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The Basement Shudders

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Zombies everywhere. Abracadaver. Mingzhu. He should have run, shouldn't he? He should be afraid. But he wasn't. He didn't feel any fear like this. Part of him was worried.


The rest didn't care.


As everyone bore down upon him, he felt something inside. A darkness, a hunger. The part of him that was the Terror? Something else?


It didn't matter at all right now. He let it out.


Slamming his free hand into the ground, he let it all out. Solid Shadows poured out around, slashing and tearing at everything near him. Hit after hit rained down on the zombies, on Mingzhu, on Abracadaver, sending them flying back.


The zombies were torn to pieces, unable to rise on their own power. Mingzhu and Abracadaver were knocked down, away. Only he stood.


The perfect time to get away? Probably. Rebellion didn't care. He wasn't afraid. He never was.


Once more, he slammed his fist into the ground, waves of shadows exploding from his fist once more, into the room.

Edited by RocketLord
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Your shadows fill the warehouse and all the zombies on the warehouse floor are torn to pieces, their bodies still as soft and easily broken as any human body. Abracadaver and Mingzhu fare better, though Abracadaver is thrown, sailing through the air, until he crashes against the warehouse's wall. The iron support buckles and concrete dust rain down to settle on Abracadaver's clothes. Again, your shadows lash out but Abracadaver beats them back, the shadows slicing off fistfuls of flesh. It does not do much to hinder the magician.


Then when an opening presents itself, he disappears in a puff of black, foul smelling, smoke only to reappear on top of an industrial shelf behind you.


He says nothing as he looks down at you. His face is a mess of wounds and scoured off flesh, the bone beneath exposed haphazardly. His clothes are torn to shreds, exposing the patchwork skin underneath. He bares his teeth and black smoke oozes out from his fists.


From the metal doors, zombies continue to stream out from the basement. Mingzhu stands up and assumes a fighting stance herself.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Can't keep up the trick with the shadows. Too strange, too new. Didn't even know he could do that before the moment of desperation.


They're all getting up. More zombies, Mingzhu keeping her distance, Abracadaver teleporting away. Whatever else Mingzhu might be able to do, Abracadaver controlled the zombies. He had to be the first to be taken down, no matter what. He could teleport, which meant he could at least try to keep up if Rebellion ran.


Melee, then. Up and away from the zombies. Shapeshifting his body, drawing the shadows back into himself, Rebellion ran and leapt, soaring up and land in front of Abracadaver. A quick, careless punch followed. He doubted it would hit, but it could at least keep Abracadaver on his toes.

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Abracadaver deftly sidesteps away from your punch and quickly teleports to another set of shelves fifty feet away. As soon as he appears, he slings bolts of dark energy but they fly wildly. The two of you stand there, above the warehouse floor, and here the night clouds shift just enough to illuminate both you and Abracadaver. Dust motes float through the shafts of light, settling down as the both of you ready your powers.


Then your shadows unfurl once again and this time Abracadaver's magic lances out from his hands to meet the shadow tendrils, blotting out the moonlight in their wake. They are columns of black magic, an unearthly shimmer to their forms, and they multiply. More shoot out from Abracadaver's figure, arcing around the warehouse to slam against your shadows from all sides. From your sides, from your back, from underneath you and above you Abracadaver's power pushes yours in. Only the space between you and Abracadaver is clear.


"Ignorant fool that you are!" Abracadaver, his body now shimmering with his own magic, levitates in the air. A shaft of moonlight streams from the warehouse windows, shining behind him, and his shadow is cast large against you. "You wield power you do not understand."


He shivers as if a chill runs down his spine. "I can taste your magic. It drives gods and men to madness. It comes from beyond, whispering secrets not meant for mortal ears."


Below you, more zombies gather around your shelf but they do not climb, even if you know they are capable of doing so. They stand still when they arrive below you, watching your battle with dead eyes.


"I will enjoy cutting you open."

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Abracadaver was powerful. Too powerful. Reacting by pure instinct, Rebellion lashed out, shadows striking out against the magic, matching it, pushing back slightly. How was he even doing this? He could change shape. He could channel that to strengthen himself. He was smart, he saw things, he could scare everyone in his path. He couldn't create shadows that struck his enemies. Not until now, at least.


