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The Theater District
Freedom City, New Jersey
Saturday October 31, 2015, 7:30 PM local time 

The sun had set over Freedom City, adding a slight chill to the already cool night air.  But despite the cool night and clouds overhead, there was a festive atmosphere over much of the city as Halloween arrived.  Perhaps no part of the city was that more evident than the five city blocks of Broadway between 60th St. and the Beaudrie Opera House, as the 20th annual Hunted Block Party took over the section of the Theater District.   

Over the annual Halloween festival’s life, the event had grown from only a few blocks to the much larger event it now was, a "fair, games and scares" trick-or-treat extravaganza.  As had been the case since the event had started, Mr. Dirksen had made the bottom floor of his warehouse on the corner of 60th St. into a massive haunted house.  There were dozens of shops, booths, vendors, and entertainers stretched along the five blocks of Broadway, with crowds of hundreds of costumed children and their families making their way between them. 

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Most people might think that Rahman, powerful and ancient as he was, wouldn't bother himself with the petty, new traditions of the masses like Halloween. Some of the more educated in the ways of magic among them, might suspect that Rahman's interest in it would be largely magical - after all, Hallow's Eve is a great night for necromancers, when reaching across the veil of death becomes much easier.

 

Both of those people would be wrong. As much as Rahman would dearly love to use the power of Hallow's Eve for himself, with much of his arcane power locked away as it was, the night was of little use to him. The most powerful rituals to take strength from the dead, would not work, and the weakest, were not worth the effort in his current state.

 

Rahman hadn't much bothered hiding his appearance. He hadn't even put on the Illusion of Ibraheem El-Hasheem, merely put on a set of thick, billowy robes, and pulled up the hood. He'd even kept the staff in hand, instead of leaving it in a place far away, to be retrieved by magic when it was required. A man looking like him, on this night, would simply get compliments on how "realistic" his costume looked, after all. He walked down the street, eyes darting right and left, observing the mortals going about their night.

Edited by Almilee

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If Rahman had taken another look at one of the spooky indulgers of rabid and rapid revelry, he may have noticed that one of them seemed a bit too..realistic. Sure, Phantasmo had removed his usual black, well-cut tuxedo, cape, top hat, and domino mask ensemble to go with...A slightly DIFFERENT, GOLD tuxedo and top hat. No cape or mask.  This, coupled with a set of sunglasses to hide the fact that the zombie's eyes were..actually not really there, and were in fact a set of yellow lights in his empty sockets, completed the ensemble.

Normally, he wouldn't have bothered - he liked Halloween, but somehow going out when you were already dead felt like...cheating, somehow...but today, he decided to try something new and go on the town, as it were.

Anyway, when Phantasmo saw Rahman walking down the way, observing the partiers in his smart cloak and staff - VERY classy, VERY classy indeed - He couldn't help but walk up to him and clap him on the shoulder. "Spot-on costume, Duckie! Way to get into the 'spirit" of things, eh?" he said, laughing a bit at his own joke. 

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Rahman twitched suddenly as a hand landed on his shoulder. If he'd had muscles, they would have stiffened at the sudden appearance of someone on his arm. As it was, his old bones simply ceased to move, and he stood stock still in the middle of the street, gauging what would be an appropriate reaction. Finally, the old skeleton settled on an appropriate level of caution. His breathe rasped out, a sibilant hiss, almost sounding as if multiple voices were speaking simultaneously from one throat. "My cosstume? Yess. I have worked hard to get it...jusst right." Ss were stretched slightly beyond what they should, the voice putting slightly too much emphasis on them.

 

"Yourss doess not look too bad, either.." As he spoke, he slid away from Phantasmo, stepping away and turning so he could face his conversational partner and actually get a look at him. The skull that stood in for his head betrayed no emotion - indeed, it would have a hard time showing any - but the flame that sat in his eyes brightened up. "The gold iss...impresssive."

