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College beginning Aug. 20th, replies might slow down.
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Won't be able to reply at all Jan 2nd through Jan 8th, going down to Texas to help rebuild.
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Two Days Prior

Bang! The bullet slammed against the back wall, the noise echoing mockingly in the makeshift shooting range Eli had made. "Fuck." Eli glared at the pristine target down range, a dozen or more shots scattering along the wall behind it. He was supposed to be ready to take on whatever was so important that it killed Hex, and he couldn't even hit an immobile target. He'd been at this for most of the day already, preparing for a fight. Or so he thought. Right now it looked like he was planning a comedy routine so that this 'Reality Bringer' could laugh to death. He scowled and took aim again, focusing on the target. He was just rusty,that's all it was. Twenty years of not firing a weapon or getting in a fight would do that too you. Just a few more shots and he'd be back to his old self. Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Eli emptied his clip taking what he thought were carefully aimed shots. All but one crashed into the back wall the cacophony of noise ridiculing him as the target swayed gently back and forth, a small hole on the very edge.

Alright. That was enough.

Eli slammed the pistol down as his right arm began to writhe and shift with squelching and cracking noises as it changed to what he needed it to be. The stupid fucking sign wanted to make fun of him? He'd give it something to laugh at. He pulled back and threw his arm forward like a pitcher in a baseball stadium. Sharp claws had formed on the end of his fingers and his arm extended forward at a breakneck pace. Eli thinned and shortened as he used his own body to extend his arm the necessary distance. He put out his free hand to balance himself against the table as he began to lose the muscles to keep standing without aid, eyes narrowed in focus. His claws tore through the target with a satisfying ripping noise. Eli gave a small smirk in satisfaction. I was just a little rusty. That's a- His smug thoughts were interrupted as the pain hit him. Eli gasped in surprise as his body burned, everything screaming out against the stress he was putting it through. He yanked his arm back, gritting his teeth as the pain redoubled. He stumbled backwards as his arm slammed back into its normal shape and he fell to one knee, breathing heavily and shaking.

He'd become an old man. Twenty, thirty years ago that wouldn't have even made him break a sweat. Hell, that long ago he wouldn't have even needed to practice. He would have just marched over to this Special Agent and demanded what she knew so he could go gut the bastards for threatening the world and through it him. After collecting a pretty penny from someone, of course. Now he couldn't even hit a paper target or use a basic attack without missing or his body failing him. Well, what had he expected? That after moping and hiding for twenty years his body would just maintain its fighting shape as it always had? Ridiculous.

Eli pulled himself to standing with a groan of pain. Everything ached, but at least it wasn't burning anymore. He rolled his shoulders and frowned as his right one ground to a painful stop. Had he not....? He moved it a couple more times, his scowl deepening. He hadn't put it back together right. He was an old man. "For fucks sake." He closed his eyes and focused for a moment. His shoulder cracked loudly as the bone broke and reset itself and he winced.

He gave a sigh as he went and picked up his pistol. This was as good as he was gonna get. Might as well head to the coordinates now. He'd be early, since he knew Cedar Fort fairly well from his mercenary days, but that'd give him a chance to scope out whoever was waiting for them and who answered the call.

Present time

He no longer knew Cedar Fort.

In the twenty years he'd been gone, the city had drastically changed and he no longer knew it well enough to find his way in a timely manner. Because of course it had changed. Cities do that. Just chalk it up to something else he'd allowed himself to let slip in his old age. He'd spent the past day and a half just trying to orientate himself to the coordinates, rather than scoping the area out and getting the jump on anyone that appeared like he'd planned. The city was even more massive than it had been twenty years ago, with the same breathtaking beauty and poverty that had always classified it. Only now things were even worse. He had accidentally wandered into the defunct subway systems and the desperate people down there thought he would be an easy mark. An old man with some guns? They could take him and sell the valuables.

The smart ones ran away after he killed and absorbed the first two. The rest met the same fate. The police were likely already in the pocket of the wealthy few, so he wasn't surprised to find the rats scurrying in the dark. He was surprised that they were allowed to dig in so much rather than being beaten out by the cops. Maybe they'd gotten soft in the decades he'd been gone.

Eli finally made it to the meeting place, the two cars and voices indicating that he was late. "So much for getting the jump on people." He muttered, pulling his battle rifle out. He didn't bother with generating his costume. He couldn't make the armor useful on a large scale anymore, and anyone who answered this all already knew who he was. His trial had been massively public after all and his identity was readily available to anyone who bothered to do a quick search.

So Eli walked into the small light of the campfire, and quickly took a glance around. He was mostly disheartened. There was that Avant-Garde. Some freak that made his paintings come to life, a murderer who claimed to be fighting for the people against the corporations. He'd only become active after Eli had gone underground, so they'd never fought, but what little information Eli had of him wasn't impressive. It wasn't that he was a murderer, Eli himself was. It was that he tried to pretend he was a hero at the same time he committed acts of terrorism. The hypocrisy was palatable. Next was someone in black glowing armor and face tattoos. His face was vaguely familiar, but Eli had no recollection of working against or with him. A nobody then. Useless.

