Edgedancer

What Happened In Astoria

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Even without their queen events were taking their turn in Astoria.

 

With Lucentia having taking her leave just recently the news hadn’t become public yet and Deathgale didn’t intend for it to become such. It was bothersome enough to put down all the maggots that had gotten arrogant after she lost her arm. So he went after business like usually.

 

Today said business lead him to what used to be a High school. The building was barely recognizable as what it used to be, now that its entirety’s covered in a layer of diamond, just like the other important buildings of the town that were still standing. For some reason the groups of Epics that had formed liked to take those as their bases, apparently they hoped it would grant them some kind of favor. Naïve fools.

 

The crowd inside the building parted to make way for him. Deathgale knew where he needed to go and no one in the building was foolish enough bother him. In the usual office he was greeted by Ripper. Not the most impressive Epic even if he had somewhat of a healing factor, a fact he tried to keep secret outside of his group. Naturally, trying to keep a secret in this town away from Bloody Mary was beyond futile. According to her, he acted as their representative until the Hematite formerly decided who should replace Hellstone. Having your leader die of a random heart attack is a rather pathetic tale; just further prove that this scum didn’t deserve to be called Epics.

 

The Epic bartender sat down facing him and exhaled a breath of smoke from his cigarette. It danced in the air between them. Ripper eyed the smoke warily.

“You may state your matter.” Deathgale stated calmly.

“Since Hellstone passed away Sonata has been putting pressure on us. She probably even Ki-“
“What killed him was his unhealthy diet, I can assure you.” Deathgale cut him off, a quiet edge in his voice making clear that the topic wasn’t up to debate.

“Certainly,” Ripper face showed a flash of anger at the slight towards his late boss, however he swallowed it down immediately, “still you can’t just let them-“
“There’s no ashtray on the table.”

“I’m sorry… but I think the matter at hand is more important.”
“Seems like I’ll have to do without one then,” Deathgale pulled one last time at his cigarette.

 

Then he stabbed it into Ripper’s eye. The little maggot reached for Deathgale. He simply flicked one of his fingers forward and with a high pitched hiss a blade of wind cut through Ripper’s arm. The bloody stump limply slumped on the table. Blood splatters stained the table and Ripper’s clothes.

 

Still as calm as he was when entering the school Deathgale stood up and walked towards the door. Halfway there he stopped and turned back to Ripper, who was collapsed on the table, moaning in pain as his remaining hand jerked between his eye and stump.

“Should we meet each other again you should remember your courtesies and also not presume to decide that we cannot do something.” He casually lit himself another smoke as he talked. “However, you are in luck. Her majesty is interested in keeping the city calm, so I shall have a talk with Sonata.”

 

Letting these lesser Epics play their little games with each other was a simply a way to keep them placated. Yet from time to time a little management was necessary to keep them from creating more trouble than they are worth and so Deathgale went to his next assignment.

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      Brightdeath was bored. 

      "Ma'am?" The vanilla at the desk asked when she pushed open the door. It made an annoying jingling sound. Brightdeath sent some light to silence it. Some of the vanillas in the cafe saw her do that. They started whispering to each other. How dare they? She summoned a ball of light in her hand. 

    "I am Brightdeath." She said. Brightdeath smiled, seeing them cringe. They should. 

    "What do you wish, ma'am?" The vanilla at the desk asked her. He had obviously had dealings with Epics before. But not this one, little 'illa.

     "What do I wish." Brightdeath said it as a statement, not a question. "I wish for you to die." Brightdeath summoned a block of light around his head. The expression on his face was priceless. He shouldn't have been so surprised, really. She was an Epic. There was a long pause while the vanillas still stared at the choking vanilla. The vanilla grabbed at the light. It stretched for a moment...and snapped back into place. Brightdeath laughed. "Run. See how far you get." A few of the vanillas tried running for the door. Solid light slammed up from the ground, throwing them backwards. Some vanillas tried for a window. A long sharp blade of light broke through the window, cutting through the heart of the vanilla. One vanilla was sneaking towards the door into the kitchen. They probably had a backdoor or something. Brightdeath stabbed him with a lightblade too. "Are you scared yet?" Brightdeath asked. Nobody answered. Brightdeath picked one of them at random. A vanilla who was holding a baby in her arms. Brightdeath summoned a hand of solid light. It grabbed the baby, who started crying. Brightdeath laughed. The vanilla, the mother, started crying.

    "Yes! Please leave my daughter alone! I'll do anything for you!" The mother cried, getting down on her knees. 

    "You think I care?" Brightdeath laughed, the hand squeezing down. It was hard and solid. A dark red liquid started flowing out from beneath the hand. Brightdeath used the hand to throw the squished tiny body towards the mother. She was crying. "What could you do on your own that you can't do with my assistance?" Brightdeath emphasized assistance. Many vanillas looked at the mother with looks of pity. They did not want to risk her killing them. "Are you scared yet?"

    "How dare you?" A vanilla demanded.

    "Oh. That was not smart of you." Brightdeath laughed, summoning a chunk of light around his head. The first vanilla she'd done that too was already dead. 

    "What do you want with us?" A teenaged girl asked her. 

    "I already told you." Brightdeath grinned. "I want you to die." The teenager stepped back, pulling out a gun. Brightdeath summoned light all around the gun and tossed it to the side. "You know, it isn't nice to pull a gun on someone. But I like your attitude." Brightdeath chuckled and filled the entire shop with light, except for the area around her and the teenager. Brightdeath examined her while the rest of the vanillas were dying. Her clothes were patchy and had scorch marks on them. She was mildly pretty and had probably gotten noticed by Epics before. "What is your name?" Brightdeath asked. 

    "What are you going to do with me?" The vanilla asked. She stepped backwards, bumping into the light. 

    "You are going to show me where the good places in town are."

   "Like good places for vanilla or good places for a slaughter?" She was angry.

    "Who's to say the two places are different?" Brightdeath asked, letting the light drop. The vanillas were all dead, anyway. She summoned a tether of light rope around the vanilla's leg. "And you are going to tell me your name." Brightdeath picked up the other end of the rope.

    "Call me whatever you want."

    "Come on, whatever you want." Brightdeath laughed, yanking on the rope. "We're going to have some fun." 

Edited by Winter Cloud
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He stabbed upward, his sword piercing the man’s belly, and popping the left Lung. The man gasped, dropping his useless gun, and fell sideways, taking the sword with him. Blackwave grinned as he wiped the blood off on his shirt. The battle was going well. Cannon Beach had lots of Epics, most of them confidant in their ability to take on the Crew of the Tidebreaker. The smarter ones had hightailed it further inland. Currently, they only faced the Guard. Vanilla’s with guns, and useless Epics. Like Bloom, who he’d just killed.

