Christopher couldn't do much other than watch as the events transpired. A dragon attacking the streets by Seraphim's HQ, several heroes going up against it, two outsiders interfering and a blast happening, with the dragon taking flight and both outsiders disappearing eventually. He'd seen Mark call him, but hadn't been fast enough to answer before Mark had hung up. Christopher had already made the call to start fixing the damage that had been caused in the attack, and work was already begun within a few minutes, moving everyone who was in the lobby out of it and into the upper floors of the building. Alice was allowed to stay and help with removing the debris, but once that was done, she had to go up in order to let them fix what else there was left to fix, such as putting back up whatever glass was shattered.
Christopher sat back down in his chair. It was never easy when Seraphim was attacked, but this time seemed to have been minimal compared to most other times. Of course, the heavy casualty caused by that dragon knight's initial attack wasn't easy on anyone. The police had arrived, and were evacuating whatever bodies were there that had been intact. Seraphim security was giving them a report, as Christopher was usually unavailable to do so, especially now when the elevators were currently out of commission, though they were being worked on getting back up and running.
Once the report had been made, and the bodies had been evacuated, things became peaceful again, if for but a moment. Repairs were being done, and it looked like no one was fatally wounded.
Once the elevators were back up and running, Christopher went down to the medical floor, where Arlana had been staying for the past month after her encounter with Virus. She was awake when he entered it. Due to risk of infection from whatever Virus had injected into her, Christopher had to sadly stay behind a glass wall when talking to her, while the medical staff wore suits to protect them. "I know this will sound like a very stupid question, but how are you feeling now?" he asked Arlana, using a mic that transmitted what he said to a speaker in the room. She looked in pain, hence why he said that it would sound like a stupid question.
Virus had been aware of what happened at the Seraphim HQ building since he had a large TV set up in the planning room, and the news was on. "
A dragon. We'd never thought one would appear in our day and time. A potential threat to us, but of little concern with it gone now. Perhaps it can be made ill with our diseases? We do not dare go close to try." The news flash continued until the dragon disappeared and the regular program continued. The few villains who had joined him had watched it as well, and were in awe of the creature. Some felt it was a good idea to attack Seraphim now, but Virus quieted those voices. "
That is a foolish idea. The window of opportunity is not big enough for us to go against them. Unless some of you wish to be taken under custody, or worse, taken care of permanently." Something would have to be done, though. But they needed more time, more materials, more planning. Until then, no attacks were to be made from them onto Seraphim.
In the few hours since awakening Arlana had managed to regain a semblance of her dignity, her face twisted in pain, but she held back her screams. The plague inside her was ravaging her body, and from what she had gleaned seemed to be incapable of actually killing her directly, instead just causing excruciating, debilitating pain.
She was stronger than the disease, of that she was certain.
"Just..." She breathed. "Just tired of laying around. I want to get back into the war."
Leaning against the wall in the holding cell at the precinct of a new york police station Marcus keeps quiet as he watches the low life's moan and groan in the cell. A policeman outside the bars doing some paperwork and just plain being annoying at everyone in the holding cell. Rolling his eyes at the low life's gripping about being held here while keeping an eye on the policeman outside he goes over his plan again in his head to make sure he remembers everything before he starts.
Get picked up for being disorderly in public, check. Get thrown in a holding cell in the 52'd precinct, check. Break out and and make my way to the evidence room and take a few hundred pounds of drugs and as much money as i can find.
Smiling thinly as he goes over it Marcus makes a face at not having been able to bring his suit or helmet. Looking over the room again his eyes settle on a druggy in the back all hunched up wearing a very baggy hoodie. Standing and slowly walking back he sits down next to the druggy on one of the benches, leaning forward on his knees and keeping an eye on the policeman as he talks quietly. "Hey" Nudging the druggy with his foot he waits till he is looking up at him "Give me the hoodie.". The druggy snorts and goes back to whatever he was doing with his head down, the hood only half up on his head. Marcus's lips twitch in a snarl but he forces it back down, keeping a calm blank look on his face he reaches down and grabs the mans arm. Using just a little super strength and bearing down on his forearm, he can feel the skin compress over the mans bones and the bones shift slightly. The druggy's head snaps up and he starts to yell, Marcus's other hand coming around and pinching his throat so he cant get any sounds out as his legs kick a little. Glancing at the policeman Marcus angles his body and keeps what hes doing hidden "I'm going to let go you insect, and your going to take off the hoodie and give it to me. Then I'm going to let go and your going to keep your mouth shut about this. Do you understand, you stinking pile of bile?".
After the druggy nods as much as he can Marcus lets him go, leaning back against the wall and watching the policeman as the druggy takes off his hoodie quickly. Grabbing it and standing Marcus puts it on, making a face at the smell but still pulling it on and lifting the hood. Using the deep hood to hide his face Marcus walks back over to the corner near the bars he had been standing at before. The black hoodie still baggie over his shorter but larger frame the hood itself deep and covering up his whole face and keeping it out of sight. Taking a deep breath Marcus looks at the clock behind the policeman sitting at a desk, it reading just half an hour before shift change. Standing up straighter and walking to the bars Marcus bangs on then "Hey! I'm starving in here!" Glaring at the policeman who looks up and starts to look back down at his files when Marcus turns around and grabs the closest person in the cell, throwing the scruffy person against the bars. The policeman jumps up and yells at Marcus to stop as he grabs someone else and starts to do the same, this causes the policeman to run over and pull out his tazer. Lunging at the bars and out through them Marcus grabs the Policeman, who's name tag which can now be seen as reading Jake, throat. Using a burst of super strength to shatter his jugular and breathing pipe he pulls the jerking and bleeding body closer and takes the keys off the belt.
