”The truce demands I cannot lay a finger on you… but that doesn’t mean I have to save you from the results of your own power.”
Patriarch stood still now, people rushing by him to get out of their refuge. One however stopped short and bowed low to the villain.
“Heavenly Father! I knew you would not forsake us in Your holy house!” It was the same priest that had given Judah such a hard time before.
Patriarch’s mask prevented anyone from seeing his expression, but his tone sounded like an irritated man trying to hold back his contempt. ”Rise my son, and tend to your flock. This danger shall pass in time, and when it does return to this place and continue to spread my word. For now, save yourself.”
Unexpectedly, none other than Patriarch made his entrance. Even being preoccupied, Judah managed to glare through the chaos at the villain. Then Judah pulled the pin on one of his flashbangs and released the thought into his allies, Flashbang!
Even Axel knew the sound of the pin when he heard it. He covered his ears and shut his eyes as it went off. BANG!
The majority of mob stumbled and fell to the ground, yelling in surprise. Judah stood up and struck one who didn't on the side of his neck. He was knocked out instantly. Judah turned and glared at Patriarch. Then he asked with venom in his voice, ”Have you come to confess your sins?”
His hand hovered over his sidearm. Almost begging
Patriarch to make a move. The rules they abided by prevented their confrontation. And Judah hated
Healer covered her head as the flashbang went off then watched as Patriarch arrived. After Judah questioned him she added on, ”We would be here all day..”
Axel growled at the masked man still shook up by the flashbang.
The mob started to stir and crawl toward the exit. They groaned in pain. This was not a fight they could win. Those that decided to continue were quickly stomped out by Whip, though not for long as the sight of the big bad himself prompted for Fran to come back out into the world in Whip’s place.”I… don’t even know how I should feel about you anymore, you… you…”
Fran’s voice was shaky at best, as if she was trying to hold back tears from looking at the very man she saw as a father figure mere weeks ago. This was a man that would’ve, at a moment’s notice, ended the life of another parahuman after revealing his true name and persona to the world. How could she respect someone like that anymore…?Hey, Fran, keep your eyes on the prize. He’s here to mess with us, don’t listen to him.”That’s way easier said than done, Farce.”
Fran responded out loud, though nobody else could hear what she had heard. She shook her head quickly to wipe the negativity out of her mind before looking directly at Patriarch and addressing him with a cold tone. ”Why’re you here, anyway, ‘Father’?”
As soon as Judah pulled out his flashbang, Patriarch took to covering his ears and averting his eyes. The weapon may have been used to disperse the crowd, but it could still have an undesirable effect on himself from a distance. Once the grenade went off, he observed the remaining mob rushing out. Some wandered in a stupor, but he paid them little attention.
The leader of all crime in Denver was about to answer Judah’s question, but his attention was stolen by the sudden appearance of Francine Chambers, his precious Limbo, in the place of Judah’s own partner. ”So you are a shifter, then. How very vile, taking the form of the dead to mock me. But if you wish to be my daughter so badly… I could grant that wish.”
He held out his hand menacingly, but pulled it back before making due on his implied threat.”I am here for the same reason as you all: To save my people from harm. This is my city, after all. They are my family. I desire nothing more than to ensure everyone is safe.”
There was sincerity in his voice, something they could hear even through the voice modulator. He approached them, slowly, non-threateningly, hands up. ”I have the best information network in all Denver. You’d be foolish to deny my help. Shake on it?”
He offered his hand to the nearest of the group, Healer, who hesitated but agreed. No sooner had she gripped Patriarch’s hand did her body language and tone immediately change. ”Of course we’ll help you, Father.”
Farce came back out and ran directly towards Healer, making sure to keep her distance from Patriarch. ”No! Healer, don’t do it!”
Farce was fairly sure she knew how Patriarch’s power worked, and touching the dirty crime boss was the biggest mistake that Healer could make.
As soon as the handshake was complete, Farce stopped approaching and simply stood back near Judah. ”... Judah, don’t shake that hand. I’m pretty sure Healer’s lost.”
Judah stepped forward as Healer went to shake hands, interjecting, ”Wait, don-”
Patriarch was too quick. Something changed in Genevieve's eyes. Her wariness became an affection
for the crime lord. With Judah's power, he felt a change in her emotional state.
