Removing The Deadzone - Counterspell Edition

August 29, 2015:

It's time to remove the Deadzone…. can the spellcasters do it?

Deadzone - Delaware

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Deadzone has been a literal blight on southern and central Delaware for over a month now, and a very dangerous stronghold for the necromancer Master Darque and his minions. While Fenris and his allies have not yet located the damnable scourge, they have made progress on another front. With help from several others a counterspell to dissolve the connection between the realms of the dead and this one has been devised and is now ready to enact.

Surprise is critical for this operation so Fenris has actually called everyone together in Central Park. After all, they have teleporters. No need to tip Darque off by gathering at his very borders. There will be trouble enough once they're in. Because of the need for secrecy, Fenris has also eschewed the aid of SHIELD in this, telling them only that activity on the perimeter is likely to pick up today. The tall, lean man waits by a park bench for his allies to assemble before they 'take the plunge' as it were.


Zee's arrived early, grabbing the time to review the counterspell with Fenris one last time. The teen mage is decked out in her SHIELD body armour, with her hair much shorter than usual - thanks to Poison Ivy's attention a week or so ago.

It might be telling that she's currently pacing, back and forth, unable to settle … she's been working on this spell for a while.


Footsteps were the only thing that marked Shayera's presence, along with the flow of wing that spans out and catch the air just right. There was no armor worn as of yet, no need to draw attention, there were no heightened feelings of danger nor the need to hunt, fight, and break knees over the thick prong of her mace. However.. Nth clad hands to grasp the bench, taking up a forward hunch of a lean as she glances up towards the pacing Zee, a slight frown drawing upon her lips.

"That kid needs to sit down." Beat. "Too long don't feel like listening to it all version, War-Mount. Are you up to snuff and when and where do I get to beat cakes." She was waiting on the arrival of her comrade at any moment…


Ripclaw has been in the area for some time now and has promised his aid to more than Zatana after his first encounter with one of Master Darque's victims. Though no mage or spellcaster, at least not in the 'traditional' sense he is no stranger to the world of the supernatural.
Cybernetic laced arms lie folded across a bare chest in the akimbo style and dark long hair does nothing to hide the aquiline features and feral red gleam of inhuman eyes. Despite the lack of armor or gear the man looks prepared for what may lie ahead. One by one he makes note of those arriving or already present.


Kara had arrived not long after the others; using her own natural abilities rather than potentially draining any power from her Ley Pendulum that she might need in the upcoming fight. Supergirl had her arms crossed over her chest and remained fairly quiet as she listened to the plan.


The Dark Lady approaches with a light frown that takes nothing away from her ethereal beauty. She doesn't notice the stares she receives as she glides forward, her every movement full of an effortless grace no ordinary human can match. Dressed for battle, she wears a leather and chainlink sleeves tunic that falls just past her hips, leather trousers dyed bloodred and reinforced in the vital areas by spell and thin plates, and a pair of sturdy boots complete the set.
All of it has been carefully spelled and marked with a diluted mixture of her blood. Were she to bleed herself dry tonight, her armor won't be harmed by it. Neither will the daggers at each side of her hips, both having undergone the same process. She is ready, more than ready for this. Darque has encroached on Her territory and that will not stand.


Wanda still has to learn the art of an imposing arrival, the witch running throw the park to the assigned meeting place as if she was late for a bus. Reaching the bench she offers the assembles an apologetic smile. She has no armour or weapons and she has even forsaken any link to X-Red for today. If things go wrong then she doesn't want them blamed. Not that anything will…even if Zatanna is not bestowing complete confidence with her anxious pacing.


Fenris nods in greeting to those not already present as they arrive. "Thank you all for coming. What we are about to attempt is nothing less than tearing down the Deadzone. In a few minutes I'll open a Way to its heart and we'll begin. Zatanna has a ritual that she has prepared. Anyone with the power to do so should feel free to help. It's not hard to pick up so I won't waste time having her explain it. Once we begin, Darque is sure to react, so we'll be in for a fight." Which is why he's asked the likes of Kara and Hawkgirl along. Ripclaw could go either way, Fenris doesn't know enough about the man but Zee has vouched for him and he's willing to take any help he can get at this point.

"I am not sure if Darque will come out to play personally. If he does not he will surely send his strongest minions. So be ready." And with that the God-Wolf raises a hand and tears open a Way to the center of the Deadzone for all who are willing to take.

