Today, War is angry.
That emotion is nothing new of course; War was born on the hot breaths of anger, hate, madness and sorrow. Thriving in the emotion synonymous with the color she wears with a sickening pride, but this is not that familiar rage. This emotional inferno is hot enough that waves of agony rise and wash through her. Her infernal power surging in her veins, alighting her hair and causing smoke to burst from her nostrils and embers to fall from her lips. Power contained, but only just.
War is furious, and out for more than blood.
She marches down the halls of one of the few places she promised she would never drag her namesake too; a school.
She hisses, smoldering eyes brimming with darkness and fire, her usual shades removed. Marching past lockers and discarded books and papers and pencils, another gunshot rings through the air. Screams follow and she lets out a snarl before turning the corner — only to immediately freeze.
Before her three bodies lay across the once pristine floor — crimson sprayed across the tiles and lockers. One is an adult, a teacher — dead — the two others are students, a boy and a girl. The boy lays across the girl, likely having shielded her last minute, he too is dead. But the girl, her heart still beats.
War breaths a smoke-filled sigh of relief, slowing as she passes by the mortal. The youth clutches at her bleeding leg, eyes red and running with tears, before raising her head, gaze falling on the space where War stands.
War breathes deep and meets the child’s eyes. Though she remains unseen by mortal vision, she allows a slip of power past, and stirs a fire in the girl. She watches with flickering pride as the girl tears off her sleeve in one quick jagged motion, wraps her wound and begins crawling quickly and quietly towards an open classroom. Through the open classroom door, she sees another door leading outside, where police and paramedics await.
War nods at the youths bravery, her minor joy stolen as sobs and screams ring out from the last room at the end of the hall. In a flash, War stands in the door and the inferno under her skin surges higher.
A man, young and ragged towers above a whimpering and trembling group of students. Their teacher, new and young and dead, lies at the killer’s feet. Another student lays just a foot away, clearly older than the rest, wrapped in a sports uniform, a baseball bat in hand.
War steps inside and kneels over the youth, a soldier’s prayer falling from her crimson lips. Behind, the man screams and shouts nonsense, his goals and excuses ridiculous and petty (and that’s coming from her) and raging fury claws and demands she let it out to seek retribution.
It’s a fight in and of itself to remind herself she cannot act outside a battlefield. That if she slips, everyone inside the room will suffer.
A shuffle in the hall thankfully distracts her, quiet enough that if she had been human, she wouldn’t have heard. She looks back over her shoulder and sees an officer take position just beyond the doorframe, his gun leveled at the shooter. A grin spreads across her face, until she takes notices of his trembling fingers, and knows he will not move without a prompt, an opening that is unlikely to come soon.
So the immortal woman in red stands, eyes burning, searing the shooter’s soul. The man turns to look in her direction, and maybe he senses her, maybe he sees her, maybe a part of his broken mind sees the burst of flame that remolds itself from dripping liquid metal into a gun that forms nicely in War’s outstretched hand, but it doesn’t matter.
War is the Queen of battle, of weapons, and she does not appreciate instruments of her own being wielded outside a battlefield.
And this place is far from a proper battlefield, but the man holding the gun can still be considered an opponent.
Red splatters across the floor as a scream rips through the air. The shooter’s gun clatters to the floor, frightening loud in the ensuing silence. The man collapses to his knees, eyes glistening as he curls in on himself, clutching his bleeding hand to his chest.
With a snap of her fingers, War sends a brush of madness and fear across the officer’s mind, immediately the officer springs into action, racing and pining the downed shooter. He wraps his wrists in handcuffs and once the killer is secured, the officer calls for aid over his radio. His comrades rush in, the wounded are taken, and the dead are moved with care — six souls she will bow her head to later, three who’s blood leaves stains across the white tile but will live to see another day.
War stares hotly in rage and pleasure at the back of the shooter as he’s lead away, eyes dropping to the streaks of crimson against silver, on the dripping hole where her own bullet had run true. A brief spark of amusement comes at the thought that the police will never find the bullet or identify the weapon, never know who had stepped in.
War is about agony and screams, about bloodlust and chilling strategy, but even that horrible practice, even she, has rules. War is also about honor, about keeping the fight to those who decided to fight and who know what they’re doing, who accept the nightmares and scars, even when they hate them. Such blood sport should never leave the heavy air of battlefields and war-rooms.
War — the red-haired female embodiment– does not allow random acts of violence against unwilling and innocent lives if she can help it. She is a soldier at heart, a bloody beast of one, but a soldier all the same. One that does not approve instruments made for and in her image to be used against those rules. Does not appreciate the young and innocent having to stand and be brave and vicious in her name when she is not there to enforce her rules. She cannot be everywhere like the others, it would certainly make everything worse if she could, but still, she tries. Her stubbornness won’t allow otherwise.
She will not weep for the fallen, she can’t, but she will hold Death’s offered hand and honor and mourn the lost all the same. No hate will brew tonight under her watch, her fire dim and cool, she will not color the world in her image, not tonight.
In the beat before the world’s next breath, war does not exist.