Turning to the cell full of stunned criminals Marcus smiles slowly, a dark frightening smile. Lifting his left leg he pulls out a cigarette and one match, lighting the match on the soul of his boot before lighting the cigarette and taking a slow drag. Holding the cigarette in one hand and waving that hand across his body fire forms in front of his body and shoots out, catching several of the people in the face and burning them horrible as they suffocate. More of them getting his on the clothes and other parts of their body's they also are soon pillars or fire choking and trying to scream but the lack of air making that impossible. Turning to the cell door and opening it with the keys from the Jake on the floor Marcus walks out and closes it behind himself, taking the badge and wallet from the policeman he riffles through it and snorts. "Seriously, 30 bucks? Well he is a pig." Pocketing the badge and stepping to the door Marcus cracks it open to look outside, the cigarette still in his hand as does. Stepping into the hall and walking down once he see's its empty he has to pause and remember where the evidence room was. Looking at the elevator and sighing heavily he turns to the stairs and starts walking down, guessing wrongly that no one else would be using them. Half way to the basement a woman taking a smoking break sits facing down, ignoring the sounds of Marcus walking down the stairs. Stopping one step above her and looking down at her Marcus can feel a smirk on his lips This is why no one likes cops, idiots every one.
Bending over Marcus grabs her head and jerks it to the side hard, breaking her neck and keeping her from calling out and calling in some very annoying reinforcements. Laying her on the steps and going through her pockets he takes her badge and some pocket money she had, as well as the half empty box of smokes she had been hiding. Taking the gun off her belt along with the extra clips she had also Marcus keeps it in hand, just in case. His head jerks up when a fire alarm starts sounding.
"Fuck! Someone already found the body's."
Pocketing everything but the gun Marcus starts running down the stairs, checking to make sure the gun has bullets in it he switches off the safety and bursts through the bottom stairs. Lifting the gun and firing at the man behind the fence work with the evidence he keeps pulling the trigger until he is at the gate. After the first 2 shots the man had ducked under the counter but Marcus was sure he and at least got him in the shoulder. Kicking the fence gate when he gets there it takes 2 super powered kicks to get the gate open, stepping in and jumping back when a pullet zips past and embeds itself in the wall. Snarling because he doesn't have the time to waste with some half dead pig he takes a deep drag on his cigarette and using the burning ember on the end he fuels it and making a beach ball sized ball of fire in the air it fly's in and around the corner. It splashes over the floor and wall on that side, as well as the injured policeman, and he had hear flesh sizzle before the screaming starts. Stepping inside again this time Marcus is looking in that direction, lifting his hand and focusing it on the man who is half crouched behind some boxes. Making sure to boil his brain in his skull before pulling the fire away and stopping it from burning anything useful.
Looking around Marcus smiles wide and starts to laugh wildly at the shear amount of illegal things in the room in front of him. Grabbing a few large duffel bags in the corner and starting in the back he dumps large blocks of several very illegal and expensive drugs into them along with some cash and any small valuable thing he finds. He easily fills 3 large duffel bags like this before he stops, drugs all and good but wanting something more. The fourth bag was for money and jewelry, several evidence boxes filled with them. Soon he had 4 very full duffel bags sitting just outside the fence, all together just over 15 million dollars. Picking up 2 in each hand and putting them over his shoulders Marcus grumbles at how heavy they are, having to use some super strength to keep them all in hand. Walking across the room to a large freight elevator he drops the bags there as he hits the garage button on it, pulling a new cigarette out and using a little flame from the old one to light the new. Waiting standing between the bags as it raises he slowly puffs on the smoke as it opens to the garage, the alarm off now and the new silence making him worry a bit. Grabbing the bags again and rushing over to a van parked in the corner for swat he dumps the bags in the back, running across the room to the office on that floor and after breaking in taking the keys to the van.
Running back to the van he gets in the driver seat and just turns over the engine as some police cars drive in through the front drive ins. Keeping his hood up and pulling out slowly at first he waits till he is past the last of the 3 cars before pushing the petal down and driving out of the garage and onto the street a bit past legal speed. Turning the radio on in the van he heard something about firefighter units and police going to Seraphim's headquarters because of a.... Dragon attack? Shaking his head at that Marcus keeps driving away from the station, towards the west part of town, only a few miles from his car and suit as well.
With the threat of the dragon and the renegades over, business was back to normal for Seraphim operatives, as far as Mark could tell. Which was good, as he had a magical battery to examine. Up in his room, Talsper had patched up the traceur's burned leg with the one healing spell he had available. It still stung a little.
The large sapphire sat on one of Mark's small tables, under close examination by the non-magical of the duo. "So this gem stores the Aura? Is it possible to transfer the stored power to one of us?"
That is the purpose of this device, yes.
"So how do we transfer it, then?"
Allow me. Mark and Talsper switched places. Once the transfer was complete, and Talsper was in control, he reached out to the gold-woven gem and tapped each of the nine intersections where the gold lines crossed over. A brilliant blue light began to shine from inside of the stone... then the glow expanded, quickly tinting the whole room its sapphire shade.
The gem lifted off the table and a low tone began to resonate from it. Talsper... what'd you do...
"A touch of flair hast been added to this one, I see! Ytharra! O'morros kathe!" Talsper snapped his fingers, paying no heed to Mark's mental comment.
Talsper! A gold flash burst from the gem, and the blue light faded to nothing. Mark flinched at the flash. Something brushed his face and arms. He hurriedly glanced around, to ensure nothing was damaged. Wait... I'm back in control. How am I back in control so fast? Talsper, what the hell just happened?
There was no answer. "Talsper? Are you there?"
