The Girl in the Metal Suit 2

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The Girl in the Metal Suit 2

Post by Steve » 2006-09-02 04:23am

It was night time in Atlanta, and the city was settled into it's usual post-dusk routines; save, of course, for Amy Chan, known and loved in the city as the armor suited "Panzer Pyro" (she never used that name because she hated it). Her renown had recently gone national, as her city saw it's first major metahuman violence when racist metahumans attempted to free the lethal White Duke from his trial, only to run afoul of Amy, the Stargate RPG-playing superhero team from Long Island called SG-14, and then, to their mutual regret, the massive and powerful force known as "Big Steve" - who when normal was a personal friend of Amy's - who promptly devastated a portion of downtown and injured virtually every other combatant until Amy had revealed her identity to him and calmed him down enough that he could be safely tranquilized.
The price of her undesired glory were several broken and bruised ribs and a broken leg, all of which had now healed, and Amy had returned to her usual routine of patrolling the city nightly. But tonight it would have to wait, because she was meeting a customer for her freelance computer repair service.

A jazz club was the last place Amy was interested in meeting a client, but the half-Asian woman she only knew as "Kit" had insisted on meeting her here to return the laptop she'd been paid to repair. Yancy had accompanied her, much to Amy's dismay, and remained silent at the table by her instructions as she laid out to Kit the specific repairs and effected programs.
Kit nodded in acceptance of what she'd done and paid Amy her usual price of a hundred dollars, plus the incentive Kit had promised her for not being nosy with her laptop.
"So, you like jazz Miss Kit?" Yancy suddenly said, drawing a look full of ire from Amy and one of subtle annoyance from Kit.
"Not really," she admitted. Looking to the stage, she seemed a little surprised at the figure coming out and added, "Especially not when it's sung by her."
Amy and Yancy turned their attention to the stage as the MC came up to the mic to introduce the singer. "Ladies and gentlemen, hailing from the lovely state of Maryland, I bring you Gwen K. Ignacian!"

The woman who walked out on stage was adorned in a glittering black spaghetti strap dress that stopped above her cleavage, showing enough to tantalize and hint at the curves but not enough to be considered immodest. Her body was slim and athletic, and her arms graceful as she picked up the microphone. "Good evening, Atlanta," she said happily in a sultry alto voice. "Tonight we'll start off with an old jazz hit that our grandparents heard for the first time seventy years ago..." Gwen smiled at the crowd and began to sing.

"You had plenty money 1922
You let other women make a fool of you

Why don't you do right
Like some other men do
Get out of here and get me some money, too

You're sittin' down wonderin' what it's all about
You ain't got no money they will put you out...."

Kit stood up from her chair. "I hope you all enjoy the meal, it's already paid for," she said while picking her laptop. "I have to get going."
As she walked away, Amy frowned. "God, what a cold bitch," she muttered under Gwen's singing.
"Shouldn't we go now too? I don't like jazz."
Amy shrugged. "Ah, enjoy the music Yancy, and the free food." Amy picked up a fork full of pasta. "You can never turn down free food."

Once back in her van, Kit set the laptop in the back. One of the figures setting there looked up in surprise as Kit started the engine. "Kitsune, why so early? I thought you were going to stay through the performance."
"We don't have time now. She's here." Kit pulled out of the lot space and drove toward the road. "We have to do this job ASAP or she'll get in the way."
"I say we let her," another voice said. "Maybe we can finally nail the bitch."
"Every time we say that, she escapes," Kit growled. "This job is too important to let her trip it up, or it'll be our heads that get nailed."

An hour later Gwen returned to her hotel room not far from the club, her manager following her. "Really, Gwen, you should have taken the offer to stay longer. We're barely making even on the singing biz as it is, and you'll never get your own rec...."
"I sing because I like to sing, Patrick," Gwen replied indignantly. "And I have more important work to do."
He nodded in sullen reply. "I was kinda hoping you hadn't noticed Kitsune."
"But I did." Gwen frowned. She discarded her dress in front of Patrick, who politely averted his eyes when she removed the rest of what she had on and moved toward the room closet. "She took off the instant she saw me. She's going to be expecting me."
"So, what suit will it be tonight?"

"As if I have a choice," Gwen guffawed as she opened the closet door. "It's hot as hell out there. I really hate summer down here," she sighed as she took out her summer suit.
Minutes later, Gwen Kristin Ignacian was dressed in a sleek black suit and shoes, with a face mask that covered her eyes and the top of her head, her long chestnut hair pulled back into a ponytail. Her summer suit was not completely solid, as it appeared to be a sports bra and thigh-length shorts underneath a transparent black material when close and in good light, all of it showing off her exquisite physique, but at a distance and in poor light it appeared to be completely opaque - good for the stealth she relied upon and helping to keep her cool in warmer climes. A dark gray belt was wrapped around her waist, filled with her tools of the trade.

She went toward the window. "Kitsune is up to something," she said to her manager and confidant. "I'm going to go find out."
"Good luck, Zaia," Patrick replied.
Zaia, the Lady Avenger, nodded and slipped off the balcony, using her grappling gun in mid-air to swing to the next building.

The High Museum of Art was quiet at night, it's automated security system active and eliminating the need for foot patrols by museum security.
The quiet was an ally for Kitsune and her compatriots. Clad in tight black suits and masks, they were sitting a block away from the museum when Kitsune finished the security crack on her laptop and transmitted it through her hacked connection into the museum's security computers. It granted her the access codes to the building and let her turn off most of the alarms manually, leaving them apparently active so that the security personnel wouldn't be suspicious.
They pulled the black-colored van up to the museum's loading dock and slipped out of it. Using the access code, Kitsune entered the museum with her people behind her, one wheeling along a cart for the object they'd come for. They walked quietly through the museum toward it's ancient exhibits wing, protected from discovery by the feedback loop she'd planted in the security system so that the security cameras didn't show anyone present.

They walked into the appropriate wing and Kitsune carefully examined the artifacts until she found one. It was a clay statue of a demonic figure of some sort. "We've gone to all this trouble to get that little trinket?" one of her men muttered in irritation.
"Quiet," Kitsune retorted. "We're getting an awful lot of money for it too." She nodded to one of her men, who took out a glass cutter.
He pushed it against the glass, but when he ran it over the surface no cuts appeared. "Damn, must be the new artificial glass."
"We'll do this the old fashioned way then," Kitsune muttered. She nodded to the largest member of her crew, who hefted an iron tire iron and approached the glass.

Suddenly a curved object slammed into the back of his hand, making him cry out and drop the tire iron on his foot. As he fell to a knee there was the slight sound of something moving through the air.
"Oh no you don't," Zaia said aloud, swinging down on her grapple hook from an upper floor toward the two members of Kitsune's crew pulling out their guns. She raised her feet and kicked them both in mid-air, sending them flying and knocking the guns out of their hands. As she completed the swing she detached the grapple line and somersaulted into the shadows.
"Don't you have something better to do than bother me?" Kitsune shouted, pulling out a gun out and firing at the shadows. "Come on out and get some, Lesbian Avenger."
"That's Lady Avenger," Zaia protested from somewhere in the shadows. Kitsune whipped around to track her voice, and a flurry of gunfire came from her crew's weapons. Suddenly another of Zaia's throwing sticks smacked into Kitsune's hand. She yelped and dropped her gun.
Looking to the side, she noticed Zaia jumping toward her just in time to bring an arm up as Zaia's right leg crashed into her chest, knocking Kitsune onto the ground. Zaia's right arm whipped out toward Kitsune's remaining two crew and a bolo quickly whipped around them, binding them together.

Kitsune, in the middle of getting up, made a sweeping low kick that knocked Zaia off her feet. Zaia turned in mid-air and used her hands and arms to leap back up. She brought her arms up in time for her forearms to deflect punches and kicks from Kitsune until finally she was presented an opening, with which she delivered a powerful upper-cut that threw Kitsune back, opening her up to a kick in the belly that made her fall over. As Zaia went to go for the lockout blow, she felt a powerful blow smack her on the right shoulder and almost felt her shoulder blade crack, making her cry out.
Looking back she saw the large member of Kitsune's crew with the tire iron hefting it above his head and bringing it down for another swing, which she barely avoided. His left fist shot out in a quick jab that caught Zaia on the jaw, knocking her backward. Another member of the crew came up behind her and grabbed her arms, holding them behind her back in an arm lock. The big crewer smirked and brought the tire iron low, smashing it against her chest. She cried out again, this time from the cracked rib. He tossed the iron to the side, saying, "I'm gonna mess up that pretty face of yer's before we shoot ya" before hitting her in the cheek with a punch that broke her lip open. A second punch from the other arm smashed her jaw, almost breaking it.

As he wound up for another punch, Zaia brought her legs up and planted her feet on his chest. She used the reaction force of her kick to flip upward, ignoring the pain in her arms and shoulders from the armlock, which she wrenched free from due to the surprise of the opponent behind her. Completing the flip over him, Zaia dealt a strong karate chop to a pressure point at his neck, making him fall over.
As he did, the big one came up with his threatening tire iron again. Zaia caught his strike with her left arm, due to her right not being up to the strain from her injured shoulder, and used the right arm to deliver a punch that hurt the both of them. She whipped out another of her curved boomerangs (she had thought of calling them "Zaia-rangs" but that sounded corny) and tossed it to smack in the head of another of Kitsune's crew, turning back in time to deliver a high kick to the big one's windpipe that finally sent him down.
She threw another one at Kitsune, who deftly dodged it before getting in range to knock Zaia back with a punch to her cheek. As Zaia recovered she took a heel to her forehead that knocked her down, followed by a foot into her belly and another to the side of her head. The world seemed to spin as she rolled, trying to get away from the next kick and failing as another of the crew delivered a size 11 foot into the small of her back. She groaned from the effort of trying to get back on her feet before another kick smashed her in the chest just below her right breast, bruising another rib and knocking her over a few feet away from where Kitsune and her gang gathered.

She looked up in time to see them leveling their guns at her. "Well well well, this is a welcome change. Looks like I'm finally going to get rid of you, Gwen." The woman reached down and yanked Zaia's facemask off. "You don't know how long I've been waiting for this. It's a shame we're on a job, because I'd love to have a few hours to beat the living crap out of you for all the trouble you've caused me."
"Go to Hell," she muttered, not daring to move for the moment since one of them might shoot.
"You'll be going first," Kitsune promised, pulling her gun up. Zaia looked up into the barrel of Kit's gun as the villainess aimed between Zaia's eyes and swallowed hard.

There was a crashing sound from above and a muffled jet-like roar. Debris fell around them in the moments before the armor-suit landed between Kitsune and Zaia. Kitsune stepped back with the rest of her gang, recognizing the figure. "So, you are the infamous Panzer Pyro."
"I really, really hate that name," Amy said from within her suit as she brought an arm up. Kitsune's gang began to fire their guns at her, the bullets bouncing off her armor. "Really, that's not going to work. And as much as I want to try out the new stuff, you have ruined my night so I think I'll just give you an old-fashioned roasting." Her flamethrower popped up and a tongue of flame reached toward the gangmembers, igniting two as Kitsune and the two faster ones jumped out of the way. "Aim for the nozzle!" Kitsune shouted to her men, bringing her gun up.
Zaia's foot smacked the gun out of her hand. Grunting with effort, she jumped and kicked another of the goons, preventing him from firing at Amy as she extinguished the flames on the two she'd hit. Leaving them on the ground, Amy turned her attention to the one remaining one just as he fired, lifting her arm in time to make the bullet stop against her diamonide armor. A tongue of flame reached out and enveloped the man's gun, making him drop it in pain when the flame licked at his hands. Amy walked up and lightly flicked him with her suit's right pinky finger, knocking him four feet away and to the ground.

