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Day 0
Outskirts of the city of Adelaide


A dark tower, surrounded by crows, being struck by lightning, the near constant cawing of crows temporarily subsided, replaced  by the rumble of thunder until it grew dark again, the birds screeching all the louder until the lightning drowned them out once more.


“What’dya call a group of crows again?” Jed asked his companion as they walked down the nearby street.

“Flock isn’t it? Thought birds were all flocks?” Came the reply.

thunk.

“Nah, crows is something else, a murder of crows innit?”

“Don’t think it matters much what you call em, those ones’ll eat you up if you get close whatever you call them.”

“Bloody Epics. Tellin ya Jef, the day they all go back to whatever pit what spawned em’ll be the best day of my life.” Jed said, spitting to one side.

“It’s not so bad, hear some places got completely wiped, old Crowbar up there don’t cause much trouble, just watches you all creepy like for the most part.”

“You’re right there, not as bad as old Necro up in the city, you hear he emptied half of Glenelg the other day recruiting again?”

crunch

“He’s working his way out from the center, be a couple months before he sends them soldiers out this far.”  Jef said back.

Jed shuddered slightly before replying.

“Hate them soldiers, almost worse than Epics that lot, what kind of man betrays his own race just for some fancy powers that only ever hurt people? They all look wrong, you ever look at one of their faces?”

 

thud

“I try not to.” Jef said, shuddering in turn. “Heard they could suck out your soul if you look em in the eyes and the first time I saw them I believed it, look like dead men walking they do.”

“Ah whatever, hurry up and get more wood or it’ll be morning by the time we get back.”

The two set to their daily routine, chopping and gathering firewood and loading it onto a truck. Ever since the power had gone out people in the inner suburbs had found themselves in a sudden need of wood and no means to get it, surrounded by concrete structures as they were.

It had been Jeds idea to get into the business of firewood, everyone needed to eat and while most people had focussed on supplying the food aspect of that not many had thought about peoples need for fuel.

He tried not to overprice it, everyone was in this together after all, but no one could blame a man for looking after his family first in times like this could they?

thwack.

A short distance away from the working pair a lone black crow stood watching, cocking its head to one side curiously before flying back to the dark tower to join its fellow.

Inside the tower stood an old man wearing a long flowing cloak, the weather was still hot and it caused him some discomfort but he was an actor after all, if he was going to live in a dark tower surrounded by crows he’d better look the part.

“Anything interesting?” A voice called from across the room, a gorgeous young woman reclining in a luxurious chair with one arm draped on the windowsill.

“Just a couple of layabouts getting some wood for the village and worrying that the dwellers of a certain evil tower might come and steal their souls.” Crowbar said, taking some liberties with what had actually happened and adding his own little embellishments.

The room was suddenly lit by an incredibly bright flash, Crowbar recognized the warning signs and closed his eyes just in time to avoid getting blinded before opening them to watch the woman, small bolts of electricity now dancing between her fingertips.

“Do you still need to do that?” Crowbar asked with a sigh as soon as he could hear again.

“What?” His companion, an Epic known as Powervault replied, idly watching as the bolt continued to play between her splayed fingers. “I’m a lightning Epic, I need lightning to charge myself up again.”

“You were charged three months ago, can you even hold anymore than you already have? Or do you just like the noise?”

Three more bolts struck Powervaults hand in rapid succession, leaving the indignant Crowbar squinting as he failed to close his eyes in time.

“You can never have too much.” She said, continuing to lounge languidly. “Besides it takes days to get a proper storm going to charge with, might as well make use of it while its here.”

Grumbling to himself, Crowbar turned, attempting to swirl his cape dramatically before striding to a staircase.

“I’ll be up top replenishing the flock since you just fried half of them.” He grumbled.

“Have fun dear.” Powervault said before shooting another crow from the sky with a bolt from her hand.

Crowbar wisely decided not to comment.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
An elaborate manor on an island to the south


Sergeant Kimberly sighed deeply before sucking in a deep breath and rapping three times on the large door.

“Enter.” A voice inside called, strangely high pitched for one so commanding in tone.

Kimberly had drawn the short straw again, which meant that now she had to deal with him.

“I’ve brought the evening meal sir.” She said, trying to keep a calm voice as she approached the back of the large leather seat.

“Set it over there please Stuart.” The voice said again, without the door obstructing it it was now even more obvious, this was the voice of a child. A small hand accompanied the phrase, gesturing to a desk on one side of the room.

She walked over to the desk and placed a silver tray gently down onto it, the smell of freshly made soup, toast and perfectly roasted beef wafting up towards her.

“It’s er… Kimberly sir. Stuart’s still in the kitchen cooking for the rest.”

“Ah, sorry Kimberly, I sometimes forget which of me is me and which is another me.”

As usual she had absolutely no idea what he was saying, one of the reasons the soldiers stationed in the manor all hated having to be the one who served Psionic.

“Would you like me to take it away?” He asked gently, his small face turning in his chair to look up at her.

Upon seeing Kimberly’s confused expression the boy clarified.

“The anger, fear, hurt. They’re useful sometimes, but distracting, unpleasant. To dwell on them is not to live life but rather to be consumed by it. Or so I think anyway.”

Kimberly’s face paled still further.

“Um…” She stuttered out, trying to think of how best to refuse an Epic.

“Ah, you worry that I’ll steal your mind entirely? Leave you a broken shell? Worry not, you’ve no memories I want. Not yet.”

He stood up, approaching the shaking sergeant, her toned body trembling as the small boy walked up to her, stood on tiptoes and brushed her cheek softly.

“I’ll need to cultivate you more before I reap the harvest.”

He walked to one side, approaching one of the bookshelves that lined the room before pulling out a volume and then approached a desk, sitting down in his desk chair and pulling a blank notebook towards him and beginning to write.

Behind him, Kimberly just managed to retain her footing as she hastily retreated from the room, sparing only a glance for the young Epic-genius. She’d need to come back later to pick up the notebook, trying to make sense of his usually indecipherable scribbles and copy them before putting the original into storage.

But before then, she needed a drink.

 
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Melbourne, 15 months ago. Division Day.

Quakezone grunted as he was slammed through a skyscraper, smashing through wall after wall in a shower of concrete and rubble. Blinding red light filled his vision as Laserbolt's beam continued to push him, until he burst out the other side of the building. Temporarily out of her field of vision, he activated his flight and steadied himself, before flying around the side to flank her.

There she was- a figure in a black jumpsuit alone on top of the rubble of another skyscraper, mountains of rubble surrounding her. "This nonsensical fight is destroying my city!" Quakezone thought to himself as he zoomed towards her, black cape fluttering around his white shirt. She turned and saw him, eyes glowing red in preparation for another shot.

Suddenly she disappeared, a mere blur racing away as a blob of molten metal the size of a car splashed where she had been standing a mere moment ago. Her danger sense had saved her, without even realizing it.

Quakezone cursed and redirected his flight, seeing Foundry in his overalls and oxygen mask standing not far away, suspending in a rolling surge of white-hot metal. Quakezone shot towards him, dodging blobs of metal. He snarled as he drew back his fist and threw it at Foundry, using his power to amplify the force of the blow a thousand times. Any mortal would have been obliterated.

But Foundry was no mortal.

As his fist connected with Foundry's chest, Foundry's flesh turned to molten metal, and his fist was buried and enclosed. With a growl Quakezone ripped his fist free, spraying globs of metal, and wrestled as Foundry sent tentacles of metal to grapple him. The tentacles were easily smashed aside, but they reformed instantly and kept coming, threatening to restrain him completely. Quakezone was well aware that he was not super strong, simply able to amplify the force of his impacts, and other impacts. No movement, no force.

Foundry laughed under his mask as he lifted himself above Quakezone, but the other High Epic simply detached and flew backwards. He was not a moment too soon, as once he disengaged a blinding beam of red light shot into Foundry. Foundry was sent flying backwards, his metal falling to the ground.

Quakezone wasn't distracted though, taking evasive action and flying through a nearby skyscraper to avoid Laserbolt's gaze. The building groaned, and trapped humans screamed as his violent entrance brought the ceiling down on top of them. Quakezone burst through the other side and angled upwards, re-entering the building in another brutal crash of glass and concrete.

A beam of light, intense heat cutting through concrete, shot into the building, searching around for Quakezone as he emerged from the roof. Above Laserbolt's field of vision, Quakezone singled her out and flew above her. With an evil grin, he flew straight downwards, fist outwards, picking up as much speed as he could. His fast mirrored the tortured skyscraper's, as it finally began collapsing.

Laserbolt kept firing her laser, scouring the building even as it turned to rubble, oblivious to the descending monster above her. The instant before Quakezone struck her though, her danger sense pulled her out of the way, her super-speed activating and dodging his fist. Quakezone missed her, and his blow hit the rubble she had been standing on. Quakezone amplified his blow as much as he could, a thousand, a hundred thousand times. The rubble disintegrated, exploding and sending out a huge shockwave. The earth itself shook and cracks opened up, bringing down whatever nearby buildings that had even been remotely erect.

A full minute passed before the dust settled. Quakezone closed his eyes in exhaustion. This battle had been raging for two days, and they were barely closer to killing each other. "I'd like to see you.... Outrun that.... Heh heh". The High Epic stood, legs trembling, and looked around. Laserbolt was nowhere to be seen.

He smiled in victory. "Hahaha! One down! Where are you, Foundry? Crawl out if the hole i buried you in and-" His taunts were cut off in an outraged gurgle as he saw Laserbolt, covered in dust but alive, zoom into view, looking as exhausted as he felt. A pile of rubble exploded nearby, and Foundry rose to his feet, blobs of metal rising around him.

Quakezone had had enough. "Ok.... Ok this has gone on long enough. Clearly, we cannot defeat one another. How about-" Laserbolt cut him off by lasering him to the ground, and dodged Foundry's thrown blobs as she tried to laser him in turn.

Eventually, he got them to listen once more. "Look, stop, stop! None of us can win this! I have a proposal. Instead of crushing this city into rubble, how about we rule it, together? I have no more interest in sharing power than you I am sure, but together, we can do mighty things! The whole country could be ours! What do you say?"

Laserbolt looked considerate for a moment. "Hmm... Perhaps, but how about-" Her laser shot towards him and he barely dodged, throwing a rock towards her in what he knew was a futile attempt.

More fighting ensued, but eventually he convinced the others that dividing the city and ruling together was the best course of action. And so the Triumvirate formed, and Melbourne became Tribourne.

But that.... Is only the beginning.

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Day 0

The Darwin Tree

 

Ivystorm sat in the heartroom, watching the sun set. 
 

"Ivystorm, there is an Epic here to see you," a plaything said as she scurried up out of the stairway. Ivystorm pretended not to hear the thing. It would be amusing if she tried to get Ivystorm's attention. This thing was a new one in Ivystorm's service. She would need to be tested. Or maybe, if the others started to get riled up, she could use her as an example. "Ivystorm?" 

 

Ivystorm rose a branch just a tiny bit in front of the thing's feet so that she would stumble. The rest of the things who were standing around the throne room stared at her in a look of pity. 

 

"Who is it?" Ivystorm asked, finally deigning to look at the thing. She was pretty. That bugged Ivystorm. The thing hit the branch that Ivystorm had raised. 

"Wall-" The pretty little thing tripped over the branch and went sprawling over onto the ground. The playthings that were stationed around the heartroom of the enormous Darwin Tree looked at the pretty little thing with something that was alike to pity. She looked at Ivystorm with an expression of terror. 

 

Oh, yes. 

 

"Careful, thing. Wouldn't want to hurt that pretty little face of yours." 

"Um, no. Thank you, Ivystorm, thank you..." She got on her knees and was slobberingly thankful. It made Ivystorm sick to her stomach. She pulled a vine down from the roof and shot it towards her. "Wallraiser is here. He wants to build up a new residential section for some recent arrivals." She still hadn't noticed the vine that was creeping up behind her. 

 

"Tell me you didn't interrupt me to tell me that. Wallraiser could've come himself. I'm not mad at him." 

 

You pretty little thing, however... 

 

"You know Wallraiser. He's probably too scared of you, after that incident last week." Crystalvision said. She lounged against the wall of the heartroom. Ivystorm's spy had been informing her of important events in the rest of the continent. She checked something that looked like a mirror but was actually a crystal so she could see events far away. 

 

"Ugh, probably." Ivystorm ran a finger through her hair. "Now... I might not be mad at Wallraiser for that, but..." 

 

I can still stay in command. 

 

Ivystorm flicked her hand and the vine grabbed the pretty young thing's ankle. The pretty young thing screamed as she felt the vine. "Come on, give me a show. Maybe I'll even let you live." 

The pretty young thing looked up at Ivystorm in a look of utter terror. She opened her mouth to say something, but the vine grew thorns that pierced her ankle. She screamed out in pain and she grabbed at the vine. 

 

Ivystorm laughed and when she touched the vine, she wrapped the vine around her hand. She yanked the pretty little thing from side to side. Ivystorm wrapped the vine up and down the pretty little thing's arm and stabbed at it with vines. 

 

Crystalvision snapped the 'mirror' closed and watched the pretty little thing. 

"Come on, plaything. Scream for me." Red blood seeped into the vine. "Don't be so boring." 

"Help me!" The pretty little plaything screamed out. "Help, help, help." She tried to meet all of Ivystorm's plaything's eyes, but they all looked away. 

 

 

Ivystorm hoped one would try something. 

 

"Come on, you can do better then that." Ivystorm egged on. She got out of her throne and walked over to the pretty little plaything. She released the vines and she saw the scratches up and down the pretty little plaything's arms and legs. 

"Thank you..." The pretty little thing said. "Thank you..." 
 

The other playthings looked to each other with a look of pity. The girl didn't know what was coming for her. Ivystorm didn't know the meaning of the word 'mercy.' 

 

Ivystorm laughed. "You think I'm letting you go?"

 

"Yes?" The pretty little thing asked, a question mark. As Ivystorm rose on top of her, tears began to streak down the thing's face. "I... please..." 

