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Extinguished (IC)

Curious Key

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Over the past few week, there'd been visitors to the fens, driving in with a sleek, too-nice car, and Cassidy had noticed people he didn't know in the building. Standing alert, aware . . . Aware of him, in fact. Now, they were the only people Cassidy had seen in teh building. And as if that wasn't enough, today it was raining.


The sort of cold, hard January rain that hit the ground and turned to ice. The fens had retreated into itself; no one wanted to step aside for fear of slipping. It made sense, then, that it was a little quiet that night, in Cassidy's apartment. The lack of footfalls above his head, the lack of arguments from next door . . . Maybe it should have comforted him.


At the days' end, the steady pitter-patter of rainfall still audible through the shoddy Fens architecture, Cassidy's phone began to ring.  

Edited by Curious Key
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It had been a fairly long day. Rushing to an important meeting related to a few questions Bonfire still had about an upcoming project of his, much earlier than he would have usually gotten up. After said meeting, he’d quickly returned home, then left to go out on patrol, like usually was the case.


Patrol wasn’t very interesting today. He’d decided to mainly prowl around Wading Way, as recently there hadn’t been a lot of activity. Even when he wasn’t in FC, he had a good idea what was happening. And if there was nothing turning up on anybody’s radar, either things were peaceful, or something big was likely to happen. It seemed to be the latter, as nothing at all happened, and soon he returned home, a bit earlier than usual. He’d managed to make it most of the way before the rain really hit, a big upside.


But somehow, something felt off. He’d only arrived back in FC a few days ago. And yet, something in the neighbourhood had changed. People he hadn’t seen before. Suspicious cars, ones that most likely didn’t belong to AEGIS. And something about the general atmosphere, something that felt off. As he returned from his bathroom after a quick full-body towel wash (he didn’t want to wake up the neighbours!), that became even more clear.


Why would anybody call at … 3AM?? Better be a callcenter or something.


Something was off. He let his phone ring as he grabbed some basic clothes, then took it, went into his bathroom, and once the door had been locked, answered, but didn’t speak just yet. This was too ominous; chances were there’d be an explosion soon.


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"Terrorist," a voice said through the phone, bored, professional. "You're a surprisingly easy man to find, considering what you have done."


There was a moment of staticy silence through the phone. Dashing footsteps through the wall that led out into the hallway. "The damage that you have done to my employers' interest is incalculable," he said, clipped and toneless. On the other end, Cassidy could hear . . . Rain? "While it is unlikely that you will ever be able repay the damage you have done to our interests, it has been decided that an example must be made. You will make up for what you have done."


"Should you submit, my employeers may show you mercy and allow you to participate as an agent. If you do not, you shall spend the rest of your life in a glass tube as part of a generator."


"Let me make this absolutely clear to you, Cassidy Bauer. From this day forward, you shall become our property. The only choice remaining to you is whether you walk or are dragged."

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That was all Cass had to hear. So this was it? A few months of quiet, doing their best to avoid the investigation. Probably gathering forces. And now they came, ready to strike. This wasn’t good. And whoever this was, he was no Gas Man. This was somebody actually dangerous. Cass had prepared for all sorts of scenarios. Most of them involved AEGIS raiding his place, but admittedly he’d also had some plans for this kind of, probably mercenary based, attack.


He’d been quick enough to grab both of his phones, so the situation wasn’t all bad. Just for situations like these, he’d saved his AEGIS contact’s number on both phones. Only had to hope the agency worked outside Nine to Five.


Apartment attacked. Mercs.


Together with a GPS of his current location (it cost a lot of data), he sent it off. Meanwhile, with his other hand, he hit a simple button on his “work” phone. Emergency mode. It was a dead-man’s switch of sorts. He’d commissioned it after his run-in with a fire-extinguisher grenade in November. It would automatically post something on his blog.


Fortunately, he was quick with typing. As he was about to stow away his phones, he realized he’d not grabbed any of his morphic molecule underwear. No pockets here. He’d have to leave his phones behind.


