Legends of TFF

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by I. R. Shogun, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    In the Beginning
    Chapter 1: New In Town

    The wagon pulled up slowly to the gates of the city. The guards checked over it quickly, their faces not showing any particular interest in their constant work. They had performed these motions over forty times today alone, and the sun hadn’t even reached mid-sky yet. The wagon itself was small, the cheapest model you could find a driver for, and the passengers were testament to this fact. Many came to this city, recognizing it as the city of change, of opportunity, if you could forge a name for yourself here, you would be known to all of the land, and if not, then you would die among friendly enough people. The riders were mostly unremarkable, save for one man who made a trip not simply from around the land of TFF, but from another land altogether. A land called WK, one that he would never return to.

    Ender, that’s what he would call himself by, his real name. Funny, he and Glo… Shogun, had known each other for so long, and only recently had they told each other their real names. It seemed to Ender that they’d always call each other by the names they’d given themselves in WK, back in those easier, happier days of their youth. That really didn’t matter though, those days were gone, and Ender didn’t like to live in the past. Shogun had found this place just before they’d left WK for good, he’d told Ender about opportunities for warriors being plentiful here, but he hadn’t given any ways to find him. It seemed to Ender that he wanted to be nameless in this place, but knowing him, that wouldn’t last.

    Ender pushed those thoughts aside, Globkr… Shogun would show up eventually, for now, Ender was interested in establishing a bit of a name for himself in this town. Once he reached the bustling Elven Pub, he figured he’d found the perfect place to meet a few people. The interior of the building was far more diverse than the name and altogether unremarkable outside would lead you to believe. Every manner of creature, human, elven, ogre, halfling, all of them were gathered within this one brightly lit and welcoming establishment.

    He took a seat at the bar next to a grim looking gentleman who looked to need a shave, and seemed rather cold, being drawn so deeply into his heavy coat and wearing his wide brimmed hat so low. The woman at the bar greeted him cheerily, and handed him a mug before he’d even ordered. To his surprise it was filled with the exact type of ale that he’d desired, amazing those elves. He took a few swigs before turning to the man next to him, “So, what’s your name? I’m Ender-Zero, I’m new in town.”

    The grim looking man turned to him and took a long hard look at him. His eyes were so hardened, as if he’d come through a thousand battles and lost them all. He seemed to take note of the chain shirt and unarmored trousers Ender wore as if they were a mark of arrogance. On the other hand he did nod as he scanned Ender’s short chopped hair. Finally the man spoke, “What elf, do you have a death wish? I can tell you’re a warrior by the scars on your arms, but you hardly wear any armor, and the strap that’s holding your sword on looks like it’s about to break. All you elves, you live five times as long as a man does but you don’t appreciate how precious life is any more than we do.”

    “Wha?” asked Ender simply, not truly understanding what the man was talking about.

    “Sorry, I’m just having a rough day is all,” said the man. “Name’s Herald of Woe, part of the Spamopolis Defense Force. The case we’ve been working on lately isn’t turning out too well for a few reasons. What brings you to Spamopolis Ender?”

    “Well, things got a little hostile for warriors back in my most recent homeland,” said Ender. “And I heard from a friend that TFF was a bit more welcoming, and that of all the cities Spamopolis has the most to offer.”

    “Who’s the friend?” asked Herald.

    “His real name is I. R. Shogun, but he also answers to The Dack and Globkrut,” said Ender.

    “Never heard of him, although the name Shogun sounds a bit familiar,” said Herald.

    “He said his family was well known,” said Ender. “Anyway, you said that you were having trouble on a case?”

    “Yeah, the Spamopolis Defense Force is like town guard Special Forces,” explained Herald. “As such we only get called in for cases that normal guards can’t handle. Most recently, that comes down to a vampire lord who blew into town recently. His name’s Count Von Badguy, and while we don’t have any hard evidence, every recent blood crime in the city seems to point to the only known vampire here.”

