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#1 Edited by Lucia_Aurelius (297 posts) - - Show Bio

One Week Ago...

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Well-" I paused, looking down at the handiwork beneath me.

From high above, on the rooftops of the city skyline, I peered down to the docks below, witnessing the aftermath of the assault that had just taken place. I had been perched on the ledge for over an hour, watching ceaselessly for the long expected shipment of weapons I had ordered. I had only exuded stillness in my patience. Not an inch had I moved, not a breath had I taken. Instead I had become one with the building, my only companion the stone gargoyles.

Beneath the cover of darkness I had waited, the shade of a neighboring high-rise building concealing me from the sight of any of those who would be watching. Water from the moisturized ground seeped into my clothing, clinging to my skin and spreading its cold touch along my body. All alone in the dead of night, waiting, had left me time to ponder on my actions, on why I was doing this...what I knew had to be done.

Some would say that there was hope for this city. That there were heroes who helped this place time after time, making it safer, making "real change." There was a bright horizon for it, new opportunities for the place to become a decent place to live, to raise children and grow old; there was still time for these 'heroes' to save it.

No.

No there was not. I was evidence of that. I knew what this place was, I saw its truths. What it did to its heroes, how it refused to just lay down and die? Gothic City was a perversion, an weed that needed to pulled straight from its roots, and then doused in flame. I knew that there was no saving it. That's why I was here, to put the damn place out of its misery, give it the death it so richly needed. My plan was to introduce these so called, Toast Masters, to the local gangs. These weapons were apparently powerful, so it wouldn't take long for them to spread throughout the populace. If I had things my way, everyone would be wielding these tools of destruction.

So, when I saw these "heroes" slow down that progress, I was less than happy.

"that's unfortunate."

I watched as the pair took down the men at the docks, laying absolute waste. They were two blurs of motion, moving fast and efficiently. It wasn't long before they left the scene, chasing a truck that held the remaining supplies. Not wanting to let the rest of their little adventure happen without my supervision, I turned to the high-rise that I hid behind, and with a quick shift through time and space, phased to the top of it, again gaining sight of the ongoing action. By the end, they had evaded the law. Focusing my senses on them, I watched as the two departed the one with the quiver taking with him the last of the toast masters. Behind my hooded figure, my teeth pressed against one another, a distinct chip reverberating in the air. Ignoring the taste of iron, my thoughts shifted to my ruined plans, and what there was to do to salvage them. First I would need to go deal with those left at the docks....

Another phase shift had me quickly by their unconscious forms. The police had been too busy following the actions of the two vigilantes to come and deal withe the criminals. I let a breath of cool air escape my lips as my hand drew back, grabbing the grip of my sword. Fingers that had remained idle for far too long tightened, my eyes staring hungrily at the motionless forms on the ground. While the fact they were unconscious took some of the fun away, it would have to do.

My blade flashed, and the heads of a dozen men fell rolled. Quickly sheathing my weapon, I examined my handiwork. A clean death for each, as painless as possible, with little to no blood spillage. However, as much evidence as possible had to be erased. Lifting EsDeath over my head, commanded fire to appear, and cover the docks in their cleansing heat.

Soon I heard the sound of sirens in the distance, signaling the arrival of officers, paramedics, and firefighters. Not wanting to stick around to deal with them, I tapped into my powers for one last phase shift, teleporting far into the heart of Gothic City. I had work to do. Whoever the two heroes were, they had interuppted my plans, something I was not planning on letting them get away with. In order to stop them, I had to know their names....

Present Day

The hard part wasn't finding out about Thunderfist. Apparently she was a rather popular name in the mercenary game. Highly sough after, but rarely acquired. This merc was notoriously known for only taking on jobs on the lighter side of morality, always straying from hurting the innocent and punishing the guilty.

Disgusting.

This Ronin character though, it had been some time since he'd been around. Where had he been, what had he been up to since the last time I'd heard about him? Frankly I didn't care, all I needed to do was to find wherever he may have stashed the weapon. Chances were, given the nature of a mercenaries profession, she would be able to find that out.Through a string of favors, contacts, and several dead men, I found the person who had originally contracted Thunderfist to locate and destroy the toast masters. After that, it was as simple as "convincing" them to contract the mercenary again.

