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Birth Of A Hero
(An imaginative rendition of Myth’s second costume mission.)
by Myths n' Wraiths
When your whole life has revolved around a single
purpose, when your every action was in tribute to accomplishing one
goal, when your every waking hour was spent in preparing yourself for
one certain conflict, what do you do once that conflict is over?
It had been four days since Myth and Wraith had
emerged from the sewers of Paragon after their climactic battle with
the villain Bloodlust. With their goal accomplished and their friend
Valdien laid to rest, the two brothers were left with a sense of
emptiness that not even Myth, for all his empathy, could free them
from. It was the first time since childhood that the twins had spent
more than a few minutes in each other’s company. It needed no
words between the two mutants that whatever differences they had in the
past would stay there now.
They had each taken different roads in their lives,
but both roads had led to the same place, the same purpose. They had
been there for each other in the moment of truth. They had done
together what neither of them could have accomplished on their own.
They had avenged their parents’ murder. But it had been at a
Now the two brothers stood together for the first
time in over ten years, at that spot that was so familiar to them both
in Perez Park. They stood underneath the towering statue of a beautiful
woman, whose smooth marble form was reaching up to the sky as if she
were taking flight. For what had to have been hours, neither of them
said a word as they looked up at the massive tribute to their mother,
each trying desperately to lay to rest the torment they felt in their
hearts. After years of striving and preparation, they had accomplished
the one act that they thought would bring peace to their battered
souls. Now both of them seemed to be wordlessly asking the statue why
they could not grab hold of that peace they had fought so desperately
“She would be proud of us,” Wraith said,
finally breaking the silence. Myth could tell by the way his brother
spoke that it was both a question and a statement. He knew what his
brother was struggling with. Their mother had been a hero among heroes.
She had fought selflessly for the good of all those who loved and
cherished peace. She had risked pain and defeat time and time again to
defend those around her that could not defend themselves, and in the
end even given her life in such a cause.
While their mother’s life had been one of
sacrifice and selflessness, theirs on the other hand had been lives of
vengeance and disregard. They had spent their entire lives on an
all-consuming quest to gain enough strength to hand out their vengeance
and many people had suffered on account of their self-centered tactics.
“We have dealt justice. She would be proud of that,” Myth replied to his twin. But would she be proud of us? he asked himself. His only response was doubt.
“So tell me bro, why does it feel like justice
just isn’t enough?” Myth took a long moment of reflection
before he answered his brother.
“All our lives we have done what we felt we had to do for ourselves. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about what we should be doing… for others. It’s what she would have wanted,” Myth said tentatively to his sibling.
“I ain’t a hero, Myth, never have
been,” Wraith replied, and to Myth’s surprise the usual
abrasive edge had left his brother’s voice, replaced by the
faintest hint of regret. “I’ve got the skills and
I’ve got this nickel slick security clearance, but I ain’t
got it inside me to be one of them.”
Again Myth could sense what motivated his
brother’s doubts. Wraith had been an isolationist since he left
his brother and their mentor at the age of ten, to seek out his revenge
on his own. All things being equal, the two twins would have grown up
quite the same, with similar range and strength to their abilities. In
reality, however, their powers were quite diverse. While Myth could use
his skills as an empath to increase the metabolism and clarity of
thought of others, even trigger increases in adrenaline and bring
heroes out of unconscious states at will, Wraith’s powers were so
self-directed that he was in a permanent state of self-regeneration and
he could no more sense the minds and hearts of those around him than a
blind man could appreciate a painting.
It was not until Myth had spent time with his
brother on the battle field that he began to understand the cause of
the drastic differences between the two of them. The sense of isolation
and the overpowering drive of self preservation in Wraith's early years
had produced not only a psychological but a physiological variance
between the twins and driven his powers to an introverted state. Simply
put, Wraith’s self-centered perception of life was so ingrained
in his mind that it had turned him from an empath to regenerative
mutant. For such a person to lay down his own agenda and pick up the
role of a selfless hero was about the same as asking a fish to go for a
walk with you in the Sahara.
Still, Myth could sense the doubt in his brother and
even the faintest hint of a desire to be something that they both knew
he was not. The question was: was it possible for Wraith to undo his
mental reservations about sacrifice and service, reservations that had
been forged by anger and built on for more than a decade?