    “That does seem bothersome,” said Ender. “Is there anything else to it?”

    “Unfortunately,” said Herald. “We’re apparently not the only ones looking into the vampire problem. The last few nests we’ve stumbled on were already wiped out. And when we asked the people who supplied the stakes that had been used, a pair of traveling merchants, they weren’t the most helpful people. Just said to ask the Avenger, which is a reference to a local legend. Nut job calling himself the Holy Avenger, striking down evil, defender of the weak, all that fairy tale bs people try to hide behind that just gets in the way of people like us. What’s more, the other creatures of the night around town aren’t being very helpful.”

    “Other creatures?” asked Ender.

    “The Wolf Pack,” said Herald. “Their leader is the oldest Wolf I think anyone around these parts has ever run across. She’s smart, but she’s not particularly interested in the way things are run in the city. Her and hers generally stick to their cave, although a few come around in man form from time to time. Anyway kid, thanks for listening, but you really aught to be getting somewhere for the evening. Murder Row is even less safe at night than it is during the day.”

    “Uh, right, any ideas of a place where I could stay the night for… nothing?” asked Ender.

    “Heh, only place that comes to mind is Liv’s Library, two blocks over,” said Herald.

    “Hm, a library, well, sounds as good as anywhere, thanks for the talk Herald, maybe I’ll see you around sometime,” said Ender as he ran out of the pub.

    “Maybe… crazy ass elves…” muttered Herald as he prepared to leave himself.

    Ender ran through the streets, narrowly avoiding collisions purely by the swiftness of his feet. He didn’t need to run, he could always take to the air, but Ender generally didn’t like flying, it didn’t feel enough like he was doing anything. Nevertheless he made it to the library just as the sun was setting. It was a small building, but it had the inspiring and artistic qualities one generally came to expect from a well kept and respected library. Despite the outward appearance though, the interior was anything but ordinary. It was much larger inside than it could possibly have been outside. Three levels packed with countless shelves, statues, and all manner of spirits bombarded patrons with sights unlike anything they were likely to encounter outside.

    Ender entered with his jaw gaping, but it dropped even further when the woman who was apparently the librarian stepped out from behind one of the shelves, and without looking up from the book with an interesting arrangement of triangles on the front spoke to him, “Welcome to the library, how can I help you?” She was just a few inches shorter than Ender, she kept a pair of thick rimmed spectacles somehow just at the tip of her nose, and her hair was kept tied back tight, but aside from that, the casual attire she wore, not really notable in any way aside from the elven chain around her neck, seemed aimed at completely disarming anyone that entered this place. Ender had met the elf of his dreams.

    “Uh, yeah, I need someplace to stay for the night and someone suggested here,” said Ender.

    “Well, you’re free to spend as much time here as you like. Just don’t open the door in back on the third floor, and I hope you don’t mind that we leave the lights on,” said the librarian.

    “Not at all,” said Ender.

    At that moment a man clad in form fitting armor, seemingly crafted from innumerable enchanted materials, and wearing a long piece of cloth around his waist, appeared from another set of bookshelves. “Thanks for the info Liv, things should get easier now,” he said.

    “No problem Holy, always glad to help an urban myth,” said the librarian, Liv was her name.

    The warrior, Holy, apparently being his name, only chuckled as he left. “Who was that?” asked Ender.

