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#1 Edited by Grimmwald (3091 posts) - - Show Bio

Gothic City, Midnight

The hour had arrived. The hour for which Grimmwald had sacrificed everything. His name, his friendships, his love - his soul. For weeks now, the Orochi had been flooding the streets of Gothic, not as a red mist of violence, not the Shinigami, but under a guise of normality. As janitors in public hospitals, substitute teachers in schools, electricians in homes, waiters in bars - unassuming and quiet. The Faceless Ones of the Orochi. They spent their days in the mundane, and their nights in espionage, as physical conduits for the Soul Lavaliere embedded in the Horned Saint's chest.

They scavenged hospital halls for the blackened souls of wounded murderers and mobsters, broke into homes for the twisted souls of schoolchildren the Soul Lavaliere revealed as future Charlemagnes and Satars, they hunted everywhere. With eyes lurid and orange like the lavaliere they answered to, the Orochi swarmed their prey like feasting wolves. They dug their fingers into their victims' eyes, sucking the souls from their bodies and leaving nothing behind but eyeless and catatonic husks. Biologically alive but no person to live. And yet, others were left as warnings to the evil Grimmwald sought to punish and damn to extinction. Others limped through the streets pallid and emaciated, their souls disfigured and maimed, and with no will to live.

The good deed
The good deed

Emotionally inert and shackled by dread, they simply warned of a prison, a place of eternal torture and anguish that every villain and criminal would be damned to; the heart of the Soul Lavaliere. They walked on, enslaved by the will of the Soul Lavaliere while the Orochi worked to turn Gothic into a place cold and dark; the prison inside the Soul Lavaliere made physical. And they would do so until the criminal element - evil - was well and truly gone from the city's streets. Then and only then would Grimmwald allow the city to know joy and cheer with a chill in the air always there to remind every soul of the consequence to allowing evil into one's heart.

It was the hour. The Horned Saint and his Orochi had come. The Orochi blackened the city, butchering men, making flags from their skin and doing the good deed by feeding the souls of evil to Grimmwald's lavaliere while he claimed his seat in the underground ruins of Gothic's worst; Black House.

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#2 Posted by Lethal_Weapon_X (36 posts) - - Show Bio

Gothic City- Midnight

No Caption Provided

H.I.V.E's introduction of the Utility Androids offered a new frontier for the makers of the 'Lethal Weapon', instead of running grueling test on kidnapped children, they could now buy specific models and program them to fit the need of their leasers. The atmosphere in Gothic shifted, the winds blew a little harsher, the city whisper a nefarious plot; but in a city full of plots no one could hear the 'cry for justice'.

She was purchased to provide surveillance back to her leasers on the happenings of Gothic City, so far there was nothing to report--save for a few petty murders. But tonight the reformatted ZL2240's auditory processors picked up various screams from all around her location.

{Sending Report} The LED light on the side of her forehead begin spinning yellow. From nearly every block of the metropolis screams and in some cases car crashes.

{Moving to investigate} she reported again, leaping from her stationary position into a 'three point' brace between two buildings, her eyes yellowed over to survey the cause for disturbance.

{Switching to Surveillance mode} The Android's eyes became the window for her buyers, they saw what she saw. Hordes of possessed Aggressor's prowling the streets targeting various individuals. She captured the gouging of the eyes and the eventual result--soulless husk.

{Alert!} Her processor yelled out, causing the Android to shift back and forth from Surveillance mode and occupational modes, but it was too late one of these 'faceless' beings had already took hold of her neck. The LED on her forehead now spinning with a deviant red, but before she could begin the deviant process they ripped her eyes from her socket, not killing her; but disabling all visual functions. The order had been given via her processor

"Self-Destruct"

Without warning the eyeless Weapon explode ensuring the identity of her buyer's remain hidden to anyone that would've stumbled upon the system.

Enter The Order (Valor City)

No Caption Provided

Normally, the Poetic Assassin wouldn't have need for an interference after all the weaker elements of Gothic City were finally being expunged; however the balance was being tipped. She could feel it. Gothic City was certainly due for 'evolution' but she needed to make sure it was the right way.

Valor City flourished after they burned the Grimm Elements, but it was fair--they extinguished both weak and strong alike; there was balance. She had to get closer, to see what hand to play.

"Ready my guard...I'm going to Gothic City"

"Madame Guillaume, should I ready your chopper?" One of the guards ask drawing a silent 'no' from The Black Dhalia. "If the situation is as bad as the Android reported, I do not want to raise the alarm. Get your gear, we are going by sea. When we land in Gothic I want the area secure. We will have to move as one tonight."

Ada and about 7 of her guards pushed out from the port of Valor on jet ski's, a quarter of the way out she could hear the screams howling throughout Gothic. The screams of the damned did nothing to her, not a flinch at all...for now the Order was here...and they'd Balance Gothic City.

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#3 Edited by Orb-Weaver (64 posts) - - Show Bio
City Under Fire

Location: A Veritable Hell (Gothic City)

Time: 12:23 a.m.

Nothing is worse than the feeling of leaving a loved one behind.

I should know. Did it several times cause of this whole hero thing. It hurts. Like, you're at a birthday or an anniversary and that's the time when some idiot in a mask decides to become the next Satar about some philosophical crap that revolves around taxes or some other idiocy. Knowing you have to leave on their special day because of someone else's actions and you have to suffer the consequences. The fact that you might not come back. Just the perfect way to screw up someone's day. It doesn't get easier, no matter how many times you do it.

This kid though is probably, what? Seven? Eight? And already he is faced with a similar choice. To either stay with his mother and father, desperately trying to protect themselves and their kid from getting the life sucked out of them, or run and possibly never see them again with a small chance of survival.

No way in hell was I going to let that kid make that choice. No one should at his age.

They don't know what hits them. One second they are on solid footing, the next they're hoisted into the air like piñatas. And like the over-eager kid swinging with the bat, my fists and feet connect to their jaws. As much as I would like to see them pick their teeth from the walls, I can't let my rage fuel me. I'm better than that. I'm better than them.

"Hey! It's Nobody! He's back!" the kid pointed.

Really? Where? Where the hell has that guy been all this time? Sure picked a hell of a time to make a-. Oh, wait. He means me. Damn. And after all that effort to make myself stand out from the rest of those red-and-blue bozos. At least the suit is more functional.

"I'm not-." Forget it. "Listen. Get in the house. Lock yourselves in the basement. I'll web up the entrance. No one is getting to you. I'll come back once this all over."

They listen. Amazingly. I half expected the mother or father to throw a brick or a rock at me or something. I web up the entryway, making sure to use my type-4A webbing. Strongest stuff I have and the longest lasting. I make sure to place a tracking dot hidden within the foliage of silk so I remember to come back. Don't want them to starve in there. Not like they might not be already.

No Caption Provided

All that took around ten to fifteen minutes. Who knows how many lives were lost in that span of time. I've already sent all eight of my surveillance spider-drones to comb the city, looking for him. I checked in on their progress. Nothing. Nothing but crimes and assaults happening all-across the city. Surveillance won't cut it. I need a solid lead.

In all honesty, I don't even plan to swing around the city saving every single person caught up in this hellstorm. I mean, I can't save everyone. That was something I accepted a long time ago. The family I just saved? They were just lucky enough to be within my warpath. I webbed up the baddies I saw as I swung by, but my endgame was to find the big bad. I've done my reading. This "Devil" guy who's been starting a storm of activity with the skinned bodies his followers and him have been leaving behind. To maximize my chances of shutting this all down as efficiently and effectively as possible, I need to take him out. Hopefully, it'll end the whole hellhole of a situation, or, at least, the whole soul-sucking crap that is going on. No one deserved that. No one.

Time to get back onto my main objective. I've got only one other idea as to find this Horned Sinner. Hanging upside down from a thin silk-line alongside where the red-robed ninjas were daintily hanging, I placed my index and middle finger on the temple of one's head. Maybe I can track this power back to its source. Find the Devil. You see, my sixth sense or so-dubbed "spider-sense" allows me the capability to access a psychic web of sorts, gifting me with the abilities of empathy, short precognitive visions, a bit of clairvoyance, and extrasensory perception of my surroundings and other people via these "strands." Each strand is different, interconnected with each other in a plethora of colors. What I'm trying to do is find this "Devil's" strand. Hopefully, this ninja-reject sharing a portion of his boss's power may be the ticket I need to find him.

There's a risk though. My psychic web is a closed system. I'm nigh-immune to most telepaths and precogition alike because of this. By tracking this mystical power back to the source, I'm opening up the system to this person, this power, whatever it is. The risks are innumerable. I don't know what might happen if the Horned Sinner finds out I'm in his head, tracking him down. Maybe suck out my soul through our shared connection? Destroy my mind with just a twisted thought? I have no clue what I'm dealing with. Saying I'm anxious is putting it lightly. I'm damn near terrified. But I've got to do it anyway. For everyone's sake. So, I concentrate, traveling along the thug's strand until I reach the Devil's, a resounding malevolent web with all the strands of his followers interconnected within. There, I'll make my way into gaining some sort of insight as to his location.

Hopefully, I can discern his location quickly and effectively without him being the wiser. If not, well, I might just be another dead nobody for all I know.

See what I did there? See you on the flipside, true believers.

@grimmwald:

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#5 Posted by Ada_Guillaume (149 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

The Poetic Assassin and the Parisian Brotherhood covertly made landfall on the Gothic City piers. With haste they drop their wet suits in favor of their own attire the brotherhood, before they stood as sentries around their lone sister allowing her to change before moving forward.

Each of them trained with a bow supplied with an ample amount of arrows, their discipline stolen from the now archaic Red Cardinals. They were trained instead of fearing death they should embrace it, unknown to them at the time their understanding of death was dull in comparison to what those trapped inside the Soul Lavaliere experienced.

"I want this section of the pier cordoned off." She commanded positioning the brother hood at specific locations around her, she took the center utilizing a psionic shield to protect her own sectors. "I need to see what we're dealing with" Dropping to one knee beside one of the husk she studied it's properties.

"The eyes are missing. Why are they targeting the eyes, what are they after." She pondered running her soft hands across the fresh victim. "What. Did you do to deserve this?" She asked again. Behind her, the brotherhood begin engage the swarms of Orochi converging on them.

"Why the eyes..." Now back to a vertical base with her hands positioned in her hoodie. "Why the eyes..." She had to see; she needed to know why they were attacking specific people, and why through the eyes. Turning as slowly as she could, she allowed her psionic barrier to fall, giving to converging Orochi access to both brotherhood members protecting her rear, placing it back up before they could get to her.

"I am sorry brothers, but it seems your mental fortitude had an expiration date" She whispered staring in awe. Her Green eyes met with their vibrant orange tinted-gaze then it dawned to her. "You are after souls..." She said placing her hand the shield watching as they desperately tried to get to her.

In there secured positions the Brotherhood continued to fire on them, but it wasn't enough to take their attention off the Poetic Assassin. "Did you truly want them? Or did you want them because...they're with me?"

"I was correct." Ada said stepping as far back on the pier as she possibly could. "The Balance here is off. If we do not do our part this city will never evolve". In the face of apparent death the Black Dhalia stood on the edge of the pier between the soul collectors is the dark abyss that was the Gothic Bay.

"Brother's move inward.

"As for you, tell whoever sent you. I sold my sold quite sometime ago. It tis not mine to just give" In an uncharismatic display of psionic prowess the Poetic Assassin push through with powerful TK pressure, using the subsequent explosions to slip away from the bay inward.

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#6 Edited by Apex_Predator87 (112 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald:

No Caption Provided

Apex had been tracking the Orochi, but could not find out where they were coming from or who was controlling them, if anyone was in control at all. Perhaps she should have been able to to know, being a detective even Sherlock Holmes would envy. But between her time with the JLA, Hank and Gothic, her time away from Gothic has now payed in full and not in the good way. Her neglect eats away at her as she sees her city turned upside down and inside out.

Reaver had approached her hours before, perhaps sensing what was coming. He looked worried. He said he had to get his mother out of town since she was one of the worst of criminals and utterly insane. She'd be targeted, he said. He doesn't know when he'll be back. Apex wondered why he was telling her and not Hawkshade. Reaver had his reasons, but assured her that he left a message for his mentor explaining his absence and that he will come help when he knows his mother is out of danger. Where Reaver decided to take his mother is unknown but it was safe to say it was far outside the confines of Gothic City.

Men were dying, even women. All criminals of some sort, but criminals just the same. Whatever innocents there were seemed to be bypassed and ignored. But those with the black stain of evil upon their souls were being slaughtered by someone who thought he has the right to it.

Apex didn't want to defend criminals. They don't deserve it. Perhaps some of them even deserved death, but she doesn't get to decide who lives and dies. No one does. So, she defends them and she fights the enemy.

This wasn't justice, it was slaughter. An attempt to kill the disease by attacking the symptom. An attempt to scare everyone who lived into submission, to make them too afraid to commit evil acts. In Apex's long life, she knows better. This is going to blow up in the face of the one responsible. Evil always makes a come back and sometimes, stronger than it ever was before. "Seems someone needs to learn their lesson the hard way."

Apex continues to fight the Orochi with a martial arts prowess rarely seen, considering her over 200 years of life she has learned them all.

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#7 Edited by Phantomshell (1151 posts) - - Show Bio
Welcome to Gothic
Welcome to Gothic

Like a viper hell bent on its own destruction, Gothic City had once again begun to eat its own tail. Swallowing criminal elements, torturing and brutalizing its citizens with unbiased certainty. The streets were disturbingly decorated with the flesh-made banners of the city's unlawful sinners serving as the trademark calling card which had now been attributed to the carmine face stealer. A myth, a man, or something in-between, the Shadowland Saint had never the less enacted his grand Purge.

"What the hell you doing?"Ishmael questioned. Direct yet with a tone of obvious concern as he comfortable lay in bed. His eyes solely focused on the snow-haired beauty across the room. "Come back to bed." But he knew she shouldnt. Susan Swan, former manager of the city's illustrious Court Towers and part time lover of the Secret Strix, had already made up her mind. The fighter in her fueled her need to intervene and dive head long into the horrors outside.

Slipping her garments on with stylish and unintended sexual allure, stubborn determination strongly resonated off her disposition with each article of clothing. "I'm sorry, but you know I cant. You know I wont stand by and watch as the city suffers." Pausing for a moment to make her way over to her unhappy lover. Placing a hand on his cheek with a saddened smile and another tracing across his battle scared chest.

Susan Swan
Susan Swan

"Come with me. Side by side like we use to before..." Her head subtly lowered with a trailed off sentence. They had lost everything years ago. Back when the Strix, lead by the honorable Absalom, had been on the verge of truly saving the city. Back before Ismael had become the run an gun outlaw known as the Phantomshell. Back when he cared. Back when he had a reason to.

He slowly moved her hand away and swung his legs to the opposite side of the bed before quickly standing up to grab his shirt. "You wanna go get yourself killed thats on you. You know how this goes. You know how it ends. This fight doesnt need us, doesnt need you. The city....doesnt need heroes. What will be will be like it always is in Gothic. It all comes and goes. In an out like a tide. Satar, the Strigidae. The Knightfalls and Rooks. Aliens and whatever the f&*k else, it always ends the same. People fight, people die, but Gothic endures. It adapts and survives. And thats all we need to do right now. Sit here. Relax. And survive."

Susan shook her head. "What the hell happened to you Ishmael?" Aggressively turning on the LED tv and pointing as the screen displayed coverage of the soul stealing carnage. "Look at whats going on out there. People are being turned into zombie like husks. Others have been skin....skinned alive. Or worse. How can you stand by and do nothing?" Grabbing and positioning her blue eye mask. Swiftly making her way to the door she had no intention of stopping.

"Dont. Dont go."His voice filled with genuine concern and possibly love. "Just stay. Just stay here, with me." However he knew she wouldnt. And as she partially peered back over her shoulder Ishmael could see the small stream of heartbreak trail down her cheek from her eye. "Goodbye Ish."

Ishmael knew the true danger outside. He had faced it, twice. Narrowly escaping both time. The devil was real and his abilities beyond reproach. His skills a venerable valet of lethal vendetta. Breaking free from the momentary anchor of depression, the Phantomshell grabbed his phone;

@beremud:
No Caption Provided

"I need a...I need a favor."
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#8 Posted by Tenjin (2425 posts) - - Show Bio

The path to paradise begins in hell.”- Dante Aligheri

Gothic City

Sometime after Midnight...

天山雷

Somewhere between silhouette and nothingness, something moved quickly along the stone tiled rooftop of a solemn cathedral, blurring the lines between the material and the phantasmal as it seemed to displace within the long dark shadow of the steeple before it. Leaping to an uncanny height, some ten meters almost perfectly vertical, it landed quietly inside the confines of the belfry, taking refuge amongst the soft moonlight and revealed itself in a bath of lunar brilliance. Its frame was Herculean but masked in a Shinobi shroud, only large pallid upper arms of steel like muscle were revealed, its blue veins plainly evident, corpse-like. It was a man or more accurately, a humanoid, its sentience unquestionable but what was left deep within, was a matter of debate. Moving slowly between the columns of the belfry, the Grim Ghost rested on foot along its edges and peered outward towards the cityscape from different points for quite some time. His eyes, like scarlet stars, scanned with raptor-like precision, aided by cybernetics his pupils enlarged and dilated rapidly, zooming in and out with alarming clarity for reaches far beyond that of human potential. Revolving through a series of sight perceptions, thermal and night vision specifically, he gathered a multitude of information.

Returning to his standard gaze, he pondered on what he witnessed.

Carnage. Bloodshed. Torture.

The flayed skins of victims becoming tapestries of pain and symbols of the ideology of a lunatic. Many left to wander the streets in soulless pseudo-zombification. Testaments to a Grand Design. But the Martial Metatron was not here to fight for philosophy, nay, nor for the people who incurred the wrath of Grimmwald and his orange optic horde.

What lurks within the mind of the Fatal Phantom? What of pathos? Logos? Virtue? This was all an obscurity. He merely followed The Way; a hyper-personal set of ethics clad in long lost Eastern mysticism. He cared for no such inventions. There was only battle, only war. To massacre and perish and then return from beyond the grave, in a cycle of perpetual haunting violence. But there Tenjin existed, in a sense, in myth. Many had not heard of, never mind seen or encountered, the Walking Weapon but in perhaps passing conversation of the legends of the Far East and most remote corners of the criminal underworld. This veil proved invaluable. He worked within shadows, figuratively and literally speaking.

But his presence in Gothic, alone in a belfry in full combat regalia, did not hint at becoming a mere spectral spectator. Far from it.

Tenjin served no Master, but he could be bargained with. Such a deal was made and Grimmwald would benefit for Tenjin’s sword but it was not the Horned Saint who sought him out.

A greater mystery was afoot. One that would soon unravel.

Without warning, Katsuro vaulted out from the cathedral perch, like a projectile he launched himself to clear the building and then began in a controlled freefall and accelerated by firing kinetic pistons across his body rapidly, becoming a pitch black vein against the deteriorating grey stone behind him. Downward he darted, hellbent on slamming headfirst into the concrete below but just before impact, the shadows below stirred like water and a low black mist rose and erupted into the forms of dozens of skeletal arms reaching upwards and caressing Tenjins body like a harem of vile lovers and he vanished into this daemonic portal. Leaving nothing but the stench of brimstone and residual smoke-like fog among the peculiar and uninviting tolling of the lone brass bell of the cathedral.

