A City in Flames:
was thick with Hellions. Smoke billowed into the skies, blotting out
the afternoon sun. Several buildings still burned ferociously, surrounded
by the gang members, others smoldered as fire teams of heroes and
firemen fought the blazes. Here the Hellions proved to be strongest,
offering the greatest resistance to the Heroes that fought to put
down the rioting gang members. Normally equally matched with the Skulls,
Lost, and fledgling Circle of Thorns mages, the Hellions were pressing
all of the other groups of villains back, taking control of Perez.
In an abandoned church, the demon spoke to the massed Hellions. Several
of the gang leaders, the Damned, surrounded Xeqatl.
“Bring me one
of the stronger humans,” the demon instructed. “My brother needs a
body to cross over.”
“As you wish,” one of the Damned said.
power was growing by the minute. The body the demon possessed barely
resembled the Hellion leader it had once belonged to. Now the man’s
veins stood out in stark contrast to his skin, blue on a death gray
hue. It seemed as though the skin had turned to old parchment, and
may begin to flake off at any time. The body’s eyes were completely
red, devoid of any iris, pupil, or color differentiation. When the
demon spoke, the voice was harsh, raspy, as though the vocal chords
where being chewed up by the demon within.
Within minutes the Damned
had returned with a struggling man, the ten Hellions holding him having
trouble containing his strength. The gang members dragged the struggling
man to the front of the old church, binding his hands to the wall
below a huge, cracked stained glass window.
Xeqatl ripped the man’s
shirt away from his chest, then began to carve arcane symbols across
the bare skin, murmuring words of power. The fires burning around
the city, the lives being taken, all fed power along lines that the
demon had spread out from itself like a spiderweb. Xeqatl used that
fed on that power, his body gaining strength with every moment. That
power was now poured into the symbols being drawn in the struggling
The Hellions watched as the man thrashed in his bonds,
screaming in defiance and pain. Slowly the man’s skin began to change,
darkening to a deep ebony, so dark that it seemed almost a void. The
veins tracing through the man’s exposed skin began to pulse red, glowing
brighter with each symbol and word spoken, until the roadmap they
traced along his chest pulsed a bright crimson.
* * *
led his team through the tunnel from Steel Canyon into Perez Park.
Other members of the Onami Strike Force and the Archangels of the
Apocalypse came with him. The scene before the team stopped them in
Smoke covered the sky. Street lights illuminated the
unnatural darkness, ash falling like a light snow. Hellions filled
the area battling Heroes and Villains alike. The Skulls and other
gangs were falling back to the growing presence of Hellions. Heroes
fell from all sides on the embattled gang members.
Thauma Guard and
Skida Marink stopped inside the gate and concentrated. Thauma held
up her hand, eyes closed, dark energy radiating around her fingers.
She opened her eyes and looked to the west. Glancing at Skida, the
smaller woman nodded in agreement.
“That way,” Thauma said.
you know?” Guido asked.
“We can feel it,” Skida said.
Perez, PhoenixHawk recognized several of the heroes battling the army
of Hellions. Big Puerto Rico and his team were holding a line in front
of a brick apartment building that the gang was trying invade. Another
block over he past Solanum, and Deathbringer leading another team
against the Hellions amassed in the street.
As the group of Heroes
followed Thauma and Skida along the lines of power, Guido stopped
moving. The NyteHawk noticed his friend falling behind and called
the group to wait.
“What’s up?” NyteHawk asked.
“I know where we’re
going,” Father Stug said quietly, his demeanor very out of character.
“Where?” PhoenixHawk asked.
“The church,” Guido said.
Celsius Bane asked.
“The church. Where I was attacked.”
“How can you
tell?” NyteHawk asked.
“I just know. It’s where we’re going. The Master
PhoenixHawk pulled his cellphone from a pocket in his armor
and spoke into it briefly, the put it away.
“The others are on the
way. They’ll meet us in the general area, we can give them specifics
when we get there.”