    “The Holy Avenger of coarse,” said Liv with a smile. “Everyone comes here when they need to know something and have no where else to look.”
  2. Kenshin

    Kenshin Drifter

    Jan 23, 2007
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    "Count Von Badguy"
    lol I love it :D

    that was good, anxious for more
  3. Herald Of Woe

    Herald Of Woe Scourge of the seven seas

    Jul 4, 2007
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    Awesome. I cant wait for more.
  4. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    I know it's my fault for not mentioning this before, but please don't post in this thread, as it's supposed to be an easy access reference thing for me. Feedback is appreciated but I prefer you post in the version of the thread that's in spam
  5. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

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    Chapter 2: Young Blood

    Several hours passed in a relative silence, even for a library. Liv sat at the circulation desk while Ender wandered the seemingly infinite shelves, awestruck at the range of the building. One truly could find anything here, from simple collections of legends to detailed conjurers instructions. Seeing the possibilities of what was in here Ender wondered what that man, the Holy Avenger, could have been looking for. According to the two people he’d talked to thus far in the city he was something of a mythic figure, could his research be limited to just the local vampire problem? Or was he researching beyond that even now?

    Finally growing bored of his wandering in the shelves Ender made his way back to the front in an attempt to get to know the woman that ran this amazing place. When he reached the front she was flipping through that book she’d been holding when he’d first arrived, she appeared to be bored, but at the same time content, Ender just hoped she didn’t mind being distracted from her reading, “So Liv, how long have you been here in Spamopolis?” he asked.

    Liv looked at him for a second, then turned her head up as if to examine the ceiling as she thought about the answer to that question, “Well, I was just a little girl when my family first came to TFF, it wasn’t even TFF back then, so I’ve been in the land itself most of my life, and I was here when Spamopolis was founded six years ago. My mom had the library built, and then gave it to me to run. She said this city would need a place just like this, and a good librarian to keep everything in order. Although she also did it to keep me hidden from the mad god, but I’d rather not talk about that.”

    “Has she been right so far?” asked Ender.

    “Not exactly…” said Liv.

    “What do you mean?” asked Ender.

    “Well, almost any time there’s some kind of chaos going on it always seems to stem from something that happened here,” said Liv. “Not to mention all the fires and wars that have gone on and only affected this place.”

    “So it’s like a center for activity?” asked Ender.

    “Yeah, this place and the Elven Pub are the most commonly frequented buildings in all of Spamopolis, and most of TFF for that matter,” said Liv.

    Before Ender could say anything the doors of the library swung wide and a man in heavy robes stumbled in, breathing heavily and looking as if he was running for his life, “Gods… help me to live another night…”

    “Count!” said Liv as she suddenly rose and ran to the side of the apparently injured man. “Are you alright?”

    “For now,” the man answered. “Normally with things the way they are people that hate my kind will simply avoid us, but this pair tonight… they blind sided me with magelight bombs, in an honorable battle I’d defeat them both, but there was nothing I could do to resist their ambush. I’m sorry that I must have led them here, they’ll soon be upon us.”

    “It’s no problem, I can stop them here,” said Liv.

    “They won’t need long, by the time your reflexes allow you to act, I may already be slain,” said the man. “And they have enough jammers with them to make sure you can’t stop them if they need to take their time.”

    “Well… hide, I’ll try to signal for Avenger,” said Liv.

    Unfortunately there was no time for that. The doors burst from their hinges as heavily set alchemist fire charges were set off. When the initial daze had worn off the three within the library were greeted by the sight of two young warriors, one a human in a dwarven steam skeleton, and the other a squirrel man in full armor. “Don’t worry good people, that devil won’t terrorize you any longer, we’re here to take him out,” said the squirrel.

    “That was my line, but whatever, come here vampire,” said the human as he guided his mech forward, extending its crushing pincer toward the downed man.

    “I don’t think so,” said Liv as she extended her hand. Crackling energies surrounded her palm, but before she got a chance to set the spell off the squirrel shot something from one of his gauntlets, a dart that screamed on contact. Liv crumbled to the ground in pain as the jammer disrupted the magics she used through sheer unbearable pain. Luckily, all defenses weren’t lost.

    Ender flew forward with speed like the wind, planting his foot hard against the chest of the human and flinging him back, forcing him to compensate painfully for the sudden shift in weight. As the squirrel readied his sword Ender pulled his own free, and boosted by his flight clashed viciously with the squirrel, causing him to stagger back. “Don’t worry about these two, I can handle them easy, you just get him someplace safe,” said Ender to Liv, who nodded through the pain and began to drag the downed man away.

