Sweet Home Chicago

Story by Searska_GreyRaven on SoFurry

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This was done as a request, involving one of my old characters in an epic battle in a post-apocalyptic setting. I really enjoyed writing this one. ^_^

Link to Seraphon's creator: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/mattypup/

Sweet Home Chicago

Seraphon © Hive Mind Fury

Story © Searska GreyRaven

The desert looked like an empty wasteland to all but the keenest of eyes. At the edge of the horizon, a dark image shimmered into view, silhouetted by the setting sun. It walked onward, steadily, each footstep like the beat of a war drum. The figure wore a full length raw hide duster and knee-high boots. A wide-brim hat shaded the being's face from view. Its hands were buried in the pockets of the duster, and though it wasn't buttoned, it was impossible to make out the creature's build beyond its bipedal stature.

The sun sank into the bare dunes, and like a snake wrapping its cold lips around a mouse, the desert swallowed it. Still, the figure walked on. It didn't even remove its hat.

A the edge of the wasteland, jagged shadows blocked the stars. It looked like knives stabbed into the body of the desert, but shapes grew larger as the figure approached. A single tower stood against the stars, looking more like a fork than a knife. A haunting melody wafted across the emptiness, sounding almost like a funeral march.

"Come on, oh baby don't you want to go...oh come on baby don't you want to go...back to that same old place, sweet home Chicago..."

The figure paused and stomped a few times with the heel of its boot. It kicked aside the sand, revealing a cracked and worn chunk of asphalt.

"Hida hey! Baby donchu wanna go, back to that same ol' place, sweet home Chicago!" The song echoed across the barren land, and only the wind sang its chorus. The figure stopped when it approached the edge of the ruined buildings, and took its hat off at last. She threw it aside, and it landed on the antenna of a decaying Chevrolet Cavalier like it was a hat rack. The moon gleamed dully off her (for it was indeed a her) hair, the red highlights washed out and pale. A long river of red hair, neatly braided, cascaded from the top of her head and down the back of her jacket, knocking off a good deal of road dust before it settled between her shoulder blades.

What year is it now? It stopped mattering after...when did it stop mattering? She thought to herself. She rubbed her eyes and glanced at the moon. She gave it a two-finger salute, tapping her temple and grinning broadly, before turning her back to the wastelands and striding into the ruins. Ahh...it feels so very good to be home. A full belly and a dead city. What more can a gal ask for?

There really wasn't much left, of course. She was surprised to see the remnants of the SearsTower (yes, Sears Tower; she refused to ever call it WillisTower) still standing. It leaned a bit now, but there it was, lording over the ruins of Chicago like a demon's pitchfork.

She sniffed the air like a coyote, and wrinkled her nose. Someone else had passed this way. Two someones, to be precise. She knelt and examined the ground, took a sample of the dust, held it close to her nose. The first intruder was the strange mix of human and animal she'd come to associate with anthros--the two-natured beings half human and half animal. Smelled like a human-lion mix. She set the scent aside. The second...

The second scent made her wince and blink. "Goddamnit." She knew that scent. Knew it well, and hated it. Her lips formed a single name, and she hissed it like a curse.


She crouched down and looked around, eyes narrowed and her hands hidden in the folds of her jacket. She knew it was pointless, worse than pointless, but it made her feel better. She smiled, and a pair of fangs flashed. She'd fed well this night. Seraphon was in for a surprise.

She grabbed her hat as she passed, replacing it on her head, her thumb and fore-finger lingering on the brim for a moment. In a swirl of leather, she strode into the city, a grin on her lips and gunslinger skip to her step.


In short order, she made it to the crumbling remains of the Water Tower. It took her three shifts, as she called them, to get there. Her first shift was to the form of a wolf. She debated leaving her clothes behind, but in the end expended the energy to shift her clothing, duster and all. It meant she would have to feed sooner, but at least she wouldn't have to back-track to find where she'd stashed it. While in the desert, she'd fed well. She felt better than she had in days. True, she wasn't up to full strength, but she gave up on the idea of ever feeling fully restored again after the war between the humans and anthros had escalated to mass extinction.