Axel called out in distress to his former ally and family as he sensed a change in her demeanor. Judah gritted his teeth and held back tears. Here was someone who had helped save his life on two separate occasions. They had seen hell together, and walked through it. Now she was slave to a madman's will.
He donned his balaclava and replied, ”Gaia. Please save her.”
Then, Mantis turned his attention to the one responsible for it all. The death, the pain, the horrible suffering. Faces flashed through Mantis’ head; Zach, Dunn, Gaia, Samantha, Alison and finally Genevieve. Their lives had all been turned upside down since they encountered The Community. It was time to end this.
Mantis could hold back the pain no longer. He shouted a battlecry with all the air his lungs had within them and charged Patriarch. Tidal waves of rage swelled and crashed over Healer and the villain. Then Mantis faked a strike to Patriarch's face and went for a low kick with his combat boot. ”DON’T HURT HIM!”
cried out Healer as she placed herself between Judah and Patriarch, rage swelling through her. The low kick struck her instead and she winced, but jumped straight for Judah with her hands exposed, intent on unleashing her collected wounds and injuries on the man. Patriarch held back somehow, failing to engage but he was clearly visibly shaking in anger. Judah’s power definitely affected him, but not to the degree it had affected others thanks to the rule of thumb that masters had an easier time resisting other masters’ influence.”You’ll regret that, shitstain!”
Without hesitation Patriarch produced a gun, a small pistol, from his jacket pocket and pointed directly at Judah.”I can’t let you do that!”
Farce said as she slung her own kick right towards Healer, knocking her into a pew before Farce drew her own magnum and held it in her hands. ”Stay out of this, Healer! We don’t want to have to fight you!”
Mantis ducked as Patriarch drew his pistol. Healer was knocked aside by Farce, giving him an opening. Mantis kept his head low and sidestepped while grasping the weapon. After getting a firm hold, he would headbutt Patriarch in the face.
The pistol went off, a bullet narrowly missing Mantis right by the ear. The sharp ringing of tinnitus, now familiar to Judah, taking hold. His headbutt connected, smashing right into Patriarch’s mask and knocking the villain back. Reflexively he let go of the gun which dropped to the floor, along with shards of his mask. The face of Patriarch finally came into view: the face of the man born as Dominque Douglas. ”Die!”
What his dialogue lacked in originality, his body made up for in the sheer aggression of his assault. After all, he only had to successfully land one blow on Judah to win, no matter how light. He threw himself at his opponent like a wild animal.
As did Healer, who scrambled back up to her feet and rushed towards Farce, looking to impose as much damage onto Farce as she could. She threw her arm out towards Farce, who only nearly dodged by ducking down, finding herself to be replaced by another one of her personas, Whipstitch. She swept Healer’s legs out from under her and stood back up from the ground, staring at the rewired hero and watching her closely. ”You deserve every second of this since you sided with that asswipe.”
Whip let out a nasty glare before spitting on Healer, stepping a few feet back so she couldn’t just swipe and get anything in.
Mantis got a sick sense of satisfaction from breaking Patriarch's mask. Underneath Patriarch’s calm, collected persona, there was a raging madman dying to be free. Despite this, his threat level was still extremely high. If any part of Mantis’ flesh made contact with the unmasked villain, it would all be over. Fortunately he was covered from head to toe in his uniform; gloves, boots, balaclava, pants, and long sleeves. Patriarch would have to get past them if he were to manifest his power.
Mantis’ ear rang loudly from the gunshot, affecting his equilibrium. Trying to maintain his balance proved more difficult. Despite this, he attempted a spartan kick to Patriarch's midsection to create some distance between them. Mantis only needed a few feet to draw his weapon and put Patriarch down for good.
As it turned out, sticking out his leg to be exposed like that wasn’t the best course of action. Patriarch wildly swung his cane, the outermost layer flying off to reveal a hidden blade beneath. The cane-sheathe rolled along the ground in Mantis’ footing while Patriarch slashed the vigilante’s leg along the side of the calf. A dirty trick, a nasty sneak attack, but it worked well to slice open both pant and leg flesh. Still, Mantis’ boot made contact with Patriarch’s chest and shoved him back. Unfortunately the loss of power from the sudden cut meant he didn’t go down, and only renewed his vigor, charging straight for the injured would-be-hero blade first.