Kitsune deflected another punch from Zaia, taking advantage of the heroine's wounds to stay a step ahead of her. She pressed down on something behind her ear, activating her transmitter. "We've got some unexpected company, if you want this damned thing you'd better come and help us."
"I thought you said you could handle any problem that came your way," a male voice on the other end answered, an English accent prominent in it.
"I've got two-gooders on me now, and one's in a diamonide-coated armor su...." Kitsune's distraction in trying to argue her case worked against her, causing her to drop her guard long enough for Zaia to land a solid hit and knock her to the ground. Zaia's foot pressed against her chest while the Panzer Pyro stomped up, a pair of her men in each massive metal hand. "Urrghk...."
"Kitsune? Kitsune?! Damn you mortals, you make everything so troublesome..."
"So, Kitsune, who's your friend?" Zaia leaned over her, smiling. "Cultural artifacts aren't your usual swag."
"He's close enough," Kitsune answered, wiping at the blood on her mouth. "But you have bigger concerns now."
Zaia was about to ask when there was a sudden thunderclap within the room. A sucking vacuum wind picked up and Zaia could barely keep her place, turning as Amy did to view the strange phenomena that suddenly appeared in the middle of the room. A single figure stepped out, clad entirely in dark robes with a dark hood, and he spoke with a sinister English accent. "You have meddled in the wrong affair, wenches!" He opened a hand and a ball of energy shot out, striking Amy's suit and knocking her over. Amy screamed inside of it, her body beginning to convulse from the magical energy that circulated through it. She fought against it but could not move, as it had seized her completely and unremittingly.
Turning to Zaia, the figure smirked. "Such a lovely woman. I have just the thing to keep you company." He raised his hands and began a chant. A second portal appeared beside him, a hissing screeching demon with yellow eyes and reddish, flaming skin. "My pet incubus will suck the life right out of you."

Zaia stepped backward as the creature lunged at her, screeching so loudly it hurt her ears. She leapt to the side, narrowly missing it. She reached for one of her 'rangs and threw it at the demon's head. It was a direct hit, smacking it on the side of the head, but it did nothing but enrage the creature. Zaia tossed a bolo at it as it flew at her again, leaping out of the way as the bolo wrapped around it and restrained it's wings long enough to make it fall to the floor.
There was the sound of shattering glass. The dark figure returned to his initial portal, holding in one hand the demonic clay figure that Kitsune had come to steal. He raised the other hand and Kitsune's unconscious goons were covered in a magic aura and began to hover in mid-air, drawn into the portal with a wave of the figure's glowing hand. Kitsune stepped up to the portal and blew Zaia a kiss as she went through, Zaia barely noticing it before having to jump again to avoid the incubus.
Reaching upward, Zaia fired her grappling gun and activated the retractor as soon as it grappled onto a second floor railing. As she rose upward, the demon swiped at her leg and then followed her. Zaia let go of the gun and dropped to the floor, hoping to get into hiding in the moment's delay she had.
The incubus landed on her hard, smashing her into the ground and making her cry out from the weight on top of her. It grabbed her by the hair and lifted her up, pulling her head back so that she was forced to look into it's evil yellow eyes. The demonic presence instilled enough automatic instinctive fear that she was paralyzed with terror before the yellow light of the demon's eyes shot out and hit hers. Zaia struggled, screaming aloud as the incubus began to draw her life out of her, tearing through her mind in the process. The violation hurt to the very core of her being, making her struggle wildly in the demon's grip.

As she began to lose consciousness, not very far from death, there was a sudden burst of energy around her. Zaia fell to the ground and was unconscious by the time she hit it, but Amy - despite the pain rippling through her body - was able to watch as green energy surrounded the demon, a clear and beautiful female voice singing in another language now coming over her helmet's audio system. A bolt of white energy reached out and struck the incubus, joining the green and making its screeching take on a different tone as it struggled against the magical energies surrounding it until it simply flashed from existence.
Groaning and straining against the robotic limbs of her suit, Amy made herself get onto her back, trying to fight the intense pain crackling through her. Suddenly the voice from before began to sing once more. A feeling washed through her, a cleansing sense that wiped away the pain from head to toe, leaving her battered and exhausted from what had gone on before. She looked up and saw a pair of figures standing over her. One was a man, on the tall and lanky side, with dark hair and a matching beard with a silken silver shirt under a red jacket and dark trousers. The woman - with shining, rich red hair - was in a flowing, sparkling green dress that ended at her ankles, covering her completely save for the lower arms and a V-shaped area below her neck that ended just low enough to see the edge of her cleavage.
The man spoke first, with an English accent that had a strange hint of Appalachian to it, saying, "Hello, Panzer Pyro.... or do you prefer Amy Chan?"
"Who.... who are you?"
Taking the hand of the woman, he replied, "I am Nitram Blackthorne, and this is my wife Tevar. We have come to help you."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-03 03:22am

When Amy woke up the next morning, she was in a bed much softer than she was used to. Her clothing had been replaced by a loose purple nightrobe that matched her dyed hair. Coming awake with a bit of a start, she looked around at what was obviously a previously-vacant guest bedroom, fully furnished but devoid of the little things that would be in an occupied bedroom.
Heading to the window, Amy looked out to see a mountain forest outside and mountains in the distance. Where am I went through her mind as she took in the sight.
Now taking the moment to search the room more thoroughly, Amy found that her clothes were in a drawer. Not just the clothes she had been wearing under her suit, but a fresh change as well. She took the second set and put them on before walking out into the corridor of the house.
It was swiftly clear that this was not just a house, but a mansion, with fine wooden paneling and marble columns along the walls.. There were paintings on the wall and various objects on stands along both sides of the hall, most of them artifacts of various kinds.

"Let me guess, the girl in the armor suit?"
Amy turned and faced another woman, whom she quickly recognized as Gwen Ignacian, the jazz singer from the club. Like Amy she was dressed in normal clothes provided for her by their unknown benefactors. "Huh, how did you...." After a moment, she put two and two together. "Oh, I see, so you're Zaia, the Lesbian Avenger."
"Lady Avenger! Lady! Oooh!" A frustrated, angry look crossed the singer/heroine's face. "I want to strangle that idiot blogger who got it wrong!"
"Hey, at least you don't have to put up with a silly name like 'Panzer Pyro'!" Amy retorted. "There are times I think that Yancy was behind that one..."
"Yancy? He's the geek kid you were with at the club?"
"Yes. World's Biggest Annoyance, but the last thing I need is for him to go off to the papers with who I am." Amy crossed her arms. "Let me guess, you and Kitsune have a history?"
"You could say that. I honestly thought about coming after you first, to see what relationship you had with Kitsune. Before I knew you had a powered armor suit."
"Yes, well, you would have found out that I freelance in computer repair, and that it's not a smart thing to give me incentive money to not look through things on the computer," Amy replied with an amused smirk. "How else did you think I found out about that robbery?"
"I see."
Before they could continue speaking, they were approached by, well, it was soon visible as a hovering sphere. A voice echoed in the hall. "Please, guests, follow this sphere."
"This is really going to freak me out," Amy muttered as she and Zaia followed the sphere down the halls. There were even more artifacts to be found - statuettes, busts, and weapons, as well as the appearance of paintings as they got to a main hall, a series of paintings depicting men and women together, starting with clothing that seemed Romanesque to modern day suits.
Massive oaken doors greeted them on the other side of the hall, at least ten feet high. They had no visible knob or opening mechanism, and after a moment Amy went to find an opening mechanism when the doors swung open suddenly, forcing her to back up.

On the other side was some weird mixture of a library and laboratory. Large numbers of books were in old, wooden shelves, while a wooden table supported an assortment of beakers and vials. Walking past this, they were brought by the floating sphere to another set of smaller oaken doors that opened to reveal a study. Two people were seated at the table, and Amy recognized them as the people who had come to their rescue at the museum. They both looked to Amy and Zaia and the woman gestured to the table, where breakfasts of ham steak, eggs, and toast were ready for each.
"Ooooh, I haven't had a real breakfast since the last time I went to a Waffle House," Amy said.
"Waffle House? You've got good taste," Zaia replied with a grin.
The red-haired woman at the table smirked with amusement. "While Ah daen think ye'll find it t' be 'Waffle House' quality, it shid be good enough."
There was a chuckle from Nitram, who went back to reading while they ate their breakfast. When they were done, he said, "I am certain you have a number of questions."
"Yeah. First off, where are we?"
"You are in the Appalachian mountain range, inside the boundaries of West Virginia."
"Woh. How long were we out?"
Nitram gave them a look of bewilderment. "Certainly what you've seen so far has made magic teleportation seem possible, yes? You were only 'out', so to speak, for one night."
"Yeah, well, I'm not too experienced with magic. Or enthused by it," Amy replied.
"Unfortunately, you may have to deal with it quite a bit in the coming days." Nitram stood from his seat and swept a hand over a number of pictures hanging from the study wall. "These are the last ten generations of the Blackthornes. We have passed down magical talent and knowledge since the days when Caeser came to Britain. And during all that time, we have had one implacable foe." Nitram raised his hand and an image materialized, circled in fire, of the black-hooded man from the museum, recognized by both women. "He is the Dark Lord Elizar, an immortal sorcerer who desires to impose Order upon Mankind with brute magical force. You have seen his power already."

"Yeah, we have."
Nitram's eye turned to one of the pictures on the wall. "When I was just a youth, my father had his final battle with the Dark Lord. At the cost of his life, he sealed Elizar away within his citadel, cutting him off from the outside world. But the seal is now broken."
"So, what does he want with the little statue that they took from the museum?" asked Zaia.
"That, I am not sure of." Nitram looked back to them, a concerned expression on his face. "But whatever he's up to, I know for certain that it jeopardizes the entire world."