Concurrently, not far away...

A small number of civilian resistance fighters crouched and huddled behind the barricaded doors and windows of an old florist shop; armed with machine guns and improvised explosives, they caused a number of demolitions and sharpshot their would-be flayers and executioners from afar. Their night had been a long one, tired they bantered together in brother and sisterhood, content on fighting until last breath in unison. But in their whimsy, they paused as they all fell to silence, listening to that dreadful cathedral bell tolling, tolling in the distance. And their hearts sank slightly, as the room seemed to get slightly colder and that final breath together did become visible. The air had become ghostly frigid and from the shadow on a crumbling wall did explode with the semblance of a great beast’s maw and Tenjin flew out on his downfall’s momentum.

They would not die by the orange hue eyed Orochi...

But by the silver gleam of the katana, wielded by the Red Eyed Fiend.

And tonight, Tenjin would aim to slaughter many more...and collect the mementos and capes of the opposition who braved his blade.

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#9 Edited by Hawkshade (4611 posts) - - Show Bio

𝔗𝔥𝔢 ℭ𝔞𝔳𝔢

No Caption Provided

Deep in the stone heart of Gothic there was a hollow inside the cold earth and in that dim cavern lay the lair of Hawkshade. Son of the Shogun. Former Strigidae. And would-be protector of Gothic.

Above him his adopted city was once again torn apart by the man who had once been his brother. Gothic bled once more. Grimmwald, the Horned Saint had become the devil, following in the footsteps of Amaranth, Satar and so many more.

Above the chaos swept Hawkshade's Blackhawk drones, digital eyes sweeping across the carnage and streaming a panoramic view of the slaughter directly into the cave. He touched a key on the monitor in front of him. The camera zoomed in on a flag waving in the breeze above. A flag of human skin.

For the first time Richard saw, really saw, what he had tried so hard to ignore. To excuse.

"Brother. What have you become?"

It was a rhetorical question. He knew.

A monster.

And Richard had stood by and watched as Kellan became this horror. The blood shed above him was also on his hands. He had failed his brother and failed his city.

He didn't leap up to go and defend his city. He didn't charge into battle against the cruel eyes of the shadow that had afflicted this city like a biblical plague.

Instead he sank onto the seat behind him, his black cape spreading out over it and his head in his hand. He couldn't win. Not because the odds that faced him were insurmountable. Not because he was outnumbered a hundred or more to one. Not because of Grimmwald's martial skills and mutant abilities (which were considerable.)

No. He couldn't win because no matter what happened today he had lost his brother. Richard would have rather lost the entire city.

He set there for a long time.

Then he stood up. If he couldn't save Kellan from Gothic then he would save Gothic from Kellan.

There was no time to gather information. But he already had the beginnings of a plan and he reviewed it in his mind as he gathered his utility belt and donned his cowl.

Then he was gone.

𝔈𝔵𝔠𝔞𝔩𝔦𝔟𝔲𝔯 𝔗𝔬𝔴𝔢𝔯

No Caption Provided

A few minutes later he stood inside his personal laboratory inside the secret basement level of Excalibur Tower, the company he owned under his civilian persona. Once, Knightfall Industries and later Avalon. Now Excalibur and it provided Hawkshade with the logistical support he needed to wage his war on crime and supervillainy.

There on a bench was the device he had conceived and constructed. It was only a prototype. It had not been tested, modified and improved as was his usual process.

Not because of a lack of funding or time. Richard had an ample supply of both. But because deep in his heart he had hoped he would never have to use it. So he put if off. Found other things to do. Made excuses.

But now it had to be done. Kellan had to pay for his crimes. So did Richard.

He clipped the device to his belt, flipped off the lights and left.

𝔅𝔩𝔞𝔠𝔨 ℌ𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔢

The black wings of his glider cape framed his powerful build like the wings of some great night bird as he cut through the biting cold wind above the ruins of Satar's old fortress. He circled once as he the Blackhawk drones spread out below him, making a spiral of little metallic eyes in the sky, scanning across multiple frequencies for any dangers.

He activated the Shadow Knights frequency which @ashley_knightfall and @redreaver had access to. <"This is Hawkshade. If anyone can hear this, I'm going after Grimmwald. He's probably in Black House. Don't follow me. He has become too dangerous.">

No Caption Provided

Then he dived. The ground raced up toward him. Thump. His boots hit the dirt hard and he tucked and rolled to absorb the impact, rising to his feet above a dilapidated trapdoor. He stomped, hard. Rotted wood and rusted metal gave way.

Hawkshade landed in the passage way below, making no attempt at stealth. There was no sneaking up on Kellan. A handful of drones dropped in after him, buzzing down the snaking cordiors, scanning for Orochi.. or his fallen brother.

The man he had come to stop. Or die trying.

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#10 Posted by Ashley_Knightfall (922 posts) - - Show Bio

It came without warning. A swarm of individuals, golden eyed warriors came to the Catholicon, attacking patients. Her patients. They came into the lobby and began slaughtering her patient’s and the nursing staff quickly retreated, putting the lobby area in lock down as walls of titanium came down over the doors as the doors themselves locked shut. Crimson lights flashed through the facility as staff began transferring patients deeper into the Catholicon. This was it, it had to be, this was Kellan’s doing.

Pounding on the doors could be heard on the other side as Ashley stayed to direct people. She couldn’t believe they were attacking The Catholicon. This was supposed to be a place of healing, a safe place for anyone who walked in. Now the last few months it had become more of a morgue and now? A place of terrorist attack. The Knightfall Saint made a vow to keep those in her Catholicon safe, no matter who they were, because life, ALL life, was precious.

Both staff and patients were to be escorted to the Katacombs, the deepest and most secret part of the Catholicon. The only two people who knew about it were Ashley and her charge nurse, Lynnette. Nothing was going on there, at the moment, so the Knightfall Saint demanded that all patients and staff be moved there, while she tried to take care of the visitors.

When she first built the Catholicon, she created robots for security purposes. However, they seemed more trouble than they were worth, so she deactivated them… until now. On her tablet her fingers typed away at the password that would re-activate them, and in the bowels of the Catholicon, the lights flickered on as a dozen different robots, came to life. She just had to stall long enough for them to reach her in time.

Above Ashley was the sound of something crawling in the vents. These warriors didn’t take no for an answer. Her eyes looked up as she grasped the closest thing to her, a computer screen. With a grunt she threw it to the ceiling as hard as she could as the ceiling tile fell down, and with it, a couple of golden eyes warriors. They landed swiftly on their feet as they stood before her. Living but not alive. It made chills run down her spine. These were the warriors of Kellan? These... monsters? Setting her tablet down she reached for something behind her. She held her head high, as she readied herself. “Get out of my Catholicon!” The Last Knightfall of Reality M demanded as she pulled out two Eskrima sticks and charged forward.

Using everything she learned throughout the years of training, she unleashed upon the unwelcome guests. Her arms looked as if they were weaving in between the two opponents, combination of twists and turns she was able to land hit after hit till both fell, and stayed down. Her breathing became more heavy as suddenly, four more dropped down, then another… and another… and another... <"This is Hawkshade. If anyone can hear this, I'm going after Grimmwald. He's probably in Black House. Don't follow me. He has become too dangerous.">

She didn’t have time to respond, as retaliation from her initial attack began.

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#11 Edited by Quintus_KnightfaII (74 posts) - - Show Bio

@ashley_knightfall:

The air in the Katacombs was already thin, making what happened next all the more impactful. Like an unseen vacuum the atmosphere was seemingly wrenched out of the secret subterranean respite before being violent unleashed back upon the scene in concert with a cinematic eruption of smoke. There, he appeared. Aged and carrying the visual tales of wartorn conflicts across his armor. Heavier then before. Posture slightly diminished yet impressively in shape never the less.

He kept his cowl shrouded back to the Knightfall Saint's employing a strategic back to back stance. Covering her 6 as the Shadowland Sinner's deadly shinobi's regathered their brief loss of concentration. Just like they had in the wars of Reality M, the cursed siblings squared up against overwhelming odds.

No Caption Provided

With a glance over his shoulder, Quintus confidently nodded with subtle levity. He wasnt there to save her. He wasnt a knight or even much of a hero. He hadnt been there for his dimensional displayed sister after their arrival. And yet, like a rose out of concrete she had blossomed. Endured. Thrived. She was a warrior in both mind, body and spirit. Built a home, a community, and found a family.

No, he wasnt here to safe her. He was here so she could leave and form up with her squad to tackle the threat of Grimmwald. Together. United. He would hold the incoming wave of Orochi off as she answered the rallying cry. He would by the wall which allowed her to leave and engage in the real fight. The true fight. The one fight which needed to be one. And that fight...was not here.

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#12 Edited by Grimmwald (3091 posts) - - Show Bio

@orb-weaver: @ada_guillaume: @apex_predator87: @tenjin: @hawkshade: @ashley_knightfall: @quintus_knightfaii:

The Orochi/大蛇

On Gothic's pier, against the Order of Mahlta, against Ada Guillaume, the Orochi waged war for the good of Gothic. Brains cooked and limbs torn at the joint by Ada's wave of psychic energy, the Orochi fell. Dead. Yet from the shadows, more emerged, armed and ready to avenge the fallen. They surrounded her and the Order from afar, some lurking in shadows, and others atop nearby warehouses. The Orochi pounced. Bows and arrows at the ready, they nocked, anchored, aimed - breathed - and unleashed a wave of arrows, vibranium-tipped to pierce into anything short of adamantium, and neurotoxic (botulinum) to confirm the kill. The arrows flowed in a volley from every angle to either push the Order back to be squeezed and compressed at the pier's edge and be annihilated by a follow-up wave of explosive-tip arrows, or jump into the pier's cold water where they'd be slower and picked apart by the botulinum arrows threatening to degrade their neurotransmitter proteins en route to a cruel shutdown of the body; death.

The Red Mist of Grimm
The Red Mist of Grimm

Elsewhere, the Orochi battled one of Gothic's two cowls; Apex. A buzzsaw with hundreds of years of skill and experience poured into every punch, kick, elbow and knee, Orochi after Orochi fell to her mastery. She was too skilled, too quick, just too damn good. They could not outfight her. A reality changed by no amount of heart, desire or determination. But they could out-think her. Vibranium swords drawn and blood on their mind, the Orochi darted forward with long, sweeping swings. Their freshly oiled blades glimmered through the air like crescent moons, some targeting Apex's legs as if to sever her thighs from the knees, while others did something else - they attacked the space around her. They pressed forward, closed off angles, and attacked the open space around her. Because all martial artists, be their skill centuries old or a year young, need space. Small pockets or large open space, it didn't matter. With no space to fight in, no rhythm could be established, and no pace could be set.

Apex would be forced on the defensive. To react and react and react until she reacted incorrectly. But she was good. Too good and too skilled. It may take months. Instead, the Orochi attacked as sacrifices, as distractions. So that she would dodge, counter, set her focus on those pressuring, cutting off her angles of escape and attacking her space - while those farther away would take aim with explosive-tip arrows to drown her and their brothers in a fiery sea that'd blow her limbs from their joints, burn her flesh, and rupture her organs. Many Orochi would perish, but it was necessary. Sacrifice was necessary for a warrior of Apex's caliber. But in the medical halls of the Catholicon, it was pandemonium. Shinobi doing battle with robots, fine-tuned warriors against well-oiled machines. And in the Orochi's way stood none other than Ashley Knightfall, the Horned Saint's lover - rather, she used to be. The Orochi spared the innocent but sought the souls and skin of the guilty, of evil.

"Quintus is there", Grimmwald's voice echoed, not in the Catholicon, but in the minds of the Orochi that murdered in it's halls. Through the Soul Lavaliere, the Horned Saint could see the Knightfall siblings, their spirits. So good. So pure. But they were in his way. "Leave", Grimmwald commanded, and the Orochi, murderous and hungry, simply stopped - and left. They were no match. Not for Quintus and Ashley. But someone else was. "Tenjin will kill them".

The Horned Saint/角状の聖者

Resistance. Heroes. It is in the good man's nature to be naive. To be a coward. To give more credence to their subjective morals over results. It is in the good man's nature to put altruism for altruism's sake above the good of man. Because the good man is not good. He is a man who accomplishes nothing, who opposes a solution that is not his - because it is not his. 'I disagree, therefore evil', is the good man's response. The good man is a coward. A coward who does nothing but watch the villains escape their inescapable prisons to kill again and again and again, staining the good man's hands with the blood of each innocent they kill for not themselves being put to death. A coward who will only watch and stubbornly cling to his guns while evil preys on the innocent. Escape. Kill again. Escape. Kill again. Because the good man is always there, ready to give evil second, third and fourth chances at redemption. 'Everyone can change', the good man will say.

No. Satar cannot change. Charlemagne cannot change. Darkchild cannot change. Because evil does not change. But the good man is selfish. Because without evil, he is not needed. He has no use. And so come the heroes, flocking to the defense of evil because no one deserves to die unless it is the weak man by the blade of the villain that the good man pardons again and again. And a good man, Grimmwald is not. He is no hero sparing evil so it may kill again so he - like every hero - can feed a selfish desire to feel needed. He is the solution, and through the Soul Lavaliere, he will show the world the truth and do as it's God has - promise the most horrible punishment to those who engage in evil. A hell. The Horned Saint is the devil, but he is holy, the good that the good man is too misguided to see. And there as he sat on a broken throne in Black House, Grimmwald felt the first of the sinners to attack. A hero. New. Young. Spider-themed instead of bat. Uncommon in Gothic. Grimmwald felt the psychic push, an attempt at peeking into his mind through the Soul Lavaliere. Clever. The mind and soul were two sides of the same coin. Clever indeed. Psycho-spiritual barriers lifted round his mind by secrets unearthed from Keijijo scrolls he'd stolen held strong.

Strong and fueled by qi, they held until the push grew stronger. This hero. The Orb-Weaver was unique, different. A psychic anomaly unlike any he'd ever felt. The Horned Saint's head began to ache, his psycho-spiritual wards began to break, so he scowled. Scowled and acted before it was too late. Before his mind was stripped down, bare and wounded. So, Grimmwald did as the Soul Lavaliere whispered. He made no attempt at tearing the hero's soul from his body, he felt no evil in the Orb-Weaver's soul. Instead, he did as the Orb-Weaver had. He tossed the coin that the mind and soul were sides on, and through the hero's psychic tether to him, he showed him everything in the Soul Lavaliere. All the dread, the despair, the soul-piercing screams, the maddening thoughts, and the pain of every soul the Soul Lavaliere held tortured and imprisoned in it's countless years of existence. All poured into an immaterial spear to cripple and maim the Orb-Weaver's soul - and through it, an avenue unprotected by his psychic powers, his mind. He would live but be forever broken. Grunting as he rubbed the sides of his temple, the Horned Saint breathed in, then out. Slowly, the wards would be reinforced.

Screams of the Lavaliere
Screams of the Lavaliere

But the pain remained, like two drills poking in through his ears to meet in the middle of his skull. He wasn't angry, he couldn't be, he'd lost his soul in a way that'd left him unscathed - but made him unfeeling, dead inside. But he was in no mood. No more. It was time for the rigid pacifism that kept Gothic City from true salvation to end. Time to end the era of heroes who make naive excuses not to kill the villain, to end the era of the good man who gives second chances to those who will always spill innocent blood. And as he rose from his throne, Grimmwald felt his dermal senses zero in on vibrations all too familiar, of the man he once called his brother, and the drones that followed him. Stepping forward, his stride slow and panther-like, Grimmwald strode down the steps of his throne as all four members of the Blackdagger emerged from the shadows around him to flank him. Standing with the Soul Lavaliere embedded in his chest, and his eyes wearing the stone's orange glow instead of their usual red, Grimmwald waited.

With emotion and attachment stripped from his very core, he was ready to do the good deed and kill Richard. Still, he sent out Pestilence, a diseased madman of the Blackdagger with bladed chains bound to his flesh, to kill Richard. But he knew. Richard would overcome him. But Pestilence was bound to the Soul Lavaliere, a physical conduit through which the Horned Saint could see and tear souls. However Richard had come for him, he would first see through Pestilence. So through the dark hallways, Pestilence strode, scratching away at his diseased skin until he caught the sound from Richard's nearby drones, and his chains sprung to life, stretch out into the darkness to wrap round the Son of the Shogun like bladed constrictors and drag him towards Pestilence to be shredded by a mutant born to rend flesh and bite through armor and bone.

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#13 Posted by Beremud (616 posts) - - Show Bio

@phantomshell:

"Hm...yes, I see."

Her voice was as cold and smooth as ever, but her mind was racing as Ishmael described the conditions in Gothic. Though she was half a world away, she was monitoring the situation in Gothic. Chaos and upheaval were nothing new to that city, but this was...different. The reports she was receiving, the descriptions of the randomness of not just the attacks, but the attackers themselves, they matched a description of something that would not be found in many databases on this planet. Something that had a very real potential for attracting attention of more than the usual array of vigilantes and villains. Initially, she was content to simply wait it out and see; her own mission, after all, had little to do with this particular power.

That said, this was not without opportunity, and the one the world knew as Elsa Beremud was nothing if not opportunistic. "I'm on the other side of the globe, but if you can use your own means to put the word out, anyone who can make it to the Alaric Halfway House will be given sanctuary. I believe I have sufficient means to secure that location."

Ending the call without awaiting a response, she quickly dialed up her every-ready assistant, Silas Xundar. "I want a full division deployed to protect the Halfway House," she snapped, "and I want it to be entirely comprised of Sleepers. No organics. They are to give shelter to any civilians who seek it, but they are also to screen them for...genetic potential." Again, the call ended without ceremony. Elsa was never fond of saying goodbye.

The Sleepers were highly advanced robots, designed to look perfectly human. They had never been tested in large numbers, but they possessed numerous attributes that made them ideal for this situation: they lacked souls, for starters, as well as the vital organs that trained assassins would target. They could be damaged and destroyed, of course; this planet's resources had limitations, but as long as their power core and CPU remained intact (which were located, respectively, in the torso and the cranium, both of which were heavily armored), they would continue to fight even if horrifically damaged. The ability to see in the infrared spectrum also made them especially difficult to sneak up on.

No Caption Provided

This would suffice as far as defensive measures went, she mused, but the best defense was often finding someone able to stab the offense in the back. Keying in another number on her phone, she waited for the usual pickup without greeting. "I have a new mission for you. There is an attack on Gothic. Find its leader, kill him, and bring me the source of his power."

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#14 Posted by Assassinatrix (283 posts) - - Show Bio

@phantomshell: @grimmwald:

The city bled, this night. It screamed in pain, fear, and fury.

And she cared not at all for it.

