Vigilance: Rise of the Mavericks [The Epic IC Thread]

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Lord Wraith, Jun 11, 2015.

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  1. This is a private RP and recruitment is done by invite only. If you have not recieved an invitation, please do not post in the OOC.

    VIGILANCE:
    ~Rise of the Mavericks~


    | GM: Lord Wraith | Co-GM: Stein | Associate-GM: Hillan |
    | Genre: Superhuman, Modern Fantasy | Type: Linear, Sandbox |


    "The best people in any field of work, what sets them apart is a maverick quality. People who are not afraid to bend the rules in order to achieve the universally desired end."

    A pale warmth came from the lingering rays of the sun while the lapping waters of the Pamlico Sound seemed to eagerly swallow up the floating orb, transitioning the city of Larissa into a deceptively peaceful twilight. A breeze filled with the salt, spray and seafoam swiveled around Caleb Michaels and his pensive soul atop the Rhodes Lighthouse. The city and area sprawled beneath him and so high up, he still felt the weight that had been plaguing him for a month. Caleb had to close his eyes as he tried to block the sounds of the city from his keen auditory senses. The screams and sirens haunted his every waking moment since they had retreated to coast, forced from their home.

    'An entire month of darkness, since the corruption believed it had snuffed out the light. A month since she left a knife in their backs.'

    Caleb exhaled sharply, struggling to stop his hand from locking in its clenched state. They had so desperately needed the month, he had to assure himself. Each morning he woke, he’d had to tell himself that. Even when Thomas swore he was ready three weeks ago, his ever-taut muscles and jittering hands told a different story. So Cal had denied him, turning back to the tinkering and working he’d been obsessing over, leaving all else to the side.

    And then there was Maki. Looking back, Cal could only imagine his pain as Makarios had made the decision to respect Xander’s dying wish. In the end, when Xander and Adam had offered up their lives, Cal wouldn’t hear it. He’d fought and fought. It was Makarios who had to drag him away to safety. He realized he often overlooked that fact of the night, the thought being overshadowed by the ingrained feeling of heat against his face as the flames took their base and the singe of burning wood and sewage as they escaped underground.

    They’d each lost something other than team members that night: a family, a love, a home.

    ‘Is this…worth it?’

    The question had played around him every day since that night. Day by day, it etched farther into his mind. For a moment, he’d had no answer.

    “Glitch,” Cal seemed to speak to the wind, “Care to give me an update on our target for tonight? Call me anxious because these bones haven’t seen field action recently, but I’m itching to get out there again.”

    “Certainly, Anxious” came the slightly metallic reply as Glitch's holographic form materialized in the palm of his hand. Cal rolled his eyes and smirked, waiting for a response. “I’ve scanned the chatter and information indicates that the shipment will arrive as planned. Location and time both remain unchanged. Caleb, are you still proceeding with your operation tonight?”

    The red cowl in his hand seemed to bow with the weight of all decisions made with his face hidden behind it. The call to bring them together, to lead them in the war against Locke, to bring Allison in…to let some of them burn up so the flame of the Mavericks could live on. And now, as he donned the familiar form-fitted cowl, the slight tang of sweat familiar to his nose, he made the call to breathe life into the fire they’d left untended for a month.

    “Of course, Glitch,” Caleb answered, looking to the night sky. "So,” he called with a slight abandon, “How about we do something ill-advised?”

    The Mavericks were coming back.

    ***

    There was an undiluted poetic beauty to the night as he angled himself down, the wind buffeting him slightly in his descent: Of course Anthony “Tony” Cleaver, better known as the “Behemoth,” was their target. Of course he was their reintroduction into this life they’d almost run from, tail between legs and whimpering. Of course he was the punching bag they got to dust their gloves off on. Thomas Campbell almost salivated at the prospect of releasing the taut aggression in him on the man who’d brought them all together, so many ages ago.

    His descent was almost inaudible to human ears, yet Makarios turned at his presence nonetheless. Thomas took off his headgear, running a hand through his hair and smiled at the pair of them. “Sky’s all good and we don’t look like we’ll be gettin much interference. Shipments comin in on time too. ‘S a lovely night ain’t it?” He let out a deep sigh of relief. The longer he stood in his gear, the ….lighter he felt. Both physically and in his soul. “We’re finally coming back, huh? Larissa’s got her main men back, eh?”

    “Someone’s pretty chipper,” Makarios responded, a smile playing on his lips. Feral looked out to their target location. Thomas himself could just make out the scene from so far away, but he knew Makarios was taking in every detail.

    “Y’know Maki, Sometimes, the big man’ll give you a pitcher of lemonade from all the lemons life’s been throwing at you. And sometimes, he’ll even set that pitcher, sweatin’ ice cold, on the top of the head of your own prize pig”

    “Tony’s our prize pig? I can get behind that. We’re definitely making him squeal tonight,” Makarios laughed, finally looking at Thomas, and the farmboy say his own excitement mirrored in Maki's.

    Delving in to his mind, Thomas reached out with his….well he wasn’t sure what it was yet, but he knew it worked kinda well in most instances. He could feel an energy at times, as if his body was attuned to it, and by simply reaching out with his mind, he could locate and somewhat pinpoint it. The energy seemed dark and twisted. The best way he described this energy was simply as ‘malice.’

    Reaching out and letting the wind coax his mind into a state of calm, Thomas began to feel an ebbing of malice from their target spot and as he focused more. A particular signature that spiked above the rest caught his attention. “Yeah, he’s there all right. Just arrived on the scene.”

    “You were able to sense him out and get a ping?” Cal asked, prepping his gear for the fourth time. Thomas could feel the anxiety, but it was a mixture of nerves and excitement coming from Cal as well. He could definitely relate. They all could.

    “Yep, and maybe it’s just me but our little prize pig is feeling particularly nasty today,” Thomas told them as his tendrils extended from his back, relief hitting him like water flowing from a pent-up bottle. “This should be fun.”

    There was a small buzzing sound and a holographic form coded it’s way into life. Glitch paused a second before announcing: “It looks like the shipment is right on time. I would advise immediate action before the shipment exchanges ownership.”

    Caleb straightened himself up, cowl donned and weapons at the ready. “All right team, you heard her. A darkness has been brewing and it’s about time we shook it up a little. Mavericks, let’s light up the night.”

    Thomas unfurled his tendrils, giving a low whoop of joy and dived from their perch, cradling the beginning of their plan in his hand. In the pit of him, the honest place where he remembered everything his mama ever taught him, he could sense the …offness. But he tried to burn it up with the heat of his excitement, shaking his head and gritting his teeth in a mischievous smile.

    He spoke into his comm, noting the other two behind him as they neared the site. “C’mon Ill, you gotta do it.”

    “Do what?” Caleb asked.

    “Oh Buddha, here we go,” Makarios chimed in over the comms.

    “You gotta say it, bud,” Thomas told Cal, descending in flight. He was nearing the shipment site. This particular shipment seemed to be going for subtlety over defense. It wasn’t large, so the muscle was slightly lacking. But then again...they had a behemoth in their midst that no one sane would ever cross.

    “I’m not doing it, Angel.” Cal said with apparent finality.

    “You have to! C’mon, it’s like good luck. You have to. You don’t want us to mess up do you?”

    “Yeah, you kind of have to do it,” Makarios chimed in.

    “Fine!” Cal relented, he sighed heavily over the comms. Adopting a voice of grandeur he yelled into the comms, “Man...this is so ill advised. Mavericks, move out!”

    “AYYYYYOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Thomas hollered as he descended on the shipment site, garnering the attention of a few armed men. Before they could react however, Thomas had already launched --with inhuman speed-- a black canister from his hand, pressing the button on the top. As it struck the ground, a clanging sound rose in the stunned silence of the metal of the shipping containers and armed bodies. It released a thick smoke and the cloud enveloped the entire site, billowing out and almost seeming solid and gelatinous in some areas. Thomas dove in, activating his infrared and going for his target.

    “Let’s get buckwild boys.”

    ***

    Raphi Escobar had been feeling off the entire day. His abuela had always told him to trust his gift, his Third Eye, no matter where he went. And damn, was it going off today. He’d felt it from the moment he’d stepped out of bed that something was going to blow through his life soon, but he couldn’t tell whether it was terrifyingly good or bad.

    This shipment was a small scale one, they were just supplying for their own men tonight, an assault Tony wanted to launch. And being one of his inner circle guys, Raphi had spoken to him earlier. The gangs in the city were getting too lax too quickly. It had only just been a month since those Mavericks had been squashed by Locke. But...something hadn’t felt right to Raphi from the beginning. The press hadn’t touched on it like they should have and too much of that night was a question for Raphi’s tastes.

    “We go through with it regardless,” Tony had told him dismissively. The hulking beast of a man didn’t often come into opposition, and Raphi wasn’t going to be one of the few times he did. So, he’d acquiesced and simply resigned to being part of Tony’s inner circle of bodyguards. Not that the guy needed it.

    But, Tony had some karma coming his way, for all the shit he’d been stirring up in the past weeks. Raphi was sure of that.

    So, when he heard the first shout and he saw Tony’s head whip around, Raphi knew it was trouble. His eyes zipped to the source of the commotion and saw a figure in the sky. He paled, knowing-- just knowing-- what this was all about. A cloud of thick, black fog billowed up and engulfed the men and it rushed to where Raphi stood.

    “Ay dios mio!” he cursed under his breath. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and opened them again, this time activating his Hype gene and seeing through the smoke. His Hype ability was what Tony took an interest in originally, the ability to see through most solid and obscuring objects. It was contingent on his focus and how stationary the object was he was trying to see through.

    “Oh...God,” he muttered. Raphi paled at what he could make out:

    Tony's men had no chance from the beginning. It happened too quickly to comprehend. The figure from the air dive-bombed into the smoke, stopping just in time to land with grace. Some….tendril shot from his back, whacking the first man back. He spun on his leg, kicking a second man in the chest. The man flew back, bursting from the smoke and skidding on the ground. Raphi brought his eyes back to the fray as the man used another tendril to block the attack of an incoming male.

    Soon, another Maverick dropped in, this one shorter than the first individual, but moving with just as much efficiency. He shot something at a pair of Tony’s boys and they fell instantly, spazzing on the ground. He produced something from his person and it morphed into a staff. If Raphi thought the Maverick had been fearsome before, the sheer fluidity he moved with now made Raphi pale. In a matter of seconds, one of Tony's men seemed to have a broken leg, another sporting a pair of bruised jewels and a third promptly knocked unconscious with only two hits.
    He turned his attention for a moment back to the one with the tendrils and saw him lift one of Tony’s men up and toss him into another, using the momentum to bring his body around for a kick took another man down. He produced a cudgel and spun it around, blocking an incoming attacker and delivering a quick jab to the man’s throat. He spun, tendrils out, and knocked back another of Tony’s boys before darting in with the cudgel and swatting the man back.

    Ignoring the flicker in his vision, Raphi deactivated his ability, now able to see in the thinning smoke. He became vaguely aware of Tony roaring in the background of the frenzy. Raphi looked around to see his companions trying to fire their guns and failing. Even his own gun was covered in some gooey, black material. The smoke!

    Now, he could see with certainty that they were dealing with the Mavericks. They wasted no time in moving. The second Maverick, a red cowl covering his face, produced two small spheres and Caled them at two more of Tony’s boys, hitting them before they had a chance to react. Their bodies went rigid and they fell down, spazzing much like the two before them. The Maverick came up as one of the armed men rushed him from behind, butt of his gun raised to strike. Without warning the Maverick’s foot shot back, catching the man in his knee. A scream rose quickly from his lips as he fell down and the Maverick turned around to deliver another blow before taking off and subduing another pair.

    Raphi heard a cry and turned his head in time to see one of Tony's men flying through the air. He found the source of the commotion. A third Maverick in orange, barreling into the fray. This third one fought differently than the rest. It was like...a dance for him. He spun and weaved his way, jabbing opponent after opponent. For some reason, Raphi couldn’t help but see a beauty in the destruction. The man, for all his feral intensity, moved like a gazelle, his feet lightly touching the ground and his bounds into the air almost effortless. He flipped and turned in the crowd, delivering blow after blow. Racking up a casualty count to match that of his companions.

    In a matter of minutes, a group of thirty men had been taken down by three.

    Raphi felt himself shoved to the ground as Tony roared once more. “Who in their right mind is going to try me!?” He took a step forward. His lack of surprise told Raphi everything he needed to know. “Mavericks, I’ll break you worse than Locke ever could.” His voice sounded like gravel and Raphi knew that meant business. “Stand back, men. I got a lesson to teach.” He cracked his knuckles a sickening popping sound emanating from them and took off running, the ground shaking lightly in his wake.

    Almost as if in response, without a word, the Mavericks reorganized, turning to face the Behemoth head on. The red cowl, IllAdvised, jumped to the side as did the one in orange. However the...tendril guy remained in Tony’s path of destruction, feet planted in defiance.

    Each pound of his massive feet brought Tony closer, and faster, to the Maverick. He produced a crossbow. With no hesitation, he fired three bolts in rapid succession at Tony. One in both kneecaps and one in the chest. Raphi smirked. Crossbow bolts were like shooting pellets at a giant. There was no way these punks could take on the boss. Especially not with half of them missing.

    Tony closed the gap, heedless of the bolts and raised a fist preparing to slam it down on the head of the first Maverick foolish enough to stand against the Behemoth.

    ***

    “Feral, now!” Caleb told him in the comms.

    The wave played the slightly familiar tone through his head, and with his Nox he tuned in, synchronizing himself with the energy and power held in the waves. The strength, durability, aggression all washed over him and a sense of release swelled within as he let go of his inhibitors. A wispy outline of the Bull enveloped around his form for an instant and dissipated. He was ready.

    Launching himself, Makarios Lilis rushed forward, adjusting his body to the heaviness he felt from the presence of the Bull in him. The trigger gauntlets he wore hummed with activity. With each step and push, his power grew, his excitement grew and the eyes behind his mask glinted with a small delight.

    Tony brought down his fist, aiming to crush Thomas in that breath, but Makarios appeared at the last moment. Tony’s fist met his own, and a sound like a tree trunk snapping suddenly emanated from their impact. Maki’s feet dug into the ground and briefly, he feared his body would give out as he drew on all the power he could from his synchronization --until the gauntlet activated the three sensors embedded in the bolts Thomas had fired at Tony earlier. The sensors glowed for a brief moment and sparked, sending electric signals and impulses to the Behemoth’s body.

    Feral sensed the Behemoth’s fist tense and slacken. He jumped back, releasing the tone in his head. The rune on his back warmed as he activated it, synching with the Fox. The form of the Fox wisped around him and dissapated once more as he crouched down.

    “Sensors a success,” he reported.

    “Whittle him down, Feral!” IllAdvised commanded and Maki nodded, rushing in and delivering a series of quick jabs with his gauntlet all around the Behemoth while the hulk of a man struggled to move.

    This was his part in the plan. Cal had run an analysis of Tony’s powers, noting their rapid progression and had devised a countermeasure. The bolts sent an electrical impulse that reacted with certain joints and muscles in the body, locking them or causing them to spasm. Because of Tony’s nature, he would grow accustomed the pain after a certain amount of time. Thomas’ marksmanship landed the bolts in their ideal location and Feral’s job was to land as many hits as he could -- the gauntlet strikes serving as energy to send a surge through the bolts-- before Tony recovered.

    ***

    The electrical pulses were interfering better than Caleb had hoped. It was foolish for them to attempt to battle him with brute strength as they'd lose. And, another added addition to his plan was the neurotoxin he'd laced the bolts with. A mild concoction he'd been working on that induced double vision and nausea. But, he knew Maki would object to it vehemently on the off chance that it could kill the giant.

    Caleb came down on Tony's head with his Bo staff, unleashing the full force of a electrical pulse from its modified end. A dull grunt was his only answer as the giant of a man lumbered back. He kicked off of Tony's chests before the man could react and landed, crouching low and ducking in for another whack. Feral jumped over IllAdvised, twisting his body and delivering a swift kick to Tony's face. The behemoth reared back and Cal was sure they'd have him down in a matter of moments.

    Until everything starting falling apart at once.

    Tony's hand shot out, grabbing Feral without warning. Feral grunted, trying to loose himself in mid-air. Tony swung him around, tossing him with abandon into the nearest crate. There was a painful thud as Maki slumped to the ground.

    “Feral!” Cal cried out before his own form was swatted aside by Tony's massive hand. He found himself making quick contact with another body.

    “I got ya, buddy,” Thomas' told him as he caught Cal. They looked up to see Tony turning his sights and focusing on Maki.

    “Heh!” Tony barked with laughter as he shook his body. How had he recovered so quickly? In all the analysis he'd run, there was no way Tony should have been able to adapt to the electrical pulses and the neurotoxin that quickly.

    Yet, here he was, making his way to Makarios. Feral rose to his feet, wiping his lip of the blood that had begun to well from it. Cal noted the slight glaze and purplish hue to Maki's eyes. Feral crouched down as Tony neared, the hulk of a man cracking his knuckles and laughing.

    “Oh God,” Thomas said beside Cal and Cal could sense it too. Maki's stance had shifted, becoming ever-so-slightly hunched and his body seemed rigid. “He's not synching right. I can....I can feel the bloodlust seeping from him.”

    IllAdvised grimaced. He knew what could happen when Makarios didn't fully synch with his animals. Suddenly, Feral took off running, going to meet the Behemoth head on. Tony smiled his crooked smile in return and met Maki's pace, ready to go full force. Cal couldn't let them meet head-on.

    “Dammit!” he called out “Feral, no!”

    He spoke in to the comms “Team! Formation 'Zookeper'! Vanguard throw a force--” Cal balked as his words caught in his mouth.

    He hadn't meant to say it. He hadn’t meant to mention one of their dead comrades. And Xander of all names.

    It just came out.

    That name, that image, the memories with it. They all just...flooded out.

    And they rushed Makarios, overloading him. Cal could see it. Ill saw Makarios' form falter and his feet stop. An aura of purple flickered around the maverick and disappeared. Slack-jawed for only a second, Makarios couldn't react in time for Tony's typhoon of a swing. It caught him precisely in his chest and Makarios was launched back like a rag doll.

