Come and See

September 07, 2016:

Two of the Horesmen of Apocalypse arrive in the Catskills… And their burdens come with them against the heroes that dare to stand in the way.

Catskill Mountain Villages

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Within the Catskills are mottled lines of villages, spread apart, remote, but there is enough for word to spread - especially when the local Ranger and Sheriff's hardly hear hide nor hair of those people. Everyone is left to their own as they choose…

But even they need help sometimes.

It all began at the beginning of the week. Reports of large amounts of decay. Their crops, their pasturing livestock, even the birds refused to fly overhead anymore… Craters of blackness surrounded areas and trailed in paths through un-forged paths, leaving even the surrounding flora and fauna dead or dying.

The Crone was unearthed and left some descendants wary and speaking of curses when the statue was removed from the cavern by explorers, now they believe it truth. In the night they swear to hear wailing and now the mountains are left crawling with reporters, paranormal 'experts', and officials trying to clear ways through the black craters and pathways winding their way through.

Dusk in the Catskills: Sept 07, 2016 21:54. Although the sky bled colors of warmth, there was no blood… Bled dry.

The lamenting howl called from the line of trees just outside the village at the peak of the mountain ridge, the black line of forestry's shadows bursting as avian life fled with the call, a cloud of migrating black of varying sizes heading helter skelter as behind them the ground seems to burn, shrivel, and turn to dust without flame or heat, spanning out in a rapid pace towards the village like a carpet unrolled for the procession of royalty.

The drapery of trees draws back in a sudden crack and curl as plat-life shrivels and blackens upon itself while the draught fast-forwards and a figure cloaked in brown, black, and tattered remnants of green walks forward with hood drawn and facade shadowed.

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, "Come and see".  And I saw, and behold a white horse:  and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him:  and he went forth conquering, and to conquer…."

A lamb from the nearby field ran, last from the heard, bleating as something seemed to eat away at its fleece, decaying it and morphing it into something sickened and dying yet clinging to life. Even the beasts felt the sway while the humans of the village stepped from their homes and meals they had settled in for to bear witness to their fears. Pestilence and Famine let loose upon livelihood.

A resounding scream and the birds in the heavens even fell to the grounds!
The news Rogue had been captured by the Dark Riders didn't sit well at the school, and Nate actually learned it later than most. He has been looking for the members of X-Force the last few days. Of course he volunteered to look for her, and for McCoy too. He can't stand the waiting and planning.

He flies to the Catskills because Cerebro detected someone that was suspicious. In some regards similar to Rogue's power signature, but not quite. It is probably just some new mutant with similar powers, but Nate was looking for an excuse to leave Xavier's grounds. And now, here… definitely something is going on and it is not good.

The news Rogue had been captured by the Dark Riders didn't sit well at the school, and Nate actually learned it later than most. He has been looking for the members of X-Force the last few days. Of course he volunteered to look for her, and for McCoy too. He can't stand the waiting and planning.

He flies to the Catskills because Cerebro detected someone that was suspicious. In some regards similar to Rogue's power signature, but not quite. It is probably just some new mutant with similar powers, but Nate was looking for an excuse to leave Xavier's grounds. And now, here… definitely something is going on and it is not good.

A gust of wind rages across the fields, dashing through the road with the swiftness of the sound.

Pietro Maximoff, a young mutant of silver hair and burning blue eyes, has suffered of an excess of free time as of late. Therefore, and always trying to get a bit of exercise, he likes to take long runs while getting himself lost in the music. Pink Floyd, today, his all-time favorite. And the riffs, the notes, the dashing sounds fly with him, as his mind is finally free in the depth of his own thoughts. The wind in the face, the clear skies, the people appearing and disappearing around as mere passing images. Everything is so perfect. His own smile is a witness of his joy.

From time, to time, though, a quick stop is always needed. He buys a soda, changes the playlist on his phone, sneaks on some undesired conversation, and—-Today one of those conversations sounded odd. It seems something might be happening around.

Anyway, he still needs to exercise a bit more.

A beep makes space to a new song and the Speedster runs to a place where divine things seem to be happing. Whatever that could mean.