The heart of the Deadzone is rather surprisingly normal looking. They're in the back lot of a 'Giant Food' store in Middletown. It's long since abandoned, the doors left open and the food looted or spoilt by people fleeing or curious walking dead. Even those without much in the way of arcane power will feel the thrum of a ley, line nexus. This was the center of Darque's effort and it's from here that it can all be unraveled. "Well, go ahead and knock. Everyone else get ready. It won't take long for them to realize we're here." In fact already there's a sense of 'attention' to the area and… is that the sound of distant thunder?


Zee does finally settle when she sees the others arrive and steps through the Way opened. She's obviously not surprised by the setting, but then she's ventured into the Deadzone multiple times and this tableau is becoming familiar.

Having explained the casting to Wanda, Kaeira, Ripclaw and Fenris already, the young woman doesn't waste anytime, taking up position on one side of the store and marks a circle around herself, she's not taking any chances at the moment. The spell will focus on unravelling the weaving of the power from the different underworlds and loosen the grip of the power from the Darkforce Dimension…

Eyes glowing as she pulls her power to her, she starts chanting the words of her spell — all spoken backwards of course. This… has taken some practice on her part.


Ripclaw's a rather stoic individual, a calm emanates from him that he figures should be expected and following suit he moves with the rest. A moment spent to marvel but it is brief. He can digest such things later. His purpose here is to contribute spiritual energy and if required defend. His knowledge is a special boon as well that comes with a near-Geomancer worthy tie to the lands many folks just wouldn't understand.


The Dark Lady watches Zee for a moment before turning and looking around consideringly. It isn't night yet..but it's very dim. Nodding to herself, Kaeira draws one of her daggers and slices her palm deeply before cupping her hand to hold the pooling blood. Swiftly, moving low to the ground Kaeira marks out another circle about a foot away from Zee's. It doesn't take nearly as long as one would think, she's well practiced with this it would seem. The pavement hisses and crackles as The Dark Lady's blood burns through the surface. Once the circle is close she steps aside and starts a low, hauntingly beautiful song. There aren't any words, just a melody of sound and it seems an odd thing to do until one notices the shadows coming to her call and gathering around the circle.

Rather than disipate or grow less, the shadows seem to darken and take on form as they move up around the circle of blood. Kaeira begins to move her hands now in a complex weave of motions. She will use the darkness Darque has brought here to hide and shield the homo magi from his minions.


Fenris glances up as the protectors move off to intercept whatever's coming to them. That likely won't be the only avenue of attack.

All of them can feel the essential wrongness of this place. The way the death and decay permeates the very air. As Zee's spell begins the sky seems to open up and the clouds begin to drop foul water down upon them. It smells like sewage and feels like its liquid grime, or worse. Zee and Kaeira can sence a sudden presence. A will opposing their spell. Trying to take away our castle are you? Fools that you are to oppose the dead in their own lands. There's a push of energy against Zee and Kaeira as someone tries to use the counterspell as a sympathetic link. To quote a movie 'The Battle of Wits has begin.' Only there's no poison wine here. Only the very energy of the void welling up around them.

The pavement cracks and begins to crumble as a hand bursts up from it, spectral and skeletal. And then another. Ghosts and specters, transparent but solid enough, begin to pull themselves from the earth, shrieking in anger.


Kaeira's response is a ringing laugh, the power she has over men and women both filling her voice and making the sound rich and lovely, bewitching to hear. "I am Death, fool. Death, and Darkness given form. You have no power over me. This mess you have made Will be undone. By my blood I swear it, so mote it be!"

She slits her arm this time, lengthwise from wrist to elbow and leaves a trail of black red acid falling freely at her feet. More Shadow comes to her as the skies go dark and the fel rain pours down. It doesn't wash away her blood, not when its burned into the stone of the lot. In response to her soft chanting the shadows split into two monstrous forms. Many legged things full of fangs and claws that take on a somewhat solid form as The Dark Lady annoints them with her blood. "Go. Hunt my darklings, find the speaker and have your fun." The creatures race off, several grostesque heads scenting the air and the ground both.


Thanks to Mays' insistence several weeks ago, Zee's taken to soaking her boots in holy oil. With any luck that will keep those hands and spectres away from her for a few long minutes - which might give them the edge they require.

Part of the energy used to create the Deadzone is based on Native American symbology, which is why she'd sought Ripclaw out to begin with, and she's created the counterspell with this in mind. If he can use that to aid the young spellcaster - now could be the time to bring that to bear.

Zee's spell focusses on picking the threads that tie each of the underworlds here… not the power from the Darkforce Dimension directly - not yet.