    “NO!” IllAdvised bellowed, as if his voice could stop the action and rewrite the last three seconds. He charged Tony, murder on his mind. But Tony was ready and caught his staff, twisting it and Cal with it. He held on and activvated the electrical pulse enough to cause Tony to slacken his grip. He looked away just long enough to see his unspoken prayers answered. Thomas had caught Makarios and was setting him down. Cal turned his attention back to Tony, adjusting his stance and charging forward. At the last ten feet he jumped back, throwing an array of shuriken. They exploded on impact and he came in again, sinking electrical hit after electrical hit from his hands.

    Thomas descended from the air, bringing his elbow down on the Behemoth. The hype roared in pain and Cal realized that Thomas had actually been paying attention in his Maverick Anatomy Lessons, hitting Tony in a particularly weak area. His enhanced strength and Tony's weakened state caused the giant to buckle from the pressure and sink down.

    Thomas landed next to Cal, who had his Kenobi trained on Tony. They'd brought him to his knees finally. He just hoped Makarios was okay.

    Pain radiated from his entire being. This wasn't right. This whole night had started off with high hopes, but in a matter of moments and movements, it'd fallen apart so terribly fast.

    “Talk.” Cal said simply and he jabbed the Kenobi down, digging the bolt in Tony's chest deeper. The pulse from the bolt, Kenobi and even a little from him made Tony gasp in pain. “Now.”

    Before he could, however, they both turned to a sound behind them. Maki stood a few meters away, glaring murder at Tony. His slightly hunched form heaved once and the outline of some Equine animal outlined him in that familiar purple light. Without a word, he took off, charging toward Tony once more. Looking Maki in the eye, Cal knew it would be best to step aside.
    Tony had just enough to look up from his haze of pain daze. Just enough time to register Makarios' approaching form. And just enough time to pale just a little further as Makarios jumped with a yell and kicked Tony in the square of his chest with all of his might and then some with both of his feet. Tony shot back, smacking his head in to the solid pavement. A groan was all that could be heard as his massive form slumped

    “Don't ever fucking sucker punch me again,” Feral stated gruffly.

    “The kicking power of pissed off zebra, huh?” Thomas asked, eyeing Makarios warily. “We had some questions for him.”

    Makarios hovered over the Behemoth's form and wiped blood from his chin, turning and spitting viciously. “Yeah, and he wouldn't have given us anything. We clearly don't have the manpower to handle him for long. Let the cops deal with him. Why don't we deal with his inside guys?” He shoved a thumb in the direction of the few remaining of Tony's bodyguards. “Much easier to break,” he turned to one in particular and snarled, “and I'm feeling a little forceful today.”

    “We’ll settle this later, for now we disappear,” Cal commanded. He recognized they had a limited amount of time to do anything. Tony wouldn't be out long, the cops would be there (assuming they weren't the dirty ones), and to top it all off Feral was losing himself. Cal felt like he could actually see Makarios slipping into a bestial blindness. They had to get him away from the stressors and fast. “Grab one and let’s move out.”

    ***

    They stood atop one of the taller buildings just outside the shipyard district. An unconscious man from Tony’s gang slung over Thomas’ shoulder. They’d gotten all they needed from him and now it was simply a matter of slipping him in jail. The sirens were dying off in the distance as the cops left the shipyard.

    “Feral was right in taking Tony out,” Cal spoke in the silence between the three of them. “He wouldn't have given us anything. And he was right about something else. We don’t have the manpower to do this, to keep doing this. Our enemies are getting stronger and we can’t rise to meet them at the door anymore…” He looked over the calmed city. The backdrop of the dark night and mountains in the distance gave the city an ethereal twinkle against the darkness.

    “What are you saying?” Thomas asked. Caleb could hear the measured fear behind it and he smiled in response.

    “I’m saying we need new recruits. We’re bringing in more Mavericks.”
     
    #1 Lord Wraith, Jun 11, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  2. Aava breathed deep as she stepped onto the station platform, train hissing behind her, doors quietly thudding as they slid shut after her. There was activity everywhere - families greeting each other, lovers saying goodbye, business men rushing for trains they'd likely already missed. She exhaled, pulled her single, compact bag up onto her shoulder, and walked away, leaving the train and all it had taken her from behind her.

    She could feel the atmosphere of the city, the low ebb of a subtle aura, the free-floating emotions of the populace. Feelings were powerful and struck out on their own, expressions and actions causing ripples beyond the physical world, branching out into the beyond, touching Nox itself. They were everywhere, and Aava's channels plucked them out of the air without beckon, ran them through her skin before ejecting them again, stretched and analysed and tainted with her own reaction.

    There was so much fear. The bricks themselves held stories of personal grief, mass strife. Fear and crime and corruption and what the hell had happened to her city, her home? What had she left, unknowingly fleeing a coming downfall? She walked through ghosts of sorrow, feeling muggings and deals, each passing pedestrian pushing tides of caution, expectation. Danger was in the mortar, growing thicker and more cloying as she pushed on toward her late grandfather's old home, left to her in his will, silently awaiting a child who may never have returned. Fear stuck to her clothes and became uncomfortable on her skin, rooting itself in her brands. Her grandfather had always lived in the Lower East Side, and it had always been one of the poorer districts of the city - but it had been barely fifty paces through the true borders of the district before she was introduced to the new depths of its depravity.

    Caucasian, taller than Aava but short nonetheless, hair swept greasily to one side, sides shorn. He eyed her, sinister glutton in his eyes; not born of lust, she could see that in the edges of the sclera, but birthed in ambition. Aava was his prey, his initiation. She could feel his eagerness for tattoos, brands that marked him as belonging to some greater force, much like Aava's; only he wished for authority far more malevolent. Hers was more uncaring for the human condition, unconcerned with the affairs of Man and his kin. She already knew he'd force her to show him, and thus wasted no time; a small gesture, a quiet incantation - she reached out, plucked thoughts from his head and used the fear already ripe within her carvings to pervert them, twist them to her own purpose. She replaced the youth's thoughts with doubts, seeded him with terrors. She nearly implanted him with her locked-away memories of that village, but took mercy at the last minute...regardless, he fled, trying to save face through refusing to sob. Aava herself nearly smiled, but held composure. Something in her weaving made her notice an element hiding beneath the fear, a bubble of positive energy that fought against every other atom of the city that tried to crush it. She held onto that bubble, spread its essence through her runes. That bubble was to be nurtured. She traveled the rest of her journey unmolested. Perhaps her scars disguised her as a member of something not to be trifled with. Perhaps they marked her as something to be feared. Perhaps no one gave a shit. She didn't care. It took her another half hour to get back to the home she'd left a decade previous.

    The key slipped into the old lock and rattled as she unbolted the door. The chain had been left on and impeded her entry, until a short wave shattered the rusty link completely, and the door swung open of its own accord, weighing lopsided and heavy on its own hinges. Aava stepped through the threshold with caution, at first awake to the dangers of slipping into the space owned by another...before realizing that the space was hers. She caught the edge of the door in her hand and pushed it back behind her, clicking the latch. A mere gesture that would do little for would-be intruders - something she'd have to fix later. Right now, all she wanted to do was head to the bedroom. Her train had come in late, and Aava held no desires to feel her grandfather's last years pass through her skin. She was already subject to phantoms enough.

    The bed was large and old, but well-kept. Emerald sheets beckoned her, but instead she set her bag upon the mattress and pulled the chair from her grandfather's desk across the room to sit opposite, unzipping and unpacking onto the spacious king-size. Jeans and tops, the sparse few of each that she owned, along with trinkets - amulets, beads, pendants, various idols and sigils - her pair of climbing gloves, her journal along with assorted pencils and pens, and finally a flashlight, still with her despite how often it refused to work reliably. Finally, her coat. Black, with a shape that draped down one side of her thighs and chosen carefully to be warm, comfortable and waterproof. The hood was for disguise and concealment, but the scarf-like attachment was her own addition, purely aesthetic. She wasn't sure why she'd bought it at the time - her expeditions and ruin-hunting had no call for such garb, and it had strained what little finances she'd had. But there was a feeling from that coat, much like the etched memories she'd felt off bricks, and the floorboards of this house, future echoes. Looking at it now, she was unable to stop the ghosts of her grandfather's final decade pushing through her - the scars on the stone outside, the dents in walls, scorching here and a new glass pane in the window there, scuff marks from heavy boots on the body of the front door and the entryway just beyond it, old, dark bloodstains too ingrained to ever wash out. With every thought and feeling Aava experienced more of the gangs that had tormented her late guardian, the crime that had crept onto the street she'd grown up on and the erupted on pappy's fucking doorstep, the crackheads and pushers and scum, the skinny Caucasian fucks who'd try and stop some scarred and battered 20-something girl just for their fucking kicks and initiation, lusting not after the flesh but what raping the flesh would bring them - respect. Admiration. Power.

    Aava put on the coat, trying to quell her own fury lest it lash out of its own accord. She knew why she'd bought it. She knew why she'd returned. She had spent the last ten years in pursuit of knowledge, in pursuit of power, but without real purpose.

    Finally, she thought. Finally, I know why I left. So I could come back.
     
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  3. So small.

    Skittering about, doing their assigned tasks, following their trails previously made by others of their species. So easily influenced.

    Yet unable to really look up and see their world for what it was.


    Thinking of that sentiment from her guardian and mentor, Eliza, Irene still wasn't sure if she agreed with likening the whole of mankind to ants. Certainly they were both cute in their own ways, but...

    It had only been a month since Irene had begun to integrate herself into the human community of Larissa, NC, and, well, things hadn't gone well to start. All the things she'd needed that just seemed superfluous: why would one need a paper to prove that they'd been born? Would existing not be enough? Of course, once the Magus had the time and the knowledge, she was able to acquire what she needed, only now getting to a point of stability.

    But while her mentor had know more about the Nox than most, there were some things that had eluded even her, things which Irene had began to become rather curious about.

    Initially, Irene had thought it connected to the Nox, but she had doubts, and mostly curiosity about these superhumans.

    But how could she find out more? All she could find on the 'internet' was hard to trust due to the constant contradictions and comparison to media she was unfamiliar with, but one name did keep coming up, and from what was known about this group, Irene could figure a few things for herself. The basic concept of a hero was rather simple. Was this the answer? But there was some fear and concern, Irene's thoughts ringing back to Eliza's cynical words.

    She would have to think on it. She had time, did she not?

    ---

    Wheels on the smooth pavement of the South Beach, the bus was halted in traffic under the skies, clear on the spring day. The weather was perhaps a bit too nice as pedestrians moved every which way on the sidewalks surrounding the roads, packed with cars.

    Windows wide open to allow what air they could inside, while the breeze was cool, a handful of the passengers were not. Many no doubt had places to be or people to see, and certainly none here among the crying babies and whining children. Ever so often the bus would inch forwards, instilling some hope, only for faces to fall once it stopped once more.

    Irene was satisfied to simply watch them all, or to take to observing what was beyond the window. Impatience was common in the more shortly lived. Adjusting her sunglasses before running a few fingers down a lock of some of her black hair, she glanced down at her white dress and handbag before returning to some her her earlier contemplations.

    After a few inches passed, the was a rattling from the door up front, the driver glancing over, incredulous. Irene couldn't get a good look from where she sat, but after a moment of silent body language, the driver pulled a lever, the door opening with a hiss. Shuffling on, two men in coats, despite the heat, one with dark hair and the other with light, began to ruffle in their pockets as the driver said, "Are you sure you want to get on? It might be faster to walk."

    "We're good," The dark haired man insisted, before walking through the rows of seats, hands still fiddling in his coat. Before the driver could comment, he had a gun pointed at his face, courtesy of the light haired man.

    Drawing a gun of his own amidst gasps of shock and worry, the dark haired man fanned out a cloth bag, shouting, "Okay, this is a robbery! You know the deal: wallets, phones, purses: in the bag. No one gets hurt."

    The light haired man growled, "And no shouting!" His partner shooting him a brief glare, he shrugged, before turning to the driver and ordering, "Close the door and keep driving."

    Reaching for the lever, the driver grumbled, "I've been fucking trying!"

    Irene couldn't help but to watch the fascinating scene: in keeping calm, the driver seemed to be preventing any sort of risky outbursts from the passengers, whom were keeping quiet as they gave up their valuables, needing little more than the shake of a gun to do so. Nearby, Irene could see a young woman frantically hissing information to authorities into her phone, glancing up at the oncoming robber on occasion. When he began to get close, whispered to herself, "Where are we stopped?"

    Once the robber reached them, his eyes beginning to move towards the other passenger, Irene sighed loudly as she shuffled through her purse, stating, "I suppose you'll be wanting my phone? It's not particularly 'smart', I'm warning you."

    The driver snapped, "Are you trying to fuck around with me?" Before Irene could respond, he reached over, grabbing her purse out of her hands and shoving it into the bag, which was growing increasingly lumpy. As he turned to the other girl, Irene noticed she was giving up her phone. Confident that authorities would arrive to help the situation, Irene laid back in her seat, when something began nagging in the back of her mind.

    ...She was being quite the fool, wasn't she?

    The dark haired robber now behind her, the light haired one up front scanning the bus, Irene knew it was too bright, so she had to think about the dark. Taking a breath, she closed her eyes, tapping in to the Nox, considering where the light began and ended.

    Grabbing hold, a sheet of darkness flooded in from outside, the bus's shadow becoming darker, shrouding the whole interior. Cries of fright began to ring out, along with sputters of bafflement by the robbers. Focusing on those, Irene slipped out of her seat, lowering herself, before raising the shadow up. Now able to see the lower half of the bus, heads of the passengers still shrouded, some of them having stood to try and get a better look, Irene met eyes with a young child lower down, blinking against the light. Raising a finger over her lips, requesting silence as she wink, Irene then waved her hands before weaving her own shadow into a shroud around her, making her form indiscernible.

    Raising her arms, she lowered them as she stood, the shadow of the bus falling as she rose, the ground and seats being hidden. As there were some grunts of pain from the bright light returning, Irene moved quickly towards the dark haired robber, whose eyes widened in shock when he saw the silhouette moving towards him. He raised his gun as he tried to stumble back, bumping into one of the seats, before Irene raised her hands. Grabbing hold, he suddenly lurched as the shadow underneath his feet was yanked. He managed a brief cry before landing hard on the hidden ground, going silent as his gun clattered somewhere out of sight.

    With one down, Irene turned about, trying to put the perplexed spectators out of her mind as she turned towards the light haired robber, who paled at the unknown. Not even bothering to raise his gun, he turned to leave, running into the closed door. As he slammed against it, he squealed, "Open the fucking door!"

    "No shouting," the driver insisted as he lazily raised an arm for the lever, seeming to take some pleasure in the robber's distress.

    A gunshot rang out. Irene's heart nearly stopped, not having heard it so close despite her long lifetime. She barely caught sight of the spark of a ricochet, but the flash of blood from the leg of the driver as the door hissed open, the robber making his way out.

    After a moment's hesitance, Irene realized the driver wasn't the one going anywhere, before stepping to the doorway,utilizing her magic once more. The robber's shadow wisped over his eyes, blinding him and causing him to run into one of the vehicles. Knowing he was going nowhere fast, Irene turned back to the driver, thinking back to her less often used magics, just as she caught the sight of flashing red and blue lights in her peripheral vision.

    Realizing that all eyes were on her, and that she needed to get her things back, Irene lifted her hands, shrouding the bus once more. Under the cover of darkness, she slipped back into her seat, keeping herself low, before dispelling it, only leaving the shroud on the man outside. Once the darkness was gone, passengers looked around as Irene pretended to lift herself from her sheltered cover, trying to focus on the driver as blood began to puddle around his leg.

    Perhaps this wasn't going to be quite as easy as she thought?
     
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  4. [​IMG]

    The late spring months had the days growing longer and the nights growing shorter. Despite this, however, as it was only a little past five P.M. there was hardly a stream of light that managed to slip between the boarded-up cracks of the old, abandoned gymnasium. Dust seemed to the the common denominator throughout the building, appearing to be the only thing keeping the old, rotted, warped boards together. You wouldn't be able to so much as sneeze without fear of the entire gymnasium coming crashing down. From the outside, it looked as though it had been awaiting demolition for years but on this side of town, no construction company would even so much as lift a finger, expelling money, into something so apparently pointless. And that is why it made the perfect place for Roanna Sanne to spend a good majority of her time. Alone. No one to bother her. A place where she could simply be herself and tap into the newly discovered - what was it, a talent? A curse? Potential? Whatever it was, it used to scare her. All children are taught from a very young age that fire is hot. And hot hurts. But as Roanna began to explore this power further, she found a certain beauty in the way the fire danced across her opened palm, the flames lapping all around her skin and yet, there was no hurt. Of course this wasn't always the case. Even after exploring this power for a few years now, Roanna still didn't have complete control over it. Many times she had somehow managed to burn herself when other times she could fully encase her body with the wicked flame and come out completely unscathed (save for her clothes). It made no damn sense. And that's what made it so exciting.

    Within the dark building was a single room on the second floor. In the prime of the gymnasium's use, it stationed as a small office room to keep records and paperwork; a small desk and a few filing cabinets with an old corded phone sitting on the desk. The paperwork was gone, looted from the building years before Roanna had stumbled upon it, but the furniture remained and over time, Roanna was able to add a few of her own touches as well. The room served as a sort of 'bedroom' for Roanna now, a main living area where she spent her time relaxing between self-training sessions. And despite no light being permitted through the dusty, dirt-encrusted boards of the building, the room did not go without it's own light. Electricity hadn't been run through the building for a number of years, but Roanna didn't need electricity. She made her own light. Half a dozen orbs of fire no larger than one's fist levitated in the air and head height, each encompassing about three feet in diameter in all directions illuminating, for the most part, only the top-half of the room; the bottom-half getting lost to the darkness. Amongst the lower half of the musty room were a small collection of various items and furniture; namely a small wardrobe meant for a child, a beaten-up vanity with only shards of the mirror remaining and a two-seater couch pushed back against the wall in a corner where Roanna was reclined upon, feet on one side with legs bending at the knee where her forearms rested as she held a book between her hands. Many of these things didn't belong there, and none of it matched. Roanna had found the couch by a dumpster just a few blocks away and though perhaps it was the newest thing within the entire gym, it still managed to fit in with all the other items with it's moth-eaten holes, questionable stains and dank, musty smell. Still though, it was hers. The entire building and all it's contents simply hers, and she couldn't help but to feel proud of it all.

