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#1 Posted by Supra-Man (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

Millennium News

...Reports are still coming in regarding the hostage situation of Chesterville County, Montana, a rural zone with a population just under 1,000. Reports indicate that for the last three days, nobody has been permitted to leave the county, and that attempts from aerial teams to get footage have resulted in the choppers being downed. Food, however, is still being flown in...snatched by some invisible force from surrounding counties' grocery stores, or dragged in the form of delivery trucks from highways over to Chesterville! Authorities suspect metahuman involvement, and the National Guard has begun setting up a perimeter outside Chesterville's county limits...

Chesterville, Montana

"Like I said before...nobody leaves," came the raspy voice of the pale man floating high above Chesterville county, the speaker directing his words only to himself. He was muscled but thin, his upper body nude. Around his waist hung the remnants of a bastardized red cape, floating softly about in the wind. Long hair hung down over his white shoulders, scowling face accompanying a sudden gesture of the hand. The speaker had spoken in response to another car trying to sneak over county lines, driving at nearly ninety miles per hour in an attempt to get away.

It's like they think I sleep, he thought derisively, thrusting a hand forward to snatch the car off the road using only the force of his mind. The automobile and the family of four inside of it rose quickly into the air, as though picked up by a massive invisible hand. In an instant, it was replaced in the center of Chesterville County's only town, Bardford, upside-down in a pile with nearly twenty others. Unharmed, the group crawled from the wreck, despairing at their situation.

Mere seconds later, the corpse-like figure was overhead, glaring down at the occupants of the town with black eyes and a crooked smirk. Most of them were gathered in the center of Bardford, where they felt safety in numbers was the best option. At the creature's behest, they'd been going about their daily lives, but those who would previously have returned home had now set up tents in the middle of Main Street. They emerged cautiously, murmurs once again carrying through the crowd as the white being hovered above.

"Another unsanctioned departure from Chesterville. Jail," he said, swiping absentmindedly with a thin-fingered hand. The offending father floated through the air helplessly to a former post office, a dejected look on his face as he joined the others who had defied their new overlord. The door closed behind him, and a mile away, in the middle of the town, the stranger spoke.

"In a motor vehicle, no less. Scientific consensus is that fossil fuels harm the environment," he lamented, shaking his head slowly. "Citizens' report," he barked, now lounging in mid-air as one would on a throne. A nervous man - the former mayor - came forth, delivering news of the daily activities. No crimes committed, no accidents, and only two heart attacks, one currently undergoing treatment.

"Er, Mr. Omen, sir...Chesterville's drug addicts...they're going into shock. If they don't get their 'fix' soon, well -"

"Comas. Tell the doctors I approve," the floating man shrugged, waving the problem away. Those men had made bad choices, sure, but they would still have time to redeem themselves. A medically induced coma would take care of the problem for now, and let them dream away their woes. The stranger had brought along some "medicines" of his own design, putting those who enjoyed them into an endorphin-fueled daydream for weeks on end. Perfect for removing society's problems.

Another series of cursory updates, informing the new protector of Chesterville of his people's health and contentment. School was back in session, and most citizens were averaging seven hours of sleep a night. The enforced curfew seemed to help with that. Nodding, Omen straightened in mid-air, clapping his hands a few times.

"Well done, Mayor Quincy. You're a true pal," he said, before hovering slowly up into the sky once more. The pale, skinny being "looked" over his county with pleasure, feeling every blade of grass with a telekinetic caress. He felt the wind move, kept track of every deer in the woods. It was nice.

On the first day, he'd carried out simple favors for people, such as using his perceptive abilities to locate lost trinkets and retrieve missing pets. By the second, he'd used his powers to stop all crime in the town, which was simple enough, given its small size. He'd also participated in the reconstruction of some old dilapidated houses, easily holding the frame in place while the workers completed their craft. On the third day, however, came the introduction of curfew, and the prevention of anyone leaving the county. Alcohol and guns had been confiscated, as there was inherent danger to enjoying their use. Phone lines were cut, and he'd been forced to resort to blanket surveillance to keep his people safe. He'd stopped a suicide attempt, though, and that made him feel good.

Hovering high above, he felt guns moving through the grass at the county line, treaded tanks setting up. Engagement was a last resort for them, he knew. They'd been clever enough to stop before crossing into Chesterville county, aware that it would put civilians at risk.

He spread his arms, feeling every last inch of his beautiful town. For all intents and purposes, it had been saved. It was a good feeling, one the being hoped would last. Anyone who wanted to take it from him, though...well, he'd deal with them later.

Has Bardford been saved...or damned?
Has Bardford been saved...or damned?

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#2 Edited by horned_god (262 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man:

Mountains, Montana

No Caption Provided

Enki wandered in the mountains for several days. He hunted bears, mountain lions and bisons. Searched for the magicians, spirits, and immortals that he remembered from the time when he was here last time with the Vikings.

Over the 700 years a whole continent has changed beyond recognition. Indian hunters and endless buffalo herds disappeared. The wilderness has been replaced by cities and fields. Only these mountains persist, one of the few things that almost did not change. The land that cheeky monkeys not destroyed. When thinking about people, Enki suddenly got hungry. He was on the very edge of the mountains, and before him the rural zone spread. In the distance he saw a small town.

Two hours later...

No Caption Provided

A several yards below the town Bardford, Enki silently moves underground. He carefully surveys his hunting ground. Through the vibrations of the earth, he feel every step, each movement of his prey. He searches for unusual life, spiritual or magical energy. He's just hungry, so he avoids the places where the strong presence of the gods, ghosts, magicians or other supernatural beings radiates.

Finally, he finds someone who lives alone. Someone who has a healthy life force with no signs of magic. Protected by his hunters dome, one-sided, spherical barrier that captures all the sounds and odors going out, Enki waits until nightfall. Then he will attack.

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#4 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

No Caption Provided

It was night in Montana. The mountains and forests surrounding the small town felt like home, solitary and quiet. It would be easy to live among them, another solitary and quiet being - but in doing so, give up all traces of humanity. They nurtured her with their abhorrence, their loathing, their fear, and she devoured these things that bled from them, lapping up the crimson drops to appease her second self. From the tree she slipped down, silent pads making no noise, a short drop to the top of the barn, a few short steps along a railing to the house proper. The animals caught her scent, quavered in instinctive fear of the predator, but their fear was nothing to her - sparks and embers, and she sought fire. She leapt up to the roof and dropped down to the railing of the balcony, stretching for the taste of fear within the house - it would only take a moment to-

-to come back to herself, and the young woman crouched on the railing, dressed in a close-fitting blue leotard and skirt, steel shuriken chained above her breasts and a firearm at her side, blue ribbon over her eyes and fluttering in the scant hint of breeze. She listened for hints of what was happening in this town - the whispers in this house, in others. The curfew, that kept people locked in at night. Departures from the prison that should have kept people locked in. No phones, no guns - a strange caution, for a rural town like this where people likely farmed and hunted. Whispers of drugs, and amid it all, a man who made the rules, and made sure they were followed.

Night Shift dropped down from the balcony, nearly as silent as before, and walked through the dark town. The blackness of it didn't bother her; lights were for others. She relied on the sounds around her, the breath of the wind, the warmth or chill of the air. And through it all, the bright sparks that were people, living their lives, sleeping, eating, playing, living. She felt them touch her consciousness and let them slip away again.

Somewhere out there was something more important than the lives of mortals. Something was controlling them. Herding them. People were not meant to be herded.

They were meant to be hunted.

Night Shift smiled a quieting to her second self, tucking it down inside her. These weren't the people she wanted to hunt. There was only one who had earned that title, but he was not here. Some day, she would find him. Until then... well, until then, everything was practice.

And good practice means finding out what's going on here, and stopping it before it spreads. Somewhere in here is a man who has blinded an entire town. If need be, I will bring the darkness.

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#5 Edited by Quark-Star (66 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

The entirety of the vast cosmos had laid it's path before the intergalactic peace walker, as an entire universe sang songs and told stories far too numerous for any one man to truly count or experience though deep down Quantus truly wished he could listen to each and everyone. To meet every race and newborn being that came into existence. Trillions upon trillions of galaxies and the planets to match. He had experienced so much and felt the very heartbeat of life itself. Quantus could not truly witness all that stood before him, but feel the very essence of it's soul, the raw pure emotions of it's inhabitants was a gift he had possessed since birth and the one gift he chose not to supress.

And as so many planets and races he had called friend and with so many still to come. It was the planet located in the Milky Way Galaxy that Quantus had heard so much about on his many galactic travels. The whispers and murmurs abundant in the vastness of space, as so called Gods and beings beyond spoke more about Earth than perhaps any other in recent times. It was quite rare for a single planet to go through such drastic changes in so little time.

Truly it was such a small speck, a mere grain of sand in the grand scheme of things. A tiny grain that like everything else will wash away. And with life so fleeting and it's story seemingly so grand, the intrepid traveler finally stood hovering above the planet he had heard so much about. He stood smiling with child like glee and wonderment, just as he had done numerous times before. He could feel so much power resonating from the planet from the beings whom lived below, feel so much changing emotion.