****. ***** ***.


This was an emergency. This wasn’t the time for slow transformations. So, immediately, Bonfire ignited. Stress helped, and within only a few seconds, flesh was replaced with nothing but fire, burning at a massive heat. Not that anybody would see, as at the same time he also hid himself behind a screen of smoke, appearing as pure invisibility to the outside world. So long as they didn’t bring any Infrared. Which was almost guaranteed.


All or nothing now. Ready to shoot a fireball, he flowed through the bottom of the bathroom door. He’d get shot at any second. Once he was back in the main room, he took a quick look around. Nothing yet, and an absence of bullets (or something else!) heading his way. No time to waste. Once more he slipped through a door, this time towards the hallway, once more ready to open fire at any moment.



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As Bonfire escaped his room and under the door, there was a sound of shattering glass behind him. But by them he was already in the hallway. 


There were three. They were dressed in uniform black armor, with infrared goggles and a long, dark weapon that looked less like a gun and more like a long, insulated tube with a nozzle. One, the first he met, was pressed against the wall by Cassidy's door. Her eyes turned down, grabbed the heft of her weapon and aimed it coolly at Bonfire's burning, angry mass. She pulled the trigger releasing a spray of liquid that hissed, dropping the temperature of the room and slamming full on into his 'body.'


Two others waited at the end of the hall,behind corners. One pointed a thumb toward Bonfire and counted 'one-two-three,' then tossed a flashbang over their partner's head. They managed to glance upward at it and turned their face away before it FLASHED bright in the hall. The two at the end of the hall drew their weapons from behind their backs and turned to look down the corridor. 

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First thing he felt when coming through the door was ice. Of some sorts. The kind of thing that was usually used against him. But this time, he was prepared. That, and/or the mix was weaker. It hit him, it burned (?) through the layer of heat protecting him, right into the flame of his body. But it didn’t do much. Some minor damage, a bit of pain.


So they were smart enough to get the right gear.


He was used to this. A bit of pain, nothing special. People actually being equipped to take him down, a bit more special. It happened, but it usually meant they were out on a vendetta. Of course, tracking him to his home and attacking way past midnight were pretty good indicators of that too.


The flashbang was a bit more scary. Containers being thrown at him usually led to bad things. So, in the time he had, he built up a second layer of screen surrounding him. It would hopefully eat most of the explosion’s dama- Oh, it was nothing but a flashbang. He responded with a fairly loud chuckle, warped by the flames. If this was all they’d brought, it would be easy enough.


Time to go on the offense. The layer of smoke surrounding him shot outwards, some flames running through it, revealing the invisible Bonfire, in the form of a man-size flame, one that burned with a lot of power behind it.


“Guys, you could’ve just knocked. And maybe, next time bring better gear. Seriously, at least try, alright? Anyways.” *pssssshhh* And with that, a massive amount of smoke, quite hot one even, filled the room, bursting upwards from the floor, downwards from the ceiling, and from the walls. Heat filled the room, sudden heat, a lot of it.


As he was speaking, he had concentrated into accessing the smoke. A slight layer, forming throughout the entire hallway, and then outside through a window. He’d created all of it, first forming it along the walls, then making it burst inwards.


“C’mon, that can’t be all you’ve sent.”

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Behind Bonfire, the door to his apartment opened wide.


The heavy-duty protective gear that the rest of the agents had, this man had quite simply done without. He was wearing a plain, black suit, slacks and white gloves. Excepting the infrared goggles, he looked more like someone come out of a high society dinner than anything else. Though he must have come through the window out of the rain, he was completely dry. "Cassidy Bauer." The man said in a familiar voice. "Don't make this more difficult than it has to be."

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Oh great. This was just awesome. Of course it couldn’t just be a bunch of people with good, if not good enough equipment. It had to be somebody else. Whatever this guy’s deal was, it was nothing good. Him being a meta was easy enough to tell, and he wasn’t exactly hiding it. Anybody with the confidence to turn up to a fight in a suit deliberately usually meant trouble.


But, so did Bonfire, when he was aflame.  He didn’t move, just letting the flame flicker. Casually, with an air of confidence, he spoke, as if nothing had happened. “You know; you could’ve just invited me. Take me out for dinner first, give me some time. But nooo, you had to rush it. Couldn’t wait, had to get me immediately.”