    “Hey WS, you recognize this guy?” asked the human.

    “Can’t say I do Ray, but judging by that hit he’s no pansy,” said the one identified as WS.

    “It doesn’t matter, I’ll kick his ass no problem,” said Ray as he charged forward.

    “I’d like to see that after this,” said Ender as he rushed forward as well, quickly sliding past Ray’s attack and jamming the gears of the steam skeleton by jamming his sword through the main parts, disarming himself but also destroying Ray’s weapon. Ray hit the ground with a heavy thud as the skeleton’s safety features forcibly discharged him from the cockpit as it fell apart.

    “You’ll pay for that,” said Ray.

    “I doubt it,” said Ender as he charged, a hand raised to knock Ray out as the human turned, but as Ender closed in he got a nasty surprise.

    “Color Spray!” said Ray as an intense swirl of colors and lights exploded from his hand. Ender yelped as his vision and hearing went to nothing and he crashed hard into a bookcase. The pain to his pride was soon joined to pain all over his body, as apparently the two other fighters began to beat him while he struggled to regather his senses. It soon became clear that he would have to fight blind and deaf for a moment at least if he wanted to avoid death, not exactly the most desirable of circumstances. As the kicks and punches fell upon him he fiercely grabbed at them, finally getting lucky and latching onto a leg, which he twisted and turned violently until he felt it pop, he smiled as he thought of taking one opponent out of the battle, but this ended when he felt the squirrel’s sword bite through his shoulder, forcing him to let go.

    The first thing Ender heard upon regaining his hearing was his own agonized scream, the first sight was the flurry of blows being mounted upon him. Their fists were soft, not bad enough to cause real pain, but they were keeping him off of his feet, and no matter how soft the hands, repeated blows would still cause damage. Ender couldn’t beat them as it was because he’d underestimated them, but he still had a card or two left to play, and as he flung his hand forward, he let one loose. “Shadow Guard,” he said as suddenly three impish beings formed of darkness leapt from his hand and began attacking Ray and WS.

    Ender slowly rose, trying to think of a good strategy to deal with these two once the guards he’d made were dispatched. Unfortunately none came in time, and the pair began to advance. Ender sighed as he raised his hands and prepared for a battle that could leave him in as bad of shape as he planned on putting them in. To think, if he’d been a little more careful he would have torn them both apart, but alas it wasn’t to be.

    His eyes dashed between the two as they cautiously began to close in, but then the cavalry arrived. Herald of Woe, the man from the pub before, and an elderly looking elf, clad in full battle armor and armed with a mighty axe, both appeared between him and his attackers. “You two, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” growled Herald of Woe. “Assaults like this are a serious offense.”

    “We came here to kill that damn vampire who’s causing all the trouble in town,” said the one called Ray. “And this guy got in our way.”

    “No perp has been officially identified in the vampire case,” said the elf. “Count Von Badguy is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

    “What a load of crap,” said Ray. “When he gets proven to be what he is and you can’t handle him, you’ll come to us! Come on Warrior Squirrel, let’s go.”
  6. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 3: Speculation

    Ender sat on the ground a moment, though his arm still hurt he was distracted by how suddenly the fight had ended upon the arrival of these two warriors. His pondering suddenly came to an end when Herald of Woe handed him a small vial. “Take this, it’ll take care of most of your wounds,” he said.

    As Ender drank the elf spoke, “Not bad considering you didn’t know all the circumstances or what those two could do. What made you decide to jump in during that scuffle?”

    “The guy who stumbled in here didn’t seem to have done anything wrong, I didn’t see why he should be killed for nothing,” said Ender.

    “I see, defense of the defenseless… you ever thought of joining the police force?” asked the old elf.