    Her eyes scanned the pages of the book quickly, drinking in as much as she could. Modern Physics. At seventeen years old she was already enrolled in the college, playing with the big boys, as it were. Intellectually, Roanna had proven herself over time and time again - skipping grades, achieving the top of her class, writing thesis papers... and yet she hadn't a single friend to share her successes with. It was perhaps by choice that Roanna became such an introvert. For as long as she could remember she had a hard time socializing with the other kids in her classes at school. Group projects were the worst. She had this undeniable urge for wanting to take the lead, to become the group leader. She knew she could do it, she was smart enough... but she hated confrontation even more and more times than not she would simply slip to the background and follow the true alpha's lead, even if she knew it was wrong. She always made up her grade though by doing extra work - becoming the teacher's pet, as it were. Her drive in ambition very much separated her from the rest and though on plenty of occasions her fellow classmates would extend a hand of courtesy towards her, it was only to pick at her brain - get the right answers and as soon as grades were posted, they never spoke to her again.

    There was a hard, pulsing buzz coming from her worn jeans pocket, forcing Roanna's eyes away from the book to pull out her old, standard flip phone. Pressing a few buttons, Roanna read over the quick text sent by someone she had met years ago - the first person she had ever met since moving here from Germany.

    Hey, going out to a movie with a few peeps, you in?

    Shutting the top portion of the phone, closing it, Roanna rested it on the arm of the couch, closing her eyes and issuing out a soft sigh. No, she wouldn't be replying. She had never replied to any of the messages Stephanie Foltz sent her. She knew what it was, and she didn't want any part of it. Stephanie Foltz was that girl. Thin, beautiful, blonde, a string of boys at her hip to adhere to her every beck and call. She had a sweet nature, sure, but she was a user and though she hadn't ever used Roanna before save for a couple bucks here and there for lunch money, Roanna just didn't want to be around it. Everyone used her, it was only a matter of time. She refused to let her in, no matter how genuine Stephanie seemed to want to form some kind of friendship. No, this group of friends would only consist of Stephanie and a handful of boys that would spend the better part of the first half of the movie arguing with who got to sit next to her, who got to buy her popcorn and so on. She regretted giving Stephanie her number to begin with, but Roanna had very little choice. It was a group project, of all things, and the requirement stood that phone numbers had to be exchanged to ensure better communication and working on the project after school hours. The thought of going down to the service building and requesting a number change had crossed her mind, but that would just cause more problems than it was worth. Roanna did not do well with confrontation.

    With her interest in studying physics wavering, Roanna closed up the thick textbook and set it on the floor at the foot of the couch, swinging her legs over so that she was in a hunched over sitting position. A small gust of wind from outside picked up, slipping through the unseen cracks of the gymnasium causing the boards over the windows to creak and groan, even more still the bit of air that slipped through the various holes and cracks decreasing the temperature in the room considerably despite it being lit by six balls of fire. The fire balls, in turn, reacted accordingly to the small gusts of wind, flickering threateningly as there was very little effort and energy going into keeping them lit in the first place causing mishapen shadows to dance across the upper walls and ceiling. The drop in temperature had her petite frame folding over itself even more with her hands holding onto her shoulders tightly. The breeze wasn't even cold; cool maybe, but not shiver-worthy. At least, not to anyone normal. Roanna's body temperature ran hotter than the 'normal' however, and what was cool to someone was absolutely frigid to her. It was just how things were. But she adjusted by wearing thick layers, heavy coats and even sometimes warm head-gear. She pulled on the sleeves of her over-large black coat, tightening her grasp as she shook her head. She needed to move around, but another self-taught lesson didn't hold the same appeal as it did earlier that afternoon.

    Her eyes lifted to look over at the small wardrobe, staring at it for a few moments as though she were expecting it to do something but after a while, Roanna roused herself from the couch, pocketing her phone and pulled apart the doors of the wardrobe in question. Inside was a cluttered mess of unwashed, unfolded, old clothes, holding that same musty smell everything else she owned did, all crammed inside in wadded, unorganized chaos. Squatting down, Roanna began to pick through the clothes - all of which had been picked through garbage's over the course of a few months but really, what other choice did she have? Although most of the time the flames she created didn't harm her there had been a number of occasions when Roanna found herself completely nude when expelling too much heat, the fabric of whatever it was that she would be wearing only serving as fuel and incinerating upon almost instant impact. Really, one of these days she would be lucky to come across an old firefighter uniform. They were heavy, bulky and hard to run in, but at least they were fire resistant. But at least for now, the clothes in which she picked out for herself were cheap; free even if you didn't count the cost of the rank smell. But perhaps that was her second weapon in self defense... stink. Though from a stealthy outlook, it wasn't exactly a good thing either.

    Or maybe she would get lucky and come across a band of muggers who lost their sense of smell...

    Standing back up, stripping herself from her school clothes and adorning the rags that just barely constituted as clothing (though she was lucky to find an old sweater that would keep her warm outside) Roanna reached to the right side of the wardrobe, grabbing hold of the single segment of rebar she kept stashed inside, placing the home-made sling around her back and fastened it into place. Yes, a night on the town was exactly what she needed, but not in the way Stephanie was trying to get her to third-wheel. Roanna always did things alone, it was just better that way. Besides, if she even had any friends, going out looking for trouble wouldn't exactly be on anyone's top ten things to do for fun. But it was the only way for Roanna to be able to tap into her powers and learn more about them while dealing with the adrenaline of a true fight. Self-taught training sessions could only take her so far.

    Going by memory rather than sight, Roanna headed down the old, rickety staircase that would take her to the lower level, the balls of fire that had been hovering in place dissipating into a thin wisp of smoke as she descended, getting swept up in the gust of wind that once more slipped through the cracks leaving the building once more in pitch-blackness.
     
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  5. The more distance Lisa put between herself and the house the quieter Vronnie's crying should have become, and yet it still seemed as loud in her head as it ever was. Louder even. It bothered her immensely, the plaintive wailing echoing around in her skull so much that it felt that she was running out of room to think. Like she couldn't get alone with her thoughts any more, that the weeping just wouldn't end until she did something about it. It helped her cast aside her doubts, anger at her friends hurt replacing any apprehension Lisa might have held for the actions she was about to undertake.

    She knew the streets pretty well by now, coming to the conclusion pretty early on that to be a successful vigilante one had better know the city intimately. She'd decided to start her relationship with Larissa by getting acquainted with The Sound first, then working her way out from there. She knew the way to The Purple Blue's pretty well, it being a popular bar for the college kids. She set up across the street, taking care to hide herself in the shadows. Didn't want her vigilante appearance making too much of a commotion.
    Yet.

    She waited all the way until closing time for her quarry to leave, stumbling drunk out of the bar with three of his equally drunk frat buddies. Tailing them was easy as pie, she'd always been a soft mover. Not that you needed to be Solid Snake to sneak up on this crew, an elephant could have ambled down the street after them and they'd been none the wiser. The group came to a short cut to their digs that lead through an alleyway, Lisa taking it as her moment to act. As soon as they were halfway down she called to them.

    "Hey!" She shouted, her voice sounding shrill and tinny in the night. Damn it. She sounded nervous. But she didn't feel nervous. Did she? Before she was filled with what she thought was righteous fury, a burning desire to get revenge for Vronnie. Now? Now she wasn't so sure. Now she was coming to a pretty stark realization. That maybe being a vigilante isn't the best idea in the world. That when your standing out there, in the cold dark of the night, dressed all in black and ready to challenge a group of guys, each member of which is twice your weight and at least foot taller than you, vigilantism doesn't seem quite the swell idea it had earlier.

    "Eugh? Who's there" Little late for second guessing now though, seeing as the group had miraculously heard her girlish and un-epic challenge through their drunken stupor.

    "Never mind who's there!" Hissed Lisa, the butterfly's in her stomach going crazy as she inwardly cursed this second lame duck of a proclamation. You never heard Batman coming out with such forgettable lines. It was always 'I am the Night', and 'This is a surgeons table, and I'm the operator,' with that guy. Next time she did this she'd have to come up with a script for herself ahead of times, or at least decide on some all-purpose one-liners.

    That was if there was a next time.

    The boys were curious now, and stumbling closer. She forced herself to stand taller, jutting her masked chin out and squaring her shoulders. Look tough, she told herself, that's half the battle.

    "Billy Summergreen!" She cried, pointing her finger at one of the boys. The individual in question, a tall, lanky, untrustworthy liar with long brown hair, messy like a birds nest, stumbled as he realised she was speaking to him. His mouth fell open, an *uuugh* noise spilling out. She took that to mean he got the picture.

    "You have put explicit videos of Veronica Shabdez online. Take them down, or suffer the consequences!" Lisa was warming to the role now, pleased to hear her voice losing the little-girl whine from earlier. Maybe she could pull this off!

    Only the boys didn't have the same respect for her new found confidence. A beat of confused silence passed, and then they all burst out laughing. Raucous, belly-laughing, the kind that quickly grated on your nerves. Specially if it was directed at you. Lisa felt that anger bubbling up once more, threatening to spill over. She didn't do anything to try and quell it.

    She figured she was about to use it.

    "That slut? She was ganting on it, squealed like a real pornstar! I had to share that video, it was too good not to!" Brayed Billy, tears rolling down his cheeks. Lisa felt her eye twitch at the sight. Billy started to compose himself, still chuckling, but more under control than before. He looked up at Lisa.

    "Who are you?" He asked, peering close at Lisa's hood, trying to see through his drunken haze and the shadows concealing her.

    "Your worst nightmare!" She growled in return. That was better, she thought. That'll get his attention! Not quite as much 25,000 volts travelling through his body after she hit him with her stun gun, but still. He got the picture.

    Billy was shocked. His friends was shocked, though more in a metaphorical and literal sense. Even Lisa was a little shocked that she'd gone through with it. Everyone was shocked. She took all that shock as her cue to press on her advantage, flying at her next target, a skinheaded boy named Drake who thought he was a lot prettier than he actually was. He wasn't quite so pretty after Lisa's wild swinging broke his nose. After that she kept at him, clawing and spitting like a wild animal. So she wasn't much of a fighter. She made up for it in enthusiasm.

    Billy's last two friends certainly weren't enthused though. One, a tall, burly lad everyone called Bo-Bo due to his resemblance to a gorilla, wrapped his arms around Lisa and yanked her off Drake. She cursed and shouted at that, but there was just no breaking out of Bo-Bo's grasp. Struggle all she liked, she just couldn't get free. Then Bo-Bo started squeezing, arm's as thick tractor tires slowly constraining her. Her ribs felt like they were cracking, breathing was getting harder. Was this how it would end, on her very first foray out? She could feel the cold edges of panic start to grip her, as sure as Bo-Bo was gripping her.

    "Squeeze the bitch!" yelled the fourth boy, an entirely forgettable looking kid named. . . well, Lisa forgot his name. He did get a damn sight less forgettable when he stepped forward and started punching Lisa in the face. She felt a surge of strength well within her each time he struck, new vitality flooding her flesh. It was sore, undoubtedly, but it was also a gamechanger. She stood there, letting Bo-Bo squeeze and the other guy hit, clenching her teeth, biting down on the agony, waiting her chance. And when it came she struck, and struck hard.

    As the other guy stepped in to deliver yet another 'love-tap' she kicked her leg, booted foot catching her foe right under the jaw. There was a pretty savage crack, one that made her wince. Bo-Bo too, and just for a moment he stopped exerting as much pressure. Lisa surged forward, breaking out of the gorilla's grasp. She swung round, sending a messy haymaker to where she thought Bo-Bo was standing, but he'd anticipated her and ducked, before charging into her. He roared, sounding more beast than man, as he half carried, half tackled her, ramming her forcefully into the alley wall. She felt the air whoosh from her lungs under the impact, but didn't get too much time to dwell on it before he cracked her two hefty punches to the face. Another crack, this time from her nose. Half dazed, she through herself forwards swinging a fist in a windmill fashion. Luck was on her side, though she didn't so much feel the impact or see the strike, but she did hear Bo-Bo cry out.

    "My ear! Mother-Fucker, you hit me in the eaar!" Bo-Bo was rolling on the ground, hand's clenched to one side of his head. Lisa took a few moments breather, slumped over as she drew in massive gulps of air. Finally, after not nearly enough rest, she stood straight.

    "Who are you, Tyler Durden?" Zing!

    She half stumbled over to Billy, still groaning where she had left him. Tasers. Gotta love em. She knelt by the boys side, stifling a groan at the pain in her ribs as she did. She slapped Billy's face to get his attention. Also made her feel better about the ribs.

    "Those video's of Veronnica better be down by 9AM sharp, or I'll be back. And then, I'll really be mad. And you'll be really sorry." She growled. Billy groaned and nodded in reply, probably about as articulate as he could manage considering his circumstances. Happy with the response Lisa picked herself back up and headed back down the street.

    She was sore, and achy, and fragile. Her clothes were ripped and bloody, her ribs felt tenderized, and she was frightened to see the damage done to her nose. Her flaws were extremely noticeable, and her rookie mistakes nearly got her killed. All that said, she was strangely elated.

    The innocent had been avenged, the corrupt punished. Justice had been done. Sure, revenge porn wasn't exactly the worlds worst crime, but it hurt people just the same as hitting them did. Somebody had to right those little wrongs, just as somebody had to right the big ones.

    Besides. For Lisa Redman, this was just the beginning.
     
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  6. P
    rofiling had always been one of Cal's favourite elements to crime fighting. Sure the team often encountered many of their foes on the fly but as in the movies, that which you're unprepared for usually gets away. So the team would come back to their base, humbled except for Cal. No to Cal, defeat meant there was something to learn, something to improve, something to create. Having pioneered one of the newest automotive safety features, Cal was sitting on a fairly decent fortune from both patents and copy right. This fortune was hardly wasted as the Doctorate holder build himself probably the most extensive forensics and behavioural analysis lab money could afford. What money couldn't buy, Cal himself had invented. As a result any face, finger print or scrap of DNA could be used and manipulated to find answers. However in this case, Cal was using the lab for an entirely different purpose.

    Sliding into his chair, IllAdvised's costume dematerialized as Cal's nanintes absorbed the materials storing the knowledge of the design and make up of each item. Should Cal ever be caught away from the base or his apartment, he could simply materialize his outfit, something the other Mavericks were not quite as fortunate. That said all of them were fairly compentent without the costumes and in Cal's case it really was more cosmetic than anything. It never hurt to be prepared however and if Cal could be summed up in one word, that would be it. Prepared.

    Inputing several commands into the glowing interface, Cal began to survey the various media outlets from the city before moving on to websites such as Twitter and Facebook. It was honestly astounding how far the Mavericks had touched in their crusade before retreating underground. But tonight the web had exploded with their return and the number of imitators seemed to have sky rocketed. That said, numerous wannabe Mavericks were out there doing more harm than good, some abusing their chosen rights while others merely committed crimes in the name of the Mavericks. But among all the coal, there was a couple diamonds.

    "Glitch, any further traces of the heat signature we've been tracking?" Cal asked as he cracked out an energy drink, an enthusiastic slurp filling the room.

    "Isolated a pattern, it seems to circulate the abandoned gym in this neighborhood." Glitch answered as a screen to Cal's right light up with a map of Larissa. A glowing red beacon pointed to the location in question. "Best analysis points to a Hyperhuman."

    "Alright, we'll have to check that out." Cal said as he spun in his seat pulling a bag of red licorice out of a drawer as he began to maw down on one. "I've got a Tweet here about a black out on a bus, you got anything else on that?"

    "I have exactly eighty two entries in regards to a black out on a bus." Glitch answered flatly.

    "Analysis suggests?" Cal's voice came slightly impatiently as he cracked open a second energy drink.

    "Analysis suggests a Magni, energy signatures captured at that location are most similar to those emitted by Angel and Feral." Glitch replied as Cal swiped his hand across the screen tossing it beneath the map pointing to their mystery heat signature.

    "Make a memo to send someone to track it." Cal ordered as Glitch's holographic features nodded.

    "Anything else abnormal today Glitch?" Cal asked as he stood up and looked over the other screens.

    "Nothing particularly noteworthy but as usual I have forwarded all police reports for you to read. There is a notable one reading of a, and I quote 'Crazy Bitch'."

    "Aside from colorful language what makes it notable?" Cal muttered back, as he absent mindedly began to go through the reports, a stick of licorice hanging from his mouth.

    "The accosted suggested the 'Crazy Bitch' was one some sort of crusade for a, and I quote 'crying wolf slut.'" Glitch answered with a smirk.

    "Note the location, we'll check it out. Might be nothing but sounds like it be worth a look into. After all Thomas started out knocking heads with a baseball bat." Cal replied over the sound of a third energy being opened.

    "Oh and Caleb, there was a second Magni signature recorded at the train station. It was faint suggesting magic was not used but a user was present none the less." Glitch added.

    "Well then, this just keeps getting more and more interesting." Cal replied with a smirk as he flopped back into his chair. "Forward the information to Feral and Angel's personal comms and ask them to meet me upstairs in the beacon in an hour."

    "Done and done, and Caleb? Might I suggest you slow down on those." Glitch added pointing to the fourth energy drink in Cal's hand before disappearing.
     
    #6 Lord Wraith, Jun 25, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  7. He didn't speak on the way back. Didn't entertain the breaks in silence by thoughtful observations and inquiries. hated everyone. Literally everyone. Well, he didn't hate them. They enraged him. Everything about them and their fragile lives. Fragile skins. Skins for tearing and staring eyes for an audience. An audience as he gave in to this insatiable hunger that drew from deep in his head.

    It could all be so simple. But, he had to make it hard. He always had to stave the thoughts and never just...indulge. Just live, ever so briefly, on the edge of his humanity and sanity. It could all be so simple, running a nail down a throat and breathing in the burst iron that would fill his nostrils. He could give them the animal they all secretly feared. The one they waited on bated breath to see at any given moment. He could at least do them that.

