Eclipsing The Perimeter

July 31, 2015:

Darque's minions are getting bold… and some of our heroes are getting careless



NPCs: Doctor Eclipse


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Fenris has spoken! The team will be moving on Darque in the next day or so… creating a distraction and hopefully putting Darque and his people on the backfoot for a while. Misfit's been scouting and gathering intel, Zee's been running distraction… the team's worked out that Darques' people can sense her and they fully plan on using this to their advantage. But that's for a little later. For now, it has to seem like business as usual.

So it is, that Zee's taken Kitty to the Deadzone and is getting the young (but slightly older than her) mutant to reset and restrengthen the wards - it's good practice and something that all magic users should know. "Tell me about this ward, Kitty." Zee's a big believer in learning by doing.

As the words leave her mouth, her eyes widen … the perimeter is being assaulted from the inside… again. A massive wave of dark energy, battering at it … trying to diminish the wards and let /something/ out. "Well, Kitty, looks like we're going to have a bit of a fight on our hands."

Hax is well inside the perimeter performing a secretive ritual for his own personal studies. Upon feeling the wave of energy he picks up his equipment and stows it in his leather satchel. "Lets go AI. Something is coming and my studies can wait a few hours until it dies down again."

The little, floating orange ball promptly follows Hax "Of course, creator."
Hax is currently heading towards the the edge of the perimeter Zee is at, although he is about a mile away

Out with Zatanna in the Deadzone, Kitty has Illyana's soul sword still at her hip. The blade has worried her and she also is not about to let something so important to her best friend out of her sight no matter what's going on. Plus, it's handy to have in a magical fight. Feeling around the wards, she frowns. "Feels a bit diminished," she replies as she tests out the magic around the wards. "Almost like…someone's tried something about it."

As perimeter gets battered, Kitty unsheathes the soul sword, glad that she brought it. "Alright then. I mean, I've fought things in Limbo before. This should be about as terrifying, if not less. So, I can handle myself."

Zee glances at Kitty and gives a small nod "Calling in reinforcments…" Thinking through her emerald pendulum and then through the Titans Team Speak app…
«This is Zee. Another attempt on the Deadzone Perimeter. To my location »

WAND is new enough as a department that the higher ups aren't thrilled with the fact that their agents are better at reacting to problems than predicting them. Which means Sara's been stationed near the perimeter of the zone since it popped up. If she can't know when things are happening, then she'll just have to be there anyhow.

« Copy that, Zee, on my way, » she replies through the pendulum, already shrugging into her kevlar and combat gear. She still doesn't trust the Witchblade not to be affected by whatever's inside there.

Like calls to Like and feeling the surge of energy, The Dark Lady steps forth from where she'd been keeping watch in the shadows. Delicate and pale, her face framed by long waves of black hair, she's mesmerizing. An ethereal beauty that enchants and entices of its own will. She can't and doesn't control this aspect of her powers, aside from avoiding looking into anothers eyes whenever possible.

She's prepared for battle this time, ready unlike before. Kaeira wears nothing but a bejewelled dagger belt around her hips, crusted with blood red stones and black gems, the hilts of the blades hanging from it etched with arcane symbols in her own blood. These won't melt and sizzle when she uses them. Shadows swirl about her restlesly, cloaking most of her body from view. Her clothes would have been destroyed before the night is over anyway. This time at least, she's still covered. After a fashion.

Did someone call for a distraction? A purple distraction emerges in the Deadzone. "You raaaaaaaaaaang?" Vorpal says with his best Lurch impression as he comes in, the chaos magic that brought him here dissipating quickly. "Master Dork is being a naughty boy again, isn't he?" he grins merrily, as if he were not aware of the danger. He is. He's just, well, himself.

The Deadzone? Limbo? Wanda has been there before but she's not on any communication links or has any pendulum. She just has a gift for finding trouble. One minute she is walking on the streets of New York, looking for an alley to crash in, the next she is in the Deadzone. Her chaos magic instinctively sending her where she may be needed. Once she realises the ground underfoot has changed she glances up and offers a wave to Zatanna. The others she doesn't know…but she has to blush at Kaeira's fashion sense.

As Hax moves towards the perimeter, he's chased by a dozen or more skeletons… that boil out from a nearby graveyard. Most have swords and shields… but it's a mix of cultures… not that that matters right now. He might have some problems crossing the perimeter when he gets there though…

«Thanks Sara. We're holding the wards till you get here, but we need to discourage the attack.» Zee sends through her pendulum, blue eyes glowing with power as she holds the wards with power and will alone. Not a long term solution, but it will buy them time. At least she's wearing her SHIELD issued body armour and holy oil soaked combat boots.