From her vantage point, high above the fray, he cloaking shield hiding her from any prying eyes, the Imperium's chief assassin viewed the carnage below with detached indifference. Even if life had meant anything to her, this planet and its inhabitants did not. She knew nothing of the politics and ideology that drove this violence, and she had no interest in learning of it. Only one thing mattered, and that was her mission.

Deep within her mind, her connection to the Ancient One burned, like a low-grade fever. Something had stirred the powerful alien entity's consciousness, likely the very energy that drove the conflict below, and that she could feel brushing up against her mental defenses. If she cared not for what motivated this conflict, she was intrigued by what powered it, a sentiment that was obviously shared by the one who had given her this mission.

Before she could complete her task, though, she needed an entry point, a means of picking up her quarry's trail. She considered finding an isolated attacker, and incapacitating them for interrogation, but there was no evidence that groundlings would have any inkling of the grander strategy and who was behind it. No, she needed something far more...

There.

A lone fighter (@apex_predator87:), possessed of a consummate skill far beyond any she had yet seen on this world, held her own against a small army of attackers. Her foes could not match her prowess, but sometimes quantity was possessed of a quality all its own. The assassins who ringed her could not match her individually, but by working in unison, they sought to bring her down as a wolf pack would a powerful bull. They obviously considered her a high-priority target, which meant that she may be able to lead her to the target. Even if this wasn't the case, she would at least be useful for drawing aggression.

Swiftly and silently, she leaped down, using ledges and fire escapes to facilitate her path to the fray below. As she dropped into the midst of the melee, she deactivated her invisibility cloak, her blades already rasping free of their sheaths and singing a song of blood and death as they wove a wall of extraterrestrial steel around her, attempting to break the human blockade around Apex.

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#15 Edited by BlhazeRider (34 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

The Blaze Rider stares down with sockets that are filled with a fire that burns like hot coal. Standing atop the tallest building in Gothic City, he just stands there like a burning statue. Unmoving, not flinching, not even a twitch. Any camera that catches sight of him mysteriously blurs for no apparent reason. Anyone who spots him with their eyes cannot believe they are seeing. And when they look away, even for a second, the Blaze Rider is gone as if he was never there.

The Blaze Rider does not interfere, even if his human host wants to. He simply watches what is going on below him. He sees the sins upon all who he sees. Some are great, some are terrible and others are innocent but those are, sadly, very few. But there is one exception: The Catholicon. There are more innocent souls inside that building than any other. Ashley Knightfall defends it. Should the Blaze Rider step in and help? No. Another is there, a soul tainted by darkness, but a heart give Ashley some time. Doctor Knightfall does not need another to help her. She is capable enough.

Reaver, taking his insane mother out of Gothic so that the red horned man does not get to her. Connor hopes to cure his mother, but the effort may prove fruitless. The Blaze Rider sees she is not yet lost to complete evil, but she's on the edge. One push in the wrong direction and the woman will cross the point of no return. Then the Blaze Rider will come for her and nothing, not even Reaver, will be able to stop him.

Hawkshade, the Blaze Rider does not know of him. Hasn't seen him, either. But if he did then he would not interfere with a fight that belongs only to a man who calls Grimmwald...brother. If Hawkshade wins this fight, he will be the stronger for it. But if he loses, then Gothic City will lose a champion. A man seeking redemption for past sins.

The Blaze Rider has not seen Grimmwald, but if he did, then the Rider would see a man who needs punishment. A soul layed bare before his gaze, the Blaze Rider would see deeply into Grimmwald's soul and know the man has crossed over the line. But is he truly beyond all reason, all hope? Will Hawkshade, his brother, try and save Grimmwald or save his city? Which will Richard deem more important? If it comes to it, will Grimmwald try and kill Hawkshade? And will the Blaze Rider see fit to interfere in order to exact his own brand of justice? No...not unless he is needed. To save the world, yes. If this cancer spreads to other cities, then, and only then, will the Blaze Rider step in and stop Grimmwald. To make the man see every evil act he has ever committed from his victim's point of view. But the time is not yet. For now, the Blaze Rider remains standing there on top of that skyscraper. Watching. Waiting.

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#16 Edited by Tenjin (2425 posts) - - Show Bio

@quintus_knightfaii: @ashley_knightfall: @grimmwald:

Abandoned Pharmacy

Somewhere in Gothic City

A once immaculately clean facility now was painted with gore and corpses, not the scene of a ravenous beast but of a methodical nature; practically surgical in execution. Underneath the constant strobing of a faulty halogen light, stood Tenjin the midst of the harrowing ordeal that occurred just seconds ago. The air stirred slightly, boxes dropping from the residual commotion and the walls seemed to resound all the muffled groans of the dead even after the brink of oblivion. The lord of Spiders paced across the room, unimpacted, footsteps appearing as he nonchalantly stepped in the blood of his victims; that of the civilians of Gothic City; remnants of a band of Resistance fighters not unlike those from the aforementioned florist shop. The same as those of the auto dealership, the Chinese restaurant, and the abandoned strip mall. Not unlike the last gang who blockaded themselves in the drug house. Or the corrupt detective hiding in the twenty-four-hour diner. Sinners. Miscreants, all of them. Renegades of the authority that was the Horned Saint and outlaws on the run from his crimson-clad Orochi. But here, like those before in this moonstruck night, they could not run any longer from the Kyoto Killing Machine. He hunted them down like rats in a den and exterminated them accordingly.

A swift swing of the sword followed by a sudden stop launched the blood droplets that clung to his blade and spread them across the bullet-riddled white wall in a slim scarlet streak. A process known as Chiburi. Sheathing his katana, he made his way out of the lobby, stopping momentarily, looking over at his handiwork with a careful study then merely tossed a napalm grenade into the floor’s center. The inferno was instantaneous. Bodies ablaze, wooden objects and chemicals caught flame and were ignited. Soon the building would become a pyre, a pyre for the brave men and women who challenged then faltered. Katsuro looked on for a moment, acknowledged even the hottest of fire could not warm his cold petrified heart. The red-orange glow more intense than any Orochi eyes.

Suddenly a voice rung in his head, transmitted through a network of cryptic nodes and cybernetics; its voice distorted mechanically, sounding harsh and practically robotic “You have coordinates and targets, deep within then Catholicon they are...Orochi will be called off; Kill. Kill them both. Long live...” Tenjin cut transmission purposefully. He believed in no such thing. Those who employed him were extremists in every sense of the word. An insidious Amazonian cult....

The bright light caused darker shadows, the Death Poet stepped towards such a shade without apprehension as it became a commotion of goblinoid creatures eager, enticing even, to transport their master into more havoc.

Thus the Grim Ghost was gone. But not for long.

Immediately following....

Beneath the Catholicon

The Katacombs

The mass of retreating Orochi, those that survived the felling of their Brotherhood, crafted a nucleus of shadows in their flight, they themselves caught glimpse of a jet-black form rising upwards from the darkness along the floor. From a simian-like posture, its silhouette distorted by masses of writhing serpents composed of shadow stuff, falling off in tangled clusters into nothingness as the shape gave way to the Lord of the Ebon Lotus. He himself unmoving, standing statuesque, allowing the warriors to proceed around him like a great boulder inhibits the path of a stream. From that site, no matter the source of light or its hindrance, he seemed almost cloaked in shadow, halfway between darkness and something far darker. And there he watched Quintus. Glaring down from several meters away, in an unmoving and unsettling manner, with that unnatural carmine stare. As the last Orochi fled, passing by, it became entrapped by that which was once dormant, snatching it about the throat and lifting it effortlessly off the ground with a single arm.

And then Tenjin spoke, full of bass and devoid of emotion.

Tell your master that I am obliged to repeat this and he will know its meaning and thus my business in Gothic...Remember your ancestor and...” There was a pause and purposeful asphyxiation of the messenger by the constricting of his mighty grasp. And, most curiously enough, perhaps a coincidence explained away with seismic activity. Or not. The Katacombs trembled slightly.

Long. Live. Grimmwald.

Releasing his would-be prey, the Orochi hobbled away behind his brethren. Grimmwald would be sure to have heard the short speech remotely unbeknownst to Tenjin, who had the inclination for dramatics.

Now, then comrades.” Tenjin addressed Quintus and Ashley directly. Stepping forward for several paces yet the shadows seemed to cling to his formidable physique like drapes, the lights flickered and the room began to grow noticeably colder; the Virtuoso of Venom’s breath through the vents in his half-mask plumed visibly before speaking once more. He gestured towards the various bodies that lay limp in their vicinity.

You seem worthy of glorious deaths. Let me guide you to your Gods.

Just then, a chain cascaded from a flat space holster on his right wrist, dropping a scythe-like blade at its end which swung like a light pendulum just above the ground; its silver sheen obstructed by various pores, which dripped with a synthetic neurotoxin. Clutching the chain in his hand, it began to rock to and fro, increasing its arch in harmonic motion until it completed its first slow revolution. Without notice, it seemed to awake in movement and Tenjin whirled it deftly at great speed. Likewise, he brandished a tanto knife, in reverse grip, allowing the flat of the blade to rest against his vambrace as he shifted his entire body to heave the chained weapon, a kusari-gama, forward, its chain rattling out of its origin, lengthening and seeking to strike Quintus directly in the solar plexus.

However as the weapon darted headlong once it approached a meter away from his foe, Tenjin summoned a shadow portal, barely a dinner plate in diameter, causing the weapon to be misdirected.

A second rift opened concurrently, behind Ashley, hellbent on striking her in the center of the spine with its poisoned blade.

Whether or not the sneak attack was achieved, the chain was retracted quickly through the portals only to be spun in that same slow revolutions, as Headhunter Hanzo began to circle, or rather a leisurely stalk, his newfound enemies like a great cat in the reeds.

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#17 Posted by Ada_Guillaume (149 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

Ada's psychic explosion proved successful in that moment, but it showed her this conflict wouldn't be won on pure strength alone. Like vultures they flock, draped on roofs, in the streets, surrounding her like a piece of rotting flesh.

"This simply won't do." Ada hiss before constructing another massive psychic shield to protect herself from the assortment of raining arrows. Her brothers? they were not so lucky, under her umbrella she watched them all fall one by one; pinned down by a lethal arrow before the remains eventually got picked off by the explosive lined arrowheads. What was certain as the relentless barrage of the arrows pelt her psionic shield was that Ada wouldn't go through this ordeal without using her powers, and 2 she needed help.

Telekinetically forcing the cover off a manhole Ada quickly disappeared into the depths of the Gothic underbelly, they'd follow she was sure of it; but the above venue was too vast, here there were only two avenues of approach in front of her, and behind her.

"Interesting..." She thought, initially she thought this was some sort of gang-related attack, but she now she tell it was much more than that. It all started with the energy coursing through the bodies of the Orochi, it was being dispensed from somewhere in the city--she'd traced similar energy signatures to a location on the other side of town.

"This energy does not belong to you" She whispered, she could only pick out there demonic eyes in the pitch black. Ada said nothing, with one hand in her pocket the other hand opened in the air she stole it--taking the borrowed Lavalieres energy from them an accepting it into her own.

With a blink of the eye she was gone.

Valor City (The Order of Malta)

No Caption Provided

"The situation in Gothic is a lot worse than we originally predicted, I fear one of the Lavalieres Y-Intercept warned us about have surfaced...and it appears to be one of the worse." Ada reported standing indifferently with her hands in her hoodie.

"I had no choice but to retreat, the enemy presence is suffocating. But with your blessings I will return to Gothic with a full force and I will ensure that the balance is not lost."

Failure was not an option in the order, neither was retreat; the fact that Ada some how managed to do both spoke volumes about WWIII's trust in her.

"Ada, I will not give you the additional assets you need. You need to get it done how you always do!" He hissed clearly upset, but his swing in mood didn't change Ada's stoic visage.

"I can manipulate people with my voice, I cannot manipulate their souls. With all due respect of course." He didn't say anything he gave her a cold eye before she dismissed herself.

It was time...to cut ties with the Order and the situation in Gothic presented an interesting variable she could capitalize on. There would be no help from the order, but she knew where to go

"Monsieur Karrit, there is a situation that has risen. I'd like it very much so to stay on top of it. I'm afraid the Order has denied my request for additional funds, I think it's time I dealt with both. If you could call me back at your earliest convience. Thank you" Amin Karrit was Ada's oldest friend, they both knew only weak men made a distinction between good and evil.

"I must prepare to return to Gothic..."

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#18 Edited by Walter_Hughes (122 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

It was a shame, really. Penthouse apartments such as these shouldn't be so cheap, especially with a view like this. She was beautiful, Gothic. Though her character in some ways might have been ostensibly lacking, it was wrong to suggest there was nothing admirable about the city. It wasn't her fault she had her issues, any more than it was the fault of a pure-bred bitch for a persistent case of fleas. Those charged with caring for her had failed, consistently shifting the blame on the city itself. Memetic ideas accepted as fact simply per argumentum ad populum. The city and the roturiers within had been dealt bad hand after bad hand, and it was the fault of neither.

But Walter Hughes, thought the man himself, had just the right mind to change a seemingly everlasting string of bad luck. So, quietly, he began capitalizing on the all-time low property values within the city, purchasing land both occupied and vacant. Simultaneously, he'd begun spreading his influence like a many-tendriled beast through the criminal underworld while sitting pretty at his office in New York. Walter knew he wasn't the only man who believed in himself as such, and the instant he stood out was the instant he faced unprecedented opposition--opposition such as that from the man orchestrating the night's events. The man who had, for months, waged a one-man war on the criminal element and only recently expanded his influence. Even on his own he'd begun to make a dent in Gothic that few if any others could boast. Now an entire force followed him. He inspired genuine fear, and with good reason.

He was dangerous, and he was exactly what the Proto-Sapien entrepreneur needed.

"Call your men off. All of them, and every man under every one of them, all the way down to the lowest," Hughes called over his shoulder. "Not a single one of them is to be active in the city tonight."

Brimming with disbelief, and restlessness in no small part, his de facto second-in-command glared incredulously at his backside. Stuttering several dead-end syllables before piping up, "All due respect sir, the hell kinda sense does that make? Battle for the city goin' on out there and it's the perfect chance to start makin' good on my word. Trust me, you don't wanna lose these allies. They both hesitated to jump on in the first place, each makin' like I and the other were scared. An' if we look like pansies, I guarantee you that's what'll happen."

"Quiet!" His retort was a sharp whisper. Cannonball-like fists clenched and unclenched. He said nothing for what seemed a long time, turning over mental images of the two alongside their apparent psychological profiles. He liked neither and saw limited potential in them both, but Arthur had faith, and that was enough for Walter to put some trust in them--albeit an extremely limited amount. "If Noble and the woman are so short-sighted that they couldn't be made to see beyond a surface-level opportunity then they are no worthy allies of mine. And more importantly, if these are bad habits they risk spreading to you then they must be...pruned." A glint of amusement shimmered in his eye and faded just as quickly as it'd appeared. "Give the order."

Arthur left and returned not three minutes later, and the larger-than-life businessman stood over the kitchen table with a bottle of Jim Beam Apple and two glasses half-filled. There existed a long-running silent trust between them, virtually unconditional. Walter sipped and began to explain. "Aspen Denver and Noah Noble will play their parts whether they like it or not--whether they know it or not. They act with our blessing or they act without our aid.

"Right now, the city is in chaos. As it has been for a very long time, in various states, heightened and not. This night represents one such heightened state of chaos. Several things will happen as a result of tonight's actions.

"As we speak, the man who has unknowingly disrupted operations within the city is waging war on criminals both major and petty. Common thugs and the heads of organized crime alike feel his wrath. Those who stand to compete with us will lose strength. There is no other alternative. They have established holdings within the city, territories to protect, reputations to uphold and loyalty to foster. If they don't defend themselves, when this is over their weakness will be remembered, and they will fall. However, to combat this threat each must expend resources--money, weapons, manpower. An irony - that to appear and to become strong, one must first weaken oneself. They have been, for some time, fighting a losing battle, and tonight is no different."

He paused, a far-out expression taking hold of his features. Walter sipped on his first drink while Arthur tossed back his second and third, still hinged on every word.

No Caption Provided

"We are exempt from this. We have no holdings and no reputation within the city. So while the old families war and rage against the dying of the light, the loss of morale, we sit. We expend no resources fighting this chaos in which we have no immediate stake. We remain strong, to take what is left.

"When this is over, the Devil will have successfully purged this city or - more likely - he and the others struggling for her soul will be mutually deterred for another day. But no matter which outcome, the fear that has spread is ours to mold. Many have given up on the city--on even trying. Leaders are afraid to stand. As a consequence, its citizens are ready to follow anyone who appears to hold the...antidote, to chaos. Tonight we begin. Your men want to work? I want anonymous tips from "earnest citizens" to Action 6 News describing the mutants and other metahumans making their homes and neighborhoods into warzones.

"And tell Ms. Emily Greer to arrange an appointment with Donovan Glost. I'm certain he, too, would be interested in cashing in on the aftermath. I see an opportunity for investment.

"Lastly, if you would be so kind as to personally check in on our long lost associate..."

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#19 Edited by Apex_Predator87 (112 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald: @assassinatrix:

At first, the battle is going rather well. The Orochi cannot stand against her, even in groups. But they soon realize this and change their tactic, even going so far as using blades made of Vibranium in an attempt to sever her limbs from her body. She is forced to defend herself with her claws that pop out of her hands, in between her knuckles. Her blades block the parries and Apex is inwardly grateful for them, and her entire skeleton, being more durable than Vibranium but a little less than True Adamantium. Otherwise, Apex would be a disemboweled mess since she has nothing else in which to defend herself against such an exotic metal. If the Orochi look surprised by this new turn out, Apex doesn't notice as she defends herself in blurs of motion that the human eye can barely see.

Apex's tactical mind knows what is happening. The Orochi are attempting to attack the space around her while snipers fire at a distance. Worse, they are sacrificing themselves to ensure her death. Brutal. Efficient. Apex does find herself on the defensive, reacting only to their attacks. She dodges many attacks, parries the Vibranium swords of others and catches the explosive tipped arrows and throw them back. Sometimes, she throws a batarang at them so they explode too early. But as much as Apex tries to create space in order to fight, it is just as quickly closing once again and leaving her on the defensive.

Apex hates killing, but she is so pressured right now that she has no choice but kill or be killed and she begins to lethally take down the Orochi as best she can while on the defensive. But more and more, there is a wall of bodies surrounding her. Closing in, robbing her of her space to fight. The arrows keep coming, getting harder to defend herself against them and everything else.

Apex knows she cannot keep this up for long. Her enemy is adaptive and they will adapt again. The Orochi will keep doing this until Apex is down. But Apex will not allow that to happen. She has not revealed everything she is capable of. She has a suit full of gadgets she can use and a plan already set to enable her to survive. In fact, whose to say she didn't actually want this to happen? To make herself a target, to take down as many as possible and thin the numbers. Whatever Apex's plan, she doesn't reveal it. However, before she can enact it any further plans, a woman comes with blades that sing through the air like a siren's song. An assassin who is attempting to get through the wall of bodies surrounding Apex. Another player enters the arena, a wild card. Not what Apex had in mind as part of her plan, but it'll keep the enemy guessing, because now they have to focus on her too.

