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Lone Star

Nightmare on West End (IC)

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Warlock had found him. The man who had been making his past few months a living hell. On the West End was a rather delapidated house that he traced the location to. It took weeks, and he had to consult several ancient texts, and did a lot of searching for the man's name, but at long last he had it. His name was Daniel Sheppard, and he had heard from several sources that he was a fairly experienced sorcerer, and had succeeded in contacting the world of the dead. He knew he would have to run a raid on the man's house, but he couldn't go at it alone. He quickly grabbed his cell phone and sent a text to Nick Cimitiere and Cobalt Templar. They would be able to help him. He only hoped he wasn't already too late.

The text read: "Nick, Corbin, I need your help. I've tracked down the necromancer who's been causing trouble in the city. I will need your help. Call me back as soon as you possible can."

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Corbin had been walking to his dorm room when the text came in. He raised an eyebrow, frowning a bit at the message. That necromancer really had been giving Blake and his peers some trouble. Corbin had wished he could help more, but ghostbusting wasn't his forte.

"Heh. Ghostbusting."

He chuckled at the thought, and quickly dialed his good friend.

"Hey Blake, got your text. So. What's the game plan? Hitting hard and fast? Playing it careful? Where should we meet up?"

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"I think the best plan is to prepare. I'm currently working on a new invention as we speak. The good news is, we still have the element of surprise on our side. As far as I know, he won't know we're coming. So come on over, I'll be here." Blake held up his latest invention, trying them on. They were boxing gloves, of the MMA style, but there was a large sigil carved into the palm of the glove- one that would disrupt a ghost's presence on the mortal realm. He held them up, moving like a prize fighter, and jabbed at the air.

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"Good," Nick said as he made his way through the back alleys. "I've run into more than a few upset ghosts. It's time to have words with one of my fellow practitioners." He worked on the directions he was given, making his way through the streets like a shadow. "So, what sort of defenses are we looking at here? Explosive wards? Zombie servants? Infernal warriors? Tasers?"

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"I have boxing gloves that can punch ghosts. If you've got any other ideas, I'd love to hear them. Corbin's on his way. We're meeting at my new place- I'll text you the directions." He realized he had not shown Nick his new house- but he'd find out what he did with the place soon enough. He still couldn't get over how surprised Jessica was when she was shown the interior. Blake was all business now, however, and he was preparing for the fight ahead. He hoped the two of them would be enough to take on the fledgling necromancer that was causing all of the problems.

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"Glad to hear about the gloves," Nick said. "But what about on the necromancer's end? We got any idea what kind of defenses he's got set up around his sanctum? I mean, I'm expecting a zombie or two, but I'd also like to know what kind of hole I need to punch in the wards."

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Blake paused for a moment, his eyes wide. "I have absolutely no idea. Best to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I'd assume that he's got a number of zombies, but he seems more like the conjuring-ghosts type. I really have no clue what to expect, so just bring your A-game and whatever else you can think of. I think we can take him, but we'll need to plan here first." He started to gather his various gadgets together, putting them in his mojo bag. Before sealing it all away, he whipped out his metal lightning rod, and pointed it at his testing dummy. A streak of lightning arced from the wand and electrified the mannequin once again. Blake grinned in satisfaction and spun it in his hand like a gunslinger, and walked upstairs to wait for the two.

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"I think the best plan is to prepare. I'm currently working on a new invention as we speak. The good news is, we still have the element of surprise on our side. As far as I know, he won't know we're coming. So come on over, I'll be here." Blake held up his latest invention, trying them on. They were boxing gloves, of the MMA style, but there was a large sigil carved into the palm of the glove- one that would disrupt a ghost's presence on the mortal realm. He held them up, moving like a prize fighter, and jabbed at the air.
"So, our chief weapon is surprise?"

Blake could hear the grin in Corbin's voice.

"I'll be there in a few."

Indeed, it was perhaps 5 minutes after Corbin hung up the phone that Cobalt Templar was waiting patiently on Blake's front porch, ringing the doorbell in Morse Code for "I am here".