Father Stug leapt ahead of the group. His Technologically
enhanced legs allowed him to jump extraordinarily far. He moved from
street to rooftop, regardless of the flames leaping from some of the
buildings, or the Hellions gathered at the street. The rest of the
team rushed to keep up with the small former priest. Guido moved without
hesitation until he stopped on a rooftop overlooking an old church,
the brick bell tower cracked, the stained glass windows broken.
rest of the Heroes congregated on the rooftop. Thauma and Skida confirmed
that the lines of power radiated to and from the church. PhoenixHawk
again spoke briefly into his cell phone, and soon another group of
Heroes joined the first. Skida and Celsius led the Archangels, PhoenixHawk
the Onami; they had taken the warning Thauma had received from Numina
and called on their teams to help.
Khazm and his wife Ginger Blaze,
Nova 1, NyteMuse, EverNight, Thundering Takai, Remedy Hart, and I
Doctor joined the other Onami members. Guinnes Prime, Tirus, Lady
Emily, Sir Kit, Kemchi, Tifal, and Thaddeus joined the other Archangels.
The two teams together would compliment each other, Tankers and Scrappers
taking the front line, Blasters holding back lashing out severe damage
from a distance, Controllers working to immobilize enemies and Defenders
keeping watch over the rest of the team for support. The Coalition
of the two Super Groups worked so well together that it seemed impossible
that the Hellions would be able to stand up to the tide of Heroes
that would wash over them.
Looking around at the large group, NyteHawk
asked, “Is this thing really going to be this bad?”
Park the Hellions were massed, but the gathering seemed sparse compared
to the mob around the church. The Damned held the area around the
door en masse.
“We need to get inside,” Thauma said. “Something is
going on in there.”
Guido jacked a grenade into the launcher on his
Assault Rifle. “Then let’s go.”
PhoenixHawk and Celsius agreed, and
the Heroes leapt from the rooftop to land amidst the mob of Hellions.
Shotguns boomed out, fireballs flew, knives and handguns came out.
Any manner of weapon possible attacked the Heroes.
Thauma Guard spread
force fields around the team members, the other Defenders using their
powers to augment the other abilities of the Heroes. Celsius Bane,
Guinness Prime, and Tifal moved forward, creating a shield with their
bodies. The Heroes lashed out at the Hellions, moving forward in a
wedge, pushing an opening towards the door to the church. The Scrappers
from both groups surged forward to press the attack, backed up by
blasts of fire, electricity, and energy from behind. The Defenders
held the rear, working in concert to keep their teammates injuries
The battle was fierce. The Hellions should never have been
able to stand against the might of so many powerful Heroes, but the
Master within the church fed them power, making them stronger. Being
massed at nearly ten-to-one against the Heroes pressed the Heroes
to their limit.
Reaching the door proved to be easier than breaching
the door. The Damned that held the door were the most powerful of
the Hellions. The fires of Hell flew from their hands into the groups
of Heroes, who retaliated in kind. Slowly the Heroes whittled away
the number of Damned at the door, while fighting to hold back the
mass of Hellions minions that pressed at them from the sides.
moved forward and launched grenade after grenade into the group of
Damned. Finally one got through the Hellions’ defenses and hit the
door, taking it off the hinges and knocking several of the Damned
away from the opening. Celsius and Tifal moved into the doorway, forcibly
holding the Hellions back so that the Heroes could surge forward through
the small opening.
PhoenixHawk and Thauma Guard moved through the
greeting area of the church, followed by Shadow Pain, Skida Marink,
NyteHawk, Father Stug, and Celsius Bane. The remainder of the Heroes
held back and fought the Hellions through the doorway.
In the main
cathedral the Heroes found several more Damned around a distorted
looking thing that obviously was once a man. The pale figure radiated
power. In its hand was an ornate blade, carving symbols on a bound
man. The man’s skin was ebony, his veins glowing red with energy.
Horns began to sprout at the sides of the man’s forehead, and spread
out, curving wickedly upward. The transformation was obviously painful,
the man struggled desperately against the power being worked on him.
As the Heroes rushed in, the Xeqatl looked away from his struggling
“Do not let them interrupt me,” the Master ordered.
rushed the Heroes who were already weary from the fight to enter the
church. The Heroes were pressed back towards the entryway where their
companions battled the Hellions outside, working to keep the massed
gang members from entering the church.
