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There's no fondness for Russia in my heart, even if I had one. Instead what remains is the memory of a bitter bone chilling cold, threadbare blankets, a chronic hunger that ate away at me ceaselessly. Waiting for a family that would never come. Another forgotten child in a city of them. Lost.
I never bothered to learn the truth about my family. Did it matter who my mother was? Or my father? I didn't have a name. A family. A story. An identity. Answers would have changed nothing about my circumstances, so why waste the effort? It wasn't worth my time.
Saint Petersburg Санкт-Петербург might be the cultural seat of Mother Russia, but the bitch has teeth that bite, notorious for her criminal underbelly. Police corruption and organized crime run rampant, and it was no different as a child.
It was much, much worse.
Crime rose in the wake of the Perestrioka-time turmoils, and the city was more dangerous than ever. Saint Petersburg became a battlefield under the control of several different gangs. Tambov Gang, Malyshev Gang, Kazan Gang. It was violent, and it was bloody. The city was recovering from food rations implemented for the first time since the war torn 1940's. The streets, the only home I had ever known were the most dangerous in the city, in all of Russia. The world turned a blind eye on us as the city turned on itself.
Orphans didn't live long on the streets if they had no where to turn. The orphanage I had lived in from birth fell, caught in the crossfire of the warring gangs, destroyed leaving behind broken bodies and a crumbling building. I had nothing. It didn't take long for the gangs to sweep the streets, rounding up any of those they found and snatching them. Children without ties certainly had their uses.
Those of us that survived the explosion that destroyed the orphanage, and block that housed rival gangs, scattered and ran, some disappearing on the wind. Others disappeared somewhere else altogether.
I was one of the unlucky ones, caught as I tried to run and hide, a child no older than four, squirming and screaming as I fought against the muscled arms of the hulking man that grabbed me.
Prison is bleak, dark as night and the air is stale and rancid. It is a Hell that never ends and a light that never shines. It is rotting basements full of bodies waiting to die. Food was putrid and inedible. Slowly, they picked us off, one by one, coming for us in the night. It was a countdown to what no one knew.
I lived like this for what must have been several months until they finally came for me. I was young, but I was far from stupid. I knew my time would come. I let them take me, bidding my time, ears eager for information as they led me out of the basement blindfolded and up winding stairs that seemed to never end.
Eventually we came to a stop, and the guards heavily loaded with guns removed my blindfold. I stood in a stark and brilliantly white office, sterile and minimal. The бригадир stood before me, the man in charge of the working street unit. He informed me the family would see me taken care of in exchange for pickpocketing, working alongside the burglars, thieves, prostitutes, and the extortionists. I belonged to the family now.
If I wanted to survive, I had to be smart. And patient.
The older pickpockets taught me the tricks of the trade, and I was bringing in countless wallets and watches within weeks. I picked up knife tricks, slights of hand. I memorized the streets until I knew Saint Petersburg better than the back of my own hand. The Vorovskoy Zakon became my Bible.
I had my close calls, but I was quick, and more importantly, smart. I was small, but lithe and faster than anyone else. I quickly garnered attention from the бригадир, and his eyes never left me.
I was always apart from the other children. We worked together to earn our keep, but they scattered when I came near. Whispered behind my back. Fell silent when I came into the room. They were lies, and cheats, and worth no more than the dirt floor they slept on.
It took four years for everything to change. I had just turned eight years old, and quickly become one of the street gang's best collectors, when I was attacked by a group of other boys, angry and bitter that I was better than the lot of them. Pushed and shoved, I fell to the earthen ground as they kicked me, their booted feet slamming into the flesh and bone of my body in a riot of strikes.
It was then a change came over me. Though they pummeled me with their feet, my skin thickened and withstood the beating. An anger unlike anything I knew welled up inside of me and a fire sprang to life deep in my soul and erupted outwards, exploding from me in a ball of fire. Little did I know the color of my irises had turned, yellowed and reptilian as my nails sharpened into razor like claws, long and deadly as scalesvdanced along my arms and legs.
I stood, clothing incinerated, body covered in soot surrounded by burned bodies, some still mewling as they crawled, charred and raw. I took a breath and collapsed. The бригадир found us, alarm flying through the neighborhood, the others dead or half way there, and me, in a pile of ash.
I woke, caged, locked in a fire proof room with no way of escape..
And that was just the beginning.
I was something different. Valuable. The gang might have been full of humans but they weren't stupid. They used me as a weapon. I was a child, but I was a tool. I spent years either locked up or used to kill those that crossed the family.
I learned early the most important tricks of survival in those volatile times. Trust no one. Be smarter than everyone. Do whatever it takes to survive. Be ruthless, cutthroat, be the best. Embrace violence, it's in your nature. Love no one for it is weakness, and weakness is unacceptable. Whatever humanity I possessed shriveled and died as my heart only grew colder despite the fire running in my blood.