Eli's paused briefly on The Tower. That was someone he recognized personally. Their exchanges had been brief, as it was towards the end of Eli's career, but at least it was someone who he knew could handle themselves. Young and headstrong though, still a kid. Not someone to rely too much on. Didn't he have a partner he always worked with? Some girl? No matter. She, if he was even remembering the right person, wasn't here.

It was with great relief that Eli noted Stardust. Finally, someone he knew was experienced. A goody-two shoes like Hex, maybe, but he knew from personal experience that she could put up a hell of a fight and that she had enough experience not to crack under pressure. They had fought many times, as he was usually on the side of the corporations she was trying to bring to justice, but they could put that behind them for the Reality Bringer. He hoped.

"So this is all that answered your call? An old man twenty years retired, A terrorist dressing himself as a hero, a nobody who likes shiny black armor, an old woman who hasn't super heroed for almost as long as I have, and a young kid whose more robot than man at this point?" He snorted. "This is gonna be a short revenge/save the world mission isn't it?"

He nodded at Stardust. "Nice to see a reliable face."

"So, Reynolds. Aside from the fact that Hex is dead and a sob story, what do you have for us?"
"Oh yeah, thanks for reminding me, I was just gonna sit here and hope that no one snuck up on us while we were incredibly vulnerable. Because, you know, I'm an idiot. " Andrea muttered, safely assured Maria couldn't hear her, checking the surrounding space for the umpteenth time. She settled into a pattern of checking the ship's systems every few scans of the surrounding area, just to make sure nothing else broke when they weren't looking. There was nothing for her to do now except hope that the mouthy little greaseball in the depths of the ship was able to fix their engines in a timely manner. And hope that he didn't make any other 'improvements' while he was down there. She wouldn't put it past him, using this disaster to try and 'make the ship better' when she couldn't do anything to stop him from violating the Lux anymore than he already had. She rubbed the coin around her neck, hoping that its luck hadn't run out yet.

Andrea jumped slightly when Maria spoke suddenly, the pilot having missed her captain's arrival as she focused on her scans. "Give me one moment, and I'll have your answer." She brought up the navigation, whistling quietly to herself. "We got about of the quarter of the way there. We could still get there, only a little after we're supposed to drop off our deliveries, if the plumber down stairs can't find enough straws to fix our problem, but it wouldn't be pretty. And of course, that depends on if we're left completely alone for the duration of the trip. Which, given that we're going to be going into Glao space, is extremely unlikely. We'd be covered in pirates like flies on shit."

She shrugged. "Of course, we've got a Judge with us so we can just shove him in the frontline and either he'll die or they will. A win win, as far as I can see."
Took me a little over a week, but I got him written up.

Inviting @Amaranth @Rtron @He Who Walks Behind.

Thanks for the invite, but I just started University and won't have the time for a while. Once I get time and if you guys are still accepting I'll hop aboard.
Andrea snorted at the first mate's remark. "Still floating, more like. Some jack ass probably tried to blow up the ship again. You'd think they'd have given up by now and just stormed the ship to gun us all down." She checked the systems and scanners again, hiding her anxiety behind busyness. She spoke up, speaking as much to herself as he was to Kevej. "We're gonna be fine. Ansgar can't speak worth a damn but he knows his way around ships." She glanced quickly at the Naka. "Don't tell him I said that." It wouldn't do to have the ugly little goblin crowing about any compliments he begrudgingly got from her.

She gave a small sigh as Kevej reported that they didn't have any company, even though it only slightly eased her worry. "Well, that's a relief. No piracy for us to deal with today." They couldn't run from a transport ship right now, much less a pirate ship that's designed for speedy hit and runs. If pirates or, even worse, the people who sabotaged the ship did show up they'd just have to pray that the bastards didn't just blast the Lux out of space and pick over the remains like vultures.

She gave a quick nod as the captain's voice crackled over the comms. At least they didn't have any injuries to deal with. Not that she would have been heartbroken to hear that their dear passenger had been injured in the explosion, but injuries were messy and costly. They couldn't afford to waste bandages and stitches on the likes of the Judge and she would be the only one in favor of just letting him bleed out on the floor.