In the heart of the otherworldly citadel of the Dark Lord, the men who served in Kitsune's gang stood around her unconscious body until looking toward their scowling employer. One finally got the courage to ask, "Uh, she's.... she's still alive, right?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes. But I had told you all the price of failure. Feel fortunate I have decided to place the responsibility for it on her head," was the grumbled reply.
"But... but... we got the thing..."
"No, you simpleton, I retrieved the talisman. You let a girl in a costume and a wench in a toy suit make fools of you." Elizar's eyes had a whitish, eldritch glow to them as he stood up and walked up to Kitsune's body. "I think she's had enough time to learn her lesson." He put his hands on her head.
All the goons saw was Elizar go into a trance. They lacked the metaphysical vision to watch him descend the astral planes to his destination, one that would have stricken them with terror as they saw the metaphysical flames licking at his projected form. Here, deep in the core of the metaphysical cosmos, was the home of the demons, a place that had inspired the concept of Hell in the Human imagination.
The screams of Kitsune's soul led Elizar to her, and he found her as he expected her to be, her soul - now adopting a somewhat corporeal, bipedal form - chained down by demonic force and her soul's 'flesh' being ripped away by the claws of a minor demonling. A gaggle of them took turns, ripping and tearing at her as a larger demon observed, feeding off her agony and terror. He reacted to Elizar's presence first, speaking in the dark and rumbling voice that would make normal mortals tremble in utter terror. "You have returned for the mortal. Just as her suffering was becoming sweet."
"I still have potential use for her," Elizar responded. "Besides, soon enough you will have more than your fill of souls to satiate your hungers, Lord Khorak."
The demon's wings flexed. "So you say, sorcerer. But you promised me the same last time, and we were instead cast from the mortal plane before we could deal decisively with the Paladin."
"My side of that bargain was still met," Elizar retorted. "You freed me from the seal that Blackthorne imposed upon my keep, and I brought you to the mortal plane. You were cast back by your proximity to the magical energies of the Paladin's sword. This was your fault, not mine."
Khorak huffed, flames coming from his nostrils. "Very well. But this plan had better succeed, or it shall be you whom my minions torment for my pleasure." Khorak's massive paw pointed to the bound soul of Kitsune and released her. Elizar raised a metaphysical hand and cast the magics to return with her to the mortal plane.

Together they ascended through the astral planes to the mortal one, where their spirits re-entered their bodies. Kitsune's eyes opened wide and she began to cry out and curled into a fetal position. Her men looked at her and then to Elizar, who smirked as Kitsune wept. It took her a short time to realize that she was no longer in pain, and that her body was whole. She looked around and then to Elizar. "That is the price of failure," Elizar said. "If you fail me again, you won't be coming back."
Kitsune nodded stiffly.
One of her men put a hand on her shoulder. "What.... what happened boss? What'd he do to you?"
"Hell," she muttered. "He sent me to Hell."
Not caring for the conversation, Elizar went to the door. "Now, please excuse me, I have an attack to arrange. I won't require your services.... for now. Just remember, if you serve me faithfully and well, you will remain under my protection. Disappoint me, and I'll give all of you to the demons for an eternity of suffering." His eyes flashed with an eldritch glow, full of threat, as he walked off. "I have the statue. Now all I need is the life force and the artifact. How fitting that both are in the same place."
Walking through his citadel, Elizar arrived at his courtyard. His eyes glowed and magical energies came from his hands and surrounded his body with an aura as he gave life to the demonlings he would use to accomplish his task. "The return of your masters to this plane is at hand," he said to them. "Go now to acquire the final pieces I need to bring Lords Khorak and Azrael to the earthly plane." Elizar grinned with anticipation, his eyes glowing yet again as the magicks within roiled with anticipation.
One demonling, a creature about six feet tall with small flaming wings and long claws on his hands, asked, "Where are we to strike, Lord Elizar?"
The grin on Elizar's face turned into a smirk, and magical energy crackled around the glows in his eyes.
"Blackthorne Manor."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-14 04:22pm

Amy strolled out into the open courtyard of the Manor, admiring the lush scenery that the Blackthornes had arranged for it, and was soon strolling through the northern quarter where Tevar had lovingly planted Irish flora.
In the open center of the courtyard she found Zaia, dressed in a gi robe and performing personal exercises. "Kind of odd, don't you think?" she said as she went up a small flight of marble steps to the center of the courtyard. She could see Zaia was giving her attention, even if Zaia was still performing.... tai whatever. "I mean, usually it's the untrained Caucasian coming up on the deadly Asian martial arts master. Now it's the other way around."
Zaia giggled at that. "Well, I could teach you some, but I'm not that good a teacher. Just a student."
"Oh, that's okay, I'm into robots and geeky things, not sweaty martial-arts stuff."
"Your loss."
"So, where did you learn all that stuff?"
"Oh, here and there." Zaia completed a motion with her arms and stopped, sitting down for a moment on the cool but comfortable marble surface. "I've trained in a few arts, and with a few fighters. The Patriarch, the Jade Monkey...."
"Jade Monkey?"
"Chinese martial artist legend, now don't interrupt.... as I was saying, Patriarch, Jade Monkey, Goomba, and trained for a while under Lady Scarlet in Hawthorne. I even went a few rounds with Guy Roedecker, though I didn't know it was him at the time, this was before he did the whole 'King of an African country' thing."

"Heh. My only teamup is with SG-14, when I got a broken leg and some broken ribs trying to stop Big Steve from tearing Atlanta down."
"Yikes..... hey." Zaia stopped and looked to the side. "Do you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Amy concentrated and, after a moment, thought she could hear some rustling leaves. "Something's in the bushes."
They both turned to the origin of the sound in time for a small winged demonling to leap out, screeching almost childishly as it raced toward them. "Look out!" Zaia pushed Amy out of the way and allowed the creature to crash into her, knocking her onto the marble floor. She kicked the creature off and somersaulted, circling as she waited for it to attack again.
Amy leapt to her feet and ran, intending to find Nitram and Tev, but stopped when she heard something unexpected; children giggling. She slipped into a small cluster of trees behind the line of brush surrounding the center of the Manor courtyard, where she saw two children clad in t-shirts and pants; a dark-haired boy who was little more than a toddler - six at the most - and a red-haired girl looking nine or ten. The girl was surrounded by an aura, holding her hands up and giggling while the boy urged her to "Move her left! Left! See if we can get her ta fall inta th' fountain!"
"Hey! What are you two up to?!" Amy shouted.
The children nearly jumped in surprise, looking back to see Amy. "Ut-oh....." was their joint reaction. The boy evinced clear fright while the girl dropped her hands, the magic aura around her dissipating. She gave a childish smile and was trying, and failing, to look innocent, though unlike the boy she wasn't entirely intimidated.
"Huh?" she heard Zaia say. "It's gone!"
"It's okay, Zaia," Amy called out. "I found the problem. And you two would be."

"They're Jhelian an' Sean-Eric," Tevar's voice said, causing Amy and the children to turn in the direction of her voice. She entered the clearing behind Amy. The severe look on her face made Sean-Eric whimper, and even Jhelian seemed to lose some of the courage she'd had a few moments ago. "What'd I tell ye two 'bout usin' yer magic like tha'? Get ta yer rooms, now, or you'll no sit down fer a month o' Sundays!"
The children departed. Quickly. Amy giggled and looked to Tevar, who began to soften with the children out of sight. "I'm sorry if they caus'd ye any fright."
"Actually, it was kind of funny...."
"Says you," Zaia said when walking up, looking disheveled now.
"Lunchtime soon I hope?"
"Yes, o'course. I hope ye ladies like corn'd beef an' potatoes. We 'ave some sandwhiches too if ye wan'..."

Nitram's figure appeared before them suddenly, in spectral form. "Ladies, love, I hate to interrupt, but we are in imminent danger. I have felt Elizar's presence close, dangerously close, and moreso, a strong level fo demonic power. I think we have a demon strike force heading for the Manor."
"Oh joy. We get to have our asses kicked again," Amy muttered.
"Not necessarily. That incubus was one of the most powerful demons that a sorcerer can summon. These are foot soldier demons.... greatly weaker. You should be capable of fighting them." Nitram lifted a hand and created a floating sphere with it. "Follow this and it will take you to where your weapons are. Tev...?"
"Ye dinna have ta ask, luv." Tevar retreated inside the manor as well.
Amy and Zaia followed the sphere into the manor and to a chamber facing the outside, once a stable. There Amy found her armor suit, and Zaia found her stuff. As Zaia changed Amy opened the back of the suit up and slid in. She secured herself inside and brought it online, checking it's systems and finding everything fine. She turned back to Zaia and saw her fixing her face mask on. "What? I thought that thing was solid black?" Amy said as she noticed she could easily see the skin of Zaia's arms, upper chest, and belly through her suit.
"It's light dependent. In shadow and low light, you don't see a thing at all." Zaia walked up to a large wooden door and threw it open, showing the outside. "Mind giving me a lift?"
Amy hesitated. "Not used to riders," she mumbled as Zaia jumped onto her armored shoulders. Zaia held onto the suit's neck tightly and Amy carefully and slowly fired her foot jets, flying up over the walls of the manor and toward the wave of screechy leathery things that were moving along cleared mountainside toward the manor.

Tevar's voice came in loud and clear, leading Amy to wonder how they could all hear her sing, but no matter the reason the effect was obvious when a powerful wind began to whip around the walls of the manor, hugging it closely and forming an impenetrable barrier that would whip around any who tried to pass it.
"Bombs away!" Zaia laughed as she jumped off Amy's back and flew to the ground below. She landed kicking, knocking one of the demons down, and when her hand whipped outward an object left it that began beeping even before it smacked into one of the demons, exploding when it did and sending the thing backward screeching.
"Okay, time to see what my new hardware can do." Amy went through her weapons catalog and chose the plasma cannon installed in the right arm. A continuing stream of yellow energy ripped outward, tearing into the demon ranks and taking many out. "Ooooh, I like." Amy next switched to a larger cannon set built into the shoulders. Keeping her suit hovering above the ground, Amy focused on another gaggle of the demons and fired both cannons. Two solid beams of blue shot out and cut into the earth in front of them, striking and knocking out one of the demons automatically.
Amy went flying backward from recoil, crashing into the manor wall - strangely the wind shield had no effect on her - and causing some masonry and brick to fall around her as she hit the ground. Coming up bside her, Nitram looked down and said, "Please, do try and refrain from damaging my home."
"Sorry. Guess I'm going to have to stick to the dirt to avoid that killer recoil." Amy ignited her suit engines and flew back toward the fight.

Zaia's fists and legs were flying everywhere, one attack immediately turning into another as she tried to take on as many demons as she could in hand-to-hand. She was on the verge of being overwhelmed when another flurry of energy shots struck at them from Amy's wrist-mounted plasma guns, giving her a little breathing space. "How are you hurting those things with your fists?"
"Electric current knuckles," Zaia replied, and Amy did happen to notice the arcs of electricity occasionally zipping out of the gloves Zaia wore over her hands. She kicked off one demon and flipped in mid-air, landing on another one's neck with her feet before jumping off again and getting to the ground. Another half-dozen rushed at her and were blasted in succession by the rapid fire energy guns installed into Amy's wrists.
At that moment a wave of magical energy swept over them, driving the demonlings back. Nitram hovered in mid-air, an aura surrounding him and energy circulating around his hands and eyes. He spoke an incantation in a language Amy and Zaia didn'ty recognize and again energy swept forward, driving the demons back and actually eliminating some of them, allowing Zaia time to fall back under Amy's cover fire. She reached into her utility belt and retrieved another explosive 'rang, which she threw into the onrushing crowd as it renewed it's assault again.
There was a screech from the air that made them all look up. Newer types were joining the fray, with massive leathery or even flaming wings. Nitram's attention was diverted to them, energy flowing from his hands and striking one after the other in the sky. But still they came. Amy went airborne again and smashed into one, grabbing it by the neck and throwing it into another pair of demons before blasting them all with her arm cannon (as opposed to the killer recoil shoulder cannon). One of them - larger than the others - got close enough to crash into her, grabbing at her suit wrists. Amy kicked at it with one foot and delivered a punch that knocked it backward in the air, where a bolt from Nitram went right through it and caused it to disintegrate. Hearing a cry, Amy looked down and saw Zaia was again being overwhelmed. She flew downward and fired into the crowd, having to land just to get enough away from Zaia that she was able to move again, bloody scratches over her right cheek and on her right belly under her breast. Looking pained, Zaia whipped out her last explosive 'rang and took out another small group of them before Amy flew her to safety away from the advancing horde. Falling back to the Manor wall and the edge of the wind shield, Amy shouted "There's too many!" to Nitram, who was clearly straining.
"Yes," Nitram said in agreement, creating a magical shield to absorb fire flowing from the eyes of some of the flying demons. "But thankfully, reinforcements have arrived."
"Reinforcements?" Amy looked around as she was answered by a series of thunderclaps from within the Manor. Suddenly there was a loud roar, this one definitely from a man, and a figure leapt off of the manor wall and landed just inside the horde of demonlings with a shockwave that threw at least two dozen off their feet. As he rushed to Zaia's side he was swinging a massive sword, the blade at least five feet long, which was crackling with energy. The most interesting thing of all was his dress - he was adorned in Scottish Highlander garb, complete with kilt and tartan, and a cap that contained a large head of red hair.
The barrel-chested Scotsman shouted, "Come on then, all o' ye, Ah'll give ye a knockin' ye'll ne'er forget!" He swung the sword as if it were three feet shorter, cutting swiftly through multiple demons and channeling magics that made the demonlings fall back in fear.