 

He sensed metal coming for him, and twisted, dodging the bullet. It had come from another guard. The man fired again, and again Blackwave dodged, his Powers letting him know where the bullet would go. He flipped the lid on his cantten, and sent the small amount of water forward like a knife, stabbing the man through the eye. He drew the now bloody water back into his canteen for later, and bent to pick up his sword. When he stood, there was a clear area around him. other than his two Barrel-men, nobody wanted to risk being near him. Some few looked like they were close to Surrender. That wouldn’t do at all.

 

“Are any of ye actually going to put up a fight? Or will Brother Sharkbait have willing Sacrifices?” The crowd fought harder at that. Everyone on the Western Coast knew of Blackwave, and his sadistic first mate, Sharkbait. Which was probably why the people had let them take the Docks so easily, they didn’t want to replay Jaws. One of Blackwave’s men went flying, hit suddenly by a huge woman, easily 6’ 6”.

 

She turned, and faced the Dread Pirate. “Blackwave!  You are invading my territory again! I told you last time I would skin you if you came back! So it looks like i’ll be getting a new rug today.” She smirked and strode towards him. A couple of his men tried to attack her, but she simply swept her arms to her sides, knocking both of them back. Skinwalker was a powerful Epic, one who could change almost any Physical attribute at will. She mainly changed her strength and weight, though she could easily disguise herself by changing her height and weight. She also had a lovely habit of skinning her enemies and using them as rugs. Hence the Name.

 

Blackwave grinned at her. “Finally! I’ve been looking for you! Calling War put a rather large bounty on your head after your last foray into his territory, and I mean to collect.” He swung his cutlass, ending with the tip pointing right at her. “And then loot and burn the town of course.”

 

The Epic didn’t respond, just fell into a fighting stance, and started to grow another foot or so. Blackwave threw his left arm forward, as if firing a catapult, and his Barrel men cracked open their loads, spilling a good 60 gallons of water onto the street. It flowed oddly, pooling around Blackwave’s feet, rather than flowing downhill. Blackwave stabbed his sword into the street, letting it stand in front of him. He didn’t need it anymore.

 

Skinwalker saw the water and hesitated. Everyone knew that when it came to Water, Only Regalia on the eastern Coast had the slightest chance of surviving against Blackwave. But if you Surrendered, you were given to Sharkbait, and if you ran, he’d simply cut out off your feet and You’d go to Sharkbait anyway. The only option was to fight. So she did.

 

Skinwalker blurred as she increased her Speed, charging forward. Blackwave didn’t move at all, but his power flowed through the water, bursting forward faster than a cannonball, destroying her leg immediately. Skinwalker screamed as she fell, but her leg was already healing, and she hadn’t slowed down. She was on her feet in an instant, trying to circle around to his back.

 

So Blackwave switched tactics. Rather than a cannonball, he made Tentacles. Dozens of Strands of Water lifted from the pool, stabbing at her, some piercing flesh, other missing, all distracting.

 

Finally Skinwalker made a lucky dive, losing an Arm in the process, but her right fist hit him in the chest, breaking ribs, piercing skin and throwing him backwards. He drew the water with him, surrounding him in a globe of it. He stood, bones reknitting, skin sealing, completely at ease. Skinwalker on the other hand was panting, and still healing her arm.

 

“Ha! I love a woman who puts up a good fight. But you’re a bit too fast for my tastes. I prefer taking it slow.” The Water all surged as one, surrounding her in a globe of Water, lifting her above the ground. She panicked, thrashing in the globe, trying to swim out of it.

 

Then it all slammed into the ground, breaking more of Skinwalker’s bones and stunning her. The water pulled away from her head, and she started coughing up water, gasping in new breath. She looked up, eyes full of fear as Blackwave pulled his Cutlass from the street.

 

He turned to face her. “Woman, that was the most fun I've had in a while. But I’ll be needing to collect your head now.” He swept his sword through her neck, severing it faster than she could heal. The larger than life head hit the street and bounced, rolling towards where the last defenders were fleeing. Blackwave stepped forward, putting one boot on the Epics head, and yelled out. “Remember boys! Pillage, then Burn!” His men cheered as they set out to steal whatever shiny loot wasn't nailed down, as well as some of the loot that was currently running away.

 

It was a good day to be a Pirate.

Edited by The Only Joe
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Lockvault woke up wondering why his back didn't ache.

Looking back into his Memory he Recalled the previous night. So that was why he didn't have aches when he had awakened, he had slept in a bed. Having traveled for several weeks from what used to be the city of Vancouver, he had finally reached Astoria. I will need to Place a bed in Storage one of these days, he thought. That would certainty be convenient to have the next time he went roaming.

After being forced out of Vancouver when his cover was blown he was ready for a start in the new city. Before he could get any deals though, he would need to establish himself in the underground. Once he had a good start he would contact some Epics through indirect channels and see what they had to offer for his services.

As he got out of bed, he felt his stomach grumble. He had spent the last day and a half without food. Making the three week trek had depleted his Storage more than he would have liked. As he walked toward the door, he Placed his current set of clothes into Storage and Withdrew cargo pants, a faded black t-shirt, and a large trench coat.

May as well establish myself while getting filled up, Lockvault thought, and Tagon needs to stretch his legs. Tagon was his alias for when he went about among the vanillas. Putting himself into a role with its own personality always helped him infiltrate better.

With food again on his mind he walked to a nearby shop. Inside he bought two grocery carts filled with all kinds of food, from yogurt cups, to chocolate pastries, to fruit. As he came up to the counter, he got a skeptical look from the cashier.

"Are you sure you have enough to pay for that hun," she asked. "I don't want to put it all away if you are just planning on wasting my time."

Lockvault smiled, then reached inside one of his pockets Withdrawing a cracked leather wallet. "Oh, you'll find that I have enough to get by," he chuckled, handing over some large bills.

The cashier's eyes widened at the crinkled money. "Say now, how did you get enough to buy all this at once?"

"Working around, doing odd jobs, discovering secrets and knowing where to put them," he said, lowering his voice. "Is there any need for that kind of thing around here?" Placing a ring onto the finger in his other pocket, he pulled it out and patently raised it to stroke his hair. The ring had the symbol of a viper coiled around a burning flame. If there was anything going on in the city, the ring would get him into those circles. In a city as big as Astoria the Listeners would be active, and many of the local vanillas would know where they met, even if they didn't support them openly.

The cashier looked around, checking to make sure that no one around was listening in on their conversation. "If you are planning of stirring up trouble son, you better keep me out of it," she said then paused and gave him a wink from the side. "But if you just want some honest conversation," she continued, stressing her words, "there are some kind gents on the south side of the city that meet at the old post office for a drink and some . . . talk."

Lockvault smiled. She thinks I'm here to cause some trouble, she doesn't know how right she is. However, she might be suprised who that trouble is intended towards.

"Thank you ma'am," he said, gathering his purchases,"perhaps I will pay them a visit."

"You take care son," she said as he departed, "this city is much more stable than many around and you may have trouble . . . finding work."

"Oh," smiled Lockvault, "I think this city is just what I am looking for."

