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The SHADOW Falls (IC): GM

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Just north of Liberty Park, between the monorail line and the FCU campus, stands the Hunter Museum of Natural History. An anonymous donor funded the museum, and Dr. Metropolis and Daedalus of the Freedom League helped build the actual structure. The three-story marble and steel building resembles a Greek temple on the outside, and inside the museum features displays on archeology, anthropology, paleontology, and technology.

The museum’s collection includes artifacts from ancient civilizations, many of them donated by Daedalus and others; Adrian Eldrich volunteers his time to evaluate or screen any items of mystical power with Daedalus. Often, the two create a replica to show the item without risking its loss or abuse. To the delight of younger visitors, a giant replica of a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton greets visitors in the main lobby.

Freedom City's Hunter Museum of Natural History is a shining example of everything a museum should be. It holds many treasures from Ancient Egyptian Artifacts, Pharaohs sarcophagi, and holy texts from around the globe. In addition to ancient treasures, it also boast many exhibits depicting feats of mechanical and technological advancement. One section of the museum holds a perpetual motion machine involving marbles of all sizes. The only thing keeping it running is one tiny motor running off of a single AAA battery.

Today was a special day. The Freedom City Museum was opening its new exhibit. They were showing off an artifact from the lost Aztec Culture. It was a large steel mirror surrounded by gold inlaid with the designs of serpents crawling around the rim. Only for tonight, was the actual mirror going to be shown. Afterward it would be placed within the vault, and a replica constructed by Eldrich would be put on display for the safety of the relic itself. The exhibit was to be displayed in its own room, across from the Egyptian exhibit on the second floor of the museum. In honor of the new exhibit, tickets for the museum were only $10, and included a complimentary tour. It was history in the making, and people came from all around to see it!

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Faithful history student that she was, Vivian wouldn't miss the unveiling of this historical artifact for the world. Tonight, she let her hair dangle down over her shoulders, and wore a black dress with spaghetti straps and white trim around the top and bottom. On her feet she wore black flats to match her dress, and she carried a small shoulder bag with her. She came to the museum with a $10 bill, a notebook, pen, and digital camera. Purchasing her tickets, she happily joined up with the 8 o'clock tour of the museum, along with multiple other colorful figures.

Ooo! This is going to be so cool! She was practically shaking with excitement.

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Talya remained quite fond of museums, despite the fact that heroic ethics dictated that she was restricted to looking and not touching these days. Still, it was a new exhibit and she was content to stroll through Egyptian hall with a faint smile on her face. She really had to drag Elena here again.

The ex-thief strolled along on tippy high heels with almost unnatural ease. She was dressed as usual in a 40's retro flair, a slim skirt slit up the back with seamed stockings and a tailored jacket over a silk blouse. She stopped here and there, not bothering with the pamphlet at all as she strolled through the halls with bemused familiarity.

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Gigawatt hovered in from of a case. He wasn't too much into history, but one needed to keep up with the new cultural wonders that got passed from city to city. Still, he most likely wasn't going to get to see they're new Aztec exhibit. Too many folks, and he was crashing. It was difficult when you couldn't spend money, but he figured the 10 bucks would works itself out somewhere along the way. He'd recharge a power station before he went to sleep, or something.

Still, it was a wonder what people got done, back in the day. Pyramids, Sphinx's, and who knows what else buried in the sands. Still, he wished he'd get to see the new stuff they had rolling in. All sorts of fun rumors going around about what was actually in the new exhibit. Oh well. No ticket, no view. The rest was just as fun to see. He heard footsteps, and hopped inside one of the hanging lights. Wouldn't do for someone to call the guards. Couldn't stay if they asked him to leave.

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Lynn Epstein hadn't been to the Hunter Museum since when she was a kid; she had very strong memories of the first time she saw an actual mummy in the Egyptian collection during a visit to see her grandparents, and the nightmares she'd had for a week afterwords. Even now, the place kinda gave her creeps.