“If you have proven anything with your life,
Wraith, it is that if you want to change who and what you are, want it
bad enough, you can do it. We both can. We can become the men we should
have been had we not lost our family and our way. We can finally move
on with our lives and be the heroes we were born to be.” Myth did
not even know where those words had come from. They spilt out of him
from some recess of his mind that still hung to the hope that they
could be who and what their parents had died to give them the chance to
be. He could feel his words sinking into his brother’s heart so
he pressed on, letting what little part of his heart had not been
consumed in bitterness speak. “What was all of
this truly for, if not to give us a sense of freedom to move on with
our lives as the people we should have been?” Myth did not need
to be an empath to see the struggle that was going on inside his twin.
Wraith stared up at the engraved face of his mother
as if he expected her to answer in his place. The moments passed slowly
before he found the answer to the questions that were tearing at his
heart and mind.
“We were meant to be heroes so…,”
Wraith spoke with resolve and Myth finished the statement with equal
“…maybe we still can be.”
For the first time since before their day of tragedy almost eleven
years ago, Wraith flashed his brother the slightest hint of a smile.
“This ain’t gonna be easy, bro.
Can’t think of too many reputable heroes that will even associate
with the likes of me anymore.”
“Me neither, but we can change that. We can
make a new name for ourselves,” Myth replied with a sigh of
regret for the infamous reputation he had gained as the former leader
of The Dogs of War. Wraith nodded slowly, then with an aura of resolve,
walked over and slapped his brother on the shoulder.
“I have some things I need to take care of
before I go through this little mid-life crisis we got brewin’
here; some loose ends need to be tied up. I’ll track you down in
a week or two,” Wraith said as he turned to walk away.
“I can imagine. Take care of yourself, Wraith.”
“Always have,” Wraith replied pointedly.
And just like that, Myth was alone with his
thoughts and doubts about a future that was now looming before him.
No, not alone, he thought to himself. You have never been alone; there has always been one person you could turn to.
Myth needed direction and counsel right now and he
knew just who to go to. He closed his eyes and let his senses spread
through out the zone searching for any mental traces of an
Night’s Wind had always felt it was a sense of
self preservation that caused weaker villains to venture out at night
rather than during the day. He thought that in an attempt to make up
for what they lacked in strength they tried to use the darkness of
night to aid their stealth; it was moments like these, however, that
made him realize how wrong he was. Not all villains came out at night
due to an affinity for subterfuge and a desire for stealth; some did it
just because they were that stupid.
Wrapped in unnaturally deep shadows,
Night’s Wind stared down a dimly lit alleyway at a group of
Outcast. He noticed quickly that these particular mobs were not lethal
villains or even hardened thugs; they could barely even be considered
punks. They were making an obscene racket while blundering attempt
after attempt to pry open a reinforced garage door that led to the
warehouse section of one of the local drug stores.
Deciding to make this one quick and painless, for
himself at least, Night’s Wind wreathed a murky essence around
his body like shadowy cloak and he began to close the distance between
him and the unsuspecting Outcast punks. The shadows seemed to cling to
him as he moved down the alleyway and even when he passed under the
single street lamp that was between him and the rambunctious gang the
light could not reveal his presence.
The preoccupied Outcast never saw him coming. Not
even when they were hedged in an impenetrable darkness and calling out
in confusion, did they have a clue about what was in store for them.
Night’s Wind grinned to himself, concluding that not until these
thugs, which were falling unconscious at his lightest attacks, woke up
as guests of the Paragon Penal system would they figure out what hit
The entire conflict lasted only seconds.
Night’s Wind had cast a shadow over the inexperienced Outcast,
throwing them into confusion, before easily subduing them with a few
quick bursts of dark energy. By the time the unearthly shadows had
lifted, the Outcast’s unconscious forms were all that was left in
the alleyway. The veteran hero sat on top of the warehouse, patiently
waiting for Paragon’s finest to come collect what was left of
Night’s Wind had not sat there long when a
familiar form, dressed in the usual T-shirt and jeans came up from
behind him on the roof and sat down at his side.
“I had a feeling you were looking for me
Myth,” Night’s Wind said without looking up at his former
“That’s because I told your subconscious to be expecting me,” Myth said with a chuckle.