Yet one area too small to be even considered a grain took his notice. Quantus could feel the forceful supression of emotions, an agonizing will to force feeling into something different out of fear. He could feel the footsteps of trepidation and incoming regret from men of war. But above all else he could feel the ominous tendrils of one far more powerful holding a grip on those below. Quantus flew down his body radiating with a soothing positive energy that began pulsating across the entire area. His smile just as warm and inviting. He did not come to threaten or to fight but he wished to meet this ominous stranger and simply talk.

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#6 Posted by Supra-Man (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

@quark-star:

The Supra-Man was said to never tire, yet the mysterious being who had imitated his choice of clothing now found his eyes growing heavy. Frail form hanging unnaturally in the air as opposed to the Universal Man's strong posture, he lolled about, twisting in shadow above the town of Bardford. Unkempt in stark contrast to the orderly system he'd imposed, Omen smiled, enjoying on some primal level the extent to which he'd statistically improved these people's lives. He remembered his parents always saying to focus on the little things, and that was what he was doing. Even as other beings sought to impose their will on others on a grander scale, the frail-looking parahuman elected instead to devote himself to making little change in people's lives. Others looked to rectify situations after they'd become problems, keeping some measure of faith in the people of Earth. That was folly to Omen, though he respected them for trying nonetheless.

Feeling the ordinary movements of people in their homes, he detected an abnormality cross where he estimated the county line to be. Frowning, he thought perhaps he'd investigate, but decided to leave it to the inhabitants of the county to look into that. He wasn't there to be take over their lives, after all. Content, he laid back in the sky, blackened eyes tightly shut.

Then, though, he was shaken from his rest, a positive energy rippling over the town of Bardford that brought a smile to his face. What force was this, coming to contribute so beneficially to his personal project? Chesterville County would always welcome such a visitor!

Unlike the Universal Man, whose flight could only be described as graceful, Omen's path through the air was rigid, as though he were clawing himself along towards the glowing being who hovered over the tiny village. He grinned, a thin-lipped expression that seemed more befitting a corpse than a man. Hanging upside-down next to intergalactic wonder Quantus Romstar, he gave a little wave, eyes wide. They were, however, blank, his sight instead composed of radar-like control of his environment. Where he "looked," he subconsciously directed his telekinetic positioning field, a warped facsimile of the Supra-Man's own. Yet, where his stopped at his skin, Omen's seemed to radiate past his body for miles around, far weaker, but still present...as though he were touching everything and everyone in Chesterville County at once.

"Hey there!" he said, greeting the traveler with a close-lipped grin and a tiny wave. "I see you've made your way to Chesterville County. My name's Omen. Happy to meet you," he rasped, voice lacking the signature calming timbre belonging to the Hesitant Champion.

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#7 Posted by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@demonboundsitri:

@supra-man:As soon as I heard about the takeover of the small town I began my drive from California it was a serious issue to say the least and the fight was coming for that town soon. I knew that I could probably takeover a small town myself but this guy from the reports I was hearing was a telekinetic sure if it was raining I may stand a chance. But it wasn't worth it to die or get captured during the fight when I could gain information instead. With the Unity Project bracelet I got from Xae I will be able to report on any information I find in the town or maybe a possible weakness for this supposed god. I tested the wrist band before entering the county and confirmed it was indeed working now it was time to prepare.

It was almost night by the time I crossed the county line and I was getting my story straight independent reporter should be an easy enough cover for me interview various civilians about their Overlord and I may be able to come up with some kind of blind spot to his power. I knew what to look for and I needed information without the other heroes could fail when they attack the city. Information was what I was here for but I was never stupid enough to come without my other equipment which sat in the trunk even a as of yet unused item that gave me defense against magic. Okay then I can see the town in the distance last time to get my story straight if they ask... Hi there my name is William or Will if you prefer I'm a independent reporter chasing a scoop in your town and wanting to learn what's going on this town can you answer some of my questions about your Overlord and what has been happening in this since it's takeover... You ever think you might be going to far with this Landon... Of course but we need to be prepared otherwise we get captured and we get screwed over... Fine but I think your story will stick.

I pulled into the town and found a parking spot. The town was dark for sure the lights had gone out it would seem the electricity was turned off i should probably rush towards a nearby hotel or something and figure something out.

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#8 Posted by Quark-Star (66 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man:

It was so unique, a powerful supercomputer processing information on a scale beyond the comprehension of most mortal beings and yet something so powerful and complex existed inside individuals often to simple to realize what they had lying inside them. A myriad of thoughts, of dazzling truths and supressive lies. It was easy to hide your true nature in such a manner. Even the minds of the most powerful telepaths had at times failed to break the lies that others so truly believed.

Yet feelings where something entirely different, they were much harder to supress especially for one who had felt so much in so little time. Emotions are something raw, something primal that reveals the true essence of the soul. The mind may write the lyrics to the songs, but it is the heart that truly sings something deeper and at times untouched. So as he stood there the pale ominous figure drawing ever closer, he could feel it. He could feel as the warmth of his own energy was being drowned out by inhabitants who feared more than they would allow comforting hope back in their lives. It was embedded deep within them, but he did not stop sending out glimmers of warmth.

His eyes however remained fixated on Omen, and whilst other beings of power approached it was the emotion and energies of Omen where much of his focus remained. Feeling were far harder to hide, yet they still remained complex and born from different things depending on the individual. Quantus smiled towards the man who had come to greet him. The Empathic Protector understood he was a guest so remained humble and thankful by bowing his head and greeting a new acquaintance.

"Oh hello friend it's an honour to meet you, my name is Quantus" The Rainbow Warrior reached out his hand as he gazed upon eyes that seemed lifeless whilst his resonated with life. "It is truly a privilege that the head of such a beautiful place is the first to greet me on a world I have heard so much about" Slowly Quantus began to float, no dance almost in the sky with outstretched arms. "Perhaps you would be so kind as to show me around. Meet your people, and perhaps one day you can enjoy the wonderments of space. I'm sure the people here would enjoy it as well"

He smiled hoping such simple words could change something quite sinister so easily. But deep down he already knew such change was often difficult to accomplish, especially when Omen seemed so fixated on something so small yet had the power to achieve things far greater. This would be a long night, and how the sun would set was unknown for now.

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#9 Posted by Magistrate (4 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @quark-star:

"I'm the foreshadowing of what will come if this doesn't end"

For days the news cycle had been dominated by report after report, story after story about Mega Justice's conquest of Grim City. A catastrophe that, in the Omega Man's mind, he had failed to prevent in time. But there was another event. An atrocity that was slow but steady in gaining prominence across websites, social media platforms and news networks. Millennium News spearheaded it's coverage, offering the world a glimpse at a tragedy in-the-making. And the mastermind behind the plight and silence of Chesterville County? An unseen force. No name had been revealed. No description for police sketch artists to bring to life with a stroke of their pencils. This was a case blurred by the unknown.

There was however, a detail. The only detail to escape Chesterville and unveil itself to Millennium News. That this nameless mastermind was suspected of being a metahuman. And it was that one detail that had drawn the Omega Man's attention. Prior to it's destruction, Grim City had long been a victim of super-terrorism perpetrated by the likes of Satar. The world's finest heroes had failed to stop him. One was murdered by his hand. And another stripped of his power ring. And governments, entire military forces, did nothing to stop him. And nothing to stop the ambitions of Mega Justice as he and his allies had, truly, brought Grim City to it's knees and accomplished what even Satar and the Brahma Brotherhood failed to; conquer Grim City. The consequence? Nothing. Few heroes but the Supra-Man himself had done their best to defend Grim. And no government or military dared intervene.

There was no condemnation from the international community, no action from the United Nations. Nothing. The world had become a cartoon of appeasement when bullied by the metahuman community. As Magistrate, the Omega Man slipped on his red gloves and donned his white cape, he wondered, thinking of the new status quo - that good or evil, the metahuman community was treated as though it was beyond reproach, beyond apprehension. His serious features held in earnest, his white and featureless eyes staring into the night sky as he thought of the poisonous, systematic failure of society in dealing with metahuman abuse, in maintaining a status quo of inferiority and subservience, Magistrate vowed. He vowed to, as the first and only Hyperhuman, bring moral order to the world by breaking the status quo. And he would start with Chesterville.

The Omega Man
The Omega Man

Fists clenched and his body an indomitable anomaly, his powers came to life, working as a space-time processor that "upgraded" his local environment, increasing the processing speed around him as he leaped into the sky and disappeared among the clouds, enabling him to reach c (the speed of light) without exhibiting any relativistic effects. His cape fluttering behind him, his arms extended forward as friction was neutralized, Magistrate soared across the open sky, gliding at the speed of light as a tight local field enveloped his body. In an instant, he was in Chesterville, slowing his speed as he descended from the skies, his ultra-dense and heavy body causing the ground to tremble from his landing. Slowly, he rose to his full height, his white and featureless eyes gazing all about him.

He knew not where to start, but if Millennium News was to be believed, the threat at the heart of Chesterville would be sure to confront him.

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#10 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @quark-star: @orange_water:

She listened to them lying to each other.

Not precisely lying. But not precisely telling the whole truth, anyway. Night Shift kept to the shadows, staying out of range of most senses, relying on the hearing she'd trained to hypersensitivity to catch the details of the conversation. Omen, huh? What kind of self-absorbed prick calls himself 'Omen?' Actually, come to think of it, she probably knew half a dozen who would think that was a good idea. Well, 'self-absorbed prick' seemed to cover it pretty well, he tasted like control and insistence and dominance. Probably a Type-A. Of course, most of Friedman's work was unsubstantiated. The things you learn when sleeping with a psychiatrist. Not that she talked a whole lot of psychological theory with him, but he had a nice voice, and she liked to hear him talk, about whatever subject was interesting him at the time. Sometimes it was psychology. Sometimes it was... other things.