    It could all be so simple, and he'd start with the Angel. There was something special about his blood. There was a good chance that something intoxicating was in that potential rivulet of ruby essence. He could find the sweet spot and who would stop him? Who could hold him back but--

    Xander.

    Makarios bit his lip til it split slightly and the unsightly look and feel of his own real blood was enough to simmer down his thoughts and quell him to not act on his impulses. Makarios slowed down the breathing he didn't know had been abnormally high. They were upon their base, and it couldn't have been at a better time. Without a word to the others, Makarios hurried off to their impromptu meditation area, the shame of his actions swatting him more than the night.

    He needed to decompress. And fast.

    ***

    Amidst the rumblings and raucous noise in his mind, Makarios found his pocket of silence. The area of pure nothing that he began to expound upon. At first, just a small area in the array of vibrant impulses and urges. A small sphere stuck in all that chaos, and sometimes it seemed smaller at his worst moments. Like it did now. For a moment, Makarios was afraid he'd lost it. Lost his center of Nothingness, the only blanket to cover and shroud the array of....everything in him. But as his breathing rose once again, he forced himself to dwell on the first rule of meditation:

    'To meditate is to wait. The patience grown in haste is not patience at all. It is born from acceptance, acceptance that all things slip with the current of time at their own will, even the most stringent of thoughts. Once you accept this...the meditation can...'

    The little sphere of Nothing began to expand, reluctantly at first and Makarios had to control himself not to force it. But soon, it began to shroud All in him. The growls, scrapes and sounds that signaled the remnants of his hasty synchronizations all began to dull and die down. With each breath, he breathed another source of anxiety, angst, pain and rage from him. Finally, in the center of his Nothing, floated Makarios. Whole once more, Makarios took the time to let the ocean waves lull him into a deeper trance. He drifted and ebbed with the waters, vaguely aware of his thankfulness at their meditation area location.

    He could now see how much it hurt to hear Chuck make that call earlier. And in that hurt, Makarios saw he still hadn't accepted Adam or Xander's passing. He still hadn't forgiven her. But, he let go of that thought as soon as it began to grow and moved on. Maybe he'd try to start the conversation that all of them had been needing to have. Maybe that was where the healing would lie: in the rawest parts of their being. If he could just--

    "Makarios, Charles has called a meeting in an hour's time at the beacon," he heard in his ear. It gave him a start before he finally registered Glitch's voice.

    "...Optimal timing as usual, Glitch," he joked with her, raising a lazy eye to her holographic presence before him.

    "My apologies, Makarios. To be honest, I read your vitals and I wasn't sure whether you were resting or had passed out. I attempted to verify and inform using this approach," she replied.

    "So essentially, you're checking to make sure I'm not going to require a cage under the guise of delivering a message?"

    "I...suppose that interpretation also holds merit."

    Makarios felt slightly aggressive and backtracked. "Thank you, Glitch. I'm....I'm fine. I know the others, they try to understand, but they don't really get it. How...messy it is in my world. I shouldn't have gone out tonight. I knew I shouldn't have but...I don't know what I have witho...." he paused looking up, suddenly aware of himself. "Nope. I'm not doing it. Nope." He shook his head, standing up. "I'm not pouring my soul out to an A.I."

    Glitch cocked her head to the side as Maki dusted himself off and stretched. "Should I be offended?"

    "If you can, then I suppose so, yes." Maki smiled at her, before turning. "I'm going to try and clean up a bit before this briefing."

    As he headed to their locker rooms, Makarios shook his head at himself, cursing his stupidity. It was best to let go of him, not hold on to the memory.
     
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  8. Thomas had like the rest of them remained quiet on the trip back home. His eyes were empty as they emerged onto the base. He paid close attention to Maki's enraged state. He wanted to make sure Maki would come back from this one. But he knew that if he tried to engage him now, they would end up fighting, and Thomas liked his ribs whole.
    He could sense the energy in Maki, the burning hot rage inside of him. The charge that was just about to detonate and it would make a mess. He empathized with Makarios, and while doing so, he was surprised to find himself feeling the same rage. As they emerged onto the base, Feral was gone to his own quarters. And Thomas decided to shelter away in his own until Chuck decided it was time to call them back. Charles would have a plan. He always did.

    Thomas walked with heavy steps, his armor making slight sounds every time he did so. It wore heavy on him, just like the armor armor on a knight would. It was never just the mass of the armor that weighted the warrior down, but it was the responsibilities and obligations to do so. He had spent his entire life being taught how to wear these things with pride and joy.

    But these days, he wasn't so sure anymore. As he walked into his armory he punched his hand against the golden A on his chest, the suit opening up in the arms, back and on the legs. Allowing him to quickly get out of it. He was wearing a pair of protective cloth pants and a tank top under his suit, the pants was quickly exchanged for jogging pants. He put the suit in it's proper place, locking the safe that concealed the suit.
    He walked to the center of the armory, the armory was about the size of his bedroom. It had a Gothic decor to it, like the rest of the base. It had a telecom in the wall and a small monitor for visual announcements. It had several racks with swords, maces, staffs , crossbows and even guns, ranging from handguns to shotguns and even to a sniper rifle.

    Thomas put up two of the mannequin he used to practice his swordplay on. While he did so, he put take around his knuckles, breathing calmly. "Charge em' up, please." He said to voice command in the armory that while it was connected to Glitch, it was not based around the A.I's personality. The dummy's let out a sound as if it was a electrical pulse.

    "900 pounds." He ordered, the dummy's vibrating as they would now weight 900 pounds each. Thomas walked in between them and closed his eyes. And for one second he was at peace. And in the next his eye shot open and his fists went flying at the dummy on the right. Each hit hard enough to make the dummy shake. Each jab connected, and at the same time it made Thomas more focused.

    With each punch he began thinking back to the fight against Tony. The plan should've worked, it was calculated to work. They should have stopped him tonight. It was their big return, and they screwed it up. They weren't fighting as a unit, hell, they were barely even on the same side.

    A right hook made the dummy fall over and Thomas grunted, moving to the next one. Jabs, palm strikes and chops hit the dummy from all angles as the Texan went to work on it. Then again, maybe the problem wasn't the plan, nor was it their teamwork. With each hit he could feel the charge inside of him increase, growing in size and magnitude.
    Like a stormy cloud inside of his heart. Maybe the problem was him. He had been doing this the longest. He had spent his entire life being trained to stop things like Tony, to bring them down before the law. He should have been prepared better. Been smarter and more careful. He shouldn't have let it happen.

    He shouldn't have let them get to him. He should've been protecting the others. Thomas knew he could take anything they could've thrown his way. A faint golden glow appeared in his eyes, with each hit the mannequin was moved slightly backwards. He should've been able to protect his friends from Locke.
    He should've been stronger. The dark cloud inside of him had erupted into a storm. Like keeping a hurricane in a jar, he couldn't keep any of it down. Gritting his teeth and clenching his fist so hard his short nails dug into his palm, causing it to bleed. "Tripple the weight. Approximate weight of Behemoth." The electromagnetic technology that held the dummy's in place beeped in response and in the next instant Thomas let go. For the first time in over 20 years he opened the lid on the hurricane, just to feel what the gust was like. . Like a thunderclap his fist hit the Dummy that just about exploded on impact.

    Thomas panted, the light he had sent out had faded since long and he stood there in the dark room, his knuckles bleeding. He looked in front of him seeing the inanimate victim of his wrath laying in pieces in front of him. He knew that he should feel relieved, but he didn't. He felt more flawed than ever.

    The voice of the A.I rang in the telecom, but Thomas blocked her out for the second. His ears was ringing. He looked up and faced the telecom. "I'll be there in a sec. Lemme just get cleaned up before headin' up."

    He went and splashed his face in water, cleaned off the blood of his knuckles, scabs having already formed on his knuckles and they would be fully healed in a hour or two, Thomas figured. He would put on a pair of jeans and his boots before heading up.
     
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  9. [​IMG]

    Nightlife within the main portion of the city was so much different than the nightlife in the secluded little neighborhood of Roanna's gymnasium. There, the buildings weren't crammed together and actually had space between them large enough for a couple other buildings to be constructed on but as it was such an older part of town, no one bothered and the grass and weeds grew instead. In fact, it was so old that Roanna's gym wasn't the only abandoned building within the four-block radius. One block, even, was nothing more than an undesignated landfill in which very few people knew of, but the mountains of old junk seemed to just keep re-supplying itself somehow. Perhaps more people knew about it than Roanna thought, but she had spent a lot of time at that gym and very few times had she ever seen another person within the area. Needless to say, the amount of light within the area was next to nothing save for the occasional street lamp that liked to flicker from time to time when it decided to start working unexpectedly. Not unlike the streetlamps here within the city that lined the sidewalks, illuminating nearly everything around them to keep the night-owls from having to squint as they walked to and from wherever their late-nights took them. The streetlamps needn't bother, however. The lights from the open-late buildings made up for the area and then some with their flashing signs, open-windows and the occasional floodlights towards the entrances of a few, more pristine buildings.

    This wasn't where Roanna wanted to be, however. There was simply too much light. Should she make one mistake, people would find her out for sure. No, what she needed tonight was the shadows so she took to the rooftops, jumping between buildings until the flood of 'city life' seemed to diminish behind her and the area became more... residential. It was the low-life thugs in these areas that always seemed to get the slip; too many dark places to hide from the police. Well not tonight. Tonight Necia was on patrol and she would be ready... this time.

    Her feet hit the rooftop and her body and knees adjusted accordingly to soften the blow but opposed to what she had been doing beforehand, Roanna let the momentum pass her by and simply slowed to a stop, keeping her body bent over herself to keep it as small as possible as she neared the edge of the roof. Peering over, she caught sight of a small group she had heard a few rooftops back. Now, Roanna didn't have heightened hearing or anything to know what it was that they were talking about, but in her experience, usually large, loud groups like this in an area such as what they were in usually spelt out trouble.

    Four. Roanna could count four men doing what they could to keep to the shadows in the narrower parts of the street. It looked as if Roanna had picked just the right time to start observing as one of them tapped another on the chest, getting his attention to gesture downwards a small ways where a fifth was heading towards the group.

    "What took you so long? We were startin' to think you weren't gonna show." one of the four called out, though Roanna had to strain her ears to be able to hear each word properly.

    "We had some trouble with 'customers' snoopin' around." the fifth replied nonchalantly, taking a moment to look over his shoulder to ensure that he wasn't being followed before pulling out a small briefcase from underneath the flap of his long, trench-coat like jacket.

    "Is it all there?" another of the four asked, reaching into his black leather jacket to pull out a lighter and some smokes while another went forward to retrieve the briefcase.

    "Yeah, yeah it's all there! One-hundred percent pure; uncut." the fifth affirmed, nodding his head in a jerky manner a few times.

    "Yeah, I'm sure." the smoker replied dryly, perching a cigarette between his lips and raised the lighter towards his face.

    They were simply too far away for Roanna to hear the rest, as they dropped to more hushed whispers but Roanna's gut had been right. This wasn't the sort of thing that was supposed to go down in a residential area. Unfortunately, these sorts of things happened all the time and though she knew she couldn't put a stop to the drug trade altogether, at least she could rest somewhat easier at night knowing she did what she could to decrease the numbers.

    What perturbed her more, however, was that none of them alluded to being armed in any way. Most times one of the thugs would play with their knife or gun to intimidate the other party, but this one wasn't the case. Perhaps this was a new group still learning the ropes... or more likely, they were more practiced and didn't need to stoop to those levels for intimidation. Maybe their names and appearance were enough for that.

    It was stupid going into this blind, Roanna knew that. But she also knew that she couldn't just stand by and watch it go down either. They were a bit larger than the thugs she was used to fighting in the shadowed blanket of the night, and it was very possible one or more of them were packing heat.

    I guess this would be a good time to test out that heat shield...

    Roanna let out a soft sigh, letting her eyes flicker closed for a moment as she could already feel the adrenaline coursing up through her veins, forcing her heart-rate to quicken something fierce. Okay, so maybe this wasn't her brightest idea, but she knew that if she wanted to get any better - get more in control of these powers that seemed to slip from her grasp each time she felt she had mastered something, she needed to take risks.

    Letting her eyes fly open with a new sense of power being held within, Roanna reached her hand to around her neck where a thin black scarf lay, pulling the fabric up and over the bridge of her nose to keep the bottom portion of her face concealed. Respectively, she then pulled the black, elastic hair tie from her wrist, using her free hand to pull off the black beanie she had on her head and threw her chestnut curls into a messy bun, more to keep it out of the way than anything cosmetic and returned the beanie to her head.

    Peeking just over the ledge of the roof again, Roanna watched as the man lit up the lighter, bringing the flame to his lips.

    Well... maybe she could have just a little bit of fun first...

    Reaching out her hand, Roanna felt for the portion of air that was at a higher temperature than the rest. The distance and size of the flame made it a bit hard, but after just a couple seconds of hard concentration, she found it and with a twitch of the fingers, the flame doused just as the thug began to inhale for the cigarette to catch.

    "Wha?" The Thug furrowed his brows and clicked the lighter again, once more trying but once more from her safety zone, Roanna doused the flame. "The hell is wrong with this thing?" The thug growled and began to pound it against his open palm, as if hitting it would solve his problem. He tried again, though this time held out the lighter and watched as the flame once more sprung to life. He kept his eyes on it, making sure that it was holding a steady flame before once more bringing it to his lips, but again, Roanna doused the flame.

    The incoherent cursings of their fellow drug dealer had caught the attention of a few of the others by now, each of them trying to pull the lighter from the first in an attempt to show him that he was being stupid and how easy it was to work. They never got a chance to light their cigarette however. As soon as it was being passed back to the first thug, Roanna had decided that enough was enough and felt outwards towards the heat being expelled to the very small canister of fluid on the inside. Closing her eyes, she reached out, making the temperature rise higher and higher until-

    FWOOF!

    Her eyes flashed a bright, yellowish-orange color and the lighter exploded - in a sense. Fire encased the entire lighter, causing the men to startle and drop the lighter to the street and step away, unsure of what had just happened.

    Alright. This was it.

    Roanna, still hunched over, vaulted herself over the side of the roof, landing on the top of the large dumpster before dropping down onto her feet delicately on the street just a few feet away from the group of confused men. The sound of sudden clanking metal startled the men even more, but each turned to face her, confused, bewildered and a little shaky. Her eye color had returned to normal, but the fierce determination she had was still suspended there.

    "Sie sollte nicht hier sein." Roanna spoke softly, unable to help the tumble of German that came from her tongue as it was her native language. Of course she couldn't help it. It was from the heart. Roanna never wanted to hurt anybody, but what she had she knew was a gift - or perhaps it was a curse. Either way, she had to do something with it. Something good. And if that meant getting a few drug dealers off the streets with a few parts of their bodies not quite in the shape they had been in before their brush with Necia, then so be it. "This is a good neighborhood, with good people. Your drugs don't belong around here." she then told the group, using proper English this time though the natural brogue of her accent came out thick.

    Her voice, however, gave more away than her heritage. It gave away that she was also female, and this suddenly pulled a shift in the men that had once been ready to turn heel and run. They scoffed, and that scoffing turned into chuckling which in turn became laughter to two of them.

    "Alright sweet cheeks, we'll go. Soon as you take off those stupid clothes. All of em. And let us boys see you." the first smirked, crossing over to her with a twisted grin on his lips.

    Roanna couldn't help the audible groan of disgust that came up from her throat as her eyes rolled a bit. Great. Not only were they drug dealers, but the disgusting ones that got horny around anything that remotely resembled a woman.

    No, this shit would end now.

    Before giving the male a chance to reach her, Roanna flexed out her hand, extending the palm outwards towards her feet where she began to heat up the very small area between where her shoes met with the street. Then, posing herself, Roanna took off with an athletic, heat-boosted run and very much like an athlete (before the momentum of her boost wore off) vaulted herself over the man, her hands on his shoulders forcing him to bend down at the waist and used his back as a solid foundation for her to roll off of and dropped to the other side of him, crouched low on the ground. This put very little distance between herself and the second thug that was practically right behind the first and without giving him a chance to react to what she had just done, she stood herself up straight again and swung her right arm around in a nasty right hook, clipping the man square in the jaw and sent him flying onto his back.

    One...

    She turned her head to look over her shoulder quickly at the first thug she had jumped over. He recovered quickly as he was already on Roanna with a knife gripped tightly in his hand. Her head was on a swivel suddenly, knowing that the other three also had time to react by now and had to be accounted for. The very first one she laid eyes on had just pulled a handgun from the front of his pants and cocked it, pointing it directly at her.

    Scheiße! Roanna turned her body in on itself, sideways with her arms around her just as she heard the bang from the gun. A whoosh of air sailed past her face and she flinched, but pain never came. Instead, a pained sound came from behind her where the thug with the knife had been and opening her eyes just in time, watched as he slumped down onto the street, the knife dropping from his hand as he moved to grab at the wound with what looked like a painted red dot began to pool from his shoulder from underneath his shirt.

    These guys certainly weren't fucking around and it was that fact alone that refused Ronna's mind to settle in on the fact that she had just been the reason that someone was hurt, and badly. Her gut clenched, bile began to fill her mouth but she swallowed it back and turned to look at the man with the gun again, righting her posture to gain back the dominance she held that had been lost for a few moments.

    Two. Get it together Ro, you knew what this meant. Just end this before something bad happ-

    An angered scream filled the air to her right, pulling her attention away from the thug with the gun as he fiddled with the thing; as luck would have it, the barrel jammed. One of the unaccounted for thugs was running straight towards her, his own knife clenched in his hand though much longer than the knife the unconscious drug dealer had. It definitely wasn't street legal.

    Putting her self-training to use, Roanna quickly maneuvered around him, using her scrawny physique to her advantage in a little 'dance' around one another until she finally broke free and got a few feet between them. Then, without even thinking, Roanna outstretched her hand, feeling out the molecules in the air directly around the metal handle of the knife he carried and began to heat it up, continuing to move her body around to keep him away from her. There was another bang, sparks skidding off of the street next to her foot nearly causing her focus to waver but she held strong, continuing to raise the temperature until finally, he screamed.