She really wasn't much of a museum person in general, but her friend Detective Colby had given her a tip about the new Aztec mirror thing. Well it wasn't so much a tip as suggestion:

"It might be a good idea for some heroic types to be around the Hunter Museum tonight, seeing as the staff are putting an actual ancient artifact on display for once. I'm just sayin'."

Much to her surprise, Lynn had somehow managed to convince Jack to join her on this informal sort of stakeout, but he'd balked a bit when she suggested they go as a couple, which she kind of understood; just because she had no trouble slipping in and out of various roles didn't mean everybody else did. At Jack's suggestion, they decided to go as tour guides; after a quick scouting mission, Grim changed into an athletic blonde wearing sneakers, khakis and a Hunter Museum polo shirt, and conjured up a matching set for Jack, which actually fit him better than any clothes he'd ever worn.

At her post near the display, Grim thought she saw some movement, a weird light or something, but when she got closer to the case, there was nothing. Nerves, no doubt. Raising a hand to her ear, she activated her comlink to check in with Jack.

"How're you doin' there, Jackie? You bored yet?" On whim, she'd gone for a Southern belle kinda thing :roll:

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"Why are you...? Never mind," Jack sighed, ignoring Lynn's adopted accent. Standing near the space between two exhibits, the tanned young man kept a smile plastered to his face as spoke quietly over the commlink. He wore khakis and a polo shirt to match the shapeshifter's own uniform, but he'd further opted for a pair of round glasses, which combined with a slicked back style to his short, dusty brown hair to give him a very different profile. "I'm just lucky these paintings have placards I can read when people ask questions. Why they don't just read them themselves, I do not know," the fencer grumbled. Long stakeouts didn't play well to his impatient disposition.

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A Museum of History might seem an odd place to find a person who, in one form or another, had experienced not a few of the events being exhibited. But still Roy could be found among the 8 PM tour group that wound its way through the building. Since this was a rather more formal occasion than he usually went to, he had on a yellow knit shirt with white khakis. He didn't think his usual "casual" wear of his janitorial uniform would go over well with the staff here. He didn't listen to the tour guide much, aside from the moments to give the illusion of attention. Mostly though, Roy was here to reminisce in old memories. Good memories. That one life as a priest in Egypt. Another as a Mongol soldier. He was especially amused when they passed a tapestry depicting the various Aesir in battle, the weaving said to have been done by the Norns. It wasn't of course, no magic at all in the thread. He did give it a closer look, a bemused expression on his face as he studied the tapestry's depiction of Sol, Aesir Goddess of the Sun. He chuckled to himself under his breath, "Really...I thought I wore my hair longer then... And I don't remember my nose being that straight..."

Seeing the rest of the group pulling away towards the other exhibits, he tore himself away from his memories and back into the present. They were going to be coming up on the main attraction soon after all. He hadn't been around Meso-America when this mirror had been made after all. No idea what it was. Should be interesting. The smile on Roy's face grew wider. Yeah, the trip had been well worth it. This was turning out to be quite fun!

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[floatl]LizardMan.png[/floatl]Finally, it was time for the tour guides to lead people on their way on the tour. About twenty minutes in, they hit the Egyptian room. Ten minutes were spent perusing these wonderful artifacts. Finally, the group moved on to the main attraction, the South American exhibit!

The room was about the same size as the Egyptian room and was across the hall. A small hallway separated the two. Finally after another five agonizing minutes they did the big reveal.

"Now for the first time in the eyes of the public! .... The Reptillian Mirror!" With a flourish, one of the guides pulled a tarp off the Mirror. It shined brilliantly, gleaming in the light. It's magnificence was increased even more when the flash photography made it flicker and gleam with each picture taken.


"SSSsssstop it! I can't take it anymore!" The room's collective attention was drawn to the back of the crowd. There was a sudden gleam brighter than anything the mirror had yet produced. Seven of the tourists in the back of the group had suddenly become something entirely different!

In the center of the room stood a large humanoid lizard with a red cloak. To either side of him stood two black robed figures, both bearing staves.

In even further extreme flanking positions the last four tourists changed to large, savage looking Lizard Men!