Edited by Almilee

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Phantasmo raised an eyebrow - or at least, he would if he HAD any eyebrows. There was a general air of eye-brow raisyness. Raisiness. You know what I mean. "Right, mate...aren't YOU interesting..."

He smiled. "Either you're really dedicated to the act, duckie, or we have a lot in common, eh? Join me for a drink?" He indicated a booth selling Pumpkin Beer! So Good, It's Scary!  "Not a lot of opportunity for chaps like us to just sit and shoot the shit, son. Hope you don't think me too forward." The zombie bounded over to the stand, purchased two beers, and comes back. He hands a glass of the orange alcoholic beverage to the other undead gentleman, and raises his glass in toast. "To...To something! Sod it, to having a good drink." 

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The skull let out a dark chuckle. "Uss, ssomething in common, eh?" The teeth clacked together and, despite the lack of skin to stretch and make a grin, there was a general feeling that he was smiling, the same way there was a general feeling of Phantasmo's eyebrow raising. A skeletal hand, some parts still covered by paper-thin skin, extended from the depths of his sleeve to grasp the glass he was offered. Rahman raised the glass and let out another chuckle. "To a good drink, then." The skeleton tossed the contents into the skull's mouth, without any real regard for it. Moments later, the quiet sound of liquid dripping onto the ground came from under the robes - which were luckily long enough to completely cover his feet and therefore whatever was going on down there.

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Phantasmo winced a bit at the liquid sound,  feeling a bit insensitive. "Sorry, duckie - I forgot that a lot of chaps with our shared...er...condition aren't exactly strong in the digestion department."

 

The zombie then rubbed his goatee, and thought a bit before asking. "So what do they call you, mate? M'name's Harry Trent, but to the lads - the lads being the local "Tights" crowd - It's Phantasmo The Unliving!" -  His voice suddenly changed to sound like...well, like a Voice Of The Legion would. He smirked. "Bit embellishy, yeah, but I'm nothing if not a showman." 

 

He paused. "Judging by your garb, you're one of those "Necromancer" types. Nothing against you lot, duckie, not in principle, but you know - zombies, Necromancer, dog, cat. It's a...wossname...inherent fear. But you could be a lich, or something to that effect. Or..." He shrugged. "...Could just be a costume and old Phantasmo - that's me - could just be blowing smoke." The zombie seemed to be incapable of shutting up. 

Edited by MisterShoebox

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There was a twitch in the robes that might have indicated that his bony shoulders had shrugged. Or maybe something was just shifting under there. Or, maybe, it was just the wind. "It'ss nothing. It feelss pleassant on my old boness." The voice sounded vaguely amused, like he was having fun with a joke only he understood. "Amongsst the living, I am Ibraheem El-Hashem, but with our kind, I am Rahman the Undying!" The last three words were said with just as much dramatic sense as Phantasmo had said his name with, the voice's echo growing deeper and more noticeable. One of his hands even pushed its way out of his sleeve and formed a claw, the tips of his fingers pointed upwards.

 

After that, however, he returned to his normal speaking voice and pose. "You are right on...many levelss. I am a Necromancer, yess, and a lich." A dark chuckle came from the skull. "Mosst would ssay that the fear, or prejudicce, ssome would ssay, iss desserved. Why not you? What are...you?"

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As the two men walked, Phantasmo shrugged. "Me, I'm a bugger who's been around the world a few times. Digging your way out of your own grave and coming to a city where there are colorful bastards who can shoot lasers out of their eyes and juggle lorries if need be puts things in perspective." 

 

"But if you're referring to how I wound up like I am..." He laughed a bit. It was a dry, not-unpleasant sounding noise. "I made a deal without reading the "Fine Print," let's call it. Word of advice, duckie - when a spindly old git with an odd-looking cane shows up and offers to make you one of the greatest stage magicians in the world, alive or dead, don't say yes. Even to humor the bastard." 

 

He turned to his traveling buddy. "How 'bout you, old son? How'd you wind up immortal, undead, and full of magical hoozits? Only if you feel like sharing, of course. Mrs Trent didn't raise her little boy to be a "Pryer." Well..." he amended. "She didn't raise ME to be a pryer. My brother was a private dick, so he used to pry for a living. Now he raises azaleas." 