    A hot, sizzling sound followed after the thug dropped the knife, drawing his hand into him to try to examine under the thin light of the old street lamps where Roanna now knew a permanent scorched scar in the shape of the handle of the knife would be. Now that she had a few seconds to avert her attention from him, she pulled it back to where she had heard the gunshot coming from and realized with horror that a second thug also had a gun. Her attention went everywhere and nowhere at once. Her heart lodged itself into her throat, rendering her unable to breathe as a sort of 'sixth sense' kicked in, letting her mind realize for a millisecond that the trigger of the first gun had been fired, the barrel of the gun unjammed, and the bullet was headed directly her way.

    Her eyes slammed shut, waiting, but just as the first time she was sure it was all over, there was no pain. Instead, startled gasps came from the coherent drug-dealers and her eyes opened, now a glowing, yellowish orange, to realize her body had acted on it's own.

    A thin, almost translucent layer of what looked like moving air had her body completely covered. Heat waves, very much like the ones seen on a hot, hot day as focus is lost or the kind of heat waves that dance around the tips of the flame of a campfire. Invisible, to an extent, but moving, distorting vision of what was supposed to be solid... and raw heat. The thug had watched the bullet sail directly towards their mystery fighter, only to disappear - incinerated upon contact before even reaching her body.

    A sly sort of smirk crossed over Roanna's features then, though remained hidden beneath the black scarf. She had only been able to achieve this once before - a month or so ago when she had taken on a small band of thugs trying to rob a convenient store. The trigger was almost the same, but she didn't know until later that his gun hadn't even been loaded. Fight or flight - that had to be it. Her body recognized it and in response, triggered this... heat shield to protect her. She wasn't going to question it anymore, not now anyway. She was still breathing, and still in danger. Even though she had the shield around her now, there was no telling just how much longer it would stick around, so she decided to put it to good use.

    Her attention was now back on the thug nursing his simmering hand. She stalked over to him quickly, picking up the still burning handle of the knife he had dropped, noting that it didn't even so much as feel warm to her own hand as she swapped her grip on the handle to the blade itself and brought the handle down on the thug's head as he stared at her in unbelief, rendering him unconscious as he, like the two before him, slumped to the ground.

    Three...

    "The hell are you just standing there for man? Waste her!" Roanna heard one of the remaining thugs yell out to the other.

    "Dude! Her eyes! She ain't normal! She's one of them freaks!" the other replied, obvious distaste (though also fear) evident in his voice.

    She turned to face the two remaining men, both with guns but as she (and more than likely the both of them) realized, their bullets couldn't harm her. That didn't stop the first thug though as he raised up his arm again and fired three shots, directly at Roanna. Upon impulse, Roanna did what she could to try and dodge the bullets though each one of them hit their mark, or at least, was supposed to if the shield hadn't been active and disintegrated into nothing upon contact.

    "What the fuck are you?" the thug screamed, this time at Roanna as fear started to slip into his voice this time.

    She couldn't help it. Roanna had no idea where the sudden streak of cockiness came from within her, but she held an unseen smirk as she neared the two men, approaching the one who had asked her a question with purpose as he raised his gun until the barrel of the gun was a mere few inches from her forehead.

    "It's who, not what. And I have a name but as I have no friends to call me by it, you can simply call me, Necia."

    "That doesn't even make any fucking sense!" the thug whined and in a last-stitch effort, with two bullets remaining, pulled the trigger.

    The heat shield shifted, becoming more visible in a more solid white-ish color as the bullet hit but instead of becoming microscopic bits of ash, the bullet ricocheted off of the shield and with a zing found it's new target; the thug opposite the one she had been addressing.

    With wide eyes Roanna watched as a pool of crimson began to show over the top of his dark shirt, spouting like an opened geyser as he clutched his hand over his heart to try to stop the bleeding. Dropping the gun as he slumped to his knees, he met Roanna's eyes directly, wide, fearful, and approaching death.

    "You're... a... m-monster..." he croaked out before his body finally gave in and joined the bodies now littering the streets.

    Her focus flickered, her eyes returning to normal as the new-found heat shield (without her control) was removed from her body. Her thin legs carried her over to the fallen thug, falling to her knees in front of him as she placed his head into her lap, urging him to get up, mutterings of apologies in both German and English slipping from her lips as tears began to well in her eyes.

    "No, no no no please! I'm sorry! I didn't mean- Please! Komm zurück! Komm zurück zu mir!"

    He was dead. And she was the reason.

    That inner sickness came back up in her ten-fold, nearly blinding her for a few moments as she felt the heavy tears drop from her eyes onto the thug beneath her. It was a fatal mistake as there was still one thug remaining, and he still had one shot left.

    Gritting his teeth, watching the scene before him, the last man raised a shaky arm and spit towards Roanna's general direction though it fell a few feet short.

    "Now you die bitch." he said quietly and pulled the trigger.

    A white-hot pang ripped through her side. It was so sudden that Roanna dropped the head of the man she had pulled into her as she rolled over onto her side on the street. Her hands gripped at the pain, feeling a hot gush of liquid expelling from her ribcage and through the ratted layers she wore. Her own pained screams were lost to her as there was a fierce pounding in her ears. It wasn't over, however, the thug had only grazed her side and Roanna knew that he wasn't the sort of man to leave business unfinished.

    Forcing her eyes open, her body rolling her over against her will onto her stomach, she watched with gritted teeth and clouded eyes as the thug approached her, stooping down to collect the gun of his fallen friend and pointed it back at her, a look of blood-lust in his dark eyes.

    Her vision was fading and quickly, her mind slipping in and out of consciousness as she felt like she was watching a slide of still photos before her rather than the entirety of his movements. She was in danger; she knew it, her body knew it.

    The last thing Roanna remembered was the thug squatting down on his haunches, his free hand ripping away the scarf that kept her face concealed and forced the barrel of the gun into her mouth with the sound of distant sirens in the background. And then, nothing. Her eyes slipped closed and her body became motionless against the street.

    Roanna's mind may have lost consciousness, but her body was still ready to fight, ready to give it's all in a last stitch attempt to save herself and as the thug began to put pressure on the trigger, Roanna exploded.

    A powerful, shock-wave like ripple with Roanna as it's center pulsated from her, a ring of the same (though more subdued) raw heat that was used to cover her body pushing outwards from her, knocking the thug back a few feet and onto his back. The entirety of his body was burned and charred within seconds, the sounds of his agonizing screams filling the air until all that was left was the sound of the siren's drawing nearer and the crackling of a fire from the closest home to them as it had been the last thing affected by Roanna's body's 'flight' response before the shock-wave died off.

    ---------------------
    Sie sollte nicht hier sein. - You shouldn't be here.
    Scheiße! - Shit!
    Komm zurück! Komm zurück zu mir! - Come back! Come back to me!
     
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  10. A
    s Makarios and Thomas arrived in the Beacon, Cal placed his hand on the large crystal like light in the center of the room. What had once been the room housing the torch for the old lighthouse was now overhauled into a top of the line war room. The lamp now converted into something far more modern and functioning as an emitter for the holographic images circling the room as Cal interfaced directly with the device. Outside the tower, a golden hue flickered into the night feeding the rumors of the haunted lighthouse as artificial fog skewered the view of the lighthouse from the small fishery district nearby. Outside, the soothing sound of the incoming tide lapping up against the sides of the antique building could be heard before Cal turned his hand slightly, sealing the beacon as transparent panels descended from the ceiling closing the room off before turning opaque to seal the light inside.

    "I suppose you're all wondering why I called the meeting of the board." Cal began with a slight smirk and a comedic tone. "Glitch and I have been able to isolate several events that we believe could lead us to some new allies." Several images appeared on the walls as Cal slid his hand along the crystal. Pointing towards an infrared image showing a neighborhood in Larissa, Cal threw up several more images all of which indicated a notable heat source moving throughout the area.

    "This looks like the work of a Hyperhuman to me. Note the heightened heat in the area" He said with a finger tapping on the red and orange blobs of colour. "Furthermore, police have reported several drug dealers and pimps with some nasty burns found waiting for them. So we definitely have an eager vigilante, definitely something worth looking into." Cal added as he swiped his hand to bring up another series of images.

    "On the note of vigilantes, we have someone else beating the snot out of punks." Cal pointed to a series of mug shots before continuing. "These twips reported to the police that a 'crazy bitch' beat them senseless in order to get them to take a harmless video down off the 'net." Turning to Makarios and Thomas, Cal gave them an eyebrow as he quipped. "For the record, the video was hardly harmless for the girl involved and may even constitute as rape." He cleared his throat before continuing. "Either way it would seem the perps were given a dose of vigilante justice and I wouldn't mean finding whomever handed them their asses."

    Placing both hands on the crystal, Cal threw up images of both a bus terminal and the train station.
    "Glitch picked up two Magni signatures in the area, while the incident at the trains station seemed to be more of a passive use of abilities, the bus incident was definitely an aggressive use of abilities which according to this Twitter feed caused a black out that several at least fifty people from being robbed. Given that both of you are able to do 'magic' I was wondering if you'd want to handle tracking these two down." Waving his hand again, Cal brought up all four candidate files as he looked to Makarios and Thomas again.

    "I'm going to have Glitch find out who the girl in the revenge porn was, while that's happening I was going to track down our hot head unless anyone objects." He added looking to the other two Mavericks for a reply.
     
    #10 Lord Wraith, Jul 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
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  11. It had been a few nights since Fury's début, and in that time Lisa had learnt there was one virtue that was absolutely critical to any budding vigilante. One trait that the had to have in abundance, perhaps more useful than any other they could posses. It wasn't bravery, or tenacity, strength of character or iron morals. No, it was more important than all those things combined. The characteristic they needed to have was patience. A metaphorical ton of it, to deal with just how boring being a night-time avenger actually was.

    In the movies or the comic books the hero always made it look so exciting, all they had to do was brood on top of a derelict building for a few seconds and all the innocent and oppressed in the city would start screaming for help, in need of the type of daring rescue that only Spider-Man or Batman can supply. Real life was a heck less exciting. It didn't seem to matter how many hours Lisa trudged the dark, lonely streets, ears perking up at every half-heard noise at night, hoping it was someone in dire need of a hero, she just couldn't find any meaningful trouble. The closest thing she'd had to an adventure was cleaning up some trash cans knocked over by an over-eager raccoon, and somehow she felt that act on its own wasn't going to see her inducted into the Superhero Hall of Fame.

    No, she'd slowly come to the realization that beating the streets just wasn't an effective way of finding criminals with evil plans to thwart. Seemed she was going to have to re-think the whole endeavour, as traipsing about at the dead of night just wasn't working. Maybe she'd have to get a radio and tap into the police band, but she wasn't almost certain that was going to be harder than it looked in the movie's too, and on top of that she'd probably end up running into the police themselves and be arrested for vigilantism, her cries of 'good intentions' going unheard as cell doors slam behind her.

    She was ready to call it a night and trudge dejectedly back home when she heard the scream. It was a high pitched, screechy scream, the kind that comes hurtling deep out of the pit in your stomach, tears its way through your throat and shatters the air around you. The kind of scream that says 'I'm in a lot of trouble!' The kind of scream Lisa had been waiting for these last few nights. For a moment she stood in almost dumbfounded silence, staring down the street the scream sounded from. Her legs started moving before her brain caught up, tearing down the tarmac roads. A second scream led her down a shadowed side street. There was no third scream, but she could hear what was unmistakeably a group of men fighting. Grunting, snarling, the quick thwacks of flesh striking flesh. It lead her to an alley behind a Chinese take out.

    It was the sort of alley you'd expect to find in an old noir detective show, scraps of litter blowing, overfill trash-cans, what looked like an abandoned van under a blinking security light, it even came complete with a group of ruffians beating up a helpless victim. Their target, the originator of the one-time screaming that had since devolved into a muffled mewling, was obscured somewhat, hidden in the shadow behind a dumpster with his aggressors raining down upon him, but Lisa didn't need to see him to know he probably wasn't having the time of his life.

    The funny thing about charging off in the direction of an unknown scream in the dead of the night in aims of staging a daring rescue is that it really gets your adrenaline pumping, so thick and fast that reason and thought takes a back seat to pure impulse. Maybe if that wasn't the case she would have scoped the area out more, maybe formulated a plan of attack, or better yet one for retreat if things went sour. Then again, maybe she wouldn't. She was a novice at this, after all.

    Instead she charged the thugs. Some animal part of her brain, that still exuded some measure of control, figured that now would be a good time to come out with a battle cry, a screech so impressively high that it was a wonder that the nearby windows didn't shatter. It certainly did the trick, the three thugs she was charging spinning round to face her, their faces showing emotions ranging from surprise to terror.

    She fell amongst them, striking wildly, still no thought to tactics or style, as furious as her namesake. She scuffed one across the mouth, probably hurting her hand on his teeth more than she hurt him, and managed to punt a second in the shin. It was over in seconds, the trio making a hasty exit, the one she had kicked moving with a limp already. She would have chased them, but reason started to exert itself once more and she thought it more prudent to check on their victim. She consoled herself by yelling 'chickens', at their quickly departing backsides. Hey, no one ever said you had to be gracious in victory.

    Maybe she should have wondered just why three full grown men had been so easily intimidated by her, even garbed as she was and crying hell. After all, it wasn't like she was the most intimidating fighter in the world, or even all that big. She was too busy congratulating herself on a job well done to ask these questions though.

    “Are you alright?” She asked the now silent victim, crouching to his side to gently assess him for injuries. Lisa hoped he wasn't to badly hurt. His face came up, leaving the shadows, not a mark on him. She had just enough time to realize she was looking into the grinning face of Billy Summergreen before she got kicked in the chest by an angry horse. Her whole body locked, the thoughts fled out of her head, her vision exploded into stars.

    “Ain't so fun, being tazed, is it?” Billy snarled.
     
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  12. “Yknow, it’s astounding how quickly he can track the untraceable and locate those that don’t want to be found…but, if I ask him to find time to do the dishes his week, he’s suddenly got the going speed of a one legged tortoise,” Makarios smirked and raised an eyebrow, looking in Thomas’ direction who failed at suppressing all of a chuckle. Makarios got up to lean in, memorizing the layout of the area Chuck indicated for the two Nox wielders. It impressed Maki, the feats Chuck could pull off given just a bit of time and the adequate resources. It was like magic in itself, how he crafted devices to put to use. Makarios was slightly convinced that Chuck’s mind was meant for at least ten years in the future with how he processed things.

    He gave Chuck a lingering look, noting their leaders’ weight on the world ‘magic.’ “Ah come now, still wary of believing in what science can’t aptly explain? If you make it through one of my meditation sessions these days, I promise we can begin opening you up to an entirely new realm of possibilities.” Makarios enjoyed teasing Chuck over his slight aversion to magic. Whereas he was forced to embrace the looming presence of the unknown almost every time he tapped into his abilities, Chuck operated a bit more within his own realm of limitation and such.

    He felt a little more at peace after meditating and cleaning up. Now that he had time to process his shock, he was actually ready to go out again, a new wave of energy settling over his being. Makarios had to admit something to himself: whereas he had originally tried to avoid getting to caught up in this life, now that he was in it…it just felt right. He was invigorated and breathing new life. And besides...

    “It’s not often that you find other Magni, so this should definitely be interesting, to say the least.” Makarios took one last look at the images before him before clapping his hands together in resolve. “All right, you can count me in for tracking down one of our bundles of magic joy. Dibs on the train station one. I have a feeling their scent is going to be easier to track. This should be fun.”
     
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  13. The coat felt good against the bare skin beneath it, only Aava's top preventing it from enveloping her completely. The black fabric - thick, but loose and free-moving - seemed to hold her just right, her movements and gestures unrestricted by the long sleeves. The scarf flowed freely behind her, seeming to trace a pattern of her movements into the air. In her Third Eye, she could see a thin, wispy line receding back a few seconds from its tip, a short echo of her movements. If anyone knew magic, they could track her, whether by her use or by her aura - but no one did. Instead, the general population felt a certain unknown exuding from Aava, unease seeming to pulse from her body. In truth, it was the Nox, flowing through her marks. She was branded. People avoided her, but weren't quite sure why. Told themselves it was her skin, scarred and flawed. Told themselves it was her odd charms and relics that hung from her belt and her bag. Told themselves it was her eyes, pits that seemed far older than their bearer, that hinted of repressed horrors seen and buried. Told themselves it wasn't the nausea they felt in her company, told themselves it wasn't the cold dread that dripped from her tongue, chilling the air. Aava told herself it was because she was different, she was elevated, she was above them. Aava didn't tell herself she was lonely. She ducked into an alley.

    Fire escape, with dumpsters beneath it. Anyone asked, that's how she did it, but really it was easier than that. All it took was pressing against the building, feeling it. It was old. It was why she'd chosen this alley, absent-mindedly wandering down a lonely street in a dangerous part of town. There were memories and emotions and stories in the bricks and mortar of this building, this great shelter that had held so many within it over the years, through Aava's absence. The very stone rumbled, almost speaking to her. A few bricks creaked and pushed out of the side of the wall, dust falling gently to floor, pooling by Aava's feet. She grabbed one and pulled, using another as a perch for one foot, and then seizing a third, and after finding the initial purchase, her own climbing skills kicked in, and before she knew it, she'd scaled the building. Standing at the top, she turned and looked down, puffing slightly. Perhaps the fire escape may have been simpler. But she needed to flex different muscles tonight.

    The city looked different from the rooftops. For one, the districts were easier to divide, to tell apart - rich over there, poor over there, destitute over here. It was like a line graph, each portion of the city plotting declines and rises. Off in the distance, she could see the lighthouse - and then she felt that ball from earlier, the strange bulge of hope, a bundle of positive energy.

    Interesting.

    She took off running across the roof in the direction she felt the good from, running Nox through her channels and pressing against the air as she leaped from one edge, gliding gracefully to the other. The pace was easy to keep up, Aava had done running and jumping before plenty of times - some more urgent than others - but the constant, repeated use of magic and Nox manipulation...that was something she'd been avoiding ever since she'd decided to return to Larissa. Ever since...