The contract? There was someone who was aware that the last toast master was planning on getting it from Ronin. This person was known as the Ashen One (a alias I had given myself). If Thunderfist took the contract, I would be waiting, watching her in hopes that she could lead me to Ronin.

This time I didn't have henchmen though. Clearly, if you wanted things done right, you had to do them yourself.

@thunderfistx@dwronin

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#2 Posted by Thunderfistx (72 posts) - - Show Bio

@lucia_aurelius: @dwronin

Paris, France...

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Thunderfist felt a sense of unease while in Gothic City, almost as if she was being watched. She didn't see anyone, though. She didn't even sense danger to herself, which was good. But still, the feeling she was being watched did not go away until she left Gothic City. Now she's in France because she works all over the world and not in any single location. During the week she had completed her Toast Master job, she had successfully finished two additional mercenary jobs. One was in London and the other she just finished in Paris, France.

It is while Sarah is still in her secret HQ in Paris that she receives a message over her secure line. The message was not a very good one because someone has learned that Ronin has the last Toast Master. Immediately, Sarah becomes suspicious. How could anyone know there was one left? Either Ronin told someone, which he wouldn't, or someone tailed him and saw what he had. Sarah is beginning to regret not destroying the thing when she had the opportunity.

Sarah feels uneasy about this contract, but the money she'll get from it is better than most jobs she's taken so far in her career. She takes so long to answer that the other end might have to message her again just to make sure she wants the job or to see if she's still there. But that bad feeling just won't go away. Something about this feels off even as her hands hover over the keyboard. Finally, she messages back that she'll take the contract. As usual, she wants to be payed half now and half when the job is done. If agreed, and usually her employers do, Sarah signs the contract with her electronic signature before signing off.

That feeling of unease is not going away. She feels like she's walking right into a trap of some kind. But she has a feeling if she didn't take the job, something very bad would happen. So, steeling herself for the worst, she uses her encrypted cell phone to contact Ronin over, hopefully, a secure line. She waits for him to answer. If he does, she speaks, "This is Thunderfist. I have been contracted to find you. Someone is aware you have the last Toast Master. I don't know how they know, but they do. I've called you over a secure line, but even that is not a guarantee. We need to keep this call brief just in case someone out there is trying to trace this call. Do you know where we can meet?"

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#3 Posted by DwRonin (2036 posts) - - Show Bio

@lucia_aurelius: @thunderfistx:

Former Children of the Damned HQ

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Scattered on the table behind Ronin was the remnants of the Toastmaster. The large pieces of material were unimportant to the hero who found himself tinkering as he listened to some old school punk music. Hunched over his work desk, a magnify glass in front of his right eye as he tinkered on the power source of the Toastmaster. The glowing orb illuminated the otherwise dark room. "This...this is incredible." Ronin had cracked open the case that was 'holding' the energized orb and was now studying it.

Before he could continue, Ronin's communicator began to go off. Only three people had this line, Keira, Hawkshade, and Thunderfist. He answered, realizing that it was the latter. "Mercs are always getting into trouble." He mumbled to himself as he rubbed his eyes, "Ok, I've been meaning to call you anyway. I've broken down the properties of the Toast Master power source and it's truly amazing.." Ronin pressed a couple keys below the machine that was holding it in place, causing the container to seal up the powerful energy into it's former orbed state.

"I'm sending you coordinates right now on where we will meet. I'm expecting this to be a trap though, so keep your eyes open." And with that Ronin stood up and started walking out before he looked back at the orb. He smiled, grabbing the orb, placing it in his utility belt and walking out the building.

Saint Peyton's Church

Ronin ran across the rooftops of Gothic City at lung burning speeds, never stopping even while making gravity defying leaps from one ledge to the other. This urban jungle was his home and one that he could literally navigate with his eyes closed if need be. Before he landed on one building, he had already planned on how he would acrobatically travel to the next one after that until finally he found himself on the rooftop of Saint Peyton's Church, one of the few truly beautiful and older buildings of Gothic.

Placing one hand on the head of a gargoyle, he stretched his hamstring as he waited for his companion to arrive. This night felt strange, as if someone was watching him. A feeling that he hadn't felt since being mind controlled by Linktech industries. Hopefully he was just being paranoid or at worst, Thunderfist was close by.

