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Midnighter will arrive soon. I just need to bang out all the kinks I put in the first version after I wrote it in a sleep-addled haze.
<Snipped quote by DocTachyon>

You didn't really need to rush.

The price I pay for not reading the OOC as thoroughly as I should.
Mad rushed Vig/Ghost Rider post up so I can slide on in just in time for the event.

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Something Wicked This Way Comes
”Strings - Part Three” to come soon, True Believers!
Warpath, Texas

”How’s the news treatin ya?” Vig asked. Jonah Hex sat with his feet up on the porch of the Crossroads Saloon, L-Pad in hand. For an old world cowboy, he’d caught on to the new technology quick. He didn’t much prefer it to newspapers, but those had stopped coming a long time ago.

“That Punisher boy in New York just blew through the last o’ the Italians, n’ the Spider lady took out some rough n’ tough goons. Usual. No word from Frank or the others.” Hex said.

Vigilante nodded slow and pulled his hat off his head. He ran a hand through his sweat slicked hair. The sun was high in the sky, he and Hex and just spent the last six hours using horse teams to drag in old car husks from the nearest junkyard to bolster the outer lines. Gunn was down by the Town Square, trying to teach the townsfolk what he could about gunplay.

Much like The Crossroads, Vig reckoned that Warpath was damn near impossible to kill. Three years real-time with only Gunn and and handful of other gunslingers to protect it and the town held out like it was the Alamo. In Hell, it was impossible to defend a single location. If you tried to lock down any one spot, the demons would be itchin’ to bumrush you before you could proper take your boots off. Maybe it had something to do with the magic of the spot. Or maybe Gunn was a better sharpshooter than anyone realized.

”Well, they better git back soon. More and more Fatboys coming to knock every day. Saw three or four fixin’ to breach while you were just readin’.” Vig said. Fatboys were entities of plague. Demons wearing human skin, gone turgid with puss and disease. They were low level scum, but usually packs of Fatboys meant somethin’ a whole lot bigger and meaner was around the corner.

Hex gave a slow nod and set the L-Pad down on the porch railing. He leaned back into his rocker.

“Yknow boy, there’s some things you never consider missing. Like that lucky ol’ sun.” Jonah Hex’s eyes lingered on the sky, following the clouds. Vig joined him, gazing up into the great blue expanse. There was a kind of possibility there. Here was a place of infinite rolling plains, giving way to the heavens themselves, dominated only by the great yellow jewel of the universe. Maybe that was why the monsters clawed their way to the surface. To gaze unto it and wonder where it all went wrong.

”Mhm. First time in a long time we got somethin’ to protect.” Vig said. He leaned on the railing and stretched his arms, willing the ache in his shoulders to go away. The voices had quieted, now. They usually did around this time of day. Vig figured it was something about the sky, maybe they were the souls of the damned and the light let them reminisce about what they had instead of screaming about what they lost.

Way on the edge of the horizon, there was a brief wisp of light. Almost like a shooting star in the day, a little blue-silver trail almost blotted out by the blue of the sky. Just on the edge of human register, if you were looking.

“HIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!” It was like a bomb had gone off in his brain. Souls sreeched across his mind, vomiting blood and sin and fear into every crevice of his head, bellowing out for retribution in one voice. Greg dropped to his knees and spasmed, choking on the air.

“Greg?” Hex stumbled to his feet and vaulted the railing. A shaky hand reached for him, while blackness swallowed Vigilante’s consciousness.

”Hex?” Vigilante’s voice felt small in his throat. The darkness closed around his vision, and all that was left was the fiery head of death itself.

“The bringer of the end calls, Greg Saunders. A being more powerful than any mortal can imagine trembles on the edge of our being. The Herald alone drags trillions of wailing souls behind him. Destruction of untold magnitude lies in his wake. Vengeance Must Be Done.”

To Jonah Hex, Vigilante had stopped moving. The Cowboy lay flat across the ground, eyes rolled back into his head. He was lost in some kind of sleep. Or maybe the Good Lord had come from on high and struck ‘im down for bargaining with The Devil.

Hex was on his knee, shaking the boy. They’d come too far to have this be the end. Fallen dead in the street of a brain aneurysm while hellspawn waited just outside the perimeter to slaughter countless innocents. Hex pressed the back of his hand to Vig’s head, looking for any sign of life. He was hot. Too hot, boiling. Hex grunted and pulled his hand away, rubbing the back of it.

Vigilante’s flesh began to drift away from him in chunks, floating into the air before dissolving in an orange light. It revealed stark white bone underneath, that blazed with unholy fire. Hex drew to his feet. His hand went to his pistol.