All the while, he paid full attention to any slight movements. While he sounded relaxed, he wasn’t. He was ready to unleash a rain of fire onto this guy at the slightest move, even if he was standing inside his apartment. The expensive stuff was outside the line of fire. And he wasn’t gonna take the coffee machine hostage, he didn’t look like he was that evil.

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The rainman turned his palm around, quirked it upward, toward Bonfire, and action erupted all at once. A bubble of water sprung up around the intruder, meeting the fire that sprang from Bonfire's hands head on. It held its own for a moment, but the flame broke through, leaving only steam behind and slamming into the rainman, burning a hole in his suit and leaving him with a burnt shouldier.


Meanwhile, water rushed inward from Cassidy's room and closed around Bonfire in an instant, trapping his flames within the water. Liquid gathered around rainman's body, engulfing him now completely, leaving only his face open. He turned his face sideways and flew out of the building through the window, carrying Bonfire up! Windows blurred past, then rooftops, then the open sky. 


They floated together over four hundred feet above the ground, the city laid out before them. "Do you understand your place now, Bauer? Freedom is a privileged. A privilege you have lost." The rainman held up a hand and closed it into a fist.

Edited by Curious Key
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Agh. ****. Ghchk.


Everything happened before Cass really understood what was going on. He’d prepared to attack, and as he shot forwards some fire (doing the best to avoid hitting any of his furniture), he was met with water. Water. Of all things it had to be it was water. He couldn’t have been the man of foggy autumn days, or somebody controlling light. No, it had to be water.


And then, within seconds, he was outside. The water surrounding him evaporated, but more and more was added, meaning the only thing that really happened was a lot of steam. And at some point, Bonfire’s fire would run out. He did his best to struggle, but once the rain began to add on to the watery cage, it was clear that no longer was an option. So, here he was, in the skies of Freedom City, trapped.


Still, he wasn’t beaten just yet. He could still speak, most importantly. “Look, just because I’m in my underwear doesn’t mean you have to wash me. I just did so myself, before you decided to burst in and interrupt.”


“Privileges here, privileges there. It’s always about privileges, isn’t it? Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. Screw privileges. Oh, also, you forgot something. “


It had sort of worked. His opponent had listened to him speak, focused on the part of him that could still get air. And clearly, whoever he was, he hadn’t done his homework. Flames shot out, directly into the face of his opponent. He’d managed to drag his head away at the last second, but he couldn’t avoid the attack entirely, not with this many flames shooting towards him from close range.

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The rainman had heard how much Cassidy Breur hated rain. Thought himself useless in it. Weakened he might have been, but Bonfire was hardly toothless.


He let his guard down . . . And paid the cost with pain.


The fire that sang from him burst straight through the rainman's shield and scorched his exposed face. He recoiled, putting hands over his eyes in a moment of silent pain. His focus lapsed, and the water that had bound Cassidy in place began to fall. 

Edited by Curious Key
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It was at this point that Cass became fully aware of the weather. It was raining. It was actually raining quite a lot. Which explained a few things. Why there still was the sound of water evaporating constantly surrounding him. Why his aim was slightly off. And why he was plummeting towards the ground at high velocity without being able to fly and stop it.


Truth be told, the biggest problem probably was the aim one. Hitting the ground in this form just created some nasty scorch marks on the floor. But other than that, it had never been a problem. Then again, water had never been involved before. At least his enemy wasn’t following him downwards, the attacks had shown some effect.


And why change something that had worked? As he was plummeting downwards, fire continued to erupt from his body, also fire, shooting directly upwards into the sky. Into the sky, and, on some occasions, into this water-controlling guy. A few more solid hits, good enough.


At this point Cass realized he was currently outside his apartment, it was 3 AM, and the two of them were being quite loud in their combat, what with evaporation, blazing, and various loud speaking. But eh, would mean more publicity. And if anything went wrong, somebody would see. Chances were AEGIS still were a few minutes off, if not more. So, he shouted, assisted by his powers.


“Hey, it’s kinda late. Wanna just, dunno, do this somewhere else? Not in the middle of a residential area? I hear Wharton’s lovely this time of day.”