Beast would normally be trying to rescue said animals and people…wanton suffering goes against his beliefs, but things are different now. Now, he doesn't see life as anything except something to be destroyed…slowly and painfully. Now he sees the beauty and power in rot and festering. Once frustrat3ed at having a lack of purpose, he sees his now — to spread the plague all over the world so that only the strongest can survive to join Apocalypse and see him as their supreme leader and deity.

While Hank McCoy would question such abject devotion, Hank McCoy seems to be absent.

"When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the action which follows them. "

Just as Hank has fought against suffering of all, Rogue had devotion and adoration for causes herself… Even though her own has caused things and people subjects of her love and abject devotion to become drained and empty husks.

Gloved, cloaked, covered, coveted, wary… No. More.

//I'll take my bow
I won't make a sound
I whisper truce as the ashes hit the ground
Hush love
No, I'm not what you think that I'm made of
I'm a story
I'm a breakup
Just a hero on a bridge that's burning down… //

Bare hands reach up, and the hood of tattered moss falls from Rogue's long lost facade. Ghost white, blackened pits, white stained burnt… And beside her the Plague flees towards the humans that had kept them, Horses screeching their plagued cries from the depths of the forest to gallop outward and free as the forest withers behind the duo and spans forward at a rapid pace.

The withering steed is gripped by Famine (formerly Rogue), her figure lifted in the high speed race to sit upon its bony spine as she races forward through fleeing villagers and the swathe of rising insects.

No need to touch, now. The aura of famine radiates around her in a vicinity and the villagers begin to shrivel as they call out in dry-rotting staccato.
Cries of panic, psychic and physical, reveal Nate this is not a normal new power manifestation. He flies down, quickly, and spots Rogue and Beast with the new looks. A momentary confusion is quickly replaced by anger.

"Rogue, what are you doing?!" He shouts, trying to push telekinetically the woman away from her victims. "Is this something Apocalypse did?" He tries to get into her head, but that is not easy even in the best circumstances, and Nate is trying to do several things at once.

"Oh, the freak show. It seems I'm just in time." Pietro mutters to himself, though still pretty audible to people in his vicinity, as if a challenge was just spoken. His googles raise, uncovering his eyes made of pure blue fire. Hair messy, as always, and a thin ever-present smile is slowly drawn. It has been a time since he last saw a demonstration of mutant powers, and he has been searching for this long enough.

A running villager seemingly disappears from his place, just before being touched by the malevolent aura. Then, another by his side vanishes as well, and more and more continue disappearing, just to reappear far away in safety. A magic trick, perhaps. Or perhaps the silver blur that dashes from a side to the other is the reason. A reason with a name. Quicksilver.

It doesn't take him much (of course) to realize saving a villager at a time is not efficient, but… what else could he do? Something stupid and face a power he can surely not defeat? Well, it's Pietro. So there is only one possible answer.

"Hey, hello!" The fast mutant lets out in Famine's general direction, while just appearing in front of her, relatively close. Not as close to be a suicide, but enough to be noticed. His expression is not challenging, but it is certainly not worried. He smiles soft and easily. One of his earphones falls on his chest, while the other remains at his ear. A new song starts now.

"I really hope I'm not interrupting something important," the blue gaze flows to Nate and then back to the former Rogue, "But would you mind having your little talk and destruction in a place where people don't, well, die?"
Where Rogue's aura doesn't touch, Beast's disease-ridden nanites will…they're sent forward to chase after others who might be running to try and escape. A snarl escapes his lips as they run into some small obstacle, and those nanites are also sent after the two other mutants as well. "Die, puny mutants, or join us," is growled out through his facemask.

Maybe he's just upset that everyone seems to be focusing on Rogue?

Focus in one place makes them weak.

Famine atop her steed rears back, staggered by Nate's blast, the hooves planting into the decaying sod, ruffed hocks bleeding into the earthen to gain the feedback gifted of Pestilence that decays the remaining flesh of the equine, leaving nanite infused sinew bleeding through strands of decay in its cry upon the blast of the X-Man (Nate), showing the teeth and (abnormal) canines of the steed to bare upon rearing.

Hooved appendages kick at the sudden blurred appearance of Quicksilver and his chival(ric) smile, the aura of decay pushed with the grind of teeth and setting of defined jaw; a ripple in reality, that is nigh atomic in spanse, just before her steed disappears and leaves her in the span of decayed cloak and attire.

