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Tuesday

April 26, 2016

Wading Way, Freedom City

 

Being a bank is always a hazardous proposition, even under the best of circumstances. Having millions of dollars all kept in a single location can make a tempting target for any so-inclined lowlifes in the area, no matter how well-guarded said millions of dollars may be. In Freedom City, this goes double. Some would think that being located in the superhero center of the world would make the banks a less tempting target. In fact, it only serves to attract a very specific type of robber - the type that wears tights and wields death rays.

 

However, even in Freedom City, there are unusual sights. Two of these unusual sights were just now shambling into the Eastern Seaboard Bank, mute and rotting. A pair of grey-skinned, half-decomposed corpses, clad in tattered suits, their eyes filmy and their mouths hanging open as if in silent shock. A security guard, reacting with commendable presence of mind, grabs for his sidearm and manages to fire three shots into one of the corpses' chest before it, with frightening speed, backhands him and sends him sprawling twenty feet.

 

Screams break out - immediately nearly everyone in the bank begins streaming out through the doors, past the creatures, who don't seem the least bit interested in the fleeing civilians. Only the bank tellers remain where they are, crouching behind the bulletproof-glass partitions at their stations. One of the creatures staggers up to the counter, and mutely slams down a large, moldy burlap sack on the surface. A wooden sign is hung around its neck - the words "MONEY IN BAG" painted crudely upon it.

 

With well-practiced and only slightly feigned calm, one of the tellers reaches unseen under the table and repeatedly mashes the silent alarm button...

Edited by R. Bluefish

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   Pay day, the one day of the month Damon had no plans for the afternoon, at least until classes started up again. Not that Damon had a paycheck to deliver, again, not until classes started up again. So, having nothing better to do, Damon had started wandering the streets of his new home. He wasn't quite sure, but he was fairly certain that even in a city as odd as Freedom City seemed to be, the walking dead were not something that was exactly "normal".

   This was confirmed when they walked into a bank and not three seconds later gunfire rang out. 

   So, as people began running out of the building, Damon stepped into an alley and, after making sure that there was a reasonable chance that no one would see him, had his cloak shift into his Mage's Robes and put his hood up to hide his face.

   Prepped, Mr. Blue walks into the bank hoping to get to get the jump on the two zombies inside.

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Seth Machan hadn't expected to fight zombies today, or at least not during his lunch break. Some people would never consider that as a possibility, but Seth had a wider experience than most; fighting zombies was the least of it. He just hadn't expected it when going into his bank to get a loan. Of course, now that the situation had come up he knew how to handle it.

 

He adjusted his suit and walked up to the shambling corpse in the lead of the pack. He tapped the dead body on the shoulder; when its dead eyes turned to him, he cleared his throat significantly. "You need to queue up for a teller," he informed it clearly. "You're being very rude, you know. Everyone else has been waiting patiently," he added. "You can't just jump to the front of the line."

Edited by Raveled

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The corpse stared at him with blank, milky eyes, apparently uncomprehending. Moments passed, then some sort of decision seemed to be reached in what passed for its mind, and it turned its back on him once more, ignoring him - and oblivious to the robed man who slipped unseen into the building. A low, hollow moan rattled forth from its gaping mouth and it slammed a fist down on the bag, impatiently punctuating its demand.

 

The unfortunate teller - a paunchy, balding man who was cowering behind the glass - stared at Seth in disbelief. "Are you crazy?" he hissed, trying to keep one eye on the two corpses. "Get away from it before it kills you! Get out of here, we'll just give it the money!"

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Grateful that the door hinges are well oiled, Mr. Blue is surprised to see The Stranger in the bank already, though he doesn't recognize him yet. Hearing his... well "exchange" isn't quite the right word. Hearing what the strange man said to the corpse, Mr. Blue decides to see about moving the odds in their favor, and tries to cut off the energies animating the corpse farther from their source.

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Seth looked the dead man full in the face and stepped back, glancing around the room to gauge the reaction. It didn't seem like the necromancer was in the building with them, which made the situation both simpler and more complicated. Smashing dead bodies barely counted as exercise, but if the necromancer wasn't dealt with, it wouldn't count for much. Someone powerful and skilled enough to send his minions across the city like this could create more without much trouble.

 

His assessment done, the slim man turned away from the zombie and walked back through the crowd, slipping between people and worming his way into the back. The back of the bank would normally have been well-guarded, but for the moment it seemed like everyone was up near the tellers, watching the dead men. Seth took the opportunity to walk into an empty conference room, locking the door behind him and checking that the blinds were closed. Confident that he wasn't being watched, the man closed his eyes and changed.

Edited by Raveled

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The walking corpses reacted to Mr. Blue's spell with visible confusion and unease - they seemed unsure of what he had done, but they at least appeared to be register it as hostile. Their movements were clumsy and hesitant, wavering between the empty sack and Mr. Blue - then they seemed to reach a decision, and unearthly howls issued from their gaping mouths as their lips peeled back, revealing yellow teeth and grey gums. Their hands clenched into fists as they lurched forward, intent on destroying whatever it was that was keeping them from their mission.