    She shook the memory away. That was practiced too. She was making quick progress, and the dimming sunlight hid her from the public eye, mostly - as did the coat, like she'd chosen it for, and her own minor glamour, cast before she'd even left her new home. Aava wasn't skilled at complete disguises, but she was good at hiding herself. It wasn't so much invisibility as it was being unnoticeable - and even that might be going too far. Aava made her uninteresting to public conscious. She faded from view, unimportant, unregistered. Half the time she did it without a reason. Half the time she just didn't want the staring.

    She was making quick progress. The bulb of light that she'd spread through her earlier bubbled to the surface, seemingly in anticipation. She didn't know what she expected to find, but for some reason, she felt optimistic. After so long...it was a nice feeling.
     
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  14. "Don't even get started on him vacuuming or doing laundry. It's a blessing he doesn't need to wash his suit." Thomas added in on Makarios's jab at Chuck refraining from chores. The leader of the Mavericks explained the situation to them both and showed imagery of the two scenarios. One were at the train station and the other was on a bus, both of them were messy, but definitely the works of the users of the Nox. Thomas smiled at Makarios's marvel about technology, Maki always talked about how Chuck should try and take part in his world of inner understanding and meditation, yet Maki was as astonished by technology as Chuck was by mythical arts. Thomas could feel that Feral was calmer now, he had taken himself a teraphy session aswell, hopefully his way of dealing with his problems made less of a mess than Thomas had made in his quarters.

    Thomas remained mostly silent, feeling he had little to add at the moment, leaving most of the talking to Makarios. Thomas spoke up after the other Maverick had decided where he would be going. "Guess that leaves the Bus for me. Gimme a shout if either of you need assistance." Thomas added, heading back down to his quarters in the lighthouse, where he would put on a leather jacket and his work boots instead of the sneakers he had on right now. He did for a moment think about changing into his armor, but this was a recon mission, not a combat mission.

    Pulling the hood of the jacket over his face he took a domino mask over his face to conceal his identity, should he need to. Heading back up to the top of the tower he walked out on the balcony in the beacon room. Hunching down slighly the six golden tendrils all sprouted from the back of his leather jacket and his pupils began shining he took off into the sky. Feeling the bounds of the earth unshackle from him was the greatest feeling in the world. Twirling in the air, basking in the light he generated always made him feel great, it helped him keep his emotions in check and remain in control.

    Recently it had been hard to do that for Thomas, with everything going on. Thinking about it Thomas dug into his pocket and got out his earpiece and put it into his ear. "Glitch, can you patch me through to Tiffany." Thomas asked the A.I which complied. He heard hte phone ringing and then the voice of his fiance answering "Yello" she answered and Thomas couldn't help but smile as he was traveling through the sky. "Hey Tiff, it's me."

    "Oh hey honey." Tiffany said "You coming home soon? I heard the news, you alright?"

    "Yeah, I'll live, so will the others. I'll be home late, gotta follow up on some things."

    "Okay, I'll wait on digging into this pint of ice cream and the latest episode of Teen Mom for you."

    A chuckle escaped Thomas as he was flying through the air. "All right, sounds like a plan. See you later sweetcheeks."

    "Mhm, better not make me wait. Love you."

    "Love you too."

    Hanging up he twirled in the air, already in a better mood than before.
     
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  15. Thought took an age to return. Reasoned thought even longer. She hadn't been unconscious, just in a weird place where her brain didn't seem to want to order things in anything resembling normality. When it did she became aware that she was lying on a threadbare orange carpet, rough and nylony, sticky too. She tried to get up, but her limbs seemed leaden. No, more than that, she realized, as there seemed to be a biting pain in her wrists and ankles. Bound together, she guessed.

    She did her best to raise her head, take in the new surroundings. It wasn't a comforting site. Beaten paneling lay close on all four sides, blacked out windows, what looked like a wheel arch. There's a soft rumbling, like an engine is running, the faint smell of petrol in the air, accompanied by the stronger smell of cheap booze. She's in a van, she realizes. Probably the one from the alley, the one she thought was abandoned. Only she was wrong, it wasn't abandoned at all.

    Just another mistake Lisa Redman had made in her budding vigilante career. Only this one seemed to be much more serious than the others. Serious enough to be her last, maybe.

    "She's stirring." She heard someone say, sounded like they were behind her. Sounded like Bo-Bo, but she couldn't be sure.

    "Huh, tougher than she looks." A second voice. Not one she recognized. For some reason that sent a shiver down her spine. Sure, being stunned and captured by Billy and Bo-Bo was bad, but at least she knew them, or of them at the very least. Having strangers in on this, her darkest moment, somehow made it all more terrifying. More chilling. More real.

    "Can I take her mask off now?" Maybe-Bo-Bo says.

    "No," A third speaker, Billy Summergreen, no doubt about it. The voice has that whiney undercurrent to it that's so unmistakably him. Only right now it doesn't sound so whiney. Now it's sounding more triumphant. "We wait till we get to the old warehouse, then we film the unmasking. That's like a whole special pain for these vigilantes, losing their masks. It's like losing their real identities, their real faces. Having their core stripped from them, stripped then thrown away." Jesus, someones been reading too much Watchmen.

    "You sure?" Bo-Bo asks.

    "Of Course I'm sure, haven't you ever read Watchmen?" Billy responds. There's a commotion coming from behind her now, then rough hands on her shoulders and thigh, rolling her over. Billy's looms above her, grinning smugly, before shoving a camera into her face. She flinches back as far as the floor allows her, but then anger grips her.

    She picked this life, not the other way round. She started this fight with Billy, the night she went after him, to punish him for what he'd done to Vronnie. Billy was hitting back, retaliating. She'd picked this life, and now she's have to live with it. Deal with the repercussions, in their entirety. He'd surprised her, that was sure, but now she knew just how deep his seam of depravity went she could hit back. Harder.

    She glances around, catches a glimpse of Bo-Bo and three other guys in the truck, one might be Drake. But then she feels a sharp slap across her cheek, and her attention is back on Billy.

    "Hey! Keep your attention on the camera!" He admonishes, eyes mocking. A small surge runs through her veins after that, pure power, and the beginnings of a plan begin to form. "Surprised you back there, huh? With the fake mugging, and the tazer? Doesn't feel so good, does it? Just getting jumped like that, no real reason, other than getting revenge for a horny bitch who started crying wolf." Great, Lisa thinks, he's monologuing. I have a nemesis, he's a college sex pest, and he's monologuing.

    "Now, I was content to let the police deal with you, for you to get thrown into jail like you deserved, but when it became apparent that they weren't doing their jobs, weren't working as fast as they should be, I decided I had to deal with you myself. And you know something? It was sooo fucking easy! What are you, new? You fell for the oldest trick in the book!"
    Now that he had mentioned it Lisa did remember a police investigation into 'the mad bitches' attack on Billy and his friends. The police had even questioned Vronnie, but she had an air-tight alibi for the night. Vronnie had later told her that the detectives didn't seem all that eager to catch the perp, or at least that was the impression they gave. Might have been because they were both women, and didn't seem all that enamored with Billy.

    "So now? Now we're going to drive you back to this nice old place just outside the Sound, a derelict fish restaurant. There I'm going to unmask you, beat you, then leave you for the police to find. I'm going to film the whole thing too, of course, but that's going to be for my own consumption. Think I'd like to relive this night for years to come!" He leans in close, staring through the viewing lens of his camera, sticking other end in her face. His breath stinks of cheap, imported beer. "I didn't gag you, by the way, so you can scream if you'd like? Or beg. It's all the same to me."

    She didn't scream. She didn't beg. Instead she slammed her head forwards, difficult while tied up on the floor, but she managed it. Her forehead cracked into the camera, driving the viewing lens into Billy's eye. It was painful on her end, though from his screeching it sounded like it was even worse on his end. That would have made it more than worth it alone, but the extra sweet taste of power was icing on the cake.

    Kill the bitch, she heard Billy gasp between squeals, and that's just what his friends tried. They piled into the back, all except the driver, and started laying into her. Punching, stamping, butting. It all hurt. They gave her just what she wanted. Soon the power was running fix and fast and delicious in her veins, blood turned to fire, heart pounding a million miles a minute. She was stronger than she'd ever been before. With a snarl she pulled her hands apart, and the blue nylon rope around her wrists tore like wet paper.
    "What the fuck!?" Cried Bo-Bo before she slammed her palm into his chin. Then all hell broke loose.

    She threw herself at them, feet still bound, but that hardly mattered. She wasn't planning on running away. The drawbacks in fighting in the back of a van quickly made themselves apparent. It was too cramped to really let loose without accidentally hitting one of your own guys. Fortunately Lisa didn't have that problem, as everyone in attendance was in line for a butt-whooping in her opinion.

    The van swerved suddenly, the driver screaming. There was a thunderous jolt, bodies flying in the air, then a sudden stop. Lisa found herself dumped in a heap, Bo-Bo draipsed over her like a clumsily dumped rug. With herculean effort she rolled the big gorilla off. She looked to the front, just in time to see the driver opening his door and sprinting off down the road, looking like the devil himself was on his tail. She couldn't make out who it was, mores the pity, otherwise she'd be dealing with him later.

    A quick scan told her that the driver must have swerved off the road and then crashed into a lamp post. Luckily no one was killed. Well, she called it luck, but she wasn't entirely certain that the world wouldn't be a better place without Billy. The man himself was sprawled on the floor, half conscious, blood running from a cut to his head. She was half tempted to just leave him there to his head wound a potential concussion, but her humanity got the better of her. Rifling in his pocket she found his phone, then staggered out of the back of the van after ripping the rope around her ankles apart.

    After reading a nearby street sign she used the phone to call the emergency services to report the accident, then threw the phone to the ground and smashed it under her heel. Petty, destroying his stuff like that, but it felt damn good.

    She took off down the street, keen to be away before the police arrived. She really didn't think they'd just let her walk away after this, regardless of whether the boys deserved it or not. She did leave the video in the van though, so if it still worked they would know she was there. Know that, and the fact that Billy had kidnapped her, and just what he'd planned to do. Hopefully he'd get punished for that, if not she'd just have to settle for the drink driving rap he'd no doubt receive.

    So. Another night on the town over. And another mixed success. One thing was making itself painfully apparent. She couldn't keep doing things like this, or she'd end up getting herself killed, powers or not.

    She needed help.
     
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  16. L
    ooking to Maki and back to Thomas, Cal waited patiently for their replies. His arms were crossed but his foot tapped impatiently while various scenarios ran through his head, each second that went by felt likean agonizing hour that Cal wasn't suited up on the streets. Finally the silence was broken by his best friend and right hand, as Makarios laid into him about his skepticism towards magic.

    "The only thing I'm wary of is calling something magic that I haven't been able to scientifically explain yet." He paused as he looked towards Makarios with a small smirk breaking across his solemn face. "Give me a few blood samples, and then we'll strap you up in a simulation chamber for further tests. Then, and only then if I can't explain the scientific principles behind your abilities, will I call it 'magic'." Cal said waving his hand in a gesture of abandon. It wasn't that he doubted Makarios or his abilities in anyway, it was simply he doubted there was a force in the universe that couldn't be scientifically explained.

    "We could even have you both run the simulations together, double the amount of data but I doubt it would improve your chances." Cal added, his smirk growing ever so slightly. As Thomas responded, Cal turned to look towards the taller male, his attention returning to the matter at hand.

    "I shouldn't have to remind you of this, but please consider your actions before diving in front of a bullet, bus or bomb. I'm not exactly the comforting type and I doubt Tiffany would appreciate a visit from me to inform her of your untimely demise." The brunette called after the blonde Texan, his piercing blue eyes twinkled with a slight sense mischief before he began to run through his utility belt, carefully examining each pouch and every other tool on the new costume.

    "Glitch, return the Beacon to torch mode. Makarios..." Cal said with as his gauntlets hummed to life, the Kenobi and Picard flying from his thighs to each respective hand as Cal gave the weapons a look over, twirling the staff around before folding it and half and returning the weapon to its holster. Pulling the hammer back on the gun, Cal ensured the weapon was loaded, checking it for jamming and testing the sight before it too was returned to its holster. "Be safe out there." IllAdvised added before putting on his crimson cowl and kicking himself backwards out the top floor of the lighthouse, from the back of the long trench coat two chiroptera-like wings were ejected from the folds behind his shoulders as IllAdvised glided out over the Larissa Bay. From beneath the surface of the glistening lake, the roar of a muffled engine could be heard as a small vehicle suddenly shot out on top of the waves, handle bars extending as IllAdvised took control of the vehicle and launched himself towards the shore.

    "Glitch optimize the cowl's optics for infrared tracking. Negate all temperatures below the average human body temperatures and layer it over a map of the city. Remove all heat sources that originate from factory locations, kitchens, incinerators and other buildings which contain significant sources of heat. "

    "Done." Came the near immediate response. "Would like me to overlay the criteria on your personal H.U.D. boss?" Glitch's voice asked.

    "Make it so." IllAdvised responded as he raised the vehicle out of the water, three wheels extending down as it bite into the loose gravel on the dock roads and tore off into the city. "Set a course for the gym, follow the heat trail from there." Weaving through traffic, Cal expertly navigated the heavily modified Spyder through Larissa, his suit's exo-skeleton quickened his response time only further attributing to his already impressive piloting skills as he eventually found himself at the run down gym Glitch had pinpointed as the home of their hot blooded vigilante.

    "Infrared scans indicate that no one is home." IllAdvised rambled to himself as the red lenses of his cowl momentarily glowed for the duration of the scan. "Glitch we're going to track foot prints, prepare the optical scanners for 'thermo-dating'. Calculate the area of the surrounding allies, average the temperature over the last week for this time of day and then calculate for wind flow and deterioration of heat. Scan for the residual heat signatures from our new friend and highlight me a trail."

    "You don't ask for much do you boss? Should have called me 'Genie' instead of Glitch." Came the A.I.'s dry response as IllAdvised felt a small smirk at the corner of his mouth beneath his cowl.

    "That would limit my requests to three and I can't have that unfortunately." IllAdvised retorted as Glitch finished the calculations and highlighted the trail. The surrounding area was old, perhaps some of the oldest in Larissa as IllAdvised noticed that the gym was not the only abandoned building surrounding him. The trail led up to the rooftops as IllAdvised locked down his Spyder and took a running jump. A grappling line exploded from his wrist as IllAdvised made the fluid motion of connecting the cable to his belt and began the building, assisting spikes unfolding from his palms and soles. Apparently his target was quite the free runner as the trail led from roof to roof, IllAdvised theorizing that their ability to manipulate height allowed the vigilante to enhance their own jumps through a limited form of levitation. But IllAdvised had his own tricks as the suit's thrusters enabled him to keep up, wider gaps requiring the use of his gliding abilities and grapples as he moved across the district. The trail began to look like flares and explosions as IllAdvised followed it to its end, no doubt a result of the Hype using her abilities in concentrated blasts. Below him a scene was unfolding as the girl's body let off a wave of heat finishing off the last of her attacks before she herself dropped to the ground. Her abilities apparently having drained her to a point of fatigue.

    Dropping to the ground, IllAdvised scanned the life signs of the thugs, one dead. The burns indicating it was likely the work of the female Hype.

    "Glitch, send an anonymous tip to the police." IllAdvised ordered as he picked up one of the thug's gun and shot it point blank into the head of the dead thug, while it wouldn't cover much if the body went through forensics it would likely be enough for the beat cops on the scene to write off without digging into it any further. Returning the gun to its owner, IllAdvised tied up the remaining thugs, his suit's exoskeleton once again going to work as Cal suspended the unconscious men above the alley by way of a cable. The roar of a modified engine alerted IllAdvised that his ride had arrived as he knelt down and gently cradled the body of the woman.

    "She's alive boss." Glitch's voice came. "Scans are incomplete at this point as towards the cause of her ailments."

    Looking down at the unconscious girl, IllAdvised's first thoughts were of Allison before the bitter taste of her betrayal filled his mouth. Some wounds were going to take more time to heal than others, but he couldn't deny the attractiveness about the girl. First Allison, then Bliss and now this girl, Cal was starting a disturbing pattern when it came to women in costumes. Giving his head a shake, IllAdvised replied to the Glitch.

    "We'll take her back to the gym, allow her to awake in a familiar surrounding. Send a message on to Feral and Angel, one accounted for." IllAdvised ordered as the doors to the Predator opened and he gently lowered the girl into the back seat. The high pitched whine of the Raptor's engine could be heard as Glitch assumed control of the other vehicle and navigated it into the back of the Predator while IllAdvised climbed into the driver's seat, assuming control of the tank like truck. The roar of the engine echoed through the small alley way as the Predator took off towards the abandoned gym.
     
    #16 Lord Wraith, Jul 14, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2015
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  17. Striding through the door, Irene's heels clacked on the shiny tile as she walked, pocketing her unnecessary sunglasses. Thinking about the many floors of the skyscraper above her, she briefly wondered why they needed so many, but those thoughts were quickly pushed out of her mind.

    The incident on the bus was some time ago, and since then, she hadn't exactly run into any more trouble. She wasn't sure if that was lucky or unlucky. To be honest she wasn't exactly sure what her next step should be, or if she'd even truly taken it, and information on that wasn't exactly easy to find. However, as concerns regarding her more normal, less interesting life became more pressing, she had to make some steps in that regard as well. It was kind of hard to explain how you got by without a day of 'real' work experience.

    Approaching the desk to find a slightly frazzled secretary, a tall half emptied cup of coffee at her side, Irene began, "Hello. I'm here for the interview on the secretary position?"

    Looking up, the current secretary patted down a bit of her disorderly black hair, before opening her mouth to speak, only to be interrupted by the ring of a phone. Stopping, she pressed a button to silence it, before turning back to Irene and nodding, "Yes! If you could wait on the 15th floor: once you get off the elevator, take a right and there should be some chairs. It might be a short wait."

    Smiling, Irene nodded, "Oh, that's alright. I'm patient." As she left, the secretary answered the phone, leaving Irene to continue along. Reaching the elevator, she called for it before entering once it appeared minutes later. As it began to ascend, she looked over herself, hoping her gray suit and stockings would be adequate. She'd never really dressed up quite like this before.