No Caption Provided

Apex ducks down all of a sudden, leaps straight up to about 24 feet and taps hidden haptic controls on her left forearm and her car is summoned as is barrels into the enemy like so much trash, it's defenses causing the Orochi to be non-lethally electrocuted into unconsciousness. At least, this is the attempt, Apex hopes. Explosive arrows come her way, but she catches them and throws them at the ones she can't catch, throwing batarangs at the others that slip through. Her speed is uncanny, no human can do what she can do. Her limbs moving so quickly, they aren't even a blur. She lands in the open cockpit of her car before it closes around her to deny the Orochi entrance.

Faced with a new tactic from Apex, she uses her car to create try and create some space by using tank mode to maneuver the car foreward, backwards and sideways, hoping the non-lethal amount of electricity can knock them out in droves as she tries ramming into the enemy with her car. But she is careful of the mysterious woman who is helping her. At the same time, Apex uses the Vulcan cannon to dissuade further explosive arrows from being fired. Not big enough of explosions to work against the car anyway. Then, if enough space is created, Apex stops the car and speaks through the loudspeakers to enable the two women to communicate, "Need a lift or are you going to try and kill me too?"

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#20 Posted by Rosso (4735 posts) - - Show Bio

@ashley_knightfall: @tenjin: @quintus_knightfaii:

Why does he even keep me around? Valentina questioned as she made her way through the Catholicon's now deserted hallways. Less than an hour prior, she'd met with Dr. Knightfall for the first time in months since her capture by Grimmwald. They'd hardly begun, hardly reestablished contact when the Horned Sinner sprung his attack. He issued no warning, no communication, no directions, so what'd that mean for her? No danger, so long as Grimmwald saw utility in her and she showed no signs of betrayal. But protecting the doctor or ending her--which was the offense?

Either way she sure as hell wasn't gonna remain idle. While the staff ushered patients deep into the Katacombs, "Juniper" broke away from the crowd and crept, unseen, back to the main level of the Catholicon to make her own way. Damaged goods as she was, sneaking past a group of doctors spread by the large group and unexpected circumstance was child's play for the Scarlet Shadowrunner.

Nearing the main level, the sounds of combat were easy to follow, her path alternating open travel with the habit of cramming herself into vents, closets, and other crevices to avoid being seen.

Even now Valentina was as light and quick as a cat but by the time she reached the doctor the crowd had grown too large for her liking. Absent most of her gear, any confrontation at all felt excessively risky. Was this cold war with Dr. Knightfall really worth dying for? From the back of her mind another voice offered her an excuse.

Well, in a way...you owe her.

Deep breaths. Focus. Ready to move.

Without warning Valentina crashed from the ceiling just as the Orochi before her, landed in a crouch and thrust herself shoulder-first for the doctor's midsection in attempt to drive her to the ground and away from any immediate danger; yet as the Devil's chosen disciple how had her mind been made? What was loyalty? Was she saving her mentor, or savoring Grimmwald's former lover for herself?

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#21 Edited by Quintus_KnightfaII (74 posts) - - Show Bio

@ashley_knightfall: @tenjin: @rosso:

No Caption Provided

Initially the seasoned veteran had begun to shift his hips in order to slide away from the Yōkai Shinobi's attack. In his prime and at the height of his hyper-mobility, Quintus may have been able to course correct allowing an immediate interception of the temporal misdirect before it could impale his sister from behind. But now, with muscle's irreparably fatigued, reflexes substantially retarded from years of doing battle with Reality M's superhuman warlords and titans, all he could do was watch.

Without warning Valentina crashed from the ceiling just as the Orochi before her, landed in a crouch and thrust herself shoulder-first for the doctor's midsection in attempt to drive her to the ground and away from any immediate danger

The blitzing kaleidoscope of combat was instinctual. Faster then the novice could track. Those of whom who had not been blessed in the baptism of bloody battle would have been lost. Blind. But for Quintus tracking the action was but second nature.

There was no pause or hesitation as he rode the momentum of his previous action. Spinning around and sidearming a bat-shaped shuriken which in turn, fanned out as it was released to expose multiple projectiles. Slinging the themed razors not at the Horned Saint's devoted deacon of death, but rather through the shadow-based ingress and out the other end. Each one erupting with minimal detonation yet with substantial kinetic blow-back.

Determined to keep the offensive pressure going, the warsuited Knightfall exploded towards the Lord of Spiders, his galloping strides carrying his oversized frame forward quickly closing the distance with surprising but limited grace. Quintus dove shoulder first intent on driving the reaper violently into and through the wall behind him. His movements were slowed, but no less powerful. Sacrificing agility for raw strength. Gone were the highlight reels of acrobatic excellence. Now all Quintus had was a love for his sister and the sheer determination to free her up so she would be free to go and face Grimmwald alongside the fractured Shadow-Knights.

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#22 Edited by Tenjin (2425 posts) - - Show Bio

@quintus_knightfaii:

The Human Hayabusa held his head high, vainly, his half-mask concealing a sinister smirk yet his eyes revealed that vile sense of pride and blood hunger. Although his attack would fail, he merely relished in the hunt. His kusari-gama spinning like a silver buzzsaw momentarily, as he was enthused when Quintus sought to utilize his own shadow portal to his own advantage.

Tenjin’s Battlemind; a cybernetic program that augmented his senses, had been projecting a hexagonal grid across his field of sight, layering everything in this strange geometry but further it projected real-time information regarding the environment. Cycling through a list of factors such temperature and velocity and coupled with his cybernetic gaze he fluctuated his left eye through a variety of extra-sensorial forms of vision. The Living weapon’s projectile volley, as they soared like whirling hawks out of the portal were instantaneously highlighted, tracked and would be dealt with.

Within inhuman swiftness, Katsuro launched the kusari-gama in a wide arch, scraping the roof of the catacomb, before being manipulated and sent towards the patch of the themed shuriken like the diving motion of a striking cobra from above. He aimed to strike them directly out of the air, but was caught by surprise when the blade struck it engaged the shuriken in a systematized chain explosion due to their proximity to one another. Intelligently, Quintus utilized an explosive barrage that wouldn’t affect the structural integrity of the Katacomb, but provided a powerful concussive assault.

Impressive, thought the Death Device.

Without a second thought, Headhunter Hanzo was overtaken by a shroud of shadow and strangely he darted backwards, ripping out of the back of an umbral doppelganger like a cicada in completion of metamorphosis. Shreds of the dusky form still clinging to his body, he performed a controlled combat roll, clutching his tanto and bringing it up in a defensive position just as the shadow clone was decimated by the kinetic barrage but provided ample cover from the attack but now adjacent to a crumbling but still intact wall.

His eyes scanned the area, his superhuman sense of smell picking up the faintest of chemicals and odors and his likewise cyber-assisted ears dutifully alert. Somehow he had just managed to catch Quintus a mere meter and a half away from his position, giving him enough time to rise and flex his muscular core in preparation for the ram-like charge. Utilizing the Shaolin Iron Shirt method, keeping his legs shoulder width apart and slightly sitting while he released a quick breath, expelling air as he raised his arms, a shattered chain gracefully swinging upwards and his tanto reflecting soft light, as he presented himself like a barbarous alpha gorilla.

And stepped into the gallant charge. No fear.

Quintus was seasoned, battle hardened. A veteran forged in martial combat not to be taken lightly. He was fueled by a drive that was foreign to Katsuro, albeit he knew not his thoughts or operations, it was evident he was standing for a value. Virtuous. The Noir Rose would be a worthy adversary for the Grim Ghost.

Smashing through concrete and mortar, although previously battered and weakened by the explosions, was nonetheless painful. A pain Tenjin would repay in kind. It was clear that the technique served to isolate the Savage Shinobi from his other target, but he cared not for its reasons. Doing so was a declaration of a duel. Kill or be killed.

Challenge accepted.

The two warriors were surrounded by shattered bricks and debris, electrical wires sparked and Tenjin’s left hand slammed into the wall, dislodging his knife and they would plummet down an entire floor into the Maintenace corridor that ran perpendicular to the Katacomb in which they, but seconds ago, were located. Katsuro would attempt, nearly upon impact of Quintus’s shoulder into his midsection, deliver a reactionary yet punishing downward hammer-fist into the face of his enemy, if only to place him on the defensive, as they breached the wall. But his primary attack in their descent was to use his superhuman strength coupled with advanced Greco-Roman technique, to ensnare the Black Mamba in an underhook style suplex and heave his foe directly at a non-load bearing partition wall at their immediate right whilst still airborne.

Whether or not the grapple was a success or not, the Ethereal Assassin reached his hand out and released a pneumatic explosion from his propulsion piston. Causing him to engage in a corkscrew motion and thereby hurling his legs over his head with great strength resulting in an immaculate aerial vault and landing with the grace of a now vigilant heron.

His exposed massive upper arms, scraped, bloody and blue veined contrasted heavily with his attire now bespeckled with concrete dust. His hood and half mask likewise shredded, falling in pieces, hanging like a long dead pharaoh's wrappings across his shoulders and chest. Long sable locks cascaded like a midnight black waterfall, obscuring his gaunt pale face save for a single solemn burning claret optic. A metallic clawed gauntlet ran its digits through his hair, pulling it from his face as he spoke.

This will be your tomb, Knightfall scum.” His mouth lined with pearl white sharpened teeth bared, followed by another threat that was nothing short of draconic. “Then I will feast on your friend...” Unaware of the biological relationship.

The Katacomb’s light shown down like tattered moonlight amidst the dimly lit and sporadic golden halogen. Revealing a myriad of pipeworks, transformers and grates cast in long stretches of darkness. Without hesitation, Tenjin burst from his position, at speeds well beyond humanly possible, clutching the hilt of his sword with his right hand as he summoned two clones of himself, running alongside him as they ripped into this plane from his form and they launched themselves airborne in alternate directions at his foe’s flanks both initiating a feinting mock shuriken throw before the Lord of Spider’s displaced himself directly in front of Quintus.

In his left hand he clutched a mass of black-hued energy that erupted arcs of purple psuedo-electricity, but he kept his arm from view by stretching behind his back, thus summoning his bloodthirsty blade from its deathly toxic scabbard, hissing like a fearsome serpent as it sprung into action, Katsuro utilizing a method of sword-drawing to allow the sword to meet the scabbard with friction, thus upon its exit it flings with a drastically increased velocity and he sought to cleave his foe in half horizontally.

The multi-frontal assault was not complete as he immediately exchanged the physical space with one of his shadow clones, his technique caused as swirling mass of otherworldly crows to appear and dissipate as they flew in all directions, and thus unleashed a four-foot diameter orb of negative energy downward aiming to obliterate the armor of the Last Arashikage. While the other clone had been gifted a handful of thermite laced incendiary bombs from Tenjin’s Flat space arsenal in his vambrace as it torn from him initially and activated them in a Kamikaze strike in tandem with the energy blast.

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#23 Posted by Quintus_KnightfaII (74 posts) - - Show Bio

@tenjin:

In the immediate, it had appeared as though the determined Knightfall had 'speared' his agile foe through the palisade with destructive force. Yet almost in the same motion the Death Device inherently re-calibrated his gait driving a fist into Quintus' face shattering the technological eye-lenses of his battle armor, before catapulting the Noir Rose across the expanse of the loading bay into the unforgiving embrace of a concrete severance.The force of which had rag-dolled his body in a disturbing helicopter spin forcing the prideful hero to painfully grunt upon impact before crashing on the ground with acoustic metallic echoes .

Quintus' recovery was visually delayed. Even with the protective shell of his armor, years upon years of sustained physical trauma had taken not only its pound of flesh, but a pound of the Knightfall's sustaining durability. Like an ex-NFL linebacker his body had turned on him. Remedial tasks, like the one's so often taken for granted in our youth, had become filled with aches, pains, stiffness and anchoring immobility.

He rose clutching his shoulder grimaced and staggered, rising to his feet only to be met with a deceptive display of shadow imitation. The old lion reacted accordingly. No stranger to such maneuvers Quintus somersaulted forward into a crouching kneel. But not as a result of having been tricked into a compromised position, but rather to disregard the faux apparitions and meet the Ethereal Assassin's strike. Intercepting the cleave with his vibranium grieve between its razor sharp fins sending oddly colored currents arching off in multiple directions. Briefly casting portions of the dimly lit area in a beautifully shaded portrait of unexplained energy.

For a moment the Last Arashikage had seemingly stalemated Tenjin's swordbased attack. But as crimson streams began to race down his forearm it had become apparent that his armor had partially submitted to the unorthodox Ronin's blade.

No Caption Provided

"Shit" without hesitation Quintus again dove into a slowly developing somersault just narrowly dodging the esoteric blast from above, only to be completely caught up in the following mélange. Or was he? Lost in thundering eruptions, the trademarked audio of his hand-held Grapnel was muted. However even the deployment of his infamous gadget was not enough to escape the blast.

Initially yanked up through the air by the device, the substantial force and blowback swallowed the injured Knightfall in a rolling tide of smoke, flames and debris. Once again rag-dolled with such intensity that his armor had all but been blown to shreds, revealing his battle scarred upper body and custom elbow braces from pre-existing conditions and aliments.

Defiant to the end Quintus spat a bloody mess across the concrete surface allowing the remainder of his face plate to fall off on its own and clank on the ground. "H...ha...that - all you...all you got?" he gruffly taunted with untouched self-assurance.

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#24 Edited by Phantomshell (1151 posts) - - Show Bio

@walter_hughes:

Pt.2

The showboating street shinobi grinned behind his re-purposed red tactical balaclava ninja Shemagh. Like camera apertures his alabaster eye-lenses sharpened and dialed in as digital statistics registered approximate height and estimated weight. Broad, confident in his strides, Ishmael appreciated and noted the man's natural swag. The type an ex-solider would unconsciously project.

With dauntless awareness the Neo-Juggernaut made his way out of the alley and into the madness of Gothic city. Where everyone was suspect. For all though the Shadowland Shinobi had an internal philosophy guiding his actions, to the average citizens of Gothic, the chaos had no pattern. Anyone at anytime could become a walking husk. A member of the now soulless sect. Or worse. However the Hel's Harbinger appeared to ignore the claustrophobic fear radiating through the air like a cloud of living miasma. Marching across town and ducking into one of the many high rise penthouses, but not before glancing back over his shoulder.

Ishmael had followed the man using his circus like acrobatics and riggings to aerially ski across the roof tops. Again opting to plank outwards along the adjacent buildings side rather then to perch atop its roof after his sublime landing.

It was no secret that the murderous purge had opened a wide window for the methodical thinkers. Men of true, all be it corrupt vision. Snitches, dealers and ass shaking strippers all had minor pieces of loose lipped intel to share. Ishmael had heavily invested in the daily rumors and talk, splicing them together with utilitarian tact. Unable to build a reliable picture, it was never the less enough for him to have enlisted his friend to covertly get a foot in the proverbial door. Eventually leading them to the bar, and then Grimsrud. A strategy which had now placed Ishmael across from the Whale of Whitewood's temporary high-rise.

No Caption Provided

In an abrupt explosion of dazzling acrobatics, the Digital Death Note launched himself across the skyline crashing through the reputable businessman's window and landing in a rolling crouch. His left hand helped to steady his balance, pronged across the floor while Ishmael subtly surveyed his new surroundings. Almost immediately he rose with arrested motion. Hands slowly brought above his head in a sign of submission. "Sorry bout the window but I couldn't get an appointment."Pulling off his mask he attempted to lock eyes with Mr. Hughes.

"My name is Ishmael Strix. I jus wanna talk for a minute." Blind intuition tracking those in attendance, mainly the Neo Juggernaut. "Once again MY city is in chaos and everyone's making moves for what comes next. But they aint gonna make it out the other end. Gotham's criminal enterprises are being strangled to death. Nothing's moving in or out. Street soldiers are getting hungry, turning on their own. That is if the Shadow doesnt murk'em first. They aint got what it takes to side step this thing. But I do. I'm a survivor. I survived the invasion and I'll damn sure survive this. But it aint gonna mean shit if the city doesn't have the right people in the right places in the aftermath. The game of lawless thrones can only have one king"

Slowly lowering his hands with a cocky self-assured smirk, he continued. "So why am I coming to you? White collar clean as a whistle never missed a meal big ballah in a suit? I hear things. Looked into a couple acquisitions, started with some public records then tracked the shell companies, peeled away the facade to find out who's really making the moves. You been a busy boy. Snatching up prime real estate and building yourself a nice quiet lil empire while the animals tear themselves apart. You think youre safe up here. You're not. You think nobody knows the real. You're wrong. If I can find you the Shadow sure as hell can"pausing, letting his meaning sink in. "But if you find him first...well, that changes the situation. And I know just how you can lure him out..but nah, thats not some'n you'd be interesting in. Is it" he winked.

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#25 Posted by Walter_Hughes (122 posts) - - Show Bio

@phantomshell:

Arthur had hardly taken two steps toward the door when the abruptly shattering glass snapped both instinctively to attention at the window. He was already brandishing his sidearm by the time Strix rose, but Walter dismissed it with the wave of a hand. "On task," he called over his shoulder, and with one more up-down scan of the unmasked Phantom of Gothic, the Neo-Juggernaut saw himself out.

"I suppose all the manners went to Absalom and Nikoleta," Walter said, eyes fixed over Ishmael's shoulder on the broken window. Half-listening, half-focusing on his own mental notes. See implementation of shatterproof glass as soon as possible. Meet with Arthur to sanitize affiliations.

He'd go over them with a fine-tooth comb, pooling everything they had on Strix; and though several would be regrettable, should it come to that, not a single connection was he unwilling to purge.

No Caption Provided

"Does it make you uncomfortable, me buying property in 'your' city? Not to your liking? Or is it just a bargaining chip, leverage that you think you can apply? In any case, I have done nothing illegal. Am I interested in finding this...man who dresses like a devil? Not at all. He's a concern for the mayor and for law enforcement, or those like yourself, apparently. When his MO becomes the maiming of law-abiding citizens, then I may appear on his radar.

"Have a drink?" he offered under a veneer of graciousness, refilling his own glass. "It's clear you think you're in possession of some privileged information, but acquisitions such as those are a matter of public record...even if you must dig to find it. And yet, you think you see something more. Criminal elements being strangled? Good. Then perhaps the property I'm buying in this city won't be completely worthless for long. I understand what you think you're implying, and I categorically deny affiliation with any criminal elements in this city. I am a legitimate businessman only." Technically, he didn't lie. Hughes' business in Gothic thus far consisted entirely of land acquisitions. Arthur, however, was free to branch as he pleased.

Except, as was now the case, that if any of his connections presented a threat, they would be dealt with. Silently recalling everything she'd relayed to Grimsrud, and he in turn relayed to Hughes regarding her ordeals, Walter hoped he would not have to eliminate Rosso the Crimson. But despite whatever she'd gone through in captivity, she hadn't given the Sons up to Grimmwald, and that alone was worth the benefit of the doubt.

Through it all the apparent offer was not lost on him. However, more than anything Walter simply didn't trust that he was not being recorded. For as much as Ishmael played the underachieving populist thug, the man was Strix, and he was the visionary who resurrected the Halo Corporation after what seemed an insurmountable fall, likewise possessing the foresight to pass off the high-profile position to the kindly, photogenic Knightfall Saint. This man was not to be underestimated. But he'd be a fool to think Hughes would play his hand prematurely after what amounted to unsupported speculation.