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One of the creatures charged at Mr. Blue - and it was a charge, far faster than any zombie had a right to be able to move - sprinting across the bank floor at a terrifying pace. Snarling, it swung a rotting fist at his head, trying to crush his skull with a single blow. Fortunately for the sorcerer, the blow was clumsily aimed, and he was able to time his duck perfectly, allowing the undead creature's fist to sail harmlessly past over his head.

 

Apparently tired of waiting for the bank employees to comply with its demand, the other creature leaped up on the counter - the tellers scattering on the other side of the partition - and began slamming its knuckles repeatedly into the bulletproof glass. Instantly spiderweb cracks began spreading over the surface as the glass cracked under the strength of the monster's inhuman onslaught. It was plain to the onlookers that the glass wouldn't hold for long...

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The Stranger floated up into the air, his feet floating inches above the ground for a moment before he darted forward. The door was blown off its hinges as he flew back into the common area. He took in the scene in an instant and grabbed at the zombie who was trying to beat its way through the bulletproof glass. He grabbed its hair and pulled, hauling its head back by brute strength. "This isn't how you get good service," he said, his voice level. The zombie flailed ineffectually at him for a moment, then there was a sound like tearing leather and the monster's scalp came away in the Stranger's hand. Free once again, the creature resumed battering the glass.

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Stepping out of the way of the zombie's attack, Mr. Blue shouts out, "I got of this one!" with a huge smile on his what you can see of his hooded face. Mr. Blue placed his hand and says in an old, old dialect of Persian, "به تو برکت دهد." 

A blue flash and a smell of ozone later, the zombie is still there, but is clearly worse for ware.

Spoiler

"Bless you."

 

Edited by Elohdon

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Mr. Blue's spell sent the zombie skidding backward on its heels across the bank floor, smashing through a glass pane and slamming into the wall, where it barely managed to keep its feet. It scrabbled its hands against the wall as it attempted to regain its balance, its feet sliding clumsily on the shards of broken glass.

 

The other creature roared at the Stranger, groping questioningly at its own head. Apparently enraged by the loss of its scalp, it abandoned its assault on the bulletproof glass and flung itself at him, arms wide, fists clenched. Its strength out-measured its grace, however, and its blow went wide, its fist whistling harmlessly through the space where the Stranger's head was a moment ago.

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The Stranger dropped his gory trophy and floated back, observing the creature's wild flailing with detachment. At least he had drawn it off the teller; with the civilian safe, he reached out his hand towards the undead creature. "Give me your strength, rotted beast," he hissed. "Tell me what bins you, and undo it!" He reached out with inhuman power and plucked at the threads tying the corpse together, seeking the cut the strings and drop it.

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From his vantage point above the bank floor, Mr. Blue shouts out to The Stranger, "You are slightly creepy, did you know that?" His tone indicating that it was an observation rather than an insult.

He quickly gathers his aura about him and sends it against the zombie he'd claimed, those who saw it each seeing something slightly different, whether it be a thrown knife, a ball of fire, or something else. 

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The first creature seemed to be just regaining its balance when Mr. Blue's second spell slammed into it, smashing it to the ground. It let out a howl of rage and frustration, but its movements seemed slower and clumsier than they had been. It was visibly damaged now, with jagged bones protruding from its flesh at unnatural angles, and its clothes hanging off in tatters.

 

The other creature made a grab for The Stranger, but again it was too slow - its fists closed empty, grasping nothing but the air. It snarled, its rotting features contorting into a nightmarish expression of anger. Sirens could be heard wailing in the distance now, the two heroes apparently not the only ones responding to the event.

Edited by R. Bluefish

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The Stranger ducked back out of the zombie's reach before charging back in. He grabbed the zombie's arm, yanking and separating the monster's arm from its desiccated body. "Your master shoudl understand," he said, "that attacking any place in Freedom City is a fool's endeavor." He considered the arm for a moment, then tossed it over his shoulder. "I regret having to do damage to whomever claimed this body before, but you have forced my hand."

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The magical bolt hits the zombie again, and again it takes a chunk of dead flesh out of the undead abomination. "By the way stranger, What should I call you?" Mr. Blue asks as he preps another shot, wanting to finish it off so he could figure out where the creatures came from.

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The creature engaging the Stranger paused, looked at the ragged stump where its arm used to be, and let out a sound almost like a sigh. Having apparently reached its limit, it sagged, dropped to its knees, then face-planted. Spastic, twitching movements shuddered through its body, then it was still, the breath rattling from its now-inert lungs.