He focused, he had to control it, somehow. Watching, waiting, seeing everything that Abracadaver was doing, pushing back against the magic strikes. He had to stop it. Had to push it back. Ignore whatever nonsense Abracadaver was shouting about. 


Madness? Secrets not meant for mortal ears?


Doesn't matter. Push back. Dark tendrils of shadows pushing out, away, against everything around him. No need to listen.

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Ever slowly, the balance of the two powers shifts in your favor. You feel Abracadaver's push weaken, a subtle thing at first, but then your shadows push farther, barely contained by the magic. They thrash against the dark lances and for a brief moment you see the whites in Abracadaver's eyes as his eyes widen in shock.


Then the lances of magic break like glass, a shriek cutting through the night air, and your shadows lash out around the warehouse as if suddenly let loose. Abracadaver is slammed by several of your tendrils and he is sent flying, crashing through the warehouse's walls. He keeps on going, leaving behind an ugly hole in the concrete wall. Cool air seeps through the hole, mist from the late hour.


The zombies around your shelf are shredded to pieces much like their brethren before. The zombies farther away have been touched by your shadows as well, but not nearly enough to stop them. Yet as one, they fall limp like puppets to the ground, their strings cut. They form a trail of bodies from the basement entrance and though they are now unmoving, you still remember how much stronger and vicious they were compared to any normal human or predator.


The seconds tick by in silence but you hear no morbid boast, no howl of rage, or the gnashing of cut teeth. There are no rats or stray dogs to bother the stillness that had fallen on the warehouse and so you stand atop the warehouse shelves, the only being left alive and moving.


 What do you do?

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Like a switch was turned off, all the remaining zombies fell down the moment Abracadaver was smashed through the walls. The shadows had been too much for him. He might be in pain, he might be dead.


Rebellion didn't feel like bothering to find out. Of course Abracadaver had to be alive, or whatever he was.


Standing straight up, he looked around. He had to get out of there now. He had the book, he had the hard drive. Most importantly, he had information. Mingzhu could be gone, or finding reinforcements. Part of him wanted to find her, but he had to get the things away, to a safe location. 


There had to be some way out of here. Either a window to smash through, or the path that he had entered through. He would pick the fastest choice.

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Nothing stops you as you make your exit in the darkness, through the bodies that lay around you and back the way you came and through the shutter gate. It slides open, rattling noisily, but nothing stirs. Then it is as simple matter to turn invisible, blend among the dark sky and empty buildings, and take flight, carrying the spoils you had taken from your enemies. The warehouse recedes into the city and soon the industrial port of the Riverfront gives way to the markets of the Cannery. They are empty at this late hour, though you see the occasional figure or car.


It is not until you climb the Cannery Rotunda that you stop and finally take stock of your bearings. The world brightens as clouds drift from the moon. You have your information. Your mission is accomplished, your enemies humiliated, and though the night is done there is still many lingering questions.


The answers are there for your taking. The conspiracy begins to unveil, but now aware of your presence.


And they wait. And they begin to act.



The Riverfront, Emerald City, Oregon

Saturday, April 25, 2020


01:21:00 AM




Gravel crunches as Mingzhu steps forward, a cigarette perched between her fingers. Looking down, she takes a puff and the cigarette's fire briefly illuminates her face. Coffin lies against a wall in a heap, bricks turned rubble and dust resting on his too-still form. There is no indication that he knows she is there, much less that he is conscious, but she knows the magician still lives in unlife. Through smell, she had been witness to Coffin's battle after all even as she had slipped into the basement, knew everything about the powers that effused through the warehouse.


There was no mistaking the similarities between their current experiments, of the Terror, and the intruder. It was an interesting problem that had been laid on her lap, one that would no doubt make Koschei or his colleagues want a more direct role in this project. She would not mind. If Koschei's involvement meant this project would go faster then all the better. There was too many problems on her plate to be bothered by a lone wolf with an axe to grind.


She would wash her hands off this mess. But for now, she would act the courteous colleague.


<Wan, return Coffin to his lab. Make him comfortable for when he wakes.>


With a flick of her wrist, her one remaining bodyguard hurries forward and begins to drag the undead magician by the feet, the head bouncing ever so often on the pavement.


She turns away from the sorry sight and raises a phone to her ears, a memorized number on dial. It begins to ring and she looks up towards the east. A broken pearl rests on her ring finger, fragments shaken loose, and in turn she smiles, satisfied.