Giving the newcomers a tight smile, the Mistress of Magic blows out a breath "Last time I felt this…." her words are cut off as a man with a popped collar appears, Wanda might recognise him, in the air not far from them
"The Wolfs God toy thing is out playing again, I see…" and sends a bolt of dark energy at the gathering group

"Dr Eclipse" Zee hisses "We won't beat him, but he /will/ run…"

Hax sighs. By this point in Hax's study in what necromancy is, dusty, old skeletons are the least of his worries. More of an annoyance really. Casually reaching into his satchel Hax pulls out a jagged stone with single word of power. While maintaining his brisk jog he chucks the stone behind him into the skeletons' path. Upon impact the stone unleashes an intense ray of disintigrating heat. (Damn it. I'm so close to cracking this. Almost done.)

Hax looks up and sees Dr Eclipse. (Him again? This can't be good.) Hax picks up the pace. He's about half a mile away now.

Kitty's itching to fight. Though she heard Zatanna call in the reinforcements, she's a bit jumpy as they actually start to show up. She knows only Vorpal of those gathering - but she does recognize Wanda's picture from a text message Pietro sent her. That's not exactly the best greeting line, however. So, instead, she decides the best thing to do is focus on the wards. That's why Zee brought her here anyway. Even if she dosn't have the strength to keep them up for long, it's enough to wait for whoever Sara is and it will buy them some time.

Turning her attention to the one Zatanna already pointed her to, she reaches out a hand and concentrates, attempting to refill it with energy. Maybe some day in the furture she'll be able to do that without gestures, but she's only just learning at the moment.

"Won't be long." Sara gets herself buckled in, then steps outside the temporary trailer of an office she's been working from to the nearest ley line. In short order, she's appearing next to the others, tendrils of the Witchblade starting to curl up her arm. "What's a Dr. Eclipse?" she asks as she joins the others, giving Zee a look for the answer. With the Witchblade held in abeyance, she certainly looks like someone in authority; she spent enough years as a detective for that. But in only the SHIELD-issued protective gear, she doesn't quite fit in with the usual supernatural squad.

The Dark Lady spent the previous night settling her thoughts and gathering her will and courage about herself. She's still tempted, still hears the call of Darque and the power he's mastered in her very blood but she can and she will resist. He isn't what she wants and her own power suits her well, she doesn't need more.

Kaeira smiles at the collared man and steps forward, a wave of shadow rising up and rushing to meet his energy. Shapes appear and fade and reappear again as the cloud of shadow rushes forth. Faces, demonic, human, animal and other. All of them seem to be screaming or gnashing their teeth with an expression of terrible hunger. She intends to take that energy and absorb it with her own, or rip it to shreds. She is born of darkness, of death and this place holds no fear for her. "Go back to your Master, cur. Whole or broken, the choice is yours."

"Doctor Eclipse? Well, being in pure darkness sort of explains that outfit!" Vorpal quips as Eclipse launches his attack. "Popped collar. Seriously? Do you have bell bottoms and platform shoes stashed somewhere, Doctor Disco?"

Walls of solidifed purple chaos magic appear in the path of the blast in case some of the energy manages to circumvent Kaeira's counterattack.
"Give 'em hell, ladies, I'll run interference."

He's going to use his barriers to interfere with any hostile attacks that he can spot…

The man looks familiar to Wanda but the name means nothing. "Are we here to fight?" she asks the assembled group airily before frowning at the idea. "All we do is fight" she sighs, her fingers twitching and making arcane symbols in the air around them. "Why can't people just get along!?!" she screams in a way that suggests she is taking that question personally. Scarlet chaos magic surrounds her body as she raises her arms, ready to strike…but she holds it back for now…letting it absorb any of Eclipse's attack. She looks over at Vorpal…intrigued by his magic. So like hers.

Hax's attempt takes out the first wave of skeletons, but this is the Deadzone and more keep appearing to chase him….

The display Kaeira unleashes at Eclipse is met with a mocking laugh… until her and Wanda take in the blast of energy, his laugh falters a little…
No more pure dark energy… instead each of those present (including Hax) are assaulted by unfamiliar and dangerous emotions … all courtesy of Dr Eclipse
Zee's power falters as she begins to doubt herself, her ability to do what needs to be done… Right now she feels just as she did during the HYDRA attacks, useless and unable to help…. It's going to take a moment for her to recover from that. Her hold on the wards begins to slip.

Hax's steps falter as he is visisted by visions of his past. This mixed with the foreign emotions almost drive Hax to a complete stand still. But as the bony finger-tips of a skeleton latch on to his shoulder Hax snaps out of the trance and smashes another small stone into the skeleton's face. The impact unleashes an emmense wave of raw, pounding force hopefully blowing all would-be assailants to pieces. Without a second thought Hax sprints the last couple hundred meters to Vorpal's defensive barriers.