 

The other zombie did not pass as peacefully - Mr. Blue's spell blasted a hole in its chest nearly the size of a soccer ball. It stared at him for a moment, angry disbelief appearing to register faintly on its rotting face, reached out towards him, and promptly fell in half. Its separate, ghastly halves were inert at once, the magic that animated them now severed.

 

Seeing that the danger had apparently passed, the tellers began to poke their heads out from behind the counter, and from outside, police officers with readied weapons began to cautiously approach the building.

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The Stranger floated to the ground, bare feet touching the carpeted floor for the first time. He considered the arm in his hand for a moment, making sure that the corpses weren't getting up again. When he was satisfied that the zombies were down for the count, he dropped the arm onto its body and turned to the tellers. "Excuse me," he said, his blank face moving the absolute minimum required to speak. "Have you angered a necromancer lately? Perhaps turned down a loan mean for drippy candles or medical cadavars?"

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Mr. Blue 'ports down to the bank floor and and walks over to The Stranger, saying, "More likely it was straight-up bank-robbery. Your corps had a sign around it's neck demanding the teller put money in the bag they brought with them. By the way, call me Mr. Blue, What should I call you? Also," He turns to the tellers and the glass the revnants started to break, "if you don't mind, I'll take care of repairs." With that he gestures towards the teller windows and magics them whole again, along with the damage to the walls that had occurred during the fight.

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One of the tellers - the same one that had spoken to the Stranger before - slowly emerged from behind the counter, eyeing the now-genuinely-dead corpses warily. "What?" he asked distractedly. "A...necromancer? I don't think so. I mean, I don't know. What do they look like?" He looked up at the spiderweb of cracks that had formed across the surface of the glass under the zombie's assault and swallowed hard. "Also...thank you."

 

Meanwhile, a handful of police officers entered the building with weapons drawn, apparently deeming that now that the two heroes had taken care of everything, it was safe to come protect and serve. Seeing the dead bodies, they holstered their guns with visible relief, just in time to start violently when Mr. Blue's spell repaired the room. The cracks in the glass faded away in an instant, and the walls now looked better than they had before the fight.

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The floating man regarded the building as it knitted itself back together, noting the power with an internal distaste. He waved the police off, rotating in mid-air to consider to man in blue. "I am a stranger," he said, "but even I would look twice at a dead man walking through the streets. People are not as jaded as comedians would tell you, so someone should have seen something." He glanced down at the bodies. "At the extremity, these bodies should be returned to their resting places. Their relatives will probably appreciate the gesture," he added dryly.

 

The man in the tattered suit floated over to the foremost police officer. "Officer," he said. "I need to know if anyone has seen a dead man walking through the city, or if someone has been digging up graves."

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"A good point, I'll ask around and see if any of the local ghosts know of a necromancer in town. How would you like me to contact you if I find anything?" Mr. Blue assumed that any necromancer would have attracted the notice of the local dead-but-not-departed. He seems to not quite understand The Stranger's comment about reburying the bodies, though the look quickly passes. "I'd be willing to bet that these two were raised from the ground near wherever the sorcerer is holed up."

As he says the word sorcerer his voice gets a bit of a bite to it, clearly Mr. Blue doesn't like them.

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The police officer was obviously trying not to stare at the Stranger's unearthly visage, but she managed to pull herself together enough to respond. "A dead man walking  through the city? I haven't heard any reports of anything like that, and even in this city that would get someone's attention." She pulled her eyes away from his face and pointed outside. "The dispatcher made it sound like the two...zombies, I guess...just walked out of some kind of glowing portal outside, which disappeared a second later. But...graves?" She scratched her chin thoughtfully. "Come to think of it, we did get briefed a week or two ago about corpses disappearing from one of the city's morgues." She looked from one of them to the other. "Could that be it?"

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"Two corpses have disappeared and now two corpses have turned up," the Stranger mused. "It seems likely that they are connected. And if they're not, then someone is lying." He returned to the corpses and looked down at them, considering the situation. The bodies had been brutalized by the short fight in the bank lobby, but before that they had been touched by fell magics. The Stranger landed again and knelt by the corpses, feeling their cold skin with none of the reserve the living normally treated their dead with. He had been working magic, he had been of magic, for longer than human history; if the necromancer had left any clues behind, the Stranger would find it.

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The Stranger knelt and ran his hands down the bodies, feeling their cold skin and examining them closely. He did it with a detached air, apparently unconcerned that he was handling a dead body that had been attacking him mere moments ago. He checked the their foreheads, their fingers, he even rooted around in their mouths. Finally he put one body on its back and ripped open its neat Oxford shirt, buttons flying everywhere. One of the police officers finally stepped forward to stop the macabre show, but the Stranger stood up suddenly, smiling. "A skull," he said, then turned to Blue. "There's a skull burned into the chest, about the size of my thumb. I think there's a good chance we're not dealing with a real magus, but just someone using a convenient ritual or magical device. Someone who doesn't know much about what they're doing." His tone was satisfied, even happy, a stark contrast to his ghoulish work.

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