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It was freezing cold. In the air. But still, his fire burned just as hot. As he plummeted, his parting gifts ripped through the rainman's guard yet again, his hands held up in front of him to absorb some of the blow. Not enough, though. His clothes were in tatters, and his bubble of water had lost still more of its density, made more feeble every time he broke so decisively through it.


But for now, at least,he was far outside of Cassidy's natural range.


Out of the corner of his eye, Cassity' saw yet more figures. Two of those shiny, irregular cars, parked across the street from one another, had swung open their doors. And out of each crept yet more of the dark-suited mooks.

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More backup? By now it actually was quite a group of people that had come to this job. Must’ve been well prepared. Whoever was behind this, they had certainly planned. Planned, but forgotten the most obvious fact: You don’t assault Bonfire.


Even in the rain, where he’s weakened. So, more people, still inside their cars, probably waiting for their cue, or for him to be down and hog the glory. Nah, not today. Today, turning up to this mission meant you’d have to deal with the consequences. And consequences, in this case, were smoke.


“C’mon guys, why hide? What’s the matter? Scared?”


Once more, Cass channelled into his smoke. The cars were far apart. And parked between other, civilian cars. No need to do more damage than needed, smoke was enough. Besides, how tough could these cars be in the first place? So, once more, smoke filled the area. The rain made it difficult. Really difficult. He had to turn his attention away from the bigger threat, the guy above. But, better to take out a few, than for them to come in later and mess up the situation.


The layer of smoke built up, on about knee-height, occasionally being pierced by the rain, but staying mostly intact. And then, one moment to the next, pillars of smoke burst upwards.

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The goons flew backward, propelled up by the smoke before they had a chance to do anything at all, propelled gracelessly up into the air as they screamed. One landed on top of their own car, leaving a dent in the hood and starting the high whine of an alarm.


But they'd done their job. For a moment, Bonfire's attention was turned away from the man in the sky. Rainman turned downward and sped, like a bullet, directly toward Bonfire before pulling up, circling in the air high above. He held out a hand and, even from here, Bonfire could see water gathering into a ball at his palm. It came out in a bolt, a long line of water so fast it was more like a bullet. It grazed just past where Bonfire's ear would be and cut deep through a car behind him and out the other end.

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This was starting to become more and more effort. All these attacks, all this burning, and all the rain constantly extinguishing the uppermost layer of his fire meant that Cass wasn’t entirely sure how long he’d be able to keep up doing this. At some point, something would not work, and then the issues would come.


Of course, that would barely matter if this guy ended up shooting bullets made of water. “Hey! Collateral damage! Careful!” The first one had just barely missed, so at least now Cass knew what was coming. But, how would he fight it? There wasn’t a whole lot he could do. He couldn’t fly, and the attacker was too far away to get a proper hit in. Without the rain Bonfire would’ve probably gone and shot, but with it, it was just a waste of energy. He had to try something else.


So, he gathered power. His opponent may have moved out of range, but that did not mean he was safe. The residual heat in the air around the Rainman gathered, and after a few moments, a fiery explosion filled the sky. It was a lot less effective than targeted flames, but it definitely hit, even at that distance.


However, as the fire disappeared once more, it became clear that that wasn’t nearly enough.

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Rainman was raising a hand to take aim at Bonfire again even as he volleyed another attack toward him. There was an explosion of power, fire and steam. It parted around Rainman like water around a ship's bow, guided away from him by his barrier. When the smoke cleared, he was still floating there, right hand pointed toward Bonfire, an orb of water in his hand. He narrowed his eyes behind his goggles, taking more careful aim, now . . . The lance wasn't quite so big this time, but it hit on its mark, and hard, throwing Bonfire backward. 


Easily, Rainman pulled the white glove off his left hand. It was white, not white as some men like to call themselves but white like the snowcaps of Antarctica. The rainman held his ungloved hand off to the side and clenched it.