 

 

"Oh, come on." Ivystorm laughed and stabbed her with vines into her forehead. She scarred her. She ripped that face into ugliness. Tears stained her and she screamed and screamed as Ivystorm ruined every good part of her. She ripped up the hair and her clothes. "Isn't it hilarious?" She asked. Everyone was silent, except for Crystalvision who laughed. "What a failure. Come on, talk." 

 

"Please..." The plaything wept. Ivystorm shot a vine into her mouth and ripped out her tongue. 

Then Ivystorm killed her. 

 

"A warning." Ivystorm said as she sat back onto her throne. With a smile. 

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2 years ago

Sydney

 

The city burned. Fires, roaring, spread everywhere. Bodies lay everywhere, some moving, some not. Apollo laughed, sending a column of fire the size of a 18 wheeler into a building. Just before the building collapsed, a figure jumped out the window, and shot a bolt of energy at Apollo. It tore right through him, burning a massive hole in his chest.

 

It was healed within minutes. Another bolt came, and Apollo zipped away at 400 miles per hour, running on water. He formed a massive ball of fire the size of a hot air balloon, and smashed it into the figure. The enemy Epic, Boltsmash didn’t get up. He would resurrect soon.

 

And there he was. Boltsmash zoomed away, zipping along at superspeed. Apollo went after him. They shot through the city, trading blows of fire and energy at 350 miles per hour. Apollo cursed as Boltsmash headed out of the city. Time to make his move. Apollo stopped running, and started pumping flame out of his feet. This propelled him upwards, at with a bit of adjustment, he was flying.

 

Boltsmash didn’t even see him coming as Apollo grabbed him and shot up into the sky. Boltsmash twisted in Apollo’s grip, but he didn’t fall. Then he let loose.

 

Apollo was torn apart, healing instantly, but Boltsmash’s release of energy had stunned him. The 2 High Epics battled in the sky, tearing the storm above them apart, as they battled.

 

The fight became a blur to Apollo, fire and energy clashing. Pain. Healing. Resurrection. The battle just wore on as the 2 Epics continued their crusade against each other.

 

Boltsmash flew by Apollo, hitting him with a bolt of energy, but Apollo grabbed his arm and turned on the heat. The area around them instantly heated up to 10,000 degrees, more than 4 times hotter than lava.

 

Apollo knew Boltsmash’s weakness. He reached a glowing hand into Boltsmash’s chest and with a yell of primal rage, tore out Boltsmash’s heart. This time, he didn’t resurrect.

 

With a grin on his face, Apollo landed in the heart of Sydney. The sun was just coming up behind him, and people were starting to emerge from the safety of their homes.

 

Once they saw Apollo, they ran back in. Only 1 man remained behind. Apollo peered at him, and recognized him as a minor politician from Pre-Calamity days. Hobbes Turnham. Also a cloning Epic called Empire. Empire spoke.

 

“Would you like a alliance?”


 

Day 0

Sydney Opera House

 

Apollo, ruler of Sydney, looked at the massive map in front of him. So many rivals, the ugly little pins showing everyone of the Epics he would have to crush on his way to power. Superiority. Dissonance. Necropathy. Quakezone. Ivystorm. Riftwalker. So many opponents. He had to crush them all.

 

His musing was interrupted by a knocking at the door. “Come in!” Apollo said with a displeased expression on his face. He stood up, brushing nonexistent dust of his dark gray suit. Empire walked in.

“Greetings, my lord,” murmured Empire.” I bring news of the city.” Apollo walked over to him and held out a perfectly manicured hand. Empire handed over a folder.

 

“Dismissed.” Apollo said harshly. Empire glared at him, then walked out. Apollo returned to his desk, looking at the folder. The city was running smoothly. Thousands of troops and vehicles, electricity and healthcare in all parts. And Apollo, one of the most powerful Epics in the known world. Apollo needed to be sure. He was- STOP! Apollo reached into his desk, pulled out a gun, and shot himself 6 times in the head. The bullets burned up before they hit him.

 

Good. Nice to know that he was in power. Apollo returned to his desk, continuing his contemplation of his enemies.

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3 weeks ago
Jefferson Davis awoke refreshed, the smell of slightly-burned bacon wafting in from outside, his wife starting a fire in the same pit that they'd cooked the bacon in yesterday, she was now laying two steaks onto a grill and placing it over the growing flames.

He got ready quickly and exited the door, grabbing his wife from behind and placing a hand on her large stomach.

"You can't possibly be feeling good enough to cook this early, you've been spending the last few months hurling up everything you've ever eaten. You need to take better care of the both of you." He said, giving her a peck on both cheek and belly before taking over grilling the steaks.

Few people had become pregnant these last few years, most people were simply too terified, some said that there was no point bringing a child into a world that was already on its way to destruction.

But for Jefferson and his wife Nyla, well they'd been trying for 4 years before Epics started showing up and they hadn't seen any reason to stop, they'd all but given up hope but in a world where terrible miracles like Epics could happen, maybe there could be some good miracles too.

And eventually it had. And now Jefferson would do his damnedest to protect his wife as well as their little miracle.

 

A loud rumbling interrupted their busy breakfast making, one of the few cars that still worked it sounded like. But soon more rumbling overlapped the first.

A convoy.

"Get inside." Jefferson hissed at his wife, the rumbling was being replaced by the steady thump of marching soldiers.

A loud banging sounded, coming from the front door.

If he ignored it they'd likely just search the place, so he opted instead to exit around the side of the house and approach the soldiers while remaining outside.

"Good evening gentlemen." He said nervously, trying to avoid eye contact in case any of them were among these soldiers.

The soldiers said nothing, two instead marched up to him and grasped him by the arms.
He knew better than to resist.

Another soldier continued to hammer on the door.

"There's no one else here, place was abandoned when I got here." Jefferson said quickly.

Too quickly it seemed.

One of the soldiers holding him gave a sharp backhand to his face and for a brief moment he thought he was dead. But no, it was far worse than that.

"Break it down." A deep voice said from behind him. Someone he couldn't see.

The door splintered into pieces as the soldier put his full weight into it, a few others followed him in and a short scuffle could be heard followed by a high pitched scream.

"You bastards." Jefferson growled, struggling against the arms holding him. "If you hurt her I swear to god I'll-"

"Don't swear to god." The deep voice said, sounding from closer now. A face peeked into view from beside him, an attractive middle aged man to all appearances, there was just something off about his eyes, his voice, his bearing.

His fears now fully realized, Jefferson went limp in the grip of his captors. If one of them was here then he was dead no matter how hard he struggled.

"God is dead." The face continued. "His throne lies empty, and all over the world a thousand divine beings have spawned to try to take it. But only one shall succeed. So don't swear to the dead gods of old, swear to the next god, swear to me."

No, it was worse than he had feared. It was not just one of them. This was Necropathy himself.

"Please, please god, just don't hurt them, I'll do anything." Jefferson sobbed, tears flowing freely as he confronted the ruler of the city.

"Anything?" Necropathy asked, eyeing the woman the soldiers were now dragging out the door. "Ah, pregnant? Now that is something to be admired, the truest form of human nature, that which is fleeting and ephemeral, lasting but a moment upon the earth seeking to gain immortality through the continuation of its line. Excuse me mr?"

Jefferson blinked for a few seconds. Necropathy, the ruler of the city, slayer of a hundred thousand men and women was asking for his name?

"Er, Jefferson sir, Jefferson Davis."

"Mr. Davis then, how would you like to make a deal? I find that family men tend to be more loyal than others, a trait I'm in some need of lately. Whether or not this woman lives or dies is entirely up to you, it will be your decision. Will you serve me unconditionally? Protect this city and your family? Will you advance my cause wherever you are? Will you become one of my immortals?"

Immortals. People didn't even like using the name and a thousand rumours had sprung up around the elite soldiers in Necropathy's army. They were said to be stronger than most Epics even, what could he do with that kind of power?

But then it wasn't just power that he would receive, something else happened to the men who became immortals, people said they were dead from the moment they received their gift and anyone who had seen one up close would believe it.

But if it was to save his family...

"I will." Jefferson said, bowing his head.

"Excellent. Your family will be taken care of until you're ready to see them again, they'll have food, safety and accommodation. All you need to do for now is get in this truck and your family will be safe from these men."

Jefferson nodded, wiping his tears away as he was released. He glanced towards his wife, sobbing on the ground, pleading for him not to leave. Thank god she hadn't been injured.

"I'll see you as soon as I can." He promised, climbing into the truck which was full of other men already, each just as terrified as he was evidently.

Their long trip was completed in silence, there were several more stops and a few other men were shoved into the truck. Occasionally someone refused the offer, the screaming of those poor souls as they died was something Jefferson doubted he would ever get out of his head.

They eventually pulled up outside a large building and were lead into a cold basement, dim lights were on the roof and chains were spaced every so often.

Were they going to be prisoners here? Tortured? Is that what happened to the Immortals? They were broken. But Jefferson had his family to hold on to, he would make it through whatever they had to offer and see them again.

"Greetings gentlemen." The deep voice said, Necropathy descending the stairs behind them.

"Forgive the drama and the humble lodgings we have here but the changing can be a bit... violent."

The soldiers lined up the waiting men and even a few women joined them.

First Necropathy walked up the line, touching each person in turn. Some shuddered at the touch, others jumped as though they'd been shocked. When Jeffersons turn came he simply didn't react at all. He wasn't sure what he thought it would feel like, a great surge of power, a feeling of invincibility, some terrible pain, but it just felt like the slightest of breezes being passed into him.

Then Necropathy looked at the line once more and smiled.

Each of the men and women in the line trembled before that smile, they were all quickly held by the soldiers, their arms pinned to their sides.

"This next part is going to hurt." Necropathy said, still smiling. "It is going to hurt a lot. For to become truly immortal, first you have to know death."

With that he swiftly turned, his hand whizzing past Jeffersons face.

His hand leaped up to defend him but was too slow and by the time it had reached his face Necropathy was already moving on.

His heart beat with tremendous force, seemingly rocking his entire body... but nothing had happened, Necropathy had only given him the lightest of scratches on one cheek. It hadn't even drawn blood.

A second later, his skin began to itch, he was about to reach up to scratch it when the soldier behind him grabbed his arms even more tightly.

Was this what he meant by pain? It's annoying I guess but it isn't-

It hit suddenly. A wave of sensation unlike anything he had ever felt. He could feel his skin, every inch of it. Every inch was burning. Burning like he had been shoved straight into the fire at home, and his face, he felt for sure that it must have melted straight off, that his face must now be made of some material found only in the heart of stars, burning, scorching, surely the whole world must be set aflame by something so hot.

But a second later he realized his face was still attached. After all how else could he feel the pain there double?

 

 

Several days later

Jefferson Davis lay on the cold stone floor, manacles on his wrists and ankles prevented too much movement but he nonetheless writhed on the ground, limbs jerking sporadically and froth spewing out in bursts from his mouth.

Jefferson Davis did not wonder why he was chosen, he did not wonder where he was, what was happening. He did not wonder what the blackness eating away at his flesh and liquefying his organs was. He did not wonder how he was still alive when every vein of his body was pushed against his skin and throbbing.

All Jefferson Davis wondered was when. When would he finally be able to die?

 

Edited by Voidus
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Day 0

Darwin, Pain's Lair

"You kidding me," said Pain. She leaned against the wall in her lair. "Chatter, what are you doing here?" The twelve year old Epic looked down at his hands. "Again?"

 

Pain was tempting to lean over and touch Chatter. Unfortunately, Ivystorm seemed to think the moron was useful. Well, yes, Pain agreed that Chatter's powers were useful. Instantaneous communication between up to twenty people was pretty good. Even if he had to touch one of them. Even if whenever Ivystorm demanded a link, he found himself near Pain.

What a creep. Pain was a year younger than Chatter. She'd gotten her powers earlier than him, though. 
 

"Yeah. Crystalvision saw-" 

"I really don't care what that stuck up saw." Pain tapped the body of the thing who was strapped down to the floor. Screams. 

Delicious screams. 

 

This one was a father of three. His wife had been killed during Flamebringer's Rending. He'd watched her burn to death. He'd promised her that he would protect his children. The older two were around Pain's age. She'd tortured them until they were begging to death in front of his eyes already. 

"Ivystorm thinks it's important." 

"Whatever. Why didn't you commune starting with her? Or Crystalvision?" 

 

"I... er... it was complicated." Chatter looked at the plaything. 

 

She'd been playing with this family for a week already. They all thought they were on the edge of starving and dehydrating. Hah. Pain had given them food and water plenty. They knew it. They just got hungrier afterwards. 

The youngest child hadn't been touched. She simply watched in her cage as the three things were tortured and tortured. 

 

"You just want to hang around with me in my dungeon." Pain sighed. "I suppose I can't fault you. Who else is going to be in this chat?" 

 

"Crystalvision, Ivystorm, Stormchaser-" 

 

"So it'll be a war, then." 

 

"I never said that." Chatter flushed. 

 

"Stormchaser is always involved when military action is involved. She would never be brought out for something trivial. Too bad she's not a more powerful weather Epic." 

 

"You're right." Chatter watched the thing's screams. Pain darted over to the thing's children and increased their hunger. A lot. 

 

She turned all of their hunger to unbearable. "What are you doing now?" He asked, curious. 

 

"They're hungry. They're all so hungry and they hurt. Somehow, things to get more food that seemed despicable a week ago-" She gestured to the others. "Aren't."

 

"You mean..." Chatter's face blanched. "You're going to..."

 

"Yeah, of course I am. It'll be hilarious. Who're you betting on? Mine's on the siblings eating each other first. Then the dad." 

 

"You'll make the third child watch?" Chatter was such a weakling.

 

"Come on, who are you betting on?" Pain tapped Chatter's shoulder and upped his hunger. "You know how it's like when you get really really really hungry? Well this'll be a thousand times worse." 

 

"Stop that." Pain sighed and cut off the hunger she was giving Chatter.

 

"You're hilarious. Come on. I'll cut them free. They know not to hurt me, don't they?" 

 

A whimper.

 

Chatter looked disturbed. What was wrong with him?

"Why now?" 

 

"It's been a week. Besides, I found a new couple I want to bring in. I have a cool idea for them. Actually, wait. Why now? Are you suggesting I wait and- Oh, that would be fun. Get a whole bunch together." 