Edited by Sirce Dawnwielder
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The blood in the small flask the Metal carried inside his duster started to bubble shortly before he could hear Mary’s voice. “Metal, it’s time for wo-ork. Someone is causing trouble in the Biscuit café. Do me the favor and deal with her.” The voice was silent enough that even he wouldn’t have been able to hear it without his powers.

 

A someone, huh? Not a name, so probably a newcomer. With some hope that would be worth his time. The Metal jumped to his feet and left the bar he was at. Once he left out of the door he pressed against himself.

 

The surge of power catapulted him into the air. Up in the air he took a short moment to take in the city and the sky. Right now it was a soft turquoise, not exactly what he would have chosen but he wouldn’t deny that Lightwrought does her work well.

 

Then he pushed again, throwing himself across the city. He was close to the café already and with his speed he reached it only a short moment later. Shortly before hitting the ground he again pushed against himself again, this time from the opposite direction, to take away his momentum. His coat wiping forward, before he softly landed on the ground.

 

He could already tell what awaited him inside as he approached, two women, one holding the other on a leash, and multiple people lying limp on the floor. Without further ado he kicked open the door, sending them flying into the shop, hands casual in his pockets.

 

“Yoo-hoo!” The Metal didn’t technically raise his voice but amplified the sound, so the two women heard him loud and clear. “You’re aware that you’re damaging other people’s property, yes?”

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The Adventurer strolled into Astoria with a smile on his face, slipping around the guards had been easy, he'd just zoomed in on his minimap and avoided all their patrols.

"Phew. Checkpoint." He exclaimed as he reached the city proper, a subtle beam of light briefly visible around his form.

"Spectacular skybox in this zone." He remarked to no one in particular, taking in the slightly odd view of the sky.

He walked into a nearby shop, shifting straight through the material of the door instead of opening it. They had no supplies that he wanted but hopefully he could get some information out of them. He stood staring at the air around the store's clerk for a moment, examining his options.

"Tell me about Astoria." He asked bluntly, face blank.

"Um... sorry?" The clerk asked.

damnation. I hate persuasion minigames. Is there an intimidate option?

"Tell me what I want to know or I'll smash your face in!" The Adventurer said, voice suddenly intense.

"A-A-A-Astoria? Well it's um.. Lucentia rules here, the diamond queen, it's been quite stable since she took over, and a few powerful Epics help her rule like Deathgale or the Metal." The clerk managed to mumble out under the Adventurer's stern gaze.

The Adventurer abruptly returned to his former demeanor.

"That is all I wished to discuss." He said before leaving the store, stopping only to knock over one of the shelves.

Oooh, good physics too. I think I'm going to like this game.

He shifted back through the door out into the streets again and continued further into the city.
 

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Winterspell flew beside Ice Bridge, standing on a small disk made of ice. Below the disk, water flowing up from the Columbia river to support him. There had been reports of a large pirate ship pillaging and ravaging the coast, moving towards Astoria. Bloody Mary, in her infinite wisdom, had sent him to check and recheck the bridge. Didn't she understand that he would know if there was even the slightest crack in the bridge? He breifly considered leaving before he had checking the entire length of the bridge, then decided against it as some vanilla miners walked past, heading for the bars on the waterfront. Sighing to himself, he continued to go along the full length of the bridge, checking everything off of Bloody Mary's list.

It was another twenty minutes before he finished the slow process. He could have done it much faster, but he wanted to make sure that Mary had nothing to get mad at him for. He had a date tonight, and he didn't want to risk having another job placed upon his shoulders if Mary wasn't pleased with him.

As soon as he finished his inspection he was off, flying accross the water towards his palace. Icesteel Keep was a brilliant contruct, forged of ice and surrounded by a moat bigger than any other. The keep was made to last, supercooled and bound so it would not melt while he was away. If any were to attack it, they would find it hard to crack. It only had two or three small bridges that extended from it and they could be destroyed at a whim. If they managed to get close to the castle itself they would find a two small armies. The smaller army was comprised of the Ice Guard, 200 troops split into twenty ten man teams, each with a minor Epic at the head. The larger army was Winterspell himself.

As he neared the keep, he launched himself off his disk, letting it melt into water again. A second before he would have smashed into the keep he melted the water and peeled it back, opening a hole big enough for him to enter. He flew through the opening and slid into the room that was behind it, sealing and refreezing the wall behind him.

Inside stood his wife, Lightwrought. She was a powerful illusionist, better than almost any other in the city. She could also suck in light from a room and eminate it, adding to her power base. Both of these powers were impressive, but it was her third power that had first made Winterspell fall for her. She could change the colors and textures of the sky in a massive radius, creating beautiful and awe inspiring skies.

"Hello dear," Lightwrought said, completely unfazed by his entrance or the fact that he had almost slid right into the couch that she lounged on. "Have a good day at the office?"

"Oh, it was fairly uneventful," Winterspell replied, the corners of his mouth curling. "Other than having to listen to our kind and gracious regent give me twenty-six reasons why her life would be so much easier without me, it was not particularly interesting. Of course, things livened up for a bit when I allowed water to drip on her carpets. She seemed to think I meant for it to happen on purpose." His mouth moved to form a slow smile. "She didn't take kindly to it and I was sent to inspect the bridge again." He scowled. "Speaking of which, could you inform her that everything is ship shape.

"Of course," she said, smiling for the first time since he had entered the room. Suddently the sky erupted into a brilliant blue, then an orange, and then a pink, then turned back to the rich teal that it had been before. Even theough the walls of ice surrounding them, the flashes left an afterimage in Winterspell's eyes. Anyone who had been outside at that particular moment would have gotten a shock.

"At least your back," she said as she rose to kiss him. "I would hate for you to miss the sunset tonight. I was planning on making it spectacular today."

He smiled, if there was one thing he loved almost as much as Lightwrought itself, it was her sunsets. He proffered his arm to her, and she took hold of it as he escorted her to the central tower.

At the top of this tower was a large room that the couple would use to entertain guests. The walls were made of warped and distorted ice that was specifically made to distort and relfect the room with the colors of the sky.

The couple walked past this room, they could return her after the first few minutes of the sunset for their dinner. Circling this room was a stairway that led up to the roof. It was small, barely big enough for a couple chairs and a small table. Winterspell frowned at the arrangement, than quickly molded the items into one couch. Sitting down with his wife, she leaned against him as the sky started its show.

First the sun went from a pale yellow to a brilliant gold, then the clouds towards the west began to become purple, creating rays of brilliance that swept accross the sky and relflected off the Pacific Ocean. Looking backwards, the clouds to the east had a coppery tint that was partially reflected onto the land, giving it a slight dusting of orange. With the sunset, Winterspell forgot about Bloody Mary and let himself enjoy the moment. After a couple minutes they went downstairs and began to dine, letting the waves of light create an aura of brilliance around them.