"Yes... I am here. That was fascinating to experience. The gem's enchantments were altered. Instead of a gradual release, like a held breath, it was instantaneous and explosive. A wave of unleashed power. You felt it?"
"I felt something... wait. How are you talking?" Talsper's speech wasn't in Mark's head: he heard it instead. Something had gone wrong with the battery's activation, he was sure of it. He got up and poked his head around the door, in case someone else had been disturbed by what had just happened.
"That is a foolish idea. The window of opportunity is not big enough for us to go against them. Unless some of you wish to be taken under custody, or worse, taken care of permanently."
"Mayhap I can assist you there, o mutable one," a voice declared from the doorway. Having flown directly from the scene of the attack, Intet casually strode in, his staff resting over one shoulder. "Seraphim are content with their defense of the building and the surrounding area. Give them time, and they will rebuild to the same state they were in before... though perhaps with an emphasis on fire prevention," he added with a chuckle.
The mage was playing an act: the confident loon. He was aware of Virus and his rather unique skillset - the prevalence of magic ensured disease was practically nonexistent on his home plane - and had every confidence that the reverse was also true. So Intet's plan was to gain Virus' trust, and then the scattering of the second seeds could begin: distribution. The first had been the careful planting: handfuls spread throughout the city-plane. News would undoubtedly reach his ears of their use, confiscation, or study.
Christopher knew she'd answer like that. But in her condition, he couldn't let her. "I can't allow you to go back out there until you've been healed of whatever it is that...thing injected into you. We don't know if it's contagious, but if there is a way to cure it, we can and will cure it. I only ask that you remain patient until we do. Trust me, I'd like you to get out there as soon as possible, but what if you become too weak to fight? What if you get a sudden burst of pain and the enemy takes advantage of it? I can't allow that to happen."
For the past month, their medical staff had been doing tests in order to find a cure for her, but so far, it hadn't given any results. This cyborg who attacked Arlana was too dangerous to keep alive in the city. Heck, too dangerous to have anywhere, be it this planet or another. But until he knew where he was hiding, all he could do was wait.
If Virus wasn't as much of a cyborg as he was, he'd have been startled by Intet's sudden appearance. But he simply looked towards him, while the other villains in the room were quite startled. "
Intet Yxi, Sorcerer-King. Why do you wish to aid us?" While he wasn't aware of Intet's plans, having him appear there suddenly was strange. He hadn't passed an invitation towards him, but was somewhat aware of who he was. At least by name and face. "
And how do you propose we attack them? We're but a few people in here, and they have a skyscraper filled with superpowered heroes. We don't have the power to take them down."
From the corner of the room a small quadracopter small enough to fit in a man's lap whirred to life and elevated to an altitude just above their heads. As it silently hovered it's array of projection lasers lit up and soon a rainbow cylinder flashed briefly before it was replaced with Red Coyote, standing in the room in his full costume. "Sorry I couldn't make it in person, I'm feeling a bit under the weather, didn't want to get anyone sick." The newly minted hologram lied with a casual and obvious disdain for the truth.
" As for our little problem, I agree with Virus, attacking now won't fulfill our long term goals of wiping them out. They're on high alert they'll be calling back many of their agents in the field and will respond to any threat with extreme prejudice. Don't think they aren't expecting another attack at this moment. And only a fool attacks an enemies fortress when he's expecting it.
" No, what we need to do is to let them revel in their victory. And then when they think they're back in control we start to pull them out. We pull them out, make them think it's just crime as usual but in reality every heist, every caper, every con, must build to something bigger. That day when they're away from their nest and the jaws of our trap snap close on their neck so quick and so precise that their eyes are still blink as their heads roll across the floor. So in short we must take out time." Red Coyote's hologram said. While back in his lair Ryan thought to himself but not too long, this organization has a time bomb at it's core.
"I wasn't suggesting you all attack this instant. Not when they've just won their latest victory," Intet scoffed. "Do as thou dost wish. I will observe your efforts, if thou dost allow it, and contribute in ways other than having another soldier on the field. I bring an offering, Virus, to perhaps demonstrate my capabilities." The mage fished around in his pocket for a second before withdrawing a pendant. A circle divided into three sections - one white section, one blue and one red - dangled from a silver chain. Intet tossed the pendant to one of Virus' followers.
"That is a Tripartite Amulet, one of several in my possession. Its bearer gains control over three of the primary magical elements, to be used as weapons. In this case, you will have ice, lightning and fire at your fingertips. The destructive potential is limited in scope, but highly effective in its concentrated form," Intet explained. "From what I have gathered, Seraphim has but one active mage in their arsenal. Wielding a selection from my magical artifacts may give you an edge over him, and potentially other heroes, in your next encounter."
As he spoke, a new thought occurred to Intet. Both sides of this plane's conflict could easily be played against each other, without anyone the wiser for it, and his overall goals could still be achieved. Intet set that idea aside for now, as his current situation was rather more a pressing matter.
Soarele managed to make a hasty landing upon a building but a few blocks away from the epicenter of the white blast. He dove through the air, with only the cushion of roof gravel to break his fall. Gradually, he reverted to his human form, shrinking into a scarred, naked mass of a defeated man. Whatever time he landed in, it certainly held individuals he was not prepared for. Powerful people. People capable of fighting back. Those capable of defying him, capable of defying his cleansing fire. Just the thought of the acts made him seethe.
"How...dare they?" He panted, managing to rise to his feet. He could look out into the skyline, to see the massive sea of stone, glass, and steel. Indeed, this vast kingdom was like anything he could've ever imagined. As air fully filled his lungs, be began to think.