[floatr]The_sorcerer.jpg[/floatr][floatl]LizardFolkUncivilized.jpg[/floatl]"Ssssssssurrender the mirror to the might of the Lizardsssssss and no one getsssssss hurt!"

The two men in black cloaks began to chant and swirl their hands. Glowing glyphs appeared in the air before them in a vulgar display of their arcane power. The savage lizard men snarled and gnashed their teeth which dripped with frothy venom.

Panic ensued.

"Yessss! YESSSSSS! Run before the might of the Lissssssard Kingdom! Ssssso long assssss you do not put up a fight. I am here for the mirror and nothing elssssssse." The lizard man in the robes raised his arms to the sky and basked in the glory of the chaos his stunt had achieved.

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The four Lizard Men at the sides of the room, moved forward at their master's command. "Go, Minionsssssss! Ssssssecure the mirror! Take back what belongsssssss to the Lizardssssssss!"

The four Lizard Men advanced through the rapidly dispersing group of civilians. Three surrounded the mirror and lifted it from its pedestal. The last snatched a passing civilian in his large arms. The man wore khaki pants, dress shoes, a shirt and blazer. He had balding brown hair and wore glasses. "Bosssss, what isssss to be done with thissssss one?" asked the more harshly spoken Lizard Man

"Yessssss, good thinking, Ssssssslak. Keep him! We may need him...for thingsssssssss." The high priests voice dropped menacingly at the last word.

"No! Please! I have a family! Let me go, I'm begging you!"

"Not a chansssssssse, warm blood. The High Priessst hassssss ssssspoken. HeheheHAHAHA!

"No! Please!"

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It looked like Colby's tip was right on the money; did she know this was going to happen, liker from reading tea leaves, or was she just a Freedom City cop long enough to know what tempted criminals?

When the lizardmen revealed themselves, Blondie Grim dropped down low, apparently in fear, as she whispered over the comlink.

"You seein' what ahm seein', Jackie? Looks like four tanks, two lieutenants and a high priest type, most of 'em scaly as a nest of cottenmouths!"

"No! Please! I have a family! Let me go, I'm begging you!"

"Not a chansssssssse, warm blood. The High Priessst hassssss ssssspoken. HeheheHAHAHA!

"No! Please!"

"Darn it, these fellers got themselves a hostage; I'm gonna play a lil' peekaboo and see if I can free 'im, 'kay?"

The blonde guide's face started to smear into Grim's as she faded from view, and the changeling moved soundlessly into position behind the scaly thug. Silently kissing her razor sharp claws for luck, she viciously sliced at the creature's back! With a gurgling cry, it collapsed, dropping its victim to the floor.

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"Argh, stop talking like that," Jack demanded in an irritable whisper over his own comlink as he leaped into action. The glamoured costume Grim had created for him melted away, revealing the crimson mask and royal blue greatcoat of Jack of all Blades. Unlike his diminutive teammate, the swordsman preferred to confront his opponents in a somewhat more direct fashion. An earsplitting electrical crack heralded his appearance as lightning surged from the overhead lights to his hand, raining sparks on the lizardmen below as a scintillating rapier formed in his palm. "Know what I love about Grand Poobah types?" he called out as he mibly sprinted for the group's scaly leader. "Big fancy robes make great targets!" His sword flashed back and forth with blinding speed.

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"Hissssss" The sorcerer reached up to repel the sparking blade with his magical powers. The room light up with bright light as the blade was turned aside. When the flash subsided, blood dripped from the underside of one of the sorcerers robed arms. Rage contorted his face. "You'll sssssoon find you've just made a grave missssstake, BOY!"

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Talya sighed, what was up with these in the middle of broad daylight raids for goodness sake. In her day... shaking that off, she slunk to the back of the group and with a few quick tugs and a wriggle slipped her costume into place in record time before ghosting up along side one of the magicians. These kids did have some good ideas though. For example, Bombshell elbowed him in the face before she made with the pithy comments rather than the other way around. She could get used to this decade.