Alabaster and auburn, hair spans outward in a fan like fingers and hands as they rise and as if upon musical crescendo's bear strings…And upon the threads lay the Fate's and Death - borne upon the backs of the beasts lead by Pestilence.

A hand extends to the side where between them the sun strikes, nanites flowing in sparks of the setting sun, unaffected by the askance as Pestilence and Famine watch upon the duo of interlopers.

"You speak a name lost. Rogue? No more when home is found and what I am has meaning!" Words directed to Nate, just as the sudden burst of siphoning follows his way.

Quicksilver, not forgotten while feet leave dead craters in their path his way, but before she can even anticipate, one hand grips earth, the other extended to air in a force that leaves resonance and craters, a path lain for Pestilence laden in decay- paving Him a way.

"They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth."

Nate protects himself by reinforcing his body with telekinetic energy, but that is not going to help much against nanites because he is still breathing and he is noticing a telekinetic shield (which would only slow down the nanites anyway).

But in fact Rogue's drain gets him before the nanines, and his psychokinetic aura flares brightly when she attempts to drain him. The young man falls down, but also manages to push himself away a few yards, crashing against the ground pretty hard. Still partially protected by his powers, though, he rolls to his feet unsteady. "What the hell…?"
A good way to draw your attention to himself would be to cause mayhem and destruction. Perhaps. But, in this case, Beast has certainly caught Quicksilver's reaction.

"Your recruitment method is not as innovative as you might think, my big friend. I've heard it a couple of times before, but as I always say — and trust me, I don't say this often —" he chuckles, while speaking to the large and now-evil-mutant, "I would need some time to ponder it. I hope you don't mind." Pietro dashes to a new position, now more intermediate between the two menaces, and then quickly to another. It would seem as he was teleporting to a place to another, avoiding Beast and Rogue's attack, but always showing himself from time to time. He could very well remain running the entire moment, and remain as invisible as possible, but he is not coward. And he is clearly facing them.

When he stands in a visible place, his arms move faster in circles to repel the little bugs around. And still, he switches positions every time they are too close. Pietro hates bugs. But then, who doesn't?

But the show is far from over, and Famine's demonstration of power only grows stronger and terrifying. And still, what should be more astonishing, beyond bringing death and sorrow, is that she could erase the smile from Pietro's lips. Turning it into a smirk.

"Rogue." He whispers to himself. A name he knew as well. After all, he spent a time living in Xavier's Institute, and though a brief one it was, he had time to study as much as he could of many mutants. He had all the time in the world, after all. But it is her accent while speaking of meaning what steals his thoughts for a moment longer. "Meaning." He mirrors, now out loud, followed by a shake of his head. His voice now raises stronger.

"You speak a name lost, as well. Meaning? You look too far into a life that lacks a purpose. But that's not bad, once you realize." His Transian accent is now more evident than ever. And while his words could certainly be spoken in sadness, he does it with belief and a new smile that finds its way. "But that's not bad. There are many things you can enjoy, even then. As long as killing people is not what you enjoy, because, then," he runs at the speed of sound to a different location, now closer to Famine, "Then I would need to put an end to your hobby." And now he dashes to a new spot, gaining distance from his enemies.

"You may not see me as a big threat, clearly, but my friend here," Pietro gestures toward Nate, who he has not met yet, but he doesn't have to make it evident right now, "Will surely put you dow—" He tops as Grey falls to the ground. Banter ended, he runs to put himself between the X-Man and the horsemen, moving his arms in circles once more in an attempt (who knows how successful or not) to keep the nanines away.
Beast leaps down from his horse and stalks forward on all-fours, golden eyes on the fallen Nate. "You are no match for us…even -you- will fall, decayed, destroyed. If you join us, then you will live…and grow even stronger!" The nanites continue to swarm out from him, as if there is a never-ending supply. They seek out anything holding life and move to destroy it, just as they are destroying the countryside.

Golden eyes flicker, watching as Quicksilver moves and creates enough of a gust to keep the nanites away. It doesn't stop them, but it doesn't turn them. There is barely a moment's thought, however, as the speedster pauses by Nate's fallen form, before he pounces, much like a cat pouncing on its prey, claws out.