And considering the instigator of her current plight was within _her_city, it was time for a little overdue payback.

She followed Seraphon's trail, pausing every once and a while to get her bearings. Halfway down Michigan Avenue, a massive pileup of rusted cars and debris forced her to shift again into a mountain goat. She scaled the wreck easily, and shifted into a black panther on the other side. The moon was higher, sending crazy reflections across the city as it swam across the shattered glass of the skyscrapers. In some places, the shattered glass looked like snow. She carefully walked around the crystalline drifts. The city ruins were as silent as a tomb. Even the padded footfalls of her feline form echoed faintly.

The Water Tower came into view, and she paused. The scent was strong now, but the other scent, the lion, was gone. She debated for a moment. Should she go after the lion, or Seraphon? She curled her lips in a silent snarl. Whoever the lion was, her quarrel was with the abomination. The lion had poor taste, but it wasn't bad enough to deserve death. Besides, if he was who she suspected him to be, he could wait.

Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She looked up, and saw a figure squatting at the top of the tower. She spread out her whiskers in a feline grin. She shifted almost back to her human form, hooking her thumbs on the pockets of her faded jeans as she stood up. The figure on the tower hadn't moved an inch. Her eyes caught the moonlight, flashing like an animal's.

The figure squatting on the tower looked like a fox, at the moment, but she knew he carried two very opposed powers in his blood. Part daemon and part angel, he was blood of both, and of neither. His leather trench coat undulated in the mild breeze coming off the tainted remains of Lake Michigan, and his black fur shone in the moonlight. A true abomination, or so he liked to claim. Impossible, simply impossible. But she knew a thing or two about impossible beings, being one herself. What made him an abomination in her mind wasn't his improbability. It was his actions.

It was his fault her city was like this. His fault that it all fell apart, that the war began, and that civilization as she knew it was completely gone. She had never wanted to kill someone so badly as she wanted to kill him. But fate was a fickle creature with a sick sense of humor. The abomination had inherited his ancestors' immortality. She couldn't kill him any more than she could kill herself.

But she could hurt him. Oh, how she could hurt him.

Her stomach growled, and the gargoyle on the tower turned towards her. My meal is wearing off faster than I thought...Has it really been so long since I've been at full strength?

"Leave me," Seraphon ordered from the top of the tower.

"Nice jacket," She replied, walking closer to the tower. "Did you get it off a dead man?"

In an instant, Seraphon dropped from the tower and was on the ground several feet in front of her. His blue eyes flashed red in the darkness.

"And who are you, human?" he hissed. "Never mind. I don't care. Run away, before I end your worthless life."

"That's the trouble with you, Seraphon. Always jumping to conclusions. You'd think the unholy spawn of an angel and a daemon would be smarter. Or, hell, perhaps a bit more patient." She replied. She tipped back her hat, revealing her face in the moonlight.

Seraphon snarled. "How did you get here?"

She gave him a level look. "I live here. It's my home, always has been. Sweet home Chicawwgo!" She threw back her head and cackled. "What about you, abomination? How the hell'd you get here? And more to the point, what the hell are you doing in _my_city. This place is off-limits to your kind."

"My kind?" Seraphon said.

"The living. Anything that breathes and carries a heartbeat in their chest. You've got until the count of three to get your mangy, no-good carcass off my land before I pump you full of shrapnel."

"Common metal can't hurt me, human," Seraphon sneered.

She sighed and tsked. "There you go, assuming again. Where in the nine hells did you ever get the notion that I was human?"

For the first time, the hybrid looked confused. "You appear human--"

"And you look like a fox, but I know that you're more than that. I have holy water for just this occasion. Holy water may not kill you--I very much doubt anything in this world can end your life--but it will sting like hell. And that shrapnel you so casually dismiss is Otherworld steel. Even if you can't die this side of the lines, you can certainly bleed on it."