Skeletal fingers shot out of his friend’s body and locked around his wrist. His flesh burned and he screamed, trying to yank his gun from its holster. A skeleton pulled itself from the hunk of flesh. The last bits of Vigilante’s skin and sinew clung to the bones and the monster’s tattered clothes. The skeleton’s other hand came around and snagged Jonah Hex under the chin, hoisting him into the sky.

“Everyone. Central City. Now. The words gurgled from the skeleton’s jaw. An inferno broiled in its eyesockets, it seemed to stare into Hex’s very soul. It dropped the old man in a pile of dust and turned on its heel. It made for Vigilante’s bike, The Silver.

Hex fumbled for his gun. He snatched it out of the sands and drew it to his eye. He pulled back the hammer and fired. The round entered the skeleton’s shoulder blade and exited out the front; it didn’t flinch. Long finger bones caressed the bike’s fuel tank and a shade spread over the bike, enveloping it in a dark metal. Wicked edges and lines of bone grew from the bike’s chassis as the skeleton sat astride it. The beast wrapped it’s hands around the handle and fire flashed across it.

The engine didn’t rev as much as it howled. A cacophony of souls begged for blood, bellowing from the engine. The rider shot out of Warpath, leaving a trail of hellfire in his wake as he headed for Central City.
I liked Incredibles 2 fine but it felt much more like a popcorn film than the first. The first one actually explored complex emotions and had its characters change in interesting ways, but this was one was just... Bleh.
I think it makes more sense to drop that tier thing and keep the base stat restriction.
It seems a little silly to have a Base Stat Total restriction AND make it so that we can only have 1 Pokemon per tier...
@Hound55Nah, Mephisto's long conning Vig to go after the Trident. But that's probably next season.
Work was actually busy today so I didn't get to work on a post almost at all. Doing so now, but I hate it so far, so if I don't get to polish it much tomorrow the Enforcers fight might not get posted until next week.

Just do what I do and post it as soon as it's done.

”The Ranchero of Miracle Mesa” - Strings: Part Two

“The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.”



“You are my vessel.”

Greg Saunders couldn’t make sense of the world before him. It was a mess of color, images bled into one another until it was an amalgamation of nothing at all. The one thing he could make sense of was the air around him. It somehow had a waxy, burnt quality to it -- he could feel waves of heat rippling off from the nonsense.

Greg flopped on the ground, trying to gulp in as much of the thin air as he could, closing his eyes shut and hoping whatever this was would end. He felt a searing hand close around his neck.

His eyes opened to a figure out of the madness that swirled through his vision. It was a stark white skull, streaked with calcification and wreathed in fire. The hand closed around his neck was made of thin, spindly bone. The bone creaked and Greg dropped, slamming into the familiar feeling of brimstone.

“Guh-” Greg felt a boot on his chest, forcing out what little was left in his lungs. Above him was a ghastly rider. He was wrapped in leather and hellfire. The skeleton cocked its head, considering him. Greg pushed at the boots. They refused to budge. The skeleton cackled.

“You try so hard to resist. You feel me at the edge, rotting your defenses.” The skeleton drew closer. Greg could feel its head flames licking his face.

“It’s only been days since we’ve been together, but you are already losing. Mephisto rallies his forces. Soon, you’ll have to let me out.” The skeleton’s smile was a perverse thing. The bone drew itself back, sending a crack spidering up past its jawline in a hollow imitation of the gesture.

Warpath, Texas

Greg was soaked in sweat, near naked and on the floor. The dim neon of his clock read “2:33 AM”. He groaned and pushed himself to his knees, trying to raise himself back into the warmth of his sheets. It’d been like this the past few nights. Countless Advils and tylenols to try and drown the voices and the headaches so he could get some sleep. Every time he closed his eyes he was back there, swimming in demons while a skeleton laughed at him. It made him look forward to the back breaking defense work in the morning with Hex.

The Kid and Stripsey had left a few days ago to seek out their old SHIELD contacts to try and accrue some aid; Shining Knight was still convinced that his horse was alive out there, somewhere, and Crimson Avenger tagged along so he wouldn’t get himself killed. Frankenstein had gone off in search of some old occultist friends of his, if they were still alive. That left Greg and Jonah Hex to make what defenses they could for Warpath.

In Hell, the game had mostly been about dumping as much firepower into demons as possible, until they stopped moving, or just outrunning the things. Warpath had neither the luxury of extreme firepower or of mobility. Over the past few days, Greg and Hex set to erecting makeshift frisian horses and digging trenches around the town’s edge. They’d also been trying to get as much Holy Water as possible, but the town’s one Priest who hadn’t split could only work so fast. At least by Billy Gunn’s reckoning the attacks had slowed since the start, but he had a feeling the demons sensed the presence of the town’s new defenders and were marshalling their forces. They’d come in force, and soon.