His initial plan of "recklessly destroy everything" was a complete and utter failure, obviously. He had the lack of a eye to show for that. He needed to reevaluate his options. "I shalt approach these developments differently." The Whiteraze flew jumped into his grasp as he turned from the building's edge. He spotted a entrance on this roof. The door, as he so quickly discovered, was locked.
"Peculiar door...it shan't budge!" It seemed to be imbued with one of the world's many new age mechanisms. Not wanting to question the technology any further, his mouth hung agape momentarily, and a stream of flame fell from it, spilling upon the doorknob. It didn't take long for the metal to illuminate and melt.
Successfully infiltrating past the building's advanced security system, Richard proceeded inside. A few stair flights later, he found himself in a relatively empty office environment of sorts. A grey, drab area, filled with florescent lighting and organized, soul sucking floor planning. And yet, it was more sights for Richard to take in. "What sort of living arrangements are these...?" He wandered through the area, eventually stumbling into one of the restrooms. Conveniently enough, as he entered, a similarly sized worker fellow was exiting. "Fuck-!" The man fell back, unprepared for any else still being around, and especially unprepared for a halberd-welding, time-displaced, knight Templar in the nude.
"Ahh! Jesus, dude! Put some fucking clothes on!" The man yelled, covering his eyes from the man in the buff. Considering the situation, some would've considered the demand to be a little on the stupid side. Unhappy with the outburst, Richard brought forth Whiteraze. "Very well. I shall relieve you of your vestments." He decided, the halberd coming alight as he did so.
One cauterized beheading later, Richard found himself in a spiffy new gray suit. It was a little singed at some of the edges, but he'd have to make due. He looked into one of the mirrors as he dressed, and got a better gauge on his current outlook. His hair was falling out. His skin was losing color. His right eye was still ruined, and the one that remained still shimmered with a yellow glow. It was clear the side effects of his draconian mutations were still apparent on his human body. But, he decided to worry about those things later. Right now he needed to focus on the task at hand, the task of cleaning up this kingdom of its scum.
"But how?" He asked himself. He couldn't just go all out, he needed to be a bit more subdued in his actions. "Mayhaps a solution shalt appear, as I reduce this castle to rubble." He stepped out of the bathroom, and began his assault of the office, beginning to reduce the nearest cubicle to cinders. Unfortunately for him, he quickly learned of another new age security measure: the emergency sprinkler system. "Gah! It rains? Indoors?! What sort of blasphemous acts are these?!" Maybe it would be better for him if he were to acquaint himself with the new world, before he comes up with any plans to destroy it.
"Very well. We will be waiting at my lab. Make yourself known before entering the area, however. What with traps and all for outsiders."
Having driven to the western part of the city Marcus pulled into an alley, pulling in far to the back where he had a car waiting. Parking and getting out he lit another smoke as he walked around to the back doors of the van, he threw them open and pulled the duffel's out one at a time. He walked them to the truck in front of the van and dropped one after another into the bed, pushing them against the cab he tied a tarp over everything before he turned to the van. Contemplating what he should do with it he leaned against the trucks side, thinking to himself.
I could keep it, useful to have a SWAT van just in case. But its obvious what it is and after what happened at the station they may be looking for it.
He shook his head as he decided that keeping it would be more trouble than it was worth. Taking a deep drag on his cigarette and using the ember from it Marcus moved the flame from there to the drivers seat of the van, expanding the flame and catching everything in the front seat on fire. Turning away and getting in his truck he started it and pulled away, driving into the street under the speed limit as he smiled to himself.
Driving south this time he headed towards his lair, or base as he called it. It took almost 20 minutes before he pulled into a parking garage across from some lawyer owned high rises. He pulled into an empty spot close to the back, the door of his car a few inches from the wall. Taking a deep pull on his cigarette and blowing the smoke at the wall he super heats it, causing the wall to heat up and activate a heat sensor behind the wall. Relaxing as the wall in front of him he drove in slowly, going down the turning ramp to a large base.
He turned off his truck and left it where it was, the money and drugs left right then as he remembered he had something he had told himself he was going to go to. After pulling the stinking hoodie off he started getting his gear on, from the metal boots to the helmet. He snapped the helmet to the body suit then did the same to the metal boots and the fire proof pants. After making sure he was ready he mounted a motorcycle and drove up a thinner ramp across from where had entered. It exited into an alley on some side streets, no windows and deserted usually other than some passed out drunks occasionally. He turned onto the street and speeding up quickly he rocketed down the streets towards where Virus had his lab.
He thought back of the message he had gotten in response a day ago from Virus. He had been approached with an offer of alliance with other villains, with Virus in the head. After turning into a less busy street in the south of the city he slowed way down and pulled into a garage, parked in the back he got off the motorcycle and stepped up to a metal fire door. He lifted his hand and hit the door a few times, saying to the cameras he knew was there.
"Let me in, I was asked to come and I'd rather not stand out here all day."
With us around, we don't think you'd be making anyone sick. We are more likely to do it than you, so you'd best get here as soon as you are able to." Virus said to Coyote, or his holograph, rather. Nothing he could do about it if he wasn't on the spot.
Virus was fascinated by the pendant Intet procured and flung to one of the other members there. The one who caught it was a man who called himself Oracle, due to his psychic powers. He took a good look at it, then put it around his neck. Focusing a bit, he aimed towards one of the walls, and a ball of fire shot from his hand. Very pleased with the pendant, he thanked Intet. "
Impressive. This should prove handy in our plans." He turned back to Coyote. "
Your plan sounds good, even if it is a more long time plan. We'll have to work carefully so they do not figure out our location, but it is possible."