"However," the ascending entrepreneur was quick to add, "You appear to be deeply interested in this 'Shadow' and his effect on Gothic's parasites. Is that why you're invested in my acquisitions? You have some sort of stake in the underbelly, so you're here for an alliance? Or to threaten me? If you were primarily concerned about him—provided you thought you were capable, Mr. Strix—you would be investigating him, not me. You would be seeking him, not trying to convince me to seek him."

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#26 Edited by Phantomshell (1151 posts) - - Show Bio
@walter_hughes said:

"I suppose all the manners went to Absalom and Nikoleta,"

No Caption Provided

His head angled up and to the side with slow but moderated idiosyncratic anger, arching his brow - a subliminally warning - before striding over to the classical beverage cart for a drink. Though a proper invitation would come later, by that time the arrogant Shell had already checked out of the conversation. His 'host' opting to go through the tedious motions, following the blueprint of plausible deniability and the rehearsed speeches men of his entitlement so elegantly expressed.

White noise

Looking about, paying obvious attention to any, and everything in the suite other then the man's words, Ishmael took a lackadaisical seat. Man spreading as he sank into the designer comforts of the high rise before finally recounting through attentive and direct eye-contact.

"I killed my first monster when I was 9. My mother" drifting off for a moment while scuffing at his memory, "my mother was disappointed. You see my brother had killed his when he was much younger then that. So what I thought had been a grand achievement was regarded as little more then a disappointment." The story seemed out of place. Of little importance or ancestry to the current situation. "I bring this up because you dont seem to f(*&'n get it. My entire life, hell, even before that; I was raised to fight the unbelievable. The mutants. The metas. The monsters of this World. I've seen and killed things you wouldn't even believed existed. Such as...you ever seen a man who's had his soul ripped out? A person who's entire essences has been forceably removed from their physical form? I have. Cause thats whats goin on out there right now as we speak. Arent many things in this World capable of such an unholy feat. Requires a certain...instrument if you will. Very specific instrument in fact." Taking another drink and letting out a refreshing sigh before rocking out of the sofa and back to his feet, the Phantomshell moved over towards the shattered window.

"Funny thing bout this instrument. It doesnt just rip the souls from the badguys. Criminals and crooks. It forecasts a person's intent. What they are, what they will be, you cant hide from it. Not with a thousand lawyers or a thousand words. It'll subpoena your soul all the same."

Tossing a cellphone to Walter with an underhand pitch, the streaming news cycle displaying on its screen continued to detail the disturbing incidents in Gothic. Specifically, the seemingly horrific attacks on children. Only the devil himself knew of their would be evil futures. To anyone else they were simply kids.

No Caption Provided

"It doesnt discriminate. Its goddamn procog on a Universal scale. So when I say these other fools out here aint gonna be able to ride out the storm, you should listen. Cause if he came for them, he'll be coming for you. So we can sit here and dick the dog while you worry about a setup, or we can start gettin serious about takin this asshole out. There's even a way you can play the white knight in all of this. There's a safehouse, heavily guarded but I got an in. I'm charming like that. With your resources" pointing towards the door with a fingergun, or more accurately, the person on the other side of it, "You could help get people there and when the sun shines again you'll be hailed as Gothic's own living Noah. You just need an arc." Showing a slight sign of eager anticipation Ishmael grinned, but dropping it and finishing his pitch "Or you can wait and see if your soul is really pure enough to pass judgment. But some'n tells me it aint. Trust me, I know nobody gets this rich without moral comprises. Nobody."

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#27 Posted by Walter_Hughes (122 posts) - - Show Bio

@phantomshell:

So it is an alliance he proposes...

Walter smiled, throughout most of the presentation. Not out of some self-serving pride, nor even confidence (though he was in no way short on that despite the latest revelations). He admired the young buck for his passion and, more importantly, his meticulous planning. Still he placed his faith in a number of shaky assumptions--most notably the state of Walter's interests--but every businessman, and every fighter, must have a touch of the gambler. And interest, he had certainly garnered.

For a time, Walter's smile faded as he spied footage from the cell phone—a focused, almost solemn expression marked upon his features. But his remorse was a facade. The Proto-Sapien was possessed of a brain not entirely human, both less and more. His capacity for empathy, diminished. He felt nothing for them, yet understood that he should, so he played the part like Kirk's zombie. All the while, in actuality he was turning over the costs and benefits of these actions for his own enterprise. For if they were truly destined for dastardly deeds, the world would be better off without them. Yet all the same, to some degree such a predisposition made the youth more likely to find their way to the Sons of Ragnarok, once they'd established their hold within the city, and they would be useful to have around.

But even more than that, Walter carefully minded everything Ishmael said regarding the thus far unnamed "instrument." But, wise though it may have been, he didn't fear its power. He envied it. Craved it for himself. Ishmael's plan was...unnecessary in garnering public support. However, while achieving the same means as Walter's own plan, it ensured a measure of public goodwill that was admittedly superior to simply emerging after the fact to offer protection via GRIMSEC's expansion. And it placed Hughes on the path to possession of the Lavaliere.

"And how exactly do you benefit from this plan of yours? As you've so keenly pointed out, you're going to survive this no matter what. In fact, despite your involvement in the attempt on his life, he doesn't appear to be even slightly interested in you. So you have the advantage of experience, both with the 'Shadow' and this...instrument of his. So how do you propose we defend ourselves from something so uniquely powerful when he inevitably seeks to unseat us from our knights' perch?" Adding, mildly antagonistically, "I do presume you have some semblance of a plan, since you were so eager to seek him moments ago."

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#28 Posted by Assassinatrix (283 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald: @apex_predator87:

Even with the element of surprise on her side, victory was far from a sure thing. The Orochi, while caught off-guard by her appearance, were seasoned and well-trained warriors and assassins, and it did not take them long to realize what had happened and respond appropriately. Centuria would have liked her odds against any one of them (no mere human could hope to match skill with an Ephemeran master assassin, after all), even unskilled enemies could bring down an expert target, given numbers, and these enemies were not unskilled, by any metric.

What sealed the deal was secret weapon evidently possessed by her impromptu ally, a remote vehicle that had a considerable amount of offensive punch on its own. Its ordnance seemed to be largely non-lethal, which was not to Centuria's liking (one never left a breathing enemy behind, as incapacitation often tended to be a temporary status), but it did give them some breathing space for communication, at least.

"Need a lift or are you going to try and kill me too?"

The Ephemeran shook her masked head as she wiped her blades clean and replaced them in their sheaths. "You are not my target, but if you seek the one who is the cause of all this, then yes, I will accompany you." She smoothly swung herself up and onto the vehicle, finding a place where she could get a firm hold. She was not fond of traveling in enclosed spaces unless strictly necessary; she found that tended to limit her ability to make an unexpected escape. "Do you know who the target is or where they can be found?"

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#29 Edited by Hawkshade (4611 posts) - - Show Bio

𝔅𝔩𝔞𝔠𝔨 ℌ𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔢

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse.

The Revelation of St John, Chapter Six Verse Five
No Caption Provided

The first of the four horseman smashed Hawkshade's face into the floor and dragged him through the rubble of their battle by one leg. He left a smear of blood on the floor.

Every bone in his body hurt and he was tired like few man ever were. A fever burned within his blood. Pestilence's plague had taken hold and Richard's immune system sapped his great frame of energy as they fought a desperate battle against the grusome death the infection promised.

One of his eye pieces was shattered.

He wanted to quit.

Pestilence laughed. "Is that all?" The mutant horror's words slithered past his needle-like teeth. "We've all heard so much about you. Hawkshade. The latest. The greatest. Leader of this new generation. But I have to say, your bark was worse than your bite."

He dragged Hawkshade to the edge of a gaping hole in the floor. Shattered concrete and rebar jutted out the jagged sides, the angry fangs of a passage to the next level. Pestilence kicked Hawkshade into it.

His two hundred and forty pound body hit the ground with a thump and he winced as he landed on the chunks of broken concrete that had once made up the ceiling.

Pestilence jumped through the hole. Hawkshade rolled over and threw a piece of concrete at his face. Pestilence snatched it from the air with a lazy ease. He too had once been Strigidae. And of a higher rank than Richard.

He laughed. "Is that all you've got left? Disappointing."

Hawkshade grinned and spat blood. "No." And he remotely detonated the explosive Iaculum he had attached to the back of the chunk of debris.

His exposed eye was briefly blinded by the flash and the slap of the shockwave rattled his teeth. But it punched Pestilence into the concrete retaining wall behind him like he had been backhanded by an angry god.

There was no part of Richard that didn't hurt. He couldn't remember being this tired. He got up anyway. So did Pestilence. His arm was shattered, hand mangled beyond recognition. They met in the middle of the room.

It was a brutal battle. No quarter was asked. None given.

Pestilence too had been a Strigidae. Even with one arm he drove Hawkshade back and knocked him to his knees. But Hawkshade got up.

When Hawkshade knocked Pestilence down he didn't even twitch. The thump of the blow echoed through the tunnels as Hawkshade shook out his fist.

Bound his wounds as best he could.

Then hobbled deeper into the tunnels.

Kellan.

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#30 Posted by Grimmwald (3091 posts) - - Show Bio

@apex_predator87: @hawkshade: @assassinatrix:

The Orochi/大蛇

Electrocuted. Eviscerated. Outdone. It seemed that there was nothing the Orochi could do to fell their foe. And yet, even as Orochi saw brother after brother - and sister after sister - fall to Apex's mastery and experience, they understood their path to victory. Apex was a vigilante, a non-lethal warrior with kindness behind every punch, elbow, knee and kick. A master of her own limbs and movement. A martial artist. But an artist nonetheless. And the Orochi were anything but. They were death-dealers. Trained to kill or be killed. And kill they would. The ice water in their veins ran cold, and those who'd survived sank back into the shadows as Apex found solace in a tank. The armor was thick and the vehicle weaponized. Difficult to puncture but not impossible. And so like a rising mist of red, the surviving Orochi emerged from the shadows with their bows and arrows ready.

Kill Or Be Killed
Kill Or Be Killed

Some perched, others grounded, some far and others close by, they surrounded Apex's tank like vultures around a carcass. Above the tank sat another, a mysterious warrior come to resist the Horned Saint's salvation. It didn't matter. The Orochi nocked, anchored, aimed - and fired a volley after volley of explosive arrows. Their intent? To bathe the tank in a sea of explosive fire? No. It was draw counter-fire from the Vulcan cannon. To inspire Apex into unloading shot after shot till the hot air of an overheated tank and rotary cannon hissed sharp in the air. Because all the electronics, every engine maneuver, every weapon, and every explosion suffered produced heat. And eventually, the tank would be producing more heat than it could lose. No weapons would fire, and no system would work. But success was not certain, and neither was failure. So the Orochi, dwindled numbers and all, fired again. Vibranium-tipped arrows rained from every angle with lethal intent, threatening to unleash not fire and kinetic energy - but acid. The strongest of it's kind; fluoroantimonic acid.

Quadrillions of times stronger than sulfuric acid, it was a corrosive agent unlike any other. It would rip the electrons from the tank and mystery woman's molecular structures, tearing them asunder with the promise of burning through the tank, and cooking Apex and her ally into a hot soup of organic goo. It'd rip through their muscle and fatty tissues, and the fluorine'd bond with the calcium in their bones and incinerate them from the inside. There was no mercy to be had. Apex was too dangerous to be left alive. And her ally? Just as well. So the Orochi fired their arrows again and again until either nothing was left or the enemy had fled.

The Horned Saint/角状の聖者

The air was cold and dead in Black House, as though an otherness lingered there in place of what once was. Pestilence had failed. Grimmwald had felt it. The sting of his crony's defeat was all too easy for the Soul Lavaliere to communicate to him. Gathered round the Horned Saint's throne, the Blackdagger were silent and motionless as though petrified to stone. By Grimmwald's throne stood the reanimated corpse of Niko San'Vun. Her skin was pallid and the smell of rot climbed out her undead pores, but she was a capable warrior all the same, and bound to the Horned Saint's will by the Soul Lavaliere. And if it came to it, they would fight as two. But Grimmwald had changed, grown. As a warrior and a killer. He was held back by nothing, and his movements guided by the martial secrets of the Keijijo.

So out his throne room he walked. Footsteps soundless, and his body one with the shadows around him, he was there yet simultaneously not there. And wherever he strode, the Soul Lavaliere's presence crept in the air. Frost covered the walls, the atmosphere grew misty and cold, and a haunting sensation hung thick in the air to dread the souls of those nearby, as though they would never feel cheerful again. Following the whispers of his dermal senses and the Soul Lavaliere alike, the Horned Saint drifted from shadow to shadow till he emerged from the darkness to lock eyes with Richard. There Grimmwald stood, a ravenous gem embedded in his chest, and his eyes a hideous orange. Not the red that Richard remembered. Grimmwald didn't blink, he merely stared, feeling nothing. His limbic system was optimal, and his brain's chemical receptors undamaged. But he had no soul. He felt nothing for Richard, for anyone. His brother had become nothing more than a name - and a wounded body.

"There's nothing for you here, Hawkshade"

Pestilence had failed but Richard wore the ex-Strigidae's failure on his aching bones and battered face. He could feel it, the vibrations of a damaged body. It would suffice. Richard, like all those without evil in their hearts, deserved to neither die nor be damned to the Soul Lavaliere's tortuous prison, so long as he left. "There's nothing for you here, Hawkshade", Grimmwald said, his voice deep, low and impersonal, his gaze more from a thing than man. As though those who met his eyes would not recognize a human - and in turn not be recognized as one. Grimmwald had sacrificed everything for his goal, become an unfeeling monster capable of making the difficult decisions. To purge the world of evil. To kill one man to save billions was an easy decision, even if that one was once his brother.

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#31 Posted by AmericanValor_ (120 posts) - - Show Bio




With a Heavy Heart

For Brian, becoming a Newcastle felt like being baptized by sin. It was from that revelation that Brian denounced everything Grimm. He sought absolution from the sinners and false saints. He fought with blood on his hands against the devil herself. He brought forth a new dawn of hope and he called it Valor. So, why wasn't it enough?

No Caption Provided

"Is it wrong that I-I miss it, because I do. I miss their cries for help and the blood I spilled for them."Brian's voice trembled with each passing breath. He was ashamed to admit these feelings he felt to his company.

So, he leaned forward on the hospital bed and cusped the hand of his bedridden friend. "I miss their adoration. I miss the idea of being more than." Every ounce of his being thirsted for the rush of adrenaline that flowed through his veins when Ada Guillaume tried to end his life. He fought the urge to put on his Force gear everyday, because deep down inside his heart he knew the truth. His suits accomplished more than any heroic getup ever could. So, why wasn't it enough?

"I'm sorry, Whitaker." His former partner was comatose. He now existed as a pale imitation of his former self. Only kept alive by the wonders of modern medicine and Ashley Knightfall. It's been a rough undertaking for Dominus International. Between the number of failed treatments and expenses, the board has gotten tired of his efforts.

So much so, they've asked him multiple times to pull the plug and every day he says no. They've tried reasoning with him, but Brian considers Whitaker to be the last meaningful piece of his soul. The Dominus International board, however, considers their prodigal son's heavy heart a weakness. A weakness that needs correcting.

For all Brian's efforts and achievements, he's always relied on guidance and structure. That's why the Legacy sisters handle his schedules and monitor his mental health. He considers his life without purpose if there isn't a mountain to climb or an obstacle to be removed. If he doesn't feel challenged or stimulated, Brian becomes restless and easily transfixed on past mistakes. He doesn't understand why his...this life isn't enough.

"I just miss it so much." He smiled from ear to ear as he looked at the television screen across the foot of the facility bed. It was an eerie reminder of what befell his city several months ago, but it came across more personalized. Like a scorned child. Borders weren't closed from what he could tell. Authorities seemed fairly more prepared for that, but it wasn't enough to push back death. Whoever was behind this, well it intrigued Brian.

"Well...what would you look at that. Maybe it misses me too."

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#32 Edited by Phantomshell (1151 posts) - - Show Bio
@walter_hughes said:

In fact, despite your involvement in the attempt on his life, he doesn't appear to be even slightly interested in you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Instantly Ishmael's eyes suspiciously sharpened. 'Now how the hell did he know that?' he silently questioned. It was a clear indication that the Wolf of Wallstreet had his eyes and ears firmly seated in the streets of Gothic. But the Digital Death Note said nothing aloud. Letting the remark float off to the land of forgotten statements, but not before adding a small omission to the Whale of Whitewood's commentary.

"Not to brag or nuttin but he had his chance. Took his shot." shrugging aloofly with his hands waist high palms up "He missed."

He went on to openly dismiss Walter's passive attempt to provoke, though he secretly enjoyed the man's self-assured mettle and unforced projection of control, of power. It was natural, inherent. Pure. "The Devil has a dame. And she's right here in Gothic as we speak."

The Phantomshell purposely withheld Ashley's name. Smartly unwilling to lay his entire hand down in front of such a methodical man. "We...you, you're squad whatever scope out the perfect location for a nice lil ambush. Nab the girl real quick and lure the boogeyman out into the open." Momentarily shuffling around in one of his numerous tactical belts, Ishmael removed a PNY Attaché 4 flash drive and handed it towards the Whale of Whitedood.

No Caption Provided

"Sadly, before all that you're gonna have to do some research. That stick is more valuable then true Adamantium. Why you're gonna ask...let me save ya the breath. I believe the Horned Saint has come into possession of an artifact known as a Universal Lavaliere. Things got deep intergalactic lore - hey you got something to eat? I'm f*&^'n starving." he cavalierly drifted off topic. Portraying the convincing roll of a short-sighted hood out of his depth. Wandering off towards the mini-bar on a food based expedition without hesitation.

Crouched down opening and then putting things back, mouth full of pree-shelled pistachios, he mumbled, "So whaddya think? We cooking this thing up or what?" Theatrically dimwitted, Ishmael was secretly ready to roll backwards while simultaneously quick drawing should things turn hostile.

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#33 Posted by The_Silkworm (50 posts) - - Show Bio

@assassinatrix:

Whipping around the corner of Crane and 5th, two of the four wheels of a stolen TAoTAo ATV Rhino; recklessly towing a steel wagon filled to capacity with delinquent children, drifted and nearly slammed into everything in sight. Yet somehow the Motorcity Silkworm crazily recaptured control. Coming up off the seat, her legs dexterously split while she tightly gripped the handle bars.

Though she wickedly smiled, her body told a story of absolute violence. A solitary sai could be seen impaled in quad, a small blood river swam down her bruised cheek. Wearing nothing up top but a sports bra and tattered SWAT Vest, numerous lacerations and deep gashes were happily on display for all to see.

The Orochi were fast, skilled, and absolutely deadly. Without question the Horned Saint's impact had taken a seat atop the Mount Rushmore of Gothic City attacks. Driven and an impenetrable ideology, his focus was indomitable. His skill sanctioned by the martial supremes.