“Its good to see you again young man,”
Night’s Wind said in his usual rough, even, tone. “I heard
about your encounter with Bloodlust and about Valdien. I‘m sorry
Myth,” he continued sincerely.
“Yeah me too,” Myth replied; his face
darkened at the mention of the friend he had lost. A long uneasy
silence would have followed if the older, wiser hero had not spoken up.
“You finally accomplished the one thing you
have been pushing for since I have known you, and you even hooked back
up with your prodigal brother I hear. Things seem to have come full
circle for you.” There was no trace of either condescension or
approval in the aged hero’s voice, nothing but the usual clear
grasp of reality that Myth had depended on for so many years of his
life. “So what is next for The Dogs of War?”
“I removed myself as the leader,” Myth
said decidedly. “Desimus will lead them now… and hopefully
make some much needed changes.”
“It is probably for the best,”
Night’s Wind said as he nodded his understanding. “Then
what is next for you?”
“My brother and I want to make some changes as
well. We want to put the past behind us. We want to be heroes.”
At this, Night’s Wind's face broadened into a smile and a light
chuckle escaped his lips.
“You are heroes, Myth. Your methods have been
a bit crude, but your goals have always been true. It is your
motivations that separated you from other heroes,” Night’s
Wind said smoothly in an infectiously confident tone.
“Wraith does not think that the other heroes
would be to inclined to trust us given our reputations. I have to say I
kind of agree with him. Some of the things we have done do not exactly
sit well with some of the trainers,” Myth said rather dejectedly.
“Other heroes have avoided you in the past
because of your disregard for procedures and your recklessness, not
because of your agendas. You were driven by something they
instinctively try to avoid, revenge. Now that the need for vengeance is
no longer there, I think many of the changes you want in your life will
come quite naturally. It takes time and work to overcome a reputation
but I think that if you show others that you have a desire to walk a
straighter path, then they will be more receptive than you
think,” Night’s Wind explained, trying to put the
younger mutant’s fears at ease.
“You are probably right, but it just does not
seem like it will be that easy. I do not even know where to
Night’s Wind paused to give Myth a moment of
reflection as he heard the quiet hum of approaching teleport drones.
The odd Sputnik-looking police devices hovered around the corner and
into the alley where they dutifully began teleporting the still
unconscious Outcast to the nearest prison. Both heroes watched in
silence as the machines worked below them. When they had gone,
Night’s Wind spoke again.
“You know, I think your biggest problem is
that you are trying to think of what you can do to show others that you
want to change when most of the work that needs to be done is right in
here.” With those last words, Night’s Wind pointed at the
center of Myth’s chest. “Once you get that in shape, then
the outward actions will come naturally. All it takes is a desire to
“I have the desire,” Myth said with determination.
“I believe you do,” Night’s Wind
replied as he stood up to leave. “And since you have the desire
to change the knowledge of how to will come in its own time and way.
Just do one thing for me, Myth.”
“Anything,” Myth replied quickly.
“Get yourself a decent costume,”
Night’s Wind said, letting a tone of severe sarcasm slip into his
voice. “What kind of respectable hero runs around in a T-shirt
and jeans?” At this, both of the mutants let out a laugh.
“Here,” Night’s Wind continued as
he handed Myth a small business card. “This man will be able to
help you out.” Myth took the card with an appreciative nod and
slipped it into his pocket.
Night‘s Wind paused for a moment then spoke
his last words with more meaning than Myth had heard the old hero use
in many years. “Your parents would be proud of you, Myth, you and
your brother.” And with that he disappeared into the shadows of
Again Myth was left alone, but with more of a sense
of purpose than he had felt in days. He had a small task before him,
but it was better than nothing at all.
“A costume,” he laughed to himself. “What kind of costume would I wear?”
