An Uncaged Demon

                The delicious flames raged and smoke filled the air.  Sabanion strode over to the barely conscious form of Madam Viper, lying on the control room floor.  Her breath came in shallow starts.  She was burned, beaten, and riddled with the vengeful bullets of Frank Castle.  Sabanion eyed the various bracelets and jewels she wore, oddly juxtaposed against the modern green leathers and high tech ballistic body armor.  The Nazar Zodiac.  The metals and precious stones were ancient and had been tempered in powerful magic.  The power of these artifacts had founded the Byzantine empire and covertly kept it under control for centuries.  Now all the pieces had been collected here… on this wheezing, helpless mortal.  Sabanion looked down at her and smiled.

                “The HYDRA goons are gone or dead,” Crucible shouted over the flames.  He had just hurled a final fireball at an onslaught of zombies.  Fenris was tearing up the last few HYDRA technicians or guards that had the guts to stick it out.  Sabanion wondered who they were fighting for.  Madam Viper was defeated and nearly dead.  Perhaps these last few knew about the power contained in the Nazar Zodiac and wanted it themselves.  Sabanion wondered how many mortals had died for these talismans over the centuries.  He chuckled to himself. 

                Thin, burning cracks opened across the demon’s lava crust skin as he dropped to one knee over Madam Viper.    Small vents of flame erupted from the cracks that illuminated the demon eerily.  He reached for the skull ring with sapphire eyes on the Viper’s hand.   Her skin was shifting strangely and there was a faint sound of stretching leather.  None of it mattered now. 

More gunshots sounded from a distant hallway...  more punishment from the barrels of Agent Castle.  Crucible was rummaging in the control room, rifling through documents and smashing computer consoles.  Fenris ran down the hallway in search of Agent Castle, the reason behind this entire mortal mess. 

Sabanion gathered all the pieces of the Nazar Zodiac from the near lifeless form of Madam Viper and held them in his hands.  Hairline cracks opened in the fused obsidian and lava crust of his palms.  The cracks widened to crisscrossed trenches.  Venting flames and oozing magma licked the assembled relics in the demon’s hands.  He watched the ancient steel quiver and melt, seeping into his palms.  The liquefied metal poured into his opened palms and then throughout his infernal circulation.  He felt himself begin to assimilate the old magic.  Darkness… strength… vision, it all coursed through him.  Time, he thought to himself.  It would take time but the power of the old empire would be his. 

An empty magazine from a Glock 17 clattered to the floor beside Sabanion.  He looked up to see the grim visage of Frank Castle.  He had the unconscious form of Danielle Moonstar over one shoulder.  Sabanion was glad the mutant Native was unconscious.  She had experience with the supernatural and might actually know what’s going on.

created at: 12/11/2015

“You’re trouble, aren’t you?”  Agent Castle’s eyes were narrowed and he holstered his pistol.  He drew an enormous, serrated combat knife and held it calmly at his side.

“You’ve no idea.”

 

“You’re trouble but you have restraints, just like I did.  You’re caged, just like I was.  I’m free now.  Free, and many will regret it... for as long as there are people that need killing they'll reget it.  So tell me, who is truly the demon now?”