I've never been one to believe in an afterlife. Sure, I'd like to. I certainly see the appeal, as it beats the hell out of disappearing forever into the void. Maybe I was just never optimistic enough, maybe I wasn't open-minded enough, maybe I wasn't stupid enough. Only one way to find out, I figured.~I killed for the first time when I was seventeen. There was a girl from school who thought I was cute, so I invited her over, let her in, and swung an axe I had leaning against the wall at the back of her head. She was finished dying on the second swing. Very quick and clean, considering the weapon, though I hurt my elbow at the time. I didn't realize how heavy axes were.~While I've always had no faith in life after death, I know I'm not perfect. I could be wrong, and there IS a certain amount of suspicion in the fact that thousands of religions over thousands of years scattered across thousands of unrelated countries almost all have some concept of it. What to do? It's not that complicated.~After she was dead, I packed up the body and dragged it back to her house. I cut the phone lines, knocked on the door, introduced myself to her parents, threw the corpse on the floor, and killed them too. In my arrogant youth I'm afraid I overestimated myself again. Her father was a big man, and not surprisingly, rather angry. He broke the axe handle off even with the blade in his chest, and almost broke my neck. I learned the value of a quick kill, then.~I came to two conclusions, thinking about the afterlife as a boy. If there wasn't one, life struck me as very pointless. No matter how great or awful someone's life was, they'd forget it when they were dead. What you did was superficial at best. Nihilistic of me, maybe, but not completely unreasonable. What I wanted was proof. Proof that I should put effort into living because my efforts wouldn't disappear and instantly fade into the stream of time. How to get proof of an afterlife without killing myself and risking the void? Get it to contact me first, obviously. And if you want the dead to come to you, make them hate you. Make them hate you by killing them first. If it doesn't exist, what does it matter? They were going to die anyway and nothing will come of it. Eventually, though, someone should come back if they can. I'm out for revenge, as they say, even if it's just to accumulate it against myself. And if I'm wrong, and all this lands me in some sort of fiery punishment? Well, I'll have eternity to redeem myself, won't I?~Or maybe I'll just kill whatever devils come to me, too.
Thrusting Attack: Superior
Lots of people like to talk about their "great equalizer." Something mundane that bridges the gap between classes, or a weapon of immense power that makes all people the same in death. I don't like to call it that, not being a moron, but you could say I have something like that. I call it a big knife. I've killed vagrants I had to dig up from the street and so-called heroes I had to drag down from the ivory tower they have rammed up their ass. After the incident with my elbow I decided that the light, versatile knife was the one for me, and I haven't switched since. A good blade with a good arm behind it can punch through bone and carve a person's heart right out. There's your "even ground," right there. Any terrain looks the same when a gallon of blood washes out across it. The loudest braggart can be literally cut down to size with a few timed swings. That's my favorite target, the heart. Kills them fast and effective, drops them messily and savagely, leaves a good picture to emblazon across the five o'clock news. "Hate the man who did this," that's what a well-severed organ says. My knife has killed more people than most ever even meet over their lives.
Sword Master: Standard
Those first few kills taught me that I had to get a lot better at what I do, and I can say without bragging that I have. I take great pride in my skill at murder. I'm not some scatterbrained serial killer that sneaks into homes and stabs people in their sleep. I wanted people to see me, wanted them to know and hate me for what I did to them. I had to get good at it, or be killed by someone better than me. And by fighting for my life, fighting to end the lives of others, I did just that. Most likely, this is why the media gave me that absurd name, because I make a point of my victims being fully aware of what's going on. Wicked, eh. At least it's good exercise.
Life is not a movie. Murder is not a game. And I do not fuck around. Seventeen was a long, long time ago. There is a world of difference between practicing something and doing it, between training to kill a man and plunging your thumbs ever deeper into his eye sockets until he stops twitching and you thrust through the jugular to be sure. I've seen my share of people who thought they knew how to fight, and a few who were close. But I have gathered experience that you don't typically find without a gruesome and incestuous civil war that leaves an entire country gasping for breath as its citizens must turn every day of their existence into a brutal race to survive. Kids who watch too many movies and wizened old black belts all flop over the same when they've been disemboweled. I kill people every single night. Sometimes in the day. I break into their homes, announce myself, show them my face, and I kill them. I throw them to the ground and hack into their bones until the adrenaline is flowing so hard and fast I can hear every droplet of blood hitting the floor like a sphere of glass being hurled to the sidewalk. And when the bodies don't even look human anymore, I flee, eat, sleep, and rise to kill someone else. That's my life. There are a lot of people out there who know how to fight. There are a lot of people out there who don't have a damn clue what it means to fight.
Environmental Awareness: Superior
I might have been careless the first time, but I haven't lived this long by staying that way. I didn't leap headfirst into the world of murder to let the police string me up and parade me around like a turkey they plan to publicly carve up to feed the masses. I sure as hell don't spend weeks in the wilderness, filthy, crazed, and hunted, setting traps for small animals and tearing into edible-looking chunks of hikers I've killed because I have nothing else and have eaten nothing but a raccoon for eleven days, just to creep back into society and stumble into the waiting nets of the law. As everyone says, you learn from experience. I'm not stupid. When I get the chance I study the television and internet for stories related to me, to gather what information I can about what my enemies are doing. I take the time for a good, long look at my surroundings before I expose myself to them. I've learned the hard way how to recognize the sounds and smells and little flickers of light and shadow that warn me of how to react. I've been stabbed in the back by friends and allies. I returned the favor with a stab to the face, and now I know better than to have any living acquaintances at all. All the stupid kids and copycats who just want to shake your bloody hand go from a safe haven to dangerous fodder real quick. I have a lot of scars in my back, but I've gotten good enough at this that I'm never the one who dies first.