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The view was breathtaking, in a way. As Azrael alighted on the tower, and the city spread out before him, the strange, almost alien majesty of the various diamond structures became apparent. The unusual colour of the sky only added to the effect, making the city look as if it were made from aquamarine.

 
He crouched, allowing his wings to dissolve into fine threads of shadow. Despite the obvious signs of habitation from various Epics, the city appeared relatively peaceful. It would be a good place to start. A place to rest, to gather his strength before the cleansing.
 
The Fractured States would have order, and Azrael would be the one to bring it.
 
Azrael took a moment to contemplate the structure upon which he stood. A tower, some forty metres tall, covered in a thick layer of translucent diamond. It was a little gaudy for his tastes, but it would do for now, once he had a chance to make a few adjustments. The first, of course, would be to convince the miscreants inside to join him. Or kill them. Either would suit his purposes, although converting them would be better.
 
Straightening, he turned and looked away from the city, searching. Where are they? If they find being carried too demeaning, then they should sparking well be punctual. Azrael’s lieutenants were unfortunately disorganized, even though they’d come a long way from the rag-tag band of minor Epics he’d found a few months ago.
 
His eyes caught a flash of light from below. Good. That’ll be Eclipse. Hopefully Twilight and DarkQuake too. Concentrating, tried to project his thoughts through his shadow. It was something he was still unused to. Hurry it up, Nightshade. I’m getting bored up here.
 
A crack echoed from below. Azrael staggered, the bullet catching him in the side of the head. He felt no pain, his wound healing almost as it was made.
 
After recovering his balance, he stepped backwards, fading into his shadow. He appeared an instant later, standing at the base of the tower. Where?
 
The barrel of a rifle stuck out just slightly above one of the nearby buildings. There. Darkness coiled around his legs he readied himself, then sprang forwards, leaping up to roof. The guard that had shot him stood terrified, frozen by shock. A single tendril of shadow formed in Azrael’s hand before lashing out, as fast as thought.
 
It took the man in the neck, opening a red line across his throat.
 
Dissolving and reforming his clothing to clean it of blood, he turned back towards the tower. Azrael’s wings slowly molded themselves from the shadow beneath his cloak, and with a single powerful flap, sent him aloft.
 
As he gained height, he spotted something small, and unnaturally black moving down the road towards the tower. Is that-? Sparks. Azrael shook his head, stepping back on to the roof of the column. A limo. Nightshade copied a sparking limousine. It was hard to tell from this distance, but somehow Azrael had the feeling that the Epic had chosen the most ostentatious thing he could find.
 
That man has no idea what the word “subtle” means, does he?

Edited by Aonar Faileas
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       Brightdeath was just about to move out when the door was kicked open. She wondered who this was. Probably one of the local government's Epics. 

       "Yoo-hoo!" The Epic said. He wasn't yelling, not exactly, but his voice was heard loud and clear. Maybe he had some sort of voice power. Probably super strength too, given he'd kicked down the door and the stiff light behind it. "You're aware you're damaging other people's property, yes?" Brightdeath kicked the head of some small vanilla away as she stepped towards the door. Weak. All of them. Only my vanilla showed any backbone. She yanked on the leash of the girl as she was trying to step around some of the bodies. The vanilla stumbled over one of them. Brightdeath sighed in disgust. What a sad time it is when the best you can get is something like her

      "You can always get more vanillas. They practically come and beg for you. And if you're getting really desperate for them, there is always the wilds between the cities. Although, personally I prefer it when they beg." Brightdeath summoned a fist of light and shove it into the vanilla's stomach. She stumbled back again, tripping over another corpse. The end of the rope pulled tight, pulling her forward and onto the ground. Anger flashed in the vanilla's eyes. She looked up and saw the line of corpses and it was replaced by something weaker. It wasn't a broken will yet. Brightdeath had a long time to go on that. It was a splinter, though. A splinter in her walls. Vanillas. So pathetic. The vanilla gasped as another light fist hit her in the gut, this time knocking the breath out of her. "Beg." More resistance. 

       "No."

      "It seems it's being a little stubborn right now." Brightdeath turned to the Epic. "Such a shame when things don't do what you want them to. Sometimes when you bend something it might break a little bit." The vanilla seemed enraged by the way Brightdeath spoke of her as a thing. So amusing. Brightdeath summoned a light that pulled and pulled on her arm until it was tense enough. Then Brightdeath broke it. The arm, not the vanilla. The vanilla was screaming. 

        "Please, please! Stop!" She screamed, agony washing over the vanilla. "I'll do it! Just stop hurting me, please!" Brightdeath smiled. 

       "That's better. But you need to be punished for embarrassing me in front of other Epics. I'll finish your disciplining later." Brightdeath looked the Epic up and down. "Assuming he is an Epic, that is. Which of the powers in this city do you align with?" 

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The Adventurer shifted through yet another door.

Hopefully there's something useful in this one.

He'd had to skip the last three houses because he could sense people still inside, the last house he'd entered that still had NPCs in it had been a very bad experience. It seemed that they got really aggressive if you interrupted them during a meal. He'd devoted the information to memory, thinking that perhaps sneaking might avoid the problem but for now entering empty houses would be easier.

He picked up a vase on a pedestal that had been positioned near the door.

Surely there'll be something in here. He mused to himself, smashing the vase on the floor.

Nothing. Well better check the cupboards I guess.

He walked through the house, opening drawers and cupboards, finding little of value. Finally he entered the bedroom, he found a journal on a vanity table which he quickly flicked through, hoping it might start a quest or something.

Nope. Nothing. Unless I'm supposed to help her get back together with her husband or something? Eh, they never give good rewards anyway, it'd probably just be an affection boost and a couple of bucks. Well I'd better hold onto it anyway, might need it later.

He pocketed the journal and headed towards the cupboard, opening it he found something finally, a rifle lay nestled in a corner, a box of ammunition lying next to it.

"Woo! Jackpot! Finally got a weapon."

He took out his 9mm and threw it into the cupboard, swapping his empty old weapons for the new rifle. He took a careful look at it but couldn't find any new information.

"Oh man, don't tell me they've put in an item identification feature or something? I hate those!"

Walking back to the front door he shifted back out onto the streets, he held the rifle gingerly and sighted down the barrel.

Well at least I can still wield it. He thought to himself.

He took careful aim at a nearby man, walking down the street with a weapon of his own.

Well better check what the combat system is like.

He pulled the trigger, the man collapsed instantly as a bullet lodged in the back of his head.

"Huh. Nice aiming on this thing, crosshair would be nice though."

Shouldering the rifle he walked calmly down the street as people screamed and ran around him.

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Lockvault walked out of the store, carrying his last load of bags. He had made five trips from the store with all of the supplies he had bought. To keep his powers covered he had needed to take the bags to an abandoned building and put them in Storage there. The trips took time, but hopefully they would be worth it. As he walked back down the street, he started as a young man suddently appeared at the door of a house.

"What in Calamity? Where did he come from?"