"Hey, occult rituals are on the first floor. Didn't you blokes get a program?" She said with a grin when her presence become noticeable. She wiggled her fingertips at Jack and Grim in quiet greeting, rather blase about the man she'd just smacked.

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Talya managed to slip through the crowd and duck behind one of the exhibits. At the same time, she quickly slipped into her costume and emerged as Bombshell unseen. Sneaking up on one of the Sorcerers, she elbowed him in the spine, rocking his world. The Sorcerer Flew clear across the Aztecan Exhibit room and slammed into the wall above and behind the exhibit with the Mirror.

Both the sorcerer and the wall looked very much worse for wear. The sorcerer slid to the ground adjacent to the wall, shaking his head to clear it, but unable to stand quite yet. The wall above him was now reduced to shattered stone. Another solid impact like that would surely punch right through it.

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The High Sorcerer thrust his left hand outward in a magical attack against Jack. He managed to duck out of the way of the High Sorcerer's willful attack as he ducked and weaved through the combat. "Hisssss! Ssssstand sssssstill, buffoon!" He then used his right hand to make an attack against Grimalkin who was standing just off to the side. She too was able to see it coming, and managed to avoid the attack.

"Sssss. It ssssseems that you and your friendsssss are more agile than I ekssssspected, sssswordsman. No matter! I will not be denied!" The High sorcerer withdrew from the front lines of the battle, to hover just above the entrance to the room. Once there, his body turned translucent, though not completely invisible as he phased in between different planes. "Minionsssss! Sssssecure the Mirror! Attack thesssssse foolsssss! DO SSSSSOMETHING!" He cried desperately, rapidly realizing he was fighting a loosing battle.

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There goes a wonderfully placid day. What is it about this town that draws all the weirdos and super powered psychopaths? Gigawatt took a quick hop over to the mirror room, where all the noises were coming from, and got a look at the situation. Help already here, 3 guards, 3 priority targets. Guards have the mirror, need to keep them away from that. Alright, the other heroes didn't seem to have a coherent plan, so they could go anywhere. The mirror was a nice obvious target, but he doubted it was going anywhere fast. Robed folks first. One was down, one was up, and one was flying. Well, that seemed like the perfect target for him. He flew into the room and called out "It's very rude to be shouting in a museum." He said, just before sending a bolt of lightning his way.

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Gigawatt flew into the room looking every bit the hero that he was. He shot a bolt of lightning at the powerful sorcerer, but his hopes fell as it passed right through him and shattered against the wall behind the sorcerer. The wall above the doorway behind the sorcerer exploded as the blast of electricity hit it. Chunks of rock showered the front area of the room with rock.

"Hisssssss. Sssssee how your pitiful ssssscience makes your kind lame to the more powerful forces of the universe? You can't posssssssibly hope to achieve victory! Ssssssssurrender, and I might be tempted to sssssssspare you!"

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Crap! We were just getting to the good part! Vivian thought as she scrambled away with the spectators. When Grimalkin freed the man that had been taken hostage, Vivian scrambled by to help him to his feet. The two managed to escape the room in the chaos of the battle, even as chunks of stone rained down on the entrance of the Aztec exhibit.

Vivian scrambled into a nearby broom closet. Shutting the door behind her, she summoned the artifacts of the Gods to her. When she was fully armored, she hefted Mjollnir in her hand, and made ready to join the battle.

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Roy thought for a moment he saw something out of the corner of his eye. A glimmer. But it was soon gone when the young man was pushed out of the room by the oncoming rush of people evacuating. Already he could see other heroes springing into action. It was only when the tide reached the front lobby that Roy was able to get away. Though other heroes were already acting, he could not even think of just walking away. Fortunately for him, the lobby possessed a series of old fashioned enclosed phone booths for the pay phones in a secluded corner of the area. And with the building being evacuated, no one was even thinking to watch them.

Slipping out of the crowd and into one, Roy unbuttoned the top of his shirt, pulling it away to reveal his white and gold costume underneath! In an instant and with a flash, the door to the phonebooth opened and Pharos soared over the now empty lobby, back towards the exhibit. The thunderous sounds he had heard upon approach had led to the correct conclusion: the battle was already well engaged by this point, with the heroic defenders having the upper hand. However, the three lizard men still held the mirror. And if they had performed such a brazen attack to obtain it, then it was not something that it would be a good idea to let them keep!