Mantis grunted in pain from the slash, his leg bled profusely. Even still, he kept a cool head, deciding to forgo drawing his sidearm for something more immediate. As the blade made its way toward Mantis’ torso, he turned to the side slightly and allowed the blade to pierce into his kevlar. Then he gripped the sword with one gloved hand and took hold of the cane hilt with the other. He imparted the impression, DROP IT!
in conjunction with feelings of terror toward the supervillain. Then Mantis pushed the hilt toward Patriarch and attempted to wrench it out of his hand with the twist of his hips in the opposite direction. Much like a rubber band.
Over on the other side of the cathedral, Healer hadn't managed herself quite well against Whipstitch as the two fought. Healer had been unable to strike Whip’s bare skin and found herself getting noticeably hurt through the entire fight, with a broken nose and busted lip being the two most substantial injuries she had sustained so far. Though, Whip’s lead wouldn’t stay for long as the ex-parahuman started to get cocky.”That’s right, fail to my will like the piglet you are. Do i-”
In the moment of cockiness, Whip felt bare skin touch her face as the injuries that Healer had sustained thus far were transferred, causing the ex to clutch her side and face in anguish.”He’s here to help! Can’t you see that fighting it is futile?!”
Healer explained to deaf ears as Farce reemerged once again, immediately drawing her gun, though it flew out of her hands as Healer kicked it from the air. ”I won’t let you harm my father!”
Healer shouted, running forwards to push Farce to the floor, though stopping once Farce had ducked behind a pew of the cathedral. Things weren’t going to be so easy from that point forward.
Mantis proved to be a far faster, stronger combatant than Patriarch even without the use of his powers creating some emotional instability. He immediately dropped the weapon as the command wormed its way into his brain, unnerved but not nearly as terrified as he should be. Instead of falling back he pressed forward, a knife sliding out from his sleeve as he pressed it through Mantis’ kevlar. The tricky, dirty sneak attack penetrated the armor, but only stabbed about half an inch into the vigilante’s chest, still far too shallow to reach his heart. But it didn’t feel too good either.
Patriarch had a bag full of tricks, stabbing Mantis through his armor. Fortunately it didn't go very deep. Mantis growled in pain, but did not retreat. His enemy was right where he wanted him. Rage swelled through and all around his body. He struck Dominique in the face with the blunt end of the cane. Then Mantis took the cane sword in both hands and raised it overhead. He shouted out in a frenzied rage and cut downwards at Patriarch's neck. He didn't intend to strike twice.
Farce felt a shock in her stomach as she backed up to the wall, feeling that kick from Healer fairly well as it shook her to her core. More and more, she kept feeling the flurry and slogs of punches from Healer, each one stinging a little more than the last. If it was gonna keep up, then Healer would no doubt knock Farce out, and if that happened…Come on, Farce! Show this bitch who’s really under your heel!
Farce heard Whip in her head, being herself. Though, she wasn’t sure if it was just Whip being herself or Whip actually being encouraging.I’m with Whip. You can do it, Farce!
Farce found herself pushing against the wall as she heard Fran speak up in her head, feeling one more strong punch smash into her cheek. As the next punch was thrown by Healer, Farce’s hand came up to block it and hold it steadily in front of her head, coming to bring her own fist up to crack it against Healer’s chest, pushing her back a little.”You throw a good punch, Healer,”
Farce commented, wiping the blood away from her busted lip. She was fairly sure she had lost a tooth during that ordeal, but just as Healer was getting back up, Farce tore the sleeves off her shirt and held them over her fingers.”But I’m not gonna let you change who I am.”
Healer darted forward, right into Farce who threw a wicked punch right into her eye. She couldn’t transfer any wounds, either, since Farce tore her sleeves off to use them as a buffer between her skin and Healer’s face.
Patriarch saw it coming, but wasn’t fast enough to move out of the way. He brought his arms up to stop it to no avail. The blade slashed through the fabric of his costume protecting his neck, then into his neck flesh itself. Blood began to spurt out as his heart pumped the precious life fluid out of the severed vessels and onto the floor. He collapsed himself, clutching at his wound, unable to speak beyond a sickening gagging sound.”FATHER!”
Healer cried out, rage and anguish taking over her actions. Fueled by pure emotion, she clutched for Farce’s exposed skin in a pounce that would take the woman down to the ground.