Lockvault turned. The man he had been passing was staring at a young man who stood on the porch of a house about thirty feet away. The man didn't seem to elicit such a response, he just stood there looking around at the people in front of him. Then, with apparent causualness, the man on the porch pulled a rifle to his shoulder, aiming at the man next to him, and pulled the trigger.

"Sparks" Lockvault exclaimed as some blood flew onto his face. No wonder the man had been wary of the stranger with the gun. Did this kind of thing happen normally in this city?

As people began to scream and duck for cover, the stranger with the gun began to walk down the street, no emotion showing at the people around him. Feeling the need to be annoying, and wanting to test how the man would respond, Lockvault went up to the man and stopped him with an hand on his arm.

"Excuse me, but if you have personal affairs with people, please don't shoot them in a public place. It is very inconsiderate to people like me who might get in the cross fire."

The man turned to him. "B, B, B, ughh. Why can't I skip this?"

"Excuse me," said Lockvault, "am I really that boring?" In the back of his mind, he felt a slight tingle, announcing his danger sense and making him pause.

The man grimanced, looked genuinely peeved. "Well, I suppose that there is another way to mute annoying information NPCs."

Now Lockvault's danger sense was screaming at him, informing him that he would soon have lots and lots of trouble. As he began to back away, the man suddently brought the gun to his shoulder, barrel aimed point blank at Lockvault's head.

Thinking quickly, his subconscious raced ahead of his thoughts, analyzing the exact trajectory of the bullet and seeing the exact moment that the bullet would fire. As the round came out of the chamber, Lockvault mentally placed it in Storage before it touched him. Such a feat could not have been done by a normal human, not even by most Epics, but with his powers, he had literally dodged a bullet.

Seeing him uneffected by his gun, the other man looked astonished. His expression quickly changed. "Finally," he grinned, "my first boss battle."

Lockvault, his mind catching up to his subconscious, realized what he had done. He had shown his powers in public. Better to be a known Epic than dead though. Bringing his mind back to the reality, his Memory processed what the man had said. Looking in the man's crazed eyes, he realized that he had bigger problems than revealing himself.

Like a flood, his danger sense returned to the back of his mind.

Edited by Sirce Dawnwielder
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I never understood the obsession with torturing people into submission, the Metal thought. Now, he wasn’t about to defend anyone just because they couldn’t stand up for themselves, but the whole deal seemed pointless to him either way. Put them down when they are in your way, otherwise, why care? All he could ever figure out is that they had to compensate for their own weakness.

 

Still, seeing how the female Epic beat the Vanilla reminded him of someone, an arrogant Slontze that did his best to torment those weaker than him, while unaware that he’s barely more than an ant as well.

Overall, it’s a sparking shame that he didn’t kill him when he got the chance but sometimes carving in someone’s skull just doesn’t do the trick.

 

Not that there’s any point in wallowing about the past. Silencing the sound of the girl’s scream the Metal walked over to the other Epic and let his power crush down on her, not very hard, just enough to force her down on her knees.

 

He casually crouched down, so they were on eye level with each other, a nonchalant grin on his face. Before he started talking he muted everything else, creating a silence filled only by his voice, “There’s only one power in this city and I’m not allowed a backbone in the matter. Meaning it’s either play nice or you won’t get to play at all. Any questions?” He let volume flow back to her voice.

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Jag gathered the other Destructors into the prison's central room. They had finished their time in Connell. A couple days had been plenty to restore their Commando ranks to full status and to take advantage of what the ruined city had. Now Jaguar was itching to move on and to fight again. 

"Now that've we've used what we can from Connell, it's time to move on," Jag began. "Washington's been good to us, but I think it's time to try our luck in Oregon. Any suggestions?"

Hawk, like usual, spoke first. "Madras would be a good choice for us. Not too big, but it was a county seat pre-Calamity. It would have what we need." Jag nodded. Madras had been one of the options he was considering. Smasher spoke in agreement of Madras. Metalmech seemed pleased too. Desolation had a dark look on his face. 

"Madras? That's a tiny city. We're five Epics, and not weak ones either. We can take large cities easily. I vote that we hit Astoria," Desolation argued. 

"Astoria? That's the Diamond Queen's territory!" Hawkwing retorted. 

"So? We're the Destructors. Five High Epics, and we're just taking the easy pickings?" 

"She's gathered powerful Epics to her side too. The Metal, Bloody Mary? Heard of them? The Metal took all of Lucentia's might to subdue. Now he works for her. Astoria would be too much," Smasher said. 

"You are indestructible. You can go intangible and create force fields. Why does she scare you? Hawk can fly and reincarnate. Jag's got brute strength, impervious skin, and a slew of other minor powers. Metalmech can control tanks with his mind and heal from injuries. I can't be touched and I can fly and vaporize things. What do we have to fear?" Desolation asked. 

"Jag, tell him he's crazy," Hawk said. 

"He's got a point," Jag said thoughtfully. "We are powerful and now we have his help too. Astoria might not be bad. It'd build our reputation and last longer." Jag thought for a moment. "Alright, Des, we'll stop in DuPont back west first and if you prove well there, we'll move on to Astoria."
 
"Fine," Desolation agreed. "I'll hold you to that." He left the room angry, but satisfied and Jag shook his head. Des was a bomb waiting to go off. He needed to gain better control over his emotions. Smasher looked frustrated, but he trusted Jag's judgement. 
 
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Desolation stormed out of the room, needing to deal with his stress somehow. He stalked down the street, frustration furrowing his brow. He'd thought that the Destructors would understand how he felt. How did they not feel powerful? How could they let inferiors scare them? Des vaporized holes in buildings as he walked. Some crumbled from the lack of support and fell behind him. 
 
Desolation reached the place he had been walking to. The Stained Gorilla, a tattoo parlor. It wasn't in very good condition but it was still open. He vaporized the door and strode in. "I need more ink," he declared. The lone woman working on a detailed image of an elephant on a customer's arm turned and dropped her needle. 
 
"Hey! I was here first!" The man with half an elephant on his arm yelled. He turned and saw Desolation, eyes widening in fear. 
 
Des walked confidently to the man and grabbed his throat, fists aflame. "I'm sorry," the man croaked. 
 
"Yes, you are," Desolation said firmly. He clenched his fist tighter, squeezing until the spark faded from the man's eyes. He vaporized the body and turned to the woman. "Now, it's my turn." She nodded fearfully. 
 
Desolation had gotten rid of his tight muscle shirt from his time as a Commando and now wore a dark green tank top instead. He had dyed his Mohawk bright red as well. He had had many tattoos on his biceps before he had been put in prison. 
 
Desolation pulled out the crude drawing he had sketched earlier. It depicted swirled lines to resemble wind and scattered specks to represent dust. "I want this on both sides of my head and flames burning up my forearms. Understood?" The woman nodded. He sat on the chair which, a few minutes ago, had been occupied by another man. The woman fearfully inked his skin professionally. When she finished, Desolation looked himself over in the mirror. He smiled at his new body art. 
 