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#4 Edited by Lucia_Aurelius (297 posts) - - Show Bio

@thunderfistx: @dwronin:

After I sent the message to the merc, I knew I would need to come up with a way to figure out her location. I couldn’t rightly have left after Thunderfist to God knows where a mercenary like her was off to (probably to deal with other contracts). There would be too much danger trying to chase her all around the world, especially if she ever found out someone was tailing her. Hadthat happened, I could kiss that Toast Master goodbye. I needed to come up with a different plan, some other way to track these fools. And that's exactly what I managed to do. The contract I had sent out to her was bugged. Why risk following someone around the world on foot when you could do it from the comfort of your home?

As soon as she opened up the message, that's all it took for me to access personal info, albeit I didn't do this entirely on my own. I, having no background in hacking, needed to use the original contractor's help in this task. She was just able to tap into the phone call between the hero and the mercenary before they hung up, just in time to get a lock on the coordinates that Ronin had sent to Thunderfist.

"Perfect." I told the original contractor. "Thank's for all you're help, but your assistance is no longer required...."

Saint Peyton's Church

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Again I was perched high above, staking out the coordinates that Ronin had sent out to Thunderfist. Overlooking the church, I witnessed the silent movements of the ninja, skillfully making his way over the rooftops. Distance seemed to be no obstacle for him, his agility and prowess sending him almost soaring from one ledge to the next.I had to admit, despite the fact that I was planning on eventually killing this man, it would be a sight to behold. However, circumstances forbade me from giving that anymore thought. Instead, I scanned the surrounding area, seeing if I could make out Thunderfist. If she was anywhere nearby, I should've been able to sense her prescense. But as it stood, no one else was here yet.

That's when it occurred to me. If I were someone who had lived a life such as that of Thunderfist, I'd be someone very prepared for any given situation. Did she expect anyone else to be at this meeting? Did she suspect an ambush by any chance? If so, this wasn't a chance I was willing to take. Despite my hidden status in the shade of the high-rise building, it also put me in an obvious position should someone be trying to find me.

Quickly drawing my hood over my head, I phased down to the doors of the church far below. I drew my hand forward, and gently pushed the door forward the let myself into the building. The door made a small creak, ambient and drawn out in a low foreboding manner. If Ronin was attentive, the sound could be caught, but before anyone could investigate, I closed the door behind. Scanning around, there appeared to be no one else within the church, its dark halls empty and laid barren.

This was where I would wait. Grabbing a pew near the front row, I sat down and lowered my head. Thunderfist would come sooner or later, and when she did, that’s when the fun could begin.

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#5 Posted by Thunderfistx (72 posts) - - Show Bio

@dwronin: @lucia_aurelius:

Thunderfist hangs up when Ronin does. Indeed. She fully expects this to be a trap as well. But if she doesn't go, Ronin might put himself in danger without her and then whoever set this up might try again later. Better to spring the trap and turn it on the one who is setting it. If anything, Sarah loves to do that. It doesn't always work, but when it does it's priceless to see the looks on their faces.

Saint Peyton's Church

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Thunderfist arrives an hour early, staking the place out and staying to the shadows. But nothing so far. Then she decides to just stick to one spot where there are heavy shadows. She sits, waits and watches. She keeps her senses sharp, even using her Chi to help her sense anything nearby. When Ronin arrives, she senses the Chi within his body long before she sees him. But she also senses something else. A whisper on the wind, but hard to pinpoint. Above somewhere. The high rise. Sarah glances at it. If positions were reversed, Thunderfist would be up there for that is the perfect vantage point that overlooks the church. Did she just sense something up there?

As fate would turn out, Ronin's spot that he chose is near enough where Sarah happens to be. When she speaks, it's a whisper, "See that high rise nearby? If it were me, I'd choose that as my vantage point. I'm not certain, but I could swear I sensed something up there. If I'm right, this watcher of ours can keep herself very well hidden."

Thunderfist inches her way out of the shadows now, melting out of them as if she had been a part of them. She's incredibly stealthy for a merc, but she had been trained by the best. Just then, she could swear she heard something. The sound of a door opening. With a quick peek over the roof, Sarah doesn't see anything. But she knows she isn't imagining things and narrows her one and only eye. She whispers again, "Did you hear that?"