Emerald City

June 28, 2020


Two months pass. What does Rebellion do in the intervening time?

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Rebellion had hidden the book and harddrive the only semi-safe place he knew: His personal room at the Elder Manor. Sure, others might have access, but he had secret places in there... and now that he had some solid evidence like this, he realized that he really needed some kind of hideout. Not that he had the time right now.


Time passed. The book was difficult. He knew about Emerald City's supernatural community. He had found it a few times, he had tried to go there and, well, he was not a part of it. Not that he attempted to be. Anyone there could be working with Abracadaver, Mingzhu or the conspiracy. Anyone there could have helped create the Terror in the first place. He tried to understand the book, and it made little sense. Maybe some of the notes helped. He tried to visit shops and places that could help, anything to help him cross reference things in the book, without seeking it out directly. That wouldn't work. He couldn't let anyone know what he had.


The harddisk was a different beast altogether. Rebellion knew about computers. He could hook it up. Try to get past its defenses. If the conspiracy had any sense of security, it would be protected, after all. He only looked into it while completely offline. Never hooked it up to an online device, only used a burner laptop. Nothing that could be traced to him.


Two months was a long time. He didn't just do research all this time. He had information in his hand, more than he ever had before. He had to know more. Had to learn all that he could.

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Northern Shore, Emerald City, Oregon

Friday, June 03, 2020


01:30:00 AM


Two months and change have passed since you had escaped from the basement filled with the unliving, clutching the harddrive and black tome as spoils of war. They were yours, holding secrets that called to you to unlock, and that is exactly what you did.


The harddrive was easier to crack, its security just a step above the run-of-the-mill one would find in the market. Right then, custom programs spring up, loaded to the brim with measurements and simulations. Trying to wrap your head around them all is like a high schooler looking into a doctorate's dissertation on astrophysics. You do not understand the specifics, but with hard work the gist becomes clearer to understand.


It is what? Disparate elements and magical thought kitbashed into creating what you suspect to be another Terror-figure. Yet, it all felt incomplete, as if you had a fraction of a code but could not see the rest. It was chance perhaps that had you overlay a diagram against a map of Emerald City in the morning, and you saw the pattern for what it was.


A pentagram. The Riverfront warehouse only represented one point in the symbol, but there were others too that could be traced to each side and each point. They filled the spaces and the lines in between. Emerald City was their canvas and you had with you a map. Of what you would find, nothing could be deciphered.


The black tome was harder. If the harddrive's contents was like a high schooler trying to comprehend a dissertation, then this was a treatise written not for the layman or a board of panelists to understand, but by a master for masters. It was a spellbook of some sort, that was apparent. It spoke of dark dimensions and the preternatural entities inhabiting them. It also hinted at the power wielded by those able to tap into these dimensions.


The text was tempting, a drug for the mind instead of one for the body. And with every sentence gleaned and insight discovered, a dozen more would unravel in front of you, enticing you to take one more step deeper into the knowledge hidden beneath.




But for all your tenacity and metahuman physiology, you are still mortal and mortals need to rest.


So you find yourself lying down in your bed, in your room, in your home, a blanket of darkness over your room. Tomorrow is Independence Day and your sister has come home to celebrate with her family. You hear your father will too, but only for the day itself and not one hour longer.


What would those you hunt be doing then? Do they celebrate like normal people or shall they be hidden within the pentagram, laboring tirelessly to see their creation born?


From your window, you hear a sharp crack.

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  • 2 weeks later...



All of it was almost too much to process, even over the process of months. Dark spells, darker designs, plans to create another Terror, another monster to stalk the night. Was one not enough? Did they really need two at once? Or had something happened to the Terror that had visited Elliot? 


Elliot dove into the files and books, he was caught. This was more than he had ever found before, the greatest breakthrough yet. He wandered through days at the academy. Rebellion was barely seen during this time. His family rarely saw him, even when he returned. 


Independence Day was coming up. His father would be home for once. Elliot didn't care much, he had more important things to do.




Elaine was coming home. That was something. He hadn't seen her for way too long.


Elliot was brought out of his studies by the sound from the window. He looked towards it, then finally stood up and approached, looking out for what could have caused the noise.

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Two glowing white eyes from underneath a hood greets you.


The figure perches on a ledge right by your window. Dressed in rags, its face hidden in shadows. Dark miasma rises like steam from its form, obscuring its features even more in the darkness of the night. The wind howls, leaves blowing in the air outside your room, and a nearby tree branch raps against your window. Again, the sharp crack.