Mantis watched as Patriarch bled on the floor. The supervillain was finished by his own weapon. He turned toward Farce and Healer who were still in the thick of it. Mantis tried to make it over in time, but his leg and chest wounds slowed him down. He released the impression toward Healer to cease while yelling out, ”GENEVIEVE STOP!”
That's when Axel leaped up and bit Genevieve's leg, knocking her aside. He ripped apart her pant leg and backed up before she had the chance to use her ability. Healer cried out in pain. She was bleeding from multiple places, and her “father” lay dying nearby. She whimpered in pain. Then she reached out and touched his bare flesh. As the wounds from the supervillain started to transfer onto her, the sound of shoes patting against the brick floor could be heard audibly...”NOPE!”
Farce darted forward before Healer had made much progress, delivering a full on kick right to the side of Healer’s head. The ex-Hero was tossed to the side and laid limp, knocked out completely. Farce stood looking at her, breathing incredibly hard as she shifted her glance to Patriarch.”I-It… it’s over…”
But it wasn’t. Nearby, gagging on his own blood, Patriarch overrode any sense of safety and self preservation, reaching his hand into his inside jacket pocket…
As the bloodied ‘Excaliblast’ finally walked into the area of the cathedral, having mopped up a bit more of the “mess”, she seemed to stop in her tracks and look at the scene before her. Her eyes considered the Lethal Force members, especially Farce and Mantis, before coming to rest on the bleeding man on the floor: Patriarch.
Without a word, the girl pointed her right wrist at the bleeding Patriarch, whilst her own left hand clutched the wound on her right side. Three blades flew out of it, each one aimed at a specific point. To Patriarch’s legs was dealt a long blade that pierced them together and remained stuck in them. The next was a blade that flew by and severed off the man’s wrist, the very one attached to the hand he was reaching into his jacket pocket with, and laid a great gash across his chest. Then the third and final blade flew straight and true...only to pierce through the man’s private parts and up into his lower torso. A blow that would perhaps make even the mightiest of men close their legs unconsciously, and feel the phantom pains of an obliterated nutsack.
Mantis quickly glanced to see none other then Excaliblast pierce their foe. He smiled under his balaclava thinking, I knew we hadn't seen the last of her.
Patriarch was “officially” subdued. Mantis turned and stared down at him with daggers in his eyes. ”You aren't worthy of dying by my hand. You deserve a dog's death…”
Then he turned his back on Patriarch. Mantis glanced at Axel and commanded, ”Sick him.”
Axel immediately pounced on the incapacitated villain. The hound gripped Patriarch's throat between his powerful jaws. Axel tore it apart, growling viciously. Patriarch gurgled in agony as his blood splattered over the beautiful Cathedral floor.
At the same time, Mantis casually limped over to the sheath of the cane sword in his hand. He didn’t bother to look behind him. As if it was beneath him to give the dying villain the time of day. Mantis picked it up and resheathed the weapon. Then he pounded the floor with the end of it, making an echo throughout the sanctuary. Axel released the dead supervillain and trotted over to his master. Blood covered the hound’s mouth.
Mantis lowered his mask and began speaking with an air of relief, ”I'm glad you decided to help us, Allison. We didn't end on good terms and I wasn't sure if I would be next after him.””...You came very close to being second, Mantis,”
Allison said in response to the now maskless man, her initial hostility somewhat apparent for a moment before she let out a long, drawn out sigh and continued to speak afterwards in a somewhat more casual and relaxed tone (circumstances notwithstanding), ”I ran into a horde of goons coming this way to help blast you all to pieces, and who decided that MB’s attack on my college and exposing me wasn’t enough ‘punishment’ already.
I did, however, clean them up...somehow. You’re welcome.”
The college student then looked over to Farce, before silently walking over and pulling the female into a hug. No words, just...glad to see a decent person alive perhaps.
In the mauling, Patriarch’s body had been moved around like a limp rag doll, in the process revealing the villain’s hand. What he had reached for he still held firmly despite death. Blood had stained a plain white envelope.
Farce hugged back, smiling a little, before she stepped over to the envelope and grabbed it. Within seconds, she tore the small paper envelope open to read its contents. She placed a hand on her head as it started to ache with dull pain, something she wasn’t used to originally…Don’t you dare read that!
Farce’s eyes widened as she realized what had happened. ”D-did you guys hear that…?”