 

"What did they do? Were they treasonous?" Chatter looked on the edge of vomit. 

 

"No, otherwise I'd be hanging them up from the Darwin Tree. This is just some fun extracurriculars. Aren't you having fun?" She asked the things.

 

Groan. 

"Anyway, I'll let them free and we can watch as you plug me into the Chat. Maybe I could send through a video - Ivystorm would love that. Did you finish saying who'd be there?"

 

"No. There's Starshatter too, along with Wreckage." 

"Ugh, Wreckage. He's so annoying." 

 

"Ivystorm likes using him." 

 

"Whatever." Pain looked around the bleak room. There was black bricks with blood stains from her last experiment with getting people to kill each other and themselves. The iron bars closed to the exit. They were still up. Pain walked over. "Close it!" She called. Her things who'd been in charge of the door quickly slammed it close.

 

They knew that if they disobeyed, or were just slow, they'd be next. They were already dead. Pain would kill them once she got bored. She loved it. 

 

"Shouldn't we, you know, leave?" Chatter was nervous. 

 

"I'll knock them out if they try. With pain. Though, probably just get them to fall to the ground. In pain. That'll be funny. If it fails, I'll call it a failed experiment."  

 

"Okay, then." Chatter was still being a wimp. 

 

"Epic up. Just because we're younger than most other Epics doesn't mean we're wimps. You're giving me a bad rep." Chatter wore a t-shirt with a smily face emoticon on it. The background was black and he wore some jeans. His hair was black and smooth. He didn't even shave yet. Not because his Epic powers helped him with not needing to - he was just too young. 

 

Pain's hair was black and she pulled it back into a ponytail. It was long and hit her hip. Her eyes were brown and small. Her skin was pale tan. She wore a red dress designed to hide the stains of blood. It was just short enough to miss the messy floor. It was poofy and soft. She wore a necklace with a blood drop on it. 

 

"Okay. Fine. Should I start the Chat while we watch?" Chatter asked. He knew he was tougher when opening the Chat. Didn't want to look like a wimp in front of Ivystorm, was Pain's best bet. 

 

"Whatever you want." Pain went over and put the key in the chains she'd wrapped tight around the things. They'd been straining to get free and they jerked out of their restraints. She also put an extra boost of hunger. They were absolutely starving. 
 

Chatter grabbed Pain's hand. While he did that, she put a sensation of a bug landing on his forehead simply because she could. He slapped it as he opened the Chat. 

 

Ivystorm: Hello, everyone. I have some vital information. 

Wreckage: What is it? 

Stormchaser: Listen up. 

Pain: We're declaring war, aren't we? 

Starshatter: How'd you know? 

Pain: Stormchaser's here. 

Chatter: Probably right. 

Ivystorm: So here's the info...

 

After Ivystorm finished, Pain sent through the video of the things battling it out along with the caption: 

 

Sick, right? This is what we do to our enemies.  :)

 

Ivystorm: Not related. Anyway, intel says that nothing will happen until morning. Still, everyone, stay on guard. And crush your enemies. 

Stormchaser: Totally cool.  :D  

Chatter: I was there. 

Wreckage: Shut up, Chatter. 

Starshatter: I wish I'd been. LOL.  :P

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Day 0
Jefferson Davis lay on the cold ground, the bare stone pressing against his back as the cold steel manacles cut into his wrists.

But compared to the heat he still felt burning through his body these cooling sensations didn't even register. There was only one thing that would finally relieve him of this torture. Only one way...

A shadow loomed across his face, the silhouette of a person.

The figure bent down and touched him gently.

The pain ceased.

It took several moments for Jefferson to realize what had happened, his thrashing limbs were suddenly able to relax, his taut muscles settled and he was even able to wipe the mass of froth, spit and blood coming from his mouth on his shoulder.

Am I dead? He thought briefly, he hadn't really expected that relief, he'd hoped for it, prayed for it but it had seemed he had spent an eternity in here, his skin turned to molten magma, his every breath agony, every piece of flesh in his body screaming for release.

A minute later he realized that he was in fact still alive, the pain had disappeared, even the aches from muscles that had been thrashing for an age had completely vanished.

He felt better than he had ever felt in his life.

A click sounded above him, a soldier had moved next to him and was releasing him from the manacles that had bound him to the floor.

Trembling, he regained his footing, he hadn't used his legs for anything in a long time now,  but he was soon standing solidly. The previous torture already seeming to fade into nothing more than a nightmare. A horrible, horrible nightmare, one which would never leave him for his entire life.

The shadowy figure who had released him continued circling the room, touching each of the men and women on the floor, their throes of agony ceasing the instant he made contact.

This was the man who had released him from hell. This was Necropathy.

Once the prisoners had all been released they were made to stand in a line together, exchanging looks of horror, fear, and occasionally, hope. Hope that they now that they were released it would be over, that they would never have to experience that again.

"Greetings again gentlemen, ladies." A voice said, a deep voice, one which he could dimly recall from an age long past. The age before it had happened.

"Again, I apologize for the accommodations and your... ill treatment."

The prisoners shrank back as one. Any man who could speak of such hell as 'ill treatment' was no man, this was the devil in disguise.

"I hope that none of you need to experience it again. I've never found anyone who did but I may be wrong, there might be someone incredibly unwise among you."

The prisoners shuddered again. They would do anything to avoid that. Little did they know how soon their resolve would be put to the test.

"You have been enduring your trials for three weeks now, though I'm sure it felt longer. But you have all passed through unscathed, you have now conquered death itself. In doing so you have taken the first step to becoming one of the immortals. Such success deserves a reward does it not?"

A door opened behind them, a thin stream of light passing in as a crowd of people were ushered into the room.

"As promised your families, safe and sound."

Jefferson blinked multiple times as a woman ran across the room to him, she seemed somehow familiar, a face from another life, another time.

"Nyla." He whispered as the woman barreled into him, squeezing him tightly.

Of course, Nyla, his wife. How could he forget her even for a moment.

Sobbing into Nyla's shoulder, Jefferson held her tightly. He never wanted to let go of her again.

"Now my budding immortals, a reminder is in order."

Jefferson's heart plummeted. He had a feeling he knew what was next.

A soldier stepped up beside him, taking one of his hands off his wife and shoving something metallic into it.

A gun.

"As I promised, your families safety is entirely for you to decide. You can allow them to live, continue to be protected by me and mine. But if you do you will stay in this room. You will be chained again. And you will experience what you just felt for the past three weeks again. But this time there is no guarantee that it will stop. You may live out the rest of your lives in here."

A stunned silence greeted his words.

"Now. Choose."

The men and women in the room all looked at each other. The families of the prisoners all looked confused, they had no idea what had happened in this room, they had no idea how it felt. They had no idea what it was to die.

A sharp bang sounded from one side of the room.

A young man dropped to the ground, one of the female prisoners stood in front of him, holding the gun in one shaking hand.

"I... I can't... not again..." She whimpered.

The woman had shot someone, a boyfriend, a brother, who knew, but she had killed them rather than go back to that place.

"To hell with this!" Another woman shouted, turning the gun to her own head before pulling the trigger.

She collapsed to the ground, blood pooling around the wound.

Necropathy simply stood there and chuckled to himself.

The blood began flowing in reverse, climbing back into the woman's skull. In seconds it appeared there was no damage left at all.

She began moving again, then stood up once more, the gun still held limply in one hand.

"That's not an option." Necropathy said. "As I said, you are going to be my immortals, you are denied death until I permit it."

The prisoners stood in disbelief. The thought had crossed Jefferson's mind as well, but now he could not even seek death as a way out of this horrible situation.

He looked into his fellows' eyes and saw a grim determination in them. They would not go back to that, they couldn't. It was utterly unthinkable.

One by one a series of gunshots was heard. People began dropping throughout the room. Until the only ones left standing were the soldiers, Necropathy and the prisoners.

And Nyla.

Jefferson's hand shook violently. The gun pointed towards his wife. His wife and his child. His finger jerjed sporadically around the trigger. Not quite pulling it.

He had to. She had to understand that. This wasn't a choice at all, it was an inevitability. He had to.

But he couldn't. He could not do this one, unspeakable thing.

The silence stretched, one by one heads began to turn towards him, their expressions completely unbelieving.

How could he possibly debate this? How could anyone even contemplate going back?

Necropathy himself began to take notice, his head tilting in Jeffersons direction.

"Ah." He said gently. "Got a bit of a nervous one. Davis wasn't it? You have five seconds to decide or I will keep you here."

Jefferson held the gun steady.

This isn't a choice. He reminded himself again.

Nyla smiled at him and nodded as gently as she could. She did not understand all that was happening, did not understand why it had to be like this, but stil she nodded. She gave him her permission. And she smiled. How could she do that? Didn't she know?

"Time's up" Necropathy said. "Fire. Now!"

With a roar, Jeffersons finger tightened, but a fraction of a second later they stopped. He had looked into her eyes again. Her beautiful eyes.

He dropped the gun.

Eyes from every direction stared at him. Unwilling to accept this reality. This was not a situation which could be comprehended. Necropathy himself seemed lost for words.

"You refuse?" He said, walking over to the pair.

Jefferson held his wife once more.

"That is a line I won't cross." He said, just as softly as Necropathy. "Yes, I refuse."

"I will keep you here." Necropathy said, disbelief still evident in his voice. "You will stay here forever, your skin will burn, you will die a thousand deaths and still live, your body will be destroyed and remade and destroyed again for all eternity. You will know nothing but pain until this universe comes to a grinding halt and all things pass."

"I still refuse." Jefferson said. His voice trembled in fear.

He was afraid of that, afraid of the pain, of that unbearable pain beating down on him forever. It brought a cold sweat to his skin and made him tremble in fear.

But that was nothing compared to what he would feel if he killed his own wife and their unborn child. That decision would haunt him well beyond the death of the universe. Twisting daggers of pain into his psyche far more formidable than Necropathy's torture.

And so he refused.

The entire room fell silent. The others still could not accept this.

The silence was broken by the last sound that Jefferson expected to hear.

Was that?

Necropathy continued chuckling quietly for a moment before the laughter exploded outwards from him.

Eventually he regained control of himself and smiled at Jefferson.

"You Mr. Davis are absolutely one of a kind. You refuse? All the pain and agony of an eternity before you and you still refuse? I have been searching for someone like you for a long time."

Searching? What?

A rush of confused thoughts nearly overwhelmed Jefferson, and at their center, a faint ray of hope. If Necropathy had been searching for him did that mean..?

"You will not be staying here." Necropathy confirmed, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Nor will your wife be harmed. You have shown your worth here today, you have a loyalty that surpasses all reason. And I intend to make use of that loyalty."

Necropathy strode towards the front of the assembled prisoners again before turning to address them.

"Men! Women! You are no longer my prisoners. One way or another you have proven your worthiness. You are no longer subject to the rules of man, you are beyond them, beyond all their reckoning. You are something else entirely now. Something out of legend. The legacy of all other men will crumble to dust eventually, but you are different now. You will be remembered! You will be remembered for centuries! You will be remembered as my Immortals!"

The room was silent at the end of the speech until one of the soldiers began to clap softly, the prisoners took it up, applauding Necropathy. Applauding the man who was no longer their captor but their leader. They were no longer prisoners. They were immortals.

And then Necropathy made another announcement.

"And now, I would like to introduce you to your new superior officer, the newly formed leader of the immortals, Captain Davis!"

Jefferson stood in shock. He had refused. He had disobeyed an Epic, the ruler of the entire state no less. By all rights the best thing he should be able to hope for was a painful death, at worst an eternity of agony. Instead he was promoted and celebrated?

His fellow immortals issued a much louder roar of approval, shaking the walls of the basement with their stomping as those nearest to him smacked him on the back in congratulations.

"Tomorrow." Necropathy's deep voice said "You will begin your legends. You will report to the old mall in the city center. You will be trained and you will succeed. You will help me defend this land, defend its people and defend my rule. For now, you are dismissed."

The other immortals all crowded around, congratulating Jefferson further, a few walking over to his wife and bombarding her with questions. His wife looked almost as astonished as Jefferson himself felt.

But for now, she was safe. And he would do anything to keep it that way.

Edited by Voidus
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Day 0: 

Crystalvision's Room, The Darwin Tree

 

"Hey, Crystalvision." Wreckage slipped into the room. Crystalvision shut down the crystals that she'd stuck to the walls. They simply looked like regular crystal. Which was pretty. 

 

"What." Crystalvision stated. Not a question. 

 

"Nothing. Just saying hey. Anything interesting?" Crystalvision gave him a flat look. "More interesting than running surveillance on all of Darwin's playthings." 

 

"Of course not. What do you think? I've been forced into militant overtime, which means boringness. How are you doing?" 

 

"I didn't think Ivystorm would do that. I mean, you're pretty important, right?" 

 

"You don't need to be so obvious. I know what you want. And no, I'm not going to gather more blackmail material for you. Starshatter's probably going to figure out what we did because it was the only -" 
 

"Starshatter doesn't matter. That's not what I want right now." 

 

"What do you want, then?" Crystalvision tapped one of the crystals. It was a Darwin diamond. There were lots of diamonds in Darwin, more since Crystalvision had helped them find them all, in joint effort with Wallraiser. 

 

"I want to find out what's going on in Adelaide." 

 

"What, why?" Crystalvision opened up a channel to the 'secret' military base in central Adelaide. 

 

"And now, I would like to introduce you to your new superior officer, the newly formed leader of the immortals, Captain Davis!" Necropathy said. 

 

"Necropathy's there?" Wreckage examined the mirror. "Well, this should be interesting." 

 

"Ugh, Necropathy." Crystalvision tapped another mirror for another view.

 

There was a cheering from the audience. 

 

"Tomorrow. You will begin your legends. You will report to the old mall in the city center. You will be trained and you will succeed. You will help me defend this land, defend its people and defend my rule. For now, you are dismissed."

 

"This isn't good." Crystalvision stared at the crystal mirror. "Get me Chatter, Wreckage." 

Wreckage began to protest. "Get a thing to do it." 