Kitty helps as she can with the wards, but she's not as strong as Zatanna. It's about then that she's attacked with the emotional whammy of Dr. Eclipse. Her already tenuous grasp on the magic is broken as she starts to feel helpless as well as hopeless.

Luckily, though, her hand grips onto the soul sword and the mystical blade pulses. It gives a bit of protection from the spell to Kitty and she uses the gasp away from depression to throw herself forward. Using the sword, she attacks at Dr. Eclipse, attempting to break his concentration with a physical attack. Her own grips at keeping herself moving forward and not succumbing to the Eclipse's magic remain solely in the protection of the sword.

Kaeira is used to being bombarded by others emotions. It happens every time she summons and binds a soul. She's has centuries of dealing with it and while she doesn't really have any defence, she often gets lost in the memories gained by these episodes, she can carry on almost as well despite it. Even awful things become normal if they happen often enough. She unsheathes a dagger and cuts deeply the underside of one arm, from elbow to palm and lets the blood drip to the ground, sizzling and burning whatever it touches. Her power expands and the cloud of shadows grows and surges towards Eclipse. The faces are joing by hands, so many hands, seeking to rip and to rend.

Dr. Eclipse's attack brings forth a well of rage inside Sara, the Witchblade racing over the ordinary kevlar into a full suit of armor with a short, wide, curved sword in each hand…and then she laughs, a sharp edge to her smile as she eyes the wizard. "Nice try, buddy," she smirks, crimson light sparking in the depths of the jewels in her armor. "But bad choice." She's all too familiar with feelings that aren't her own, used to the Witchblade's influence. She doesn't give him a chance to change up the pitch, diving forward with a slash of those blades.

Unfamiliar emotions? Oh dear…Dr Eclipse doesn't know what he's done. When that comes to Wanda that means things like…confidence, ability, self-belief. So as he attempts to subvert her…he is actually making her stronger. She feels it coursing through her body, stirring additional power deep inside her. Wanda giggles at the sensations, standing straight…and then hovering above the ground. "If Zatanna does not like you, Doctor, then I do not like you." Scarlet energy crackles forth from her fingers, consuming the strange world on its path towards Eclipse. Reality contorts…shatters…reassembles. What was once arid ground is now alive with grass and flowers. The skeletons pursuing Hax are now an avalanche of fluffy bunnies. Her energy swirls around Eclipse, distorting even the certainty of his existence. But Wanda is new to this…happiness…and she drops back to the ground, exhausted but happy and her energy dissipates around Eclipse before it can do permanent damage. This time.

Floating up higher, Eclipses attack abates and his eyes narrow at the group, eyes lighting on Hax as the techomage dives for cover.

Hax now finds himself under direct attack, Eclipse is trying to possess the hapless magic hacker. He should be able to feel the power of the Darkforce and the necromantic taint… if Eclipse is successful, Hax's talent will be turned against the others.

Zee takes a deep breath and looks gratefully at those gathered around (although the giggling Wanda gets a quirked eyebrow), drawing her power to her, eyes glowing bright… "Focus everything on him, drive him away… " and then focusses her attentions on the floating man…

~~ gninthtiL ekirtS espilcE ~~

Arcs of ligthning flash out, aiming for Eclipse… fuelled by Zee's power and will.

Holy hell. Hax doesn't remember Dr Eclipse being this strong in their last encounter. And this presence. So old. Malavolent. All consuming. All corrupting. He feels the a surge of power filling him. It doesn't feel like his own but rather something bigger than him. An insidious voice begins to whisper to Hax, "They'll turn on you. They'll leave you alone. They always do. KILL THEM ALL."

Hax's eyes go completely black and he rises to his feet. "I feel… stronger" a wicked grin fills Hax's face. "I. AM. DEATH." images of all of Hax's own actions run through his mind. The kidnapping of the runner. The torture and of Darque's lesser minions. The constant half-truths and with held information. The desire to kill. All of Hax's actions seem to have been culminating this point. How could he not have seen it? The voices are right. He must take action before it's too late.

Hax raises a hand towards the casting Zee and prepares a hot-key. NO more mistress of magic. "CREATOR!!!"

AI zips above and breaks the spell over Hax as his eyes return back to normal and he looks at his hand realizing what he was about to do. A tiny voice smerks "I'll see you again soon, Normand Goldmane."

Kitty's sword flies forward as Eclipse floats out of reach of the soul sword and out of reach. As Sara always swings toward Eclipse, instead of hitting the magician, they clash with each other in the space he used to occupy. After a moment of confusion, she notices the ground changing to flowers and the crackling of magic all around them. "Watch out!" she calls to Sara, attempting to move out of the way of what Wanda is warping and Hax is becoming death, assuming that something terrible is going to happen and she'd like to be out of the way when it occurs.