Not bothering for a stealthy approach, a white and gold flash flew towards the lizard warriors, the incarnate Sun stopping short of them to grab the mirror. With his might it was a simple thing to tear the artifact from their scaly grasp. Holding the heavy mirror deftly in one hand, Pharos gathered the proper memories to him and spoke. His voice was a guttural, hissing language. The language of the Serpent people that predated humanity. While his throat could not accommodate the more precise enunciation of the language, his unfaltering speech spoke of a mastery of the tongue learned over lifetimes.

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"" The High Sorcerer responded to Pharos ""

With that, the Dark Magicians near the back wall leaped into action for the first time. Their arcane fury was righteous! One began sealing his wounds rapidly, and then reached out through space and time to take the mirror back from Pharos with but a gesture. He held it before him, facing the center of the room. The other sorcerer also latched on to the mirror, and began casting a spell. Power surged between the two sorcerers through the mirror, and they pooled their might. An enormous silver blast shot from the mirror, engulfing Bombshell in arcane fury!

Meanwhile, the three remaining lizard men charged Jack of all Blades. The first two harried him with blows meant to disrupt his guard. Jack realized just in the nick of time that they were setting up the third for a vicious strike, and he was able to side step it gracefully.

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As the exhibit hall exploded into genuine chaos, Grim could not help but smile.

I hate to admit it, but this is awesome! I just hope we don't destroy the poor museum!

She winced in genuine sympathy when she saw the high priest guy slam into the wall; that had to hurt. But then she happened to look into the next room and see a hooded figure, dressed all in black, looting a long golden scepter from another exhibit case!

Oh my God! He's using this fight as a distraction! Is he in league with these guys, or just an opportunist?

Returning to full visibility, Grim called out to the others as she pointed across the hall.

"Hey guys, we got a second perp! I think he's-"

But when she looked back, he was gone! A quick sniff told her he could not have gotten far; switching to pixie form, the changeling zoomed into the next room, clicking her tiny claws together.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are! I've got candy apples and sweet marmalade for you!"

She sniffed the air, stalking her prey.

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The shadowy energy wreathing the new player were just as obvious to Jack's metamagi senses as looking at the figure unconcealed, and he ducked away from the high priest lizardman as his teammate called out in warning. "I got him, Girm; switch!" The swordsman swept his blade out behind him as he charged the thief's position. Shadows, huh? Jack's eyes narrowed behind his mask as he willed the crackling electrical rapier to glow white hot in his palm before bringing it forward and across in a devastating diagonal slash.

To Jack's surprise, his new target went flying with the force on the blow, crashing through the very wall of the museum and continuing his arc into the open air. "Huh," the swashbuckler observed, nonplussed. "Okay, never mind. Make with the pixie and grab that guy, I'll go for round two with the Great Gazoo."

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The man wreathed in shadows did his very best to remain conscious. He clawed at it with his mind desperately, and barely, just barely managed to hang on. Through the deep gash on his chest, the bones he broke when he crashed through the wall of the museum, and the bones that broke worse when he crashed to the street almost a quarter mile away, he remained conscious miraculously. In his condition, he wasn't in the mood to go anywhere for a few seconds. The shadows around him fell away, as he lay in a man sized crater, his bag still holding the precious artifact that had been his quarry.

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When the light cleared, the ex-thief had apparently been destroyed leaving not even a smoldering pile of ash. Fortunately, she was a good deal hardier than she looked and had used her years of training to vanish from any observers when she'd shaken off the effects of whatever the heck that spell had been.

Thanks so much for providing the distraction yourself, gents.

She ghosted up by the magician that she'd smacked around earlier and silent as a shadow reached out to grab the back of his skull and smash his face into the frame of the mirror. "Oh, come off it. I was playing this game with the Thule society before you blokes were ever born! They were better at it, actually. Sorry."

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