"Thank you for your service," Des said as he faced the woman. He controlled the air in front of and behind her and squeezed them together. Pressed by invisible forces, the woman struggled to breathe. Des pushed harder and she ceased her struggling. He walked out of the parlor, dropping her body to the ground. He felt better now with his new art and anger soothed. He would be moving on to Astoria and proving his worth as a High Epic and now he looked the part. 
 
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Jag was impressed with Desolation. His drive coupled with his powerset had allowed him to almost singlehandedly take over DuPont. The other Destructors had barely even started entering the city when Des charged in and took control very quickly. Astoria would definitely be the place for them now. 
 
Hawk was doing his preliminary airborne scan of the city to check the defenses. He reported that the perimeter of diamond spikes was the only real defense. No guards were even standing by the border, a sign of Lucentia's arrogance. The Destructors would be attacking from the south of the city. Jag gave the order and they formed up into their standard diamond position. He took point with Metalmech in the rear and now Desolation had his commandos in the middle of the formation. 
 
"Attack with full brutality," Jag commanded over the mobiles. "We know the power of these Epics so we need to be careful but brutal. Plow forward and head for the Diamond Castle." He began the assault by signaling Metalmech to shoot the diamond border with the tank. A few hits was enough to blow a hole in the border for them to fit through. Jag began the entrance into Astoria. 
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He had finally reached it.  This magnificent city sparkled in the sun, with edifices made out of some sort of crystal.  It's nearness to the ocean reflected even more light, and it was spectacular.

 

I was right, Vis Vires thought to himself, this is definitely a city to call my own.

 

He turned to survey the land, to see where best to make his entrance.  There weren't many places that would be significant, so Vis walked over until he was above about the center of the city.

 

Vis Vires then banished the force fields holding him several thousand feet up in the air. 

 

He slightly manipulated his descent to stay upright, and crashed into the ground.

 

Time to see who I have to kill in order to rule this place, Vis thought, as he rose from the cracked ground, a smile on his face.

Edited by Tulir
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The Adventurer grinned as he encountered his first real combat of the new level, his opponent seemed to be a tank of some kind, soaking up the bullet with scarcely a pause.

"Finally, my first boss battle." The Adventurer said with a grin.

He strafed to one side immediately, many years of experience had taught him that such opponents were slow to aim and attack. He dove to the ground, turning his fall into a roll, it seemed much more awkward than it should, the animators must have tried to go for a 'realistic' approach to the combat mechanics.

Pulling his rifle back to his shoulder he took aim at the boss once more, trying for a power shot he watched the barrel of his rifle begin to glow with a golden colour until it was almost too bright to look at and then he fired.

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Lockvault watched as the man dodged to the side of him. Wanting to give himself some room as well, Lockvault moved back as well. As he moved, he seamlessly traded out the clothes of his Tagon personality for his more Epic garb. As he donned the cloak, he figured that he may as well fight this idiot in as grand a way as he could.

Mentally preparing for the fight ahead, he wrapped his mind around a few bullets from Storage, ready to unleash them at the man should he need them. As his danger sense again blinked on, he saw the man pointing his rifle at him. Smiling, Lockvault started to place the rifle in Storage when it started to radiate light. Startled, he stopped the process and the gun remained in the man's, no Epic's hands. Hurredly dodging to the side, he narrowly dodged the bullet slamming into a parked car next to him.

"What in Calamity," he whispered to himself, echoing the dead man's oath. "What have I roped myself into?"

Hurriedly clearing his mind as another bullet narowly missed him. Lokvault stood up, sending half a dozen bullets flying back towards the other Epic. Knowing that it would likely take more to combat this Epic, he began preparing to summon a some grenades.

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Bloody Mary was the heart of the city, her blood pulsing through the entire city. She was submerged in a pool of blood. Through it she watched the Metal putting the female Epic in her place. The image formed in place; connected to the blood the light Epic had spilled just a short moment before.

 

Trusting the Metal to be deal with the situation she averted her attention. The scene faded and instead she connected to places all over the city. Today the town just seemed chaotic.  Almost as if someone waited until Lucentia was gone. All the more reason to get everything under control before it turned into a real problem. They wouldn’t want to disappoint their queen.

 

The first new Epic was easy enough to locate, having killed all the customers of the café but it was more than just that. Where did the other ones tangle into her net? Then she caught panic near the south border. To get a batter look at the situation she pulled out a tiny string of blood out of someone’s leg and poured some blood to its end to create a little pool on the ground as a better lookout.

 

From there she could clearly see what was happening. Someone was shooting at their borders with explosives or the epic equivalent. She had the blood slither towards the explosions until she could recognize the intruders; they were a convoy of armed vehicles among others a truck in the front and a tank in the back. An unusual sight for the fractured States but word about them reached her already, the Destructors. Not good news, under normal circumstances they would be able to deal with them without much problems but their timing was problematic.

 

This is something that should be dealt with immediately. Mary rose out of blood and stood in their way. Drawing from the citizens as a reserve she also raised tendrils of blood from around her feet, letting them spiral around her. Tilting her head to the side she greeted them with a giggle, “My my, what brings the Destructors to our town?”

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The Adventurer cursed as his shot missed the boss. He had no idea what kind of trick he'd need to beat this one, there was usually something environmental or some vulnerable area but nothing stood out as immediately obvious. Maybe this was just supposed to be a grind and he was supposed to just shoot it hundreds of times until its health finally depleted?

Although... Given his opponents reactions so far, was it perhaps another player? He didn't remember whether or not this game had any PvP but it certainly seemed likely.

"Ah well, we'll figure it out." He muttered to himself.

Bullets suddenly erupted around him, he survived only by instinctively shifting through one of the bullets and coming out the other side of it. He was just as confused as his enemy.

"What the? Man they really didn't do a good job of checking for bugs did they?"

Bullets continued to strike around him, he shifted through another one, this time ending up reforming around another bullet, the force of the bullet continued, pushing itself deep into his shoulder.

"Ow! Bloody Slontze!"

He took aim again, this time sure that he would hit, his attention was grabbed by something he should have been expecting.

Most bosses had two kinds of attack, their normal speed attacks that were kind of obvious but still difficult to dodge, but then there was the kind of attack that had the boss glowing for ten seconds before he used it so you knew to definitely dodge. Usually those kinds of moves were an instant kill. It seemed that this guy also had a grenade attack.

"Sparks." The Adventurer muttered as the grenade sailed through the air, right into the path of his attempted dodge to the side.

His vision erupted in a sudden ball of fire and he felt excruciating pain throughout his body. Then darkness.

Huh? Loading screen?

He could still see his minimap, a general outline of this level laid out before him.

Maybe I get to choose where I respawn?

The Adventurer tried to select an option but his arms were stuck and couldn't move. He mentally selected the place where he'd met the boss and suddenly he was back there, the scene exactly as he'd left it.