So it was only by her infliction, her dissociation disorder, that she could ignore the pain. Tank through the shock and damage by mentally checking out. The Cult of Personalty's carnival like acrobatics and deceptive deadliness had been honed to perfection. Her time as a Knightshell only serving to add another tool, an on-call sense of structured discipline and defensive martial strategy as taught by the self-proclaimed Ultra-Sapian himself; Charlemagne LeBeau. But the tale of their association was a thought for another day.

For now the Silkworm's only mission was to unload her patch of deplorables on the doorstep of the Alaric Halfway House. As she skidded to a stop the smell of cooked rubber assaulted the air. Hitting the curb tilting just enough to spill a couple little shits out causing the Silkworm to mocking put her hand over her mouth and point. Only to look at her shoulder and jerk her neck in theatrical shock as she noticed it was dislocated. "holyshit..."

As the last delinquently vaulted out Susan briefly rested on the handlebars, silently wondering if maybe what the devil was wasn't the right idea. She wasnt a perfect person, not even a good one. Though born in Gothic she had spent most of her life away from it, so were her territorial allegiances really that strong? What was keeping her from simply leaving Gothic and letting the Purge happen? If all it took was one event, one cleansing to end crime forever in the city wasnt the sacrifice worth the cost?

The Silkworm looked across the street at the overpass. Two tagger loyally creating a piece of counter-cultural art of the Horned Saint's mission. A spray-painted commemoration of the Purge. All she could do was to shake her head, before pealing out and off into the city once more. One more gathering. Just one more...

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#34 Posted by Walter_Hughes (122 posts) - - Show Bio

@phantomshell:

"So, he missed...and that was it." Dripping sarcasm, and mild amusement his words were clearly sceptical, right eyebrow inching upward on his forehead. A driven man like Grimmwald—willing to pursue Rosso for months based on nothing but an unlikely hunch, to snatch her from across the world, willing to order atrocities such as those recorded in the phone on the counter, a man who resolved to end all crime in one of the worst cities in the nation for it—was not the kind of man who just "missed" and gave up.

But it wasn't that important, so he let it ride and listened carefully to every word of Ishmael's pitch. So intently that with a single word he was hooked—"an artifact known as a Universal Lavaliere." So then there are more...A master of the game, he held his anticipation extremely well, never letting it seep into his facial tics; although his thumb gently caressed the drive held in his pocket.

All the necessary precautions, he reminded. Strix was to be regarded with all suspicion even then, the drive would be inserted into a throwaway computer in case it held a virus of any sort, and everything would have to be corroborated by further research into this Lavaliere and its ilk. If nothing else, they could trust in the legitimacy of the terror plaguing Gothic that night, and a mutual interest in ending the man behind it.

"The truest wisdom is a resolute determination." He eyed Ishmael but didn't seem to be talking to anyone in particular. Taking a long, steady swallow, he placed the glass on the counter, tapped the screen of his own phone several times and held it to his ear.

"There has been a change. I'll need you back here at once."

He hung up.

Almost a minute later, Grimsrud came tumbling along the floor through the now open window space, catching himself in an upright stance. No flourish at the end, he'd become the picture of professionalism. Save for a look of mild annoyance as he spread his arms, demanding an explanation for why he'd been called back almost immediately after leaving for his task.

"Very well," said Walter, "I trust that you're determined to see this city to what you believe is its greatest destiny. And we both know it is not this. So I'll trust you...But only as far as I can throw you," with a slight grin. As with its predecessors, it quickly faded. "And no. That is not the purpose Ashley Knightfall will play in the battles to come. Tonight, she is perfect as is."

Indirectly, Ishmael had already laid the information in Hughes' lap a long time ago; even if none understood their web of direct and indirect connections well enough to appreciate the irony.

"We'll concern ourselves with the safehouse for now, fostering goodwill with Gothic's populace. When this is over, I've been thinking...I'd like to host a charity event. Dr. Knightfall has been a major cornerstone of this city since she moved here. I'd like to invite her to personally attend. I'll commend her for her efforts, both before and presumably during the attack, make a generous contribution myself and solicit other donations to her...hospital"—he'd have to learn its name—"and, potentially, other reconstruction projects down the line. Everyone who could possibly be of interest to us will be in attendance. Many of them, as well, will be of interest to the Devil." He paused, allowing the many implications to hang in the air.

"I understand you worked with Ashley in the resurrection of the Halo Corporation. Her attendance is absolutely necessarywe won't do it without her, but it's best done soon after tonight. Could I trust you to encourage her?"

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#35 Posted by Tenjin (2425 posts) - - Show Bio

@quintus_knightfaii:

You cling to life like the last of autumn leaves, Knightfall...” Katsuro sounded.

His crimson gaze lurked over the scene of his previous attack, the dying flames embers dazzling like starlight and cast a red hue over his form, intensifying as he stepped through a trail of fire; his grieves licked by the burning tongues of the inferno. His long ebon locks dancing slightly, from what seemed to be some strange daemonic winds and heat. Blood still trickling down his arms, he approached Quintus within several feet, his gait unhurried; not out of confidence but out of respect for the seasoned warrior, allowing him to gather his breath for the upcoming assault. Honor and a fair bit of sadism provoked such actions.

With ruination at his back, the Grim Ghost planted his sword into its scabbard along his back; in its dark dormancy. Tenjin had seen the wounds of the past, the scars of Quintus, and bowed his head slightly, a smirk on his face, baring those filed fangs. He allowed his previous words to hang in the air momentarily before continuing.

The elixir of the Black Lotus...a gift from our Mother, the Annihilator to my glorious House.” The Eastern Enigma spoke of mysticism and sacred rites of his Clan, obscure to all but who have read the Black Scrolls of Hanzo Hattori. “In this elixir, I have foreseen many things. I will tell you...your Ways, as noble as they might be...are but a dying light in the burning mantle of a great dragon.

He spoke not intentionally symbolic, although the case very well was, but of his vision of an enormous serpentine wyrm whose treasure horde was that of thousands of souls. Tenjin’s ninja magik and esoteric practices may well be hidden from common knowledge but his role of grandmaster also entails the role of a shaman in many respects. His folkloric status hid many things, as an expert shinobi should.

A grimace no longer hung on his face, all that was visible was a terrible drive, a drive for violence. A strange menagerie of shadowy wisps floated from the shadows in front of Tenjin. Chaotically dancing, before him. His face overtaken by some semblance of an umbral devilish manifestation beneath his dancing locks of hair, for but a second in time, then his breath visible as if winter had arrived in the presence of a small section of Hell behind him. The blood on his arms trickled to the ground, red as any man’s yet something fatal lurked within...

It was crimson death.

From his position he launched himself forward, utilizing propulsion pistons to cover the distance extraordinarily fast and with a precise combination of these micro-explosions, he came to a halt before his foe and spun on his knee whilst crouching, launching sparks behind him as his armored knee ground against cement and he was propelled upwards at a steep angle. Airborne, his posture like a descending falcon upon a hare, his Battlemind tactically and swiftly assembled information upon his foes posture, cycled electromagnetic signals from throughout his body, he listened to his heart and his breath with inhuman clarity then the Human Hayabusa struck.

Katsuro fists, curled in a fashion resembling serpent’s mouths as the index and middle fingers and thumbs curled slightly while the remainder were closed shut, shot down and coincided with the meridian of the Living Weapon before dispersing outwards and simultaneously sought to strike the inner vambraces near the wrist, however alarmingly so, his fingers produced a trail of black vaporous Ki and the serpentine hands aimed to bypass his foe’s armor through nefarious energy and strike directly at the Ki nodes and attacking the nervous system itself; with intent on devastating Quintus’s nerve receptors and render motor function of his lower arms useless.

[[Lamenting Viper Double Fang Strike]]

The assault was paired with simultaneously with a downward firing side kick, utilizing his inhuman might, to target the inner thigh and shatter the femur bone.

[[Crane Plunging for Fish]]

Mystically, the Sensational Shinobi exchanged places with a Shadow Clone summoned instantaneously behind Quintus, allowing the Clone to evaporate in a horrid display of pitch-black smoke and skeletal appendages and the Fatal Phantom unleashed a multitude of shuriken, once wedged between his fingers in stacks, and now soaring in a four by four grid formation from but a three-meter distance and they were targeting the back of Quintus. Although his nemesis has proved to be extraordinarily crafty in combat, thus the grid formation was spaced in such a way that it spread some ten feet diagonally, in hopes of striking his foe with a barrage of batrachotoxin laced blades; a powerful neurotoxin and cardiotoxin derived from numerous poison dart frogs.

Not allowing himself to consumed by arrogance, the Serpent’s Son reached upwards to grasp the hilt of his katana in preparation for retaliation likewise with the last adamantium tanto along his lower back.

The dreadful hiss of the weapons unsheathing in a fearsome union echoed as he bent his knees slightly, the tanto in reverse grip hovered before the chest region whilst the katana assumed the lower position, pointing downwards with an extended arm as Tenjin twisted at the hips, showing his enemy a single bloody shoulder to minimize his surface area. The shreds of his mask fluttering in absent wind and the inferno, once behind him, now reflected in the silver of his swords.

"A dying light, comrade...the fading of the sun into the fiery depths; and Gothic will warm its flesh in Hell"

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#36 Edited by AmericanValor_ (120 posts) - - Show Bio

Don't Worry About Me

It doesn’t take long for Brian to understand what’s happening. Despite the Grid being a security system designated for Valor City, the CEO of Dominus International installed a backdoor software into his company manufactured A-X phone 3 series. So, anyone with Dominus products could have their personal information accessed by the Animus Corporation conglomerate. And with a blink of his eyes, Brian could read text messages, hear phone calls and watch viral content made by customers.

No Caption Provided

Brian was the handsome devil everyone knew. Like a dotting father, he listened to the confessions of his most devout children and only intervened whenever he saw fit. From his perspective, Brian only liked helping when and only when his name was called upon. He didn’t like spoiling his followers, because in light of his efforts to counsel their traumas post-attack the prodigal son still had his doubters. Millions of Americans across the country likened him to the perverse nature of his father. Public opinion seemed half-convinced that his investments in Valor profited off disaster. It was a disgusting insinuation to assume his actions were anything less than heroic. He was a good man. They would see. They would all see.

“I’m not appreciated around here.”Brian expected so much more from heroism. He expected good press 24/7 and connections with the masked vigilantes who ran across his streets, but he received none of that. Instead he’s only seen multiple articles critiquing the surveillance in Valor setting the stage for a police-state America. Instead his city has fathered zero heroes. So much so, even the likes of Hawkshade disappeared from the grid after their chance encounter.

“I deserve better from my city.” It was difficult coming to terms with his new reality. He wasn’t satisfied with the mundane nature of writing checks for Valor’s political animals. Where was their adoration, their respect? They knew his name when the L.A.W. needed financing or that free clinic needed permits. It was a strange feeling for him. The emptiness of success. "They’ll know that soon enough.“ As Brian caressed the glass encasement that memorialized his old Force uniform, he reminisced the past for a short while. The excitement of fighting criminal meta humans with Crews and Castillo. The thrill of fighting when the odds were stacked against him.

"Hmm. What do we have here?”Brian paused when holographic images depicted by the Grid emitted from his contacts. He was reasonably astounded to see his system pick up an old friend. Brian would use the term friend loosely, but the fact of the matter was simple… @ada_guillaume was back in his city. It wasn’t an unfathomable occurrence. Despite never coming to terms with the motivation behind her attack, the Newcastle legacy understood someone of her nature would have found a way to embed herself into the infrastructure of Valor. He was just waiting for the right time to call the exterminator, but right now? It was too easy. He even laughed at the thought of her return being coincidental.

“Opportunity, opportunity. I didn’t think I’d ever have the chance again.” He savored the thought of meeting her once more. After all, Brian vividly remembered their souls connecting and how that emotionless excuse of a human-being made him feel. So, it didn’t take long before the would-be hero used the point of his boot and kicked the glass encasement shattered. Brian would then walk on top of the jagged edges and approach his uniform. It was still ripped and damaged by the blows he received from his fight with Ada.

“It's kind of crazy, how the universe aligns itself. That's why I need your support.” As he peeled off his jean jacket and shirt, Brian showed no reservations while undressing in front of his counsel. In fact, the company he kept empowered him more so than any therapy session could. The Legacy sisters were unlike any other support system. Each of them knew him inside and out. And despite knowing his flaws, each of them stayed in his corner even if concern trailed between their shared thoughts.

"I know this won't be easy. None of it ever is, but if I'm ever going to become the hero this world needs. I have to be on the front lines just like everyone else. That means no suit and tie. The people respect a good uniform." Brian rolled his eyes thinking about society's fickle nature, but he wasn't lying. The people wanted to see him struggling to save them. Breaking a sweat for the greater good and whatever click bait nonsense the Vine blogs were circulating nowadays.

“You're so right, Brian! That’s why I’ve arranged a two pairs of L.A.W. enforcement SUV’s to accompany you to the cathedral. It'll give you a real bad ass entrance.” Samantha clutched her wrist so he could stop her fingertips from incessantly tapping on the side of her thigh. It was a nervous tick that emerged after barely surviving Belladonna's botanical butchery.

"We've enlisted sixteen officers that will follow your car to the pinned location. Ready for whatever, but that's not all. Our friends at S.T.R.I.K.E. are on speed dial the moment you decide Ada needs to go, Brian. They'll swoop in. Trust and believe.” With an assured hand on her hip, Alana the alpha triplet playfully winked as Brian unbuckled his jeans.

Samantha, Alana, Sabrina. Legacy Sisters
Samantha, Alana, Sabrina. Legacy Sisters

"I-I think y-you're playing with fire, Brian." Sabrina stammered as she tried to get her words out.

"Gothic isn't our city. We don't have a long-term game plan like we did with Grimm. If Ada's back then she's obviously setting up a trap. She won't be so easily captured. It's way too dangerous. Don't you think?" Even as her sisters collectively sighed with the shadiest of glances, Sabrina stood her ground. As the only sister with a point of differentiation, Sabrina hoped her advice wouldn't be drowned out by their strangely positive insistence.

"That's the thing, Sabrina. I want the danger. I need it. What good is my life if I'm not being challenged? If I'm not evolving? I have to show everyone and I mean everyone that I'm the hero they need. ME! Not Hawkshade. Not that devil in Gothic. ME! And if that means taking on Ada without prep then so be it."

No Caption Provided

In the dead of night, Brian finds himself hyper focused on unfinished business. Tailed by the protective orders called in by Alana Zeraz, the prodigal son is half-convinced he's got Ada's number dialed in. Part of him wants to call in S.T.R.I.K.E. the minute he arrives and the other half wants her head separated from her shoulders. Despite his desires the Valor City patron couldn't come to any definitive conclusion, but he's certain the answer will come about soon enough. When he arrives, however, there's a particular smirk on his face as L.A.W. enforcers step out of their vehicles.

"Circle the perimeter boys," Brian understood it was only a matter of time before his team was met with resistance. There's no way in hell Ada was alone, especially in his city. "Don't worry about me. I've got this." With a STAKE gun in hand, the lone mutant empath pressed the tip of his index finger onto his temple. He could sense the emotional spectrum in his proximity and after Ada the absence of. His intention was simple to pinpoint the number of bodies inside the cathedral with the homeland terrorist and engage. With the assistance of the Legacy sister hivemind, Brian attempted to mentally link and control one subservient of Ada's so he could send the following message.

"We need to talk."

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#37 Posted by Ada_Guillaume (149 posts) - - Show Bio

@americanvalor_:

No Caption Provided

While the additional assets from Monsieur Karrit were being accounted for in the congregation, Ada stood at the alter eyes pressed closed while she analyzed the foreign energy she absorbed from the Orochi in Gothic City.

It was unlike anything she'd ever come into contact with the very nature of this power suggest it wasn't native to Earth. The lost of life in Gothic was rising by the hour and there was no clear indicator of how many had already perished. It wouldn't stop, tonight it was Gothic tomorrow it could be Valor.

"Gentlemen, I'm sure I don't need to educate you on what's happening in Gothic City. Amin, should've already filled you in on..." The Poetic Assassin paused. The thoughts were erratic, militant in nature--and there were a dozen or so of them. Just as she realized what was going on, one of her assassins spoke, the mental intrusion could be heard through his almost robotic voice.

"Well...Well...Well" Ada sardonically applauded. "It only took you a couple of months" Truthfully the Order of Malta set up shop in Valor the moment the city went up, and they were able to stay there because Brian's lack of conviction.

"Did you need me to terminate more of your employees?" She asked physically circling the room knowing that he actually had them surrounded. The Poetic Assassin's lips curled just a bit the irony of it all, he couldn't stop her when she plundered Grimm, but here he was to stop her from trying to save Gothic.

"There's some one far worst than I in Gothic right now, If we don't stop him who knows what he will do to this city" She said pacing back and forth with her hands positioned behind her back.

"Or...I can give you and your little task-force a sample right here right now." Ada's eyes burned with the Soul Lavaliere's energy she stole earlier. One by one she begin to transmute the energy from herself to the members of the brotherhood.

"Make your choice, Mr.Dominus. I just hope it's the right choice...for your sake"

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#38 Edited by AmericanValor_ (120 posts) - - Show Bio

@ada_guillaume:

"You're always testing me. It kind of takes me back to the academy." If it weren't for his fixation on the intersection between relevancy and heroism, Brian might have green-lit the ambush. Truthfully, he had every reason to do so. Ada Guillaume nearly framed him for the innocent lives lost during her own similar takeover. However, his understanding of the energy circulating throughout the room led him to believe there was a greater game at play. One he wanted to be dealt into.

"Funny thing is, Ada. I never liked the academy. Between the hazing and the holier than thou attitudes. I grew so tired of paying mind to people that didn't benefit me." He walked onto the steps of the cathedral. One step after another, he felt the warm embrace of the heavenly father.

"So, you can only imagine why it took so long to have this reunion." The Newcastle legacy opened the doors of the cathedral with a smug grin on his face.

"Y'know what? I'm a firm believer in second chances. I mean look at me." After disconnecting with his host, Brian continued the conversation with his sarcastic tone. The doors slammed behind Brian while he raised his STAKE gun in the air. Between himself and God, under the supervision of Jesus himself, the prodigal son promised to be a good boy while inside the cathedral. So much so, he would take Sabrina's concerns into consideration and he wouldn't blindly fight against Ada. At least, not yet.

"I'm a good man. I believe we all deserve a fair shake...even if some of us are coldblooded killers." He walked forward, inching closer and closer to the altar.

"That's why I'm here to hear you out. Adult to adult. I want to know what's going on. That way I don't have to kill...I mean arrest you right here and right now." Brian could feel the energy exuding from her body. It wasn't the same energy that converged with his body the last time they met. It spread through her brethren like she was a tree and they were her roots. Admittedly, Brian was astounded by the inhumane nature of his surroundings. She walked and she talked like a human, but she didn't feel like one at all. He was utterly intrigued by the nuisance in her character.

"C'mon. Tell me Ada. How are you the hero in all of this?"