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Blake ran to the door. "Hey, stop ringing, would you? I hear ya." He had never been in the Boy's Scouts, so Morse code was lost on him. "Come on in. Nick should be here shortly." He led Corbin into the dining room, where a number of maps were laid out, along with several cartographic tools. There was several lines drawn in red- magical ley lines, and circles where the ghosts sightings had occurred.

"So here it is." he said, pointing to a house a few dozen miles from his own. "I should have guessed that he'd hide out in a neighborhood like this- but I'm not in the business of guesses." His hands reached for a piece of paper, and he showed it to Corbin. It was a picture of the house, printed off from Google Maps. "Looks like something straight out of Poe, amiright?"

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Nick was there next, knocking on the door and trying to make sure he had the right address. When it opened and he saw Blake, he stepped right in. "Guess I got it right after all," he said, holding up a bag. "Hey, Blake. I brought some scones from work and a bag of dark French roast. Consider it a housewarming present. Besides, we may need some coffee in us tonight." He took a quick look at the map of ley lines, and the photo of the isolated mansion that was tacked to the board. "Makes the Parkhurst look like Xanadu," he said. "How long's he been holed up in that particular haunt?"

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Blake shrugged. "None of the people I've contacted knew. For all I know, he's been in there for years. But I do know that he's cooking up some bad juju in there." He took another look at the house, breathing a sigh. "So it's gonna be tricky, needless to say. It's a given that he can summon ghosts to his bidding, but I'd assume he can perform magic with the undead." His eyes fell to the ground.

"Sorry." he said, holding his head. "I guess I'm really nervous about this. I mean- what if he's too powerful? What if we can't win?"

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Corbin reached over and laid an encouraging hand on Blake's shoulder.

"Hey. Stop getting depressed all the sudden."

In the blink of an eye, the hand had migrated from "sitting on shoulder" to "slapping the back of Blake's head". Cobalt Templar showed a cheery grin.

"Get that damn fool idea of us losing out of your head! Don't even entertain the thought! Why do you doubt?"

He stepped back, a sweeping gesture encompassing the three of them present.

"He's one dude! I don't care if he's some big bad necromancer. We can totally take him. You know why?"

He leaned in a bit. Then pointed at himself, Nick, and Blake in turn as he spoke his next words.

"Because I'm too awesome to lose, Nick's too awesome to lose, and gorram it, you are too awesome to lose. So get your head on straight and get back to planning how to beat this guy silly."

He straightened up, crossing his arms over his chest with a sage nod.

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"Agreed," Nick said. "I've dealt with a lot of penny-ante necromancers before, Blake, guys whose power is a whole lot smaller than their ego. The rule remains the same - go for the mage, the magic stops. Simple as that. It doesn't matter how many ghosts he'd bound into service, or how many zombies he's raised. We can break the bonds, and we can free them from service. He opens a hole to Yomi, or Tartarus, or Nilfhelm? We close it. Simple as that. We will take him down. Trust me."

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Blake smiled, and looked at his two friends. "You know what? We can take this guy. I really needed that." He adjusted his tie and cracked his knuckles as a grin broke out on his face.

"Be that as it may, we have no idea what kind of defenses he's got. How are we going to rush this guy if he finds us out the moment we get past the gates?"

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"Well," Nick said, "if he's calling up bound servants -- ghosts, zombies, creatures of the various Underworlds -- there's always a chance I could cut the cord. I know a few ways to disrupt necromantic bindings. More sustained effects, like wards, I could probably crash long enough for us to get through. Mind you, if he's at the dead center of the house, he'll probably sense it when the wards fall... but if he's just got patrols and isn't directly scrying through their eyes, which I've known some to do, it should be easy to take apart his watchdogs."

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Cobalt Templar tapped his chin in thought.

"So, this guy might have both ghosts or spirits, and zombies and the like? I don't know how well I could help with the ghosts, but zombies wouldn't be a problem. Maybe we try a kind of one-two punch thing? You guys charge in first, taking out the ghosties, then I bust in and smack this necromancer punk upside the head? Somehow I doubt he's so hard to touch, which means I shouldn't have too much trouble laying down the hurt."

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Warlock nodded his head, and started to put his things away, zipping his mojo bag shut.

