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Supercape

Suburban Horror (IC)

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Previously, at the Parkhurst Hotel...

Rene stood back and admired his latest piece. He didn't often do self-portraits, but had felt a subliminal urge to do one, and it had turned out pretty well, even by his standards.

Damn I'm old he laughed to himself, admiring his lines on the canvas. As sometimes happened, a little bit of the mystical had infused itself into the painting, and as Rene looked at himself, a little twinkle sparkled in both his eye, and the paintings.

As he was admiring, he saw Etain walk by, and greeted her fondly.

"Ah, ze beautiful madam!" he intoned. "Always ze pleasure to see you!"

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It had been raining again, and she only just made it in the house half soaked. After a quick change of clothing that she got from her quarters she had gone down to the kitchen only to find Rene DeSaens painting in the room. She didn't want to disturb him, but when he called out she approached quickly with a smile,

"It is very nice to see you too Mr. DeSaen."

As she moved forward she got a better look at what from where she could see, was a self portrait. It captured him well, the movement of color throughout the and liveliness of the facial expression even in the slight abstraction of color seemed to capture the youthfulness of the old man.

"Though now I see two of you, will you be hanging this one up in the halls as well? The paintings you put up always add such vivid color to this house's halls."

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"Well, you know what?" replied Rene. "I hadn't actually thought of where to hang zis piece".

He patted his bearded chin with his brush three times, pondering the matter.

"Parkhurst should, you are correct, have a picture of me, and indeed all the mages who walk its corridors, you included..."

He stretched slightly and gave Etain a long deep look. "But somehow, how you say, my gut tells me different. And I find that it iz wise to listen to these feelings, even if zey make no sense at the time". He shrugged very slightly. "Because sometimes they are just ze right thing to do!"

He rolled up the parchment.

"Here, I have an inclination to give it to you".

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Etain looked at the parchment again than Rene, and she smiled quickly as she leaned in and gave him a hug and kiss on the check.

"Thank you very much, I would love to have it for my room at my gaurdians as it is a very nice piece. I will be sure to keep it in an especially nice frame. In fact, should we transport to your place to pick one out, I remember you saying you always had so many that you wanted to fill with your work."

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"I'm sure I can manage that" replied Rene.

"I'm not sure exactly how you travel, but I travel by ze Art!" he said somewhat theatrically, whipping out his brush and marching to the hallway of Parkhurst hotel.

"Now zen, this takes some time, and I do not always get it right first attempt, I confess" he said, furrowing his brow. He stopped by a picture of his own home that he had hung there when Parkhurst was first restored to its current position as centre for the mystics of Freedom.

With a spring of energy, he whipped out his magic brush and started painting.

It would not be possible, or indeed, proper to describe in visual terms what happened. It was a much a feeling as a vision. But somehow, Rene painted himself onto the picture, and as he did so, they appeared outside his home in the Real World.

Smiling, Rene put his brush back in his Jacket, and escorted Etain into his home.

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It was certianly a colorful trip, but no more colorful than the home they appeared in. Etain marveled that the home, but then they quickly set upon the task of finding a suitable frame. The portrait after all, needed only the best to hold it. They found the room almost immediately, and they set about the task before finding an ebony frame that contrasted well with the portraits intricate coloration.

When Etain came home that night, she set the portrait up on a nail in the study set aside for her and smiled as she looked upon the person inside. Mr. DeSaen's was such a vibrant old man, and the smiling portrait was sure to cheer her up whenever she looked at it.

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Later...

31st May, 2010, Etain's Home

"'Allo, 'Allo"

"Can you here me, Etain?"

The picture of Rene hung in Etain's home. It was a good piece, and well placed. Aside from the exceptional calibre of the painting, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about it.

Not so today.

The picture of Rene's face turned, slowly, like a dream, this way and that.

"It is me, Rene! I need your help!"

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Etain was not far from the painting, in fact she was sitting at the desk a few feet reading one of the books assigned to her for the summer in which a man who's house was about to be knocked over for construction found just managed to escape the same thing happening to his home planet with the help of a friend whom he was currently unaware was actually an outplanet visitor. She was a bit engrossed so it too her a second to turn when she heard her name only to find herself looking at the painting that was now glowing brightly with what she recognized as Rene DeSaens magic. Closing her book, she got up and walked over to the painting and looked at it for a few seconds.

"Mr. DeSaens, what is it? What has happened?"

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The words were both slurred and clear at the same time, and did not come directly in synch with his mouth. Otherwise the effect was realistic - if a talking impressionistic painting could ever be classed as realistic.