Focus, please? Night Shift gave herself a brief scolding, refusing to let her mind wander right now. The other man talking to the self-designated 'Omen' was a smarmy git, and no doubt about it. His voice oozed unctuous pleasantries, the surprise was that he almost meant them. Almost. Night Shift had the sense that this Quantus guy meant them as long as they were meaningful, but that would change as soon as the pleasantries stopped working.

She was debating how to go about things, whether to keep listening in or go scout some more around the town, when her mindsense touched on something a little more familiar. Well, how about that? she smiled to herself, I'm not the stupidest-named superhero in town. Although, really, with 'Omen' and 'Quantus' hanging around, it was going to be a little difficult to pick a winner on that particular contest.

She slipped away in silence and moved to intercept Orange Water as he got out of the car. No strange pet-thing with him this time, that was good. That thing had been really weird. She stepped up behind him. "Hello there," she murmured, "You remind me of someone. Do I know you?" The words might have been innocent enough, but the tone held a soft undercurrent of teasing. Last time they'd met he'd chided her for calling him 'Orange Water' when he apparently wanted to be 'Landon.' She wouldn't make the mistake again, and couldn't tell which persona he was maintaining here in Montana. She probably found the situation more amusing than he did. Especially since when they'd parted ways last time, he'd been a bit flustered. She wondered if he had resolved that, or if this conversation was going to make him squirm.

Not that she particularly minded when he squirmed.

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#11 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@demonboundsitri: @orange_water: @horned_god: @magistrate: @quark-star: @supra-man:

It was easier than most people thought to get two tickets for a non-stop flight from Louisiana to Montana. Easier still to arrange for that flight to be private and briefing to be quick so that the two hyper-sanity minds could communicate in ways nobody really understood.

It was pretty unusual for Dr. Puzzlehoff to request company on his trips, even rarer for that company to be a child. Normally he took a patient to keep him occupied by studying for the duration of the journey. This child, a former patient but soon to be in the doctor's legal custody, was as promising as Puzzlehoff himself, and would have training the good doctor had never had himself.

Tristan had made sure he could land at an airport as close to Chesterville as possible, and got a fast set of wheels and official vehicle in order to arrive on the scene as soon as he possibly could. Their conversation seemed casual, a discussion of stories of similar situations which Tristan had worked to cool. The two similar minds were able to pick out significant words and phrases in questions and answers that most people would miss. Tristan was preparing his apprentice for what to expect in the coming situation.

The car stopped right on the line outside the county limits. Tristan put it in park and stepped out. Liam followed suit, watching his teacher watch the skyline for signs of trouble. Finally the Anonym spoke.

"We walk from here. If someone sees us we interact then. Otherwise we watch and evaluate."

It was going to be a very long walk, but Trist hoped that the direct approach would draw attention to himself and perhaps even get him a ride from a hero on their way in. If not...well, it was going to be a very long walk.

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#12 Posted by Supra-Man (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

@quark-star: @magistrate:

"I would love to give you the tour," he said in a voice barely above a whisper, "But it seems I have another guest to attend to." He curled a spindly finger towards himself, motioning for the luminous guest to accompany him. "Come, come! We'll greet him together." Falling from where he hovered, he caught himself moments before hitting the ground, body coming to an abrupt and limp halt only one meter above the pavement. It was a lazy way to move about, to simply fall from place to place. With a limp-wristed gesture, he straightened himself, coiling upright like a serpent to face the Magistrate. He approached cautiously, noting the other being's caped nature and the strength which seemed to radiate forth from him. With blind eyes transfixed on the Omega Man, he noted that his landing had caused the ground to shake, possibly disturbing some of Chesterville's citizens' sleep. He frowned for a second, but realized it was alright for people to make mistakes.

He drew closer to the Magistrate, arms and legs moving as though he were treading water through the air. In contrast to Valon's muscled form and quiet confidence, Omen was both frail and loquacious, his tight-lipped smile nevertheless a beam of ironic optimism in the dreary setting. This stranger had a coldness to him, unlike Quantus, who Omen had immediately taken a liking to. His pure-white eyes were unnerving to the easily-startled Omen, who blinked his own blind lids several times before extending his greeting.

"Hello there, and welcome to Chesterville. My name's Omen. I'm a - a - I help, and make sure everybody is happy. If you have a problem, I will do my best to assist you," he said, spreading his arms away from his body and doing what could only be described as a mid-air bow. He kept the close-lipped grin, though, contorting slightly in mid-air to right himself. Flying was easy with nobody around, but when dealing with others, especially metahumans, the pale being grew self-conscious.

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#13 Posted by Quark-Star (66 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @magistrate:

The Cosmos-Walker simply nodded his head and smiled graciously towards Omen, not wanting to impede the host who had yet to do anything to require such last minute actions. "Indeed, the more guests that get to experience such splendor the better" Slowly Quantus followed from behind, illuminating emerald eyes following the every movement of Omen. The way he twisted and contorted was not human, the way he spoke and carried himself was almost child like. His eyes sombered in pity towards a being that could just be lonely, that just needed somebody to understand him.

Or Quantus was foolishly imprinting the past unto one who floated before him in the presence. It was a fools hope to think in such ways, yet a fool he often was. He wanted so much that despite all the warning signs Omen was not someone that required the sadness of war to deal with. But as Quantus thought one way the pieces around him were very much different.

They had began to move ever closer, their very being radiating with the very characteristics that defied them. In the distance from shadows and prying eyes were those who for now simply observed. But it was the essence of the caped anomaly that truly caught the attention of Quantus. This man was unique, in a world so quickly evolving and with superhuman beings scattered across it's lands this man was truly stood out as someone who had taken the next step in his races journey. It had been sometime since Quantus had felt such power, but it was the drive behind the man that the Rainbow Warrior was wary of.

It was a focus that resonated with pure intent. He could feel this man was someone of good intentions, yet as Quantus approached alongside Omen he worried of the potential actions coming from a man of such intent. This place was so small, filled with scared innocents whom had suffered enough. They did not need to be the collateral damage of needless violence. And so as he had done with Omen Quantus smiled warmly and peacefully towards the new guest.

"Man he looks super strong, right Omen" His voice jovial as his words danced almost song like in order to break apart the lingering tension. Quantus lightly punched Omen on the shoulder in none threatening manner, an act that could easily backfire. Still his words carried encouragement "Hey be a bit more confident, your the leader of the best place on planet earth" He laughed softly and flew straight towards Magistrate with an outstretched hand. "Names Quantus friend, it's an honour to meet you and I see you've been introduced to the fine leader of the place" How the following moves would play out rested upon the shoulders of a powerful anomaly, a ominous being so childlike and an empathic protector that just wanted to do what was kind and just.

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#14 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3102 posts) - - Show Bio

@demonboundsitri: @orange_water: @supra-man

No Caption Provided

"Biological scan in progress, please turn three hundred and sixty degrees. Species identification in progress. Please do not step outside of the blue circle." The monotone male voice of the Project Unity computer intoned. Xae turned slowly for the scanners and waited until she heard the chime that indicated the scan was completed.

"Identification: Xae

Species: Reptonian

Planet of Origin: Terra

Sex: Female

Stress Levels: Within acceptable limits.

Genetic Identification: Match.

Clearance granted. Welcome to Project Unity."

Xae crossed the threshold into the heart of Project Unity, her footfalls echoing through the chamber as her boots hit against the metal flooring. Lights came on, soundless LEDs that didn't echo the huge thunk thunk of lights turning on in the movies. She stood in the center, tracing her fingers over the old style phone receiver built into the central desk. She looked up at the data scrolling across a series of screens and the scene playing out thanks to the optical feed provided by Orange Water. She lifted the handset and her words spoke not into Orange Water's ear, but into his mind.

"Xae here. I'm on my way. Project Unity's already tracking information on this Omen guy, I'll transfer the feed into your wristband so you can see any information we pick up."

Xae hung up the phone, entered the coordinates into her Vortex Manipulator and pushed the button. The Manipulator teleported her to the location via creation of an invisible vortex, it was particulate transport without the need for a giant easily detectable beam of energy. From what she had seen thus far Xae doubted she would go undetected, but that wasn't her goal. Her goal for now was information gathering. Acting now, openly, could cause more problems than it solves. We'll have to wait and see what he's doing with these people he's gained control of.

Xae appeared on the far outskirts of town, away from the others. I wonder if you can be in more than once place at one time. She put her fingers together, held them for a moment as she considered her suit options and then snapped them. The proper armor soon replaced her normal supposedly defenseless clothing.

No Caption Provided

Better to start off with a little diplomacy than jump straight to the big guns. Without a word she strolled casually into town, her wristband continuously updating her with information and also providing the conversation Orange Water was involved in as a faint background noise in the back of her mind. Had Xae been speaking, Orange Water would have heard hers as well.