Virus got an alert on his system, indicating someone was at the door. He pulled up his screens to see who it was, seeing that it was Hellhound. He pressed a button to deactivate the traps set outside and inside, and opened the door long enough for him to get in before he closed it again.
After hearing a few clicks and snaps behind the door and around him Marcus hears a soft clang and the door in front of him opens half an inch. Setting his hand on it and pushing it open he walks in and down the blank white hall until he gets to another door at the end of the hallway. Leaving his helmet on as well as the rest of his equipment he walks through a few hallways and into a room with several other people.
Looking around at the people in the room Marcus nods slightly, the helmet dipping and he stays in the doorway.
"Interesting crowd. I'm just back from some rampaging in a police station. Virus was saying something about a group of super villains looking to take down Seraphim. I'm interested, even if I haven't been personally targeted by them yet."
Looking at Virus and stepping in the room more Marcus strips off his gloves and puts them in a pocket in his pants.
"How did you hear of me? I do need to know that, to see if there's a leak."
With the traps set up again with the push of a button, Virus looked towards the doorway where Hellhound now stood. "
Greetings, Hellhound. We pulled up data about you from the Seraphim database, and we thought we would send an invitation your way. It is good that you have showed up, as we are in the middle of discussions." Even with his knowledge of technology, he was only able to pull data about villains from the Seraphim database, and even then, he couldn't stay there for long at a time without alerting his presence to them. He offered Marcus to sit down where the others were before turning back to Coyote's holograph and Intet.
"Greetings, Hellhound. We pulled up data about you from the Seraphim database, and we thought we would send an invitation your way. It is good that you have showed up, as we are in the middle of discussions."
Frowning slightly at hearing that he had been found in the Seraphim's data base Marcus walks over to the chair offered and sits down. Looking at the hologram and other man standing in front of Virus Marcus leans back in his chair.
"Virus, later I'd love a look at the file you pulled down about me. After this discussion of course. What exactly are we talking about?"
Looking over at a wall where there's a large, fresh, scorch mark on the wall. Then looking at all the different people sitting and standing in the room, very few of them people he recognizes which he figures is a good thing. More people and power and diverse enough that almost everything would be possible. Plus it opened up opportunities for future crimes, potential allies and help all sitting here.
Veil walked the halls of Seraphim like she owned the place, her skeletal faux-butler following in her wake like, well, like the mindless construct he was. Calling Manny a slave to her will was accurate, but only in the same sense that a roomba was her slave. People got a little perturbed seeing a skeleton walking around, but seeing one in a snappy black rolling a floral printed luggage case with one bone hand and holding a black briefcase with the other seemed to make them merely puzzled rather than horrified. This was Seraphim, weird shit happened daily.
She was a few hours late to see the most recent action, which if the news had gotten it right and she could hardly see how they could screw -that- up, had been a Dragon attacking, according to the news being thwarted in the attack by a number of up and coming heroes.
It was a good thing being dead seemed to temper your emotions, or Victoria would have been really irritated.
She had a meeting scheduled with the commander, Christopher Adelbert, but he was up to his eyes after the dragon attack and her interview would have to wait. She had already been cleared for Seraphim - at least the low-security parts - so he had pointed out two other heroes to her to occupy her - the Wizard Mark Robinson and his spirit companion - at least that's what she was guessing - Talsper Rekuhai, and the spirit medium Spectre - Adelbert had gotten called away right after that. She had elected for the Wizard first. So here she was, and...
More by habit than need she turned her head and covered her eyes as a bright flash of blue light shone from the door ahead, and a moment later a head poked out. She glanced at the number on the door, then approached, Manny keeping his distance.
"Excuse me, Mark Robinson? Victoria Velour." She held out a gloved hand. "Sorry if this is a bad time, I'm a new recruit to Seraphim and I understand you and I are both magic wielders."
"One moment, Ms Velour, I'll be right with you." The girl in the corset seemed to be the only one who had noticed the show put on by Intet's battery. That was... probably a good thing, Mark reasoned, as he had no idea what Talsper had done.
"Ah... I think I see what my fellow mage hath achieved." Talsper's voice came from behind Mark, a hint of resonance to the words. Mark spun round to find the Eniadan-born mage sitting on his couch, relaxed as could be. The usual white hair and beard were there, as was the hue-shifting robes Mark had seen him wear before in his mind. Only... he was semi-transparent. Ghostlike, but retaining the colour scheme he knew.
"Talsper? You'll have to explain this one to me..."
"Intet's Aurasphere held enough of a reservoir for me to expand my abilities. Rather than take direct control of thine form as we used to, I can now assume an aethereal form myself and maintain my grasp on my spellcraft," Talsper answered, getting up and walking over to the doorway where Mark and the newcomer stood.
"Okay, so you're considerably more able than you used to be."
"Indeed. However, it takes a touch of focus. I require access to my ring if I am to maintain this state. So - "
"No spellcasting while you're in spirit form, got it. Okay... now that that's cleared up," Mark continued, turning back to Ms Velour. "I'm Mark, this is Talsper, originally from the Aura-infused plane Eniadan. You said you were a mage yourself? Talsper and I focus primarily on elemental magics, so what are you capable of?"
"Impressive. This should prove handy in our plans."
I thought as much. "Shouldst thou require it, Virus, I can gather more of my artifacts to assist thine forces." Intet refrained from commenting further, what with the new arrival making himself known. Hellhound... if the flame-breathing cerberi from the plane of Jas'w'ra were any indication - wild hydra-like canines with lava-like skin, that spat fireballs from sacs in their throats - this new recruit had some control over fire. Such a power would not stand up in combat to Intet's adaptability, the black-clad Sorcerer-King theorised.