Sarah bends down in an almost kneeling position, putting herself in 'Lucia's' shoes even though she doesn't know her by name yet. She whispers again, laying out the plan, "If it were me, I'd want this to take place inside the church. Traps are likely inside, if I had time to set them. Or, if I trusted in my own skill enough, I'd simply attack when the time was right. We both know what to expect, Ronin. So, here's what I suggest we do. I go in the front, you find the back way in the church and be careful of any traps. Go slow. If our enemy is inside, we'll put them in a pincer maneuver and lay a trap of our own. What do you think?"

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#6 Posted by DwRonin (2036 posts) - - Show Bio

@lucia_aurelius: @thunderfistx:

Ronin was impressed by Thunderfist's ability to sneak up on him, not many were capable of such a feat, which easily displayed her sharpened skills. Not only was her stealth impressive, but so was her assessment of the situation. She was most likely correct on all accounts and this allowed Ronin to heighten his own senses, paying closer attention to what was going on. Because of this, the Urban Shinobi also heard the door opening, which quickly tipped off the vigilante. He had chosen this place specifically, he knew everyone had left this location, even Father Gonzalez, who enjoyed staying late had left an hour ago. This meant whoever had entered the building was not a usual.

This all crossed his mind as his companion suggested an attack plan. Ronin nodded, mostly agreeing with everything she had stated. He didn't have much to say, already formulating a plan of his own. He wasn't sure who was listening though, so decided to just speak to Thunderfist with action and hand signals, universal ones that anyone could pick up on. Ronin pointed to the passage way he'd actually be entering through. He was very familiar with Saint Peyton's, one of the first places he had visited when he first set out back into the world.

Ronin pantomimed that he would see Thunderfist in five minutes and without speaking a single world he hopped over the ledge and seemingly disappeared, continuing his silence. Entering a hidden passage way by squeezing passed two questionable gargoyle statues, Ronin found himself above the alter of the church, in front of a few stained glass walls. He kept to the shadows as he continued searching the area, his eyes falling on that of a hooded person. He couldn't make out the characteristic of the person, but they gave him an uneasy feeling.

This was the person who entered the church, but were they the one responsible for Thunderfist and his first and second meeting? His gut told him yes, but he'd let the situation play out until he was certain. Only stepping in once he got a fair assessment on the shadowed figure.

Ronin had a feeling Thunderfist would go in much stronger, allowing him to see what this strangers intentions would truly be.

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#7 Edited by Lucia_Aurelius (297 posts) - - Show Bio

@dwronin@thunderfistx

"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Forgive me Lord, for I have sinned."

My enhanced senses picked up on the two of them. I wasn't sure when Thunderfist had shown up, but that didn't matter, she was here now. They were conspiring up above, on the roof where Ronin had been scouting. For awhile there were whispers, and then silence. Perhaps they had figured that I was already in the building, more than likely the sound of the door I had opened at tipped them off.'Good', that meant we could get the surprise factor taken care of. There was the sound of scurrying, and then more muffled sounds, those of someone attempting stealth. I could sense them, but I made no effort to tip off that I knew of their presence. For that wasn't my focus at this moment. No, right now, this was just between the one above all and myself. I may not have planned the setting for this showdown, but I was going to make the most of the surroundings. There were things that needed to be said.

Clutching my eagle medallion between my hands, I stared up at the altar, eyes lingering on the cross. I continued. "I realize that this isn't confession, but I have things I need to get off my chest." Drawing a breath, I felt my form briefly shudder, trying to gather what I wanted to say here and now.

"Ever since my return, things have changed. I.... have changed. For better or for worse I'm still not sure. What I do know is that this change has made me see things in a different light. The world seems so much darker and cold than I remember it. I laid down my life for them, these people and this city. I gave them everything I had to offer, and how do they repay my deeds? They have done nothing, but sit around in their own filth and greed. This place remains the city of sin I once left it. Nothings changed!" I clenched my hands, and the eagle medallion dug into my palms. "I have done some bad things since my return. People have fallen before me, and what many might call, "the innocent," have suffered my wrath. But I know the truth, everyone here is guilty.