Online
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#15 Edited by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@quark-star: @supra-man: @demonboundsitri:@gale_xanders: I started to walk away from my rental car when I heard a familiar voice behind me feeling a small sense of dread but also the same temptation that I felt the last time I saw her. " Well uh hello there Night Shift how are you doing on this fine night? Your looking pretty good..." Damn it Landon get ahold of yourself... Hi there how are you today... Shut up I've been reduced to a young school boy or something... You know if you gave into your temptation just a little it probably wouldn't be so bad... No I can't do that to Maoli... Landon your a young adult that hasn't seen or heard from the person you love in several weeks don't think of it that way... Your saying it's... Yep give into just a little and maybe you can help yourself out... Damn it." So what brings you to small town America?"

I heard Xae say she was coming over the comms from the wristband the thoughts or maybe the words she was thinking in my mind. I responded with my thoughts that," That I would be seeing her soon and that I was currently speaking to a "friend" about everything."

I continued to sense my surroundings now finally "feeling" the water in the two beings above the town speaking and then fly away to a different part of the city and realize that it's far to soon." I think we better get off the streets I think that there's about to be violence here in the town the kind we shouldn't be involved with just yet. But maybe we should head to the tent city in the middle of town or a hotel or something to find some information." At the word of hotel a small part of me screamed at me what I had just done and what she was possibly thinking." You know or we could uh... split and see if we can find something that way."

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#16 Posted by horned_god (262 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders: @anonym: @magistrate: @orange_water: @quark-star: @demonboundsitri: @supra-man:

Montana, Chesterville, near Bardford - 21:30

No Caption Provided

The warm bronze sunlight slowly disappeared behind the horizon. The sunny day turned into a bright night, full of lustrous, dancing stars glinted in the sky. Somewhere in the distance a booming, "Whoo, whoo, whoo whooo, whooo-whooo" sounded, awakening the nocturnal nature.

Several yards below the floor of the house, Enki patiently waits. He feels every movement, hears every curse and irritated murmur of the man above him. Night sharpened his senses. The shock caused by the arrival of Omega Man disturbed him. Enki felt more and more powerful beings appeared in the town. It was not his thing. Yet for sure he activated a one-sided, spherical barrier that shielded all life, spiritual, mental and divine energy going out. At first, he enjoys his meal in peace and then he can see what wizards are meeting here today.

The hooting of the owl was a signal to him. Great Horned Owl. I wish you a good hunt. Enki slowly began to move through the ground to his human prey.

There was an owl liv'd in an oak

The more he heard, the less he spoke

The less he spoke, the more he heard.

O, if men were all like that wise bird.

No Caption Provided

With a terrible roar, Enki broke through the floor right next to his prey. There is no reason to be silent now. No matter how much he or his victim will make noise, hunters dome will devour everything, all the sounds and smells.

The man, divorced and lonely bruiser and hunter, frowned in fear. A split second later he flew through his own bed and pain of broken ribs paralyzed his body. Enki leaned over the man's face and showed his teeth. "I'm hungry. I'll eat you alive."

Horror overwhelmed the pain. In a desperate attempt to save himself, man stretched out his hand. "Help! Help me! HEEEELP!"

Enki hungrily grabbed the man's hand and with a single bite and swallow three fingers were gone. He snapped his jaws and smiled, his mouth full of blood. “Don’t cut off your arm to spite your face." Then he attacked again to bite the meat.

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#17 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@horned_god: @gale_xanders: @anonym: @magistrate: @orange_water: @quark-star: @demonboundsitri: @supra-man:

"Heard it on the news, wanted to know what was going on," Night Shift answered Orange Water's question briefly. He was a swirl of confusion the instant he'd identified her - lust, intrigue, reluctance, betrayal. "You gotta sort things out with your girl before I split a hotel with you," she told him, not mentioning how she'd figured that one out. Then again, it didn't take an empath to sense the waves of awkwardness he was emanating. While ordinarily she enjoyed the amusement it brought her, there were more important things at stake right now. "I've been listening in. The one holding down the fort calls himself 'Omen.' I get the feeling he thinks he's helping. He's got a benevolent-oppressor vibe going on. Doesn't change the fact that he's got this town screwed harder than an actress in a Moon Bird film. Someone's trying to talk him down. I'm scouting for now. Others are starting to arrive. Some of them aren't real savory. How are you going to play this? Stay quiet, or rush in? Because I'm pretty sure there's a guy killing someone a few blocks that way."

She gestured - it was quiet, but the terror was strong, terror and horror and despair on the one side, and on the other, the blood lust, and the hunger. She licked her lips, delicate. "Slowly. Might be eating him." I bet he tastes good. Human blood...

Down. She pushed her other self firmly in to place. I am not going to go there. Not on purpose. Not even if someone else started it. She relaxed a bit. "Want to stop it? Or look around instead?"

I should stop it. That's what a hero would do. That much was true, to be sure... but Night Shift wasn't a hero. Not really. There was a very definite part of her that wanted to go over to the house where the blood was being spilled and join the hunt. Kill, rend, destroy. Drink terror and blood. She had to accept that part of her, in order to use its abilities... but it came with a price. Night Shift would have made a good villain, she thought. It would have come easily to her, naturally. It was what she could be, if she wanted to be all that she could be.

But it was not what she wanted. Even if that meant accepting limitations. Even if that meant remaining bound. Her fingertips traced the outline of the star at her breast, sharp and cold, a reminder of what she couldn't be.

I will try to be good.

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#18 Posted by Magistrate (4 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @quark-star: @horned_god: @demonboundsitri:

In the wake of the tremor his landing had triggered, lied a small crater. And at it's center, stood the Omega Man. White cape fluttering in the air behind him, and his sharp features held in earnest as he cast his gaze all about the muted county, Magistrate rose from the crater. Taking a step forward, the concrete pavement cracking under his boots, his ultra-dense and heavy body constantly interacting with gravitational fields, preventing mayhem from being wreaked as he strode forward, Magistrate scowled, his featureless eyes catching sight of not one but two metahumans. He watched as they glided through the air, one of them radiating a presence of immediate warmth.

"Leader?"

Quantus, he called himself. An oddity, an adult who seemed to embody the golden paradise that was childhood. He was spontaneous and his charisma completely natural. "Leader?", Magistrate repeated, left eyebrow raised, his tone measured but cold as his eyes met Omen's. Quelling the quiet fury in his heart, the Omega Man gazed upon the gaunt telekinetic. Whereas Quantus' energy was one of youth and vibrancy, Omen was an unsettling presence. He seemed unsure of himself, his body language awkward and lacking in certainty. A child in a man's body. Naivety given physical form and far too much power to command. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of silent judgement, Magistrate met Quantus' outstretched hand with his own for a firm shake. Nothing more, nothing less.

Calmly withdrawing his hand, his eyes returned to Omen's, his gaze wearing a cold severity as he stood quiet, a thick silence blanketing the atmosphere among them before finally, Magistrate spoke once more. "So you're the leader of Chesterville then?", he asked, almost certain that the being who hovered before him was the one responsible for the county being stripped of it's freedom. "Heh... Chesterville seems quiet. Maybe the night life is just dead. Or maybe the people are scared of something. I wonder what it could be", he paused, holding back a knowing smirk, "So I take it that you're the one who "saved" this town right?", Magistrate asked, saying nothing more, his arms held at his side as he waited for an answer.

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#19 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@horned_god: @gale_xanders: @anonym: @magistrate: @orange_water: @quark-star: @demonboundsitri: @supra-man:

The road was quiet for most of the day, and very cool compared to some roads Tristan had taken on foot. Liam didn't complain, not once, which impressed his cousin. The weren't far from their destination when Tristan got a tingle in his gut. A feeling. Night had fallen (it had already been late afternoon when they started) and there wasn't much by way of life forms to be seen. Still, when he sensed danger, he took it very seriously. A moment later the feeling was back again, and without hesitation Tristan was off like a bullet, Liam not far behind They didn't take long to arrive at what seemed to be a done of energy. He touched it with his hand, and it seemed to pass through with ease. When the Smiling Psychiatrist stepped through, he finally heard the screaming from the man and the crunching of teeth through bone. Blood...and a lot if it...that was the stench that hit his nose from the cabin. Still, he didn't seem fazed. He stopped running and straightened his back, and, not much to Liam's surprise, went up to the door...and knocked.

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#20 Posted by Supra-Man (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

@magistrate: @quark-star:

Leader? Omen thought, rolling the word over in his head. His rapid thought process dissected the word for meaning, large blind eyes blinking twice as he stood before the simply-clothed man, his toes hovering an inch or so above the ground. He was beginning to grow more comfortable, especially with Quantus nearby, and felt he could better relate to the caped stranger who confronted them. There was a certain harshness to the way the Magistrate looked at him, and Omen was perfectly capable of detecting sarcasm. The stranger, in his words and tone, was beginning to appear more and more like a threat. The close-lipped smile that Omen had been projecting shrank, eyebrows furrowing as he diminished even more under Magistrate's cool gaze.

From his throat, he emitted a low whine, a nervous sound punctuated by a slight retreat. Almost unconsciously, the gaunt being began hovering backwards, slowly moving away from both the Magistrate and Quantus. Still, though, he had been asked a question, and he was committed to the truth. Even knowing, somehow, that it would draw the man's ire, he spoke in a low voice, almost a whisper.

