Cover of SALAK: Blood On BookwalkMershane-called-Bringer threw back his head and exulted in the sweet chill of the heavy rain as it washed over his upturned face. He breathed in the wide open space of stars and sky, and thunderclouds dark and strident with lightning. The rain streaked the green paint on his face into an obscure marbling that made its feline delicacy awful, abhorrent, the face of a Lord of Darkness, a fiend from the twisted realms of the shadow lands of the Id. Mer did not consider the aspect he presented to anyone else fool enough to be out on such a night. His senses revelled in the wild fury of the storm as it smashed itself on the upper force walls of the Élite section and came crashing down in raw and terrible weather to the Scald proper. Balanced on a parapet of a walkway thirty feet above the ground, sky-watching, cloak raging in the wind, he paid no heed at all to any possibility of danger to himself or any other.

The night was wonderful. The storm energised and delighted him; for the first time in many long weary months he felt fully alive and free. He reached out to the lightning with pale white hands that glittered like crystalline butterflies, and caught a thrill of fire on the focal rings he always wore. Power burned through him, filling him with the spontaneous magnesium flare that brought his secondary nervous system on line and charging till he could contain the tingling wild white fury no longer.

An aurora of swirling destructive power burst from him, filling the silkweave of his clothing with raw static as it flamed through his flesh, burned forth from his skin till his whole body gleamed like an incandescent torch. One second, two, three, and the energy was gone, leaving the night darker than ever and the storm dispelled. Rain washed over heated skin softly, its icy balm a chill reminder that he was not god, that he was soaked to the skin and steaming slightly in the cold of Salak’s deep night.

Brought to his senses again, Mershane glanced around himself, suddenly afraid that the folly of his display had been seen, or worse, that the uncontrolled violence of power had damaged something important. The stone beneath his feet was scorched and the surface somewhat crumbly; the wall behind him glowed slightly as it cooled down. The street was empty, silent, undisturbed. He breathed a sigh of relief.

“That was a damn stupid thing to do,” he told himself, and someone in the darkness made an odd strangled sound like a scream being swallowed.