"I feel as though my sight has become clouded, and the everything I do, every move I make feels so much heavier, like there's a weight on my shoulders." I looked up at the altar, my hood hiding my face, and hopefully the tears that built up in their corners. "God, all I ask is for clarity. For meaning. Let my actions truly shape this land, and show it for what it truly is. Let me make things right, to bring true change. Allow me to avenge my death. I ask for you to give me the power to make this a better world lord, please protect me. Amen" I rose to my full posture, my head hanging over the pews. My cloaked figure thankfully hid my features, for if it didn't, then the man hanging above the altar could see the sorrow in my eyes.

"In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti," I whispered once more in my native tongue.

Lifting my head up, I met Ronin's gaze, and a smile spread across my features, replacing my somber look. "Let's not stand on ceremonial ground, 'Ronin,'" My voice echoed across the dark chambers, its strange softness creating a whisper-like tone, yet still remaining commanding and strong. I wasn't going for a domineering outlook, not yet anyway. There was perhaps still a way to get this to end in a simpler way.

"I do not wish to desecrate the house of God with bloodshed. Come down from your shadows." I tilted my head back in the direction of the mercenary woman, "Thunderfist and Ronin, and let us meet outside." With that I turned to the doors, not waiting for their replies. I pushed past the doors, and continued walking until I was beyond the boundaries of the church.

I had set up a trap, but it was more of an insurance, in case I couldn't take this weapon from the two. That, and it was also nearly two miles away, far from any sense of danger. Hopefully, diplomacy could work first.

I turned, and assuming they had followed, I began, "So, I assume you know why I am here? Good, then we can keep introductions short. Around these parts, I am known as The Ashen One. I am already aware of both of your identities. I also know that you have the Toast Master power core Ronin." I stuck out my hand, opening my palm upward to signal him to place something in it. "If we could keep this short, it would please me if you were to return the core to me."

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#8 Edited by Thunderfistx (72 posts) - - Show Bio

@lucia_aurelius: @dwronin

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Thunderfist listens to her, but perhaps she shouldn't. But she likes it when villains monologue, gives her a chance to prepare for the unexpected. Usually no one can see Chi energy at work, unless one had special senses or technology. Even then, one would need to know what to look for. Thunderfist puts a force field around her body, made of Chi, in case she needs it to save her life.

Sarah walks outside with Ronin and Lucia. But it's her who speaks, "I heard your little prayer and frankly, if all of us are guilty, that includes you too. You said you gave your life for this city and everything remains unchanged. Maybe it's because you have changed. Heroes fight for what is right, even if they don't get anything in the end and sometimes they die. I'm sorry you seem to have been given a raw deal, but that still doesn't justify your position. If this power core is given to you, you'll just cause more suffering and death. Where will it end? Will you burn every city until you eventually burn the world? To what end? Just so you can throw hissy fit because you weren't thanked for giving your life for this city? I lost everything too, miss, and you don't see me crying about it."

Sarah is speaking truthfully, she really did lose everything she ever cared about. Her situation is not exactly the same as Lucia's, but it's similar. Perhaps these two women are opposite sides of the same coin, but with a few key differences. Different enough that the women ended up being different. Either way, Thunderfist looks at Lucia and it's like a mirror. What Sarah might have been had things been a little different. Perhaps Lucia sees it the same way or maybe not at all.

Faster than the human eye can follow, Sarah attempts to kick the power core out of Ronin's hand, then she attempts to slap a device on his back to try and teleport him to an undisclosed location. In the same movement, she takes out a gun and fires at the power core above her, shooting it and destroying it. The explosion knocks Thunderfist on her back but she rolls away and gets right back on her feet, taking out her twin swords, smiling at Lucia, who might be enraged right now, "We don't negotiate with terrorists, but I do appreciate the effort of diplomacy. But for future reference, I'm a Mercenary. Start with money first and THEN we can talk."

(OOC: If Ronin ever gets back, he can decide weather or not Thunderfist attempts in this post succeeded. For now, let's assume they did. I don't want to Godmode, but without him being around, we need to move this RP along. If he comes back and says otherwise, we can do a retcon later about this to honor his wishes. Either way, I figured it was safer to get his character out of the way, that way we can focus on our characters. Plus, if Ronin ever returns, then he still has a character to play since I'd imagine Lucia might want to kill him after what Thunderfist just did)