That transition was jarring, agonizing. Every muscle in Kareem’s body felt as if it were cramping; every nerve as if it was being cut free from his body.
MayComm’s astral gate had not been designed to transport physical beings across the boundary between worlds. So however it had been reconfigured to do so, it did in the same way a cube of gelatin could be transported through a straw.
He marveled at how the process hadn’t been fatal even as he collapsed from his reeling senses. Somewhere, someone was screaming in pain. It was as an afterthought that he realized he was joining them. Then, mercifully, he passed out.
A full-body ache greeted him upon waking. It hurt so much to just open his eyes, it felt like a heroic effort to do so. There wasn’t much to see: the ever-present rosy haze of the astral plane prevented seeing whether or not there even was a sky there.
Turning his head was absolutely out of the question, so instead he tapped into his power and sent his mind questing for signs of sapience around him. There were two people relatively near him.
One was a dim constellation of thoughts … Continue reading
There was a balcony outside the food court on the tenth floor of the Nichole Farmer Avenue Mall that gave a commanding view of the city clear to the St Anne River that cut it in half. On a bright summer day like the one during which Kareem Utt sat an watched a cargo ship pass beneath the West Truman Bridge, the sun turned many of the glass-faced buildings along that view into columns of brilliant light, completely opposite the mood filling his heart.
He looked away from said view and down at the Styrofoam container from Heroes and Gyros, wondering what—besides a general craving for tzatziki sauce—had possessed him to order from there. Heroes and Gyros was a local chain that had until recently been exploiting the team’s existence as public figures to use their likenesses and names in their marketing.
In addition to having menu items like the Golden Facsimile Rice and Occult’s Mystic Stuffed Grape Leaves, now they had a merchandising deal with the team that allowed them to use the D-icon logo created by Analiza Purcell on things like their boxes. So he found himself staring at the team’s official logo for far longer than he … Continue reading
Sealed in a sarcophagus of ice with his body as brittle was fine crystal, Kahmu plummeted toward the hard-packed earth. His doom would have come in a thousand icy shards in the dust if a boiling mass of green ogre-flesh hadn’t expanded across the dirt beneath him, allowing his fragile form a cushioned landing that only broke off one of his delicate wings.
“You’re not getting away that easily, Buggy,” Facsimile announced, accepting a punch from one of the oni thanks to having one of her arms busy and hyper-extended to catch the kukara.
Above, the remaining clones flashed out of existence without Kahmu’s will there to sustain them.
With them gone, Zero was free the drop down on the new battlefield. An oni leapt at her, but was repulsed by a beam of psychokinetic energy that sent him flying into the side of the building. She threw up a barrier to block a rush from Jada before looking back to Kay.
“Shouldn’t they be turning back?”
Kay was thumbing through her palmtop, looking for the needed spell. “Not really. He just let them get possessed, the oni don’t need him to keep possessing them. Just… just keep them still … Continue reading
Renaissance crouched on the edge of their newest perch, watching as Zero joined the fight against the kukara clones. From her vantage point, she could also see that her slick pellets weren’t going to keep the oni down forever.
The one possessing Jada had figured out that her claws could anchor in the pitch on the roof and allow her to drag herself around on the low-fiction goo. Once she got to a space clear of the lubricant, she’d be free and the others would follow.
“Anything I can do to help?” She asked Kay.
The team’s professional sidekick was on her hands and knees drawing a magic circle with chalk and paused to shake her head. “Just keep me safe so I can concentrate. I have instant runes in may kit, but I need to change the runes to make what I need to undo the freeze on Warrick. Once he’s free, with Isp and Osp, the oni won’t be much of a problem.”
“How… high up in Faerie are these kurakas? A one-hit k… defeat must mean they’re pretty high up there.”
Kay continued to draw as she responded. “The thing is, that’s not an instant win on … Continue reading
More heroes join the fight, but with them comes a different kind of conflict. Continue reading
The Project Sanctuary building on the corner of Barks and Karl had once been an extended-stay hotel, albeit not one big enough even to hold the most modest conventions. The U-shaped structure had been converted into an urban garden and the volunteers opened the wrought iron gate at the open end to allow Alloy, Renaissance, Facsimile, and Kay in.
“You know,” Facsimile said, looking from her armored and costumed friends to Kay who was still in her vampiress costume. “We never came up with a name for you.”
