Kings Row : Dawn

After Cavalier spoke the words of challenge, both sides went into a frenzied battle. The Ghost Army came at the heroes with a renewed sense of zeal, the strength in their numbers made them careless and bold. The heroes were few compared to them, and tired as they were, they fought bravely. For each hero present during the last battle, ten Circle of Thorns awaited, and while the two armies fought on, the lightning and the rain that had been summoned, relentlessly fell on them uncaring. Here a hero was overcome and wrestled to the ground by the enemy, to be drowned in a few inches of water that would have ordinarily been a kid magnet for mischief. Over there, an acolyte was being used as a club by a super strength tanker who kept calling each hit, and keeping score like in a tennis match. Merciless, deadly, it was all that. Unforgiving it was, to the point where one had to decide whether you died doing the honourable thing, or that you might live if you became a psychopath. To some, that line in the sand was not crossed, and they were put down hard and fast. To others, it became a choice rooted in reality, their survival and those of their friends made it easy to cross the line between good and evil.

The old English blade spun through the air, through the falling rain, and came to rest deep in the chest of an energy mage. He fell to his knees clutching it, amazed that such a weapon could be thrown, shocked that it could hurt so much, the moment before you died. Twenty yards away, Cavalier was using the sharp end of a shovel to fight. Nothing that came within reach of the scrapper lived or stood its ground long, of all the deadly people, surely he was the most. Clearing a path forward, to reach his sword, he saw some acolytes attempt to grab it to no avail. The sword truly was attuned to him now, anyone trying to take it, would find themselves unable to lift it, much like an ant trying to lift a skyscraper. Putting his hand back on the hilt, he pulled the blade out in a long arc, wounding two acolytes in the process. Searching through the rain, he found his target, found his anger:

“You, I’ve got words to pick with you.” He said as he pointed his sword directly at Ghost Starr.

“Bring it.” Replied the Ghost Army General, who stepped forward while he disposed of a daring human who had manage to make it all the way to him. No super powers, nothing special about him, just plain old rage and battle madness. Truly, these humans were a wonder at times, he thought to himself as he sliced the man’s head off. The two scrappers, one of light and the one of darkness, met in a fighter’s circle, created more out of their presence than from anything else. The swords met, the two enemies fought on. Cavalier and Ghost Starr were a perfect match to each other, each strike was met by steel on steel, and only through the small differences, did one gain the advantage on the other. While parrying a thrust, Cavalier received a kick to the stomach, and responded right away by an uppercut to the jaw.

At the same time, far into the district, right in front of the Paragon Police department, the Atlas Medallion started emitting the sounds of pounding. Something was attempting to break it apart. Not from behind, not from the front, but from the inside. The Medallion was two feet thick, a perfect circle of granite. The side of the statue where Blue Steel would stand, showed signs of crumbling, as what seem to be huge fists, were attempting to tear through the middle of the famous representation. Guttural roars of anger could be heard, coming from the inside. Ten Circle of Thorns mages were chanting around it, green magical fumes surrounded the scene. The toll, the summoning that required twelve thousand souls, had been met. The Master was coming, and not a moment too soon, the first shades of morning began to make their appearance in the distance, giving an orange and purple shade to the grey sky.

A beastly fist came out of the Medallion, then another one, and huge hands with sharp nails ripped the center of the 1823 statue. It stood twelve feet high, roared to the sky, a roar that could be heard all across the zone. Turning to look towards the east, it began to run towards the Gish, slashing a mage out of its way as it did so. The beast, The Envoy of Shadows had to find a hiding place, from the daylight that was coming soon, from the pain it would sear into its flesh if he was caught outside.

Back on the battlefield, Ghost Starr had just slashed Cavalier three times across the chest, spilling the first blood. The famous scrapper was surprised by the manoeuvre, and when he felt the burning sensation of cut flesh, he looked down to make sure the wounds weren’t too deep. And Ghost Starr used this surprise against him, plunging his dark blade straight through the belly, all the way out the back. Cavalier looked at him, face red and surprised that the General had bypassed his defences. Ghost Starr smiled in victory, the smile of a predator, then kicked Cavalier square in the chest, which pulled the dark sword free from the belly, and sent his enemy sliding on his back in bloody trail. Walking triumphant towards the squared jaw Cavalier, confident that he would get rid of this nuisance, Ghost Starr screamed in anger as he heard the voice of his Master in the distance. The summoning had succeeded, the prophecy was underway, only the spirits could stop this now. Cavalier used that moment of distraction to raise himself up, sword swinging in one hand, he would cut the head off this worthy enemy, put an end to this madness.

But not this day, not this moment. When Cavalier’s blade should’ve met flesh and slice through it, it met nothing. The scrapper spun on himself, unbalance and injured, he fell back to the ground, screaming outrage from the stolen kill. Ghost Starr had teleported away, saved himself in a cowardly manner. Putting a hand on his bleeding wound, he noticed that the Ghost Army troops were retreating, running from the battlefield without looking back. He sat up, wincing from the pain, he spat blood from his mouth and was taken aback by the sight. There, in front of him, lying in the rain water, Ghost Starr’s sword laid waiting, abandoned. After ten hours of fighting non stop, of fear, death and pain, the heroes had prevailed. Looking towards the east, Cavalier understood that their biggest ally yet, had saved them… Sunlight. He tried standing up on shaky legs, and had to used his sword for balance, embracing and welcoming the morning.