"Good to meet you both. Please, call me Victoria, or Veil." She tilted her head as she looked at Talsper - she had never encountered aspirit that seemed to have any permanence before - birdlike flutters of ghosts from hospitals and pther places of death, but never one with any real presence.
"It's a long story to say the least, but I guess I focus on the darker side of magic. I had a ritual go awry and...well, ended up wrecking my own funeral. Since then I gained sort of a knack for necromancy," She reached into her coat and withdrew her Grimoire, the Book of Endor. "I was hoping you might be able to help me with expanding it. My magical resources all come from this book, and I can barely understand most of it."
"Necromancy... well, it's not in my repertoire, nor Talsper's as far as I know," Mark answered, casting a curious eye over the tome. "Talsper, thoughts? Can you pick anything up off of it?"
"I do not sense a connection to the Aura, and nor do I recognise the design nor the symbols upon it. Death magic is not widely practised on Eniadan. The dead should rest at peace, is the common consensus. I meaneth no ill of that comment, of course, miss Veil," Talsper quickly added, so as not to offend the new Seraphim operative.
"I think it unlikely that such an item originated from my home plane... fascinating that magical resources can be found that are not of my own kind. Mayhap this came from some other plane of reality."
"Think Intet might have something to do with this?"
"I know not. And even with this new development, I doubt my abilities would be of assistance in the matter of expanding thine own skills."
"Quite the conundrum." Mark was hesitant to touch the book Veil carried, primarily for fear of the magical power it presumably contained conflicting with the Aura magic he knew considerably better.
"Looking back I agree. I found a few spells in the book that interact directly with spirits, but they're fairly awful. I mostly stick to the abilities I gained when I rose from the dead - grim stuff, but aside from possible disrespect to bodies no harm done." She tilted her head back. "Manny donated his body to science, hung in my old high school's biology class until the school closed down."
She noted their hesitance to touch it. Understandable, the book fairly pulsed with malevolent power. "If you don't mind me asking, how do you wield your magics? The spells here require complicated rituals - circles, incantations, sacrifices." She shivered, the sound of a cat screaming and a bowl filling with blood filling her mind for a moment.
Sure, it can be done later. Right now, we're discussing how to take down Seraphim. Coyote here suggests we do small crimes which escalate in how big they are until Seraphim's HQ is weak enough to strike." Virus responded to Hellhound before turning back to Intet. Some of the other villains in the room were agreeing with getting more artifacts. "
That would be most excellent. Making our Legion stronger would most certainly help us. We would appreciate what help you can give us." He didn't trust Intet, but anything he could do for them was good for Virus.
Christopher returned to his office, his secretary reminded him about one Victoria Velour, alias Veil, and his meeting with her. "I'll see her when she returns. If she's mingling with some of the other heroes, that's alright. She knows where to find me." With that, his secretary went back to her desk, and Christopher sat down at his own. He had business to take care of for tracking down the dragon and Virus.
"If you don't mind me asking, how do you wield your magics? The spells here require complicated rituals - circles, incantations, sacrifices."
"Our spells come from channeling a power source known as the Aura," Talsper began to explain. "Mages require training to mentally refine the source before they can channel it into the form of a spell and cast it. Since there is no defined source of Aura on this plane - "
"Eniadan is, to Talsper's knowledge, the only source of Aura and by extension magic as he and I know it," Mark chipped in.
" - we doth make do with what we have, hence my limitations. If I had full access to an unrestricted source of Aura, I could bypass the need for my Ring of Containment and conjure myself a proper body."
"Wait, you can do that?"
"I would need to wear the Ring until I found a spell to transfer my mind from it to my new form. But yes. It is a rare discipline, closely connected to Eniadan death magic. I never cared for the study of it myself. I preferred more innovative and adaptable schools of magic."
And look where you are now, eh? Mark kept that one to himself. Thankfully, it seemed that Talsper wasn't able to hear him while he was in spirit form. "So yeah, that's the basics of it, I think."
That was disappointing. They probably wouldn't be of much help in broadening her magical horizons. Necromancy was powerful but rarely practical and always grotesque if not outright evil. Still, if it were true what Crowley had claimed, that Solomon and Morgan Le Fay had held the book then logically there were other grimoires out there, holding spells of hopefully less vile magic. If Morgan then Merlin, she thought.
They may not be able to aid her now, but perhaps someday. "This Aura, you're able to tap it in a limited capacity here? Is that some kind of bleedthrough from Eniadan, or are yoi drawing from Aura energy already on this plane, artifacts and such that came through as you did?" She stroked her chin. He might not be able to help her, but perhaps she could help him.
"Our primary source of Aura is from Talsper's Ring," Mark answered, removing his glove to show Veil the gold band and its inscription. "The enchantments on the ring, designed to bind Talsper's mind to it, can be drawn from. But only in small doses. Although we recently came into possession of another artifact from Eniadan, from a mage by the name of Intet Yxi. It was a battery of Aura, opened by Talsper and... What did you do, exactly? Remind me."
"After an Aurasphere's seal is broken, the untamed Aura seeks a place to settle. It commonly finds its rest in the mage that breaks the seal, enhancing the apprentice's magical capabilities. In our case, it hath found the next best thing, the ring." Talsper walked straight through Mark and out into the hall as he explained the principles behind the sapphire battery. It was... odd, was the best way to describe it. A sense of presence, with a hint of a chill to it, and then it was gone.
"Is it possible that Intet is trying to help you out by boosting our Aura reserves? Come to think of it, how did he even get here? You were cast out by a cadre of lawmages. What's Intet doing here?"
"That is entirely possible... but I have no idea what his motivations for travelling to Earth might be. If I had to guess how he got here, I would suppose he possesses a Planar Key. A simple tool, for the purpose of traversing the planes," the mage added upon seeing the look of confusion on Mark's face.