The team’s dedicated sidekick shrugged. “I dunno. I figured that since we’re public and all now I can just go by my real name. Kay Graycloud can carry on into the real world the proud tradition of Rick Jones.”
“Who?” asked Facsimile.
Alloy offered Kay a gauntleted high five. “Nice. So you read those old comics I suggested.”
She grinned, showing false fangs. “Yeah. Lots of great stuff in there about how to be a good sidekick. But don’t expect my eventual costume being traffic light inspired.”
“We’re here,” The assumed leader of the volunteers, who the group had learned was named Kyle, said, rather more loudly than necessary. The garden was … Continue reading
“Hey guys, guess what?” Kay Graycloud was one of those people one saw at every convention where cosplay was an element: clearly she had an interest in costuming, but missed a crucial point where cosplay traditionally involves dressing up as a character from other media.
As such, she was a vampiress.
Maybe she could argue that the corset, long flowing skirt, platinum hair, and red contacts might make her look a little bit like one of the background characters from Night Flight Bite, but really it was half an excuse to don a corset and pale make-up.
She ran up to the group, palmtop in hand with of all things a clown in tow. “There’s supposed to be some big celebrity here—oh wait it’s just Alloy. I was hoping for Adi Abhed or maybe Sharon Nguyen.”
“Hardy-har-har.” Warrick rolled his eyes. “Keep talking and I won’t invite you to be in a guest with me on the Sanctum Comics panel tomorrow.”
This made Kay pull up short. “Wait. What? You’ve been here for like less than an hour and you’ve got a panel all of a sudden? I’ve been putting it out on all my social media that I’m here … Continue reading
“Oh. My. God. I have so many questions!”
That was how Meghan Rockwell greeted Warrick when he opened the door of his and JC’s apartment. The announcement was undercut by the fact that she was in full ‘orcing’ regalia: chunky black knee-high elevated boots, a wine-colored pleather skirt with rivets in place of stitches with a matching corset and fingerless gloves—and all otherwise exposed skin covered by airy green fabric that make it so her flesh was orcish green. She’d also used make-up to make her face green while her raven hair was tied up in a high tail. A set of professional quality tusks poked out of her lips.
Without waiting for an invite, she handed a case of bottled soda to him and walked in.
“You guys… are the Descendants!?”
JC was lying on the couch in the living room while Cyn had taken a recliner and Tink was on the love seat. He was wearing a lab coat smeared in fake blood with a surgical mask hanging around his neck. “They’re the Descendants. I’m just staff. Hopefully paid staff soon.”
Warrick closed the door and followed Meghan in. “I knew you sounded too chill with all this … Continue reading
The Angel dropped into the alley where Viral went down. Brick and the twisted metal remains of the fire escape littered the area, pilled up in drifts of rubble. She folded her wings and dismissed her glaive, rushing forward to look for her fallen for—and more importantly its host.
Black heat leapt from her hands to encapsulate bricks and reduce their weight enough for her to quickly and easily toss them aside.
Moments later, Vamanos arrived, skidding to a stop when she found herself face-to-face with the Angel. “Um… Darkness?” she asked tentatively. “Are you… you?”
Looking over her shoulder, the Angel looked at her with a cool, neutral stare. “She is herself as well as one with us.”
“And does that mean you’ve not going to try to kill me?”
“There has been an accord. We request your assistance searching for…” after a long pause where she tried to say several words at once, she finally said, “Chaos. We need to make sure he survived.”
Vamanos nodded and zipped over the the nearest pile of brick. “Right. Um… do you think he’s okay after all that?”
“The creature was able to sustain greater damage than he was previously able … Continue reading
Denial was a powerful thing.
For Alexis’s part, she’d tried to bury and ignore what a kitsune had taunted her with what seemed like ages ago: That the entity that once possessed her, the magical construct of angry lost souls known as the Fall Angel was still somewhere lurking in her head.
The thing that terrified her was that she’d sort of known since the day it first entered her life, her mind and her nightmares. She’d always had a vague feeling that something was wrong, but couldn’t quite grasp it. Whenever she would wonder how she was getting more proficient with her powers when her involvement at the school and wedding planning precluded her training, something always distracted her, no matter how menial. Whenever she thought back to the moment when the creature was exorcised from her, she found it too painful to dwell on it.
But when she focused on Maeve, the being the Angel was created to avenge its component parts against, it was with a clarity she rarely knew.
It had remained inside her after having failed to force her and the others to do what it wanted. Instead, it tried to be subtle now, steering … Continue reading