"Yes, I - I did this," he said, arms and legs dangling from his body as he hovered, skinny form betraying his nervousness when surrounded by finely-muscled supers. When talking to the citizens of Bardford, he felt perfectly relaxed...but now that there were others showing up who could do what he could, there was a creeping unease penetrating the deepest recesses of Omen's pscyhe. What if he were replaced? What would he do then?

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#21 Posted by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders: @horned_god: @demonboundsitri: @anonym: You god damn failure... Well that makes me feel a little better I guess right now it's strictly business... She said that we had to work things out with our girl do you not realize this is embarrassing for so many different reasons... Wait a second how does know that we have someone already... Holy crap can she read our emotions... Then that means she's been reading us like a book this entire time she knows our feelings towards her... Damn it... "Sorry that isn't what I meant by going to a hotel I meant maybe we could gather some information from some of the residents. But um... you sensed another presence right? We should probably go to investigate and figure out what's going on." I looked her over again feeling like I had lost control of my emotions like I would with Maoli and feeling a little warm in my clothes. I really need to go visit Maoli soon I need to see her maybe I can get back in control.

" Give me a second to get my armor and I'll follow you to the place so tell me someone is eating somebody else?" I walked back to my car and gathered my armor and weapons preparing for the worst. Moments later I stood there in full armor and weapons ready to fight against some potential enemy but either way this meant I would have to break my cover.

I sent a message through the wristband on my arm to Xae," Xae I've encountered another vigilante in town who says they have picked a cry for help at a farmhouse. This means my cover may be broken don't worry about it I'll deal with the threat there you try and find whatever information you can. Good luck" I stopped the communication and followed Night Shift to the farm house to meet the cannibal.

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#22 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @anonym: @horned_god:

Night Shift gave her temporary companion a little smirk. "I'll meet you there," she told him, giving directions to where she'd felt the commotion. "I'm going to go in and try to be... distracting." She was good at distracting. She had him thoroughly distracted, anyway. Maybe it was the outfit. Tight spandex and short skirts were all well and good for fighting, but admittedly didn't leave a whole lot to the imagination. They left a few things to the imagination, though... especially if one had a particularly active imagination.

"I'll see if I can hold his attention. Hopefully that gives you the opening you need. I'm probably going to keep to light combat only. I don't like firing a .45 when there are civilians around. Too easy for an error to be fatal. I'm a pretty good shot on a target core, but edges get blurry, especially with a lot else going on. Anyway. Tempting as it is to follow you back and watch you change..." She winked, though he couldn't see it under the blue ribbon. He'd see the grin that went with it though. "Catch you later."

She walked away, off into the shadows, approaching the farmhouse. As she closed, though, there was another sparkle on her mindsense, one that was much more familiar. Anonym? He'd been headed to Mississippi or Louisiana or something last time they'd talked. One of those southern states. She'd have recognized him anywhere, though. No one else felt quite like him.

No one else.... except... there was someone with him that did feel like him, a bit. Sitri considered that information. That must be Liam. That boy he talks about. Well. I hope the kid has a strong stomach. This isn't precisely how I intended to meet him, for sure.

...like, if I ever wanted to do any of that 'meet the family' relationship garbage. Which I don't. She did like Anonym, though. He was all sorts of wrong. Being with him had done a lot to help her figure out how to accept the parts of her that were wrong. How to use them, and when, and why. Sometimes, she even thought he was good for her. Probably the best mistake I'm making right now.

She smiled a little bit, and caught him on the doorstep, stepping from the shadows and putting a hand on his back. "Fancy meeting you here," she murmured in his ear, stepping close and tucking a hand under his hooded sweatshirt, pushing it back enough to kiss his cheek, feeling the scars there under her lips and tongue. "Anonym." She stepped away, letting the backs of her fingers trail over the scars as she pulled back. "It's 'Night Shift' for now. Call me later." Whispered words, a pseudonym for him to identify her with while they were here, and an invitation for once this was all over. Sitri stepped back, going around the house and into the back door as he knocked quietly on the front.

The house itself was quiet, she had no more sense of the hunter, which was strange. Must be a meta. I knew that going in. It's still fine. She could still taste the terror of the other guy, though, and she could hear well enough to locate her target.

Night Shift entered the basement, quiet but not silent, regarding the scene - scent of blood, whimpering, despair. "What's this?" she inquired, her voice targeting the devourer, calm but skeptical, hoping she was taking the right tone from the brief read she'd gotten earlier. "What kind of hunter kills rabbits in their hutch?" She laughed at the irony of the accusation, as if this were a perfectly normal conversation to be having. Her second self reveled in it, and she let it take the lead, crossing the floor and crouching, picking up a tiny scrap of bloodied flesh that had fallen on the floor. She put it in her mouth, sucking at it a moment before swallowing, shuddering slightly and feeling her eyes beneath the ribbon shift, pupils elongating, iris changed to amber. It was why she wore the ribbon - she was blind anyway. No sense letting others see her eyes give things away.

Oh, god, that is so good... Her second self thought eating the rest of the guy was a lovely idea, but she reigned it in. She'd accused the other of hunting rabbits in a hutch, she couldn't do the same and maintain respectability. She stood, slowly exhaling in subtle pleasure, her tongue flicking across her lips, which curved in a hint of a smile. "Who are you, anyway?"

Talk was good. Talking was less likely to lead to her doing something she would really regret. Hopefully between Anonym and Orange Water they could wrap this up before she gave in completely.

I will try to be... good.

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#23 Edited by horned_god (262 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders: @anonym: @magistrate: @orange_water: @quark-star: @demonboundsitri: @supra-man:

Montana, Chesterville, near Bardford - 21:40

No Caption Provided

Enki was not in a hurry. Biting, chewing, piece by piece, enjoying his food while his victim still lived. His senses, so sharp at night, strangely dull. Only one sense could not be blunted. His enhanced touch, thanks to which he senses distant occurrences through vibrations in the earth.

Why are they coming to me? How can they... Enki suspiciously searched the area around and checked his barriers. At first glance, everything was fine, but... something was wrong. Enki put his fingers in one of the mudras and sent a lot of energy to his environment to dispell any illusions. "KAI."

Strange illusion, numbing his mind was gone. Surprised Enki realized that his supernatural hunting barrier did not work and his enemies come almost to the door. Suddenly he saw very clearly disturbing mental power radiating from Man and Boy and even strong life and magic energy, coming from Water Mage and Dark Witch. Which one of you, reality bending bastards, did it to me? Over thousands of years, Enki has earned an impressive number of enemies. But if one of them is interfering now, it means that this situation can be dangerous. Or worse, boring.

Enki immediately revived his barrier tightly around him, shielding all emotions, thoughts and even divine energy. He gripped a heavily bleeding man and stood in the place where he entered. I take the food with myself. But before he could disappear in the ground, a young woman arrived. Too early, to her own fault.

"What kind of hunter kills rabbits in their hutch?" "Who are you, anyway?

Enki stopped for a moment. He saw her beauty and the darkness that lured him to her. Normally, he would not resist, but now he was angry. Someone powerful playing with him. And he did not like it. Terrifyingly looking muscular savage covered in blood looked at her, with one hand holding the seriously injured man.

"Rich hunter." Then he pushed the half-dead man toward Night Shift. She can catch him if wants to. At the next moment, he cast a curse of madness at both of them, one of his most powerful spells. "Your turn."

Over thousands of years, Enki from dozens of powerful witches learns hundreds of spells. Most of them he forgot, but some particularly effective took. This ancient curse is the jewel among them. The curse that forced entire tribes to kill themselves in a bloody fight. Curse that causes Herakles to kill his wife and children in a frenzy madness.

Then, Enki started to disappear into the ground. Just a blink and he will be gone. With a little luck, a woman and a man go mad and start fighting furiously. And if her companions arrive, all they sees is how she tears him apart. With a little more luck her companions also go mad and slaughtering each other.

Have fun.

The curse of madness is very old, high level magic. Normally three strong mages are needed. Enki can not cast this spell by day even with his energy. This mind spell bypassing conscious control of the mind and acting directly on the deep subconscious. The curse pulls out of every being the worst, most terrible things, strengthens them and allows it to seize the mind. Weak mind of the man on which Enki fed, will probably be permanently crushed and consumed by madness. Even beings with a strong will and stable psyche can curse temporarily change to monsters. Only creatures such as advanced mystics can resist this spell with only nightmares. Beings with enhanced awareness are likely to notice the effects of the curse, but the question is whether they can resist.

If the curse is not reversed, it will spread to the close distance around the house and hit others who come here. The longer the distance from the caster, the weaker and slower the effect. The curse will support rage, fear and murderous tendencies. For sleeping humans causes nightmares. Unconsciousness is one of the ways to limit its effects. Normally the curse will last days to weeks, but Enki sends it in a hurry, so effect will be gone in half an hour.

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#24 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@horned_god: @demonboundsitri: @orange_water:

A tiny smirk twisted the corner of Tristan's mouth upward when he recognized Sitri's voice. Night Shift...it suited her. He liked it. And he trusted her to be good. Until he sensed a release.

His mind whirled, his senses sharpened. Madness overwhelmed him for a moment and he reeled back a few steps from the door. Then it passed, naturally suppressed, but still raging to escape. Red fire danced in his silvery eyes, but he kept it in. He glanced at Liam, who he just noticed was screaming as he wrestled with his own thoughts of murder and mayhem. Trist took a deep breath before taking one, two, three quick steps and securing the boy by the shoulders and throwing him down. The desired effect came quickly. A set of feminine claws raked over the mad doctor's face, leaving red lines. In retaliation, a larger figure shoved Ann away, laughing maniacally. Liam caught his breath and restrained Annie, while Tristan got a grip on himself and Ace. The two insane humans looked at one another.