"You will be dead before you can set off your pitiful traps. Only humans resort to such base means of attacking."

"Alright, now you're just pissing me off. Seraphon, instigator of Armageddon, orchestrator of this apocalypse, get the fuck off my tower and out of my city. Or I'm going to show you exactly how _in_human I really am," she said. Her thumbs were no longer tucked in her pockets and hung easily at her sides.

Seraphon stepped forward and seemed to grow in stature as he approached her. The anthro fox glared at her with eyes glowing like embers and grinned coldly. "Make me," he said.

In the blink of an eye, she was gone from his sight. Seraphon looked around wildly. He unsheathed his katana, its green blade black in the darkness. "Where are you? Show yourself!"

"Why? You aren't afraid of a little ol' human, are you?" She laughed, and it echoed off the fallen buildings until it became a deafening cacophony. Seraphon covered his ears, lips peeled back in a grimace of pain.

Abruptly, the din ceased. Too abrupt to be natural. Seraphon was on his guard, examining every shadow for movement.

"Very interesting. I underestimated you, human. What are you? A mage? Some sort of sorcerer?" He asked.

Her laughter echoed again. "I am the warden of this fallen city. I am the beast between the living and the dead. They call me the Grey Raven. And I am. Very. Pissed. Off!"

A bolt of lightning slammed down from the starry sky, neatly parting the concrete in front of Seraphon's feet. The hybrid darted backward to avoid the blast. "And because of you, I am the new Devil of Solitude!"

"It takes quite a bit of talent to call lightning from a clear sky. You're more than a mage, I think."

A roar echoed across the ruins. "Stop thinking, abomination. Get out!" Lightning arched between the buildings, shattering several remaining panes and raining them down into the street.

"Smoke and mirrors, that's all you are. Too cowardly to face me in true battle, you'll just try to scare me with your little light show and your threats," he sneered. "How disgustingly human."

A screech tore his ears, so shrill and full of rage that he doubled over in pain. And something dropped from the sky. Something massive and covered in scales that flashed like bloody knives in the dark. Something easily twice the size of the Water Tower.

He gaped, unable to believe his eyes. She was a dragon. A full-grown _dragon_with bronze scales the size of saucers. The outside edge of each scale looked as if it had been dipped in blood before being fitted to her hide. Her wings were massive, the color of verdigris and run through with veins of crimson. A row of spines connected by a sail stood at full attention and ran from the back of her head all the way to the tip of her tail. Two great black horns grew from her brow, twisting backward as if her Maker had partially uncoiled a pair of ram's horns. The dragon's eyes glowed a radio-active green. The massive head uncoiled and snapped forward. Four fangs curved like scimitars flicked forward, reaching for him.

Seraphon dodged, turning what would have been a clumsy roll into a graceful tumble toward a pile of rusting cars. Searska missed, but only barely. Seraphon felt the wind of her bite on the back of his neck. The dragon Searska roared and laughed.

"Do you really think a pile of_metal_ can stop me, Seraphon?" Searska asked. She inhaled, and blew out a stream of blue-green flame. The metal burned, melting under Seraphon's feet. He stood, unharmed by the flames and slagged metal, and unsheathed his sword. In the inferno, the green metal began to glow.

"Searska, the Grey Raven of Chicago. I have no desire to fight you--" He began.

"You should have thought of that before your war spilled over onto my streets!" She said. "You should have thought of that before your war ravaged the living world and left behind nothing but ruins filled with savages!"

"Pretty words, for a blood drinker. What is the living world to you but a cup from which to drink?" Seraphon retorted.

Searska roared and sent another jet of blue fire in his direction. The steel frames of the cars turned into a quicksilver pool around his ankles. Even the concrete began to char.

"This is pointless. You can't burn me. You can't even harm me," Seraphon said.

"There are worse things than pain."