"Sweet, I love autosave features." The Adventurer said, taking the rifle from where his last life had ended. "Now, what to do with you?" He eyed the boss, relatively certain that it was another player character now, they tended to be better at predicting movements than AI was.

"So how do you like the game so far?" He asked his opponent.
 

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Lockvault watched as the other Epic teleported around one of his bullets, reforming around another one. Feeling a moment of exultation, he was dismayed as his opponent seemed to shrug off the wound and take aim again.

Hurriedly, Lockvault sent the grenades that he had in Storage sailing towards the opponent. Using his memory to see their trajectory when they were originally placed, he had them reenter normal reality slightly above his head and two feet behind him. The grenades sailed true, one hitting the other Epic dead on as he tried to dodge.

Lockvault felt a moment of exhileration as the Epic dropped dead. "Phew," he panted, "I haven't had a fight like that in a while. That was pretty good. Now that I think of it, I could maybe do with some more."

As he looked around the street, he noticed a small beam of light appear in the air and then coalesce into none other than the Epic he had just killed.

"Crap, be careful what you wish for."

The other Epic walked over to his old body, picking up the rifle.

"Idiot," he whispered, "I'm going to have to grab that when I can."

Softly, he heard the Epic talking to himself. "Sweet, I love autosave features."

"What," he thought, "is this guy crazy?"

"So," called the other Epic, "how do you like the game so far."

Yep, definitely a loon. Does he think that this all was some kind of game? Best to play along for now. he concluded. Hopefully it will get him to make a mistake. Right now it would be best to slowly walk forward, hopefully he would get in range so he could get the gun.

"Oh," he called back, "the graphics are good, but the enemies seem to be O.P."

"O.P." he thought, that's the term people use, right.

Inching forward slowly, he awaited the Epic's response.

Edited by Sirce Dawnwielder
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The limousine pulled up to the column, slowing to a halt. Nightshade leaned back in his seat, putting his arm over the headrest next to him. “Oh driver,” he called, “You can just wait here for us. We’ll only be a moment.”

Midnight Tears growled. “Shut up, Nightshade. You know there’s no driver. Don’t make me gouge out your eyes.”

The Shadow sitting between the two was motionless.

“Midnight, you do grow tiresome occasionally. Just occasionally, but it still happens. I was calling attention to the very fact you point out, to show you how nice it was not to have a driver. I think that this was one of my best ideas yet.”

“Azrael will not be pleased,” Midnight grumbled.

They lapsed into silence, each mulling over that startingly true fact.

“Hm, yes,” mused Nightshade, “But then, he’s never really pleased with anything. No sense of style, that man. He just wants to win by brute force, all ‘let’s just punch ‘em in the face, kick ‘em in the crotch, ninja-style’. No no no. This, my dear, has style.”

“Don’t call me ‘my dear,’” Midnight warned.

“Very well,” Nightshade said. “I think we’ve waited long enough. It seems quite a crowd has gathered. Oh my, is that Pyrelord?! Well, well, well. Our first example. It’s time to show this gang who’s boss.” Nightshade looked at the face of his Shadow, remembering some books from his youth. Hm. He really looks like the Terrible Trivium from the Phantom Tollbooth. I like it.

“Midnight,” he said, “a blackout, if you please.”

The limousine went dark. “Excellent. Thank you.” Nightshade shifted in his seat, which, for being a Shadow, was not entirely uncomfortable. He sent a mental command to his Shadow who opened the door and got out.

***********

Pyrelord watched as the door to the completely black limousine opened. A man stepped out, also completely black. Not black as in African-American, but utterly black, like a shadow. His facial features were smoothed out and indistinct, with the nose appearing as a gentle swell. The man was dressed in a three-piece suit, well-tailored. Pyrelord looked behind the man to see that the limousine was also filled with blackness, sort of swirling around inside. Stepping forward to speak, the man said, in cultured tones, “Greetings, all citizens of Astoria. I am a Shadow of Nightshade, a servant of Lord Azrael, who is burdened with glorious purpose. Too long have you labored under the harsh ministrations of these taskmasters who set themselves up as lords of the cities. Overwatch, for example. He sits in the tower behind you and flies around, oh so beautiful, in the sky. But what does he ever do for you? Has he ever really cared for you, or does he cripple and maim you on a whim? I see by the looks on your faces that that is indeed the case. The League of Shadows, on the other hand, will….” Pyrelord ignited and stepped forward, flames as hot as a furnace burning on his skin.

“What do you think you’re doing, coming here and insulting Overwatch? I’ll kill you myself, just for that!”

He raised a hand, literally burning with anger.

***********

“Kill him, kill him, kill him, kill him, kill him,” Midnight sang. “Do it!”

Nightshade grinned. “Hold on, let him dig his own grave.”

Pyrelord unleashed a fireball at the Shadow. It sizzled toward him and dissipated on his forehead. The Shadow stepped forward and grabbed Pyrelord’s hands. “Please don’t do that again,” it said. “I’m merely trying to speak to the people.”

Pyrelord went crazy, fireballs flying in all directions. “WHY AREN’T YOU BURNING?!” he screamed.

The Shadow sighed. “My master didn’t want to have to do this. I’m sorry.”

“Yes!” Midnight hissed.

With a lightning fast motion, the Shadow dropped Pyrelord’s hands, reached up, and snapped his neck.

The crack, in contrast, with the Shadow’s sigh, was audible.

Pyrelord slumped to the ground, dead.

“Hm. That was rather seat-of-the-pants, but I think it worked,” Nightshade commented.

“That was really good,” Midnight gasped almost hungrily, “We need to do that more often.”

The Shadow wavered and dissipated outside the limousine.

Nightshade gave a wicked smile with a certain feral aspect to it. “Let the slaughter begin,” he said, “The League of Shadows has come to Astoria. Come, Midnight, our lord Azrael is expecting us.”

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The Adventurer smiled.

Cool, another player character. Now I have to make the decision though, do I try and co-op this thing or run it solo?

The Adventurer was not usually fond of co-operative game-play, his teammates had always dragged him down in the past, he remembered when he'd first started playing the game of the red-star. His brother had been holding him back, trying to get him to just do boring gameplay elements. In the end he'd had to stab him just so he could get away, he hoped that his brother re-spawned somewhere with others who actually liked that sort of thing.

OP enemies though? Well I haven't found any so far, that guy went down in one shot. Must have scaled levels where the civilian NPCs suck but the enemies are really hard.

"Really? I haven't found anyone too hard so far, well except for you but then I was never really into PKing." The Adventurer said, warily eyeing the other player.

He'd played enough survival games to know that when people started talking all nice was usually about 5 seconds before they shot you in the back and stole your stuff. 