I met him in 2007. His name was Pietro Volkov and he was an envoy from the famous Moscow family, the Maksims, with notorious international ties. The horror stories of the family's famed fiery threat had reached the largest city in Russia, and Pietro came to speak on behalf of the Maksims. To discuss terms.
I was quickly purchased and shuffled into Pietro's care, under the support of a small army of Maksim soldiers. I left behind the city of my birth, the only city I had ever known. I was twelve, a weapon that killed without mercy, moving from one family to the next. I assumed it would all just begin again.
I was wrong.
The Maksims were no ordinary crime family. They had ties in cities all around the world, fingers in deep pockets, funding corporations, with countless crimes to their name. They were also a great family of spellcasters, one which recognized me for what I was.
It seemed the Maksim had plans for me as well, exactly as I had suspected, and as experience had taught me. Salamanders possess great skill you see, beyond our fiery nature, a power witches themselves are known for. Though the humans had seen value in my pyrokinesis, the Maksims sought my other abilities. The poison in the blood in my veins. I was valuable alive. And I was a perfect killer.
Pietro became my guardian under the watchful eye of the Maksims. I had lesson to learn. Most importantly, a study of my heritage. My true heritage. None of that nonsense about parents, but what I was. Pietro was to be my teacher, a man with great understanding of the supernatural world I learned existed. It was he that taught be of the venom in my bite, the poison in my blood. I held a great deal more interest beyond the explosive nature of my pyrokinesis and the damage I could do.
After several weeks in Moscow, we left Russia behind and headed to America. The land where my new life awaited.
Portland was not that much different that Saint Petersburg. It was gray, it was wet. But things were different here.
Family means duty, and unquestioned loyalty is paramount. My guardian taught me the necessary skills to fulfill such a duty, but I had yet to be put to the test under my new Maskim benefactors. I remained untested as Pietro trained me. The Maksim family deals in a very specific trade; Magic. I was not going to be let out in the world until Pietro considered me worthy of the family and ready to act.
In the meantime, there were millions of ways to prove my loyalty and my usefulness to the family. And I had work to do.
Years pass quickly when the body count mounts and the witches breathed down my neck. Peitro might not have been a Maksim himself but he was incredibly close to the family, notorious in the organization. Years under his guidance I earned the name "Leviathan" and earned my own reputation for cruelty and explosive anger, and a job well done.
I earned the family's respect with blood on my hands. It cost me nothing.
My upbringing was unique. School is use less, but Peitro tutored me nonetheless, molding the fierce intellect he saw hidden, refining the skills he taught me and the abilities he nurtured. There were some things Peitro could not break me of. I held no interest in nor love for order. I did what I could get away with. Years under the thumb of others taught me I was out for myself, and myself only. I trusted no own and I would easily take advantage of circumstance. Adolescence brought many things; violence, drugs and sex. I live in a world built on power and who wields it. Attractive, clever, charming, lethal, women are drawn to me like moths to a flame and it started then. I had little trouble swaying them with my silver tongue, well placed words and just a drop of my endless charm. I got a reputation for getting around the block. Relationships, though? Never. Casual flings had my name all over it. Friends are few but over the years, a handful manifest, allies I learn to trust though the doubt lurks waiting to strike at the first sign of betrayal. I stick to my own kind, the Maksim Cabal and those that count themselves among the family, whether by name or employ.
I've been in Portland for ten years. I work as an enforcer for the Maksim family, notorious in the Supernatural community in Portland. My blood is poison and my bite holds venom. I am a killing machine. And it is all I know. I've shed no tears for what I've done.
With the ley lines opening, the Maksims are making their grab for the leaking power. Things are about to get very interesting.
Cold-Blooded:: Like most of his kind, he's not known for the warmth of his love and kindness. Hardened from a difficult childhood, he is only more guarded and naturally antagonistic towards affection and romance, except in very few cases.
Hot-Tempered:: Levi is notorious for his anger. It burns cold and deadly, turning explosive suddenly, and ultimately lethal.
Dual Nature:: Not to be confused with a split personality or dissociative identity disorder, Levi's history has left him with a somewhat fractured psyche from years of trauma and abuse a the hand of various organized crime factions. He doesn't know what a healthy relationship or love even looks like. At times he is impulsive, explosive, vicious, arbitrarily violent, and unpredictable. He is ruthless and brutal. At other times he is full of humor, charming, patient, and seemingly sympathetic. Bold, charismatic, intelligent and suave he easily has a way with people when he wants to.
Leviathan K. Volos
accepted welcome to MY SOUL TO KEEP
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