    Sounding off once it reached the fifteenth floor, the elevator came to a stop, allowing Irene to leave. Stepping in to the hall, taking her designated right, Irene took a seat amongst several other ladies, some of which waited quietly while others fiddled with their phones. Irene joined the former, perfectly content to wait and meditate.

    The next few minutes were rather quiet, but then continued that way without change. No one entered the room and no one left. There was some fidgeting, one woman even asking, "Is there anyone in there?" Another insisted that was the case, but Irene barely moved a muscle.

    One minute became ten, twenty. After a half an hour, the group thinned out a bit, the frustrated taking their leave, closely followed by the uncertain. After ten minutes, only Irene remained. She could only shake her head at the others who'd left: an hour was basically nothing...

    Finally, the door opened, another woman stepping out, face a bit reddish, not even sparing a glance as she confidently strode off, somehow winded. A moment later, a dark haired man adjusting his tie reached the door, meeting eyes with Irene. Glancing around at the other empty chairs, he gave an apprehensive sigh, before stating, "Well, I'm confident the position's been...filled, but since you waited you're welcome to take a shot."

    Standing to follow, Irene nodded, "Gladly." Entering, the office wasn't particularly large, but it did have a view of a nice section of the sky despite the room not being particularly high up.

    Taking a seat at the desk, the man picked up a fallen picture frame as Irene took a seat across from him, seeing on the nameplate that his name was 'Anton Davidson'. Clearing his throat, he began, "So, uh, Miss..."

    "Irene Adams."

    "Yes. Now: what was it that brought the Antioch Conglomerate to your attention, exactly?"

    Irene answer honestly, "I saw a job opening so I applied."

    Anton blinked, before smiling a bit as he nodded, "Yes, that's normally how it goes." Running a hand over his hair, he asked, "But what about Antioch drew you in? What made you think 'I want this job?'"

    Irene opened her mouth to speak, when her attention was grabbed. Outside the window, some distance away, was something flying in the air. At this distance, it was easily mistakable for a bird, but rarely did they twirl about in the air. And there was a glint of something, a golden light. Irene followed it with her eyes as it went out of sight.

    "Miss Adams? Irene? Can I call you Irene?"

    Snapping back to attention, Irene shook her head, asking, "I"m sorry?"

    Anton reiterated, "Why do you wish to work for Antioch? What would you be willing to do to get a job here?"

    Thoughts still on the being she'd seen, Irene admitted with a sigh, "To be honest, I really can't say I do."

    Anton gawked, before blurting, "What?"

    "Oh! I probably shouldn't have said that," Irene gasped.

    Tapping a finger on the desk, Anton licked his lips before sighing, "Well, I think we're done here."

    Unable to find a reason to argue otherwise, Irene stood, nodding, "Thank you for the opportunity." Turning about, she made her way to the door, heart beginning to beat faster as she made her way.

    ---

    Thomas was flying in the air, his six wings giving off a shine that was mostly drowned by the dark clouds and the rain that had starting pelting down. Thomas felt a shiver down his spine as the cold rain hit his cheeks. Sure miss Texas.. He was trying to sense the magical energies in the area like he had practiced with Makarios in the past year, once they both came to the understanding both of their powers were magical in origin.

    He could feel faint traces of magical energy, it was as faint as the scent of the fast food place on the next block. Flying too high up for people on the street to get a clear view of him, he flew higher into the air, landing on one of the skyscrapers, looking out over the edge of the roof at the city below, trying to get a clear read on the magni he was looking for.

    ---

    Steps moving hurriedly, Irene made her way out of the Antioch building and on to the streets of Larissa's Upper East Side. Mulling about the well dressed pedestrians on their way to get food or speaking urgently on or to their phones, Irene's eyes were glancing at the sky as she tried to spot that which she had minutes ago. When her eyes failed her, she began to tap into her other senses, more out of curiosity than anything: what made these people and their abilities so beyond the normal?

    Taking a breath, Irene began to reach out. The first thing to reach her senses were the many smidgens around her: the life of mankind, so unaware of the cores to their own beings. There was also the nearby 'dust': the microbes, the bugs, the remnants of things once alive, like plant based fabrics or animal fats in the faint traces of soap on recently washed hands. Irene quickly brushed all of that static aside, however, focusing on the larger picture.

    And certainly enough, there was something, far above. Without probing further, Irene stopped. Whatever she'd seen was indeed overtly familiar with the Nox, and might very well have been doing the same thing as her.

    That changed things.

    Smiling slightly, Irene began to meditate as she walked. Her innate connection to the Nox seemed to shrink as she lowered her presence. To an observer, she would appear as any other human would, her Nox mulling about in a tiny wisp rather than Irene's typical brazier, ready to burst into a gout of flame at her will.

    Irene wondered if her new friend would be up for a little game of hawk and rabbit?

    ---

    Thomas stood on top of the building, looking down at the people below. His enhanced senses allowing him to see them not as ants, but with great detail. Eyes glowing gold as he channeled the Nox energy through his visage, he feeling his spirit, his very soul stretch out from the rooftop, down onto the city. He was trying to connect with anything he could. A dog was the first thing he found, he had been named Baxter by his owner, a Rottweiler that had been part of a dog fighting ring and was now missing an ear along with several other markings.

    It wasn't the right one. Another being hit him, sulks and the heavy breathing of someone crying. The amount of agony the person was feeling stood out to Thomas, in a city of people who had all but lost hope, this person seemed to be worse than others. Concentrating on the energy he could feel that it was a human, a small one, probably a child, a few blocks over.

    'Glitch, mark my GPS fo' me. I'mma have to come back 'ere later." He told the computer through his earpiece. Taking another breath he regained his composure and tapped into the Nox energies all around. He could feel traces of energy all around him, below him mostly, the person he was after had been in the building he was standing on, he was sure of it. But as he followed the trail it ended in the crowd and now they were gone.

    Thomas couldn't feel it anymore, his eyes returning to normal he leaped off the building, deciding to stay around in case the Magni resurfaced.

    ---

    Irene smiled as she saw that flash of gold once again. It wasn't moving towards her...in fact, none of the people mulling about had noticed it yet. Maybe Eliza was at least a bit right about humans when it came to their observation skills?

    Irene wanted to mess with it a bit, but using any of her powers would allow it to sense her again. But it was in range, if barely... Making her course, Irene headed towards an alleyway near where it was flying, barely reaching the opening before daring to uncap her Nox. Then, with a practiced hand, she made her craft, nabbing hold of the flying one's shadow, bending it to her will.

    ---


    Thomas was flying, when suddenly he felt a burst of Nox energy from below, and soon he found himself getting his torso enclosed in a bubble of magical energy. It blinded him, but he could still feel the air around him and the energies around him, allowing him to maneuver almost without flaw - provided no planes came. Feigning it making him be unable to fly, he soared down towards the ground, as if he was about the crash, going head first on the next street over from where the energy signature originated from. While still high above the ground, his direction changed with a burst of speed, landing him on one knee in front of the woman whom the Nox originated from. Through the bubble he stood up and his eyes flashed gold, his tendril like wings sprouting and breaking his encasing. It was a show of theatrics, and not power.

    "Ya' ever heard the story about Jesus and Moses playing golf?" he asked the woman.

    ---

    Irene had watched the flying man as he wrestled with his sphere, not even trying to burst it until he'd already reached her. While she felt composed as he faced her, she still hadn't expected him to reach her so fast. Taking a step deeper into the alleyway, she wished she'd had a way to make their meeting a little more private, but they'd just have to deal with it, it seemed.

    "Mm...can't say I have. Which one was Moses again?" Irene replied, a bit rusty on her theology. The little stories they came up with to try an explain the universe...

    ---


    Thomas grinned. She had nerve, he had to give her that. Using the Nox he made his voice powerful, but not louder, as if his words came from the heavens itself. "Moses and Jesus were on the last hole, Moses hits the ball beautifully, some 250 yards. Straight down the middle of the fairway. It's Jesus's turn, and he hits the ball into the trees. He puts his arms up into the sky as they darken and a thunderclap rings out and the rain starts to pour, making a little stream that the ball falls down into. The stream takes the ball down into the lake, where a fish takes it into it's mouth. Before it can swallow the ball however, a eagle comes and picks the fish and the ball up and flies over the green, the ball falls out of the fish's mouth and lands perfectly in the cup for a hole in one." Thomas began.

    "Then Jesus turns to Moses with a satisfied grin and Moses says to him 'are we playing golf or are we just fucking around?'" Finishing his story, Thomas took a moment looking Irene in the eye from under his black leather hood and the domino mask he wore. His wings stretching far and his eyes glowing fiercely, more a show of theatrics than a try at intimidation. "So, we playing golf or are we' just fuckin' around?"

    ---

    Irene put a thoughtful finger to her chin before answering, "Well, I was only messing around a bi...oh." Letting out a sigh, she admitted, "Sorry, I suppose that could have easily been an attack, couldn't it? When I was being tutored, little things like that were just training." A bit curious, Irene turned her eye on him, trying to sift through the Nox a bit more. But what she found after a rather quick look was beyond anything she'd seen. Irene realized, "You...you're not a Magni, are you? Yet you're manipulating the Nox..."

    ---

    Thomas's energy lowered as she decided not to 'play golf'. He scoffed as she talked about training, sending a quick thought back to his own when he was younger. "I can relate. Training isn't fun and games all the time." Was all he said on the subject, seeing her focusing he stiffed his posture in case she would decide to turn hostile after all. Instead, she asked him an off-hand question. "Magni? Oh no. No I'm not. I'm Human." He spoke, knowing full well that what he said was just short of impossible.

    ---

    Raising an eyebrow, needless to say Irene was a bit skeptical of his claims. But if this had to do with the idea of 'superpowers' then Irene was planning on investigating anyway. Thinking a bit, she paced a bit, speaking, "So: the two of us happened to be looking for one another, but since I initiated things, I'll explain myself first. I've only been paying attention to the human world for the past month, and I must say I'm curious about superheroes. I saw you, and, well, here we are. But why were you searching for me?"

    ---

    Listening to her explaining herself made him scoff. So she did sense him, too. Interesting. And where did she come from if she had only 'payed attention to the human world' for a month? He had questions, but they would be best left unanswered until Chuck and Makarios could hear them, as well. " 'Superheroes' That sure is a nice way of looking at that. As far as the world has known for the last month, I've been dead." He let out a chuckle. As for her question he looked her up and down. "If you're interested in Superheroes, you ever heard about someone called 'The Mavericks'?"

    ---

    "That sounds a little familiar. Are you an admirer? Or a friend?" Irene wondered. Ideas coming to mind, she might have answered her own question, before pulling back, returning to the initial point, asking, "Oh, so you were checking on me? After the little thing on the bus the other day?"

    ---

    "You could say that." He figured the wings, the flight and the golden glow would give him away regardless, so he didn't need to be so on the nose about it. "I was. The Mavericks are looking for extraordinary people who might be willing to help. Recruits, you could say, if you wish."

    ---

    Irene cracked a smile, which she immediately tried to hide. After a laugh, she admitted, "I was hoping you'd say that, but I didn't want to be so forward." Mind bursting with questions, she didn't know what to start with...except for that one thing.

    Irene began, "I should ask though: I still don't know much about the whole vigilantism thing, so...what's the pay like? I ran out on an interview when I saw you so..."

    ---

    "Pay? Oh you..." He said with a laugh. "I'm afraid that we don't. The team does have a anonymous benefactor who donates necessary funds for us to operate and live. But outside of that? Not so much I'm afraid."

    "So, should I take it that you're interested? It's a different life than you're used to, shouldn't take the decision lightly." He assured. "But if you are, I'll be in contact." He finished, giving a smile and a nod to the woman before he would vanish into the sky.

    ---

    Irene blinked at his answer. If they didn't get paid then...perhaps they were more interesting then Irene thought. It wasn't until after Thomas had left that she realized they hadn't even exchanged introductions...
     
    #17 Craftsdwarf, Jul 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
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  18. Myrtle Valenia was never one for revenge. By all accounts from friends and kin alike, she was a level-headed and calm woman, loving resolution over confrontation. Though she didn’t start disputes, she was quick to end them with an unwavering resolve. A resolve that wasn’t birthed from the beginning of her life, but grown from the varied struggles that often come with a subscription to it. However, those struggles gave way to a wisdom and clarity that others revered in her.

    But even the clearest waters can be notably tainted by a simple drop of the darkest ink. The blackest ichor. And what is malice if not the darkest ink, spreading in the pool of a serene and clear mind, body and soul?

    And though her mind of clarity and wisdom saw revenge as unnecessary and often harmful, that mind had been discarded to the careless winds along with her sense of order and sanity three weeks ago. Following her sexual assault, the concept began to seem...maddeningly appealing in her new mind of an alabaster-cold world. It began subtly and expectedly, the reasonable response to having her choice and her own body taken from her. That knee-jerk reaction to “make him pay” was one no authoritative figure or official would have denied her.


    But in her new mind, it’s the sole thing she's been able to think about and it seems to be ‘The one path in the universe that will continue on and lead to nights where I can wake-up without screaming. If I don’t do it, who will? He has to pay.’ Myrtle reassures herself, resting on clichés at the very end to vindicate her actions. To let her know that she is justified in her actions.

    The source of her actions – the cause of the twisted view and sadistic hue she now saw with lay on the table behind her. Unconscious and, even in his slumbered state, exuding an air of arrogance. The stank of entitlement. The scent of a being without remorse. His sheer proximity, conscious or not, evoked a bile in Myrtle that only the knowledge of what was to come could quell within her.

    He began to stir, and Myrtle, in her own zone, was startled by his movement. She needed to move quickly. The tome before her seemed to show that, with her preparations, she was almost ready to begin. Her translation was a little lacking, but she was confident in her almost-finished product, turning to view him on the table.

    Lawrence “Lonnie” Anderson laid on the table, – beginning to surface back to the waking world— a sight to be noted. He lay stripped of his clothes, save for his underwear, and all along his arms and legs set the black ink markings of ancient ruins, drawn in an archaic almost circuit-like fashion. His chest saw the conjoining of all those various lines as they extended the length of his body, in a circular fashion around the one completely bare area of his body.

    This ritual of revenge was only possible because Myrtle Valenia came from a Magni bloodline. She’d been told from an early age that her ancestors came from great men and women who bent the mystical energy known as the Nox to their will with ease. They had been powerful folk not to be crossed or scorned and Myrtle held their blood in her veins. And to Myrtle, in her haze of malicious madness, that was enough justification to dole out justice as she saw fit in this instance.

    And the office space, currently for sale and lease, was the perfect place to do so. They wouldn’t be disturbed.

    However, what neither Myrtle, her mother Melissandre nor her grandmother, Noelle, realized and noted was the truth of their bloodline: it was weak at best.

    ***

    With a bound, Makarios kicked off from the ledge of the building, launching himself in to the air. Grace and the subtle yet powerful strength of the Gazelle flowed through him as he flipped his body in the air, tucking his chest to his leg in a diver fashion. He let gravity do the rest of the work, straightening himself out as his body tilted down toward the earth.

    So high up, no one could hear his bellow of joy as plummeted toward the earth, his body cutting through the air better than a searing knife to butter. Even in his descent, Makarios delved into his mind, finding harmony easily with the essence of the next animal he needed. The wind invigorated him, sucking the air from him as it simultaneously made him feel alive and free. He tapped into his ability, synchronizing with the Monkey. The connection was simple, being one he’d done numerous times. The tones of his Magni blood and this Hype ability began to meld and produced a sensation of slight euphoria. He pushed further, harmonizing more and delved past just the Monkey. Makarios began to synchronize with the Spider Monkey and opened his eyes. His fall seemed to slow, and he could make out more details, a new clarity brought to him. He was nearing the ground and his hands shot out, wrapping around a protruding flag pole. He let the centripetal force carry his body around, his equilibrium and balance unaffected.

    One turn. Two turns. Now on three. Going into four. Makarios spun around and finally released himself, launching from the pole, flipping his body as he went and straightening it out. He caught on to another pole, holding on just long enough until his body was angled up and let go. He flew up along the remaining length of the building and reached out with his hand, latching on to the edge of the building. He pulled himself up with little effort.

    Releasing the Spider Monkey, he took a deep breath before allowing his default, base abilities to kick in. The scent that had led him here, the scent of a Magni, was getting stronger. It was a sparse scent, and he had to inhale deeply to make sure he didn’t lose it. Whoever this Magni was, he could sense they had a good amount of control over their powers. It didn’t leak out, it didn’t necessarily stick to the places that they had travelled.

    And they’d come in on a train, he could assume. What were they coming to see? Or what had they been running from and had finally decided to confront? Maki was interested in finding more out about this person and as of yet, he wasn’t sure whether he was simply going to observe them or make contact. It was anybody’s guess at this point.

    “But first,” he spoke to himself, “I’ve got to get a better whiff of th—“ His words were cut off as he doubled over in pain. “GAH!” His vision blurred at the edges and he felt a ringing, building in intensity with each passing second. Feral had to steady himself as he teetered close to the edge of the building he stood on.

    It was with a frenzied panic that he began to register the source of this discord he felt. Magic.

    “C’mon!” He growled to himself through gritted teeth as he struggled to regain his footing. “You’re a Maverick, dammit! Act like it!” He steadied himself, even as his core shook slightly. Not from fear, but purely in response to the surge of Nox he was feeling. Something bad had just happened and he was willing to bet someone was in trouble.

    ---
    As soon as she plunged the knife into Lonnie’s chest, Myrtle felt something was off. She’d done everything in the ritual correctly though, followed all the procedures and the like. A drop of her blood had been smeared into a sealing crest on his forehead and she’d felt something in her tug as she started the ritual. Of course, Lonnie had begun to stir closer to the end of the ritual, but that shouldn’t have been a problem. Everything should have gone correctly.

    Lonnie’s body arched up, the black ink marks expanding to cover his entire body. As they seemed to encompass him, he seemed to grow, his shoulders becoming a little broader. His fingers slightly more spindly. An ethereal scream left his mouth and Myrtle screamed in return, letting go of the knife. Breaking the connection of control she had established.