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PKing? What the heck is he talking about? Even before Calamity had appeared, Lockvault had never really played video games.  His brother had been addicted to the things though. Looking back in his Memory, he found a time when his brother had been trying to explain a game to him.  Using the context of the situation, he tried to divine the meaning. The K obviously means kill or I'm as good as dead.  Now, p, p, p . . . penguins! No . . . pandas! No, that wasn't it either.  People? Of course, that's it. But if he is not into killing people, why did he shoot that random vanilla? 

 

"Oh yes, PKing. I too find such actions disagreeable unless another begins the conflict. Tell me, if you haven't seen anybody else so far, then you must not have found any good information books, or people, or whatever." He said, his voice trailing off towards the end. Crap, this is going to be difficult, I'm going to need to find a way to understand how to deal with this guy, and fast. If I can't get on his good side, it won't matter how much ordinance I have stocked up, he can just keep regenerating, or respawning, or whatever it is. "Perhaps if you have something to trade, I can give you what I know in exchange."

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Why yes, that seems like the place to go, Vis Vires thought as he spun around and saw a fireball spinning into the sky.  He started heading towards the, spawning some force fields to move on until he was above the houses, and carried on moving.

 

As he approached the source of the fireballs, Vis spotted a man perched on the tower above with shadows draped around him, watching down at source of the fireballs and a black limo.  Vis considered approaching him, but he was doing nothing, and the shadow below was much more interesting, apparently killing the Epic, Vis decided to continue on his course.  Before he reached the shadow and the limo, the shadow vanished, and two men stepped out of the limo.

 

They spoke, but by the time Vis Vires arrived they were done speaking.  He stood behind them, dropped down, startling them, and said "Greetings.  That was quite efficient, and I thank you for taking out of one of my potential rivals.  What are your names, and will I have to kill you?"

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Blackwave crouched down to look in the man’s eyes. “You really sure you want to join my Crew?”

 

The man, hesitated, glancing over his shoulder at the burning city, then nodded. Blackwave grinned and stood up. the two Mariners pulled the kneeling man to his feet. “Alright then. I’ll let you join me crew if you do something for me.”

 

“I’ll do anything, err, m’Lord?” The man’s eyes went from side to side at his captors.

 

“Captain will do. Now, do you see my crew?” The man nodded. “ They’re a right fearsome bunch of Pirates. But they’re all too good at their jobs. Not a one of them have taken a blade to the eye. And I’ve always wanted a crewmember with an Eyepatch. That’s classical Piracy right there.” The man stiffened, as he realized what Blackwave was going to require. “So, I’ll let you join my crew, If you give yourself an Eyepatch.”

 

He pulled one of his daggers out of his hip sheaths and handed it, handle first, to the now quivering man. “You’ve got one minute to do it, or I’ll give Brother Sharkbait another gift.” The prisoner stared at the dagger, then hesitantly took it. He raised it towards his face, then stopped, lowering it. He trembled as he stared at the thin Dagger.

 

After 10 seconds had passed, Blackwave spoke again.“20 Seconds left.” He folded his arms, and stared at the man. Finally, the man lifted the dagger again, pointing it towards his left eye. He hesitated briefly, then squeezed his eyes shut and slammed the dagger in.

 

Huh. No one else has actually had the guts to take up that offer. Should he follow through? He rubbed his stubble, looking at the bleeding man, then made his decision. “Take him aboard and see to it that he survives.” The two men picked him up, and dragged him onto the ship. Blackwave himself turned to view where Clockwave was directing the last of the loading. Soon they could leave this town.

 

Calico harry tapped him on the shoulder, then jumped back as Blackwave swung his sword, nearly killing him. Calico always did that. He was the only one who could sneak up on Blackwave. “Captain. Calling War has accepted the bounty. The payment will be delivered to Hawaii for us. I don’t think he wants us to come back to his town.” They had flooded the town for fun on their way out, after accepting the bounty. “And we have a new call. An anonymous Benefactor wants to hire us to kill or capture another Epic.”

 

“Who’s the Epic?”

 

“Bloody Mary. Spymaster of Astoria. Queen Lucienta’s underhand Man.”

 

“Ha! I’ve had my eyes on that there city for ages! The amount of loot in a city like that? Good work Calico, I guess I’ll leave ye alive for another week. Does the council have anything for us?”

 

Calico shook his head. “None captain. We’re free to continue. Astoria isn’t even that far away from us. We can make it there with in an hour if we need to.”

 

The Dread Pirate Blackwave mused on that. If they went now, and all out attacked, they could get into the city. But they didn’t know where Bloody Mary would be, nor did they know what other epics served the Diamond Queen. “No, make way for Longbeach. They’ll have information on the city. When we know what scunners are there to fight, then we’ll go. I don’t like surprises.”

 

Calico smirked. “In that case I’ll remove the slave from your quarters. I put her there as a gift for you, but,” He left the sentence open, letting Blackwave fill it in in his mind.

 

“Idjit. Leave her there.” A new slave. His last one had managed to get her hands on a knife and killed herself. He’d been looking for a new one for a while.

 

Clockwork blew a horn, signalling that everyone was aboard, other than Calico and Blackwave. They turned together and strode up the gangplank onto the Tidebreaker. The finest Ship that there ever was. As soon as they were aboard, the sails dropped, and the wind picked up. Calico headed for the Wheel, to tell Wandersail and Catchwind where they were heading. Blackwave himself dropped his hand over the side, pulling up a tendril of water. When it reached his hand, he connected to the sea, and suddenly, the waves stopped, changing direction, forcing them away from Cannon Beach. The wind changed direction to match, and suddenly they were shooting along faster than any Speed Epic dreamed of.

 

Long Beach would soon regret being near Astoria. Soon they would regret ever living on the coast. But then, most people did now days.

Edited by The Only Joe
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Brightdeath was in silence. That was strange. She felt herself pushed down to the ground by his power. She did not like this Epic, he seemed to be powerful. Brightdeath did not like powerful Epics. If they were more powerful than her, they might be able to figure out a way around her own powers. Danger sense teleportation was not that powerful of a safety granting ability. Brightdeath was extremely tempted to teleport away now. She really wanted to leave and not come back to Astoria. If the ruler, Brightdeath thought her name was Lucentia, if she recalled correctly, had Epics like this under her command, what was Lucentia herself like? Brightdeath frowned. She should have done some more research before coming here. She tried to say something but all sound was gone. She hadn't even noticed when the vanilla had been quiet.
"There's only one power in this city and not allowed a backbone in the matter. Meaning it's either play nice or you won't get to play at all. Any questions? The Epic said, staring her in the eye. Brightdeath felt her voice return. She wanted to snap back. If she got herself into trouble, she could just teleport away. However, if she ever wanted to return here for a job application or apply now (her last boss had been slain by a rival), she figured she should probably 'play nice.'
       "Nice, right. Glad I got the attention I was asking for." She stood up. "Is the Lucentia, "Brightdeath hoped she had the name right, "accepting job applications now? Brightdeath summoned a thin sheet of light. She 'wrote' on it by indenting the form of letters into the light. They read:

Brightdeath, High Epic. At your service.
 

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