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#39 Posted by Ada_Guillaume (149 posts) - - Show Bio

@americanvalor_:

As the huge doors opened alerting the brotherhood, but the Serene Slaughterer continued pouring the foreign energy into them. Even as the moved to circle him, she continued her actions. His last line, that's what drew her attention.

"Hero? Mr. Dominus there's no such things as "heroes" and "Villains" those are domains created by humanity to establish the parameters for what they believe is right and wrong. I, Mr. Dominus am a necessity within those two systems. I make sure neither side get too strong. An Equalizer if you will"

Ada's head finally tilts in his direction, the orange glow in her eyes much like that of the brotherhood around her.

"Right now in Gothic City, there is a group that threatens the balance, not only is the balance in Gothic in danger but so is the balance here." As she spoke the Poetic Assassin changed uniforms, the previous uniform was drenched and smelled of garbage and feces from her time in the Gothic sewer.

"The last time I got way to close for comfort, however; If I were to point you in the right direction. Maybe you capitalize off being the man that saved two cities. Well...one and a half" The last bit was a shot, she knew he didn't save Grimm she did. She was the catalyst for change that turned Grimm into Valor.

"I gave you an out. You didn't want to take responsibility for the destruction of Grimm, even though you were probably going to do it anyways. That's the difference between us adults, and you children, we will do whatever it takes to build a better life for you...even if you rebel."

Ada took a step back behind the brotherhood her connection to them deeper than the mental link she previously had over them. They trained their weapons on Brian with the intent to shoot given her command.

"Now Brian...will you be a savior? or continue to be a deceiver?" She said with vigilante eye contact as a chopper prepared to land it's destination Gothic.

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#40 Posted by Faatina_Knightfall (197 posts) - - Show Bio

The Dread Pirate

No Caption Provided

Normally the affairs of land dwellers didn't entice the Cerise Swashbuckler, the land was a resource for the weak; the real game of thrones was played in the ocean. Only the tactical and technical could navigate these waters like she. So why was her attention now on the land dwellers, more specifically Gothic City? She could smell it, like the moist air before a rainstorm. The shroud of fear surrounding Gothic was enough to power another fleet--she had to have it. "Set course for Gothic at once" She commanded, her unholy navigator nodding in compliance. "Silence" she commanded again causing an entire fleet of howling souls to fall silent in open water.

The Knightfall-Liafador hybrid's maritime conquest over modern fleets became the subject of many horror stories amongst sailors. The Massive "Dreaded Fleet" moved in what many referred to as a "shroud of souls" from afar it looked like a terrible storm, but up close a nightmarish fleet of souls propelled by the damn. The infamous "Dreaded Howl" was what many doomed sailors heard when sailing into the shroud, the horrid sounds of tortured souls howling all at once; that was before they saw the dead crew, and her--the only living being in the fleet.

To her family, she was a bit of an enigma. It wasn't uncertain if anyone in the Knightfall family knew she exists. As much as she didn't like to admit it she was a Liafador, but she didn't like them because of what they turned into.

"CccCaptain...landfall" The Dreaded fleet filled not only the Gothic Harbor but Valor as well, appearing as a massive storm cloud on the horizon, She gave the command for the souls to continue their howling.

Rising to full form her green eyes scanned the city from the harbor, so much fear! it was delightful, stepped down off her alter the Dread Pirate moved to the bow of her ship trying to take in the source of the conflict. From what she could make out, they were some sort of ninjas, assassins? the entire event had Knightfall written all over it, but the last time she made landfall Ziccarra used them too. She spent too much time at sea to know who the major players were now, but it was time to introduce herself.

"Weigh Anchor..." The grinding of her skeletal crew churning at the handle, even the Seax's metal anchor sounded like souls being torn from their vessels. "I'm taking a crew to land" She didn't have to give any orders if anyone got on the Seax while she was gone--they weren't getting off.

Disembarking with a literal crew Faatina was met with resistance the moment her foot made landfall.

Her Soul Swords Styx and Harmony act on their own circling her as they fended off an Orochi onslaught protecting her blindsides, making her strong where she was weak.

No Caption Provided

"Seax, release the fear wraith. Show me who commands these lost souls" From her massive ship, what could only be described as a banshee was released above Gothic, search for @grimmwald the one who commandeered this ordeal.

"The banshee has show the way"

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#41 Posted by Apex_Predator87 (112 posts) - - Show Bio

@assassinatrix@the_silkworm: @grimmwald: (OOC: Up to you if Apex succeeds in the attempt to find the source of where the Orochi is coming from, Grimmwald).

The Orochi don't have time to use the acid as Apex flees the scene in her car. She uses her on-board computer that has a satellite link up with the computer in her cave. She brings up satellite imagery that is current in an attempt to see where the Orochi are coming from. There must be a converging point of origin. If she can pinpoint it, that might be where she needs to go to stop the man, or woman, behind this all. Apex knows that the further out the Orochi are, the thinner the number. But the closer they are to their origin point, the thicker the number and the most likely spot where they are coming from. For a man to gain this many followers, he'd have to have his base underground somewhere. But where?

No Caption Provided

As Apex drives away, she spots someone within her peripheral vision who might as well be a sitting duck. The Orochi are thin here, which explains why she's probably still alive. She stops her car and the back of it opens up to reveal two chairs. She opens her canopy and speaks to the stranger, "Your a sitting duck out here. Need a lift?"

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#42 Edited by Hawkshade (4611 posts) - - Show Bio

𝔅𝔩𝔞𝔠𝔨 ℌ𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔢

𝔄 𝔗𝔞𝔩𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔗𝔥𝔯𝔢𝔢 ℌ𝔬𝔯𝔯𝔬𝔯𝔰

A shadow of a man emerged from the shadows and Hawkshade placed a broad hand against the cold stone of the wall beside him, dripping blood from his square jaw as he gazed at the grim specter before him.

Richard looked into Grimmwald's glowing eyes. He searched for his brother but Kellan wasn't home anymore. That was the first horror. Inside the red eyes of Grimmwald there was no one. No one and nothing, just a mind with no soul--that was the second horror.

I freed him from the Secret Masters and brought him to Gothic. And that was the third horror. It was Richard who had unshackled this monster.

He felt sick.

Blue eyes fell onto that strange stone pulsing with an eldritch light inside Grimmwald's chest. He felt a sudden vertigo, as if there was a great abyss within the stone and he stood at the precipice of reality and any wrong move would see him fall into the stone.

Force of will jerked his eyes away. What is that? Whatever it was it was powerful. He could feel it.

Whatever forces Grimmwald now tampered with had given him great power. Power enough to defy the Secret Masters and steal away the fallen Strigidae, the Blackdagger. Power enough to take his mother's place as commander of the Orochi. Power enough to grip Gothic's underworld in a terror the likes of which none had ever before inspired

"There's nothing for you here, Hawkshade"

~Grimmwald

"I use to have this friend. His name was Kellan."

Hawkshade rolled his neck and cracked his knuckles.

"Maybe you remember him. Told terrible jokes. Wouldn't buy a cellphone."

The former Strigidae sank into a combat guard.

"Lost his way. Became what we both once feared."

"I've come here to stop him. And to save him."

𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔎𝔫𝔦𝔤𝔥𝔱 𝔬𝔣 𝔉𝔞𝔦𝔱𝔥

Hawkshade was already wounded. Already tired. His mutant powers had been stripped away when he fled the Strigidae but Grimmwald retained his and now commanded supernatural might the likes of which Hawkshade could barely comprehend. To defeat him now, alone, seemed impossible.

He paid such things no mind.

The big man charged. A lumbering run, limping upon a knee twisted in his earlier battle. A lunging, off balance haymaker. A stumbling spin back to guard.

He remembered their first excursion into NYC as men free from the Secret Masters.

Leaden arms quickened into a combo of heavy strikes at Grimmwald's torso. There was a little snap in his strikes.

He remembered their exploration of the ruins of the League of Shadows.

A boot flashed toward Grimmwald's head, pain in his knee forgotten as it was a blur of thunderous force targeting the jaw of the body that once held his brother.

He remembered their first day in The Cave, laughing and joking with Tessa.

Hands and feet became thunder and lightning and fatigue faded away as if it were a distant dream. Richard's broken body became quicksilver and each blow was like the falling of a hammer. He felt no pain. He felt no fear.

Once upon a time a seventeen year old Richard had stood within the Circle of Measure and challenged for the rank of Strigidae. That day he had fought like a lion and become the youngest Strigidae in living memory. He had been fresh then and unburdened by wounds.

The Richard that fought now against Grimmwald summoned every ounce of that je ne sais quoi that separated him from the pack. Gravitas hung about his broad shoulders like a cloak.

By day he was Richard Vasiliev. By night, Hawkshade. But right now he was the Son of the Shogun and anyone who laid eyes on him in that moment would have known instinctively that he was a prince uncrowded and through his veins ran the blood of one who ruled by ancient right of conquest.

His command of Iktet-Ur, secret martial knowledge of the Strigidae which replaced thought-words with thought-movement and unlocked both the esoteric powers of photographic reflexes and move reading was on full display. A hurricane of strikes flowed from his limbs, each carrying the pristine technique of a dozen grandmasters whose movements Hawkshade had painstakingly copied, their flawless technique imparting each of his blows with a shocking force and untelegraphed precision mere muscle alone could not achieve. And his blue eyes drank in every twitch of Grimmwald's lean, wolfish frame, attempting to read not his offense but his defense so that he predicted Grimmwald's defensive techniques before they occurred and struck around them (if successful) so that dozens, if not more, thudding, bone snapping blows would fall upon the body of the thing that wore his brothers face.

The onslaught didn't stop.

Richard poured everything he was into his relentless assault. Clenched fists were crude clubs of meat and bone and foot and shins were mallets of flesh with which he battered away at Grimmwald.

Somewhere in the fight he broke both hands. He didn't even flinch. Nor did he notice the droplets of his blood that splattered the walls.

It was said that Pheidippides ran such a race that when it was finished he lay down and died of exhaustion. Richard's six foot four frame screamed at him to conserve his energy. To slow down for he sped toward the Reaper.

Vision danced with red and blue spots. Two muscles were torn in his back from his exertions. His heart was strained to bursting.

But the body was nothing but the vehicle for the will to act upon the world. He didn't slow.

His final blow struck like a bolt of lightning. That two hundred and forty pound frame lifted off the ground as if it had been shot into the air from a rocket and spun and his heel exploded out in a flying back kick targeting the center of Grimmwald's chest.

And if it hit it would strike the Soul Lavaliere like a clap of thunder.

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#43 Edited by Quintus_KnightfaII (74 posts) - - Show Bio

@tenjin:

A dark but visual hue trailed behind the articulated knuckles of the Sensational Shinobi in a symbiotic coronation of concentrated Ki. Shattering the Knightfall's grieve along the forearm as he held it in defensive vain, showering the floor with Adamantium debris and shards sharper then surgical blades.

Like an inescapable nightmare the formidable ninja was everywhere. Movements shrouded in living shadows and misdirection. With fable like techniques and philosophically in tune with the purity of clandestine martial dogma, Tenjin's elevated level of esoteric enlightenment was seemingly unbeatable. Once upon a time the Last Arashikage himself had been privileged with such talented death dealing delineation. But now only his universal counterpart shared in such skillful shinobi based techniques.

This Quintus, the Quintus of the now destroyed Reality - M, suffered from battle fatigue. His body aged and weathered. His defiant durability now supplemented by technology and the digital frontier. What mechanized components still functioned, did. Attempting to snare the Shadow Lord's kick in a constricting interception of well spaced hands.

But like a dream, oh so close yet oh so far away, the shadow-porting Shogun unexpectedly swished out of sight. Gone. Only to re-appear in the air behind the off-balance solider of Reality M, disbursing a wide spread arsenal of blitzing projectiles.

In an eruption that jarred the senses the facility's northern wall exploded inward in a scene stealing explosion.

No Caption Provided

*tink tinktink tink tink tink tinktinktink

The shurikens harmlessly ricocheted off the camouflaged side panels of the Knightfall's true offensive counter-measure as he somersaulted up and over its tank like frame. Having long ago abandoned the enigmatic theology of martial arts darwinism, Quintus now relied on the ingenuity of engineering ordinances. Such as the Poly-carbinadium remote operated UAV.

With his battered arm firmly tucked into his body it never the less had zero impact on his surprisingly aerial acrobatic insertion into the vehicle. Widely grinning as he gripped the tightened controls and zeroed in on the katana postured Shinobi.

"A dying light, comrade...the fading of the sun into the fiery depths; and Gothic will warm its flesh in Hell"

Six distinct thumps signaled the airborne launch of the UAV's mortar attack from its rear panels, seeking to shell the ninja with enough munitions to theoretically level the foundation of the hospital.

"Legends never die."

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#44 Posted by Phantomshell (1151 posts) - - Show Bio

@walter_hughes:

"So, he missed...and that was it."

It was either an over-inflated sense of the Horned Saint's ability or a dismissive underestimation of the Digital Deathnote's. Either way Walter's acerbic tone brought an amused smirk to the fridge-raiding outlaw's face. Yet he remained crouched in front of the disappointingly opulent selection of 'designer' waters and top-shelve caviar.

Ishmael had yet to return his true attention to the conversation and continued with distracted and remote grunts and hums, as the Whale postured with Napoleonic narrations. "Whats with you old gen aristocrats anyway? Swear to god you all act as if you're auditioning for an award."The rhetorical shade was nothing if not hypocritical. He himself knowingly prone to charismatic moments of cinematic theater. An idea which momentarily caused a cocky and brow arched glance back over his shoulder at the shattered debris and wind swept curtains. Back where he had acrobatically explored one of, if not thee most aerially dramatic entrances in Gothic's notorious history. Or at least that had become the Phantomshell's perception of reality.

"And no. That is not the purpose Ashley Knightfall will play in the battles to come. Tonight, she is perfect as is."

Ishmael chuckled while standing to his feet while in synced stereo trying to dab a MAP along the refrigerator's upper frame. A subtle shoulder shift then allowing for a physical and situational audit of the room, preemptively ready for an unlikely but possible trespass courtesy of the Neo-Juggernaut.

After listening to Walter's foresight of reconstruction and galas. Ceremonies and Ashley's role in his envisioned Gothic, Ishmael nodded with no real readable emotion one way or the other. Though he silently recalled a similar strategy he had pictured, once upon a time. "If someone doesnt find a way, a real way, to take out the Horned Saint then any notion of a future where you or I or anyone dictating the natural order of Gothic, is dead. Tonight IS the night. This the Shadowland now. There is no 'battles to come,' only the battle now. You wanna safe-play the Knightfall cool. But then whats the move with the guy going full Predator 2 on the city? You have rescources" nodding towards Grimsrud "I need you to find out where he's holed up." Arrogantly opening up his arms "and then I'll do what I do."

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#45 Posted by Grimmwald (3091 posts) - - Show Bio

@assassinatrix: @the_silkworm: @faatina_knightfall: @apex_predator87: @hawkshade:

The Orochi/大蛇

There was dread in Gothic Harbor. A hopelessness that filled the air and haunted the night sky like a dark cloud. The Dread Pirate had arrived, and with her, a fleet of the undead. And while the Dread Pirate sought Grimmwald, the master of the Soul Lavaliere, the Orochi did their part and rained their acid arrows upon the Dread Pirate and her fleet. Arrows carrying the same acid other Orochi'd used against Apex; fluoroantimonic acid. In other words, the world's most corrosive agent. The kind that was quadrillions of times the superior of sulfuric acid, that threatened to shred apart the molecular structures of the Dread Pirate and her fleet, to peel their electrons away and render them a cooked mass of superheated goo. But elsewhere, against Apex, the Orochi had resigned, as once more they'd poured all their will and resources, every ounce of ability and murderous intent into attack after attack. And once more, Apex emerged unscathed, untouched and unbeaten. She'd brutalized, electrocuted and outwitted the Red Mist of Grimm - and fled with nay a scratch.

No Caption Provided

Yet as pillars of smoke climbed through the air and into the night sky, the Orochi buried their brothers, regrouped, and their word echoed from one Gothic street to another till it'd reached the ruins of Black House. Reinforcements would come. And so, from below ground, rose Fury of the Blackdagger, a mutant warrior forged from a unique blend of fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers. Tireless, superhumanly explosive and armed with grenades and vibranium claws, she was a war machine sent to carve through the streets of Gothic and raise Apex's severed head above her own. From one rooftop shadow to another, Fury stalked the night and watched the roads with a jaguar's hazel gaze. She was a predator, and her prey? A miniature tank with a vigilante. Maybe two. 'Maybe three', she thought, grinning at the sight below her, the tank, Apex, and two others. Fury pounced. Diving from above, she was an eagle, and her vibranium talons glimmering for her prey; the Ephemeran perched atop Apex's tank. A fatal thrust of vibranium steel at the Ephemeran's liver, and a headbutt - forehead to nose - Fury'd be quick, going from one potential kill to the next. Her vibranium claws'd threaten to tear open the hull of Apex's tank, and her other hand'd toss a grenade inside.

One that carried the ingredient for the deadliest of the Orochi's explosive arrows; dioxygen difluoride. A mad oxidizer, it'd bathe everything inside in a scorching firestorm that'd burn almost anything, even sand, glass, concrete, asbestos and so on, that'd explode with anything willing to donate electrons - like Apex's metal-like skeleton, and that'd explode with water, like the moisture on Apex's skin, and release hydrogen fluoride to dissolve in the mucus of her lungs, to produce hydrofluoric acid. So as the fires burned, the hydrofluoric acid'd shred every organic chemical in her body, from the hemoglobin in her red blood cells and the organic chemicals that made up her ultra-durable skeleton to her proteins and the very DNA that her powers and every bodily function could not work without. But Fury was no fool. The tales told of Apex by the Orochi were of an unbeatable warrior. Hyper-skilled, hyper-intelligent, and perfect thus far.

So having long distanced herself from the violent roar of her dioxygen difluoride grenade, Fury sat perched on a rooftop ledge, watching and waiting to strike again while Apex's attempts to locate the Horned Saint from the Orochi's movements - fell futile. For the Orochi had been in Gothic City, for weeks, scattered and lurking in the shadows ready and waiting to strike. They came from nowhere. They were everywhere.

The Horned Saint/角状の聖者

Richard was wounded. The Horned Saint could see it. The blood. The mass of bruises coloring his face. And he could hear it. His dermal senses felt the subtle vibrations from his brother's injured knee, how it buckled when Richard loaded it with his weight, and how the cold air came in a rush as Richard swung for his head with a haymaker that was more sledgehammer than punch. It was powerful, crackling as if Richard's fist was Mjolnir - and his arm, Thor himself. But it was off-balance, sloppy, and unlike him. Grimmwald'd seen it coming, his dermal senses'd caught it the instant Richard first moved. The counter was there, and the Horned Saint obliged, stepping in as Richard did - to glide into the inside arc of his brother's punch. A bent arm covering the side of his face, his elbow flared to chip and expose Richard's chin for a follow-up, a combination; a second elbow, opposite arm, hard and to chin, a shove, and leg kick torqued to smash his shin into the outer thigh of his brother's injured leg. A serious attack? No.

A taunt.