"Jumped!" came the reply.

"I was out walking, and before I knew it, a chloroform over my mouth, some strong arms on my body, and bundled into a van. I barely remember ze rest...."

The painting paused slightly, and his eyes appeared to glaze over for a moment.

"...and now, locked up in some darkened basement. I cannot understand it... my mystic senses, and indeed my mystic protection, zey were worthless! And I cant seem to break down ze door with magic... It was then I thought of contacting you through this painting..."

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Etain frowned deeply, he was drugged, that much was true. Whether or not his inability to use most of his magic now was because he could not focus through the drug, or some warding spell was hard to say.

"Do you know where you have been taken, or any hints as to who has taken you? There may be protection that might interfer if I were to use the scrying pool at Parkhurst."

Reaching down to her desk she grabbed a notebook and a pen and flipped to a blank page so she could get all the information she could.

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"Thank ze fates you are here!" said Rene "I told you I had ze inkling this painting should be with you..."

"I am not so sure what happened, the drug is still in me. I remember being in a Van... and unable to use my mystic abilities! some kind of warding, or protection was around me. All I can tell you is that it was powerful, skilled, and mystical in nature. "

"So, I had to use my experience. It has been some time! The van was dim, but it seemed they had put all their efforts into shielding my magical powers, not my human ones. My eyesight is not so good, but my spectacles were unharmed. I could see through the crack in the door that we went to North Freedom, Kingston I think. I did not catch the name of the street, but I think it is just off Longwood avenue - An unremarkable street, but one I have had the good fortune to paint a month ago. "

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Etain wrote down the information, North Freedom, Kingston, Longwood street, warding magic,

"I understand, I will be there as soon as I can. For now, pretend that you are still asleep, you may pick up something if they come too you and think you are not listening."

Taking the notepad under her arm, she ran to her room and grabbed her bag and mask off the dresser as well as her umbrella from the side of the door. Moving towards the balcony, she leaned out,

"Custos,"

She slipped the mask onto her face and felt the glamor cover her previous outfit as she looked out and saw the gargoyle coming in the distance.

By gargoyle, it was fifteen minutes to Kingston, and another five to find the street, and another five to follow the trail back to the house. The trail itself was disconcerting, being a powerful null field which only extended to the house itself. She looked at it, and it seemed a bit off somehow, it was stable but almost too much so, it felt like it was, artificial. That was the word yes, but how could someone do something like that. The more she thought about it as she got closer with Custos, the less she liked it. There were few things she knew of that produced such an effect, artifacts of great terribly power, and it seemed that the better the look she had at it all, the more she was certian it was likely one of those, until she saw something in the field that made her cringe. To everyone else it was simply a wall, even Custos, but to her, it was faces, skulls stacked one by one, dripping blood, overlooking and staining the wall with that image. She very nearly vomitted but she caught herself as she looked at the field.

It would be unpleasant, to be without her magic, it was as part of her as her hair or or blood, but even so she was not helpless or alone, not like Mr. DeSaens was. She couldn't imagine what it must be like, but than again, if she acted quickly she wouldn't have too. Under the veil of concealment, she and Custos moved down to the lowest nonburied part of the house. Etain removed her mask as it's effect would disappear as soon as they entered the house anyway and she didn't want to destroy the enchantment, she looked at Custos and nodded, and he tore into the wall at full force.

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"Ah, I see you have a formidable ally" remarked Renes portrait, which leaned against the house as Custos tore into the house.

"It would seem that brute strength rather than mystic strength has its place. Certainly today, with this cursed ward over the house. "

The House walls were somewhat unremarkable. They stood for a moment or two, shuddering under the force of Custos, until they cracked and splintered under the force of the giant gargoyle.

Rene looked inside, along with Custos and Etain. A hole had been punched into the lounge of the building, where three heavy set men in black looked back in amazement through the dust caused by Custos.

"That is zem!" said Rene's portrait. "Ze fiends!"

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Placing the painting on the side of the wall, Etain unsheathed her sword from the umbrella stay out of Custos way. She held her sword at the ready, but her position was defensive in nature as she was already feeling the strain of her magic disappearing on her person. Her face was blank, trained to give nothing, not fear nor anger even in the rare disadvantage she had of being without her magic.

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"Careful Etain" yelled Supercape, adding to the thugs disorientation.

"No magic here. All unelegant brute force! and I think they are armed!"

The portrait looked at the huge gargoyle by her side.