 

"You know I don't have slaves. They could find out." Crystalvision sighed. "Look, Ivystorm needs to know about this. Chatter's..." She opened another channel to Pain's basement. 

 

Pain was torturing yet another plaything. 

 

Crystalvision had been watching before. She was tempted to stay and watch, but she needed Chatter. Chatter wasn't there. She searched to his room, which was coated in emoji stickers. He was there. 

 

Chatter sat on his bed, twiddling his thumbs. He looked out the window to see Darwin rise beyond the tree. 

 

"Go. You know what this means. It's not about defense. Necropathy is planning something. He's been accelerating things recently. I want a chat open and it better include Stormchaser." 

 

"The general?"

 

"Yeah. The general. And Starshatter and the others. Tell Ivystorm too." 

 

"Fine then. I still don't like being ordered around." 

 

"I know. That's why I do it." 

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Day 0

Outskirts of Sydney

 

The first house exploded. Wood and glass torn apart like paper, bricks spraying everywhere. The five men inside the house were dead. With a grin, Dynamite reached back and cracked his knuckles. All around him, though, gunfire and explosions screamed. 

 

This battle with Stonestrong's gangs had been particularly bad this time. Several enemy Epics were participating, so Dynamite had called in the Pyros. Necropathy had his immortals, but Apollo had his nearly immortal pyromancers. They were stuck up and arrogant, but they did their job. 

 

"Hey!" someone shouted at Dynamite. He turned and saw Gatling a young Epic. Dynamite snarled. Gatling was annoying and cocky, and had pranked Dynamite several times. Gatling only had one power, not ever running out of machine gun bullets in his gun. What a weakling. 

 

Gatling ran up to him. "Hey Dynascrub!" He said with a cocky grin. "We need you to get that house." 

 

"Fine." Dynamite said. " I will deal with it. Now get out of my way." Gatling sneered at him but still ran. Why isn't Achilles on my team, Dynamite thought. I hate everyone but her. She at least, isn't cocky to me.

 

Dynamite reached onto his back and pulled out a Frisbee. Just a regular plastic toy. In Dynamite's hand, it was no toy.  He focused his power into it, gritting his teeth at the exertion. The Frisbee started to glow. Dynamite threw. 

 

As the Frisbee hit the house, it exploded with the power of over 100 pounds of TNT. The front of the house was obliterated. The shooters inside, however, weren't. Dynamite dropped to the ground as bullets zoomed right were his head was. Dynamite grabbed his pistol and shot back, energizing the bullets in midair. It was like shooting grenades. The few gunmen in the house were taken out immediately. 

 

One jumped out the back, still running. Dynamite got to his feet, wincing. He heard more shots. Gatling, taking the survivor out with his AK-12. I really am getting to old for this, Dynamite thought. 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Joe Miller walked down the gloomy street, checking to make sure his pistol was in his pocket. He was on his way to a meeting of the Revenge, a group of rebels bent on killing Apollo. The plan was in motion. 

 

He entered the dinky apartment, taking off his scratched coat. He strode in to the main room, expecting to see his fellow rebels sitting in their customary chairs. Instead, he only saw their bodies. 

 

His fellow rebels were lying dead on the ground, throats slit. Joe immediately drew his pistol. It was a good model, a Spitfire. It had killed before. Joe was ready for whatever came.

 

As he thought that, he was knocked off his feet by a invisible force that turned into a slender woman in black leather. Joe immediately pointed his pistol at her and fired 3 shots. The bullets passed right through her. Ghosthorror, Joe thought, petrified. 

 

She has come for me. Those were his last thoughts as Ghosthorror unsheathed her knives. 

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Day 0

tn_gallery_8734_2_76512.jpg

The Huntress watched Thunderbolt, or "Zeus", mount the steps of the stage, lightning flickering around him nervously. He cleared his throat, waiting for the gathered assembly to quiet. Murmurs and questions continued unabated as Zeus surveyed them; then, without warning, he lashed out with a bolt as thick as an oak, thunder deafening everyone around him. "Quiet!" he shouted, air bristling with static. "As of today, I am no longer merely in the service of the Lady Huntress. Canberra has taken new head management in the form of the Three Fates. Their reign is fully supported by me and disobedience will not be tolerated. Beginning from City Hall and continuing outward, all citizens will be asked to comply to population control measures. Comply or die. Your choices are that simple." 

"You were defeated?" one asked. Foolish, very foolish. That tone of arrogance, that incredulous disrespect. These people had probably seen the lightning flashing and threads weaving across the sky, but there was no reason to point it out. The fight had been short. There was no bargaining, no arguing with these interlopers. When they held your life in their hands, you begged for your life. The Huntress slid an arrow into her bow, pulling the string taut, but not releasing. She wanted to Thunderbolt's reaction. 
He smiled, a frigid, dark thing. Lightning arcing between his fingers, he turned slowly to face the insipid human. "No, my dear sir," the courtesy dripping like venom. "I decided to leave some administration details to these Fates, so as to better be able to spend time with miscreants like you." He bent down, grabbing the man by his throat and lifting him onto the stage, then dropped the gasping man to the floor. He let the lightning flash once, and the man lay still. "Any more questions?" Zeus asked. Another young man, defiance shining in his face, no doubt thinking himself quite noble and brave, queried, "Will your betters back up those words?" Artemis released. The silver arrow quivered in the boy's mouth. Before he could collapse, she released again, and again. Once to his head, once to his heart. There was dead silence as the Huntress left the shadows, blond hair shining, an almost silvery glow. The people feared Thunderbolt like a child feared a bully; you ducked your head, complied with his demands, and hoped you remained faceless. The Huntress, though, she was the monster in the dark, the faceless demon of the dark, the hidden knife poised behind your shivering spine. Few saw her and lived to describe her. Few knew she was eve real. But that was going to change. The Fates had decided to have her make public appearances, and unfortunately, they had her thread. Her thread. Artemis, as they had insisted she was named, nearly shivered. She had seen what they could do with one's thread. The Cutter of Souls, that Atropos, had no mercy. No matter the darkness Huntress hid in, Atropos would snip that thread, and Artemis would die. So she would do as they asked. She would be a royal goddess, she would bow to their mad whims, she would come out of the shadows, because they had her thread. 
Artemis stepped to the body of the slain youth, blood pooling around him. Such a waste, she thought, of life. She was just as dead, though no one could see her dying from the outside. "His voice. His mind. His heart. He presumed they were his. They are not. They are mine.  They are Zeus's. They are the Fates'. And because he believed they were his own, they are useless to me. And what you do not need, you lose. Anyone who presumes likewise will face the same reckoning. Now, kneel in honor of your new rulers." Artemis watched the citizens of the city, once-hers, kneel in unity of fear, and she felt the chill finally ripple down her spine. One could argue with a god, but there was no arguing with Fate.
Edited by 18th Shard
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1d85713b348e308b915e4cbe339338eee8e0d866

Day 0

 

star.png

 

Darwin Tree, Observation Branches

 

"Nice view up here, isn't it?" Wreckage again. Ugh. Starshatter turned to face him. He was almost as bad as Crystalvision. Maybe worse- Starshatter still wasn't sure who it was who'd came up with the idea of blackmailing her. 
 

"You. What do you even want? We could've talked in the Chatroom opened earlier." Starshatter cleaned her fingernails- a nervous habit. She stopped immediately. Being an Epic was so blasted complicated. Yes, she got free privileges on killing any plaything she wanted- which, by the way, was awesome - but then she had to deal with the others. 

"I think you know what I want." Wreckage leaned against the branch railing. Leaves rustled above them. 

 

"Where is Crystalvision?" Starshatter asked. "I know you're here." 

 

"Crystalvision isn't here. She's stuck watching Necropathy and the rest of Adelaide." 

 

"Like I believe anything you say." Starshatter rolled her eyes. She held her hand out and a flicker of electricity rose to her bait. "And if Crystalvision isn't watching, then who's to say a little accident won't occur?" 

 

"I never said she wasn't watching. Only that she wasn't here." Starshatter let out a mental sigh- emphasis on the mental. 

 

"What now? I've done what you told me. All evidence of your little smuggling operation is gone." Wreckage actually flinched. 

 

"Don't say it out loud." 

 

"You think I'm an amateur? I disabled all forms of electronics nearby the moment I got here."

 

"Not the only type of surveillance."  

 

"You mean, Epics like Crystalvision. Or are you worried that my girlfriend is watching me? If you were really worried about being overheard, then ambush me elsewhere." 

 

"Girlfriend?" Wreckage asked. "You're..." 

 

"I guess Crystalvision doesn't know everything." Starshatter felt excited. Birdrider and her had managed to hide the relationship so far. Ivystorm probably didn't know about them, if Crystalvision didn't. The thing between Birdrider and Starshatter was pretty recent, though. No telling what time would tell. "Despite what you want to think." 

 

And Birdrider was hiding in falcon form above in the leaves. She was quite beautiful, both in falcon form and not. Starshatter admired power too, and Birdrider had plenty of that. The two of them might be able to keep safe from the coalition that Wreckage and Crystalvision were assembling. 

 

"Who is it? Which one?" 

 

"Like I'd tell. Are you going to tell me what you want or should I just go?" 

 

"I'd stay, if I were you. If you want that secret hidden." 

 

I'm going to kill Crystalvision. 

 

If only Crystalvision hadn't discovered Starshatter's ties to the underground lorist community. If Ivystorm knew she'd been collecting information on the Epics for a cost, she'd certainly hang her up, no matter how useful Starshatter was. Her best contact, Fly, was in danger because of her. 

At least it was Crystalvision and Wreckage and not any of the others. If the others had found out, they would hand her over to Pain and then it would be the tree for her. At least Birdrider would give her some help, if push came to shove. 

 

Birdrider was pretty cool. 

 

"We want help taking down Necropathy." 

 

"Ivystorm wants to take him down too." 

 

"No, she wants an alliance. She wants him by her side, taking down the rest of Australia. She's blind to his danger." Starshatter was shocked with the open talk. 

 

"Very well then. Details, please?" 

datasearch-icon.png

Deviation's Office

 

Deviation reached over for another folder. Ivystorm was always sending him more projects. Unfortunately, Deviation couldn't really do anything about it. 

Just another day in the life of a stupid, useless, Epic. 

 

"Who gives an Epic the powers of math, anyway?" Deviation scanned the folder. 

 

Deviation, 

How much food will the Darwin Tree need to produce to support a march of soldiers and an invasion of another city? How much food will be required to support the Darwin Tree if Darwin becomes under siege and we need to relocate all of the population into only the Darwin Tree? How much water? And also, how much space would be allocated to each plaything? The more useful a plaything, the more space allocated...
 

The questions went on for a while like that.

 

Well, that was interesting. Deviation wished he'd been allowed into whatever Chatroom had been going on that got Ivystorm freaked out about stuff like this.

 

It was so annoying being stuck with terrible powers. Chatter thought he wasn't taken seriously? At least he got in on the good stuff. Deviation only knew what Ivystorm let him. At least he was useful. 

 

Deviation knew what happened to useless Epics.

 

Deviation did some quick calculations which took about five seconds and wrote the answers to her questions. 

 

Then he turned it over and found a slip of paper in another handwriting. 

 

Hey Deviation! 

 You know you're such a useless Epic, right? Well, we have some good news. You can help us out and we won't kill you when we assassinate all the important Epics so we're more important! Also, if you tell Her Majesty Ivystorm about us, we'll kill you slower than hanging out in the tree. 

 

There was a smily face at the end of it. No name. Deviation shook. A rebellion. And he'd been drafted. Bloody Epics. 
 

Then the door swung open and Bloodmoon strode in. He was flanked by Titania (Tite-On-Ya) and Shadowreaper. Bloodmoon hit his fist against the desk." 

"Now, let's be clear here, you don't have a choice about whether or not you're participating in our self-induced raise." Bloodmoon began. "You're just going to work out what times would be best for us to kill Crystalvision and Wreckage. If you try and fail, you die slow. If you refuse, you die slower. If you sabotage or tell Ivystorm, you die slower.

 

"Crystalvision will see you." Deviation began. He was really nervous. "She'll kill us." 

 

"She's busy." Titania smirked. "So preoccupied with Starshatter and her little lorist sneaking operation. And Ivystorm wants her to spy on Adelaide." 

 

"So, you in?" Shadowreaper asked. 
 

"Yeah." Deviation said, his voice shaken. "Do I have a choice?" 

 

"Not really." Bloodmoon smiled. 

 

"Yes. Are you with any other city?" Deviation asked. 
 

"We're asking the questions. But no. We're pure Darwin Epics. Wreckage and Crystalvision are messing up this city with their attempts to play politics. Also, no, we're not with Starshatter and Birdrider either. We're the Darwin Patriots." 

Deviation trembled. 

 

"I guess I don't have a choice. What problems do you have for me?" 

Edited by Winter Cloud
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Day 1

 

IOC1.jpg

 

Decryption looked up as someone knocked on his door, the sound had seemed to come from slightly lower than usual which meant...

"Come in Psi." He grumbled to the door.

The door opened and in walked a young boy, he seemed to be about 11 years old though anyone who judged him based on his appearance was in for a rude awakening.

"Good morning Decryption." Psionic said, his voice as slow and calm as always.

"Morning? Already? Ah so it's the regular meeting then?" Decryption said, combing his fingers through his scruffy beard.

"How you lose track of time so frequently is a feat so stupendous that I often wonder if it isn't another manifestation of your gift somehow." Psionic replied in a bored tone before taking a seat in one of the many leather-backed chairs in the room and pulling a large book from a shelf.

"Like that creepy voice is one of yours?"

"I can hardly be blamed that my biological age hasn't caught up with my psychological age." The boy said, pouting in a way that seemed unusually fitting on his face.

"Ah whatever. Census coming?" Decryption took a handful of crisps from a packet as he asked.

"No I don't think so, he was checking out some figures for the other cities until dawn, he's probably asleep by now."

"The other cities? Are we already thinking that far ahead?"

"His figures suggest increasing amounts of agitation across the country, I requested that he keep an eye on them so that we can plan accordingly."

"Thought we already had a plan." Decryption said before belching.