Myth had traced the address on the card to a shop in
the North West corner of Steel Canyon. He stood in front of the
store, staring up with uncertainty at the large sign over the door that
proclaimed, “Icon”. A thread of doubt still clung to his
mind about the whole costume thing, but it did not take much reasoning
for him to conclude that if he was going to be accepted as a hero, he
would have to look like one. Mustering his resolve, Myth marched
through the glass double doors and into the main lobby of the shop
where popular costume styles lined the walls of the spacious sales
After looking a few of them over, Myth searched the
room for someone that might be able to help him pick one out and
noticed a young girl sitting in an island in the middle of the room,
talking feverishly into a telephone. He could feel frustration and
anger flowing from the girl’s mind like a tide. Deciding that she
would be of no help to him at the moment, Myth picked out another Icon
employee to the rear of the store. It was a middle-aged man standing
tentatively behind a desk. Not unlike the sales girl, this man seemed
preoccupied and flustered too. Still, the emotional reflux the man was
exuding was not nearly as powerful as the young girl on the phone, so
Myth made his way toward him. He was standing practically right in
front of the prim-looking salesman before the man even noticed he was
“Excuse me, sir, but I need to get a
costume,” Myth said to the startled salesman, who eyed Myth up
and down for a moment before a smirk went across his face.
“I can see that,” the snide man replied in a fake French accent. Myth scowled back at him.
“Look, can you help me or not?” Myth asked coldly.
“As a matter of fact, I can’t.”
Myth could feel his frustration building inside him. “But perhaps
we can help each other, yes?” Taking Myth’s confused gaze
for a “yes”, the salesman went on without prompting.
“You see, I have a slight problem. Over the past couple of
months, these terrible Tsoo have been trying to cut in on my business.
They say that I must pay them for ‘protection’ from the
other gangs around here, and of course if I do not, then things will
not go so well for me here.” The flustered salesman threw his
hands up in frustration. “I simply can not do business like this.
It really is too much for me. Those villainous brutes are supposed to
be here in an hour and…”
The idea of helping this snippy little man was
sounding less and less appealing to Myth with every melodramatic word
the salesman threw at him. Not to mention the fact that Myth was a
defender and for him to go up against a Tsoo muscle squad was just
asking for a trip to the hospital.
Still… If you’re going to start acting like a hero, he thought to himself as the salesman ranted on, this is as good a place to start as any.
“Look, how about I deal with this Tsoo issue
of yours, and you see what you can do about getting me a
costume?” Myth cut in to the salesman’s tirade.
“Well, that’s what I have been saying
this whole time,” the salesman snapped, casting Myth a
condescending look that seemed to be telling the young hero
all-too-plainly that he needed to catch up with what was going on
around him. Myth just rolled his eyes.
“Is nothing in this city simple?” Myth
sighed to himself. From his vantage point on the roof of a building
adjacent to the Icon shop, Myth could see the Tsoo approaching through
the back alleys. Uneasiness settled over him when he began to pick out
each of the villain’s abilities by their mystic tattoos. There
were at least half a dozen Enforcers of various types, who Myth knew
from experience he could take easily if it were not for the two Ink Men
and the Sorcerer that accompanied them. Had it been just the Ink Men,
who could cast powerful spells of confusion, leaving their victims
helpless against the deadly Enforcers, or just the Sorcerer, who could
teleport himself quickly around a battlefield, restoring his fallen
comrades, then this whole conflict would be a walk in the park. As it
was, Myth knew that his chances of apprehending this group were slim.
A few weeks ago, Myth would have walked away from
these odds without a second thought. It was not a lack of courage that
gave him his moment of pause. The reality was that he was an empath who
was only truly effective when around other heroes. Myth’s ability
to heighten the mental awareness and physical abilities of others could
turn the weakest of heroes into a force to be reckoned with, but alone
and unaided his own weaknesses could easily be exploited.
Myth shook his head, chasing the concerns from his
mind. There could be no room for doubt if he was going to do this, and
he had made up his mind that he would. He had to prove to himself even
if no one else could see it yet that he was willing to sacrifice his
own well being if it meant peace for others.
The group of deadly Tsoo approached the wall of the
building that Myth was standing on top of and passed beneath him
without casting so much as a glance in his direction. Even though he
was not strong enough to attack their minds directly, Myth had enough
mental strength to miss-direct their attention away from him. In fact,
even if he had been standing down in the alleyway next to the Tsoo,
they would have passed him by without the slightest recognition.
Give them everything you have got; give them Hell, Myth told himself as he began to focus his mind for the upcoming conflict. And unless you want to spend the rest of your day in the nearest hospital, give it to them fast.