"Although I guess you are too, after a fashion. A fine looking creature, if I do say so myself. I hope he is as tough as he looks..."

And is bullet proof he added to himself. He had no wish to scare Etain. And he wanted to get out of his current predicament with both his and her skin intact.

The three thugs were shocked to say the least, but pulled out their guns nonetheless.

"Private property lady" called the leader, taking aim...

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The first person to speak was the first target she striked. Quickly, and nimbly she moved through the mist, closing the distance and getting in a solid hit, she moved back, keeping in close range and using her height to stay just out of the range of there guns. Custos came forward as well, waiting for an attack before he could properly strike, as he could not attack humans without proper cause.

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GM

The nearest thug went down without a fight as Etains sword blow connected the flat of the steel to the temple of the head. His gun dropped to the floor, his eyes rolled back, and he hit the down with a percussive thump.

His two associates back off, firing their handguns as they did, clearly frightened - particularly now that the enormous figure of Custos had entered the building. Etain's speed made her almost impossible to draw a bead on, and the bullets flew past her. Custos was a much more enticing target, and he caught a few of the slugs directly.

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Custos shrugged off the bullets with a sinister smile as the first strike had been theirs. Rushing forward with a claw he just missed the first one with his claw but snarled as he prepared for another attack. While they were busy with Custos, Etain ducked the bullets and struck true with her blade once more, aiming into the side away from any vitals but keeping sure that the show would keep so as to make a quick knock out.

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GM

The second thug dropped much like the first, his body stumbling over the sofa as he fought, without success, to stay upright.

The third and final good backed off still further and swiftly decided that discretion was the better form of valour. He dropped his gun and lifted his hands.

"IgiveupwewontdoinnuthinIwantmylawyer!" he gabbled, his eyes looking left and right for an escape route.

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Etain sheathed her sword, and put on a concerned look on her face as she walked forward. Her voice was now soft, her body language very shy, but delicate like approaching a frightened animal,

"You need not worry."

She looked at him than moved a hand towards Custos waving him to sit outside,

"My intention was never to hurt, but guns, they are very scary. I wanted to talk, but the door was locked, and this place was covered with such bad energy."

She had a down trodded sound on that last part as she looked up him with her large hazel eyes,

"And, my friend, he, he disappeared, and I could not find him. I was scared, scared he might be hurt, he is just an old man after all, he never hurt anyone and yet he disappeared. Do, do you know where he is hidden?"

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GM

"You mean the artist dude?" replied the last Thug.

"I... I mean. that sounds bad, miss..." he said, after clamping his mouth over his over-zealous mouth.

"Yeah, well, You didn't hear it from me, lady, but I would think about going downstairs to the cellar. At least, if it is a cellar. The boss is downstairs and he don't look to happy. Creepy. He's never been the same since his missus died last year. Bad stuff. "

He started edging towards the front door to the house.

"Fairs fair, missy? I'll be off now and we can just pretend this never happened eh?"

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"You want to leave."

She looked towards the door, than to the basement,

"I see, if you want to leave, you should, it is, it is very scary."

She started to look towards the basement and moved slowly almost visible flinching touching the handle. Her head angled just so a few tears were visible running down the pale skin. Her the man turned his attention to Custos, he could see the gargoyle shaking his head, but than, he wasn't the one the thug was looking at after all. She turned towards him a little downtrodden,

"I know you wish to leave, but could you leave me down, I do not wish to go alone."

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GM

"I know you wish to leave, but could you leave me down, I do not wish to go alone."

"I...I...Dunno missy" muttered the Goon, scratching his head.

"I suppose I could help ya..." he said cautiously. "Show you down there. As long as you let me walk afterwards. I'm officially helping you, yeah?"

He gazed at her with shifty eyes. "So swear ya'all let me go now, y'hear? swear on some oath or sumthin that means sumthin..."

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She wiped a light tear from her eye and broke into a smile,

"Yes, yes, I promise, I will let you go free, just please help me find my friend."

She took a step from the door and let him take the lead into the basement. If nothing else, it would prove helpful as to not be shot upon entry if a worker there entered first. Also, it gives her a likely shield and distraction if there would be any misgivings.

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GM

The goon carefully trod down to the cellar with Etain. The stairs were small and cramped, and Custos found himself jammed at the stairway, unable to go further.

"The old man's in there..." said the thug, pointing at a locked side door.

"As for the boss, and his, err... friends... they are down there..." he said, pointing to another, more robust door, further down the passage. Already the architecture of the basement looked far different from normal houses.

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