    “Not really, but I do enjoy fighting,” said Ender. “Although I think I might have to retire after getting beat by those losers.”

    “Higher sword skills can be taught at your age, the heroic instinct can’t,” said the old elf. “Anyway, my name is Captain Extremus. I’m the head of the special brigade of the Spamopolis Defense Force. You’ve got the potential to be a great warrior and defender. What do you say?”

    “I’ll think about it, but I’d like to meet the rest of the team before I join,” said Ender.

    “Fair enough, but that can wait. We aught to check on the Count,” said Extremus. The three of them journeyed back into the library a few rows before they came to where Liv had dragged Count Von Badguy.

    “Thank Nienor you arrived,” said the Count. “I was afraid this young warrior would become discouraged from TFF if he had to deal with thugs such as them.”

    “It would have taken more than that,” grinned Ender.

    “Regardless, you have my thanks warrior,” said the Count, “Normally I would have thrashed them soundly, but they must have put a good deal of planning into that attack.”

    “Or they had help,” said Extremus. “Ray never plans his attacks, and if he dragged WS out there had to be someone else pulling the strings, that boy never asks for help on his own.”

    “Who do you think would have ordered an attack like that?” asked the Herald.

    “The same person who’s never been happy with the pace of police work,” said Extremus. “The Governor of this region.”

    “You really think Trove would order an attack using people as small time as Ray?” asked Herald.

    “Not if he had his choice, but there really aren’t many other options right now,” said Extremus. “Voidium died last month, Mothang disappeared a long time ago, and it’s been a long time since we put Mad Jake away last.”

    “Still, seems like something Trove would take care of personally,” said Herald.

    “Not if he wanted to keep it as just speculation,” said Liv as she appeared around a corner. “A little fight doesn’t get much reaction in Spamopolis, but considering the target, he wouldn’t want to take that kind of blow to his image.”

    “True enough,” said the Herald. “The Avenger been by lately?”

    “He actually left just before you guys got here,” said Liv.

    “Has he made any progress?” asked Extremus.

    “He said that his group found the biggest nest yet, and that the vampires there seemed stronger than usual, like they’d been exposed to a royal feasting,” said Liv.

    “He’s getting damn close then,” said Extremus. “Soon enough he’s going to need help, overlords don’t like it when people kill areas they’d feast in.”

    “The wolves have told him that,” said Liv. “He still didn’t seem too worried. Said he’s got a trick or two up his sleeve.”

    “Of coarse he’s not worried,” said the Herald. “Vigilantes never worry about the gravity of the situation until someone not in the combat gets hurt.”

    “You say that as if you weren’t doing the same thing when I found you,” said Extremus.

    “I was every bit as stupid as he is,” said the Herald. “I wasn’t fighting for justice, I was attacking people for vengeance. I hurt a lot of people who shouldn’t have been hurt. I can tell when someone’s going to make the same types of mistakes as I did.”

    “Have a little faith in the Avenger,” said Liv. “He seems to know what he’s doing, and if what he’s told me is true, he’s got as good a background as we could hope for.”

    “What background would that be?” asked Herald.

    “He comes from a well known warrior family,” said Liv. “He wouldn’t give a specific name, he said that they were known for good and bad things, but he said that all they trained for was fighting, and aside from a disgraceful rogue group they always fought for justice, and that part of their training was avoiding injuries to those who weren’t involved in the fight.”

    “Sounds like a good way to get himself killed,” said Herald.

    “Maybe he sees preventing innocent casualties as being worth that risk,” said Extremus.

    “Or maybe he’s just saying what he thinks we want to hear,” said Herald.

    “He sounds like a friend of mine,” said Ender. “And if he’s anything like my friend, then he wouldn’t do anything for that selfish a reason.”

    “What would the name of this friend be?” asked Extremus.

    “I. R. Shogun…” said Ender, to which Extremus and Herald both shot looks of surprise at each other and Ender.

    “I. R. Shogun, of the Shogun clan?” asked Herald.