"That sounds good to me. I don't think I have too many more reservations about this guy- you guys helped me realize this. Whatever he has we're more than capable of taking. So let's get this party started. Corbin, can you fly us to the mansion?" He handed Corbin a printed off Mapquest sheet to the house.

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Cobalt Templar gave a wide grin and an eager nod.

"Oh yeah, no problem. I'll whip up a box or something; I can't make anything too fancy, but I can certainly carry you guys and go full speed."

His smile dropped a bit as he considered the map, before tapping a certain section a few blocks from the target house.

"Might be good if I set us down there. For one thing, it lets us get into a better position for a multi-stage assault. For another, it gives us at least a chance of surprise. My power isn't subtle at all, visually speaking. And he may be able to pick up such a blatant use of it, since my ring's magical."

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"We could try taking my car, if magic's a problem," Nick said. "It's probably not the most subtle thing in the world, but it's mundane. Assuming his security relies on magic detection, it'd offer up less of a chance of setting it off. 'Course, it wouldn't give us as much on a vantage point -- can't exactly fly in it -- and if he does have eyes on the street, someone'll probably notice it."

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Warlock nodded in agreement. "That sounds like a good idea, Nick. I think if he has any sort of magical detection, we'll notice too. But I'm thinking once we're up there, we'll try and sneak in as well as we can, but if we get rushed, pull out the stops. If we're attacked, he'll know someone's after him. We'll still be able to take what he's got...but it'd be best if we don't call down the horde before it's necessary."

He looked at the two of them, and then stood up. "Gentlemen- let's kick some ass."

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"Yeah, now that you say that, car sounds like a plan. And if we come under fire, I can always give us mobile cover, since he'd know we're there already."

He was giving a confident smirk to his companions.

"This son of a gun won't know what hit him. I like the idea of hitting hard, fast, and somewhat stealthy."

He grinned wide and held his hands out to each of his companions for a fist-bump.

"Yes. Let's."

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"All right, then," Nick said. "I'll see if I can whip up something, just in case he does have eyes on the street. You never know. Besides, my car may not be the most subtle thing in the world. Giving it another paint job might help."

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With the help of Corbin and Blake, Nick whipped up an illusion enchantment so that the car wouldn't be spotted by the necromancer's defenses. Sure enough, it worked. The car, which formerly would have been noticable on any street with its decoration of occult symbols, was now completely standard. Nothing about the car stood out in any way. The trio drove up to the house, and they all felt a sense of foreboding, even those without the ability to sense magic.

"So...who else is getting the heebie-jeebies?" Warlock said, his head poking up from the backseat. "I'm glad he hasn't spotted us...yet. Let's head in." The car door slams shut as Warlock steps out. His Converse trainers make a crunching sound as they hit the long unmown lawn. The home itself lay ahead of them- although home wasn't quite the word to describe it. The paint peeled from the exterior, and the windows lay open, some of them broken. The door, creaking on its hinges, looked predatory as it invited them in.

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Nick approached the threshold, his death sense screaming like a cat in heat. "Yeah, definitely some dark stuff going on in here," he said. "Really two ways the environment can go when you funnel down this much death magic on a regular basis - sterile, or decayed. Mind you, you should see the sterile ones; it's like walking into some sort of pristine illusion. You get the feeling everyone just... walked away from this little corner of the world, and it got frozen in time." He shuddered. "Not like this is much better, of course. Let's go see who's up for driving down the property values so hard."

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Corbin had mostly been a tag-along for the last bit of their journey; his skills were a bit more direct in nature, and so he couldn't do much but help confirm the strength of the illusion on the car.

He'd muted the colors of his outfit somewhat as they moved across the lawn of the house, and tried to concentrate on keeping the "radiation" from his powers in check, so he wasn't quite as blindingly obvious as usual to magical senses. He doubted he was very successful. He gave a slight shiver as the others discussed the nature of necromantic powers.

"Yeah, super-sterile, super-run-down, both of them equal super-creepy. And yes Warlock, I've got a 5.8 on the Heebie-Jeebie meter right now. You guys want me to stick to the back, or knock really hard on the front door?"

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