    And in that instant, things went from bad to terrifying. Myrtle tried to grab on the handle of the knife again, but upon contact, was thrust back into a set of empty filing cabinets. She groaned weakly as her body sunk to the floor.

    Lonnie’s eyes opened. But, at this point, they weren’t really his eyes. His body wasn’t really his body, but now merely a conduit for a force Myrtle was quickly beginning to realize she didn’t understand. His eyes held a gold color that contrasted against the obsidian black of his skin. They looked around briefly, taking everything before his body jerked to an upright position. A tongue that couldn’t have belonged to a human moistened lips that had cracked and bled deep blue liquid. A sharp intake of air forced his head back as he breathed in the new air.

    “Oh…” Myrtle wept softly, “Oh God. Oh God, oh God, oh God.” She scrunched herself farther into the array of filing cabinets.

    “Why cry out for God,” the figure that wasn’t Lonnie began to say, turning his head slowly to meet her gaze, “when just a moment ago, you tried to play him?”

    Myrtle let out a scream and threw the only defense she had, the only defense she thought to need. A red sphere with a sealing spell on it hit the demon in the center of the chest. Myrtle didn’t wait to see its effect and took off running for the front of the building. She had to get out, she needed to get out. She needed help.

    She was only just able to step outside onto the sidewalk before she felt a searing pain hit her in the back and everything went dark.

    ---

    Feral sensed the presence before he saw it, the hairs on his neck bristling in anticipation. Looking down from the building he stood on, he saw a small woman run out from a building across the street. One of the office buildings for lease. She barely made it a few steps out before Makarios paled.

    Struck down in cold blood, she never stood a chance as Makarios saw a figure…he couldn’t call it human, and his senses told him that it most certainly wasn’t natural… loom over her body, blood pooling rapidly on the street.

    Maybe it was a good thing that this sector of the city was relatively low traffic at this time.
     
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  19. The sound of high-heels hitting concrete was a satisfying one, the distinctive rhythm echoing through the darkness of the streets. The shoes were patent leather and bore an expensive designer label; they belonged to Raja Saputra. A staple on the bar and club scene in this part of town, the tall man wore a black jumpsuit embellished with small diamonds and bearing a low-cut front that exposed his slim torso. A fuchsia feather boa was draped casually around his arms and his short. jet-black hair shimmered as he passed through the pale glow of a street light. Though he rarely got drunk, he always loved to go out and have a good time. But his favourite part of the evening was always the walk home.

    Taking a route through the more impoverished areas of Larissa, Raja knew he would attract the wrong kind of attention. He had never been disappointed yet, and tonight was no different. As he rounded a corner, he soon noticed the large silhouette of a brawny man pursuing him several meters behind, lurking in the shadows and trying not to be seen. Raja smirked and kept walking, before stopping by an alley and pretending to rummage through his purse. He had to suppress a chuckle as the brute seized the opportunity, grabbing the slender man and pulling him into the backstreet.

    "What the fuck are you supposed to be?" he spat, pinning Raja against a wall. Raja could almost make out his features through the dark; the guy was chunky with a rounded face and shaved blonde hair. His pale complexion was in poor condition and the man's blue eyes were bloodshot and swollen.

    "Well, I was actually going for a kind of 90s club-kid vibe," Raja replied matter-of-factly, his deep and raspy voice earned by smoking too much cigarettes throwing his attacker for a second. "What about you? I'm kind of getting downtown Miami from that shirt, but I don't know if that's what you were going f--"

    The man punched Raja square in the nose, knocking him to the floor. It began to bleed immediately. "Don't act smart with me, faggot," the brute barked, venom in his voice.

    "I wasn't acting," Raja replied, dabbing at his bloody nose with his feathered accessory. He was thankful that it hadn't broken, the reparative nosejobs that his recent hobby required threatened to become a regular weekend pastime. "Some of us are just blessed." he added, using the wall to support himself as he pulled himself into a standing position.

    "Don't fucking try me, man," warned the thug. "I ain't dumb." he said, pulling a black handgun from under his shirt. Raja's eyes widened; this was where it got dangerous... He was giddy with excitement and gladly handed over his purse when the man ordered it. "Gimme the jewels as well, bitch." he said, pointing at the man's wrists with his weapon briefly. It was all the time Raja needed. The gun lit up with vibrant pink light and the thug withdrew his hand in shock. "What the fuck?!" he squealed, his voice high in disbelief as he blinked to ensure he wasn't seeing things. The gun was hovering in midair.

    It moved towards Raja smoothly and dropped delicately into his waiting hands. Now the thug began to panic, his eyes wide in horror as he turned and tried to run away. Raja shot the weapon without a second thought, hitting the man in the back of the thigh and sending his heavy body crashing into the ground with a thud. He screamed in pain, lying face down in the concrete as he heard the unmistakable sound of women's shoes approaching from behind.

    "Slow down there, big guy," Raja cooed sultrily, his voice patronising and laced with mockery. "I think you have something that belongs to me." he added, picking up the designer purse that the brute had dropped and examining it for scratches. "Didn't your mother ever tell you not take things that don't belong to you?" he asked, before reloading the gun with a deliberately loud click. The terror the floored man was feeling was palpable in the air.

    "Please, dude, please!" he begged, clutching his wounded leg. "Please, I'm sorry man, I ain't got no money!" he was whimpering at this point and Raja thought he might reduce the man to tears if he carried on. So naturally, he did.

    "So you thought you'd take mine without asking?" Raja scolded him like a disappointed mother. "That doesn't wash in this part of town." he said, firing the gun with a deafening bang.

    And then all was eerily quite, save for the gentle sobbing of the thug. Raja had fired the gun into the air and it had been enough to frighten the brick of a man into a panic attack. Raja rolled him over with a good push of his foot as he stashed the gun in his purse. He looked into the man's eyes, seeing the troubled life he'd been subjected to. A life of poverty and abandonment, a far cry from his own upbringing back in Indonesia. He'd seen enough.

    Raja gently lured the man into a sleeping trance, where he implanted a dream showing the thug what his life could be like. He'd lost weight and grown out his hair, slicking it back like a fine businessman. In fact, he was a businessman. He kissed his wife goodbye and went to work. It was an office-based job, but it was safe and it paid the bills. He co-workers smiled and waved at him as he entered the workplace. He felt welcomed and appreciated. His boss called him into the office.

    "Take a seat, Ricky, the white man said in a voice, that didn't seem like it belonged to him. It was unusually deep and raspy, like he'd smoked too many cigarettes in his time. He smiled and handed Ricky a big wad of cash. "You go out there and make your dreams come true!" The words seemed to echo around the large man's head as the dream faded and he fell into a deeper sleep.

    Raja pulled out $1000 from his purse and stashed it in the man's pocket. He wrapped the the feather boa tightly around the man's leg and called the emergency services, notifying them anonymously of a wounded individual who needed medical attention. And with that, he took off into the night, the sound of his heels bouncing off the walls of the narrow alleyway.

    At this hour the streets were mainly dead, especially the network of alleys that Raja preferred to use. He used the silence to reflect upon the events that had transpired over the evening. Sure, he had little mercy when he was dealing with the nightwalking criminals of Larissa. He made sure of it; an ounce of pity in the thick of it would likely cost him his life. But when the action was over, he always tried to help them as best he could. He saw it as making the world a better place, one person at a time: he took away their weapons and gave them some money to help them start over. He hadn't been doing this long enough to bump into the same guy twice. If he did, he had a feeling he wouldn't be so forgiving...

    Raja had been walking for a good ten minutes before he spotted anyone else. Naturally, you had to be brave or stupid to lurk in these backstreets afterdark. It was a young woman, reddish hair falling from beneath a hood. She was badly beaten and looked as though she was wearing a mask of some sort. Raja couldn't tell if she was trouble or in trouble. He approached with caution.

    "Hello?" he called out, obscured by the shadows of his alley. "Is everything okay, hun?" he asked, his deep voice tinged with concern for his own safety as much as it was for hers. He stepped out into the glow of the streetlight, revealing himself and his own bloodied nose to the woman. "Do you need help?"
     
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  20. [Collab between Raja/Blacksam]

    Anyone that knew Lisa, her nightly activities, and her specific powers might make the mistake of thinking that getting hurt wasn't much of a chore to her, or at least not one that bothered her overly much. If anyone ever said that to her, especially at this specific moment while every inch of her body felt like someone had completely and painstakenly tenderised it with a meat hammer, she would more than likely knock their teeth out. Or at least she would have liked to, if she could have summoned the energy to lift her arms.

    The aches and pains were getting so bad she felt she really couldn't walk another step, not without a breather. It was weird, feeling this weak. In the van she'd being suffused with a wild energy, fueled by every strike Billy and his mates landed, and yet now she was feeling as weak as cheap beer. Maybe it had something to do with adrenaline. Maybe she just wasn't as tough as she liked to think, and that now she was getting a chance to think about how achey she was she just couldn't handle it. Probably the second one, if she was being honest with herself.

    She stopped a moment to lean against a low wall, meaning to just catch her breath. She just hoped no one happened by, to glimpse the mighty vigilante taking a load off. Probably wouldn't be great for her budding fearsome reputation. She really should have known better though, as no sooner than she'd sighed her relief at getting a quick break did someone stumble upon her.

    Her luck was just that criminal.

    She jumped back to her feet, holding herself as rigid and straight as possible, thrusting her chest and chin out, looking for intimidating-creature-of-the-night-badass. She might have got it too, if it wasn't for the spasm that ran through her lower back and into her buttock, making her dance a short little jig in an effort to stop herself from yelping in pain. She only just made out what the stranger was saying to her, but she caught enough to realize something wasn't quite right here. Was he asking if she was hurt? If she was needing help? That wasn't right, she was the superhero here, she should be asking those questions! She quickly decided she needed to take control, and quick, before she lost anymore face.

    "Urgh, I'm fine. What about you?" She squeaked. Oh brother, what was that? That voice wouldn't have been impressive in a fancy, upscale cafe, nevermind on the mean streets in the dead of night. Come on Lisa, get it together! Through sheer will she forced herself straighter, this time ignoring the spasm's in her back until they went away, before peering closer at the stranger. It was only then that she realized that he looked like he'd been hurt too, someone really doing a number on his nose. Then she spotted the forehead jewel and the makeup, which would have been unique enough on it's own in this part of town, but coupled with the man's. . . flamboyant dress sense then it was just asking for all the wrong sorts of attention. Even to Lisa's untrained eye it was pretty easy to see what had happened to this poor man. He'd been attacked for looking different, for not fitting someone elses strict confines of what 'normal' was.

    "Are you alright?" She said, this time her voice sounding far more powerful, more like the hero she so desperately wanted to be seen as.

    Raja was a little taken aback by the high-pitched squeak that escaped the woman's lips, but after she surveyed him for a moment she seemed to harden and re-approach the subject of his condition with more solidarity. He nodded in a fashion that was casual and near-apathetic, before smiling gently and taking a few steps further towards her. He was relieved that she seemed not to be a threat.

    "I'm fine," he said. The blood around his nose has largely dried up and congealed, coating the area around his nostrils and lips with hard, sticky crimson that seemed to shimmer in the dull green light of a nearby Fire Exit, which faintly buzzed and flickered arrhythmically. "I was kind of asking for it." he laughed, neglecting to give further details to the woman. He didn't want her to stumble upon the thug he had left in a heap a few blocks behind him. That said, however... What was she even doing out here in the first place? And what was with the mask? Raja decided to approach the matter with tact.

    "That's an interesting statement," he mused, gesturing to the mask that adorned her face with a casual wave of his long, bejewelled fingers. "Have you been partying?" he asked, a forced note of inquisition and curiosity in his tone. Judging by the drab get-up the woman was wearing, all dark and hooded, he could already confirm with reasonable certainty that she had been up to something much more interesting than drinking and dancing.

    Lisa fought the urge to backpedal as the figure approached her. Wouldn't do for Fury, dark protector of the innocent and defenseless, to be flinching away from the very people she was supposed to be protecting. That said, the closer he got the less vulnerable he was looking. Sure, he still looked thin enough that a stiff breeze had a slim-to-even chance of blowing him over, and Lisa didn't care who you were, but no one can look all that intimidating in high heels. But there was a confidence to him, an assured fluidity to his movements that someone just couldn't fake. And now he was closer she could see his eyes. Those brilliant green eyes! There was a fierce intelligence there, a power that mere muscles would pale against. There was something more going on here, and she meant to find out what.

    After all, that's what vigilantes did, right? Solved mysteries.

    He asked her about her get up, gesturing to her face, no doubt meaning her mask. Lisa stayed silent for a moment, partly because she felt intense periods of silence suited the persona she was crafting, partly because she was admiring his nails. They were so much nicer than hers, cracked and broken since her last run in with Billy's boys, no doubt worse now. The drawback of a life of adventure.Then he asked if she'd been partying, and she couldn't help but chuckle. If only.

    "Something like that, though I don't think my dance partners will be asking me to 'step out' again, not anytime soon." Wow, that was pretty good. Maybe she was getting the hang of this 'witty repartee' thing. Maybe Spider-Man only made it look so easy because it actually was that easy!

    "Though I think I should be the one asking questions here." All business again."Who did that to you? Are you in any danger? I can help if you are."

    Raja mused silently, his expression wholly untelling of the rapid thought process that danced behind those wild eyes of his. His demeanour was cool and complacent as he listened to the masked woman speak. 'Dance partners...', he wondered, tossing the idea around his head for a few seconds. There was something odd about her tone that suggested she bore a desire to imply something but perhaps thought better of it at the last moment. As hard as it was to read the woman's expression behind that mask of hers, Raja felt she was somewhat pleased with herself.

    As she asked more about his 'incident', Raja took note of the woman's caring nature and eagerness to protect. The way she held her dancerly frame, all long-limbed and gently curved, was oddly assertive for a woman of her stature and there was a sort-of 'forced forcefulness' that was occasionally injected into her words and betrayed within her an intrinsic uncertainty. All of this made Raja warm to her. He smiled again, his pearly white teeth seeming to shine brighter than most of the nearby lightsources.

    He paused for thought before answering. "It was just some guy," he concluded. "But, when I say I was asking for it... I mean I literally asked for it." he explained, allowing a delicate chuckle to escape his lips. "It's kind of a hobby of mine, I'm not in any danger. I get a kick out of it."

    As Raja spoke, he sensed a sort of unity between himself and the woman who had been a stranger just moments before. Her body language did not falter as he made his declaration; she didn't seem to flinch or adjust herself in discomfort. He deduced that, to some degree, they may be on the same page. Ever the inquisitive mind, he had to push it further.

    "But," he announced. "I have a feeling you know all about that." he added, with a wry smile. He was never one to interrogate and found he received much better results by opening the floor and letting people say what they wished. If people wished to talk, he found they usually would of their own accord. If not... He had other ways of sourcing his information.

    The longer they spoke the more aware Lisa became that this was no normal man, that the power and the confidence she had first identified ran so deep through him that it made him stand out from just about anyone she had ever met. In fact the only person she had ever met who showed signs of such vigour and and energy was her father, though while Red seemed to be a man of primal intensity and animal strength this stranger seemed far more refined and thoughtful. Noble even. She couldn't help but be encapsulated by him.

    Then he spoke about getting a kick out of dangerous activities, of going looking for trouble. Without even realizing it Lisa took an excited step forward. No way! No way had she just found someone else like her! No way had she found another vigilante!

    He wasn't a Maverick though, she was reasonably certain of that, or at least not one covered by any of the news channels or internet bloggers. She would know, seeing as she'd spent the last year following their progress like a Directioner stalks Harry Styles. But that didn't mean anything. After all, she was a vigilante, and she'd never even seen a Maverick!

    Still, it was too early to tell just what he was yet. For all she knew he was a thrill seeking submissive fetishist, though she felt a bit dirty just thinking that. Who was she to judge? Or maybe he was an undercover cop, and he was just trying to get her to admit to being a vigilante! Could this all just be an elaborate ruse. Or was she overthinking things? Oh man, this was hard. She wasn't ready for this sort of meeting, not yet. Her emotions were so mixed right now she was having trouble ordering her thoughts. Maybe that's why superhero team-ups always started in a fist fight in the comics, because of all the confusion. Should she punch him then see what happens?

    "But, I have a feeling you know all about that." And then she knew, just knew that he was like her. That wry, knowing, mischievous smile he flashed afterwards sealed the deal. It was all she could do to contain her excited squee.

    "Ohmygosh, are you a vigilante too?" She gushed, so quick and high pitched that what came out didn't really resemble words all that much. Realizing that if she carried on like that any longer she'd probably scare him off, as well as aggravate any nearby dogs, so she made a real effort to calm down. It almost worked too, except she couldn't stop herself from bouncing from foot to foot, like a small child waiting in line for a roller coaster.

    "I mean, uh-hmm, you may be right. My name is Fury." She offered her hand out, hoping it looked as casual as she intended it. She hadn't shook anyone's hand before.

    Raja's usually cool exterior slipped a little, his eyes widening as the heroic persona the woman had fought valiantly to maintain broke apart in an instant, revealing the giddy and girlish core. He couldn't help but laugh; she was incredibly endearing, especially as she did her best to recompose and introduce herself as a certain 'Fury'. Raja laughed politely this time, but stopped abruptly when he realised that 'Fury' was being deadly serious. He did his best to suppress a wide grin.

    "Oh," he said, his various bracelets and bangles jingling as he extended his own hand, taking hers. He bowed low to kiss the back of her palm; a greeting he loved as it often made American natives squirm in discomfort and unfamiliarity. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Fury," he said, unable to help but place emphasis on the last word. "I'm Raja." he announced. The way he spoke was how an Arab prince might introduce himself to a foreign leader; there was a certain humble grace to his words, but also the underlying implication that she ought to know who he was.

    "Though, I'm not sure vigilante is the best way to describe me." he admitted, as he stood tall once more. "Philanthropist, perhaps... Fool, almost certainly." he winked playfully at Fury. "Though, I assume we are all of the same ilk," he seemed to ponder philosophically as, taken in by Fury's excitement, he too seemed to get carried away with the night's realisations. "Where angels fear to tread, we fools come rushing in."
     
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