"Disgusting." Psionic said, covering his nose delicately with one hand. "Well of course we have The Plan but we need to be able to adjust it as new variables become known."

"Well sorry we can't all have personalities ripped from some victorian romance." Decryption retorted. "Some of us were just lowly programmers beforehand and didn't get to absorb a thousand years of gentlemanly memories."

The two continued their bante for some time, harsh words belied by the respect both held in their eyes.

"But still." Decryption finally said. "Are we really at a point that you think the other cities will attack? I've gone over the stats too and I can't find any patterns that would suggest-"

"That's because you always look for patterns in the now." Psionic interrupted. "You need to focus on making predictions on the future more."

"So the plan is accelerating?"

"I think so, Necropathy should be speeding up his recruitment by now but we'll need to let him know that the construction and defense projects need to be sped up as well."

"Where will the resources come from?" Decryption asked, opening up a lengthy discussion of logistics and resource management.


------------------------------------------------------------

Rundle mall, Adelaide CBD

Jefferson Davis showed up to the old mall in the center of the city, Rundle Mall it had been called once, now it was just a run down street with dilapidated buildings for the most part, a few of the buildings appeared to be occupied and those were in slightly better condition.

"New recruit?" A nearby soldier asked, his face wasn't that of one of the Immortals, Jefferson had become even more attuned to that since becoming one himself.

He pulled his fringe back to show the shallow black cut that was all that remained of his torturous weeks spent in the basement. The other damage had all been healed but it seemed that Necropathy had wanted to leave them marked physically as well as psychologically.

"Ah. Sorry sir. The others are getting ready down in the food court. Over there." The soldier stammered and his face turned white as soon as he saw the mark. The man was scared of him.

"Thanks." Jefferson said stiffly before walking off.

He didn't know if he'd ever get used to that. People looking at him like he was some kind of horror from hell.

Jefferson trudged down the stairs to his first training session as an Immortal.
 

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15 months ago, Melbourne, Division Day

 

Laserbolt breathed an internal sigh of relief as she took Quakezone and Foundry's hands and held them aloft, a subdued, but applauding, crowd gathered before them.

Quakezone raised his voice. "From this day forth, we stand united as one! Melbourne, now named Tribourne as a testament to our accord, will continue under our rule! Safety, security, and peace will not commence, after the chaos of this past year!" The crowd grew slightly more enthusiastic at the prospect of an end to the hell that their lives had become over the past few months.

 

Foundry addressed the crowd, "Humans have proven incapable of governing themselves. War, famine, poverty, unemployment.... these are woes that we, the Triumvirate, will address. All humans in my section of the city will have shelter, food, and a meaningful job. None shall be left behind, none shall be excluded from the chance to serve me."

 

Laserbolt smiled outwardly, and barely hid her distaste for her new allies. Raising her voice, she said, "And those who serve will be rewarded well, as in my section, where luxuries will be given to all who are loyal. Those who resist, or who foment chaos and disorder.... they will be punished."

 

Quakezone spoke back up. "Order is important to the Triumvirate, and so from now on, no Epic who is not loyal to our rule and this city shall be permitted to remain here. Furthermore, no Epic who has not received special permission will be allowed to kill any human, the punishment to be decided on a later date." More applause. "To further our goals of peace, all old laws, while they do not apply to Epics, still apply to humans. New and harsher penalties for these crimes will be introduced, effective immediately. Our primary goal is keeping you all safe, and allowing our great city to rise and rise in the future."

 

As the crowd applauded, Laserbolt cursed inwardly at these developments. While she was relieved that that hellish, never-ending conflict was over, she had wanted Melbourne- Tribourne- for herself. She could still have that, hopefully. Time would pass, and this... alliance would continue. She could observe, watch, try to find a way to undermine and eventually subdue or kill these two buffoons. Tribourne, and all its people, would be hers.

 

Unbeknownst to Laserbolt though, the other two were thinking the exact same thing.

 

 

Present day, three years after Calamity

 

Laserbolt smiled, eating a grape and lounging on her throne as a petitioner came to her, begging her favour and attention. "What is it, my subject?"

 

The petitioner cowered and bowed before her. "My mistress, I beg your pardon with my trivial complaint! But my neighbourhood is experiencing shortages of food, and-"

"Enough! Please," Laserbolt cut him off. "Everyone is complaining about food shortages! I think that there is only one way to solve the problem that you are having." She turned to her clerk, Roger. "Roger, be a dear and have this petitioner choose about 50 people from around his suburb. Then grant them the honour of being permanent farm workers, to grow more food for their city and do the work that the unfortunately broken machines formerly did." The petitioner looked uncertain, but thanked her and left.

 

Laserbolt frowned and turned to one of her advisors, a wind Epic. "Windstorm, what on earth is going on here? Everyone is reporting food shortages."

Windstorm scowled. "It is Quakezone, or Foundry perhaps. Someone sabotaged many of our machines, and yield is way down. We'll need to put more people on the job to replace the-"

Laserbolt cut him off with a wave of her hand. "I know that, but surely those machines could not have made such a difference? Didn't we already set more subjects farming?"

"Not enough, I think, my mistress."

"Hmm... well make sure that Quakey and metal-head both pay for this. I want a storehouse each poisoned, and try to make it look like some small-time gang did it. Let's see how they like that."

Windstorm smiled. "I think that Anthrax would be perfect for such a job. I will handle it, my lady."

Laserbolt chuckled, and gestured for the nest petitioner to be sent in.

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Two Years, Three Months, and Seven Days Ago

Darwin

Joy scrambled among the wreckage of her former home. It was made of ashes now. How had Joy survived the firestorm that had filled her home? She'd thought she was dead. 

 

She wasn't, surprisingly. 

 

Joy was still half dead. She coughed on the smoke, but it wasn't as bad as it could've been. She'd heard of the strange people from powers in other countries or cities, even, but... 

 

She hadn't thought the 'Epics' would come to Darwin. Epic was a name coined by Americans, but it had spread. Some people believed that the Epics were kind, still. Joy knew they weren't, now. She'd seen the monster who had destroyed her life kill a child in front of its mother.

The monster had enjoyed it. 

 

Enjoyed it. 

 

That just wasn't right. 

 

Joy had gotten a good look at the Epic. He had broad shoulders and his muscles had ripped through his clothes. He had thick and bushy brown hair. He was clean shaven. Fancy. 

Joy coughed out and found herself limping. A pile of wreckage or something landed on her leg. And it had scorched her. She felt the fire. 

 

"That... monster." Joy breathed out as she made it out of the still warm wreckage.

 

Joy was coughing up something. She was scared. She might still die. She found she didn't care as much as she should've. Joy's family had still been in her house. She'd tried to protect her little brother, Gabriel.

Her memory of his burns scarred her memory.

 

He'd died from the blaze consuming him.

Joy's sister, Ella, had collapsed, mere breaths from the window.

 

Joy's father had made it out of the door when the Epic had turned away with a dismissive wave. A bolt of fire had consumed him.

 

Joy's last sight of her mother was the debris crushing her.

 

She'd been having a party too. So it was her fault when her best friend, Madeline, died in Joy's arms as she'd nearly escaped.

 

When Fern, another friend, had been lost inside the building. 

 

Gabby had tried to attack the Epic in an act of boldness and stupidity. She'd suffered as the flames sucked up her skin. 

 

Veronica had died from smoke inhalation. Or so Joy assumed. 

 

Joy didn't even know where Madison was. Joy thought she might've survived. She'd seen Madison's face as she'd gone out of the back window. Her long black hair wasn't even scorched. Madison might've died from the smoke, though. 

 

Callie had also been consumed by the fire. 

 

Ben, the first boy that Joy had ever kissed, was made of ash. 

 

John, Gabby's boyfriend, had let himself be caught by the fire after seeing her out the window. 

 

Joy didn't know how Mark had died. All she knew was that she'd found his corpse. 

 

The fifteen year old cried in the rubble for the end of life as she had known it. Her face was scarred, along with her hands. Everything had fallen apart. They were all dead. 

It was Joy's fault. 

 

I hate the Epics. 

I hate them all. 

 

Where was the monster now, anyway? 

 

Joy's name didn't fit any more. She wasn't happy. She was just empty. But she didn't have another one. Her last name was gone too. Probably wiped off the planet. 

 

"I'm going to kill him." Joy decided. 

 

"Good plan. I think I might too. Unfortunately, I can't have you knowing who I am." That was Madison's voice. Something was wrong with it. Too strained. Joy spun around. 

"You?" She asked. "What... You're alive!" 

 

Madison wasn't scarred. Her skin was perfect. Flawless. 

 

"I think I see it now. Yes. I will." She was distant. She was talking to someone else. Something was wrong. "Joy- if it counts for anything- I'm sorry I have to do this." 

 

"Madison..." Joy's tone was full of warning. "What are you doing?" She pulled a packet of seeds out of her pocket and tore it open with her mouth. 

"Don't call me that. From now on, my name is Ivystorm. And nobody can have heard you. You see, I have to kill everyone here now. They've heard that name, Joy. Thank you." 

 

Vines sprouted from the seeds. They shot forward towards Joy. She screamed as they wrapped around her, tightening. She- couldn't - breath. 
 

I won't be taken like this! Joy wanted to shout out. She kicked her legs out. Madison - no, Ivystorm - had a sick look of pleasure in her eyes. The vines sprouted spikes and the pain rushed down her arm. I survived! I survived the fire! 

 

"Flamebringer can't know I was burned. You see, I don't have scars. I can heal now. I'm immortal, Joy. Joy. I want to hear you beg. Or you're going to be thrown out-" Ivystorm flicked her hand and a planted tree rose up to a higher height. "Like a piece of trash." The tree immediately wilted. 

 

The vines loosened so that Joy could breath. 

 

"Madison, please..." Joy whimpered. 
 

"On your knees." Ivystorm shoved the vines down with her mind and they knocked her down. Her head hit the ground. Her mouth. A tooth sprayed out from her mouth. Pain. She screamed out. "Bark like a dog." 

 

Joy didn't want to die, no matter how noble she could sound. 

So she barked. 

 

"Cute. Like your little brother. Wait- he's dead, isn't he?" Joy felt rage rise up and she tried to jump at Ivystorm, but the vines tightened and pulled her into the ground. "Aren't you deadly allergic to roses?" She asked, as if pondering it. 

 

"No... you wouldn't... Madison, it's me. I'm your friend." 

 

"You always liked Madeline more." 

 

"That's not... to do... with this..." Joy choked out as the vines constricted. The first bud began to sprout. As a contrast to the danger, it was beautiful. Joy usually had an EpiPen on her, but she must've lost it in the fire. Besides, Ivystorm would never have let her use it. 

 

"Yes, she's dead, isn't she? I only wish I'd been able to watch." 

 

"Madison, it's me. Your friend. You don't want to do this!" Joy was crying. She was sobbing out. She was choking out terrible whimpers and tears. "Please... please... please..." 

 

"This is getting pathetic." Ivystorm waved a hand and the roses grew up. Joy coughed out. Her allergy was taking over. It was pulling her down. "I have work to do. Have fun knowing you failed. All of their deaths were your fault, you know." 

 

Joy coughed up a spitball of blood and spit it at Ivystorm. Her clothes were ruined, but her body was perfectly fine. Better than ever. Beautifully cold. The type of pretty everyone wanted. 

 

I failed. 

 

That was Joy's last thought. 

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15 months ago, Shepparton: Wendigo

 

 

Natali looked up from her books as her husband barged into the study, carrying a newspaper. "Natali! Natali you need to see this!"

He held the front page for her to see.

 

EPICS GIVEN FREE REIGN! PARLIAMENT PASSES SURRENDER ACT
MILITARY REFUSES TO OBEY: VOWS TO CONTINUE FIGHTING

 

Natali's eyes widened as she read. Accompanying the story was a picture of the Prime Minister, grimfaced, as he delivered the news. She couldn't believe it. No, she would not believe it. 

 

Geoff paced in front of the desk, leaving the paper in her hands. "Natali, I told you, we need to get out of here! Its over, don't you see? These supervillains can do whatever they want now! They've even taken over Melbourne- tens of thousands of people are dead, Nat! Don't you get it!?"

 

Natali dropped the paper, her shaking hands unable to hold it. "I.... I thought that the good ones would have come by now." She whispered. Geoff scowled. "Good ones? Good ones!? Every single one of them kills people! Some lunatic with superpowers melted an entire street, just a few blocks over! We need to take the kids, and leave, like everyone else is doing!" Natali took her head in her hands, saying nothing. Geoff's face softened, and he leaned on the desk.

 

"Its... its ok honey. I know this is hard. I thought that we could win too. But.... there isn't any force left to stop them. The generals talk tough but if they could control those... things then the bloody government wouldn't have fallen over like this." Neither of them said anything for several minutes. Finally she raised her head, and nodded. "Ok... ok, we'll go somewhere else. Get out of the city, go out to the country. We'll go to my parent's farm, we should be safe there." 

Geoff smiled, and kissed his wife on the cheek. "Thank you honey."

 

Geoff left, and Natali began packing up her things, moving like a robot. She was numb, utterly numb. How could this have happened? Just like that, her hopes for superheroes or the defeat of the villains were dashed. It was over. What would the world be like now, with governments everywhere falling, surrendering, allowing psychopaths to kill as they pleased?

 

Suddenly she saw a red glow from above, as if her ceiling light had turned red. But it had not, nor was it on. Looking up, she thought that she could see... Calamity. The red star, even through her roof. It transfixed her, calling to her... whispering to her. The light began growing, until all she could see was red, and all she could hear was that divine, angelic voice. She didn't know how long she stood there, looking skyward, Calamity calling to her. 

She did not remember, although she later surmised, what happened next.

 

Natali shook her head, and she felt the air around her go suddenly cold. Geoff walked in. "Wow, it got very cold all of a sudden. How are you going with the packing?" She didn't answer. "Honey?" He approached her, stretching an arm out to take her shoulder. "Natali?"

Before he reached her, she spun around, grabbing his arm, eyes filled with anger and rage. He gasped at her ice cold touch. With a gesture, she had formed a large icicle in her hand, and with another she had impaled him in the chest with it. Geoff was too shocked to say a thing as he fell to the ground, another icicle finding his throat.