"W-why did that w-w-work?" Liam asked simply. Tristan smiled as he turned to the door, Ace vanishing and his internal battle beginning to rage once more.

"Because Ace and Ann embody our madness. When they manifest, we have a better chance at being calm. Now, stay here, don't let her hurt anyone, and whatever you do don't put her away. I'll be back momentarily."

He opened the door with a "Bang!", slamming it against the wall behind it and hoping to draw attention to himself. His hands slid into his pockets as his eyes shone with unnatural light, his enhanced sanity barely restrained. But if Sitri was undergoing the same urges he was, there was little chance they were going to just kiss and make up this time. Blood would be spilled, but something inside told him that they would be safe from each other. He knew her and himself well enough to be certain of that.

He moved heavily, allowing a floorboard to creak under his boots. His hand curled around a knife handle in his pocket. If she was here, and she was out for blood, then he would release every asset his mind had to offer. Even if it meant getting to that often-discussed meeting between the Leering Ace and Night Shift.

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#25 Edited by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@horned_god: @orange_water: @anonym:

Night Shift stepped aside, letting the injured man fall to the ground. She wouldn't be burdened by catching someone who wouldn't thank her anyway, and she needed to be able to move, quickly if necessary. He dropped to the floor, bleeding.

She still couldn't get a read on the hunter - whatever he had done, it was impenetrable now, but she had other senses. She'd heard the timbre in his voice when he'd spoken, confidence, dismissal, but underneath it there had been a hint of interest. So. Under other circumstances, perhaps that would have worked, but he is being cautious for some reason. Maybe because of everyone else here. The thoughts came quickly, and she was considering prompting him when he did something else.

"Your turn."

The words sank into her consciousness, setting little hooks. Tugging at her will to kill, rend, destroy. She was all too familiar with those feelings. Her second self tugged at them every day, every minute. It had been doing so already, seeking to override her control. She had learned much about how to resist her second self's bids for control, but this brought it to the forefront again, as if she were once again the will-broken teen. Sitting out in the woods with her boyfriend when he'd told her he didn't want to be together any more and she'd been hurt and angry and the demon had surged up unbidden and drawn her down into its depths. She'd broken. He'd died.

Like she was once again the willful young woman, cocksure and overconfident, rushing in to a battle she didn't understand, refusing to back down even when her opponent was stronger, surer. She'd called the demon up then, offered herself to it to rend, to kill, to destroy. He'd lived. She'd fallen.

It was like those times, and not like those times. The demon surged, and she met it, not as an enemy, not as a savior, but as a friend. Herself. The spell beckoned her to become a demon, and her second self rose up and denied it purchase. You cannot make me what I already am. It pushed her down and she knelt, not in despair, not in obeisance, but simply in waiting. Sytry's body shifted and the leopard crouched rendered where she had stood, alert and keen. The bloodied creature behind her writhed, caught in the same nexus of insanity, and she swiped her claws across its neck, tearing its throat out. She didn't have time for games. It smelled good, but she wasn't going to eat it, not with danger still lurking. And there was more interesting prey besides. She crouched above the hole in the floor, tail twitching, catching the scent and sounds of the darkness and of the hunter. She would know its scent again, next time she found it. She settled back, licking blood from a paw, and waited.

The mind of an animal was not the mind of a man. The insanity of men was well defined, a raw, unhinged thing. But an animal had no such higher thoughts to find damning, it was the things that the spell sought for it to become, and it was comfortable in them. There was no madness there. The door burst open, and she twitched an ear towards the noise. Towards the four sparks in the doorway. One of them disappeared. Pity. She'd wanted that one.

Okay, so I'm just gonna go ahead and start using "Sytry" for when the demon's ascendant, that seems to flow well enough, and hopefully can keep things from being confusing. It's an accepted alternate spelling of "Sitri."

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#27 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@demonboundsitri: @orange_water:

He heard the dying gurgle of the house owner downstairs, sensed the danger below his feet, and embraced it. Death was nothing to the madman. Sitri lost her humanity to her inner demons, Tristan's was enhanced. He watched the room and analyzed her mind, or at least, what he knew about it. What she had told him. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, relaxing his hold on himself. What had she said? "Wrong for me in all the right ways." It suited them. Now was a better example than ever before.

The psychiatrist took a step forward and opened his eyes, then walked steadily toward the stairs leading to the basement. His body was tight, his hand still closed around the blade hilt. He took the first step to the underbelly of the house...the first step closer to his dangerous love.

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#28 Edited by Quark-Star (66 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @magistrate:

Hope?
Hope?

Deep down Quantus had always known that the hopefulness in his pleasantry and the warmth in his tone, would need to yield and give way to a serious discussion that was simply unavoidable. But it was the Hyperhuman Anomaly so direct in his approach that would serve as the shifts catalyst, and set in motion the story of inevitability. Quantus had felt it more in the mans handshake than he had done upon his arrival, a simple handshake revealed a physical supremacy that Quantus himself questioned his ability to contend with, not with so many variables.

The words despite inevitability lacked tact and grace, they where forceful and so was proven true as the psychy of Omen so childlike could not handle the pressure of new approaches. Quantus could feel a connection, a slim bond between the two begin to break as Omen began to distance himself from the two men who were so much alike him yet all so different in many other ways.

For Quantus time seemed to slow down as so many thoughts raced through his mind, he went through as many options and outcomes as he could. He needed to use his words and diplomacy for as long as possible, but in the presence of beings so stubborn and blind he felt like this was a battle destined to lose. But he would not stop trying, he would never stop trying to bring light into worlds seeped in darkness. They could not feel what he could feel, this world was bleeding and it's wounds had not been properly treated. The voices of millions had been supressed in the rapid progress of evolution. It was those, they who were this planets true heartbeat that needed protected and understood. And those who stood upon a new world needed to realize that the old world needed saving.

"Please I would like you both to take my hand, I will not force you. But I need to show you both something that mere words cannot" There was a sadness in Quantus' tone and a seriousness that both men had yet to see. He would not force the altering of emotions but if both men grabbed onto Quantus' hands and allowed themselves to trust him, he would show them the emotions of this worlds people. He would show Omen their fear in hopes he could better empathize and realize the harm he was causing, and he would show Magistrate the world that he was truly fighting for. A world that just needed to breathe free from inevitable destruction and fear of death, of being no more than collateral damage amidst petty squabbles.

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#29 Posted by Magistrate (4 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @quark-star:

It was clear now. As the Omega Man stood before them, his scowl menacing, his featureless white eyes wearing the resolve of a no-nonsense antihero, there was tension in the air. Tension that hung thicker and thicker with each passing second, tension that fed off of the eerie silence of Chesterville, as though it's citizens had been lying in wait for him to free them from this oppression. But it was clear, that this gaunt and perverted caricature of the Supra-Man, was a child. Omen embodied the naivety of youth, his mind seemed inclined towards the short-term rewards of seizing control of an entire town and confining it's people to it's borders. Crime was all but eradicated. As were hunger and health issues. It was a utopia built upon power. And it was bleak.

It was clear that Omen lacked the cognitive depth, the maturity to understand the long-term consequences of his actions. Man was not adapted to live under oppression. To have their freedom taken from them. In time they would rebel. But with the awesome power crackling at his fingertips, Omen will rush their inevitable rebellion. But man will adapt. They will glance at Omen's subtle weaknesses and they will magnify them. They will plan and war will break out. And Omen will not understand why. And whereas Magistrate had once been certain, intent on balling up his fist and giving form to a world-shattering and ungodly power as a seismic punch on Omen's untucked chin, he now restrained himself. The Omega Man was many things. Violent. A warrior. An outlaw who not only refused to follow the status quo but actively went against it.

"No"

But he was not this. The cold fury that'd once convinced him to batter Omen into oblivion was calmed. Perhaps it was realizing that Omen was no different than a child with too much power, that beating him to death would not be proper. That despite his actions, the Pale Supra-Man meant well. That he simply did not know what he was truly doing. Or perhaps it was the effect of Quantus' presence, of his tangible serenity and presence of emotional tranquility. Magistrate sighed, his body no longer tensing, and his features softening as Omen hovered backwards. "So you did this", he paused, holding Omen's gaze with his own, "But I don't think you understand what you have actually done", again he paused, now glancing at Quantus then the Cosmic Wonder's offered hand. Shaking his head, the Omega Man declined, "No".

"I don't know what it is that you intend to show us. But if it's something that's meant to improve this", he paused, referring to Chesterville, "Then I don't need to see anything. But he does", he asserted, his gaze returned to Omen. For now it seems, violence had been averted. For now.

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#30 Edited by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@horned_god: @demonboundsitri: @anonym: Night Shifts comment caused many feelings most of them was more or less lust I think. The truth is I wanted her body and I couldn't argue against it. But at the moment I needed control so I didn't reply and I put on my armor several minutes later taking the path that she did towards the farmhouse. I managed to get to get to the front of the house just in time to see her kiss an old...Hey look at that there's Tristan and it seems him and Night Shift know eachother... You mean that damn crazy person who almost got us killed and his reward is a kiss from the woman we want... calm yourself neither of us is thinking straight with her around... we should go up there and punch him Landon... no I make the final decision here either way we need his help in figuring out what's going on here...