“We can’t fight both groups,”
PhoenixHawk, Celsius Bane, and Guiness Prime moved back
towards the doorway, the scrappers shifting around to hold off the
Damned. Celsius spread his hands low, an ice slick formed in the doorway,
moving all the way up around the door frame. Guiness and PhoenixHawk
backed him up, raising a wall of flames, one on top of the other,
inside the doorway. Ginger Blaze stood beside the door, the Controllers
hands working in circles as she contained the area of flames within
the ice shielding the doorframe.
“That will hold for quite a while,”
she said. “Nothing should be able to come through.”
Without the threat
from outside, the full might of both Supergroups fell on the Damned.
Fires blazed from both sides. Evernight spread her arms wide, a bright
flash blinding many of the Damned.
A mental scream from Remedy Hart
filled the heads of the remainders. Thundering Takai blasted those
whose minds were already nearly overwhelmed by Remedy’s psychic attack,
a shockwave of piercing sonic energy rattling their brains.
Ghe, Khazm, and Kemchi fought back to back, the two martial artists
hands and feet flying, Khazm’s dark power flowing around his fists.
Shadow Pain and Thaddeus whirled through the Hellions, katanas moving
in a blur.
The fight pressed the Damned back into the cathedral, where
Xeqatl was finishing the ritual upon his victim. Guido stepped forward
and poured a constant stream of hot lead from his rifle into the Master.
The bullets tore the demon’s flesh, but did not penetrate the body.
The force of the attack was enough to drive the demon from his victim,
the ornate dagger the demon had held spun across the floor.
the demon threw its arms wide and shouted, a hideous sound that filled
the air. A wall of energy hit the Heroes and Hellions alike, scattering
them like leaves. Everything left in the cathedral that was in front
of the demon flew away as though it were weightless.
The Heroes were
flung against the far wall, several being stunned by the impact. I
Doctor and Skida Marink worked frantically to get the other empaths
back on their feet. Once the healers were up, they quickly had the
rest of the group standing.
The Damned were out of the fight.
this could be bad,” Kemchi said, still seeing stars from hitting the
The man who was tied to the front wall lay slack in his bonds,
blood running down his now ebony skin. The glow in his veins remained,
but he has ceased his struggles.
The Master had retrieved the dagger
from the ground, and was moving back towards the bound man.
let him finish what he started!” Thauma shouted. “If he does we’ll
have to fight two of them!”
Guiness, Celsius, and Tifal moved forward,
blocking the Master from its victim.
The demon thrust its hands forward,
a darkness surrounded the Tankers, holding them in place, their bodies
writhing in agony. I Doctor moved forward, the implants spread out
through his body glowing green, a healing energy spread over the Tankers.
Thauma cast a wide dispersion field around herself and the others,
warding off as much of the Master’s energy as she could. Tirus raised
his hands, ice crystals forming around his fingers and encasing the
Master in a block of ice.
Shadow Pain flashed forward faster than
the eye could see, her katana slicing through the ice and cutting
into the demon’s flesh below. As she turned to make another cut the
ice exploded from the demon, sending razor shards in all directions.
Shadow Pain’s ability to move at blinding speeds helped her dodge
many of the flying shards, but not all, several slicing long cuts
deep into her flesh.
Remedy Hart teleported Pain away from the demon,
placing her hands on the small woman’s bleeding arms. Though it was
rare the Remedy spoke aloud, her voice filled Shadow Pain’s head with
a soothing voice, her healing powers pouring over the ragged wounds
until the bleeding stopped.
Lady Emily stood behind Remedy, using
the Tech gadgets her grandfather had invented and past along to her,
doubling the healing energy flowing through Shadow Pain’s body.
Defenders response had been so quick that Shadow Pain never knew how
badly she’d been injured. Only the sheen of sweat on Remedy’s brow
showed how hard the task of healing Pain had been.
The Heroes battled
back and forth with the demon, inflicting minor damage when they could.
Time and again they were hit by unbelievably strong attacks, scattering
them like rag dolls. Ice, energy, electricity, and fire poured over
the demon, but still it stood on its feet, its haunting voice sending
chills through the Heroes.
Father ‘Guido’ Stug was speaking softly,
almost if in prayer. He had been a priest in this church, now he returned
to fight the Hell that had been unleashed here.