This didn't quite end the danger to Zaia, but before Amy could fire on the half-dozen demons looking to attack her, claws out, bolts of yellow energy descended upon them from above. A more normal-sized man - save for the two massive metal wings that were attached to the back of his suit - flew down and snatched Zaia up, flying her to safety up on the manor wall. His uniform was gold on black, with a sun emblem emblazoned over the chest and a smaller one on the forehead of the otherwise-simple helmet he wore.. The Scotsman looked up as the winged figure flew overhead, energy erupted from his clenched fists and enveloping more of the demonlings. "Aye, Sunhawk, ye always were in th' game for rescuin' pretty lasses."
"Claymore, you know me too well. I can't resist ladies.... especially ones in skin-tight catsuits."
The thundering female voice made everyone look up. Sunhawk muttered, "Ah, there she is.... showboating as usual...."
Standing on the roof of the Manor's wall was a blonde-haired woman in shining silver armor plate that ended just above her ample cleavage and where her arms moved down from the shoulder. She was wearing a mail skirt for protection down to her knees, looking far more combersome and heavy than she proved to be when she jumped from the manor wall to the ground. Her head, with it's rich golden blonde hair, was covered by a winged helmet. On her left arm was a circular shield emblazoned with runes, as was the blade of the sword she held in her right hand, both shining with otherworldy energy. "Halt, foul things, in the name of Odin, Lord of Asgard, and the Allfather!" She pointed the sword forward and cut her way into the middle of the enemy rank rushing toward her.
"I see Vigdis wasn't too busy playing with her new Justice Force Europe buddies to come and relive the old days," Sunhawk said from his spot in the air."

"Tha's nae Vigdis though," Claymore said. "Well, Ah'll be.... tha's 'er little girl Rikke!"
Suddenly there was the roar of a jet engine above, and Amy looked up to see a hovering craft move over the manor. A bay door opened and three figures flew out. One, a dark-haired girl about Amy's age wearing a shoulderless uniform with a hawk insignia, raced through the air toward the nearest large demon and punched it so hard it slammed through four others before plunging into the horde as it drew ever closer to the Manor, sending demons flying everywhere.

The second figure was another girl Amy's age, this one having long red hair and wearing an all-black uniform that only bared her arms and shoulders. An aura of fire surrounded her, and with a motion of her hands streams of fire struck several of the demons, making them burn and screech. The third was a man, not much older than the two ladies, wearing a blue and white uniform with an icicle insignia on the chest. A slide of ice appeared below his feet, allowing him to slide to the ground safely, and a solid burst of ice struck out to nail a flying demon that was getting dangerously close to Nitram. He blasted another demon in time for the dark-haired arrival to fly close, smacking yet another one in the unending horde assaulting the Manor.

Nitram looked to her. "I'm sorry for bothering you, Aurora Hawk, but Helen no longer responds to my summons."
"Mother is her own person," the dark-haired girl said, and now Amy could see she had a slight hint of Oriental features to her face though she looked Caucasian. "Besides, she gave up the mantle to become a merc. I'm the new Ladyhawk."
"And you've brought your Justice Force teammates, Sakura and Iceberg."
"We were putting out the fires in the Adirondacks," Aurora replied. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have demon ass to kick."
Seeing all this, Amy smirked inside her suit while exchanging punches with another one of the large demons. Everywhere around her the demon army was being held in it's tracks by the superpowered reinforcements that had come to Nitram's aid. And I thought I was going to be the bruiser for this adventure she muttered to herself while watching Claymore and Valkyrie rip through their foes while Ladyhawk easily manhandled any opponent that came too close.

There was a scream from the Manor that drew attention toward it. The wind shield was gone and Tevar's voice was no longer heard. The demons stopped their advance without warning, backing up and bowing. "No," Amy heard Nitram say, a word that drew everyone's attention, and she recognized the figure hovering above the battlefield. Elizar was there, and in each hand he held the ankles of Blackthrone's children, Jhelian on the right and Sean-Eric on the left; in front of them was Tevar, unconscious and held in mid-air by a magical aura clearly originating from Elizar.
"The drawback to a bard's magic is that songs require concentration and that someone like me can then sneak up on them," Elizar remarked. As he spoke, a number of minor explosions rippled through the Manor, setting it alight. "And now, after thousands of years of dealing with your wretched family and your constant spawn, I can finally be rid of you all," Elizar gloated, his dark laughter echoing over the mountainside.

Acknowledgements: Tevar helped with rewriting some of the stuff with the kids.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-16 04:09pm

The first roar of rage was not from Nitram, surprisingly, but from Ladyhawk. Aurora soared straight at Elizar, fist ready to punch him into the next time zone, but she was stopped as she got within three feet of him, knocked back by a field of energy projected by Elizar's powerful magicks. Amy, Sunhawk, and Sakura attacked him with every weapon they had at their disposal, all to no avail.
Then it was Nitram's turn. He spoke an incantation and focused a beam of energy upon Elizar. The beam speared right through the sorcerer's defenses and struck him, knocking him backward. His grip on the unconscious children remained solid, but his growl of pain and anger could be heard by all. "Catch!" he shouted, and his magic released Tevar, causing her to plummet toward the burning Manor below.
Sunhawk and Ladyhawk both rushed toward her, and it was Ladyhawk who caught her first. Before Amy or any of the others could react, Elizar literally faded away, courtesy of a teleport spell, with the Blackthorne children in tow.

"Sakura, restrain the fires and I'll start putting them out!" Iceberg created an ice platform beneath himself. Water rushed from his hands as if they were firehoses, dousing the flaming bits of the Manor while Sakura hovered above, her hands extended and drawing in flames from the home like a vacuum.
Nitram hovered above and spoke an enchantment. The Manor itself seemed to respond, the fires extinguishing suddenly one by one until they were all out. His home saved, Nitram turned his attention to Ladyhawk as she landed and placed Tevar on the ground. He placed a hand on her forehead and a glow covered both until Tevar awoke. Her eyes widened and she sat up. "Nitram! Th' kids! Th' bastard has them!"
"I know," he said to her. "And we'll get them back. But... I feel there is something else missing here."

As a group they entered the Manor and began to walk down it's passageways, which were large enough even for Amy in her suit. Looking to Iceberg, she said, "Um, how does a guy who manipulates water get a superhero name like 'Iceberg'?"
"By not realizing the full extent of his powers until after he adopts the name," was the reply. "And what about you? You're that local Atlanta amateur who got thrashed by Big Steve."
"Hey, I gave as good as I got.... I think."
"Don't worry about it, he's thrashed pretty much everyone at one time or another," Ladyhawk said from her place in the group. "Oh, and Zaia, just so you know, I'm straight and so is Sakura."
Zaia grumbled. "It's Lady Avenger, not Lesbian Avenger God dammit!" she shouted, drawing chuckles from some of the assembled.
"Well, I guess introductions are in order." Sunhawk looked back at Zaia and Amy. "Name's Sunhawk. I usually work solo, but I help out the Blackthornes whenever something metaphysical comes around."
"Name's Angus Scott, lasses. Ah'm known as Claymore, th' Guardian of Scotland."
"Rikke Skarsgard. The Valkyrie," was the terse reply from the buxom Scandanavian blonde.
"I don't suppose we need any introduction?" Ladyhawk asked them.
"Not really," Zaia replied. "You're Aurora Hawk, daughter of James and Helen Hawk, and you've clearly taken up your mother's old name of Ladyhawk. Your friends are two of the newer members of Justice Force, Sakura and Iceberg."
"Got it in one," was the reply.

At the front of the troop, Tevar was walking with her head against Nitram, quietly hiding her fear as they entered Nitram's study. He looked around and noticed a rifled case. "Oh no...." He ran up to it and pulled it open, moving around things inside. "It's gone."
"Wha's gone, luv?"
"The Eye of Nicodemus."
Tev gasped, and both Claymore and Valkyrie had stunned and upset looks on their face. "The Eye of whatsa?" said Amy.
"The Eye of Nicodemus," Nitram repeated. "An artifact that Roger Blackthorne recovered from a site in the Holy Land nearly four hundred years ago. The artifact can create tears that allow for passage between this plane and.... the plane you would know as 'Hell'."
"Hell? Like in place of burning and agony that bad people and meanies are supposed to go to when they die?"
"It is the inspiration for that place, Miss Chan. But it is so much more. It is a plane of existance dominated by two powerful entities, Khorak and Azrael, who feed upon the suffering of souls. The Eye of Nicodemus was crafted by a worshipper of the two Demon Lords so that he might see his masters. But it's power was corrupted early, and instead of merely functioning as an eye into the Pit it functions as the key to opening a gateway between the two planes."
"Oh, I get it," Amy said, realizing what was going on. "He must have needed that thingy he stole from the museum to work with this Eye thingy to open a portal to Hell to bring through the Demon Lords to conquer all Mankind!" Noticing the looks of the others, Amy shrugged from within the suit. "Well, it is the kind of kooky insane plans that super duper evil supervillains come up with, isn't it?"

A horrified look crossed Tevar's face. "Oh no, Jhelian an' Sean-Eric are goin' ta be th' swap!"
"The swap?" asked Zaia.
"Uh, I'd guess she means that her kids are going to get sent to Hell so that Khorak and Azrael can stay in our world. So the energy state of the universe doesn't change....." Amy paused for a moment, something having just occurred to her. "Wait, your kids are equal in power to two super-powerful Demon Lords?!"
"The Blackthorne and NicIomhair bloodlines possess very strong magical links," Nitram explained. "Our children, when fully grown and trained, will become the most powerful sorcerers on the Earth. Even though they lack the training to use their full power, it is there, and it's quite possible that it would be enough to grant Khorak and Azrael limited entry into our plane... long enough or them to find further victims to banish to their plane so that they might stay longer."
"Weel, stop yer blabberin' an' take us ta Elizar's citadel!" Tevar shouted, looking every bit the enraged mother and wife. Energy crackled around her, the magic she commanded responding to her agitated emotional state.
"Yes." Nitram looked to the others. "I will not lie and say our chances are good. Elizar is the most powerful sorcerer alive at the moment, our children not counting, and he has clearly gained control of the earthly demonlings that are loyal to Khorak and Azrael."