Suddenly there was war both parts of the same person collided in control of the mind and the body. One part using its raw emotion to make decisions while the other control over ones self and desires the battle was short for control was not ready for such a fight. The tug of war would persist though control wouldn't give up the fight yet." So Landon this is what it's like to hold such amounts of power and now it's time that I helped you. No, what you intend isn't help but ruin you don't understand something is very wrong. Doesn't matter Landon I'm going to help you get what you want now silence." Both sides spoke through my mouth but that was only because I was allowed to I was now a hostage inside of own body.

He noticed that Tristan was now gone and felt my power once again and moved to secure my vengeance upon Tristan. Moving inside of the house I heardmovement inside of the basement and rushed towards the stairs catching up to him," hello Tristan." I didn't stop for a moment while he fulfilled one of my desires I saw what was in the basement when he threw the punch.

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#31 Posted by Supra-Man (1161 posts) - - Show Bio

@magistrate: @quark-star:

Omen's slow retreat was halted by Quantus' request, his empty eyes blinking as he heard the alien's soothing voice. Immediately he was drawn back towards the two, as if magnetically attracted to the two. Yet as he approached, he saw the severity in the Omega Man's features, the streetlights casting ominous shadows over one half of his face; he noted, if subconsciously, that Valon refused Quantus' offer, something which gave him further pause. Why would this man refuse Quantus' kind offer? Was there something Omen didn't know, something hidden from him about his colorful friend's true nature?

He looks kinder now, though, he perceived, narrowing the blind eyes at Valon's features. Had he, too, been calmed by Quantus? The tension in the air had been all but defused. Emitting a low sound from his throat that was something between a whine and a nervous growl. Hovering back over to where Quantus stood, he reached forth with a thin hand, then stopped, brow knit.

"Him too," he said, nodding his head in the Magistrate's direction. Trust was something he simply did not have, not now...as much as he wanted to.

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#32 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @demonboundsitri:

Orange Water's armored footsteps were impossible to miss coming into the house. Tristan didn't even flinch. Every variable was calculated for. Every person here had a set mental pattern. He expected the anger from Orange. When the blow was thrown, he didn't bother ducking, simply skipped two steps with his long legs and evading it. He knew he needn't bother summon Ace, not yet, because there was another variable on the scene, equally perceptive and perhaps even more dangerous than the doctor himself.

Naturally Orange would fumble when he missed, beginning to fall down the stairs. He would meet a long set of powerful, female arms that, if they did catch him, would shove him back upstairs with enough force to almost throw him to the top. At the aforesaid top was another individual, the dangerous variable. The one variable that posed no threat to Tristan, no matter their respective mental states. Liam adjusted his position, and his hatchet. Of Orange was indeed shoved to the head of the stairway...well, nothing pleasant awaited him.

Tristan, meanwhile, reached the basement. He was relaxed, unnaturally calm. Too-bright silver eyes observing the scene. And the typically frowning mouth turned upward in a cool, calm smile, not wide enough to tear his cuts just yet. Form might change, mind might change, but her eyes hadn't. Gold, not brown, but the same mind behind them. Feline body language, but too like Sitri's human language to leave room for mistake. He didn't look away from her.

"Evening, love."

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#34 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @anonym: @horned_god:

He came down the stairs calmly. One hand beside him, tucked up - by the rustle of his clothing, it was bent slightly, braced on something. Gun? No. Guns wouldn't suit him. Knife, Sytry thought. At his side, sheathed. She'd hear the whisper if it drew.

More steps, the other one, the one pretending it wasn't so intent on her, except it wasn't pretending any more. That amused her, but she hadn't decide what to do with it when the spark materialized at the bottom of the stairs, pushed the other one back up. Not a threat, merely an interference. She considered it with dutiful disdain. Likely there would be a fight upstairs, but she didn't need to concern herself with that right now. It would still be there later, if she decided she was interested.

"Evening, love."

So, he knew her. Well, she hadn't doubted - for all that he'd recognized in her a kindred spirit when they'd first met, it would have been senseless for him not to recognize the same now, no matter what form she took. She went to him, stepping silently around the pools of blood by scent alone. Blood was for drinking, not for stepping in. And she didn't want it right now. She pressed her head under his hand, the one that wasn't beside the knife - yes, knife, there was no gunpowder-scent about it. Her tail flicked around his legs for a moment, perfectly calm. Everything was normal. She went around him, then nudged the sheath with her head, a suggestion that he draw the blade, a vague attentive gesture in the direction of the hole in the ground.

The hunted creature might come back, after all. It wasn't here now, though. She stretched, languidly, then moved towards the stairs. Anonym had a knife. Together, they could kill the other ones.

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#35 Edited by Quark-Star (66 posts) - - Show Bio

@supra-man: @magistrate:

Trust
Trust

Perhaps Quantus had been too quick to judge Valon as nothing more than the embodiment of an unshakable will, driven by a single minded goal, unwavering and unflinching in his beliefs. Yet the man before him whose features were sharp and as if forged from steel had begun to soften and revealed a tranquility of one that still adhered to his beliefs, but would allow a different path to open up to him. Quantus smiled, his understanding of Valon changing as he looked upon a man that could very well change this world.

"I understand" Quantus now knew that it was the childlike Omen whose mind, his beliefs and his very being that needed to be convinced that the world he lived in was not good. It was not kind or just. But Quantus could still see that Omen was wary, mistrusting as any child should be of strangers that knocked on the door to their home. And so it was the calming of Valon that caused Omen to once again draw closer and become more trusting again, if only slightly as his hand hovered over Quantus' own. He offered balance between conflicting ideals.

Ideals that still revealed an air of very different stubbornness. Quantus sighed knowing that only through trust would both mens hands would reach out to grab hold of his own, and now it was Valon that Quantus knew had to be that catalyst for change, but he had already given part of himself to a different a way under the tranqil light that Quantus offered. And still Quantus just needed the man to give in just that little bit more, to for just the briefest of moments to trust this stranger from the stars.

"Please, just please trust me" His eyes gazed upon Omen, upon a man that could just represent misguided innocence before his gaze returned upon Valon. "I know you can see the childlike nature that I can see. Deep down you know that only you can set about the change that may very well save thousands and that includes a man you where once so ready to kill. I promise you this is not a trick or a lie. I just want to help, that is all and if what I show you has no effect. If change was never meant to happen, if a child too powerful and dangerous for this world needs to be stopped then I will do it myself. But I don't want that and I don't think you want to live in such a world were children are punished by something they have no real control over. So please just take my hand. It may not offer change but at the very least it offers a glimmer of hope" His hand reached out further....

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#36 Posted by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@demonboundsitri:@anonym: @horned_god: Give into your temptations Landon punch him from behind and show him not to mess with you ever again then we get Night Shift not Tristan... Stop this I don't want this life doesn't work this way and that's all it is playful flirting... Don't lie to me Landon you know me and I know you you want this... I do but not like this I love Maoli and I would never do this... I'm doing this because of these distractions you keep getting yourself involved in you have to or else you will be distracted by this Night Shift again or Tristan you have left me no choice if you don't give into your temptations I'll help you get over it you may consider yourself the light side but I am your dark underbelly... Finally we were brought back to reality with us missing the punch thrown at Tristan and suddenly Ann threw us back up the stairs. Suddenly their we lay at the entrance to the basement where I saw a kid with a hatchet coming at me while I could hear Tristan beginning to talk to Night Shift.

I looked at the kid and fired a water blast at him hoping that it wouldn't do to much damage to him," Stay out of this kid this an adults only concern." You've made us sloppy damn it give me control at least I ask you first before I do anything... Shut up I'm doing this for you!!!

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#37 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @demonboundsitri:

Tristan held the cat's soft head under his hand for a moment, and felt whole. This wasn't like holding Chuckles; there it was master and pet; here it was equals, two wholes brought together into something more than a whole...

He watched her move to the stairs, and followed. He didn't draw his blade, not yet. He never drew until.his enemy moved first. Orange Water had attacked him once, but Tristan felt merciful tonight. He would give the man a second chance, even as he recognized that he wouldn't take it.

Liam looked down at the orange-clad man with some degree of curiosity. This was the one who had helped Tristan outsmart a member of the Far? Hard to believe it, with the number of blunders he continued to make. Annie appeared in front of the boy, taking the brunt of the aquatic attack, then stepping out of the young lunatic's way. He appraised Orange thoughtfully. Perhaps Trist was right. Letting Ann out had cleared his head. He'd called him a kid. At least he didn't look at the goggles and mask and think weirdo.

"W-what concerns d-d-d-doc cons-s-cerns me too," he stated, as matter-of-factly as he could manage with a stutter, his eyes holding the ones behind the armor's helmet. He wouldn't be the first to back down, or to look away.

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#38 Posted by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @anonym:

He didn't try to stop her from achieving the stairs, so Sytry went up them, listening to the voices, to the rush of water. It smelled vaguely familiar, like Lake Michigan where her other half had grown up. The memory sparked, vaguely familiar, scent of the water and the breeze of the lake, softness of the sand marred by the tight shreds of dune grass. Sytry considered it for a moment, then dismissed it as unimportant.