She'd been expecting the push - Zee might be predictable, but to a degree so are Darques minions, and she changes the cadence of her chanting. The focus of the spell shifts from one underworld to the next, continually moving… for now she's trying to stay ahead of the attacks, each thread loosened with each word spoken. She's trusting Kaeira, Ripclaw and Fenris to handle the other threats in the meantime.


Ripclaw's clawed fingertips rise up to the pouch around his throat and he withdraws a small amount of the ash and smudging there it is then smeared across the markings already etched across his body. Protection for himself to further wrap around the Ghost Warrior etchings already engraved in to his flesh.
"I will defend the two of you while you proceed. No manner of rite I can perform is quick or strong enough to do much more than keep these things at bay… which, I can do with my own hands." By hands he means the now two foot long blades jutting out of his digits, deadly sharp and reflective. His red eyes glow crimson and the markings upon him ignite as well in various colors of reds to whites.
A dash forward and his swipe rips through a skeletal creature casting it's bones in all directions. "This air is putrid and rife with entropy. The spirits and the Earth will aid you… I feel them screaming to be set forth on our foes."


The specters launch themselves at Ripclaw only to find that his blades cut and peirce. On they come though as if driven by a will not their own. Bones clatter as the cyborg shaman sends corporeal forms scattering to the wind. The little motes of darkness that Kaeira has summoned circle her, looking for the speaker that she commanded. Where is he? Not in this plane it seems? To her left, Fenris produces his silvery blade, far too large to wield one handed but he does it anyway, describing a glittering arc about him as he, like Ripclaw, sends the spirits screaming back where they came from.

And then the ground cracks again. But this time it rises up itself. Spirits of angered and defiled earth now given form at the Shamans urging lash out at the spectral army that is still appearing about them. Thunder rolls and something snarls. Fenris head whips around. "Shaman! Pups of Cerberus!" Loping into view, indeed, a trio of three headed dogs, each the size of a cargo truck. Someone's breaking out the big guns.

Zee's been playing hide and seek with her spell, hiding it by drawing it from various underworlds. Her pursuer chases her for a bit and then tires of the game. Rather than strike them there he strikes them in the real world. Kaeira and Zee both feel the air still around them and charge… and then bolts of decay seem to arc from the very air against them, driven by the spiteful will of a would be god.


Of course the speaker isn't in this dimension… Zee knows this… which means her pursuer likely isn't either. Thankfully the next strike gives her some warning - the charging of the air giving her a fraction of time to add the next level of the spell she's prepared.

Extending her chanting, splitting the flow of her magic, still hop, skipping and jumping across the underworlds, the teen mage throws up a shield against the decay. It will be effective for maybe minutes, but really, she's just buying time to let the rest of her spell take effect.

The shield goes up, a fraction late and Zee staggers as at one of the daggers of decay strikes her… that hurts….


Gesturing with her hands The Dark Lady quickly adds a covering to the wall of shadow she's built around Zee. She doesn't seem bothered by the foul stuff hitting her, though it does seem to be doing some damage, though not as much as it should. Pain and The Dark Lady are old friends, she won't be distracted from her purpose, which at the moment is hurrying to make a trap for the pups. A compromise between killing them, or sending them back. She can't risk interrupting the ritual or tempting Darque with a door way into Hades realm right now. Though it would serve the bastard right.

"Oh that Cretin! You cannot steal the hounds of Hades! And to set them loose, here!" Kaeira's voice and angry expression are both terrible and beautiful at once. She flicks her bleeding hand in the pups direction after making another blood circle to trap them in. She's glad now that Fenris had pushed her to rest and replenish herself. She's drawing deeply tonight.


"Ash, smoke, dirt… water. Need fluid that is not just blood." Ripclaw hisses at Zatanna. He is aware of the Yin Yang like effect the combined efforts of the Zatara homo magi and this Dark Lady; duality is a big deal for shamans. There is a lot of magic in it. "You will need to represent all of the elements and give them their respect. It shall encourage them to aid you."
The feral mutant snarls a challenge at one of the three headed beasts before throwing his arms back and sailing at one like he wants to embrace it. It's not a cute and cuddly kind of embrace either.


Fenris turns and changes as he does. In a moment he goes from man to wolf the same size as the death-dogs. There's an enormous 'thud' as one meets the other and the two engage in a snarling, clawing dog fight. One which pits Fenris' multipled thousands of years of experience against having two less heads than the other guy. He's not coming out of that unscathed.