"Two mages from the same place emerging around the same time?" Coincidences happen, but that seemed a little improbable. "If you are an outcast why would he want to help you? If he were an ally he would have stayed, explained himself." A chill ran through her guts. "Could that energy be fouled in some way? A trap set on it or something like that? Logically speaking - well, from what I understand, which is mostly the garbled translations of notes claiming to be from a three thousand year dead Priest-King - there are innumerable planes. What are the odds he would come from the same place as you to here by chance?"
Kurt's next destination was his shower. He'd spent a few hours helping the cleanup effort in the lower floors of Seraphim and he was ready to wash off all that ash and dust. With a tired sigh, he removed his mask.
'Of all things, he thought, 'it had to be a fucking dragon?'
This gig at Seraphim continued to get stranger and stranger, that much was certain. And once the phone lines unclogged, he'd be expecting a panicked phone call from his mother. Somehow, that thought was much scarier than the prospect of fighting a fire-breathing monster.
Walking down a hallway, he noticed a familiar face. Mark. He was accompanied by a spirit. The presence felt like Talsper, the spirit...person...whatever that inhabited Mark's ring. The two of them were conversing with an unfamiliar woman. She was strikingly pretty, but there was something off about her. Kurt couldn't quite explain it, but there was a bizarre disconnect between the woman's spirit and her body. It unsettled him somewhat.
But now that he was within conversation distance of her, Mark, and Talsper, he had to at least be polite. "Fellas," he said to Mark and Talsper in recognition. "I see we have a newcomer?"
She turned and gave him a smile, a surprisingly friemdly and not creepy one - at least to a normal person's eyes. "Victoria Velour, codename Veil." She held out her hand to shake. "Just joined. I'm guessing you three are already acquainted?" She tilted her head slightly. His gaze was a little off when he looked at her, like there was something over her shoulder or something. She glanced back at Manny, still holding her luggage and standing stock still like, well, a corpse.
Kurt reached out and shook her hand. "Kurt Isherwood, codename Spectre."
"I'm guessing you three are already acquainted?"
"We've met before, yes..." his words began to trail off as he looked past Victoria's shoulder. "...and I'm sorry, is that a skeleton?" Stupid question, of course. It was definitely a skeleton dressed in a nice suit carrying luggage. Kurt briefly wondered if his life was beginning to descend into some sort of surreal joke.
"Yes, he's with me. Sorry, most people don't expect to run into the animate dead - putting him in a suit does seem to work to keep people from freaking out." She smiled ruefully. "Besides, when you're stuck with my brand of magic you have to have a sense of humor about it or you go nuts."
Kurt spared another glance at the skeleton. On second thought, the nicely dressed skeleton was rather amusing. The contrast between its ghastly appearance and floral print luggage carrier made him suppress a smirk.
"You said 'animate dead,'" Kurt said with a hint of curiosity. "You dip into necromancy then, yes?"
"I'm a Necromancer, yes. By nature more than by choice. Ever since my...call it an accident, I've had a natural affinity for dark magic." She shrugged. "It's effective enough. Not having much luck finding spellbooks that're a little less evil than this one." She lifted the Grimoire of the Witch of Endor as a way of indicating it.
Justin decided to separate from Faraday, to leave him to deal with his problems, or find himself, or whatever it is that Faraday does. Whatever it was, Justin felt he'd reconnect with him whenever he felt the need to. In the mean time, he was back in his apartment, gathering the several schematic sheets needed to construct the Awe. Or, at least the most recent addition to his series of plasma-powered gauntlets. One for the glove itself, one for the power supply, and another for the on-board CPU.
"Gotta look into bigger transformers and inductors...some filters and rectifiers too...ooh, what about a PC power supply instead of a car battery? With the extra variability and higher wattage, I could take some of that potential power and ramp it all the way up..." He mumbled out suggestion as he stuffed his papers into his bookbag. He lastly collected a flash drive, the programming software for the phone snuggled within its memory. "If I could somehow keep a steady charge with that much of an voltage output...while also not having the whole thing blow up in my face...fuses, gotta look into bigger fuses too..."
He had began out of his apartment, the sound of lively camaraderie breaking him from his incessant rambling. Seemed there were individuals conversing in the hallway. Two of them were just downstairs with him minutes prior, but there seemed to be some new faces among the crowd. Seeing as these people were taking up all the hallway space (clearly blocking the way to the elevators), Justin figured he'd might acquaint himself as well. He coolly strode up to the company, his smooth swagger doing much to contrast his singed hair, splotchy, burned lab coat, and missing eyebrows.
"What up, fagboys?" He addressed Kurt and Mark, going the extra emasculating mile by playfully tussling the traceur's hair, like a pseudo-supportive father congratulating his son on winning a second place trophy. "Who's the corpse bride?" He thumbed towards the girl, the pale one easily towering over the three males. From behind her, he could spot the surreal sight of a lively, sharply dressed, skeleton, clattering about its business as it held luggage. Just the sight of it sent a cold shiver down Justin's spine. "Ugh, too spooky for me." He thought in disgust (and fear).
"Sure, it can be done later. Right now, we're discussing how to take down Seraphim. Coyote here suggests we do small crimes which escalate in how big they are until Seraphim's HQ is weak enough to strike."
