They are encouraging your nephew down a path I would prefer him to not take.”

She did not take denial well, and she would teach him a lesson. Leaning forward, she traced her fingers along his jaw. “Set loose hunters, my child. Deal with them, and I will be pleased.” She gave those details to him as well.

When she leaned back, he looked at her with an adoring face, then stood.

“Anything for you, Mother.”

“And this is why you are a faithful son, Yazoo.” She waved. “Go. Enjoy your time to play.”

Smiling faintly, he left.

Soon, she would return to make the offer to her grandson as well. He had the potential for power. Such potential belonged with her. He was kin, and he should know that his place was at her side.

Like all bad children, he would be punished. Perhaps it would make him remember what true family was.

Much calmer now, Jenova sat back. And smiled.

It was all coming together now.

///


It had been a long day, and Aeris should have been tired. But she was still on something of a high from the protections activating. Why, she had no idea, but who was she to ignore that it felt good? Like sunlight on skin. Just warm enough to make everything comfortable, but not so hot as to burn.

Humming, she headed back to her apartment. While not totally oblivious, she -was- a girl who lived in the slummy area, she was more bouncy than normal. She would have to talk to Cloud and see if he knew anything about it. He was old enough, after all. Or close enough he should know more than she did.

It was a soft sound, just as she paused the humming to draw in a breath, that told Aeris she wasn’t alone. She didn’t pause, though the humming faded, and she began to walk quicker. Not the least bit stupid, she did not let herself look back, knowing that would just encourage whoever was following her to do something. Nor did she ignore the other areas around her. More than once, muggers had trapped their victims, and she was not looking to become a statistic, even if she was armed with the rather shiny staff that Zack had gotten her for her last birthday.

Speaking of which....

Aeris pulled out her phone, holding down a number. Didn’t know which it was, but the first six went to Cloud, Tifa, Zack, each of the twins, and Sephiroth. Any of them would be good. She just heard the phone pick up when something charged at her from an alleyway she was passing.

It was low, four legged, and fast, and she spun. One hand shoved the phone in her pocket, still open, and the other drew out the staff. A sharp word, and the runes on it glowed bright, extending out the hand length piece of metal to a full staff. It was good and sturdy, and Aeris -knew- how to use it.

Dodging the first one, she still couldn’t tell if it was a monster or something shaped like one, the woman quickly ducked to avoid the second, swinging up her weapon hard enough to earn a yelp. Without hesitation, she ran. This was her neighborhood, and if they thought they could take her here without her giving up a fight, they were mad. Here, she knew where she could make a stand. Keep them from coming at her from all angles. If she could keep them in a relatively secure spot, she could force them to come at her from the front.

The place she was heading was the prefect spot for it. Buildings on three sides, no fire escapes or anything to use as a place to leap from above. Panting a bit, as her job didn’t require massive amounts of flat out running, Aeris spun, facing her pursers.

They were...hobgoblin things, she was sure of it. Matted fur covered them, long, dangling tongues dripping drool hanging from teeth-filled mouths. They made strange yelping yip sounds, and Aeris tried hard to not breath in through her nose. They were rank, smelling worse than the alley she found herself in. There wasn’t any rational thought in the vacant eyes, and she still wasn’t sure if they were some sort of demon or if they were mutated creatures that roamed the slums. Both were highly possible. Especially right now, with the protections going up. Aeris would be the first to admit that she didn’t know what to expect, especially since she could tell that they weren’t complete yet. The song was still building to a peak, and until that was done, she knew that it would not be at full strength.

Though given how strong it was already, she was almost afraid of what it would be like at full strength.

That was neither here nor now, though, and she focused on her more immediate problems.

There seemed to be a half dozen of them, all rolling and sliding around each other, eyes fixed on her.

Liking this less and less, Aeris braced herself.

Then they swarmed forward.

At first, she held her own, holding back unless one threatened her, then she dealt it a hard blow. More than once, she was sure that she heard bones break, and more than a few teeth littered the ground now as well. But none of it seem to detour the monsters. They had to be monsters, she decided. Nothing with any sentience would ever keep attacking like this. It was insane.

Slowly, though, Aeris found herself lagging. They were fast, and didn’t seem to run out of energy. Which she was doing. Far too quickly. Breath rasping her her throat, Aeris took a swing at one, and screamed as another latched onto her leg. Bringing the staff down solidly on that one’s skull, she was pleased to see that it both let go, and then stopped moving. -Finally.- She was beginning to worry that these things couldn’t be killed.

Leg burning, dragging down further on her motions, Aeris limped further backward, eyes moving rapidly as the creatures rushed forward again. There were two more bites, and another of them dead, when Aeris heard the most beautiful sound ever.

There was three strong words yelled out, and then a fwoosh as the creatures in front of her ignited. Their screams were eerily human, and she pressed herself against the wall as the heat slammed into her. It seemed to suck the air from her lungs, and she slid to the ground, eyes shut against the light and heat. Far too quickly, it went out, and she tried to force her eyes open. Finally, she decided to just sit there and pant. Air was good. So was rest. It didn’t even matter that she was sitting in an alley, in who knew what, panting. It was still hard to breathe, and she just sat there for a moment, trying to compose herself.

“You know how to make an excellent entrance,” she said finally.

“Good to know,” came Sephiroth’s voice, sounding amused, but she could hear the worry under it. “Zack would be proud to see that his lectures have paid off. You’re bleeding.”

She was aware of that. The bites throbbed, burning in a way that made her grimace. Sitting like this probably wasn’t good for them either. Opening her eyes, she blinked to clear the blur. Then blinked again. It wasn’t fading. In front of her there was a pale shape, but she could barely make it out.

“Sephiroth...I think something is.....”

She screamed, the bites suddenly burning as if she was the one who had been set on fire, and it didn’t stop. There was a worried shout from Sephiroth, but Aeris didn’t hear it. All of her attention was on the pain that was starting to spread, crawling along under her skin.

“Help,” she managed to whisper as everything went dark, and the pain followed her into darkness.
.

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