Ripclaw gets snapped at but his leap carries him over the head and onto the neck. Of course the Pup immediately tries to 'roll over' and lose his unwanted rider. But Rip is on him.

This leaves one for Kaeira. And it's coming right at her and Zee while the rain becomes a torrent. And then it hits a circle. It's trapped… but angry. Darkness bolts are still impacting off Zee's shield. WHich is holding for now. Maybe if she could purify some of the water…


Zee blinks at Ripclaw for a moment, his words not registering immediately. Really her attention is primarily on unravelling the spell holding the four Underworlds to the Deadzone and maintaining that shield. And then it tarts to rain… and Ripclaws words sink in.

Adding another component to her spell, purifying the rain as it pours from the sky, to combine with the Ash, Smoke and Dirt… now she's acting on instinct - the instinct that normally has her acting directly - maybe this time it won't draw too much unwanted attention.

She can feel the grip on the Underworlds loosen, it can't take too much more… her chanting intensifies, even as she starts swaying on her feet - this is a lot of energy to expend in a rush.


Kaeira had closed the circle as soon as the pup entered. At least one of them was saved. More than ever she wants Darque in front of her to answer for his crimes. The tears streaming down her face likely aren't noticable in all the rain and she's avoiding looking directly at Zee or either of the men. Right now would be a terrible time to accidently bewitch them. She has no control over that little ability of hers.

Eyeing the shielding and the falling rain Kaeira tries to think of a solution. Amber colored eyes that quickly turning to pools of utter black move to her bloodsoaked arms. A small sigh is the only complaint she utters as she kneels on the ground and lowers her head. Its and all or nothing kind of situation. She can do spells as a regular mage, only it takes a lot of her blood, and the result is usually…potent. She cannot for instance, light a candle. She can however blow that candle and half of a room up. She has just enough time to wonder when or if she'll wake after this before the new cuts in her arms are draining her life force into a spreading pool around her. Her voice is a bare whisper as she tilts her head back to see the clouds and murmurs the words of a purification spell. Maybe she can cut it off at the source rather than as it falls. The Dark Lady knows she's losing too much, too fast but they must succeed here. They must.


Ripclaw no God being himself is having more of a struggle here but he is a ferocious fighter outfitted with cybernetic blades, augmented physiology and supernatural protections. The ground near the three headed dog and him cracks splinters away and old structure underneath the Deadzone yields to their weight. The two disappear in a vanishing act beyond explosive smoke and debris, their growls, snarls and roars still heard.


There's an agonized yelp from a distance and Fenris emerges from the fight victorious. And then moments later a huge god-beast of glowing energy, much like a bear, emerges from where Ripclaw vanished. "Let's finish this."

The divine being and the divine apparition add their power to Zee and Kaeira's spell. The threads start to unbind. Loosen. The enitre spell is coming apart. Abruptly Zee feels the resistance vanish as Darque begins to pull as much power from the area. As much as he can before it's gone.


Zee can feel Darque siphoning the power off… and her chanting quickens, even as she snatches the offered powered, feeding it into her spell. Eyes blazing, neon blue, the entirety of the power now focussed on removing the deadzone… The air around the teen mage crackles with the power that she's channeling - and the Deadzone fades as the last of the threads are unknotted.

With this much power flowing through her, of her choosing, the teen mage may not be the same again.


The Dark Lady is slumped over on her side, lying in a pool of her own acidic blood. A faint smile graces her face as feels the deadzone fading away along with her conciousness.


There's a thunderous crack of power and Zee's spell completes. A wave of arcane cleansing goes out and everyone can feel it. Life is returning to the land. The Deadzone has been banished.

Fenris reverts to form and looks over at the glowing bear-beast. There's a flash in the air as he tosses it a ley pendulum shard, which it snaps out of the air in its mouth. An invitation. And a commendation.

"I'll get Kaeira back to my place to rest. Zee do you also need tending?


Zee blinks… eyes still glowing, letting go of that much power is … hard. Looking at the dog caught in Kaeira's circle, she murmurs more words and the beast disappears. She's banished it back where it belongs - poor creature, subverted like that for the greed of another being.

Noting the pendulum shard as it arcs towards Ripclaw, a faint smile crosses her face, she's recognised the invitation. The smile fades though as she looks at Kaeira and she blows out a breath, staggering a little as she shakes her head towards Fenris "I'll stay. Bring in the Ard Draoi and begin cleansing this land. There's still much work to be done."

The light in her eyes is slowly dimming, but it's obviously a struggle for the raven haired teen to let her hold on that magic go.

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