 

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Rahman laughed deeply, his skull going back until it seemed just short of bending at an impossible angle, then fell back into its default position. "Yess, thiss ccity is ssurely...colourful..." He shook his head from side to side. "I wouldn't think of accepting, of coursse. I plan to make mysself the greatesst in the world." Another laugh came out of him.

 

"I did this to mysself. Yearss of ressearch and experimentation, culminating in the greatesst achievement of my lifetime." His arms swept apart to indicate his entire body. "Immortality..."

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Phantasmo looked his counterpart up and down, noting his...slender appearence. "...Right...Immortality, huh?" He asked, taking a sip of his beer. "Well...no offense, duckie, I'm sure you're an absolute wizard wizard, but...D'you mean actual immortality, or the type of immortality where once you die, you can't really die again? I mean - and no offense here, mate - don't you need to be alive to be immortal?"

 

He held up his free hand in a disarming gesture. "I know, duckie, "Semantics," but as someone who IS the undead type of immortal - well, I'm a bit confused." 

 

 

Edited by MisterShoebox

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The light in the lich's eye sockets dimmed and flickered for a moment, as he observed his companion. "Immortality iss immortality. What do the conditionss matter? Undeath may not be life, but I ssee it as far better. There iss no need to eat, to drink, to ssleep. Every ssecond of every day can be committed to work and sstudy, or whatever elsse sstrikes my fanccy." These words hiss out even more than the others, emotion seeping into Rahman's speaking voice. "How many of the misseriess of life do we avoid? Mosst, if not all."

 

"You do not undersstand. Your condition wass forcced upon you. I chosse this sstate. I earned it, by the ssweat of my brow, and the toil of my own handss. You may ssee it ass a punishment, a cursse, but to me it iss a gift."

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I understand you're a loony, Phantasmo thought to himself. However, he considered that the man in front of him had probably been around the block a few times and knew what the hell he was talking about. He shrugged it off and sipped his beer again, thinking of something to say.

 

"I don't consider it a curse, Duckie, I consider it...an untended side effect. I signed the damned contract, it's my fault I didn't take the man seriously when he offered. A name like "Mr. Infamy" should have been a clue, I must admit." he said at last. "Besides, enhanced strength, genuine magical powers, detachable limbs, and a unique appearance are all bloody awesome." The zombie conjured up a small coin and began to rotate it across his fingers as he thought. 

 

"My point is, while we do miss out on stuff like pain and disease and hunger, there are some things I do miss about being alive. The feeling of a good cigar, for one thing. That's the real bitch, mate - I can't smoke anymore." He shrugged again. "Minor issue, but I tell you what - going up against demons and ugly buggers like that really makes me wish I could still have the occasional fag or two to calm my nerves." 

 

He patted Rahman on the shoulder. "But if you're happy, Rahman-me-old-skeleton, don't let me piss on your parade, as my dad used to say. To each his own." 

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While the two undead wielders of magic conversed they had received a number of looks from other festival goers, along with several complements on the realism of their "costumes."  But for the most part the pair were left alone in their conversation as those around them focused on other sights and sounds of the event. 

Then, suddenly from further down the block, there was the sound of some commotion, along with a scream.  That was quickly followed by screams from others, and then the commotion began to spread out from whatever was the source.  By the time the pair had turned toward the sounds, people nearby had come to a stop, looking toward the sound while trying to decide if this was part of the event or something else. 

Further down the street, some of the crowd had started running back toward where Rahman and Phantasmo were standing, making members of the crowd near them even more confused.  But then, a small winged figure could be seen flying over the running crowd.  The figure came to a halt to hang on the side of a nearby streetlight, and appeared as some small humanoid creature made of stone.  It let out a low hiss that caused people nearby to turn and run, even as more of those small gargoyles could be seen flying through the sky from further down the street.....

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