The figure notices you, turning its glowing eyes to regard you as mere inches and a pane of glass separate the both of you. Slowly, it drags its hand against the window pane and plants its palm against the glass. Sickly, yellow skin and dark fingernails. You see those clearly as thin cracks on the glass begin to web out from its palm.


But before you can do anything, you hear a scream. It resonates through  the Elder Mansion, echoing against the empty walls. Mortal and terrified, she screams again as if to ward off evil, as if her life and her children's' lives depended on it.


Your mother screams and the being beyond the window pane considers you with glowing eyes.

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The Terror.


Elliot froze on the spot. The Terror was here. Staring straight at him, dressed in rags. It had taken over some other poor soul, and now it was here, watching him. It seemed like time slowed down. Just the glass between them. The yellow-ish skin pressed against the glass, it started to slowly crack as it pushed. He stumbled back, towards his bed. He needed his mask. He had to put on the mask. Elliot scrambled to find it, quickly grabbing it in his hand. He is really to pull the black mask on. Put on the mask, use his powers...


And then his mother screams.


Elliot's blood froze. The Terror was right here, in front of him. The thing that had killed his aunt, but... what if it was not alone?


His mother was part of the conspiracy. He knew that. It didn't matter. He had to go to her. 


The black bandana mask still in his hand, Elliot glared at the Terror on last time, then raced out of his room and down the stairs towards the direction of his mother's scream.

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The Terror watches as you run from your room, through the empty corridors of your family mansion. Glass shatters behind you.


The wind blows heavily against the windows, howling as you race down the main staircase set in the middle of the hall. Thunder rumbles and for one moment the whole hall is emblazoned in a mad kaleidoscope of colors. The stained glass back lit with lightning. Past the many vases and statues, artfully picked by an interior designer, that line one of the corridors from the main hall you hear faint footsteps ahead of you. Running, just like you.


You turn the corner and you see the door to your mother's study ajar. Faint light streams from the doorway. Voices are raised, the words muffled by the growing storm outside. You hear your mother wail. Your sister's voice, pitched high. You burst into the lighted room but respite does not greet you.


In the far side of the darkened two-storied room, past the twin walls shelved in bookcases and the exquisitely fine fur rug, past the ottomans around a coffee table and fine china set, tea still steaming, there sits your mother's heavy oak work desk. A female body lies on that table, lit by a lamp. The body lies still, face down against the tabletop, and slumped down. Her arm hangs limp over the table.


"Elliot?" You hear your Elaine's voice whisper a few feet to the side as you enter the doorway. "Is that you?"


The room is dark and her face is covered in shadows, but even then you can hear the fear tremble her voice She shakes her head and raises an arm as if to stop you from going any further. Only your sister is here. You have yet to see your mother, but perhaps she is hidden beneath the shadows.


Even from where you stand, you can see the broken window behind your mother's desk. Stretching from ceiling to floor, broken shards hang from it and the wind howls, blowing detritus and leaves inside. The air is cold and wet in the study all the more.

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Elliot stopped abruptly. Bandana mask cluthed in his hand, nothing but a piece of black cloth to the eyes of anyone else, his first instinct is to quickly push it into his pocket.


What had just happened finally began to catch up to him. The Terror had shattered the glass... his evidence was probably long gone now. He had taken backup of the hard drive, of course, but even then... he should have thought. He shouldn't have run like this. His mother was part of the conspiracy. Why should he care that she screamed?


Why shouldn't he? What was most important?


"What's going on?" he asked out into the room, to his sister, while his eyes stayed firmly. "How... who is that?" Someone had thrown a body through the windows? The Terror? Was this all a distraction?

Edited by RocketLord
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"I don't know." Elaine shakes her head at your question about the body lying on the desk. She licks her lips, nervous. "Just stay calm, alright? Mom's i--."


Her voice hitches up. She moves towards the light switch near the doorway, arm outstretched to grope for it. She keeps her eyes on the other side of the room as if looking at something hidden within the shadows. Finally, Elaine finds her voice. "Mom's in trouble, Elliot, and I'm not sure we can do anything about it but. Stay. Calm."