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With Bonfire blasted back and distracted, the Rainman had an easy second shot . . . But he didn't take it. He angled toward, closing the distance between them in a moment, landing with a splash. Cassidy was living flame, but he didn't seem to care; he shoved his left hand into the center of his burning mass. Water began to pool and flow around the battered Cassidy, then . . . freezing. Leaving the burning man encased in ice. 


"Can you hear me?" The man's mouth, until this moment a firm, serious line, quirked upward at the edge. "Do you know your true crime, Cassidy Bauer?" The rainman pulled the glove that he'd left back out of his pocket and slipped it back on. "Hubris. A little power, and you forget your place. We are little men, standing at the feet of gods. That is the difference between you and I. Take my advice." He said, raising his right hand as water bubbled and boiled in a sphere around it. "It will happen regardless. Let go."


For the first time, there was a little emotion in his voice. It was hard to describe. Something softer, perhaps. "It gets easier."


His hand twitched and sent out another attack, aimed straight into Cassidy's center. He couldn't run. Couldn't dodge. It hit him hard, full on, with terrible strength. 

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Something tickled the edge of Cassidy's unconscious mind. Sounds. Noise. Voices?


Will it work?”


“This was the most effective device that we could purchase given the short notice.”


Do you mean to suggest that you suspected I would fail?


We simply wished to send him a message . . .”


. . . And then hope that we defaulted on our contract, hoping to keep your money. That's the kind of men you are, after all.


How dare—“


Quiet. I'm about turn it on.”


Yes, but will it work?”


Barring a miracle, yes. Cassidy Bauer will never wake again.”


A jolt of something rang through his mind, something he could feel even through his unconscious haze. StranglingGasping . . . It felt like drowning.




The creature that did not deserve a name could no longer tell what direction was 'up' or 'down.' The world pressed on all sides, as it always had, as it always would. (It's water pressure. Water pressure. Don't you miss the air? Don't you miss the sky?) His body was encased in something like stone. He belonged here. He was at home here. (Coral. You're trapped in coral. How?)


There was no change. Change did not exist. All was nothing. Nothing was all. (This isn't right! This isn't right!)


Then, change came. It radiated something bright and unnatural, it was abomination, it was monstrous. (Light! Its light!) The abominable power framed a halo around it, drawing out its silhouette in the dark, taking the shape of a man. (What is a man? Are you a man?)


Bubbles emerged from the abominations head, and something gurgling and incomprehensible could be heard. (You know him, don't you? You know him.


The abomination held out a hand. It lies. Do not take it. (Take it! Take it!)

Edited by Curious Key
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Something. Something was happening. Or was it nothing? What was something? And what nothing? Empty? Full? What were these, and what was happening? What was happening? What was? Something – or perhaps nothing, pushed. It was a comfortable push. Was it a push? Something, there was something. A feeling? What was a feeling? Perhaps a sensation? It felt like something somebody would call a sensation.


And then, ripped out of it. The … sensation it was called? subsided. Replaced. Something new. Something good? Good … that sounded right. Something happened. The endless void (was it a void?) changed. Change … another thing that sounded right. Something, something pushing against it. No. Cannot lose this. Something, something that did not … feel … right. What was this? Something, coming closer. Was there such a thing as closer? It did not matter.


Sensations. They felt right. No time to wait. Something, something told … something told to go on. Outwards. Outwards, towards this.

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Yes! YES!


The heretic creature reached out his hand toward the abomination and clasped it. You'll hurt so many. You'll hurt yourself. Stop. Keeping going! Submit. Stay strong! LET GO. HANG ON!


Let There Be Light.


The abomination smiled, dissolved into energy and coursed through the heretic's body and blossomed with unholy strength. The coral's hold broke at his touch. Was it ever really there? The fire within him cast a solitary light through the dark water.


There were two things within his sight. First, the infinite depths below, descending into darkness, and the vastness above. Though the water pressed in hard, the heretic seemed close to neither surface nor bottom. There was, with a certainty that he knew up from down, that there was not bottom. That the water expanded forever. 


Second was the tower.


he stood within a rusted factory overgrown with coral as fish spun through shattered windows and waterlogged machinery. But he could see through the window outside as it buried into the steel skeleton of an unfinished skycraper that flowed into a smokestack, from which poured the holy darkness through which the heretic could find salvation, if they just. Let. Go.


