Location: The Forge
Timeline: 3 years before the current timeline.
Tags: Cat, Angel, Pike, Brann, Zach, The Forge,
Zach came to a clearing in the frigid cold air. He was wearing a black sweat shirt and pants. He was wearing two pairs of socks with a plastic bag between the layers to keep his feet dry. Zach had come to love his morning work outs and found practicing on the giant pines of the island help harden his fist and improved his tolerance for pain. He took a moment to look around at his environments and notice he was near the forge. He shrugged and dropped down to start his regime of push ups before moving onto sit ups and then his martial techniques.
Cat was where she pretty much always was in her free time, the forge. She was trying to learn a new technique to color the metal that she was working with. Different chemicals caused different colors on different metals and she was experimenting on which did what. She sat near the open door and created a picture on the piece of copper she was working with. She dripped different compounds on the metal and blew on the droplets to create waves. Smiling she looked up and saw Zach. He was working out like normal, he seemed to focus on nothing else. Cat was a decent fighter but she really didn't like violence and so really didn't hang out with him all that often.
Suddenly, something icy and cold went down her back and she heard Maus laughing as he shot out the closest door in an attempt to get away!
Cat squealed, making the droplets dance and make a awesome design. "Maus!" She roared jumping up and darting for the door. "I'm gonna get you!" She scooped up a snowball and threw it towards the tiny figure running away.
Meanwhile, thirteen year-old Brann and Angel approached from the main building. Brann saw Maus bolt, giggling out from the forge door and seized the opportunity. He grinned impishly, jumped, grabbed a snow-laden tree-branch, and yanked. He rolled away just as a sheet of white, icy doom dropped in clumps around the tree and Angel.
Angel shrieked but laughed as she dove for cover. She made a snowball out of wet, sloppy snow and pitched it at the back of Brann's head.
Zach snapped up looking for the cause of the scream. He noticed Cat running after what appeared to be a white haired dwarf. "Maus" he whispered to himself. He noticed Brann and Angel also laughing and squealing as well. He shrugged not sure what the noise was for. He went back to practicing his combos while keeping one eye on the playful orphans unaware of why he was curious.
Brann attempted to deflect Angel's snowball and succeeded only in slapping a ball of watery ice that exploded in his face. He spluttered, laughing and shaking snow out of his hair.
Maus, having lured Cat out into the open and reached his intended spot before she got to him, glanced back and then hit the deck and slid feet first under a large fallen tree. His feet hit the back log, which stopped him handily and popped him up like a white-capped maniacal groundhog and he was crouched and pitching loose crumbly snowballs at her that simply showered her in more chilly icy goodness!
Cat let out another laughing squeal as she threw another snowball towards Maus, nearly hitting the conniving little bugger. "I was working you turd." She yelled bending down to scoop up more snow and packing them into hastily formed balls before throwing towards Maus.
"All work and no snow makes Kitty old," Maus taunted her while giggling, ducking and flinging with wild abandon. He reached down, finding his pile of ammunition depleted and all the snow on the other side of his bunker, out where she could get him. "Crap!"
She cackled gleefully before crooking her finger at the pale boy. "Time to come out of your hole, little Maus." She grinned before ducking to hide behind a tree, moving so that she could peer around the trunk and see Maus when he came out.
All she was was blue eyes gleaming out of the dark little hole balefully and furtive snatched at the snow right outside, trying to gather enough to make some ammo.
Brann sought cover from Angel's persistent barrage. She was puny but damn, she could hit the eye of a needle with a snowflake. She was also wiry and fast, making a difficult target. Like any good general in a war, when faced with a superior opponent Brann pivoted to one he could hit. He launched a snowball at Cat's back that promised to send her shivering and shaking snow out of her clothing for an hour. "Get 'er, Maus!" He yelled, letting Maus know he had his new roommate's back.
Cat squeaked and turned to glare at Brann. "Traitor." She hissed firing a snowball back at him.
Angel looked around, for a brief moment not a target, and saw Zach off by himself as per usual. She put her fingers to her lips and whistled, "OYE ZACH!" she yelled then launched a snowball for his knee.
Zach's head snapped up mid combo with his leg straight out in front him holding perfect balance. He quickly saw the snow ball and exploded into movement. He bent his one leg and pumped straight up hard just as the snowball was getting close. He as he rose into the air he straightened and begum a lazy spun over the expertly aimed wad of snow. Not rotating fast enough landed face down in snow, noting the irony of avoiding the a snow ball only to be soaked anyway. He was up quickly wiping the snow off of him. He looked up at Angel and waved but returned to his training.
Cat chuckled and shook her head at Angel as she let another snowball fly. Unfortunately like most of her efforts it had been off the mark, now normally this would add to the general laughter and mayhem that the Orphans were in the middle of, but this wasn't a normal case. The snowy projectile hurtled in Brann's direction, missing him by a good foot and socking one of the jock Payers right in the eye. Cat's eyes widened for a second before she yelled. "Scatter!"