"This is the end
My beloved friends
I'm lost in dreams and all I know is where I've been.
Run love…
I'm the truth that you're afraid of
I'm a fever that you made up,
Just a martyr on a bridge that's burning down "

There's a moment, a fleeting second only a speedster can see that strikes a chord in who was once Rogue. Brows furrow, eyes close and her form falls to a kneel upon the ground…

But overhead? Pestilence (Beast) leaps into the charge upon all fours. Shadowing her knelt figure as ashes fall around her, smudging pale pallor while buildings burn around them in a different form of primordial decay.

A crater is left where the duo once stood to face off Nate and Pietro, the ground beneath fallen drops of tears burning holes towards the core and behind Pietro a force seeks to gather him into arms. "C'mere, sugah…"

Within embrace her lips seek the ridge of Pietro's cheek while empty gaze of black reflects the motions and the pouncing from Beast.

Nate is not forgotten, but for the moment, in the swirl of of the nanite infused Pestilence (plague) and the drive to bring the illusory race of the speedster to as much of a halt as Nate while the crater of Famine creeps towards the village and those seeking haven within.

Nate is not feeling himself right now. He is usually brimming with psychic energy and the thoughts of a million people trying to get in his mind. With the bulk of his power drained, his head feels strangely clear, despite the nanite-sickness from Pestilence already starting to give him a fever.

"Don't let them come close," he warns Pietro. And as Beast pounces, a transparent shield of golden light appears in his way. Much weaker than usual, the impact shatters is, and sends Nate reeling. But at least there will be no pouncing right now. "Xavier needs to know about this," he manages to add, looking at Pietro, "you have to go tell him!"

The claw display from Beast steals a new smirk from the Speedster. The gust fruit of his attempt to save Nate can't outshine the blue spark burning in his eyes.

"There's a fun thing about physics, my friend." He says softly to his companion in battle. "Force comes from mass and acceleration. And luckily, I have some of one and plenty of the other. Now, the question is, will it be enough? Anyway, there's only one way to find out. Oh, by the way," He adds, turning briefly and offering the smile directly to the X-Man, "My name is Pietro."

But, before he can try to punch and initiate a suicide run (indeed), Rogue gets closer, catching him off-guard.

"I know this is a bit awkward, but these are awkward times, so," Maximoff says as he now tries to dash the deadly kiss, his words fast as always, "I am dating someone, so I must decline your offer. But don't get me wrong, you look lovely." One doesn't have to be a speedster to see his smirk (which could very well be his last!) as he moves to hold Nate, getting ready to run as fast as he can towards the needed villagers. "I'm not leaving without you, friend, so you can tell Xavier yourself." Quicksilver whispers, while trying to start the escape for both of them. If they don't die in the attempt, of course.

Just because there's a barrier doesn't mean the pouncing has stopped. It may deflect him some, but it's not going to stop him. Even as he's pushed off to the side by the barrier, he turns to slash his claws at the downed X-Men. At least his nanites got their hold of him.

Quicksilver's banter is likewise met with narrowed eyes before he goes to try and tackle the speedster. He might miss, but he wants to at least get close enough to get the other infected.

"So who's it gonna be?
The one that you only need
I gave it all and all you gave was sweet misery ? "

Quicksilver's rejection meant nothing to Famine, all she needed is proximity, an allowance of impact that spans outward for yards in a deathly crater of blackness and withering fields.

Humans flee from the edges, and yet some get trapped within, from feet the withering began. Cloth to ash, skin to decrepit wrinkles, those 20 now look 90…and fading fast in the aging process as they dry out and become husks.

But from that explosive expanse as Quicksilver leaves the grip with Nate on the slash and festering reminder of Pestilence, nanites plume upward. What the once-Rogue begins, the once-Beast easily sees an end to with the insectile chitinous clicking and cacophonous rancor left behind as screams are left in plumes of dust past lips heavenward.

Beside corpses rest that of beasts in beds of decayed fields….

The X-Men need more then help, they need saving…

Dawn in the Catskills: Sept 08, 2016 06:58.

Villages lay in a wreckage of black char and smoke, but the smoke bears a glistening life untouchable because it bears something 'akin to the plagues of old within its core'… The dead are rising in numbers if remains can be found while survivors mourn and speak of the malevolent ghosts of the Catskills arisen.

But let the word of Apocalypse spread…

" Come and see."

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