"Elizar threatens Midgard with his madness." The Valkyrie placed her hand on her sword hilt. "I will accompany you."
"Aye, tha' madman's given the line o' Guardians problems o'er the centuries." Claymore placed his meaty fists together. "Ah'll be joinin' ye."
"Saving the world is part of the business for us," Ladyhawk said, looking to Iceberg - technically the "senior" member present - and got a nod of approval. She cracked her knuckles. "We're coming."
Sunhawk chimed in next. "I'm in it, of course."
"So am I," Zaia offered, stepping forward.
"No, I cannot allow you two to come," Nitram said, looking to Zaia and Amy. "You, Zaia, have no powers to aid you in the coming fight and you, Amy, have absolutely no experience working with others and are ill-trained for the sort of fight coming. I won't throw away the lives of amateurs and masked normals for nothing."
"Amateur?! Why I...." Zaia clenched her fists.
"Um, I think they meant me when they said 'amateur'," Amy said while the others gathered around Nitram, holding back Zaia with the power of her suit's arm. "You're the masked normal."
"Take care, ladies, been a pleasure to meet the Panzer Pyro and the Lesbian Avenger," Sunhawk said, saluting with two fingers as Nitram cast a teleportation spell and they all blinked away.
"Don't call me that!," shouted Amy and Zaia in reply, sounding perfectly synchronized in their response, just quick enough that the others saw their reply when Nitram's magic whisked them away.

After the teleport spell was complete, Zaia looked to Amy. "So, uh, can you give me a flight to civilization?"
"I have no idea where we are, so I don't know if I have the energy reserves left," Amy replied. "Besides, I know I can't get us back to Atlanta, and I have nowhere to hide my suit."
"Well, we can't just sit here and do nothing. Maybe we should go help them."
"Yeah, sure, and just how do we follow them genius?"
"Well...." Zaia smirked in a manner that Amy figured most guys would go ga-ga over. "I copped a feel on Sunhawk when he walked over to Nitram."
"You grabbed his ass?"
"Yeah, and...."
"You grabbed his ass?!"
"Shush and let me finish," Zaia said in irritation, frowning. "I also slipped a tracer on him. It's got a micro-GPS locator, so all we need is transportation and...."
"About the only thing here that can get us anywhere outside of this podunk state is that jet out there that Ladyhawk came.... in...." Something dawned on Amy, something important. "Wait a minute, did you say her father was James Hawk?"
"James Hawk. As in the James Hawk. Founder of Hawk Electronics?"
Zaia nodded again. "Yeah, he's her dad. Why do you think she and her mother had the name Ladyhawk?"
"But, Ladyhawk was.... are you telling me that James Hawk was HAWK?"
Zaia stared blankly at Amy for a moment. Then she began to laugh hysterically. "Oh. My. GOD," she said between laughs. "You... you didn't know... you didn't know he was the superhero Hawk?!"
"No!" Amy replied indignantly.
"Jeez, you really are out of the loop aren't you?! It's just the most well-known secret identity in the entire superhero community!" Zaia continued laughing and Amy huffed angrily. "I'm... I'm sorry... I know you're new but.... jeez...."

"If you're done laughing at me, Zaia, I was about to say something." Amy waited for Zaia to get her laughter under control before continuing. "If James Hawk is the founder of Justice Force, it means that they're equipment is likely from his company, right?"
"I'd think so."
"Which means that his jets probably have the latest, cutting edge computer auto pilot software."
"Uh huh...."
Amy smiled, though Zaia couldn't see it because of her armored helmet. "I wrote some of that. And I used it for my suit, which means they're compatible."
Zaia stared blankly at her for a moment before realization dawned. "Which means...."
"Which means my suit's computers can patch directly into the jet and pilot it." Amy grinned widely. "So come on, before they steal all the fun!"
Last edited by Steve on 2006-09-18 06:35pm, edited 1 time in total.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-17 02:33pm

Elizar's citadel was in an isolated valley of the southern Appalachians, a result of his relocation to America in the late 18th Century. It was a forboding ziggarut surrounded by a circular wall and four parapets pointing in the cardinal directions.
Nitram and the others materialized just outside of the ziggarut's wall. Nitram and Tevar joined hands, with their left and right respectively, and their right and left stretched outward, goldish energy glowing at their finger tips. As one they spoke an incantation and their magic energy, combined, hit an unseen barrier surrounding the citadel. Both concentrated hard, focusing their magic on the citadel, and the barrier dissipated under the assault.
Ladyhawk, Claymore, and Valkyrie all growled battle cries as they were the first to charge into the demonlings that came to challenge them. Soaring at low altitude, her fists forward, Ladyhawk blasted through their ranks like a thunderbolt, clearing the gap for Claymore and Valkyrie to rush into, their magical swords swinging and cleaving through the demonlings without effort. Iceberg took up position behind them, blasting water and ice alternatively and at random at any demonling that was missed by Claymore and Valkyrie. From above, Sakura and Sunhawk took the flanks, their fire and solar blasts keeping the demonlings off of sides of Claymore and Valkyrie.
Nitram and Tevar kept their hands clasped, and their next incantation caused them to levitate, raising them in the air toward the top of the ziggarut. Before they could get there, the door at the top burst open and a massive burning demon appeared, with a large horned face and great wings, a flaming sword in one hand and a flaming whip in another.

"Is that a Balrog?!" Iceberg shouted from the ground while freezing a handful of attackers.
"Tolkien knew more about the metaphysical and demons than he let on to the public," Nitram replied with a hint of mystery to his tone, bringing his wife to the ground and protecting them both with a magical shield. Tevar began to sing, a song with magic that created it's own defensive field to hold back the Balrog's ferocious attacks.
"Oh, that's smart, send a flaming creature against a pyrokinetic," Sakura said. She extended a hand toward the Balrog and concentrated. "Huh? Why aren't my powers working?"
"The creature's flames are not of Midgard, girl, but the lower realms", the Valkyrie shouted, cleaving through an enemy on her way to the steps up the ziggarut. Claymore was behind her, swiping away at foes that avoided Iceberg's water and ice blasts.
Sunhawk's solar blasts struck at the creature, annoying it greatly, and leaving it open for Ladyhawk. She uttered another "Yaaaah!" before coming up to the horned demon's face and giving it a strong right hook. The punch had a clear effect, stunning the creature for a moment and causing it's head to jerk back violently. Ladyhawk followed up with another punch, this time with her left fist, that jerked the Balrog's head again. As she would up for a third punch, the flaming whip struck and wrapped around her. Ladyhawk's agonized scream filled in the air when the mystical flames burned and hurt even her bulletproof skin. The Balrog's nostrils flared and it lashed the whip outward, throwing Ladyhawk into one of the towers of the citadel and causing it to crash down around her in a cloud of shattered masonry and dust.

The Valkyrie left up and her sword cut into the creature's upper leg. It shrieked as the wound glowed white hot from the magicks of the Valkyrie's holy sword. A solid column of ice came from Iceberg's clasped hands and smashed it in the chest, knocking it backward. Tevar began to sing again, a song of binding that created green energy around the creature and restricted it's speed. The magical backlash of the creature's attempts to resist restraint made Tevar slump, sweat gathering at her brow as she continued the song.
The demon sentinels of the ziggarut rushed up it's sides toward Nitram and Tevar. Nitram extended a hand and spoke an incantation, creating a yellow magic field that knocked them back and protected everyone.
The shriek of enemies from the air diverted the attention of Sunhawk and Sakura. Sakura enlarged her fire aura and send several solid blasts of flame at a flight of them, incinerating them into ash. She reduced the aura and hovered back to back with Sunhawk, yellow bolts coming out of his hands at any target that got too close. "On my signal, move," she said to Sunhawk. "Three, two, one, now!" They split directions, Sakura going up and Sunhawk down, as two distinct flights of demons conveged on where they had been. They fired downward and upward respectively, catching the demon flights between them and taking them all out.
Valkyrie's scream echoed in the air. Her armor was not fully protecting her from the flames of the Balrog's hands as it gripped her and began to crush her. None of the other heroes could react to help her, busy as they were dealing with the demonlings crowding up the ziggarut.

A roar of effort filled the air and the upper half of the tower that had collapsed on Ladyhawk lifted into the air, Ladyhawk under it with her arms straining. She flew upward, bits of masonry and brick falling around her, and upon reaching a high enough altitude she threw the tower on top of the Balrog's head. It screeched in rage and released Valkyrie. Recovering swiftly, she raised her sword and ran up the burning flesh of the creature to it's chest, where she buried the sword where it's "heart" would be. The screech it made was inhuman as it strained further against the magical restraint field of Tevar's song, and quickly it shriveled up and faded into ash that was soon blown away by a mountain wind. A field from Nitram prevented the soot from getting on everyone save Sakura, Ladyhawk, and Sunhawk. Sakura tried to wipe the ash off her forehead and just smeared it on both her forehead and her right forearm, mingling as it was with her sweat. "Yuck!"
"Tell me about," Sunhawk muttered, trying to dust himself off. "At least you wear all black."
Nitram looked to the side and was just in time to catch Tevar as she slumped over, exhausted from restraining the Balrog. "Come, dear, we're almost there."
"I dinna remem'bur those thing's bein' sa bliddy tough," she said weakly, letting her husband bring her back to her feet. Looking up, she saw the big door that would take them inside. "Ookay, res' tyme is o'er. Let's get th' sassenach an' teach 'im a lesson."
Ladyhawk soared low and just over Nitram and the others. "Time to knock!" She picked up speed, extended her hands in front of her, and shot into the door like a cannonbolt, splintering it into pieces and entering the main chamber of Elizar's citadel.
As the others entered, they all saw the same sight. Suspended on two pentagram-shaped columns facing the front door were Sean-Eric and Jhelian, arms and legs bound to match the shape of the five-point star. They were fully conscious, but their mouths were tightly gagged. Between of and in front of the columns, forming a perfect triangle in relation to them, was a table, on which was set the Eye of Nicodemus, and in front of it, the demonic figure talisman stolen from the High Museum of Art. "Wha's goin' on, Nit?" Tevar carefully walked forward, seeing her children struggling to speak through the gags. "Iffen th' wee ones are awake, then why 'aven't they used their magic ta escape?"
"Everyone on guard," Nitram said as they moved a bit further into the room. Suddenly everyone was distracted by a grunt from Claymore. All eyes turned to him to see him staring at his sword. "Is something wrong?"
"Aye. Th' Sword of William Wallace is enchanted t' be light in th' hands of a Guardian, but it's gotten real heavy all th' sudden...."
"Nitram... th' Weave, I... I can't feel th'...."
"Me neither. Everyone, get out!"
As they all turned to run, a metal door slammed down over the entrance, trapping them in the chamber. From across the room, another door opened and Elizar stepped out of it, accompanied by Kitsune and all of her goons, including a half-dozen she had called in to join the other four. They raised shotguns - Kitsune had a small pistol - and took up positions around the room, aiming their guns at the heroes. "You've placed a dampening field in the room, cut us off from magic," Nitram said.
"Of course, why else would I allow the most powerful children on Earth to be conscious for this?" Elizar stepped forward. "You're all helpless now."
"Um, news flash for evil sorcerer guy, metahumans don't use magic." With that Sakura extended her hand to shoot flames at him, but when nothing came from her finger tips she looked at her right hand with widened eyes. "What.... what happened to my...."
"Your powers?" Elizar laughed. "Girl, like it or not, but even metahuman powers have a basis in the Weave, the source of all metaphysical power. Each and every one of you is, for all intents and purposes, a normal Human now." Elizar gestured to the table. "The Talisman of Dumakal of Ur, designed to draw in the metaphysical power around it when properly activated. It will provide the necessary balance of energy to allow Lord Khorak and Azrael to enter this plane.... and for your children to take their places in the Pit."