This can't be real.

Edited by Curious Key
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Darkness. Then light. And back to darkness.


And then light again.






Something below. Below, yes, that was the direction. Darkness, but not complete darkness, like before. Something more … real? Less real? No, it wasn’t less real. This definitely felt more real, as things moved, and the up above came into view. Something else.




Emptiness. But a different kind of emptiness. Calling out. Empty, yet full of potential. There was a word for it. Something happened, a strange feeling. This word. What was it. One that seemed familiar, yet also foreign.




Wh…at? … yeah…


Something returned. Or was born. Either way, there was more. More of everything, as the light became less bright. Less bright, but at the same time, it took form. It was no longer Light and Darkness. The two had combined, to become something more balanced. Parts of light, parts of darkness, forming outlines, shapes.


The shapes became clearer, and so did the thoughts. What was happening? It did not matter. Whatever energy he had, he only knew one thing to do. To bring the heat.





Edited by olopi
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The heretic reached inside themselves_and . . . No! Stop!_Turn back before it's too la


Cassidy. Yes. Cassidy Bauer. That was his name.


As he kindled his fire, impossibly, his powers kindled just the same.At the very most, the water should have turned to steam around him, but instead a wave of raw, unfettered fire burned around him. The oppressive weight of the water, the feeling of it pulled back into his throat . . . It was all still there. But if any doubt remained, this was not the real world. From the top of the tower, Bonfire could hear a soft, beautiful song trying to insinuate itself into his ears. It sounded like it feels to watch your family die.


It is not too late. The words slipped through Cassidy's mind as though they were his own thoughts, but their texture was strange. The song rose in timber to a screech that made the landscape shake. Phantom hands grasped from the darkness. The fire is too bright. The light, harsh, burning. Welcome the dark. Sleep. Shapes began to spin outward from the tower, swimming rapidly around it, while a black hand the size of a house seized the platform on which Cassidy stood and, with a crack, began to break it free.

Edited by Curious Key
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Wh– … Uuuh ….


Something. Something was happening. What was it?


Where …. How ….


Was this real? No? Yes? Probably? No, no. This was … something. Something, but not real. Or was it? Doubt filled his mind.


Come … on …


Doubt. That was a thing, yes. That meant something. What did it do? Was it … good? Was it bad? Was it neither, or maybe both?


No …. No … This …


Did it really matter? Did anything matter? Something. And then, a sound. A sound most strange. It sounded … good. Good, but also wrong. Drawing closer …. Pushing away…


I … amBo-


No. No. Something was off. There was something strange. This wasn’t right. So much was certain now.


Up … there …


What was there to do? The only thing that felt natural. The platform, breaking away. Take to the skies. Ascend. Ascend, towards the tower. More heat, more heat.  What was this song? Was it something one could reach?

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Fiery, glorious in a world of absolute nihilism, Bonfire rose. The broken skyscraper town faded beneath him as the platform was sheered, violently from its place and dragged into the void, gone the same way a child forgets what is no longer immediately in front of its face. This world reacted to his ascension with violence and hate. The song picked up its pace, from a slow, mournful crescendo to a militant dirge.  . 


From the outer dark, the hands groped toward Bonfire. He was too fast for them. The countless hoards were left behind as he climbed, as great dark hands tore pieces of the tower below away and began to pull the whole structure down into nothing. But some were faster than the rest, fast enough keep pace. Six came close enough for him to make them out clearly against the blackness outside. Two of them twined together into a single ten-digited appendage that spiraled toward him, but Bonfire was quicker than the hands. They grabbed the empty air behind him as he soared upward.


One of the creatures circling the tower approached him. It was . . . What? A disembodied hand, holding an enormous phone?  "Hubris." Its words echoed. "That is what brought you here. That is what will destroy you. I warned you, troublemaker. I warned you that it would end like this. Why fight? Your end will come, no matter who stands in your way." 


"If you fight, you will fail. Today, tomorrow . . . You will fail. And in the end, all you have done will have meant nothing. Break the cycle. Submit."

Edited by Curious Key
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