Judged

Vitoli Grimm, Part 1

Grimm took another step through the sewer tunnel, his shield arm raised high, his eyes attentive and his ears alert for stray sounds. His companions were at his back, preparing themselves for whoever or whatever they might find. Don-tonian sewers were known for being home to all sorts of nasty creatures. No matter how many times they flushed the system, things seemed to survive and even multiply. Grimm was nervous, but he’d never let his companions see it. He’d need their resolve to get him through this mission.

Grimm was doing everything in his power to keep his attention on the march, attempting to steel himself against the nagging thoughts which worked to find a crevice in his mind to infest. It was getting harder. Grimm looked again at the sewer walls, and then back again at his shield and the pauldrons on his armor. It was too tight. Far too tight. He would not do well to get involved in any major conflict in this space, and Grimm was more than aware of that fact.

Grimm clenched his jaw and refocused on the dank and dark path ahead. Memories of his father, Vitoli Grimm played on the edges of his mind. He just hoped he could keep them at bay long enough to get this job done. Grimm had known that coming into the sewers was likely to bring up some old memories, but he trusted that his Judge training and years of suppression would be enough to keep his head clear. Grimm swallowed hard, willing his stomach to settle against the mounting stress.

The sewers were still and stale. Even as Grimm marched stalwartly on in the darkness with great strides from long muscled legs, it felt as though he was not moving. Instead Grimm felt as though the sewers themselves moved under him. It felt like a giant and cruel serpent, playing with its inevitable meal and robbing him of any progress, but taking his energy and resolve from him none-the-less.

It was the silence that was getting to him. The air was so heavy. It closed in around him, isolating him. The steady march of Grimm and his companions became a droning rhythm. It carried the weight of the air with it. The edges of Grimm’s mind were starting to give way to memories of his father and the Grimm crypts. Vitoli’s voice started to play on the edge of Grimm’s hearing. Like a faint and distant echo bouncing around the old sewer system, hunting for Grimm.

Grimm did his best to ignore the words, but the still, stale and fetid air of the sewer compacted the space around him. The distant voice was stalking him. It was slowly getting closer, and louder. It was starting to break his mental barriers.

You are not enough! You are weak, like your mother and her line! You are not a true Grimm!

SPLASH

A small figure appeared ahead in the darkness, having just come down from a manhole.

“This is Judge Grimm! Stand down and identify yourself!” Grimm commanded, his mind immediately focused. Justice was at hand.

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