"Setekh-ra! Setekh namekh kore RA!" The chant was at fever pitch. Nighthawk stood in the shadows watching the cult, with their daggers raised, call forth something for which they were not ready for. He cast a hand over the scene and wove a revealing spell. He mumbled the ancient words and made the signs and the magicks at work were uncloaked to his eyes.
The font of blood they prayed over began to bubble and hiss. The disciples in their circle blocked his view of the table over which they prayed. Another spell made their forms transparent and a sacrifice came into view. She writhed on the stone table. She had cuts down her arms and her blood was draining out into channels carved into the rock.
Nighthawk leaped out into open space, tucked into a ball and then with outstretched legs landed on to the cult leader's shoulders with tremendous force. The man was driven down hard into the stone table and his jaw was all but ripped off with the impact. The cult members were taken in surprise and they, as a group, backpedaled and as they quickly regained their wits, shouted in outrage at Nighthawk's disruption of their precious ritual.
A cult member with dagger held high came at Nighthawk. Nighthawk blocked it with his boot, and then like a powerful piston extended once again into the man's face.
There was little he could do for the victim while the cult members surrounded him. Another one stabbed at his legs and Nighthawk easily leaped clear, then came down on the man's arm driving the blade against the stone and breaking bone. Blood splashed on his boots. He finished the man off with an elbow. Nighthawk leaped clear of the stone table and the dagger-wielding cultists persued him. Now he had room to work. He could have easily fought them balancing on the table, but with the woman's wounds already so egregious, if he wanted a chance to save her life, she could suffer no more injuries.
He was in his element here. They came at him one at a time, in pairs, in force, and he batted them away like insects, sending them to the hard floor with broken limbs, collapsed tracheas, and traumatic brain injuries. But like insects, they continued to come. And as he began to feel the pressure that the victim had very little time left, at that very moment--like a wish--a cultist left his blood on Nighthawk's vambraces.
Blood. Fueled. Rage. It swept over him and he embraced it. He struck at the cultists and they dropped, cleaved in two, limbs littering the floor. He slashed down in motions resembling sword strikes, but there was no blade--only lines of invisible, razor-sharp mystical force. Blood was everywhere. It covered him. And then as the vambraces drank their fill, the blood pooled on his body and rivulets ran toward his forearms.
As the last cultist fell and the vambraces were sated, calm returned to him. Nighthawk sighed and then leaped toward the woman. She was near death. He made the sign and said the words. Glowing energy coalesced at his fingertips and flowed into the woman. He grunted as he took on her injuries, cuts opening in his own arms. He winced, but maintained his composure. If his focus lapsed, the spell matrix would fold and she would not survive.
Blood flowed from his open wounds into the waiting mouth of the vambraces. He grunted through the pain and waited for the woman's injuries to heal and life to return to her. Nighthawk had to strain to stop the vambraces from continuing to feed on his own blood, to maintain lucidity in the face of the agony. The woman was waking and remembering the cuts into her flesh. She ran her fingers over her arms in disbelief and recoiled in horror at the charnel house that she had awoken to.
As Nighthawk leaned against a wall to steady himself, he waved the woman off. "Go, leave this place." His voice was weak.
"You took on my wounds," she said. "Somehow you saved my life." She looked at all the dead cultists. "You made them pay." Where he expected revulsion, he heard none. "Good. I'm glad." She stared up at her faith. "He sent you, didn't he?"
Nighthawk shook his head. "No. There is nothing holy about me. Go. What they were summoning has fed on you and if you remain may yet control you. Leave while you can."
After she regained her equilibrium and left, Nighthawk remained. He rested and when he felt strong enough, he cast a spell to close his wounds and to unbind the blood in the font. He tested that the portal they had begun to open was properly sealed then set fire to the warehouse and from a safe distance watched it burn to the ground as dawn approached.