Her fangs flashed, and quick as thought Seraphon parried her attack. The sound of tooth on metal made an oddly musical sound. Searska hissed and attacked again. Her tail lashed out a split second behind her teeth, and Seraphon was only just able to deflect both attacks. Searska bristled, fluffing up her scales as if they were feathers and visually doubling in size. Sparks flashed as the scales rubbed against each other. Electricity arched between her horns.

"You might find this shocking, Seraphon, but immortal bodies can still be rendered helpless, without a scratch on them. All it takes is the proper charge," Searska cackled. She made a snapping motion with her snout, and a bolt of lightning as big around as a lamp post slammed into the ground where Seraphon had been standing.

Searska snarled and looked around. Suddenly, she felt a searing rip in her left wing. Seraphon's green sword was hard at word shredding the membrane of her wing. She flicked her wing, sending the vulpine abomination flying. He landed on his feet, cat-like.

"So, was your mother an alley cat, Seraphon? Do you only pretend to be a fox? No vixen bitch would spawn such an unnatural creature as you of her own free will." Searska laughed. "Such a lineage would explain your eclectic genetics. A cat in heat will lie with anything, daemon or angel. Perhaps you have inherited your mother's love of the feline species."

Enraged, Seraphon slashed at her, and managed to open three new wounds in her hide before being batted away. The first two cuts healed in moments, but the third seemed to take just a moment longer. Her wing was mending, but slowing with every minute.


The sound of his name drew his attention to the dragon's face, and as his gazed locked with hers, he realized his error. Searska was part vampire, and had the ability to hold a living being enthralled with nothing more than a look. Seraphon couldn't move. He was drowning in a pool of glowing liquid emerald.

The dragon snatched at him faster than his eye could register it and slammed him to the ground, pinning him between its massive talons. She growled, and the ground vibrated with the force of it. The pool of molten metal rippled like water. She flicked her thumb, and his green-bladed sword skipped just out of reach.

"I am Searska Grey Raven, Seraphon, and you trespass here. I may not be able to kill you for your crimes against sentient life, but you will by the Gods suffer for it if you remain here any longer. I am immortal myself, Seraphon. I know all too well the agony a body can suffer when it cannot die," the dragon growled. "But in the end, I don't have to hurt you."

Seraphon looked at the dragon, her enthralling spell unraveling enough for him to break the paralysis, and cocked his head to the side. He couldn't break her gaze, and he couldn't break her grip. But he could speak.

"What do you mean?" He said.

"Oh Seraphon. Did you think his presence had gone unnoticed to me? I know every inch of this city, abomination. Every stone, every sewer grate, every balcony. I know your lion companion walks my broken halls. And I don't think he is as immortal as you are."

Seraphon grinned. "You wouldn't dare. You were a paragon of justice. I don't believe you'd ever kill someone in cold blood, for simple trespassing."

"Was! WAS a paragon of justice, until your bloody war stole everything from me!"

The green eyes flashed red, and the scales along her nose began to shift from mostly bronze to crimson. The dragon screamed, withdrawing her grip and backpedalling as if he'd burned her. Her body shrank, shifted into the form of an anthro bat. He could move! Seraphon wasted no time. He grabbed his sword and moved. She never even felt the blade as it pierced her flesh.

Seraphon's strange blade was planted firmly in Searska's chest, the only thing supporting her. Her wings fluttered and collapsed like sheets. Her head dropped to her chest, her face veiled by a mane of long russet fur.

"You can't kill me, Seraphon. Or did you forget that part of the stories?" She whispered. She laughed bitterly.

"I suspected." He replied. "What now, then? Are we to simply battle until the world ends?"

She looked up, and her eyes glowing green once more. "The world has already ended, Seraphon. Take your friend and leave my city. There is nothing here for you. I have destroyed everything that bleeds within the city limits." She gripped the sword with one wing, flinching when it bit into the flesh of her thumb. Black blood dripped from her wounds and stained the pavement. "I have killed them all, Seraphon, and I will kill your companion if you remain. I can't have anything living near me. Even now, I can taste his beating heart, can feel his pulse on the tip of my tongue like candy."