Inside the secret base, in the underground facility the Hunters of Apocalypse called their HQ, things were not looking up at all. When Shadow-Step and Erg came walking out of the refrigerator, O-Lan went into a screaming fit. For the last ten minutes, she had been trying to hit Shadow, to claw his eyes out. But Erg had protected the dark scrapper with an energy field, that left him unable to hurt anyone or be hurt by anyone. Still, O-Lan kept trying her best to do so, trashing the kitchen in the process. Away from them, in the dining room, Xanthion and the scrappers, along with Cabaret and Sun Heat were seated, carrying a conversation while in the background Shadow and O-Lan were exchanging some choice words and disassembling the kitchen. These two definitely had an history.

“So, how did you two end up in here?” Asked Xanthion to Cabaret and Sun Heat. The two ladies looked at one another before answering. Sun Heat was dressed in a bath robe, twice her size, and looked at Xanthion in anger, face red and flushed. Cabaret wore a tight black dress, revealing more skin than was usually allowed for a lady.

“We went to a rave, and we were… Invited these two guys for drinks and such. We ended up in a basement with them and had a good time, you know.” Cabaret wasn’t one to mince her words when it came to her personal life, if it shocked you, then all the better. Xanthion looked at the two of them with a raised eyebrow, then said :

“Right, a rave, boys and booze. How did you gals get away from the massacre?”

“Well, you see, the thing is, hmmmm, the rave was two days ago. And yesterday afternoon, when we woke up.” Went on Cabaret, but she was interrupted by Comatoast:

“You girls partied for two days?” He asked, surprise and awe in his voice.

“And we humped all day with our “dates”, yes.” Replied Cabaret without shame.

“Well, we were on permission from the Academy. What did you expect two sexy ladies to do during that time, stay home and watch ice melt?” Replied Sun Heat as she looked at all of them.

“What you girls do on your free time isn’t my concern.” Replied Xanthion. “But how did you survive the attack?”

“The building crashed on us, it took us hours to dig a hole to the sewers system. We tried digging for the surface, but there was just too much debris. So we dug into the sewers system, and were making our way back to the street, when we heard O-Land scream and shout, cursing the very man she’s trying to rip apart right now.” The sound of a crashing cooking pot accompanied that last, while Shadow-Step was yelling at her to calm down, explaining himself for the hundredth time.

“And where are your dates now?” Asked Comatoast who thought to himself that he wished he could be picked up by Cabaret, in the seedy bar where he hangs in Skyway City.

“Oh, they decided to stay in the basement to get drunk some more. They were, very tired when we left them” Cabaret smiled ruefully. Sun Heat blushed crimson red, and smiled too.

Just then, Silver Girl came walking into the cafeteria.

“Nothing to it Xanthion, they won’t talk. The Death mage died from blood loss, but the acolytes would rather be tortured, than reveal the portal’s location.” Her brow was covered in sweat and her fists were covered in blood, telling Xanthion she had used them to get the information. Cabaret creased her eyebrows, then looked at Sun Heat with a decisive gesture.

“We can make them talk, just give us a minute alone with them.” She said as she stood up, grabbing Sun Heat by the arm.

“What makes you think they’ll tell you anything?” Asked Silver Girl at the two women, a bit incredulous that they would succeed.

“I’ve learned of a new technique recently, very efficient to make any male talk.” Replied Cabaret as she was walking towards the exit.

“Oh, pray tell, what is it?” Asked Xanthion to the women.

“Ask O-Lan, she teaches it.” Simply replied Sun Heat before exiting the cafeteria, her laughter was overheard in the distance.

“Ok, someone stop O-Lan and Shadow please, this is getting on my nerves.” Spoke Xanthion as he proceeded to follow the women. When they reached the boiler room door, Cabaret turned around and told Xanthion to remain where he was. Then she whispered something into Sun’s ear. Sun Heat untied her bath robe, and left it hanging open, revealing most of her body for all to see. Xanthion gulped and decided to look at Cabaret instead. The black dress came off to rest at her feet, revealing a silken black negligee and garter belt.

“What are you girls up to?” He asked while his pulse began to race.

“You stay here Xanthion, and don’t you dare peek inside, it wouldn’t be good for your eyes to see what will happen.” Cooed Cabaret as she turned around and opened the door gently. The two women vanished inside, and Xanthion leaned on the door to listen in. He didn’t hear what the girls said, but after a few seconds, there was laughter going on. Then all was silent again. Leaning closer to the door, as if he could phase through it, he tried to hear what the girls were saying. Then, the sound of a muffled impact was heard, reverberating on the metal door. Soon after, the screaming voice of a man, almost hysterical yelled:

“I’ll talk, I’ll talk, just don’t hurt me. The portal is at the bottom of the sewers, well beneath the city, follow the pipe system down, until you reach the junction for the districts. A door leads further down below, in the abandoned section, that’s where the portal is. But you can’t close it, no hero can close that portal.” Sun Heat’s muffled voice was heard asking a question, then silence followed.

“Only a dark heart can close that portal.”
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