The pilot was going through her third, completely unnecessary, check of everything when their eloquent engineer decided to speak up. She visibly bristled at the thrown insults and tone, her finger practically stabbing into the comms button to reply. "Oh, you mean that split that has slowed us down so much we almost got shot out of the sky five times over, plumber? You're lucky I'm so good at 'fiddling' with the flight stick otherwise we wouldn't be able to have this conversation! Let me know when you've shoved enough bendy straws into the fuel lines to get us up and running again. Or would you rather preen yourself on something that's only worked in your favor once so far some more?" She cut off the comms and continued her check, muttering to herself in irritation. "Who does that little shit think he is? Telling me off for something that slowed us down and only saved him this one time because he didn't do his check as soon as he should have. God damned mouthy little grease troll...."
Hugon's eyes snapped towards the curtain as it began to move by itself, his hand instinctively going towards his dagger. The hair on the back of his neck began to stand up as he heard the rings of the curtains scrapping against the rod. Something awful was coming, he could sense it. He watched the servant approach the curtain, waving the man forward. Hugon's dagger was ripped out of its sheathe as the servant suddenly fell to his knees and wailed, a sound reminiscent of the screams of the dying but somehow so much worse than any Hugon had heard in his long years of violence and war. What is out there? More importantly, what is coming? Hugon thought, tightening his grip on his dagger. Maker how he wished he had his axe and his armor, but those were both carefully stored away in the manor. He had assumed that even with how bad the surrounding area was, the darkness hadn't crept fully into the town yet. That it was relatively safe for him to let his guard down in. Now it looked like he was going to pay for that foolish assumption.

Hugon carefully began to move to check on the screaming man as the orc servant panicked and attempted to run. The door was jammed by some foul magic, Hugon could hear the desperate struggles as he drew near towards the other man. When the orc began howling as well, the paladin turned around in time to see the light in the room be snuffed out, and a creature straight out of the depths of hell enter the room. The hideous screaming of the servants suddenly ceased, and the silence that followed was thick and oppressing.

Terror raged through Hugon as all the symbols of the Maker on the walls of the room fell to the ground, destroyed. He had been afraid before. When his brother was destroying the village, during battle against the orcs, hunting rogue mages, charging into the lines of heretics during the crusade, but he had never felt pure primal terror like this before. Everything in his being told him to flee this place. Flee this town, this area, this entire country before that vile thing came any closer. But he could not. He had made a promise to Lord Lochborne, and if he abandoned his promise now, not only would he be a wretched coward but what happened in Yolocto would happen here. It took all of his might, but he managed to keep the terror from his face. He wouldn't give this creature the satisfaction of seeing his fear on his face.

As the monster leaned towards him, his palms began to burn with an old pain.

He didn't hear what the creature said to the others, too focused on standing his ground to bother paying attention to what lies it was spewing. Faith was his corner stone, and he would not lose it. The Maker provided, even in dark times such as these. He glanced down at the servant at his feet. The man was dead, that much was obvious. The paladin doubted that the orc had survived this ordeal either. Hugon's eyes widened as he saw his own mutilated corpse swaying in the noose. Then he gritted his teeth. He would not let the creature get the best of him. He would not. As the monster finished his prophecy, Hugon's free hand reached up and clutched the symbol of the maker around his neck. Courage. The Maker provided. He would not be bested by such a horror.

"Begone, demon!" Hugon forced strength into his voice, making himself look the blackened skull. He would not let fear control him, or this damned monster have its way. Righteous fury welled within, giving him strength to speak past his fear. "We may not be the chosen, but we are the ones who will succeed! We will fight our way through these cursed lands, we will cut down the monstrosity that hangs over this city, and we will send you back to hell! The Maker wills it, and it will be done! Begone! You cannot turn us away from our path!"

For all of her bravado and cutting remarks, Andrea respected Ansgar as a mechanic. As asinine as he could be, he knew what he was talking about and wasn't prone to crying wolf. Which was why she cut back on the throttle as soon as his yelled warning came through the comms. The ship shuddered to a stop a half second before an explosion rocked it. She clung to her chair as the Lux shuddered and groaned under the impact of the explosion, and hoped that this wasn't the straw that would break the camels back and kill the ship for good. As everything calmed down and they were all still alive, she turned her attention to checking the rest of the ship's systems and her thoughts turned to what could have caused such an explosion. Andrea's first instinct was sabotage. Ansgar would've already said he was fixing it if something critical had given out in the Lux (something that had happened more times than Andrea would like to admit).

Andrea was finishing quickly checking over the ship's systems as Teg made her way out of the area. The pilot gave the mercenary a half-distracted wave just to indicate that she had be, mostly, listening. Andrea breathed a sigh of relief as she saw that none of the other essential parts of the ship had given out under the stress of the explosion and leaned back in her seat, looking over her collection of figurines to make sure that they hadn't been knocked loose, or worse, stolen by that damned cat again when she wasn't looking.

Reassured that her prized figurines were still in place, she leaned forward and activated the comms for the entire ship. She didn't know where Ansgar was and also needed to make a general check of hands anyways. "Everyone still in one piece? Groan in agony if you're dying. Ansgar, what the fuck happened down there, and how soon can we get back up and running? I don't wanna try to fly all the way to Glao space with only half an engine to putt us along." She was already getting nervous as it was. Damaged ships like this were prime targets for piracy, and she didn't fancy their chances if the wrong types of people happened to fly by.

Leaning back she rubbed the coin on her necklace again, muttering to herself, "Never should've taken on that Judge. He's a fucking curse."

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