Angel was the first to react, melting into the trees faster then a jack rabbit. She pulled her hood up hiding her flaming red hair and found a tree that no one else would dare climb. While her nature was to dress in bright colors her outer clothes always matched the environment so that as she worked her way into the foliage she disappeared into the shadowy branches and needles.
The Payers charged, the one who'd been hit growling and snarling curses as they made to chase down the Residentials and "kill them".
Zach stopped his routines and moved closer to a large tree he was near and watched. While never one to back down from a fight he knew better than to wade in blindly, most of time. He watched to make sure his fellow orphans were safe.
Brann clenched his fists for a second. Why did the Payers have to spoil everything? He wanted to stand his ground but he remembered the rule and the Payers were leaving anyway. All he had to do was stay out of reach until their drivers honked their horns. He cast a glance at Cat and Maus. They were better at hiding than him but he had an idea. "The forge," he bolted past them, hearing the Payers feet pelting in the snow. "We can bar the doors and wait them out!"
"Go!" Cat yelled and gestured to Maus. She knew another way into the forge and she would use it once the others were safely away. She darted away and moved to the far side of the clearing. "Zach, go." She pointed toward the forge not wanting Zach to get hurt for her errant throw.
Zach gestured to her to go on. He followed Angel's lead and blended into the background until he appeared to be just another tree trunk when viewed from far enough away. Every orphan had learn the art of stealth at an early age to avoid payers that were bigger and stronger. Zach kept a sharp eye on the Payers to make sure all the other orphans were safe away or hidden.
Maus broke for the door to the forge but it seemed his path was going to take him into the path of one of the Payers, something Maus had to realized despite the fact he seemed to be charging at full steam on his smaller legs.
Cat twisted out of the way running for the other edge of the clearing as she saw Zach disappear and Maus do the same. She managed to keep out of the way and had just turned to run for the forge when she hit a patch of ice and twisted her ankle. Pain shot up her leg and made her fall like a stone, making one payer swing over her as he tried to get a hold of her. She spun around on the ground so that she could try and get up to run but another wave of pain went through her leg and sat back down on the ground.
Maus intercepted one of the Payers as he was coming up behind the first two and passed behind him, though he caught his hand and with a wrench, pulled him around left the same way Maus was going while applying a finger-lock. The bigger boy flipped over sideways and flat onto his face as Maus let him go and charged around the corner of the building and presumably the forest behind.
Brann rushed into the forge and barred the front entrance. He continued on to the back entrance and slammed that shut, dropping an iron bar across two massive doors. The others knew the hidden ways into the forge but he saw no one follow him. He slid back the peep hole on the door and saw Cat struggling to catch her footing while Payers closed on her. He shouted, "Cat!" and worked on the damned door. His heart beat frantically in his chest as every second counted.
The student that missed Cat was named Audrey, he was a particular cruel, vain boy and was known for his crooked teeth and morals. He recovered quickly from missing her and seeing how she had some been unable to get up and run landed on top of her hard. Breath escaped her lungs like air out of billows would fan the flame of the forge. Ribs bruised and Audrey's hot foul breath and spittle plopped on her face as he yelled at her.
"You are going to regret waking up today you cunt!" he replied in British thickened accent. "Hold down her legs while I teach this infected whore a lesson". He talked to a skinnier kid behind him who was his brother Cecil. Cecil replied with cruel grin and nod. He knelt down hard on both of Cat's ankles and then leaned forward placing both hands on each of her knees. Audrey then reached back with with his right arm with his fist balled into a tight fist. He used his right arm to eventually pin both of Cat's arms against her chest. His eyes squinted and his mouth formed into a wide grin as his right fist moved to connect with her right jaw. Cat could only flinch at the incoming blow. It never landed.
Zach seemed to come out of nowhere. He tackled Aubrey hard coming from his right and both flew off of Cat going left. Zach was able to somersault over and past Aubrey and come up on his feet. If one were a mind to notice his face you would not see anger but only something that could be described as bliss. He hopped over Aubrey and aimed an obviously slow but dangerous kick at Cecil. Cecil easily avoided the blow and stood up as he backed away. Zach positioned himself between them and Cat. Without looking at her he said patiently. "Cat, when you get a moment, I am going to need you to send someone to get Pike or an Instructor" he said it like a person walking in a park in spring.
Aubrey got up and yelled "You stupid retard, you think Pike or an Instructor is going to save you?" Aubrey face was crimson red in rage and the larger boy that Maus had tripped up now stood up and was stalking around to Zach's blind side.