And a grin. Not of the lips. But of the eyes. Nor of someone - but of something. And Richard, Son of the Shogun and youngest Strigidae in history, answered, not with a grin, but a combination of his own. Body shots. Faster than before. The torches around them crackled, Richard was faster, but not fast enough. Elbows tight, forearms compacted to the rib-cage, Grimmwald blocked but didn't counter. A glimpse of Richard's rising boot, and he darted back out of range. Still no counter, no attack since the leg kick, only a haunting and unfamiliar orange gaze, and a horned silhouette blending in with the shadows. Yet like a hawk spreading it's wings, Richard soared with all the skill and mastery of grandmasters dead and alive poured into strike after strike. The Horned Saint'd parry and block, but Richard fought a step ahead, baiting him with feints, luring him into protecting the body to expose the head, and the head to expose the body. Richard was powerful, animalistically so. More powerful than any man had any right to be.

And he raged like a storm of punches, elbows, knees and kicks targeting the head, body and legs, and even the space around the Horned Saint. There was no escape into the shadows, his path and angles were blocked - always - by punches and kicks perfected a thousand times by grandmasters Richard towered over. Kellan's bones'd have been broken, his face battered and bloodied, and his body shut down by a bolt of lightning made a liver shot. Kellan'd have been felled. And defeated. But Grimmwald was not Kellan. Grimmwald - was Grimmwald. An abomination made by the Soul Lavaliere, and a master made death dealer by the forbidden techniques he'd unearthed from stolen Keijijo scrolls. He was stronger. Faster. More durable. What'd have once broken his bones only bruised him. And what'd have once bruised him only stung him. So Grimmwald stood, the silhouette of a holy devil come to save Gothic and the world in a way that good men were too selfish and naive to.

No Caption Provided

He was bruised but little more. "You shouldn't have come on your own", he said, calm and cold with Kellan's voice, but without the humanity that once held him back. Internally, his body flared as qi, the psycho-spiritual energy of Eastern philosophies, flowed through him, awakening the skills of his own grandmasters, meant to neutralize Richard's. Iktet-Ur versus Mastery of One. Strigidae versus Keijijo. Brother versus brother. And armed with the Mastery of One, Grimmwald's body and mind had become one. When a threat is seen, a moment is taken to determine the level of danger, then a moment more to think of a response, then yet another moment of brief doubt before a decision is made; to attack, defend or flee. But through the Mastery of One, this sequence of perception-evaluation-planning-conscience-reaction, is no more. He needs no time. His body reacts instinctively and almost instantly, taking the exact action needed to counter a threat while simultaneously minimizing danger. All without conscious thought.

And when married to his hyper-sensitive dermal senses, the Horned Saint is left a near-supernatural counter-fighter. So as Richard leaped into a flying back kick, the Horned Saint slid his back leg, and pivoted around behind his former brother to counter with a knee to the lower back and a shove. A knee loaded with qi to swarm through Richard's legs, obliterate the mitochondria of the muscle cells, pillage them of their ATP, render Richard's legs limp and incapable of use, and a shove to knock him to the ground. Bruises aching hot on his body and face, the Horned Saint cared little for success or failure. Not against Richard. He was not the evil he sought to punish, to damn to an eternity of metaphysical torture in the heart of the Soul Lavaliere Richard had very nearly harmed. He was simply misguided.

"I've come here to stop him. And to save him."

Those words echoed a second time in his mind, and his eyes fell upon the man he once felt everything for - and now nothing. He felt nothing. Because he had sacrificed everything. His mind held all the memories he shared with Richard. How they first met, how they'd escaped the Strigidae death cult side by side with no one and nothing but each other to start a new life elsewhere. He remembered everything. But felt none of the love he once did. There was no lump in his throat when he glimpsed at the bruises, the blood and wounded bones of his former brother. There was no instinct to seek out the man who'd hurt him, no desire to scold Richard for his recklessness, nor any need to help him heal. There was nothing. Only the memories of a life that was no longer his, and of a person he no longer was. And Richard? Just a name. Just like Ashley and Tessa.

He could torture and kill them all with nay a bat of the eye nor a beat of the heart. The Mad Strix'd made sure of that when he - it - plundered his soul in exchange for the Soul Lavaliere. "I remember giving you that armored vest. The one I found here. It'd be ironic if you died here, where I found you something to protect you", he said, voice empty of everything but sound. Eyes devoid of anything but an orange shade. "You, Ashley, Tessa, the boy, I'll kill you all if you people get in my way. Take them and leave Gothic. There's no need for you here anymore".

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#46 Posted by Assassinatrix (283 posts) - - Show Bio

@grimmwald: @apex_predator87: @the_silkworm:

Centuria's eyes narrowed as the vehicle upon which she was perched slowed, next to an oddly-attired individual. She briefly wondered whether her impromptu ally recognized the stranger, whether as friend, foe, or simply a source of information. Her expression hardened into a scowl beneath her mask as Apex spoke, however.

"Your a sitting duck out here. Need a lift?"

The reality of her situation hit her: she had aligned herself with a self-styled heroine. While her temporary partner may have had impressive fighting skills and resources, she also seemed bound to go out of her way to help others. This was going to slow down her mission considerably. "A dozen civilians will die for each one you delay our mission for," she protested. "If this one doesn't have any useful information, we should just-"

Her attacker made no sound, offered no warning. It was only battlefield instincts and reflexes honed the same razor-edge of her blades that saved her, allowing her to dodge backwards and narrowly avoid what would likely have been an instantly fatal thrust. Though she managed to avoid having her internal organs ventilated, however, this did not allow her amply time to mount an effective counter to the headbutt, and she grunted as the attacker's skull knocked her backwards and off of the vehicle.

It was at this point that her sadistic training kicked it. Always be on the attack, even when on the defensive, even when in retreat. As she fell off the rear of Apex's ride, one hand slid into a fold of her uniform and withdrew a packet of the airborne toxin she routinely carried, flinging it against the car's armored side and causing it to burst open, allowing the billowing powder within to quickly spread into a ten-foot area of intense irritation, and hopefully distracting her attacker enough to give allow the Ephemeran to regain her footing.

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#47 Posted by Tenjin (2425 posts) - - Show Bio

@quintus_knightfaii:

A vile stare befell Katsuro, his ranged attack faltered by the emergence of a large armored vehicle, Quintus was a sound combatant and tactically knowledgeable perhaps more so than the Grim Ghost. Utilizing his resources, it would seem the Last Arashikage had not only caught Tenjin off guard but also may have turned the battle in his favor. Yet, Tenjin feared no man...and certainly not his machines.

And that fearlessness propelled him forward; like a tiger in the face of many fusiliers.

The UAV bathed the shinobi with numerous spotlights and in Tenjin’s position, in a clearing amongst the rubble and transformers, he was devoid of natural shadows save his own but even then, it had been severely diminished due to angles relative to one another. Sheathing his blades simultaneously he darted forward, onyx wisps on energy smoldered off of his frame and comingled with the tattered shreds of his uniform as they fluttered behind him. A forthcoming offensive encounter was easily surmised and the Lord of Spiders acted with haste, but the upcoming onslaught was unexpected in such its bombastic degree.

The mortars were coordinatingly released, perhaps in order to stifle the Mist Walker’s use of Shadow Clones, the ordnance in a hexagonal barrage to maximize the killing zone with Tenjin at its midpoint in hopes of obliteration with overlapping omnidirectional death.

Yet, mortars required a zenith, an ascending then descending flight pattern and due to this Katsuro had a few seconds and the inhuman ninja capitalized. His speed was impressive, coupled with reoccurring bursts of kinetic pistons he had covered much ground before the explosions chained just behind him and he avoided the collisions of forces at its center but he was aware that the spread of energy could not be escaped. Hence, dropping into a crouch and then leaping upward, Tenjin twisted his body as if to face the incoming explosion whilst airborne and most importantly had traveled higher than the artificial light projected from the Knightfall’s incredible vehicle.

Summoning forth a half dozen umbral clones, they themselves creating a staggered wall of bodies before him just as the bright light of the spotlights were overtaken by a thunderous clamor of red-orange plumes of destruction. Tenjin braced himself behind his sacrificial lot of “human’ shields but not before whipping his hands backward and hurling handfuls of upwards towards the ceiling. The daemonic grimaces of his doppelgangers were soon eradicated and their shadowy composition hurled conically backward in shards of murky debris carried on the battering winds that now pummeled the Pinnacle Predator.

Tenjin received a powerful deafening blow and likewise was cast back at great speed and arced directly over the UAV and his opponent and his trajectory abruptly halted by the compressing aluminum shell of a transformer only to be launched back once more in a series of tumbling motions. The lethal force of the attack had been absorbed by the layers of his clones but nonetheless, his collision with the ground prompted a quick escape into a shadow portal just after impact, due to the Suicide King’s retaliatory series of explosions.

Prior to his brutal absorption of force, Tenjin launched likewise six thermobaric cluster mines at the supporting joists above him, coupled with several superacid bombs which in turn would begin to dissolve several adjacent beams while the thermobaric mines would adhere and time themselves before spreading in a series of micro-explosions to devastate the cement structures as well. Weakened the entire ceiling would collapse and hoped to topple the next floor atop his foe and coupled with Quintus’ attack, it was theoretically possible that indeed the foundations of the Katholicon would buckle.

In retrospect, the Ruthless Resurrectionist would find it flattering that an attack of this scope was targeting a sole individual.

Concurrently....

Tenjin’s Loft...

Gothic City...

An ebon rift appeared in a finely decorated living room of his upscale base of local operations and Tenjin barreled out in a smear of crimson. His otherwise lethal blood covered his form, now his torso barren of his regalia, showcasing an enormous demon tattoo, who hurled thunderbolts from a seat of clouds; although marred and his flesh torn in gaping wounds across his back and chest and arms. However, the Lethal Legend began to laugh ominously. His hand clutched his sword, scabbarded and still pristine, he attempted to use it as a crutch and means of lifting himself to his feet but found that his left leg had been snapped in two...perhaps three pieces but found it too demanding at this point in time in relative safety.

He merely continued to laugh as he drew his sword, that signature hiss audible in the otherwise serene locale. With his sword fully drawn he brought himself to his knees, his left leg tremoring as the bones shifted constantly to remain balance and brought the blade pointing straight ahead at something across from him. In the moonlight, a disturbing large Spider Goddess statue loomed over the room’s interior like a corporeal ghost and seemed to smile at the sword, for but a moment.

And, immediately after the blade was flipped back and plunged into his own chest, piercing his own heart before it was discarded across the floor and he collapsed, in a pool of his own gore for but the sole purpose of activating the regeneration implant in his skull and unleash a wave of hyper-regenerative mutant cells.

Thus ‘killing’ himself one time only to fully heal within minutes.

And if his quarry survived his last attack, Tenjin had also dispersed a tracking mine on the undercarriage of the fortified vehicle with a ricochet feat prior to being overtaken by the blast in hopes of tracking down his enemy and perhaps leading him to others, to face the Marvelous Massacrer in the very near future. His mystical status and further unharmed appearance at their next encounter would serve him well psychologically.

And then, he would seek terrible violent vengeance.

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#48 Edited by Apex_Predator87 (112 posts) - - Show Bio

@the_silkworm: @grimmwald: @assassinatrix:

No Caption Provided

For the second time this night, Apex chides herself for being a little too distract with her duties in the Justice League Alliance and not paying enough attention to the goings on in Gothic City. Otherwise, she'd have picked up valuable clues, pieced them together and found the leader by now. As it is, she only hopes someone else is there dealing with the heart of the problem. If they fail, Apex will not rest until she deals with said leader herself. She refuses to let Gothic City die and it won't as long as she draws breath.

But now a new player enters the field. The Orochi know they cannot win against her, so they send someone else. Someone who tries throwing something inside the car. The good thing about enhanced senses is enhanced perception. Things can look like they slow down to a crawl and this is what happens with the grenade being thrown in her car. It's unlike anything Apex has seen before. If it was an ordinary grenade, she'd simply grab it and throw it back. But this is an unknown device and it could have unknown trigger mechanisms. A simple touch could activate it.

Using the ejection system, Apex launches herself high into the air just seconds after the grenade explodes and ruins the inside of her car, rendering it impossible to drive for the time being or remotely control. While this new woman is attacking Assassinatrix, Apex uses her cape to glide before landing on the ground. Upon looking at the woman's blades, she recognizes Vibranium when she sees it. Finally! A real challenge.

With the new threat distracted with Assassinatrix, Apex makes absolutely no sound as she sneaks in behind the mysterious woman who is fighting Apex's would-be ally and attempts to deliver a roundhouse kick the head that has enough force behind it to shatter concrete.

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#49 Posted by Hawkshade (4611 posts) - - Show Bio

𝔅𝔩𝔞𝔠𝔨 ℌ𝔬𝔲𝔰𝔢

𝔗𝔯𝔦𝔞𝔩 𝔬𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔖𝔭𝔦𝔯𝔦𝔱

An elbow clipped his jaw and then a kick fell upon his legs as he flew through the air.

He hit the ground hard. Stone jarred his bones. Hawkshade spat a mouthful of blood into the dust and begin to rise.

Nothing happened.

He tried again. Nothing. Legs as thick and sturdy as the trunks of oak trees lay limp against the cold ground. Again. Still nothing. Hawkshade rolled over with his arms and propped himself up.

"You've picked up some new tricks."

The room spun. Not because of his injuries but because of exhaustion. Lungs screamed for air and his heart hammered a frantic drumbeat in his chest.

"I remember giving you that armored vest. The one I found here. It'd be ironic if you died here, where I found you something to protect you. You, Ashley, Tessa, the boy, I'll kill you all if you people get in my way. Take them and leave Gothic. There's no need for you here anymore."

~Grimmwald

Blood dripped from his square chin and ran down the tattered black hawk upon his chest. His brothers words would have broken his heart if it had not already been crushed.

For a moment he set, still, chest heaving for oxygen and looking up at the man who had taken him down in a single strike.

"Do you remember the Year of Night?" He rasped. "All of us went through it. One day the Seven came into our quarters and took us down into an underground level where there was no light. For exactly one year we lived without seeing so much as a spark. Ate. Slept. Trained. Fought. Until we could live in the dark as well as the light."

"Toward the end one of the Seven Secret Masters came to me. He took to me to an empty room and had me meditate. If I could meditate for seven days and seven nights without food or drink or moving a muscle he would tell me a great secret. Several before me had tried. They all failed. But I succeeded and he whispered into my ear."

"'Life and death are not real.'"

"The Masters told us many lies. But they told us many truths too and that was one of them."

"If you want to kill me, do so. We are spirits, not animals. This world is not our home. It is only a test of the spirit before we return to to whence we came. You are right that Gothic does not need me. It never did. But I need Gothic for it is my Trial."

A flicker of his blue eyes behind the one working eye-piece inside his cowl gave invisible directions to his remaining drones.

"And I would no more abandon my Trial than I would abandon my brother."

Blackhawk drones darted through the halls, circling behind Grimmwald in the maze.

"Life is not real. It is a biological VR hardware that is host to my spirit. If you kill me-" A shrug. "-I was only passing through."

His last remaining drones screamed out of the darkness behind Grimmwald, engines pushed beyond all safety limits and on a suicide collision course. They were not armed. But they were fast and targeted the back of each knee and the back of his skull. One after another after another.

They were a distraction.

With his last remaining strength he snatched the device he had retrieved from Excalibur Tower before coming to Black House. A hand held ultrasonic array.

The foundation of the array is the piezoelectric transducers. A transducer is an object that changes one type of energy into another. Piezeoelectrics are objects that are permanently polarized; they have a constant positive and negative side. Research into sonic weapons at Excalibur revealed how micro piezoelectric transducers could be constructed and mounted in a staggered array to fit more onto the same mounting surface. That surface is a superconductor. When an electric current is applied to the mounting surface the charge is transferred to the piezoelectric transducer arrays and that electrical energy is converted to sound.

Sound takes the form of waves. These waves can collide with and interfere with one another. Identical sound waves that are out of phase cancel one another out. This is the foundation of most noise canceling technology. Conversely identical sound waves that are in phase amplify one another, increasing both the compression and the refraction of the wave. In simple terms, louder.

These amplified sound waves extend from the array in an ultrasound wavefront. The high frequency is inherently short ranged but intense. Because it is ultrasound it isn't audible to the human ear. This ultrasound wavefront impacts the body invisibly and inaudibly but it creates acoustic pressure against the skin, causing ultrasonic vibrations that most report as a slight buzz against their skin. Harmless and at worst mildly irritating. Unless you are Grimmwald with an ultrasensitive dermis that functions as an extra sensory organ by detecting vibrations in the air. Then it is (likely) perceived as a scream of sensation bright and loud enough to split the heavens. Like having a flashbang detonate inside your body every second. Over and over and over and over.

It hurt Richard to use it.

But he had to. And so he did while his other hand drew an electroshock Iaculum. He let it fly, targeting Grimmwald's torso, hoping that the drones had distracted Grimmwald for that half a heartbeat needed to draw and deploy the ultrasonic array and the ultrasonic array had stunned Grimmwald long enough for his thrown projectile to connect. He didn't have a chance at hitting Grimmwald if he wasn't already semi-disabled and he knew it.

And he also knew that one wouldn't be enough. Grimmwald had unlocked secrets man was not meant to know and made himself a monster. Almost unstoppable.

So he threw two. Then three.

Each was set to its maximum setting, draining the on-board batteries rapidly but dumping 40 pulsed milliamps directly into Grimmwald's muscles (if they connected) overriding his nervous systems control and sending his entire body into uncontrollable convulsions.

He prayed it would be enough. For Gothic's sake.

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#50 Posted by Rosso (4735 posts) - - Show Bio

@ashley_knightfall:

Her shoulder drove into Dr. Knightfall's midsection with a force Valentina herself didn't even know she was still capable, forcing her to the ground and out of harms way, for the moment. Without missing a beat the veteran combatants flowed into a one-on-one cacophonous dance for the fate of the Catholicon and all those within.

Yet even as explosions rocked the building, their lives very well potentially hanging on the result of the ongoing confrontation still not far from them, the browbeaten dual-natured disciple didn't move from on top of Ashley--the doctor was her primary concern. Everything else could fall into place later. Throwing her leg over so that each would rest on either side of Ashley's body, the intern mounted her and righted her own posture whilst attempting to grab a hold of both wrists to prevent any hasty retaliation. She spoke hurriedly, in panicked, hushed tones her words of caution while making herself as heavy as possible, gazing down at her mentor with June's pleading eyes.

"I know what you're thinking. Do not go to him. You're worthless at best, dead at worst. Here you can help. That man is fighting for the lives of every person in this place. If he dies everyone does. He deserves our help. I can explain afterwards but please, Doctor Knightfall, stay here tonight."

She did not, however, believe Ashley would listen to her words. She cared for the Devil in ways Valentina would never understand, and she was aware on some level of the truth behind her "student." So quietly, for the first time in months, the Scarlet Shadowrunner steeled her resolve and readied herself to fight. Uncertain if she could defeat the Knightfall Saint as she was, but ready to at least slow her down and make a confrontation not worth the effort.