Greg rubbed the sleep out of his eyes and stared at the wooden ceiling. His eyes followed the gentle curves and cracks in the wood, trying to distract himself from the voices. They were quieter at night, evidently sated by the dominion they held over his dreams. Every other moment they were crying to be let out, attempting to wrest control of his mind and his body. God knows who or what they’d exact their “vengeance” upon. Hopefully he’d never have to find out. All he could do now was close his eyes and surrender himself to the lull of his nightmares…

New York City, New York --- The Offices of Ramon J. Solomano

The office’s intricate tilework had been sledgehammered away to reveal the subflooring. Now there was a pentagrammic rune there, carved in with a small pile of now broken combat knives in lieu of access to a proper cutting tool. The only light in the room was from the Moon, high in the sky, projecting a shaft of light onto the circle and the two figures that stood around it.

Big Caesar wrung his hands at the far end of the circle, his back to Solomano’s desk. On his belt was a wicked, curved knife, with humming red runes beveled into it. Across from Caesar was Solomano, The Hand himself. He held a leathery black tome in one hand, while the other showed his scar to the pentagram.

“I nommus Otsihpem.” The Hand cast the book aside, verbal portion of the ritual done, and snapped at Big Caesar for the knife. The goon complied and the knife sailed through the air. It caught above the center of the pentagram, and the runes upon it changed shade to blue. The humming grew higher in pitch. The knife moved closer to Solomano’s hands as his scar changed its hue, pulsing with the blue.

He snatched it out of the air with his scarred hand and sliced down on the other. His blood dribbled onto the edge of the circle. The Hand made slow revolutions around it, allowing his blood to pour onto every part of the circle. That done, he threw the knife inside. The blood around the circle began to dance, like crimson waveforms, revolving around the circle’s edge.

“I tnaw ot ekam a laed.” He said. The blood began to vibrate down the lines of the pentagram, moving towards the center and spiraling up into the sky to meet the knife. The blood pulsed to the beat of the knife’s song, gradually forming around it into a necrotic, red torso. The knife’s runes pitch-shifted back to a deep scarlet, as the rhythm sped up. The room itself seemed to vibrate to the hymn, as the blood coagulated into the form of a man.

He was both there and not, a hollow representation of some greater monster. He stood easily eight feet tall, with horns spiraling off his head and down his back. Blood continually dropped or shook off his form and then shuddered back to the center, coming to refill the holes that exposed his empty interior.

”Who summons me?” The creature’s voice was unreal, each word seemed to trail off into the whispered screams of lost souls, and sent vibrations through the blood that formed its body.

“The Hand calls for aid.” Solomano showed his mark to the creature. Its blood lips drew back to reveal the black nothing inside.

”What do you require? And what do you offer?”

“I need powered Enforcers. My people need to fight back against the metahuman scourge. In return…” Solomano swallowed, “I offer my mortal soul.”

Somehow the monster’s smile drew back further, the edge of its ‘lips’ going up past its cheekbones.

”Exxxcellent… But I have a… Counter offer. Come inside the circle, Roman Solomano.”

Solomano stared into the creatures empty eyes. His jaw hung open. He looked to Big Caesar for guidance, but he was just as locked on the monster. This wasn’t supposed to happen. All the scripts said that the caster should never enter the circle. But he felt compelled. His legs were moving before his brain told them to. Every atom in his body quivered as he crossed the line, slicking his shoes with blood. His organs shuddered in their cages of flesh and bone. Solomano could feel his own sacrificed blood drip onto him as the creature towered over him.

”I take your soul… But, you can get it back. I suspect a Vigilante in Texas has something of mine. Just one, little, trident. Get it for me… And your soul is yours again.”

Solomano felt both of his hands rising, slowly, towards the Demon lord. A clawed hand came out to touch each digit on every word:

”Just, one, soldier, for, each, finger, on, your, little, hands.” He said. ”Do you accept?”

Solomano nodded slowly.

”Excellent. Sign.” The creature's blood claws snapped to Solomano’s wrist, turning the mobster’s inner forearm to himself. The creature reached into its own chest, blood pushing past blood, and producing the ritual knife. He forced it into Solomano’s hand.

Solomano bit his shirt with his mouth. It didn’t make his screams any quieter.

When the deed was done, the words “THE HAND” bled anew from Solomano’s forearm.

The creature gave one last smile before all the light left the knife and the rune. All at once the blood lost form and fell in a thick sheet, covering Solomano’s face and clothes. He clutched his new scar and hissed. He turned to Big Caesar, his face locked in a sneer.

“Bring me the fucking Dummy.”
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