Zach suddenly have a confused look on his face at the questions but after a second "Oh no, not at all. They're the only ones who can protect you from me." Zach exploded into action. He ran forward after Cecil. As expected, he heard the larger boy, a left defense on the football team, run after him from behind. He turned quickly to intercept a fist aimed at his head. Using skills learned in Aikido he intercepted the right punch with his left hand and turned with the momentum, in fact he increased it. The larger boy was immediately over balanced and in the slick snow was unable to recover. Zach grabbed while he dropped himself and the held arm at the same time. The larger boy tumbled past Cecil. Zach chuckled but he was now between all three boys and Cat, as intended.
He let the three boys take a couple of passes at him all the while he moved them further away from Cat and the Smithy. Eventually the boys were so angry that Zach had their full undivided attention and facing away from the Smithy and Cat.
Cat winced as she rolled and managed to get her feet under her. She knew her ankle would let her make it to the forge, or at least she told herself that she knew it would. What she did know was that it was going to need Summer's deft hand to help her, then again she was going to be visiting the nurse for her ribs. She bit her lip and moved as fast as she could to the safety of the forge.
Brann slammed at the rusty bar across the door and at last it gave with a reluctant creak of metal. He rushed to Cat's side, helping her into the safety of the forge.
"Brann get Pike or an adult," she managed to bite the words out as tears sprang to her eyes. Her legs ached where the boys had grabbed her, so did her arms, ribs and ankle. "And Summer."
He set her gently on the seat and cast a quick glance at Zach. He gave her a curt nod and slammed the door on the forge. "On it, lock up behind me!"
Cat nodded as she grabbed one of the iron rods that she used in her metal working and used it as a combination crutch and cane to get over to the door and through the bar once Brann had gone through. "Hurry." Was all she said even though part of her hated the idea of her big brother going off in that kind of danger.
The boys nodded to each other in some unknown agreement that Zach did not seem to notice. Cecil came in on Zach slowly and unleashed a basic combo he had learned in some self defense class he was taking. He made a lot of noise and came in strong. Zach easily blocked the combo but had failed to pay attention to the other boys. The larger one had, quickly and quietly, this time gotten behind Zach. He landed a hard blow to the left side back of Zach's head with a stray branch he found. Zach's head rung with pain and his eyes watered at the blow. He turned right only to run into Aubrey who swung an uppercut. Zach had the presence of mind to avoid the punch but screamed out in pain. The part of his left cheek was cut in a straight line that missed his eye but continued the cut through his eye brow to the middle left of his forehead. Zach scrambled for a moment as the pain was intense. Without thinking he managed to block a follow up punch and catch the hand that had the knife. He immediately used an arm lock that bent the hand so the palm is bent to the wrist, this did not allow Aubrey to maintain his grip on the knife and it dropped into the blood spattered snow. Zach without warning, while still holding the arm let out a swift kick to Aubrey's groin so the kicked boy dropped to his knees. The larger boy took free shots at Zach's kidneys but Zach did not seem to feel them. He let go of Aubrey's arm and spun on the larger boy. The look on Zach's face was just short of horrifying. Cecil got scared and ran off screaming for help. Zach looked at the larger boy and his head tilted slightly to the left.
"You should run," was said in voice that seemed devoid of humanity. "Now," he followed up.
The larger boy looked at his friend on the ground who was holding his crotch. He managed to yell out, "Don't be a pussy, kick his ass!" The larger boy leaped at Zach with a well aimed right hook. Zach smiled a flat horrifying smile as his left arm shot up in a hard block and suddenly he had the bigger boy bent over with both of his hand behind his head. He then landed three quick strikes with his left leg. A kick to his groin, a knee to his chest and then a knee to his face. The boys nose collapsed like a plastic cup and blood fell from it like a sewage leak.
In the near distance there was a shriek from a boy's throat that cut off suddenly and then Pike charged into view, heading straight for Zach. "Put him down Zach!" Pike called running straight at them at a sprint. In no way was he winded, though Summer was right behind him with Kyort in tow at a slightly slower pace.
Zach looked up toward the direction of Pike and he looked like a mad man. His blood flowed in spider trails down his face that made the one eye useless. His face was devoid of humanity, and it took a second before he recognized Pike and let the largest boy drop to the ground crying. Zach backed away from both boys and dropped to his knees and waited, bleeding crimson into white snow.
Pike ran up, leaped the prone boys and landed on his knees, sliding through the bloody snow to engulf Zach in him arms and hold him. Ostensibly, it was so he couldn't get away but Zach heard Pike whispered, "Let it go, push it back Zach. Come back," over and over.
Zach shuddered in the comforting grip of his best friend. "They escalated and, and I got lost again. Sorry. Be careful one of them has a knife". Zach stated back not returning the hug, not because he did not want to but mostly he did not know how.
"I heard," Summer said is her light voice and someone whined in pain as she got it away from him. "Kyort, let's wait for Diego so we can carry them back."
"They can wa- " Kyort started to growl and the sound of two bodies hitting the ground was followed by his snort. "Never mind."