Seraphon looked at her, comprehension finally dawning. "You are starving."

She nodded sadly. "I can't die, Seraphon, but I can suffer. There isn't blood enough to go around, and I will not endanger others by feeding on them now. There are so few left...so very few...and when they trespass here, they find only death at my claws." She laughed, and the sound hung in the air like stale dust. "Survival of the fittest is a poor place to be, when you must prey upon others to maintain your perch, and there are no longer any upon which you must prey."

Seraphon shifted his grip on his sword. "Do you concede defeat?"

She looked at him, grinning, and that grin turned the blood in his veins to ice. What smiled back at him was a monster. "I will never concede defeat, abomination. It is the only reason I have not become the monster my blood demands of me."

"Monster?" Seraphon said.

Searska nodded. "Don't tell me...you hadn't heard those stories." Her knees crumbled and she collapsed. The sword pulled from her chest with a wet squelch. Her blood pooled sluggishly, not quick and red like living blood but dark and black, like pitch. Searska knelt on the cracked pavement, breathing heavily. Air wheezed through the hole in her chest as she spoke.

"Kiammat made me, in her laboratory. If you are an abomination of nature, Seraphon, then I am an abomination of science. My DNA is unstable; I can be any creature or one of my own design. But it is the vampire genes that fuel the transformation, and consequently grant me immortality." She coughed, and a thread of black blood trickled down her chin. She frowned. She hadn't even felt it nick her lung. Otherworld metal. Such strange, sharp stuff... "It is my vampire genes that demand I take living blood from living beings to survive. Only...there are no more living beings. Because of you. You, and your stupid vendetta against humanity."

Seraphon stood, ichor dripping from his sword, speechless.

"You have brought great harm to one you called a paragon of justice, in your misguided pursuit for justice against the humans. But you've forgotten, in your zeal, that we are all connected. You've harmed one of the very people you swore to protect, Seraphon, and while I can forgive your attack, it is not my forgiveness that matters."

She drew herself up, the gaping wound in her chest at last sealing itself. The flesh knitted in fits and starts, as if it fought for every ounce of healing. "Get out of my city, Seraphon. Get your lion friend, and don't return until you have learned what it means to protect life for its own sake, rather than an idealized concept of a people. The anthros were not as guiltless as you believe them to be."

Seraphon narrowed his eyes, his blade still held at attention.

"What do you mean?" Seraphon asked.

"Who do you think turned me in to the butcher Kiammat, Seraphon? Who gave the mad vampire scientist the idea of creating the perfect assassin, created from the finest DNA life had to offer? Who offered their very genes to the creation of this perfect paragon of justice?"

"Who, Searska Grey Raven? Who did this?" Seraphon demanded.

"Shades of grey, my abomination warrior. There are always shades of grey. No, I won't give you names. Simply food for thought. One should be wary of how far one goes into savagery to defeat the savage. The transition between civil and bestial is subtle, but harsh. You won't realize which side you are on until you are already there."

Searska threw back her head and cackled, black blood spraying from her lips. Her form dissolved into a thousand dim sparks, like glowing ash. Her voice, however, was untouched.

"Leave my city, Seraphon, by dawn. Or your lion friend will be my next meal. Your skill may be legendary, but this is my city. And nothing that is mortal can remain here more than a night before becoming enthralled to me. If you love him, by dawn, you will show my sweet home Chicago your heels."

Her voice hissed into silence, and Seraphon felt her presence lift. She wasn't gone completely. He didn't think she could ever really be gone from any part of the city completely. But the feeling of malevolence was gone.

"You're bound to it, aren't you?" He said to the empty air. Only silence replied. "You're bound to the city grounds like a real vampire. You can't leave it, and you'll wither and die without it."

Something that might have been a laugh, but might also have been the sound of paper rustling in the wind trickled out of the shadows. And he could have sworn he heard, just under that rustling, a faint whisper.

"If it helps you sleep at night to think so."

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