"Ye madman! Ye can't trust demons!" Tevar waved an arm at him. "They'll betray ye as soon as they 'ave no m're need for ye!"
"Give me some credit, woman. I have been around since the times when your ancestors huddled in the night afraid of the spirits they believed around them!" A look of pure anger on his face, he stomped up to Tevar, though she did not flinch from his gace. "I saw the walls of Troy and Jericho crumble, the destruction of entire societies you have never known to exist, before your people knew how to build more than primitive huts to protect themselves from the winter cold! I was ancient when they nailed that upstart carpenter from Gallilee to the cross on Golgotha and when that womanizing cow of an Arabian merchant climbed the mountain the first time! And you dare to presume I have no knowledge of how daemons work?!" Elizar laughed harshly. "I will enjoy watching Khorak feast upon your wretched souls and cast you into the Pit!"
Trembling with anger, Tevar smashed him in the jaw with a right hook that knocked him backward and nearly onto his rear. A string of Gaelic curse erupted from her, her fist raised to give him another punch, but she could connect a pistol barked and Tevar cried out, collapsing onto the ground after a quick splatter of blood jumped into the air. Smoke eminated from the gun in Kitsune's hands. "I really, really hate that accent," she said.
Nitram went to Tevar's side immediately, bending over and looking at the bullet wound in the right side of her upper belly. "Dear... dear, don't talk, conserve your strength."
Valkyrie and Claymore growled in rage and went to move toward Kitsune, her goons cocked their guns as reminders of their situation, and they backed down at Iceberg's urging.
Elizar, on the other hand, furiously belted Kitsune across the mouth. She fell to the ground and looked up fearfully as Elizar pressed his boot to her throat. "You are to do precisely as I instruct and no more! I wanted them whole! Now, stay there or you'll be joining them in the Pit!"
Kitsune nodded, terror of Elizar and what he could do to her returning. She didn't even bother to wipe her mouth of the blood that was starting to come from the corner of her lip.

Elizar walked over to the altar and grinned. "I told you that your family's feud with me would end, Nitram Blackthorne, and now I will show you how." He raised his hands and began to chant. Black energies gathered at his hands and poured into the Eye of Nicodemus on the table. As the ancient words continued to come from Elizar, a surge of energy left the Eye and focused on the exact point between the columns with the bound Blackthorne children. A twirling, dark vortex, cackling and roiling with red and black energy, appeared there.
A shape began to move within it while the children struggled against their bindings. Both the heroes and Kitsune's men stared in a state of dread as the shape of Lord Khorak began to form in the vortex.
Such was the sound of dimensions being ripped through that nobody heard the roar outside. Suddenly there was a loud crash and an explosion of masonry and brick at the north wall of the complex, to the left of Elizar and the heroes. Sticking prominently through the hole in the wall was the nose and front fuselage of the Justice Force jet that Ladyhawk and the others had flown to Blackthorne Manor.
There was a few moments of stunned silence before the metal door that had blocked their exit was ripped off it's hinges. Standing in the doorway with the sun at their backs, Amy's suit was in a dramatic "hands-on-hips" post and Zaia was leaning against her, smirking. She non-chalantly tossed a rang with her right hand that knocked the shotgun out of one of the goon's hands. "Tada," she teased them.
"So, we catch you idiots at a bad time?" Amy asked, moving her hands to slam her suit's right fist into the left hand's open palm. "There's two ways you're leaving here today; regular or extra crispy. It's your choice punks, so bring it on."
Last edited by Steve on 2006-09-21 06:35am, edited 1 time in total.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-23 04:30am

Gunfire echoed in the room, all of it directed rather foolishly at Amy and not at the unarmored, depowered heroes whom it would actually have hurt. She raised her arms in reply and fired the plasma guns, hitting one and then another of the assembled goons. Zaia leapt out from behind her, tossing a 'rang that knocked the gun out of a third's hands.
The other heroes didn't remain bystanders. They leapt into the fight, each one going after a thug as they were all distracted trying to shoot Amy and Zaia.
With the thugs grappling the heroes in hand-to-hand, and losing, Amy went straight for Elizar. She lifted him up by the robe and tossed him against the far wall. As he tried to recover, Amy reached out in either direction and ripped away the restraints holding the Blackthorne children to the wall, allowing them to run to their parents.
Amy stomped up to him and her left hand grabbed Elizar by the collar, pulling him into the air. Her suit's right hand flamethrower nozzle slid up into place. "Okay, mister conquer-the-world-with-demons, it's time to be set on fire."
"No you fool, you must let me... Aaaaahh!" Flames poured over Elizar's robe and left him thrashing in Amy's grip. Amy tossed him to the ground and brought up her extinguisher, dousing the flames with it as Elizar rolled around. "You... you don't know what you've done..."
"Mum! Da!"
Jhelian's voice made Amy turn... and she saw the children as they were immediately sucked into the vortex in the room. Coming up right behind them, grabbing for Jhelian's leg, was Zaia.... who also disappeared "Oh no... What did you do?!" She snatched Elizar again. "Don't make me burn you again!"
"Idiot," Elizar rasped. "I wanted the demons' powers.... not them.... I would have controlled the transfer so that their essence came through the portal but not their physical form. But you made me drop the Eye, and I cannot control the transfer any longer...."

At that point there was a roar and the portal expanded a bit as it accompanied the shifting of a larger form. A massive clawed foot hit the ground in front of the portal, attached to a thickly-muscled leg of black-red flesh. The rest of the form came out, a demon of about seven feet in height with a large horned head, eyes and nostrils covered in flame, and a wingspan the same as his height. "It is good to be in your mortal plane again. I sense so much life... so much to feast upon."
"Lord Khorak," Nitram said.
Khorak's flaming eyes looked to Tevar where she was on the ground, a bloodied hand over her gunshot wound. He reached out and created a flame that struck and covered Tevar, causing her to scream. "Despite his treachery, I may let Elizar stay here as a reward for giving me such delicious suffering for feed."
"Cease!" The Valkyrie charged forward, sword raised. Khorak extended the other hand and a flame reached out, not just striking Valkyrie but actually enveloping her and lifting her into the air. A wail came from her throat as she thrashed about in the demon's grip. Khorak grinned wickedly, seeming nourished by what was happening.
As Claymore and Sunhawk charged at the demon, Sakura shouted, "We've got to get out off here! We're no match for him without our power!" As she did so, flames erupted from Khorak's eyes and enveloped Claymore and Sunhawk as they had Valkyrie and Tevar.
"Let's smash that talisman thing," Ladyhawk said, running to the table and snatching the Talisman of Dumakal up from the table. As she went to throw it against the wall, a flame from Khorak's mouth reached out and grabbed her, pulling her away and causing her to scream from the agony it created, the suffering that Khorak was now feeding on.

It skittered to the floor, and Amy ran over and snatched it up. Using her suit's power she placed it between her hands and squeezed. As she began, Nitram raised a hand and shouted, "No, stop!"
But it was too late, and the talisman crumbled in the vise grip of Amy's suit hands. A massive light rippled from the talisman and outward. At that moment Sakura's flame aura re-ignited. Iceberg lifted his hands and a pillar of ice shot out, slamming Khorak through the opposite wall and out of the building, causing him to release his victims in the process.
Nitram's first act, with his powers recovered, was to turn to his wife and raise hands toward her. He spoke an incantation and an eldritch glow came from his eyes and enveloped the bullet wound on Tevar's body. The bullet came out and dissipated after it left her skin, her wound healing as it exited.
"Well, now that you're back at full power, how do we deal with him?"
"I was going to retreat from the room and try to cast magic to keep him restrained long enough for you to follow Zaia into the portal to get our kids back," Nitram said in irritation. "But by destroying the talisman you not only recovered our powers, you also stopped it's draining effect upon Khorak. He's going to be at full power now."
"Um.... ooops?"
"'Oops' is an understatement. A British understatement." Nitram sighed and looked to the portal. "Very well, I suppose this will work better anyway. It's only a matter of time before Azrael comes through as well, so I will take a few of us through the portal while you and the others stay here and hold Khorak off."
"I was afraid you were going to say that," Amy muttered as Nitram and Tevar got Sunhawk's attention.
At that moment Khorak appeared in the gap of the building and growled in rage. Before he could seize any of them with his flames Amy ignited her foot jets and struck him head on. It was like hitting a solid titanium wall, and the reactive force made Amy's shoulder ache, but it did knock him back out of the chamber and caused him to hit the ground. She brought up her shoulder cannons - the ones with the wicked recoil - and fired both. On her feet she still had trouble holding back from the recoil, while the twin lances of energy struck Khorak directly and literally shoved him further into the ground, a cloud of dust and sprays of grass and soil erupting from the hole he created in the ground.

From the hole a stream of hellfire erupted and enveloped Amy before she could move. It completely ignored her armor and seemed to strike her directly as it had the others. She screamed, every nerve in her body feeling as if it were on fire.
Sakura came around the ziggarut, hovering in mid-air with flame aura active, and pointed her hands at Khorak as he emerged from the hole in the ground. A stream of flame erupted from her hands and struck the demon lord directly, but it was clear that it was little more than an annoyance for him as he projected another stream of hellfire that enveloped her and hurt her as it did the others.
The roof of Elizar's ziggarut came off of the rest of the building, masonry cracking and crumbling from the force used against it, and the roof began to hover slightly in mid-air as it was moved into position by Ladyhawk, visibly straining and exerting much of her strength. She grunted and hurled the roof down on top of Khorak, causing him to release the other two as he was smashed into the earth again.
He quickly broke free from it, a shower of shattered masonry and dust around the point where his massive body shot through the disembodied roof, and took to the air. He looked up in time to see Ladyhawk soaring at him at full speed. She plunged into his belly, fists first, and the two flew at high speed into the ground, creating a trench by the sheer force of their impact and slide across the ground.
Amy had recovered by now and saw Valkyrie as she came toward the opening, intending to join the fight. "Here, let me," she said to the Scandanavian girl. She picked Valkyrie by the ankles and began to hover in mid-air as Ladyhawk and Khorak exchanged punches at the end of the trench they'd formed in the ground. Amy used the suit's jets to spin in mid-air, holding Valkyrie out by her ankles, and finally tossed her straight at Khorak - aided by her suit's computers, which projected the release point - with a shout of "BLONDIEDOKEN!!!"