 

She killed her children next. They barely had time to register their mother's sudden anger before they too were impaled with ice. 

 

Natali left her house, and snow began swirling around her. The air cooled, a warm day turning cold as she formed ice out of nothingness. Some people screamed, but she heard them not- all she heard was the sound of snow and ice whirling faster and faster around her, forming a vortex of cold. Clouds gathered as she extended her powers, and the whole of Shepparton felt a sudden bite of cold air. Then they felt a frostier bite, as the temperature plummeted and snow began to descend. People realised that something unnatural was happening, but it was too quick to even panic. The wind picked up speed, and within a few minutes, a warm spring day had become a snow storm. Several more minutes passed, and the snowstorm became a blizzard, fierce wind causing tonnes of snow to rain down almost horizontally across the city. The wind changed direction constantly, rotating around Natali as she slowly buried Shepparton.

 

Specks of snow soon became jagged chunks of ice, moving fast enough to smash windows and tear apart buildings, cars and people alike. People were buried alive in the snow, or trapped in their cars or houses, sealed behind metres of snow. And at the centre of it all stood Natali, rising on a pillar of ice, the entire storm rotating around her as she wiped Shepparton out of existence.

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DAY 0, Perth City

 

Superiority looked out over Perth. His city. He almost felt a bit sorry for the Epics with cities mostly in turmoil, like Adelaide over East. But not to worry, that would soon be his too. After all, cities in peace were so much easier to manipulate, to bend too your will, and once he conquered the rest of the Wastelands, countries would bend to his will too. Superiority looked out over the factory districts in the south of the city, pumping out product, and the barracks, pumping out soldiers. His army was nearly ready. He turned, and saw Dissonance resting in the centre of the penthouse. He harrumphed. As much as he loved her, she was extremely lazy. “Dissonance!” He shouted “Today is a flying day. Go.” She nodded at him, then exited the apartment. Superiority sat down tried to channel flight, and waited.

Dissonance made her regular rounds through the central areas of the city, projecting her powers out across the general populus. Today, she was telling them their beloved ruler Superiority had the power of flight. And so he would. A simple, but effective propaganda system, allowing Perth to be one of the most powerful cities in the Wastelands. But if only Superiority would do something, she thought. They had more recources at their disposal then any of the cities they would attack first, and yet he just waited, waited and waited. She was going to have to take matters into her own hands.

Tamer was confused. Why did no one else see? One second, the whole city believes that Superiority’s power is extreme speed, and the next flying! There must be some reason. It must be an Epic’s powers. But it couldn’t be, the soldiers loyal to him never questioned a thing! Was Tamer the only one who noticed? Did Superiority even have powers? No, Tamer had seen him use them himself. He sighed, and looked across the water from the old war memorial to the cbd, where Superiority had his base of operations. So many questions yet no answer anywhere in sight. Spits, his dragon familiar, nuzzled up against him. Tamer smiled. Spits was a bright spark in this dark and ignorant world. As he stroked his scaly head, he came to some conclusions. He would figure out what was going on. He would uncover the truth about Superiority, and his wife Dissonance, whose powers remained unkonwn. Did she play some part in this? He steeled himself, summoned up some more familiars, and stared out across the river once more. Soon the whole wastelands would know the truth, and soon, Perth would be his.

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Day 1

Severance looked out onto the coastal waters.

"You ever wonder what's happening across that ocean?" He asked.

"Well sir I think in that direction is just the other peninsula which is still part of our territory." Gary retorted.

"Son I like you, don't make me rip your tongue out." Severance said in a flat tone.

"Pfft. Then who'd you talk to? Every other shite in the unit is too piss-scared to even look you in the eyes let alone talk frankly. Sir."

"And yet you don't seem to mind in the least." Severance noted, turning his gaze from the rolling waves to the young man in the military outfit behind him.

"Doesn't seem to matter much, I try to lick your bootheels, I mouth off every few minutes, you'll kill me when you feel like it and there's not much I could do to stop it. Might as well enjoy life while I have it."

"Not a bad attitude I suppose. Still, you could join the Immortals, that'd protect you from death."

Gary spat to one side.

"Maybe, but you seen that lot? They're worse than dead. You ever hear one of them crack a joke or even bloody smile? You Epics all seem to have that to, only time you smile is when you're exploding people for fun or whatnot. Must be a superpower thing so I'll keep my mortality if it's all the same."

Severance cracked a grim smile at that.

The two stood waiting on the jetty until finally a car pulled up and a group of soldiers walked out, escorting a young girl holding a briefcase.

"Sir!" One of the soldiers said as they snapped a salute. "We have the assets you requested!"

"Yes, thank you private. The briefcase first if you please?"

The soldier took the briefcase from the girl before handing it over to Severance who opened it, revealing a gold bar laying inside, encased in velvet.

He took the bar out and threw it into the water. The girl looked at him like he was insane.

"Wait. You'll see." He said to her.

She looked back at him, terrified. When Epics said things like that it was almost never something you actually wanted to see.

A few minutes passed in silence but soon the water started frothing, a spout shot out, revealing a figure inside.

Long red hair hung down her back, offset by the deep blue corset and pants she wore along with a crown made of gold upon her head.

"Seastrider." Severance said, nodding in respect.

"What is it Severance?" The woman said, giving testament to her name as she stood firmly on the ocean as it rolled beneath her.

"The usual, tactical insertion mission." He replied, making a motion behind his back.

One of the soldiers brought the girl forward and kicked her legs, causing her to fall to her knees in front of the woman who then judged her like a piece of livestock.

"Not your best offerings but she'll do. How many, when and to where?" Seastrider asked, reaching out to lift a strand of the fallen girls hair.

"Around 50, split into 5 teams, tonight and to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and to Perth"

"5 trips? For one girl whose barely up to scratch?" Seastrider scoffed. "Send for me again when you have a better offer."

The water below her began to reach up, as though to pull her into the depths.

"Not just the one." Severance replied, gesturing again. Seastrider stopped for a moment looking in the direction he'd gestured. The car that had pulled up opened its doors again, one more soldier leading another girl, a girl who looked eerily similar to the other.

"Twins?" Seastrider asked, a note of curiosity and desire evident in her voice. "Hmmm... Well I suppose I can do 5 trips for a pair, I've got a few sisters but no twins yet."

As usual Severance declined to ask what exactly Seastrider did to the girls she was given. Seastrider asked no questions about his business and he asked none about hers, her work was best kept strictly confidential and she knew it.

"Alright, 9PM Adelaide time then, we'll meet you at the usual place." Severance said. The soldiers brought both girls up to the edge of the jetty where Seastrider took the time to gently pat them both on the head.

"Good girls." She crooned gently. "You'll be safe now, I promise."

A small whirlpool formed beside her, growing rapidly before springing upwards into a twister which grammed a hold of the twin girls, ripping them from the wooden platform and into the water where they promptly disappeared.

Flipping the gold bar in her hands once more, Seastrider dropped that into the whirlpool as well, it disappeared as well. Gone, teleported to wherever Seastriders base was.

"Alright. 9PM, don't be late." She said before diving into the portal-pool herself.

The water finally stilled.

"She's a weird one." Gary said as the final ripple faded. "Even for one of your lot."

Severance didn't answer, he lifted the two of them up on a force field and began to speed back to the base. Hopefully Severance was done there by now, that last lot of recruits had screamed for weeks.

"Ah, cheers mate." Gary said, reclining as much as he was able on the invisible field of energy. "Beats having to drive with a bunch of sweaty guys who don't say anything to me other than 'Hail Severance' since they think I'm a mole or something."

"Maybe I tell them to do it and hope some of their reverence will rub off on you." Severance said dryly.

"Nah you wouldn't do that, you like me too much. And if you didn't you wouldn't bother talking to them, you'd just explode my stomach or chop of my head or something."

Well he's got me there.

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Day 1

Pain's Lair

 

"CHATTER!" Pain yelled. She strutted out of the changing room. 

 

Chatter was uncomfortably sitting on a bench. It was made of human- plaything - skulls. Pain was honestly pretty proud of that one. 

 

"Yes, Pain?" Chatter pulled his knees up to his chest. 

 

"Sit up straight, Chatter." She corrected. He immediately puffed up so much that Pain thought he would float. "So, how do I look?" 

The look of bafflement on Chatter's face made the entire thing worth it. The look he gave her. Honestly, Pain laughed out loud. "The look on your face, Chatter!" Pain sat next to Chatter and leaned up against him. She made him feel a stab of pain where she was touching him. 

 

"Ow. Um, you look good, Pain." Chatter's face was so awkward. It was so obvious how he both was obsessed with her and was terrified of her. "Very good." 

 

Chatter was wearing a suit, tailored by the richest things in town. It was a little too loose. He also had a tie. The buttons were made of opals. His hair had been brushed. Pain was wearing a puffy pink dress with white frill underneath it. It was pretty short and was huge. The sleeves were straps. Her necklace was made of diamonds. Her hair was loose. She'd also put on a little bit of make up. 

 

"Why did Ivystorm insist on us all dressing up to this meeting again?" Pain asked, twirling her hair.

 

Chatter broke away from the touch and sighed in relief.

 

"Um, you know... Worldbringer..."

 

"Worldbringer. Right. Can't we just go into a Chatroom with him?"

 

"No," said Chatter. He sighed. "I would if I could."

 

"Show me to Worldbringer's Tower, then."   

 

Worldbringer's Tower

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Worldbringer sat at the head of the table. He wore a rich red velvet vest. His pants were black, in contrast. He also had a crown. Bloody Worldbringer. 

 

"Hello, Lord Worldbringer," said Queen Ivystorm. "I am here to..." She searched for the word. "Discuss the apparent threat of the rival King, Necropathy of the Kingdom of Adelaide." 

 

"Yes. I believe I did see this." Worldbringer gestured to his stained glass window. It depicted him and all of the Lords and Ladies bowing to Queen Ivystorm. "Has he sent a declaration of war yet?" 

 

"No, Lord Worldbringer. I do believe that he intends to attack us with stealthy methods." 

 

The Lords and Ladies sat around the table, watching Worldbringer. Lady Pain, the youngest of the Ladies, was looking quite striking in her pink dress. Lord Bloodmoon's suit was similar to Worldbringer's, but obviously lesser. Lady Titania's pale grey dress puffed up around her and the faint traces of makeup suited her. 

 

"How dishonorable! I assume that if King Necropathy makes any hostile intentions towards Darwin Kingdom, we will declare war in retaliation." 

 

"Of course, Lord Worldbringer." 

 

Lord Unknown's suit with question marks all over it was defying convention. It made Worldbringer's eye tick. 

 

"But in the meantime..." Worldbringer prompted. Lord Deviation looked like he would rather be anywhere else. Particularly not squished between Lady Titania and was that Lord Shadowreaper in his black suit? The white tie was quite well tailored. 

 

"In the meantime, I wish to prepare for any hostile intentions." 

 

"Yes. Of course you do. I will accelerate the training programs on the knights. Kiera has begun to train them in modern weaponry. Of course, there is no way that a Lord like I could deign to handle the more disgusting aspects of modern society." 

 

"Is Kiera here now?" That was Lord Wallraiser, in a brown suit. It was patterned like bricks. Worldbringer disliked it. 

 

"She is with the knights in the barracks. I would rather she have been a man in the first place-"

 

"Best I could find, on short notice," Lady Crystalvision defended herself. Her dress was made of crystal pieces and was by far the least conventional of all the outfits.

 

"At first. But now I see that she preforms quite well." 

 

A few serfs at the edges of the rooms seemed upset by that. 
 

"Of course," said Queen Ivystorm. "I have some new weaponry of plants that I have designed. I wish to train them on it." 

 

"Very well. Send a package to my tower with them." 

 

"Lord Wallraiser was just about to install them." 

 

"Very well, then. Shall this meeting be concluded?" 

"I have a few more questions I'd rather talk to you privately about." 

 

"Very well." Worldbringer was curious. "I will leave the rest of the nobility here while we retire for a private discussion." 
 

"Yes." Ivystorm nodded. 

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15 months ago, Shepparton: Wendigo

 

Natali opened her eyes.

 

All she saw was white, at first. Looking around, she noticed that she was lying on a bed of ice, surrounded by snow. Piles and piles of it, with more gently floating down. She only remembered flashes- killing her family, burying the town, flying to her parent's farm. She knew, deep down, that she had killed them too, and returned here to rest. "Why... why doesn't any of that bother me?" She thought to herself, "Ah well. They would have done the same, were they in my position. What can a girl do, when her family might hold the secret to defeating her?"

 

Natali rose to her feet, the ice-bed crumbling away. Where she walked, the snow compacted beneath her, so that it was like she was walking on solid ground as she meandered through the snow-covered rubble of Shepparton. Despite the snow's depth, she could see discernable mountains where buildings had been. Debris littered the snow fields, and some chimneys, sign posts or lamp posts rose like sentinels in he cold. "Hmm... I wonder if any Epics survived. They would make useful servants, given that they have seen my power first hand."

 

Natali wandered through the suffocated town, occassionally seeing a half-frozen corpse- sometimes still barely alive. Once she saw a puff of snow, and a frantic human appeared, digging himself out of his house. She stilled him with a thrown icicle and moved on- could not leave a job half-finished, now could she? She had always been a diligent worker.

 

Suddenly she saw movement from around the bend of a snow-mound, and a figure trudged into view. The man started as he saw her, and held his hands out in a combat pose. His eyes narrowed. "Hey you, snow-dress! Did you do this?" Natali raised an eyebrow. "Snow dress?" When she looked down she saw that was wearing a white dress, that looked like it had been made from ice and snow. In all likelihood, it had been. She scowled- she had never liked dresses. Time for something a bit more.... practical. Summoning her power, Natali raised the snow around her and made more, armouring herself with layer upon layer of it. She could hear the man shouting, but ignored him as she rose off he ground, thick stilts of snow forming under her. Snow covered her torso and arms, bulking out and forming thick plates of ice. Within seconds, she had formed a huge exoskeleton of snow and ice around her, leaving only her unprotecte head poking out of a mass of human-shaped ice.

