"I feel only misery for myself when I / Look through the eyes of someone else."
~ 'The Obsessive Devotion', Epica
Memoria stalked slowly down the street, the collar of her leather jacket popped up against the faint but cold wind brushing against her face, gently ruffling her hair; she absently pushed it out of her eyes and tucked it behind her ear. She walked with her hands entrenched in the pockets of her jacket, pulling it tight across her stomach both to keep out the wind and to better conceal the glinting silver hilts strapped to her waist.
Her eyes surreptitiously scanned the near-total darkness all around her while her ears strained to detect even the slightest sound: a single body, most likely a bum or beggar, shifted listlessly in the alley just to her left; a small group of men were shouting and laughing outside a pub a street or two over; the gas lamps placed every dozen or so feet along the edge of the street hissed quietly. She meticulously catalogued each sound, then just as carefully dismissed them - they were all of them unimportant, distractions at best - and focussed on the one sound she knew was important. A pair of horses tugged at the reins of a large coach somewhere down the street from behind her, and she resisted the urge to spin around to watch it pass. Her fists clenched inside her jacket, but she stared resolutely forward.
As the carriage moved swiftly up beside her, she closed her eyes and focussed her senses. She latched onto the sounds of the horses; the steady rhythm of their hooves on the cobblestone street, their heavy breathing and snorts, the rumbling of the carriage pulled behind them. And steadily, ever so faintly, they began to slow. The high rumbling and crunching of the carriage's wheels deepened, the hoof-beats of the horses slowed, and their breathing seemed to stop altogether. When she opened her eyes, their normal steely grey had turned entirely black. Even the whites of her eyes had given way to blackness. She turned her gaze up to the carriage, reaching her right hand down towards her belt and clutching the hilt of her rapier.
The driver of the coach looked down at her in slow motion, a friendly smile creeping almost disturbingly slow across his narrow chin. His hair was a whispy sort of white beneath his hat, and his cheeks, nose, and ears were the rosy red of a man who'd been travelling through the chilly streets for a significant time. Hate burned in her chest, and she snarled. She lunged forward, grabbing hold of the side of the carriage and using it to propel herself onto it. The man's smile slipped from his face almost instantly, and time rapidly shifted back to normal.
"D--demon!" he stammered, releasing his horses' reins and sliding backwards along the seat in a panic. He reached into his jacket as the carriage leapt up onto the curb, the horses straining to bring it back to the road without their master's guidance now. He clumsily pulled a cross from beneath his clothing and held it before him, straining the thin metal chain on which it hung as he struggled to force it towards her.
She laughed mirthlessly, lashing out as the cross, clutching it briefly in her hand before tossing it carelessly to the ground. She heard a distinct crunching noise a moment later, and her smile widened at the look of terror spreading across the pale face before her.
"A beast like you has no business calling on the Almighty, Pimp," she hissed. She slid her rapiers from their sheaths, calling again on the power of her senses. The pimp's arms rose labouriously slow, lifting towards his face in a futile effort to protect himself from a power he didn't even understand.
She moved quickly, flipping her swords in her hand and sliding them effortlessly into the soft tissue of his neck. They crossed in his throat; she leapt backwards, allowing her momentum to pull her blades free. A spatter of blood followed her, but flew just as slowly as the body from which it had come fell, lying lifeless on the bench seat of its coach. The horses sensed something was wrong, and pulled to a sudden halt. The carriage itself, though, kept moving. It slid sideways, crashing back into the curb as Memoria landed weightlessly back on the walkway. Time returned to normal as she landed, and she spared only a fraction of a second to watch the cart tip over, landing on top of its dead rider and pulling the horses to their knees.
In the blink of an eye, she was gone, and to the small crowd of panicked onlookers assembling around the crashed carriage, hopelessly clambering over it to reach the driver and desperately trying to calm the terrified horses, it was as if she had never been there.