    “Yeah,” said Ender.

    “Then he’s still in the city,” said Herald. “That could be a problem.”

    “Why do you say that?” asked Count Von Badguy. “A Shogun in the city is something I’d count as a good thing.”

    “As far as we can tell his dark side hasn’t emerged, meaning he certainly couldn’t have mastered it,” said Extremus. “If it’s stayed dormant this long then there’s a good chance he’s a Meister Shogun. And if that’s the case, then there’s no telling how dangerous his dark side could be.”

    “I still don’t see the problem,” said the Count. “The dark side of a Shogun typically is released only when the Shogun’s life is direly threatened. Plus, they tend to be somewhat mindless and easy to calm. And besides, it’s not like none of yours have a dark side that’s tried to take out this city.”

    Herald’s eyes tightened into a look of anger, “That won’t happen again. It’s under control.”

    “Take it from me my friend, it’s very hard to control an inner demon that powerful without purging it,” said the Count. “If the Avenger really is this Shogun, then I would count him as a very useful ally.”

    “And if he isn’t?” asked Extremus.

    “Then there’s literally no danger in leaving him be,” said the Count.

    “I hope you’re right Count,” said Extremus. “If not, things could get bad as soon as he finds the other top vampire in town.”
  7. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 4: An Introduction to the Team

    “Welcome to the headquarters of the Spamopolis Defense Force,” said Captain Extremus to Ender as they entered the small fortress. “Allow me to introduce the team, everybody, file in!”

    A group of eight warriors slowly formed a line, their size and their equipment all being very visible and presenting a great contrast between the races of all of the warriors within the city. Elves, humans, a gnome, and with time their ranks would likely spread to encompass even more races. Ender studied each of them, should he accept Extremus’ offer these would be the warriors that he would serve along side in many battles to come.

    “Standing role,” said Extremus.

    “Lady of Shalott,” said a smaller elf woman, bearing a staff and minimal armor. “Team healer.”

    “Crusader,” said a giant knight, the race of whom Ender couldn’t tell despite his features being clear and visible, the giant blade across his back screaming of his taste for battle. “Damage sponge and secondary tactician.”

    “Dragn9,” said an elf in dark robes and bearing a mighty staff, “Primary strategist and top sorcerer.”

    “Alchemist,” said another man in dark robes with eyes that sang a sorrowful song, “Just like the name says.”

    “Liadan,” said the gnome woman. “Tactician and top rogue.”

    “Senekha,” said a wild looking woman bearing a pair of wicked blades. “Blades mistress and top interrogator.”

    “Rosgwak,” said a well dressed man in a cape and mask, “Blades master and top investigator.”

    “Ka’al,” said a well-toned elven warrior with heavy gauntlets and a face marked by disappointment and worry. “Monk warrior and armor breaker.”

    “Team, this is Ender-Zero, he’s thinking about joining our ranks, and he’s given us the best lead we’ve gotten on the Holy Avenger so far,” said Extremus.

    “I don’t see why we’re worrying so much about him,” said Rosgwak. “He’s working for the same thing we are, and as it stands he seems to be a lot more popular.”

    “Vigilantism is against the law here,” said Alchemist. “If we let him slide for breaking the law just because he beats up the other criminals we’re sending the wrong message about our ideas of justice.”

    “Shouldn’t we also try to bring in the wolves then?” asked Liadan.

    “The wolves operate under a different set of rules, and under the authority of the TFF Justice Force they’re observed as registered crime fighters,” said HoW. “The Avenger is just some lunatic who decided to dress up as an urban legend and play hero.”

    “He is a hero though,” said Dragn9.

    “Then why won’t he try to fight crime the right way,” said Crusader.

    “Maybe he sees our methods as ineffective,” said Ka’al.

    “Enough,” said Extremus, and without rising his voice caused the entire defense force to end their debate. “Tell them Ender.”