 

The man looked scared, and then his fear turned to anger. "That's it!" He pushed his open palms forward, and fire erupted out of them. The fire formed a jet of pure heat like a blowtorch as he aimed straight towards her torso. Her snow melted before this onslaught, punching straight into her body. Seconds passed, and by all rights she should have died. But when the Epic ended his assault, he gaped as he saw her body, seemingly made of snow, reforming instantly. "You... you weren't hurt." His eyes were wide as saucepans.

 

Natali smiled, and reformed the holes in her suit. "No, I wasn't." With a sudden movement, she swooped towards him, a huge, clawed icey hand reaching for him. The Epic yelled and aimed his palms downwards, jetting into the air. But he was too slow, and her claw captured him before he had gotten six feet from the ground.

 

Bringing the pleading Epic closer to her face, Natali regarded him. He begged for his life, but she paid him no heed, simply asking, "Will you serve me, little Epic?" The Epic nodded ferociously. "What is you name?" She asked.

"Uh, um, Jetpack, my lord, uh, lady. Who... who are you?" Natali considered the question for several minutes. Finally, she armoured her face in snow, offering full protection in the form of a hideous mask with teeth and horns of ice.

"I... am Wendigo."

Edited by Blackhoof
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2 years ago

Sydney


Boltsmash died. It was a painful sensation, full of darkness and light. He floated in the void, just being. Then he woke up.


Apollo had torn his heart out. He thought it was his weakness, but he was wrong. Apollo had underestimated him. He was not dead. But neither was Apollo.


Boltsmash felt rage growing in him. Apollo had arrived in the day, and started attacking the city. Boltsmash had retaliated fast. And he had lost. The people believed he was dead, and there was nothing to change that.


His image was destroyed. But he wasn’t. Apollo would pay. He swore he would. Boltsmash started running. He was fast, and he was out of Sydney in minutes.


He needed to be faster. Boltsmash increased his speed, grunting with exertion. He would get his city back.


Day 1

Sydney

 

They called them the 7. Seven powerful combat Epics used for military and civilian use. The 7 worked together, but also went on their own. Dynamite, Darksong, Bravetitan, Moxie, Ghosthorror, Miracle and Synapse. The 7 now gathered in the Sydney Opera House to discuss Perth. 

 

"They are not a threat," Moxie said. The Asian punk girl leaned back in her chair, content with her short opinion. Synapse sneered at her, then decided to make his point.

 

"I don't agree. Dissonance and Superiority are dangerous and powerful. Moxie over here, just wants to beat someone up without a excuse." Moxie launched herself across the glass conference table at Synapse, but Bravetitan held her back.

 

Dynamite, leader of the 7, just watched the conflict with interest. The whole table had dissolved into arguments, with Darksong, Moxie and Ghosthorror underestimating what the cute little couple could do. Dynamite grew tired of the argument, and banged his fist on the table, causing Synapse to flinch.

 

"They are dangerous. And remember, they are not alone. Tamer could probably take down Moxie over here. We do have one advantage. Dissonance. We could kill her, and with her, the city falls. Perth is not our enemy, though. Sydney has many trade and military relationships with Perth." 

 

Moxie and the other considered his point. They started talking quietly in groups. Dynamite just sipped his coffee. They would need a moment to decide. At least Gatling wasn't in this group. Finally, Darksong spoke up.

 

"We all agree that military action should not be taken against Perth yet. However, we should begin negotiating with Adelaide about relationships." Dynamite blinked in surprise. That was not what he expected. 

 

"Fine. No action against Perth. The trade with Adelaide, however, is not my decision. Moxie, bring it up with Lord Apollo." 

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Day 1

An old man patrolled in front of the new Immortal soldiers of Adelaide, his voice was loud but either all his years of shouting had destroyed his voice or else he was the heaviest smoker that Jefferson had ever known, his gravelly voice was nearly indecipherable at times.
"This is your USP." He said, holding out a pistol for the new recruits to see.  "It will save your life and you will respect it as such. It will be the weapon you carry the most often, the weapon you practice with the most often and it will be the weapon you kill with the most often. Any questions?"

Jefferson had several, like what the hell did USP stand for? What caliber bullet did it fire? For that matter did bullet calibers even matter? Before Calamity had arisen his interest in military-use weapons had been basically non-existent. Afterwards all he'd needed to know was that if you ever get your hands on a weapon, hide it. Because Epics tended to not like normal people carrying weapons, given that most of them died from a bullet to the head as easily as anyone else did they tended to view it as threatening.

However Jefferson asked none of these questions, it had been made clear to him that he needed to appear knowledgeable about these things now, he was technically in charge of the man teaching him about this weapon and it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to appear dumber than his subordinate.

"No sir." Jefferson responded in chorus with the rest of the new Immortals.

"Then you're all idiots."  He said. "This is the weapon that you will stake your life on, so unless you either made it or are me then you have questions about this weapon. Now since none of you sound german to me, I don't think you made it and granted I may not look in a mirror as often as I should" He stroked his unkempt beard for emphasis. "But I don't much think I'm crazy enough to be talking to a room full of me either. So... Questions! Now!"

It seemed that Jefferson knew absolutely nothing about being in the military. Who knew that Hollywood would lie to him for so many years? No one had called him 'maggot' once, he hadn't been made to do a single push-up and he hadn't even had to make his bed twenty times. Well he supposed that might be tomorrows practice.

The other recruits were all nervously silent, alternating staring at the weapons master, their feet and at Jefferson.

Well guess I need to take the lead.

Jefferson was just about to ask one of the less-idiotic sounding questions that came to mind when another voice piped up instead.

"How do I kill things with it?" One of the few women in the squad asked, Jefferson dimly remembered her as the one who'd tried to shoot themselves to avoid killing their family. A dangerous look now dwelt in her eye.

3 guesses who she wants to kill with it. Jefferson thought idly. But a bullet isn't going to be any more effective on him than it was when you tried it on yourself. Probably less effective.

The weapons master grinned at her for a moment before answering.

"Good question. We'll be getting to that shortly but suffice it to say that that will mostly come naturally to you lot, Immortals always do better than is natural in weapons practice."

Having at last gotten something resembling a friendly gesture from him woman smiled.

"You the one who tried to shoot herself then?" The weapons master continued. "The lord asked me to look out for you, you got dedication so that's good, you just make sure you turn it to the right place now, dedicate yourself to the job and you'll find yourself happy again, dedicate yourself to revenge and, well you know better than I do what he can do to people who annoy him."

Her smile slid from her face, replaced by a grim look of refusal.

"Well we'll deal with that when we have to. So, more questions?"

The others nervously began to make queries of their own, some of them were the same questions that Jefferson had thought of, a couple were things that even he knew the answer to but the gruff faced, gravelly voiced man answered them all without judgement. As far as he was concerned they were all idiots about weapons anyway.

After the questions came practice, although not the practice they'd been expecting, rather than practicing actually firing the weapon they practiced maintenance, loading and unloading, dismantling and reassembling, identifying the parts, lubricating, cleaning and finally...

"This is how you are going to hold a gun when you're not using it. Which until I tell you to is always. If I see you pointing it at someone, like this idiot-"

A gnarled finger pointed out an unfortunate man who was idly playing with his pistol, the barrel now pointed directly at the person next to him.

"Sorry sir, but it's not even load-"

A sharp bang sounded out as the weapons masters own weapon was raised in an instant and fired.

The 'idiot' looked stunned for a second, looking down at their body, sure he'd been shot.

"You're not the one you would have shot idiot."

Everyone turned to look at the recipient, the man standing next to the idiot, or he had been standing but he now collapsed as he fingered the hole in his chest.

"What the hell! You shot me!" He yelled from the ground, his wound already closing up as the bullet was ejected from the wound.

"No I didn't, he did, if you point that weapon at someone you all better be doing it with the intent to fire it because if I catch any of you doing it I will fire for you. Understand?"

They all nodded vigorously, pointing their weapons straight down as they were shown, leaving the unfortunate victim to slowly get up and take his place in line once again.

"And as for the idiot, in case that wasn't enough you now get to be on cleanup duty for the next week."

Huh. Guess the movies got some stuff right, wonder if he'll be cleaning the toilet with his toothbrush or something.

"By which I should clarify for all of you, cleanup is disposing of bodies that have met with the... displeasure of our lord or the other immortals. And let me tell you, that rotting flesh thing you all do can make for some pretty ripe corpses."

Or not. Jefferson amended, wondering if anything in his life was going to be normal again.

"This may all seem very harsh, normally I don't shoot recruits to point out this lesson but luckily you all don't die from that so i can push you harder." A maniacal grin spread across the old face. "And push you I shall. So first lesson in actually firing the thing."

It turned out the 'lesson' involved each of them standing at the far end of the food court and getting shot multiple times by the others.

Luckily they'd had their necrosis inducing powers taken away while they were training but getting shot still sparking hurt even by itself. Getting shot a dozen times in a row as each of your squadmembers took their turn was particularly painful. It seemed that the weapons master was a fan of memorable lessons.

Finally they were dismissed for the day, each of them rubbing the holes in their clothing that they still felt should be sore.

They were then escorted out of the mall by an Immortal from an older squad, his sunken eyes instilled fear and silence into them all as they trudged out of the mall towards their new quarters.
"Word of advice." The immortal said, his voice surprisingly normal. "Your old names. Forget them. For now, you are Alpha squad, you will each be assigned a number, you will use this number to refer to each other in all future practice sessions. Later on if you earn it you will be assigned a rank and a codename, that will be your new name and your new life. You're not explicitly banned from using your old name but it's not recommended."

A number? Because this wasn't like some dystopian sci-fi novel enough as it was.

They actually got to ride in an elevator on their way up to their quarters, a luxury that hadn't been in use in the city for nearly a year now since almost nowhere had power.

The Immortal left them at their floor, advising only that they 'choose carefully'.

They were left alone in a long hallway with several rooms.

"Separate rooms? damnation I was looking forward to seeing suicide-girl get changed." one of the younger men in the squad said with a grin.

He was promptly punched in the face by 'suicide girl' and had to wait a few seconds for a broken nose to heal before he could speak again.

"Ow. Guess I deserved that. So, who gets which room?"

The doors were all identical, they all had a simple empty nameplate below the room number.

"Guess these are the numbers he was talking about?" Jefferson said, noticing that these numbers appeared to be non-sequential.

"Guess so, so we just pick whichever we want to?" BrokenNose said.

"Guessing this one is for the 'captain'." Suicide girl said with a snort as the group reached the end of the hall and a door marked
001- CN: Captain.

"Great, here I was hoping my codename would be Radar or something." Jefferson mumbled.

"Guess that makes you Captain Captain then?" BrokenNose asked as he opened the door opposite. "Guess I'm 249 now since they don't seem to have 007."

The others soon took their own rooms, only a couple seemed to actually care what number they got, one number seemed as good as any other.

Jefferson opened the door to his room to find a surprise waiting for him, his wife was already inside, snoring gently in a chair by the door, having no doubt grown to tired to keep waiting.

Jefferson smiled gently at her, brushing a strand of hair gently from her face and carried her to his bed. It was a tight fit but he managed to fit himself on the bed too, holding his wife closely as he drifted off to sleep.

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Day 1

Sydney

 

Moxie punched the first one in the face. The soldier went flying over 15 yards, then crashed into the ground. The next soldier tried to lift his gun, tried to be as fast as Moxie, but was to late. Moxie flipped him, and then kicked him 20 feet into a wall. Both soldiers didn’t get up.

 

Moxie cracked her knuckles as she watched the rest of the soldiers retreating. This combat exercise for the 7 had been very fun. Bravetitan had enhanced the soldiers armor so it was super tough, but these 2 had been a feint, and Moxie had taken it.

 

She had refused her soldiers. Darksong and Synapse had taken,theirs. They stayed behind her, guns raised in defiance.

 

“Do something, losers!” Moxie shouted at them. They were just staying back, while Ghosthorror did sneak attacks and Miracle rolled 6’s on number dice.

 

“ I am calculating an attack plan that will utterly destroy their troops and leave them surrounded! Planning matters!” Synapse roared back.

 

“Do you think Bravetitan and Ghosthorror care about humans!”

 

“If they got in a lucky hit, yes!”

 

“We are playing with paintballs, GENIUS!!!”

 

Synapse eventually just shut up. For a guy with superhuman intelligence and telepathy, he was really dumb. And a perv.

 

Moxie turned her attention back to the enemy, only to be met with a fist in the face. She skidded back on the ground and looked up at 20 foot tall Bravetitan. Moxie cursed. While she had been arguing with Synapse, Bravetitan had grown.

 

In the background she heard shouts and blasts. Darksong had likely found Ghosthorror and tried to hurt her with his sound and frequency powers. Just perfect. But it was time for action. Moxie jumped 20 feet, getting up to Bravetitan’s level. She hit him with a spectacular right hook.

 

Bam! Bravetitan fell right down on his back. He shrunk back to normal size, growling. He was already toughening up his skin, preparing himself for the next punch. But this time, it wouldn’t be a punch. Bravetitan charged her, yelling. Moxie kicked him in the crotch.

 

He fell over, groaning in pain. He was tough, but not that tough. Moxie giggled as she watched him moaning. The sounds of cars interrupted her thoughts. A convoy was pulling up to the 7’s personal training area. Moxie jumped, clearing the wall of the combat ground immediately. She landed on the concrete outside, grimacing slightly from the impact.

 

This was no regular convoy. 2 advanced Humvees guarding a limo. Instead of the company logo on the limo, there was a simple metal carving of a rising sun. Apollo had arrived. He got out of the limo slowly, taking his time.

 

Armed soldiers got out of the Humvees. Pyros. Even worse. They formed around Apollo as he walked right over to her. Her. Moxie. She stuttered, mind not comprehending that one of the most powerful Epics in the world stood barely 4 feet away from her.

 

He spoke first. “Moxie, was it? Dynamite contacted me about the 7’s plans on Perth.”

 

“Yes, Lord Apollo. Do you wish to speak to Dynamite. I can bring him over here.” Moxie said reverently, but shaking in her battered Converse shoes.