The wave stopped when it intersected the construction. Ah... the construction. Like and not like. Wrong, though. All wrong for her. Insanity core, but not the right form to be tempting. Its existence displeased her, angered her. It's part of the young one. Kill the young one, it will go away. She circled the room, keeping to its edges, getting behind the young one while it stammered at the other, pretending to be brave, but it was frightened on the inside. Frightened of all the wrong things. Young enough that it reminded her a bit of her other half's first boyfriend, in those early fumbling years. She'd killed that one too, broken her other half into submission and ripped him open, tasted his entrails. They'd been good. She wondered if this one would taste the same. Maybe, maybe not. It would be very interesting to find out.

She'd gotten behind it easily enough. She crouched, waiting for an opening, and when it came, sprang. Rip its spine out. Break it, for a moment. Give it a moment to learn what it should be afraid of.

One moment. Then no more.

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#39 Posted by Gale_Xanders (3102 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @demonboundsitri: @anonym: @horned_god:

Xae was left completely unchallenged and had found her way through the town, recording information as she went. She watched the exchange between the three most floaty guys on the block for awhile before determining no one else was necessary. The sounds coming from Orange Water's wristband on the other hand were becoming increasingly alarming. Xae removed a device from her belt and stuck it into the ground, a small drone to continue information gathering on the three hyper powered individuals.

Xae made her way swiftly through the town after that with steps that were as silent as a starless night in January. She arrived on the scene in the house just as a random male child was about to bring the hatchet down on Orange Water. Reacting without hesitation Xae withdrew her coiled whip from its position on her hip and flicked her wrist. The neural whip lashed out, cracking through the air with exciting precision. If left unabated, the tip would caress the hatchet wielding boy on the cheek like a feather...and with that caress would come enough excruciating pain to send an elephant into convulsions. The Neural Whip specialized in pain, it was a non-lethal weapon that made most of its victims wish it was lethal. The slightest touch would cause fibers all along the whip to send a neural impulse into the victim's nervous system that would tell the victim's body they were in the greatest most excruciating pain it could come up with.

The pain wasn't all though, the pain caused the body to react it's systems would act as if the body was under significant duress and act to save the mind. In doing so it would threaten to send the victim's body into shock, all but shutting down the mind for a few brief moments...enough to cause most people to collapse.

Xae's other hand was busy too, her three hundred and sixty degree vision and exceptional sense of smell identified other individuals and their positions in the room. At least two more threatening Orange Water but one's a...cat? No...the scent is wrong, more like...Sitri? Maybe. Xae's other hand drew her plasma pistol and whipped it around with precious time to act. At the speed of thought the plasma pistol adjusted its output to her will and she caressed the trigger. A tiny ball of plasma burst from the gun, a beautiful arc of artificial sun that illuminated the room and cast dancing shadows about the walls. The ball was aimed for the floor slightly to Orange Water's left where he lay on the floor. The plasma ball would hopefully pass unhindered and strike the floor. There it would release just enough localized heat to weaken the floor and cause it to collapse beneath Orange Water and, hopefully, send him falling to the basement below before the Sitri Cat could land her strike.

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#40 Posted by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:@demonboundsitri: @anonym: @horned_god: Why are you fracking harassing the kid he didn't do anything wrong hes protecting his family... He's in our way and as such will have to be taken down... No that is enough you have no right to help me... Your right I shouldn't even acknowledge you... You goddamn idiot you don't even realize what you've done so far... Oh look it's Xae who has no idea what's going on she will help me... NO SHE WON'T... Suddenly I heard the crack of her whip and while the side that was in control wouldn't move to help the kid I would with what little control I still had. I fought for just a little more and managed to raise the visor protecting my face and moved in front of the whip taking the shot on the chin and I smiled.

I had predicted that Xae would have enhanced her whip with several technological enhancements maybe something that would knock me out or give me just a little time to get my mind in order but suddenly instead of those things I got unimaginable pain but it would serve it's purpose either way as I collapsed onto the floor and everything began anew. What the hell Landon!!! Guess who's back in control now... Damn it... That's right and as first order of business I'll be fixing the problems you just created and your lucky I'm not shoving you in the back with the damn AI... Spoil sport... There I lay on the floor writhing in unimaginable pain unable to form the words or the thoughts at the moment to express how great it was to be back in control of myself but now that meant I couldn't do anything to stop Night Shift from trying to attack Liam which would only result in bad things happening.

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#41 Posted by Anonym (1415 posts) - - Show Bio

@orange_water: @demonboundsitri: @gale_xanders:

Tristan did nothing but watch as his student became the center of attention.

Orange had taken care of the bullwhip attack, but Liam sensed bigger problems behind him. Usually, he'd let Ann handle it, but a gushing urge rushed over him. An urge to give in. Tristan had taught him the right times to resist, and this wasn't one of them. With a movement heavy but fast for a boy of his age, he twisted his body and brought the hatchet in an upward movement towards the big cat's chest, at the same time dismissing Ann to regain the clarity of mind provided by his familiar gift. The hatchet, if it struck, would lodge in her chest. He could apologise to Tristan later.

Later might be sooner, however. His movement unbalanced him, so that when he released his axe, he stumbled back a little, his foot missing the floor and landing in the hole created by Xae's plasma blast. He fell with a Yelp, and there was a thud and a groan when he hit the basement floor. In two steps, Tristan was halfway down the stairs, slightly concerned for his cousin's well being.

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#42 Edited by demonboundSitri (216 posts) - - Show Bio

The surge of quick aggression, the whisper of wind. The scent of metal, cleaving the air. Sytry felt the young one's hatred, insanity, and drew them to her, pulling them in and letting them course through her, quickening. She half-twisted, darted back, and the strike slipped to the side as the infuriating presence vanished, locked up again where it should be.

The air singed fire, and the floorboards fell to instantaneous conflagration. The young one fell, slipped down. Sytry considered the opening in the floor distastefully, much of her wrath dismissed as the second presence was imprisoned. She went over to the fallen creature that still thought it was a hero, cringing on the floor in agony. The agony was nice, it added spice. She crouched beside it, the aura of madness urging her to kill it, but that would be ridiculous. If she killed it, it wouldn't be in pain. She licked the wound, surprisingly gentle, almost compassionate. The taste of its blood reminded her of-

-water, blue and stretching endless. Dun-colored sand, spotted white with the leavings of seagulls, squalling in the distance. Here and there a feather, marking their leavings. Tiny shells, no bigger than a fingernail, and rare. Fishbones were more common, errant vertebrae or sometimes a section of them, and the sound of the white caps tumbling down from the lake-

Sytry pulled back and left him there. For whatever bemusing reason, her other self wanted that one alive. She couldn't help him, but she could do no harm. She could... she could...

I will... try... to be good.

Sytry ignored that comment, pushing her other self back down. It wasn't time yet. The other one would only get caught up in the madness if it emerged. Keep her quiet for now. But she wanted that one alive. Fair enough. There were likely other things to hunt.

She returned to the hole in the floor and dropped down through it. The young one was below as well, but she left it be for now. If it was provoked, likely it would release the construct. She didn't like its construct. The young one could stay there and be a prison.

I want the other one.

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#43 Posted by Orange_Water (5616 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:@demonboundsitri: @anonym: @horned_god:The pain was unimaginable I was a I would be laying on the floor for at least couple more seconds before I would try anything at all. Their Night Shift sat and licked me for a moment not doing anything at all except observing my pain I tried to speak as she went through the hole in the floor," Don't do it you can be one of the good one's Night Shift." I writhed in pain for another couple of seconds but the pain was balanced out by my happiness of regaining my normal state of mind.

I looked at Xae and I could tell she wanted to understand why I did this," Don't worry everything will be explained later you need to stop her before she does something she will regret." I tried to get off of the floor but the pain wouldn't stop it didn't matter I had to make sure she didn't kill. Pain doesn't matter to me anymore it's just another obstacle to cross when it happens what matters is that I keep fighting for what must be done. " I limped to the hole in the ground and fell down the hole towards her and if she tried to strike me I would activate the shield bringing her to the ground. " It's not to late, Night."

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#44 Edited by horned_god (262 posts) - - Show Bio

@gale_xanders:@orange_water: @demonboundsitri: @anonym:

Montana, Chesterville, under Bardford - around 22:00

Enki moves deeper and deeper underground. He draws and restores energy from Mother Earth. Shrouded into barriers, amplified his earth manipulation and expanded seismic a magnetic senses, he began to seek the energy and souls of the invaders.

Where are you? Who will attack? Astral doubles of hundreds of magicians? Thousands of hungry ghosts from the Abyss? Souls devouring demonic assassins? A god of the earth? Let it be the god of the earth. I like these fights.

Moment by moment passed, and still no attack, no threat. With growing disappointment Enki realized that he is safe.

So ... now I pull the whole house underground and crush everyone inside... Enki paused in his thoughts. Where the hell is fun? I hate this style of ugly face. Effective and boring. For thousands of years, Enki made fun of many other gods. I'm starting to be like those old farts. Too powerful to enjoy fun and too paranoid to dare to do something. I panicked, like a virgin before the cock. What a shame.

Slowly, Enki began to rise back to the surface. As he approached, suddenly he sensed the familiar energy. Water Man! I hope he's ready for a good fight.