With that, Myth leapt from the roof and landed
noiselessly in the alleyway behind the Tsoo. A mass of dark energy
welled up in the mutant’s hand, so dense it seemed to absorb the
light around it. Focusing on the Sorcerer at the rear of the group,
Myth sent a sensation of impending danger straight into the
villain’s mind. The mental assault hit its target with the
strength of a physical blow, and the Sorcerer, responding on instinct,
disappeared in a flash of light, teleporting to what his mind told him
would be a safe distance from the imagined danger. The other Tsoo spun
about to see the lone hero standing close to where their leader had
been just a second before, but they had no time to react. Myth had
already let loose his bundle of dark energy into the center of the mob.
Shadowy energy burst out with mind numbing force, completely
disorienting the Tsoo.
Myth did not even have to look to know the Sorcerer
was behind him now. He had expected after his initial mental assault
that the Tsoo healer would teleport to the back of the alleyway to try
to divert their attacker’s attention in two different directions.
The Sorcerer did not notice the darkness that
already seemed to be welling up from the ground beneath him. Before he
had any chance of aiding his companions, Myth tore a rift to the dark
dimension at the Sorcerer’s feet. Murky tentacles snaked up from
the ground and wrapped around the Sorcerer’s body, squeezing with
incredible force. Unable to focus through the pain, the Sorcerer could
not teleport away from the crushing hold of the tentacles that held
With their leader out of the way for now, Myth
turned back to the still-dazed mob and let a relentless barrage of dark
energy loose on the closest Ink Man. It only took a moment to take out
the first of the mesmerizers, but to Myth’s dismay, by the time
he turned his attention to the second Ink Man, some of the Enforcers
were stumbling to their feet and shaking themselves from their daze.
Myth knew he did not have much time. If he did not
take this Ink Man out soon the Enforcers would be all over him; on top
of that, the Sorcerer would not be held forever. Blast after blast of
energy leapt from Myth’s outstretched hands, slamming into the
helpless Ink Man.
A blur of motion to Myth’s side caught his
attention and he ducked just in time to avoid catching the business end
of a katana in his neck. Instinctively, Myth let loose a blast of
negative energy into the chest of the Enforcer at point blank range.
The draining effects of the blow left the Tsoo gasping for air and
stumbling into some of his still-confused companions.
Myth quickly turned his attention back to the Ink
Man, ready to knock him unconscious with one final blast. To his
surprise and confusion, however, the Ink Man was not crumpled against
the alley wall but on his feet and ready to fight. Myth had just enough
time to see the Sorcerer standing behind the refreshed Ink Man before a
ripple of mystic energy sprung from the mesmerizer’s finger tips.
Myth leapt backwards, trying to avoid the attack, but he was too
late. The blow sent his mind reeling. The world went into a blur
and his body went limp.
Myth stumbled backwards in a daze, trying to put
some space between himself and his attackers, but to no avail. A blow
struck the hero in the face with agonizing strength, sending him
tumbling into a stack of trash cans. His mind numbly registered hit
after hit landing on his prostrate body.
Get on your feet!
Myth screamed to himself. He managed to drag himself out of the
horrible daze just in time to see a kama swing down toward his face.
Myth instinctively let loose a blast of a dark energy at the weapon,
sending it spiraling into the air, and causing the Enforcer that had
been wielding the weapon to jump back and cradle his numbed hand. Myth
was on his feet instantly and, after breaking free from the mob, bolted
down the alley and around the corner in a desperate attempt to put some
distance between himself and the Tsoo before the Ink Man could cast yet
another spell on him. Myth barely had enough time to catch his breath
before the Sorcerer appeared in front of him in a flash of light.
Take him out!
Myth’s mind roared to his body. The Sorcerer let loose a
devastating blast of mystic energy. Myth side-stepped the attack and,
centering himself, he leveled both of his fists at the Sorcerer and
lashed out with a relentless volley of negative energy. Each blow
knocked the Tsoo leader back a step until he was pinned between a wall
and Myth’s relentless assault. Finally, after a series of
draining attacks, the Sorcerer collapsed to the ground.