Valkyrie screamed a war cry in mid-air and plunged her sword into Khorak's chest just after he had snared Ladyhawk with hellfire from his eyes. He released his prisoner and his screech nearly deafened every hero present, his demonic form being directly assaulted by the holy powers in Valkyrie's Asgardian sword. He brought a clawed hand up and swatted Valkyrie away, her sword still embedded his his body. He grabbed it and pulled it out, throwing it at Valkyrie. Before she could react it went straight through her armor and her lower right side, barely missing her spine. She cried out and collapsed, blood pouring around the blade on both sides of the wound.
"Sakura, get that sword out of her and cauterize her wound," Iceberg ordered, taking charge as the senior JF team member. "Everyone else, pour it on!" He followed Claymore down the ice slide he'd created to the ground, a column of ice erupting from his outstretched hands and slamming into Khorak as he reeled from Ladyhawk's blows. He took the impact standing before growling in rage and sending his hellfire straight through the column, vaporizing a hole through it before striking Iceberg, letting Khorak feed off the resulting agony he felt from the magical flames. A second strand again seized Ladyhawk, and a third took Claymore as he tried to close to attack with his own enchanted sword.
Before a fourth and fifth could grab Sakura and Valkyrie, Amy flew down from above and fired her shoulder cannons again. The recoil made her shoot straight upward, but she had been prepared this time and managed to keep herself directly above the demon so that the energy only hit him. Khorak was pushed into the ground by the power of the blasts, losing his grips on the others. At that time the energy dissipated as the cannons' charge ran out, and Khorak was able to recover... at least for the moment until Ladyhawk began to punch away at him again, trying desperately to keep him off balance.
Valkyrie moaned, holding back the cry that began to form in her throat, as flames from Sakura's hands licked at her bloody wounds, burning and sealing the opening in her flesh so that the bleeding stopped. She gripped her sword and stood to her full height before running back into the fight.
I really hope the others are having better luck than we are, Amy mused to herself as she watched Khorak again snag Ladyhawk and some of the others in hellfire for his feeding.

Zaia had found herself in something... not very hellish when she went through the portal. Instead of a cavern-like place with firepits and the like that existed in the popular imagination, she found herself in a dark and barren landscape where there was no light and yet there was, as if the landscape itself eminated just enough light to be visible.
The children were nearby, surrounded by a bunch of demonlings not too different from the ones they'd fought at Blackthorne Manor, and Jhelian was projecting some kind of defensive field while Sean-Eric remained beside her, clutching her waist and looking very frightened. Zaia went to help them when she felt something snatch her right wrist. She turned to see tendrils or tentacles of some kind literally reach out of the landscape and ensnare her. She struggled against the one holding her wrist until another one grabbed her other wrist, and two more grabbed her ankles. Struggling in vain, she was lifted into the "air", such as it was, and her body was pulled taunt with her arms and legs spread-eagled in the air. In front of her, a massive demonic beast materialized, as if he were fading into existance. Fire came from his nostriles as a clawed finger came up and gripped Zaia by the cheek while she tried to free herself. "You are a brave fool, girl, coming here when you possess no defense against the things of this plane. Now you will provide me a delicious snack."

"What.... who are you?!" Zaia tried not to look too deeply into his flaming and evil eyes, terror already beginning to fill her.
"I am Azrael. And while my brother Khorak prepares the way for our conquest of your world, I shall feed on you until you become nothing more than a jibbering mortal husk." At that point flames came from Azrael's eyes and enveloped Zaia.
There were no words to describe the pain she felt, save that it was far worse than what she had suffered against the incubus. It filled her, literally, from head to toe, each and every body part suffering an excruciating pain that made her screams fill the landscape.
This ended abruptly when an explosion of magical energy struck Azrael, tearing Zaia loose. Sunhawk's solar blasts struck the tendrils binding her wrists and ankles, freeing her and allowing him to grab her. As he flew upward and around back to where Nitram and Tevar stood, he looked at her and grinned. "You know, you look really good tied up. Would you mind trying it out with me later?"
"Shut... up... perv," Zaia groaned.
"I'll take that as a maybe," was his cheerful reply.
He retreated with her back to the edge of the portal, while demonlings advanced on Nitram and Tevar, Azrael standing back and observing. "I'll get the kids," Sunhawk volunteered, flying off into the air and over everyone to where Jhelian and Sean-Eric were huddling.
"Ye damned fool, get back 'ere!" Tevar shouted after him, her defense field holding against the press of the enemy demonlings while Nitram kept sweeping them away with his own magic.
Sunhawk swooped over the demonlings and toward the kids. As he descended toward them, a blast of fire came from Azrael and knocked him out of the sky. He landed with a hard impact.

Azrael advanced toward Sunhawk and was about to take him by the hand when a blast of pure green energy struck him directly. Jhelian's voice echoed over the landscape, shouting, "No, stay away from' 'im!", and she was now hovering in mid-air, an eldritch glow in her eyes. Sean-Eric held on tightly as Jhelian's energy struck out once more, ripping through the demonling army almost completely to where her parents were. She moved them through the gap toward them. Sunhawk got to his feet and took off, firing solar blasts into the demonling ranks as he also made it back to where Nitram and the others were. "Okay everyone, back through the portal!" he called out.
"You shall not escape!" Azrael shouted, throwing all of his power toward them. Tevar cried out, struggling with all her might to resist the demon's force against her protective field.
Jhelian took her mother's hand, and her other hand was taken by Sean-Eric, who clasped hands with his father in turn. All four members of the Blackthorne family concentrated and directed their magical power, raw as it was in some cases, into the field against Azrael. Both the family and the demon strained against each other, their metaphysical energies equal for the moment.
One of Zaia's 'rangs flew out of the magic field and struck Azrael square in the eye. Concentrated as he was on trying to force his way through the Blackthornes' protective field, he was unprepared for the simple but effective attack from the Lady Avenger and allowed it to disrupt his concentration. This slip allowed the Blackthornes to strike, hard, and the magical feedback ripped through the hellfire and enveloped Azrael in a white and green energy field that stunned him heavily.
"Through the portal! Now!" Nitram stayed beside the rotating, wavering pool of blackness as his family jumped through, followed by Sunhawk and Zaia. Tevar and Nitram were the last through, going through together.

When they arrived back in Elizar's citadel, they found his chamber was now without a roof. Dark clouds swirled in the air around them and were blotting out the sun, a black wind laced with terror surrounding them. In front of them, Iceberg and Sakura laid unconscious, Valkyrie further to the side and Claymore just outside where the door once was. Amy was nowhere to be found, though the magic-users soon sensed her on the ground outside, as unconscious as the others.
Ladyhawk's bloodcurdling scream was filling the air, and it was evident why when they looked in the air and saw her in the grips of Khorak, writhing and twisting in his hellfire aura as he fed on her agony and terror. He looked down at the Blackthornes, Zaia, and Sunhawk, and growled, dropping the metahuman superheroine to the ground where she fell unconscious. "Hmm, you are far stronger than I imagined, but no matter!" Khorak lifted his clawed arms into the air and a hellfire aura surrounded him. "I have fed well on your mortal heroes and their futile struggling. My power grows with each second in this plane, and when I finish feeding upon you, I shall be supreme on this wretched mortal world." Khorak laughed, his deep demonic laugh echoing, it seemed, in all places at once.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-24 05:58am

The first to strike was Sunhawk, who sent solar blasts at Khorak with both hands. He shrugged the blasts off and struck back, a bolt of hellfire striking at Sunhawk's feet as he jumped backward to avoid it.
Khorak was about to follow up the attack when a bolt of pure magical energy struck and encased him. The Blackthornes had joined hands again, Tevar and Nitram channeling the raw magical energy their children could call upon to add to their own with the benefit of their control. Khorak growled in rage and began fighting back, gathering his hellfire aura and pushing against their magic until both sides were equal.
Sunhawk and Zaia were about to attack the disabled demon when a pair of red bolts struck them from behind, making them cry out and fall to the ground, knocked out. The Blackthornes were too occupied with Khorak to do anything when Elizar stepped up beside them, the Eye of Nicodemus in his hand and a shard of the Talisman of Dumakal in the other. He began to chant an incantation and a stream of magical energy leapt from the eye and the talisman, it's absorption abilities reactivated partially by Elizar's magic. The bolt struck Khorak and he began to screech, the black energy of it then following down the stream of hellfire and green magic that linked Khorak and the Blackthornes to encase them. They began to moan, and Sean-Eric whined loudly. "Mum.... wha'.... wha's 'appenin' ta my magick?"
"Elizar, what are you doing?!" Nitram demanded to know.

"Through the talisman and the Eye of Nicodemus, I am channeling all of your energies into me." A bright eldritch glow filled Elizar's eyes, the same color eminating around him as an aura of magick. "Such power! Power as I have never imagined! I.... I will be a GOD!"
"We've..... we've got to stop casting the magic," Nitram told the others.
"I can't, Nitram! It... it's as if ma power's....out o' control!"
"No... no you cannot!" Elizar laughed, feeling the power filling him. "For an eternity I have waited to bring Order to this wretched planet. An eternity of waiting that will end now! At long last, the World of Order is at hand!"
"Treacherous sorcerer!" Khorak's nostrils flared. "Lord Khorak answers to no one!"
A stream of hellfire followed the path of the energy stream to Elizar, grabbing him and his artifacts. He snarled and fought back. "No you don't, not now Demon Lord. My power grows faster than your's wanes! I will have all of it! ALL OF IT!"
Nevertheless Elizar began to struggle against the force of Khorak's attack. "I'm going to regret this...." Nitram looked to his family. "Tevar, see if you can direct your energy to help the Demon!"
"Are ye daft?!"
"We have no choice! We have to overload Elizar before his power..... Aaaagh!"
From behind hellfire lashed out at both Khorak and the Blackthornes, striking and weakening them as Elizar continued to draw the magical energy out of them. Azrael stood at the entrance to the otherworldy portal, the origin of the attack. "What treachery is this?!"
"You allowed your hunger for the mortal realms to blind you, Khorak, to my plans. I have no desire to feast once when I can feed for an eternity as the lone ruler." Azrael's nostrils flared. "This Human and I made a pact to eliminate you long ago, when we first allied with him."

A killer headache - hell, a bodyache - made Amy groan when she woke up and found herself looking up at a sky covered in dark clouds, with a massive array of light coming from the top of the ziggarut. She remembered being snatched by Khorak's hellfire, a great deal of agony, and then hitting the ground and passing out.
The roar in the air of demonic and Human howls and the wind surrounding the energies was great, but even then Amy decided to activate her stealth buffers on her foot jets when she zipped up into the air to see what was happening. Aw HELL was the ironic thought on her mind at seeing a second demon with Khorak, the Blackthornes, and Elizar, with various energy and hellfire streams linking them like some insane web.
Amy, being intelligent, noticed the aura of energy around Elizar and the shard he held in his hand and knew what it was. She brought her right arm up and activated one of her plasma guns along with her suit's targeting systems. I have one shot before they see me.... one shot.... gotta make it count.... She made sure the crosshairs were over the shard and fired it.