 

“No.” Apollo said coldly. “I want to talk to you. You are the most interesting of the 7. Rebellious but loyal, truthful but also keeping secrets. You are the one. Tell me about the 7’s analysis.”

 

“Of course, my Lord. Perth is dangerous, but can be manipulated to favor us and our power. Intelligence experts are investigating Superiority, and Ghosthorror is ready to kill Dissonance.” Moxie finished her report, sort of smiling.

 

“Good. Anything else?” Apollo asked with a smile on his face. I have to try, Moxie thought. If I don’t, my life is over.

 

“Yes sir. I believe that I should be promoted to the 7’s leader and Dynamite should take my place as senior combatant.” As soon as she finished, Moxie held her breath waiting for the response.

 

“Make you commander?” Apollo asked with a thoughtful expression on his face.

 

“Yes... My lord...” Moxie answered. Her heart was pounding. Say yes, she internally pleaded. Please.

 

“Your request is approved. You are now commander of the 7. I will take your analysis of Perth truthfully.” Apollo said firmly.

 

“Thank you,” Moxie said back. “Thank you.”




 

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Day 2

Worldbringer's Tower

Kierra woke up into yet another awful day. She was still stuck in this awful Tower with the awful Epic with awful company. 

 

Kierra sighed.

She wasn't privy to much of the war planning that had started yesterday, but she had overheard enough. The monster, Worldbringer, and his even worse superior, Ivystorm, wanted the entire world to fall at their grubby feet. 

 

Kierra pulled herself up, off of the floor. She'd been forced into the kneeling position last night, just like every night. She cramped up, of course, but not as much as when she'd first come to Worldbringer's Tower to be Worldbringer's toy. She was growing stronger. Callused. Still, there was some things that she would never grow used to. 

 

Kierra tried not to think about that. 

 

Kierra stretched out. Worldbringer still wasn't awake. He was in his giant bed. Yet again, Kierra considered going up to him and shooting him. It would be so easy. He wasn't a High Epic. He had no invincibility powers. 

Curse Ivystorm, Worldbringer, Crystalvision, and Pain. Kierra's mind drifted to her sisters. Just like every time she considered shooting Worldbringer. If it was just Kierra who would be starved to death from the tree, she'd do it without any consideration. 

 

But it wouldn't be Kierra who would die. First, Mira would die. The youngest and most innocent, Kierra and Jenna had managed to protect her from the horrors of the world for two years of Calamity. Then Jenna, the rebel. Jenna, the brave, who had almost gotten Kierra and Mira killed on far too many occasions. Still, Kiera loved her. 

 

Then there would be Kierra. She wouldn't even be spared a quick death. They would make her suffer. Only Ivystorm was allowed to execute Epics. Only Ivystorm ever would. 

 

I hate you, Ivystorm. 

 

Kierra thanked the world everyday that Worldbringer was no mind reader. If he did, he would have known just how deep her smoldering rage was. As it was, he was oblivious of emotions around him. Plus, Kierra had trained herself to keep all traces of her true emotions off of her face. 

 

Kierra headed into the large bathroom and changed into her training clothes. They were tight and military requisition. They were good, particularly against fire of flame Epics. She'd captured a tiny flame of Flamebringer's fire during his Rending. The candle had never went out. She had tested her suit against it. 

 

All three of the sisters had a tiny piece of Flamebringer. It was a reminder of who they were. 

Kierra headed down into the training barracks and raised all of her soldiers. 

"Everyone up!" She shouted. She had the authority down. Even though she was only sixteen, she'd been at this for a long time. A year. The knights woke up and they were already wearing their combat suits. Lucky them. The only time they had to wear their medieval clothes was at banquets. And even then, it was armor, not awful dresses. 

 

"Yes, Captain Kierra." They jumped out of their beds and marched into the breakfast room. The servants gave them their rations. Currently, they were going through a period of training with only a stale piece of fruit every day. Kierra had thought it would make them tougher. Also, anything that made them dislike command- which was ultimately Worldbringer- was good. But they were loyal. 

 

The knights were enhanced humans. Not exactly Adelaide Immortals, but definitely tough.

 

Worldbringer's powers were gifted passives. He offered enhanced senses, reflexes, dexterity, strength... all that and more. Annoyingly enough, he also had them for himself. A down side of the gifted humans was that they only got one trait at a time. Worldbringer picked one trait for himself at a time as well. He usually went with strength. Apparently he liked impressing Kierra with big muscles. 

 

She hated him. 

 

Worldbringer wasn't exactly immortal, but he was also extremely hard to kill. That made him a nightmare in her eyes. He could switch from trait to trait instantly. 

 

"Squadrons 10, 13, 2, and 50, I want to work with you privately this morning. The rest of you go through basic drills. Separate out of squadrons for the basic drills, into Trait Groups." Each squadron had a few of each trait to balance it out. There were 100 squadrons, each out of 10 knights. The 10,000 knights weren't all in the tower, of course. Today, Squadrons 51-100 were out patrolling. They kept an eye on the city. Usually only 25 squads patrolled, but since Ivystorm was getting upset... 

More knights out. 

 

"Yes, ma'am." 

 

"And don't forget to be back her promptly at 1200 for lunch." 

 

"Yes, ma'am." 

 

"Very well. Now, move it!" 

And the knights mobilized. 

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Day 2

Melbourne: Quakezone

Quakezone smiled as the workers bolted a gigantic metal symbol- a crescent pierced with a vertical line- to the monument he has constructed in the centre of his district. An imposing and tall three-sided tower of granite, metres wide, and his symbol gleaming on each face. "Are you sure that using a logo from a video game is wise, my lord?" Dreadpyre asked, standing next to him in his imposing black robe. Quakezone replied, without turning, "Few will remember the game itself, let alone its symbol. And I quite like it myself." Dreadpyre rolled his eyes, but said nothing.

Quakezone could feel it- it was going to be a troublesome day today. An annoying day. Hopefully the annoyances could be delayed at least until he had enjoyed his new monument a little bit-

A vehicle pulled up behind him. "Sire!"

Quakezone sighed, and turned to see a black truck- like most of his government vehicles, merely a repurposed and repainted civilian one- and an Epic getting out of it. His lieutenant. "What is it, Glasstorm? Couldn't you leave me be? It is still so early." Glasstorm approached, and bowed deeply. "My lord, I apologize but I have urgent news. Someone poisoned one of our storehouses last night, we only discovered this morning when a subject bit into an apple and was choked to death by their own swollen tongue. Word got out and a riot is brewing because of it- people know that food is short."

Quakezone felt his face flush and his mouth twist into a snarl. "Ungrateful swine! I protect them, feed them, give them purpose, and this is how they repay me!" His rage was clear for all to see, and Glasstorm bowed again and backed off slightly. "Where is this... riot occurring?"

"Near the old Sunshine train station, my lord."

Quakezone began rising into the air. "Send a platoon of Quakers and emergency workers to help deal with the mess." Glasstorm and Dreadpyre looked at each other. "You mean the riot, sir?"

"No, I mean the mess that I will leave behind." Before they could react, Quakezone had flown away.

Quakezone looked over his city, rushing away beneath him as he sped towards his destination. "I have had it with these riots, these uprisings, these little acts of resistance to my rule. I will make sure that no-one ever considers so much as thinking of rebellion ever again!"

In not much time, he reached the location- what looked like at least a thousand people milling about, beginning to grow rowdy. One threw a rock through a window, while others preached what he knew was rebellion. Some soldiers were there already, blocking off the group's exits in their trucks and utes, pointing machine guns at the crowd. Quakezone got closer, and someone must have seen him, as the crowd suddenly began screaming.

He hovered above the crowd, in white and black, cape fluttering around him. He held himself there, for several minutes, while the crowd quietened itself. "You have betrayed my trust!" He projected his voice, sternly, with anger but not rage. "You have nothing but what I give you! I am your lord, your sovereign, your leviathan!" He had always been a fan of Hobbes.

"And you must be punished."

With that, he shot towards the crowd, fist first. People exploded as he shot through them, and soon he was red from head to toe. He span around, every slight touch breaking bone or obliterating flesh. People screamed and fled, but the soldiers held them back, containing them. He finally exited the blood bath, turning back. "Fire!" He roared, and his soldiers opened fire, mountain machine guns on trucks bursting into fire. He used his powers, amplifying the impact of every bullet, causing even small calibre rounds to blast off limbs and destroy torsos.

Then he used his powers on the fleeing rioters.

Their next step suddenly caused the ground to fracture and burst under them, and the entire crowd cried out as many began tripping and falling. The blasts did not hurt them directly, but the sudden explosions startled people and the ground crumbling beneath their feet knocked them off balance. Everything they touched broke or crumbled- including each other. He couldn't affect everyone at once, but a dozen at a time was more than enough. The crowd flailed around as they fell, tearing each other apart and breaking each other's bones. The soldiers continued firing, strafing over the fallen bodies with rounds that hit as if they were thrice as powerful.

Quakezone flew into the fallen crowd, fist-first, powering his strike to cause an explosion at every point. Over and over he hit the crowd, until he was certain that every last one of them was dead.

When he was done, Quakezone regarded the destruction and smiled, seeing a convoy of black cars approaching. Perhaps he was wrong- good could come from this day after all.

Edited by Blackhoof
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Day 2
Powervault lounged in the back seat of the car, she'd have preferred a limousine but there was only one that still functioned as far as she knew and one of the other Epics in the city had it.

She spread the fingers on her hand as she draped it out of the window, the air rushing between the gaps.

"Ah I miss my storm." She said.

"Good bloody riddance, I thought I'd go permanently deaf if the damnation thing kept going." Crowbar said from next to her. He was petting one of his horrid birds as the thing looked up at him with one beady eye.

"Throw that thing out before I fry it and you." Powervault said back, eyeing the crow with distaste.

Grumbling to himself Crowbar wound down his window and threw the bird out where it flew to join the rest of the massive flock that was following the car.

"You really need to get into character better my dear." Powervault said. "Grumbling just isn't in the whole 'evil tower-dwelling villain' profile. It just makes you look like a crotchety old man."

"I am a crotchety old man." He grumbled back.

"I know dear and I love you for it but we're going to a meeting, you need to be in character."

Crowbar looked slightly offput by her statement. He never quite seemed to know how to react when she said things like that.

The car finally stopped and the door was opened for them by their driver. As Crowbar was getting out she leaned over and pinched his bottom.

She wasn't sure who looked more surprised, Crowbar or the driver.

Chuckling to herself she got out of her her side, taking the arm of the soldier who'd opened it for her.

"Who else is coming?" She asked the soldier, a nervous man who only grew more nervous when she allowed a small crackle of electricity to dance across her lips.
He had to clear his throat a few times before anything resembling words came out.

"A few others my lady, someone reporting in from the coast and a few other lords and ladies from the suburbs."

"Ah very well then. Thank you for your arm dear but I believe this gentleman will be escorting me from here on." She grabbed tightly onto a shrinking Crowbar, a crow landed on his other arm, presumably an attempt to annoy her enough to let go. She simply gave him her best smile and dragged him into the old building in front of them.

The marble floor was pristine, in contrast to the rest of the city's center which looked like it hadn't seen human presence in nearly a decade. The lighting inside was also exquisite, guiding them towards the meeting hall. A dull hum could be heard in the background, presumably the generator which ran the lighting.

Throwing open the doors dramatically, Powervault guided Crowbar into the room, Crowbar, now getting into character attempted to twirl his cloak dramatically as they entered.

"You made it then? Good." Necropathy's deep voice greeted them, a silent Severance stood beside him, standing stiffly in his military uniform. That one wasn't too bad at taking on a role either, though she thought he might take it a bit too far sometimes, he'd actually taken over the military, no use getting into a role if it was just going to net you more work.

"My lord." Powervault replied to Necropathy, bending her head slightly. Her smile flickering for the slightest of seconds as she was forced into subservience.

Crowbar made his own greetings, shaking the hands of the city's two high Epics before taking a seat.

"Well that's everyone then." Necropathy said. "First issue is a troubling report from the coast. If you please Geode?"

A muscle-bound youth stood up, his age completely at odds with the growth that Calamity had forced onto him.

"It seems that we underestimated the speed Epic, Swift. He's not just a speed Epic he's also a gifter, and now we have a dozen other speedsters running around the peninsula causing mayhem."

"I told you we should have killed him ages ago." An irritated woman said, frowning at Necropathy.

"We discussed that Piper, he was too far away to bother with and he's the survivor of a battle that left half the state uninhabitable. He's not a High Epic but it'd take too many resources to take him out. Better that we slowly expand until he has nowhere to run. However now he is interrupting plans, plans that he is completely unaware of no doubt but that doesn't prevent him from damaging them. So now we are going to give him an ultimatum, he either joins us or he dies, I'm not ignoring the nuisance anymore."

"Joins us? Are you serious?" The angry Piper said heatedly. "He's killed half a dozen other Epics, some of whom you'd guaranteed protection!"

"That may be Piper but now that we've learned he can gift we'd be mad to ignore the potential benefits. Plus we have a card to use against him that we haven't played yet. Isn't that right Powervault?"

Powervault smiled at the ruler of Adelaide before looking smugly at the other assembled Epics.

"Well I suppose I knew you'd realize eventually." She said.

"What the hell are you talking about!?" Piper stood up, smashing the desk dramatically as she glared from Necropathy to Powervault and back.

"Sit. Down." Necropathy said sternly, his eyes no longer full of the charming attitude he usually displayed towards his Epics.

Piper wilted before that gaze.

"Well I'm sure you know that one of Swift's identifying features is his lack of an arm?" Powervault explained once the situation had calmed down. "Well I'm the one who took that from him. I... happened upon his weakness during a skirmish, we both manifested on the coast at around the same time so naturally we had a few fights, neither of us could get a sure win in without sacrificing ourself as well but one day during a fight he just slowed down and I managed to blast an arm off of him before he managed to run away."

"Well? What is it?" Piper asked, somewhat less aggressively this time.

Powervault just snorted. As though she'd give up a secret that good.

"Well regardless she can beat him. Force him into submission or kill him, however you get it done just get it done."

"Of course my lord." Powervault said, her smile not slipping in the slightest this time.

5

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