"This will also have the benefit of getting more people involved in our fight without having to expand our inner circle. It's a lot like this coup I helped run a few years ago. We couldn't just go after the Dictator, we didn't have the manpower for it. We couldn't keep recruiting because the secret police would find us before we were strong enough and scatter us. So what we did was little things, riots, sabotages, and assassinations, we stirred the pot and fermented anger towards the regime. Our actions also gave them courage, so soon other militias began popping up faster than the regime could squash them, and we didn't have to worry about their safety because they couldn't be traced back to us. So when we made our move against the regime we were still unknown and we simply manipulated those militias to attack at the same time. No mess, no fuss, the regime didn't even know what hit 'em. I anticipate the same thing will happen here. More crime will increase the confident of all the other criminals and villains we don't think are worthy for our club but can still prove useful with the right manipulation," Coyote added, " Is there anything more to discuss I'm running late for a date."
"Two mages from the same place emerging around the same time? If you are an outcast why would he want to help you? If he were an ally he would have stayed, explained himself... Could that energy be fouled in some way? A trap set on it or something like that? Logically speaking - well, from what I understand, which is mostly the garbled translations of notes claiming to be from a three thousand year dead Priest-King - there are innumerable planes. What are the odds he would come from the same place as you to here by chance?"
"Talsper was convicted of crimes he didn't commit. It was over quickly; the Chaliset - Empress - was rather static in her decision, if I remember what Talsper explained correctly," Mark answered. "As for the idea of infinite planes of reality... Talsper?"
"It is entirely possible that Intet is here by chance, but he could also have his own designs upon this plane. As for whether the verrsara are infinite, Eniadan's scientists have only travelled to seventeen defined planes... wait, was it seventeen or eighteen? One moment. Eniadan, Earth, Jas'w'ra, Staarios..." Talsper began to list names of the planes of reality, counting them off on his fingers. Their names were fascinating, though Mark theorised they needed a Planar Key, like the one Intet had, to travel to them.
Mark's attentiveness and thoughts were both interrupted by a rough hand in his hair. "What up, fagboys? Who's the corpse bride?"
A snarl of annoyance escaped Mark as he rounded on Justin. Did he have no respect for personal space? "HEY! Do that again and I'll set your hair on fire. Or have you forgotten what happened to your eyebrows in that fight against the dragon just now?" Or maybe I'll trap his head in a block of ice... that seems a bit more fitting.
"That would be most excellent. Making our Legion stronger would most certainly help us. We would appreciate what help you can give us."
"Then fare thee well for now. I shall withdraw a few items from my pool of resources and send them thy way posthaste." Intet bowed to Virus with a flourish, spun on a heel and sauntered out of the secret lair. Well, it wasn't all that secret now, was it? It was entirely possible for him to fly straight to Seraphim and give them the location of Virus' base of operations. And doing so would give the heroes a perfect opportunity to study more of Eniadan's artifacts, perhaps gain a better understanding of the Aura.
Although... such a double-cross would mean that any survivors - for there would almost definitely be survivors - would brand Intet a traitor, destroy anything he had given them, and cast him in with the Seraphim lot. He needed to keep his options open, he reasoned as he took to the air once more. The conundrum occupied his mind as he landed on the tower where he kept his hoard, much like a dracona of Jas'w'ra, and began to rifle through the piles of gold, silver and steel.
"What makes Earth so special? This universe is billions of light years across," She recalled the famed photograph, the Pale Blue Dot. "I assume that your people's scientists don't buy into Humanocentricism.or our religions." She tilted her head. "Actually, Talsper, are you a Human? You look exactly like us, but parallel evolution on another plane of existing with differing physics seems wildly improbable." She hrrmed to herself.
Then he showed up. The words heralded him, and she expected some douchey jock or some emo-punk hipster with a fringe. Instead some scrawny nerd kid in an oversized labcoat with his eyebrows toasted off. And he was an asshole.
"Oh. My. God." She took him by the shoulders and lifted him off the ground, dangling him in the air. "He's adorable! When did Seraphim start recruiting for sidekicks?"
Kurt eyed the book suspiciously. Much like its owner, something felt off about it. But unlike its owner, the book had a quality he could only describe as evil. Maliciousness radiated from the ancient tome. Kurt could only guess as to what horrors the book had been witness to, or perhaps an accessory to.
Oh, right. He was in a conversation.
Kurt cleared his throat. "I don't doubt that the book's pure evil. I can feel it. I'm something of a..." He paused to find a word "...medium, I guess. For lack of a better term. I'm attuned to the realm of the spirits. I can see spirits, commune with them, all that stuff. And because I'm how I am, I can practically smell the evil from that thing-"
"What up, fagboys?"
Justin's brash greeting interrupted him.
"Yes, it's nice to see you too, Justin," Kurt replied with a hint of irritation.
Justin couldn't help but let off a bit of a scoff at Mark's threat, and said scoff turned into a chuckle as he pushed away from Justin. "Oh calm your tits Marky Markwhoawhoa-" The girl (that no one even tried introducing to Justin, the nerve of these people, right?) decided to greet the boy by lifting him clear off the ground. With their combined heights, Justin's head was easily brushing against the ceiling.
In her arms, Justin also managed to get a better look at the girl's voluptuous figure...as well as lack of body temperature. "Lord have mercy! You can see allll the way down her corset..." "But you miss...mmmph...you can keep your tits juuuuust the way they are." He replied, raising a (missing) eyebrow as he continued checking her out. "So, name? Foot tag number? What cemetery you hail from?" He asked. "If you haven't figured it out by now, the name's Justin Case, and you bet your ass i'm adorable as fuck." He introduced himself, deciding to take the incentive on the introduction game. Then, he tried to lean in as close as he could from his position.
"Between you and me, I wouldn't trust miss Danny Phantom over there. If you put him on the spot, he'll freeze up like a deer in headlights." He cupped his mouth away from Kurt, even though his whispers were loud and obviously mocking.