Religious folk are my favorite to kill. For one, my life is extremely stressful and repetitive and the irony of these doe-eyed little lambs expecting an eternity of paradise, expecting that the world is just going to smile back in adoration of their perfect beliefs for their entire lives, and instead getting their heads smashed after death just so they can't look pretty for the funeral, is like finding a twenty dollar bill on the subway. And second, they're the ones touting this whole afterlife business. They're the ones for whom at least one, if it exists, will be correct. They're the ones who are going to stick around and come back for vengeance. If I have to, I'll just pick a house with movement in it and come in swinging. But when I can, I like to know what I'm getting into. I like to know who lives there, where they keep their gun, when they're going to have friends over, whether they have a bad knee I can crush at the start and then individually break their ribs at my leisure. And most of all, I like to know what they hate and hurl it into their face before my knife follows suit, so that between the agony and terror their last thoughts are of despising me. Do you have any idea how many murders you can string together in one night if you know the schedules and plans of everyone on the block?
Weapons Creation: Standard
The surprise with the axe handle taught me the value of a swift blow, but it also taught me how important it is to know what else in your environment can kill someone if you're disarmed. As undignified as it may be, you can easily gouge someone's eye or throat with a spoon. Chairs are a common favorite. Computer monitors, pencils, stray laundry. The world is your weapon if you've trained yourself to keep your eyes open, and a victim keeping their eyes locked on that knife might not even notice you reaching for the book on a table behind you.
Illusion Creation: Standard
I have a tendency to...wear out my welcome. It's not that my personality is too terribly grating. Back when I was less experienced and still had some contacts, they considered me at the very least tolerable to be around, if a tad cold and unfeeling. I'm not a mindless psychopath, after all. No, eventually I have to move on because a city starts mobilizing much larger efforts to catch me when the first few officers start returning to the station inside a great many sandwich bags. I'm good at what I do, and I won't hesitate to say it, but I'm not in it for the challenge. Necessity taught me the skill of disguise, and even with how much the papers like to describe me I can catch a train out of town without having to hide my face. Or, say, leave an unfavorable situation, where I can decide whether to just take my pride and depart, or come from a better angle. I've seen so many varied composite sketches of my appearance I'm starting to feel like a one-man acting troupe. ~If people don't gain any sort of advantage to sight or traveling in death and my victims are out there but unable to find me, I'm going to be pissed.
Super Speed: Superior
It only takes an instant to die. The space of a stopping heartbeat, a bullet's flight, the passing flicker of a flashlight. You learn to spot the signs, and you learn to control them, or you're a stain and a memory before you have a chance to piss yourself. Faster, faster, always faster, these days I'm so damn wound up I can't even sleep slowly anymore. Blinking is for liars and drug addicts.~For twenty minutes I sat in the tree, perfectly still, waiting. Self-control is not a choice. Even the birds forgot I was there in the dark. I didn't have to wait long. Every day, at ten pm exactly, she stepped outside to turn the sprinklers of before she went to bed. They were on for twenty minutes, the perfect cover for the rustling of hiding in one of the trees in her backyard in the first place. The faucet squeaks, and she turns back to the door. The same every night. One. I vaulted out of the tree and landed a few feet away by the time she was finished whirling at the sound. Two. It took a moment for her to register what was happening, and her mouth opened reflexively. I cut her windpipe just as the first echo of a scream started to escape, and finished the same swing of my arm by crushing her nose with my elbow and knocking her unconscious. Three. Before she'd even finished falling, a second stab removed most of what remained of her neck.~It takes four seconds to kill someone, but only an instant to die.
Matter Animation: Standard
Everyone who fights has their own rules for how they do it and why. Often even the ones who just kill to kill have their own sort of honor system. No stabbing in the back, no sand in the eyes, no surprise attacks before or during the battle meant to cripple. Fighting dirty is what you call it when you lost but are still too full of yourself to accept it. There are no rules in murder. There is no honor in pain. You claw the eyes, slash the groin, stomp the ankles. Fighting dirty is fighting effectively. Do people expect a referee to be keeping score as they flounder about in the dust? I don't fight for fun, or glory, or victory, or survival. I don't even fight. I win, because that's the only point that matters.
It's hard to walk into a hospital when you're a wanted man. It's hard to even buy a bottle of Aspirin. One of the first things I learned is that when you have to take care of yourself, that means everything. If you can't even stitch shut a wound, you're going to find yourself laying face down in the bushes, dying from infection and blood loss, too weak to even push away the stray dog gnawing at your injury. I've seen it; I've caused it. But I have never and will never BE it. I learned damn quick how to close a gash with some wire and a shard of glass, how to block out the pain when you cauterize it on someone's stove. Before something happened to me I practiced the procedures on people in their homes, till I got good at it, till I could start to prevent the sort of deaths *I* would cause, before they happened to me.~Blood is the price of blood, but nobody ever said I wasn't a cheap bastard.