Stumbling backwards, Kitty trips and lands right next to one of the bunnies that used to be a skeleton and mostly just attempts to keep herself out of the fray. Right now her magic is still involving lighting a candle on fire and ward protecting. Just staying alive in this sort of fray is a victory in and of itself for her.

It's hard to tell what's more unsettling to Sara: that her blade hit something and didn't go through it, or the Witchblade's blatant curiosity about the soulsword. Probably the latter. But she's not going to argue with Kitty's advice, stepping back as the swords in her hands fade away and she moves back, raising one hand…

And nothing happens. Stupid sentient weaponry. This is why she packs the backup gun. Instead, she pulls a snub-nosed revolver, firing up at Dr. Eclipse.

The Dark Lady steps closer yet, her smile turned to grim determination. Another slice down the length of her other arm and she drops to her knees and begins painting symbols and runes onto the ground with the blood now flowing freely from both sides of her. Her blood is not only a source of personal power, its connected to some unknown dimension of darkness. The more she spills, the more power she can bring to bear and its corruptive and acidicity have no effect on her. The ground is being scorched by it. The last symbol is finished and the ever expanding cloud of shadows morphs into a thing with substance, a large, many faced beast with legs and arms scattered about its bulk as it rolls and tumbles towards Eclipse.

With a devilish glint in her eyes…but thankfully not a Dark Wanda one…the Scarlet Witch's magic starts to whirl and build around her once more. Eclipse is evil…this much is clear. She starts to mumble something under her breath. Ancient words that no one but her inner Elder God understands. Her energy shoots towards Eclipse, enveloping him once more…and dragging in Kaeira's pet with it. Nice and close. "Zee…you're better at the gates than me!!" she calls out, urging her friend to send their foe to another dimension…if only for a couple of hundred years.

It all happens at once… Zee's lightning, Sara shooting, Kitty stumbling over the skeletal bunny, Kaeira's spell and Wanda's magic enveloping him…

Eclipse glares down at the women arrayed in front of him "Tell the God-Wolf that his pets won't stand much longer before me" and then focusses on Hax, a snide look on his face "As for you, Techno-mage, you will be ours… soon."

And just like that, Dr Eclipse disappears.

During all of this, Kitty might notice that the Soulsword pulses with feeling - a rush of anger, followed by pain - what could be causing that?

Zee sags and blows out a breath "Not much longer… " and then a wry look to Kitty, and the skeletal bunny she's sitting on, "You know those wards we just did?" They're going to do them again. The other women get another grateful "Thank you, all of you… " and then Zee turns to Hax, the young man might be about to get a lecture….

Kaeira sighs. At least the others are uninjured and she will heal. If she's to be of use tomorrow night she needs more blood than she'll replenish during what's left of this one. She rises to her feet, her movements ever graceful and almost seems to glide to the space between two stones. She eteches the rocks and a gateway opens. The place on the otherside is..different. It's possible some there would recognizes Hade's Realm. "I must rest." Kaeira looks back at Zee and Kitty. "Do not spend all of yourselves before the morrow, but you do good work. All of you." Her gaze turns to include the other three and then she steps through and is gone, the gateway closing after her.

Hax isn't looking at Zee. He's too ashamed to look at her for what he almost did. AI zooms over to Zee. "Mistress of Magic, my creator is currently incapable of speech at the moment. That last magic attack has left some form of trauma. If you would please refrain from speaking to him, I need to tend to him." AI floats back over to Hax and uses a simple levitation spell to pull Hax's hearth stone out of the bag and activate it. With that Hax and AI teleport out.

Kitty scoops up the bunny from the ground and cradles it against her arm. It seems almost cute now that Dr. Eclipse is gone. Sheathing the soul sword, she keeps a level gaze with Sara as she studies both her and the sword. She only turns away when she can feel strange emotions pulsing through it. That's a bit worrying.

Picking herself up off the ground, she sighs and nods at Zee. "I've got a feeling they need to be topped up," she finishes the sentence. Keeping the bunny in the crook of her arm, she goes to work on that. To Kaeira, she smiles. "Thanks. You too."

It doesn't take Wanda long to feel sad about life again once Eclipse is gone. She watches the naked woman leave…she mustn't be from New York. A little fingerwave over to the others before she turns and starts walking. Her power will take her back to New York when it needs to and these people obviously have things to talk about.

Sara lets the Witchblade fade back into a bracelet as the trouble disappears, though she gives Kitty's sword a curious look of her own. Everyone here has a lovely glass house, though, so she's not going to start throwing stone. "I'll watch your back while you work on it," she offers, nodding to Zee and Kitty. "Make sure you get a chance to finish up."

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