There was little time for Myth to recover, because
no sooner had he finished taking down the Sorcerer, than the rest of
the gang came crashing around the corner, Hell-bent on revenging their
defeated leader. Myth was on the move in an instant, running down the
alleyway. He launched sporadic attacks back at the Tsoo, mostly
directed at the Ink Man, but given the speed at which he was
retreating, few blasts actually hit their target.
I will never take these guys down like this, Myth told himself, mustering his resolve. Time to stop running.
He quickly dodged around the corner of another
building and held his position. He took a brief second to focus and
clear his mind before drawing a mass of dark energy into each of his
The gang of Tsoo rounded the corner at full sprint,
Ink Man in the lead. Myth let loose on them with everything he had. The
Ink Man took the first massive blow squarely in the chest and collapsed
to the ground.
With their leaders out of the way, the rest of the
disheartened gang fell easily under the hero’s assault. In less
than a minute, the unconscious bodies of the remaining Enforcers
littered the alleyway.
Myth stood over the fallen Tsoo, struggling to
recover from the ordeal. He had been shaken by the fight in a way that
he had never experienced before. Something had triggered in his mind
during the conflict. It was a sense of responsibility, a sense of
concern. In all reality, he never should have won that fight; the odds
were stacked against him and the circumstances were all wrong. Yet he
had won, or more specifically he had not let himself lose. For the
first time in his life he had cared that his actions had an effect on
something greater than just himself.
Myth wiped a trail of blood from his lips and used
his mind to send his body into a temporary state of accelerated
regeneration. Once Myth felt the pain from his wounds disappearing, he
left the alley with a sigh of relief and made his way back to the
By the time he stepped in the front doors of Icon,
the only traces of Myth’s confrontation were a couple rips and
spots of blood on his T-shirt. His mental healing abilities had
completely erased all of the cuts and bruises he had suffered.
Walking confidently up to the salesman, who still
stood nervously at the rear of the store, Myth pulled a kama that he
had taken from one of the fallen Tsoo out of his belt and tossed it on
the counter. “That is all that is left of your Tsoo
The salesman’s bundle of nerves seemed to snap
when he saw the weapon and he said, “Oh, what a dreadful thing.
Get it out of here; I abhor violence you know.”
“Only when it’s directed at you, it
seems,” Myth noted. “You did not have any trouble sending
me out there to cause a little violence when it suited your cause. Now
we had a deal, where is my suit?”
“Yes, quite right,” the salesman
replied, frowning deeply at Myth’s critique. “It’s
all done, of course. I put together a rather simple but striking outfit
based on the information I got from you earlier,” the salesman
said and led Myth to a dressing room.
“Information? I did not leave any
information,” Myth said, curiously wondering if maybe he had been
hit in the head a little harder than he had thought.
“Oh nonsense,” the salesman replied,
flashing a knowing grin. “You do not think that you are the only
telepath on the planet, do you? I am not as strong as you, of course,
but I get by. One look at a customer’s body and mind;
that’s all I need.” As he said the last words, the salesman
opened the door to the dressing room and Myth saw that inside, on a
mannequin roughly the same size and build as his own body, hung a white
costume with faded gray highlights and emblems. It was relatively
plain, with a mask that covered the upper portion of the face, leaving
the nose and jaw exposed, and a belt designed more for looks than
“Now the fabric is, of course, much tougher
than your current apparel. The colors should match you quite nicely,
and the star on the chest, as I am sure you can guess, is symbol of
myths and legends and that sort of thing. So it will match your name as
well.” In fact, Myth would not have guessed it but now that the
salesman had explained it, the idea appealed to him. “Anyway, try
it on and tell me what you think.”
Once Myth had changed, he stood in front of the full
body mirror and was quite surprised at what he saw. He no longer looked
like a street wanderer and a brawler; he looked like a hero. He had not
expected to get a costume so quickly, especially not one that fit his
body and personality so perfectly. He had never been one to care about
his appearances enough to do anything more than make sure he wore clean
T-shirts,but as he looked in the mirror, an old cliché came to
mind about how the ‘suit makes them man’. Myth still did
not believe such things, but he had to admit to himself that the outfit
did make a huge change in his presence. He had only worn it for a few
seconds and already it felt like he had owned it for his entire life.
It was a small step to take in his attempt to reform
his life style, but to Myth it felt like he emerged from the Icon shop
a new person, reborn.
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