Before she finds the light switch, lightning flashes against the window, throwing the whole room into stark relief for that one instant and you see your mother behind her desk. She faces away from you into the broken glass. A figure wrapped in ragged clothes looms over her. White, glowing eyes peer at your mother. Dark miasma rises from it, as if it were steaming against the cold and wet of the room.


Yellow, desiccated fingers wrap around your mother's throat and The Terror lifts her as if she weighed nothing. You hear your mother choke, gasp for air. Her hands claw at The Terror's arm, desperate to get away.


Then thunder rumbles and the lightning fades, the scene swallowed up by darkness again. Your sister whimpers then flicks the light switch, throwing the room back into the light.


You hear your sister exhale slowly as she sees the scene before the both of you.


"I don't know what you want," she yells at The Terror, impotent with your mother at its mercy. "But you aren't getting it like this. Let her go and we'll talk! We'll make a deal! "

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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Talk? A deal? The Terror didn't make deals. The Terror didn't talk with anyone. It just destroyed.


Put on the mask. Reveal himself to his mother and sister. Fight the Terror. 


That's the right thing to do, right? Save his mother... and yet, he couldn't. Elliot was utterly paralyzed. Unmoving, What could he do? What should he do? 


His grip on the mask in his hand tightened. 


"L-let her go!"


Remain calm? He couldn't remain calm.


What the hellh had his mom done to get the Terror sent for her?

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The Terror faces you and your sister. It stretches its arm to the side, hefting your mother higher for all to see. For a heartbeat, the three of you stand still. The only movement in the study is your mother's struggle. She whimpers coarsely as she catches scraps of air.


Then lightning strikes again, setting the room ablaze with light. The lightning shakes the Terror into motion, and as if she were no heavier than a doll, it tosses your mother over the study's desk. She lands with a crunch and lays there, cradling her arm. Thunder rumbles and the Terror turns and climbs out of the broken window. In a few moments, it vanishes, dark miasma fading into the dark of night.




Your sister rushes to your mother's side. Worry is in Elaine's eyes as she looks over your mother for injuries. After a few moments, it seems that your mother got off lightly, no permanent harm done save for the scare The Terror had given her and brief strangulation.


"Mom, it's alright." Elaine cradles your mother's face between her hands. Yet your mother still stares off into space, not quite meeting Elaine's eyes. But Elaine wraps her arms around your mother, whispering sweet comforts to her. "It's alright. Your alright. Your alright."


After a while, Elaine looks to you. "Elliot, can you check... check on her? I think she's one of our maids."


Elaine's eyes look up, to where the body lies on your mother's desk. Lying facedown, you can't quite see how badly she's been hurt.

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Elliot's yell broke any silence that might have been since the Terror's swift exit.


"Why the hell was that thing here again!?" 


He could feel his heart pounding. He fell to his knees. Again. The Terror came to his home again. And Elaine was way too calm about the whole thing.


Of course, she hadn't been here last time, had she? No, it had just been him and Aunt Elaine... and the Terror.

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"Elliot, shut the hell up!" Elaine's yell cuts through your own. Her eyes are flint hard as she stares you down, but she take a breath to calm herself and her next words are quieter.


"Shouting won't help anything. But we need to make sure mom and she," she gestures to the body. "Is fine. I know it's hard, but trust me when I say that thing won't be back. It won't. If it had wanted to it would have killed mom and you and me, but instead it left."


She closes her eyes and shudders. "So we're safe now."


Then before anything more could be said, your mother stirs in Elaine's arms, causing your sister to comfort your mother again. But your mother ignores your sister, and shakily pushes away from Elaine's embrace. She stands and Elaine stands, lending your mother a hand. She looks at your mother apprehensively, as if not sure what would happen next.


Emma's eyes are haunted as she turns them to you. Her face is pale, the color drained from her, and with shaky steps she moves towards you.


"Elliot. Elaine" she says, her voice hoarse. She stumbles the few feet towards you and almost collapses as she reaches you but she reaches for you, steadying herself. You see your sister a few feet away, ready to rush in if your mother needs help.


"Please," she says, looking up to you then to Emma. "Don't tell me it was any of you."


She turns back to you, her hands cupping your face, forcing you to meet her eyes. The lights of the study paint a harsh picture. Your mother looks like she had gained years from whatever fear the Terror had inflicted upon her. But her hands are strong still as she whispers loud enough for Elaine to hear.


"What Rebellion do They speak off?"

Edited by Zeitgeist Blue
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