The bolt of energy erupted from her suit gun and whipped across the distance, smashing into Elizar's hand. He screeched and dropped the shard out of surprise. The stream of energy linking him and the shard with Khorak dissipated immediately.
In a fit of rage, Khorak - freed of Elizar - turned to Azrael and smashed into him. The two demons exchanged blows, snarling and raging at one another. The Blackthornes, relieved of the attack on them, wearily turned toward Elizar, the children dropping to their knees and even Nitram going to one knee - Tevar remained on both feet but was almost trembling with effort to remain standing.
Elizar, having recovered, went straight for the glowing shard. He fell to his belly, having misjudged how close it was in his frantic desire to reclaim it, and reached for it on the ground. Amy swooped overheard and came down just as his left hand passed over the shard to snatch it.... her right foot crushing both. An inhuman scream of agony came from Elizar at the crushing of his left hand. When he yanked it back instinctively, he only recovered the stump of his left arm, his hand literally crushed off just below the wrist. He screamed, grasping the limb with tears of pain in his face. Amy snatched him by the collar and raised him up again. "Didn't you learn from the first time I set you on fire?"

"Miss Chan, the Eye!" Nitram finally got back to his feet. "Destroy it!"
"No. No!" Elizar, in desperation, lashed out with energy and knocked Amy back, forcing her to let go of him. He dropped to his feet in time to turn toward the Eye. "I can't let you...."
From the side, Zaia leapt back into the fight, her right foot connecting squarely with Elizar's jaw and knocking him out of the way, allowing Amy to stomp up to the Eye. Her robotic left foot came down on the black pearl, crushing it into pieces. As she did so, a massive release of energy caused her to instinctively fall back, a wise thing as staying would have cost her the entirety of her left leg, both the suit's and her flesh-and-blood leg. The outpouring of energy swirled around the rift and around the demons. Khorak screeched in rage as he and his traitorous peer literally faded away with the rift.
Above them, the dark clouds literally ripped away from each other, revealing the beautiful orange and red hue of a sunset sky. The black winds stopped and a refreshing mountain breeze whipped around them.

Elizar cried out in rage and anger. "Don't you know what you've done?!"
"I can tell her easily enough," Nitram said from where he stood. "Your magic power was bonded to the Eye to hold the rift open for so long, and when she destroyed the Eye much of it dissipated instead of returning to you."
"So, like, I depowered him?"
"No' complet'ly, bu' 'e'll be kep' ta cheap tricks fer nowe on." Tevar stomped past Amy and Zaia and up to Elizar. "Ye bastard sassenach! This..... this is fer me gettin' shot!" She slugged Elizar with a punch to the gut. She followed up with a right hook that sent him against the wall. "An' tha' one is fer ma wee ones ye scared 'alf ta death!" A left punch struck him in the other jaw, knocking a tooth out. "An' tha's fer comin' after ma fam'ly!"

"Okay kids, you've used your magic well so far," Nitram said to the kids, ignoring how his wife was giving his family's ancient foe a beating. "Please go heal the others enough that they can wake up."
"Right away, Da!" Jhelian shouted in glee, running off to the unconscious form of Sakura.
"....fer bringin' demons inta...."
As Tevar was about to hit Elizar again, his right eye swelling shut from one of her punches and his nose crooked from another, Zaia put a hand on Tevar's shoulder. "Say, Tevar, considering that Amy crushed and severed his hand, cost him most of his power, and set him on fire, don't you think he's suffered enough?"

The night air was crisp and clear over Blackthorne Manor when the heroes teleported back to it, unconscious villains in tow. After they arrived, Ladyhawk crossed her arms. "Do you know how pissed off Dad's going to be that one of the jets got wrecked?" she said to Zaia and Amy. "Do you?!"
"If he's like any Dad.... yeah, I can imagine," Zaia giggled. "But you can just blame us."
"No, because he'll blame me for not putting enough security on it."
"Given that we ended up saving the day, I think he'll be more understanding," Amy remarked. She looked to the Blackthornes. "Okay, so we all go home now? I'm sure Yancy is worried sick, and the last thing I need is him blabbing my secret identity in a panic."
"You and Zaia will be returned momentarily." Nitram looked to the JF members. "You will take Elizar and the others with you?"
"Yeah, we can drop them off at an Army base near home and then fly the rest of the way," Sakura replied.

"It was a grand bit o' adventure, lads an' lasses," Claymore said happily, pounding Iceberg on the shoulder with a friendly pat. "We'll 'ave tae do it ag'in sometyme."
"Yes. What has happened here today is a story worthy of the warriors of Valhalla," Valkyrie boasted..
Nitram extended a hand and teleported Claymore and Valkyrie away. He looked to Sunhawk, who was standing by Zaia. "Say, I know you copped a feel," he said to her. "Maybe you'll let me return the favor...?"
Zaia smirked. "I copped a feel so that you wouldn't notice this." She reached around his back and brought her hand back, showing the small transmitter she'd hidden on him. "GPS transmitter so I could track you to Elizar's HQ."
"Beautiful and smart and you look really good tied up. You were made for me, Lady Avenger."
"You're assuming I'd be the one tied up," Zaia replied with a smirk, her expression a mixture of amusement and slight irritation.
"I don't mind switching places..."
"Yeah, whatever you winged perv."
"Back to Arizona you go, Sunhawk, before you cause her to slap you." Nitram raised a hand and cast his teleportation magic.
"Awww, come on...." Sunhawk disappeared in an aura of magical energy.
As the JF members gathered around the unconscious and bound villains for teleport, Iceberg looked to Zaia and Amy. "So, you ladies helped save the world. Think you could get used to it?"
"Just what do you mean by that?" Amy asked.
"Justice Force could always use more members," Iceberg replied, looking back at them. "We've been thinking of expanding to the East Coast anyway. A little talk to Hawk and you two could be founding members of Justice Force East Coast."
Amy and Zaia looked at each other. It was Amy who replied first, saying, "Uh, sorry, I got into the game to set stupid criminals on fire, not to regularly save the world."
Zaia nodded, adding, "I work better alone anyway."
Iceberg shrugged, and after he did a large magical field surrounded him, the other two JF heroes, and the villains, and all disappeared. This left just Amy and Zaia. "Well, I guess it's our turn. Back to Atlanta we go."
"Yes." Nitram nodded, and he and Tevar clasped hands. "It was an honor working with you. Despite your feelings, Amy Chan, you may be a greater hero than you realize."
"Take care, ladies," Tevar added. "If ye're e'er in Wes' Virginia, giv' us a call, it'd be nice ta 'ave some company o'er."
"Oh, sure," Zaia said. "But only if you agree to cook again, otherwise I'll have to find a Waffle House first."
They all began to laugh.

Upon re-materalizing on a rooftop in downtown Atlanta, Zaia and Amy looked to each other. Then Zaia raised a hand. "It was nice working with you. We'll have to do it again some time."
"It was pretty cool. I don't work with others very well, but you're pretty kick-ass for someone who doesn't set crooks on fire," Amy replied pleasantly. "If you want, look me up if you're in town again. We'll hang out, give me some time away from Yancy, who I'd better call now."
"And I'd better go find Patrick." Zaia took out her grappling gun and looked over the side of the building. "Um... yuck, kinda high up. Mind giving me a ride to one of the smaller buildings so I can start swinging my way back to the hotel?"
Amy smirked and knelt down so that Zaia could get on her suit's shoulders. "Why not?" After Zaia sat across her neck, Amy jumped off the edge of the roof and fired her foot rockets gently, descending slowly to the next building.

Yancy was asleep in the workshop when Amy got back. She opened up the suit, and as she tried to sneak away to go to the bathroom he woke up. "Oh thank God you're back! What happened?! I've been freaking out all day...."
"Oh, the usual hero stuff. Got teleported across the Appallachians, worked with some other heroes, saved the world, that kind of thing...."
Yancy's eyes widened. "....saved the world?"
"Yup, stopped an evil sorcerer planning to conquer the world with demons from Hell."
"That's so cool! So, who did you team up with? Justice Force? The Truth and Justice Foundation? Did you meet Rocket Girl and Omega Paladin? Did Rocket Girl offer you more cool upgrades for your suit like SG-14 did? Did you get to meet Tron and see him use those cool eyeblasts? Or that new redhead flame-firing hottie they've got in the JF? I have a poster of her that they printed after her first appearance, she's really sexy.... think you could get me her autograph? Oh, demons, so did you work with Professor Maxis? What's he like...."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2006-09-24 12:21pm


The prison transport to the Pit - the ultra-max security prison that the United States had build into the ground of the Nevada desert at "Fort Bryan Nelson", named after the experienced meta-hating Army general - was rumbling it's way along the fifteen mile long access road. In the rear storage area, Elizar stood encased in a solid titanium alloy shell that resembled a coffin, his mouth covered by a metal gag to prevent him from speaking and his wrists and ankles tightly shackled by metal restraints. He glared hate in the only direction the restraint shell would let him. His hand was still gone, though he expected this weakling mortals would give him a prosthetic, and his swollen eye, broken nose, and missing teeth remained from the enraged blows he had taken from the bard Tevar Blackthorne-NicIomhair.
His heart burned with hate and rage. For the Blackthornes, as always, and for that girl in the metal suit... the girl who had taken his hand and humiliated him. He wanted revenge, and he knew he would get revenge. Somehow....

Suddenly there was a rapid shaking. The guards - wearing powered armored suits that reminded him of the accursed girl who had mutilated him - scattered around to fight whatever was attacking. Animalistic growls and the cries of a fierce battle came to his ear. Something lifted the truck up, and Elizar cried out in surprise as red energy rippled around the frame of the transport, tearing it in half. His restraint shell did not hit the ground as expected, but was instead surrounded in some kind of red energy aura which held him in mid-air. He saw energy blasts of white, red, and green zip around until the cries of the fighting stopped. When the fight was over, the shell was lowered to the ground and, to his surprise, a buzzsaw made of pure red energy formed in front of him and cut along the vertical axis of the shell. Both sides fell away, and bolt-cutters formed from the same red energy stream to remove his restraints and the gag.
By this time he saw figures emerging from the darkness of the near-moonless desert night. From right to left, they consisted of a wiry, sickly-looking man with tattered dark cloth; a thin man in a silver suit; a massive furred beast-humanoid with wild white hair in stretched out trousers; and a nearly-as-massive mutated humanoid, clearly metahuman, wearing dark trousers and with an armored carapace over his back and hunched shoulders, his head hunched down and level to his shoulders with eyes glowing with power.

From above them a dark-haired, dark-eyed man descended, wearing a jumpsuit-like garment of black and dark red trim with a dark red field on the chest that surrounded a black star insignia. He was surrounded by a red power aura that Elizar could tell to be the origin of the energy constructs that had freed him. He landed to his feet in front of Elizar. When he spoke, it was with a menacing baritone voice. "You are the sorcerer Elizar recently apprehended by members of Justice Force." It was more statement than question.
"I am Elizar the Immortal, known and feared by some as the Dark Lord," Elizar replied.
"Ah, very good. I have need of a man like you, with knowledge of the ancient magicks. I would like to propose an alliance."
"I am interested in just such a thing," Elizar admitted. "But first, I want to know who I am working with."
"Allow me to introduce my Horsemen." Moving from right to left, the figure stated, "This is Jacques, Plague; Antony, War; Sorborus; and , Jones, known as Death."
"And you are...?"
The figure in the red power aura put a hand on his chest at his uniform's star insignia. His eyes began to glow red from the energies he controlled. "I am called DarkStar."
Elizar nodded at that. An agent of Chaos, I am sure, but still.... he is of potential use to me.... "Well then, DarkStar..." He extended his remaining right hand, which DarkStar took. "It will be a pleasure to work with you."

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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