    “As far as I can tell, the only person who matches the skill set and approximate size of the man calling himself the Holy Avenger is a member of the Shogun clan, more precisely I. R. Shogun,” said Ender.

    “How did you come to that conclusion?” asked Rosgwak.

    “Shogun is a friend of mine from the last land he and I lived in,” said Ender.

    “When’s the last time you spoke to him?” asked Crusader.
    “About a year ago,” said Ender. “More recently he sent me a letter telling me about this place. I haven’t seen or heard from him since I got here.”

    “Seems like a bit too clean cut of a story to me,” said Crusader. “Why would he leave such an obvious way to find him if he’s trying to fight crime under that name?”

    “Maybe he’s using the Avenger title temporarily,” said Rosgwak.

    “What reason would there be for that?” asked HoW.

    “Perhaps he’s trying to fight a different fight than we can in our positions,” said Rosgwak.

    “Such as?” asked Extremus.

    “The people had been some of the least happy in the world for several years before he appeared, the TFF Defense Force caused a slight bump, but there hadn’t been a lot of hope among the people that a change for the better was coming until the first time he appeared out of the legends,” said Rosgwak.

    “Still seems to be a bit too easy an explanation,” said Crusader.

    “Sometimes the truth is rather simple,” said Dragn.

    “Regardless, we won’t be able to tell anything for sure until we manage some kind of encounter or conversation with the Avenger, or manage to unmask him,” said Extremus.

    “And let me guess, that’s not at the top of our list,” said Crusader.

    “Astute as always,” said Extremus. “The Count was attacked today, and the assault carried into the Library. Normally this wouldn’t matter, but the assailants were armed with far more sophisticated mage weapons than their like have access to. I’m starting to suspect that there’s more to this case than just a vampire lord out to destroy Spamopolis and Count Von Badguy.”

    “Such as?” asked Crusader.

    “Always have to ask everyone to death don’t you?” muttered Liadan.

    “I’m an investigator after all,” said Crusader.

    “Thus far I’m drawing a blank as far as reasonable ideas for the reason that those two were so well armed, regardless, Sen, Cru, Ka’al, I’m dispatching you to pick them up. It’s Ray and Squirrel again,” said Extremus.

    “Sounds like fun,” said Sen as the three of them beat a hasty exit.

    “I’m not overly fond of the air of a conspiracy theory that filled the room at the end,” said Crusader.

    “No one’s overly fond of conspiracies Cru,” said Sen. “I’m more interested in figuring out who the Avenger is.”

    “Any reason?” asked Ka’al.

    “I’ve been around TFF for a long time, since I was a little girl,” said Sen. “Growing up you heard all the legends from all over the country, and of all of them, the Holy Avenger was the most common. Righting wrongs, protecting the weak, saving the land from corruption and evil, he’s what inspired me to be a hero. I want to see if the guy using his name is worthy of that mantle.”

    “You want to meet a childhood hero that never existed,” mused Cru. “Seems like a story all its own.”

    “Almost poetic,” said Ka’al.

    “We’ll see if it stays poetic if I don’t think he’s up to snuff,” said Sen with a mad grin as they moved toward the slums of the city, to the last known hang out for Ray Captain and Warrior Squirrel 21.
  8. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 5: Tension

    “Hail Governor Trove,” growled Crusader as the trio entered Goldrow, the lowliest neighborhood in the city, and at the same time the section where the fewest town guards were ever dispatched.

    “Calm down Cru, save it for the squirrel and the punk,” said Sen.

    “At the very least we negotiated to be able to move into this zone without special dispatches,” said Ka’al.

    “We shouldn’t need to negotiate to defend people,” said Crusader. “It’s our job for the gods sakes.”

    “One thing at a time,” said Sen, “We’re not alone here.”

    The streets of Goldrow were filled with scum and criminals, but far outnumbering those were the weak and downtrodden of the city. These were the people that needed the hope of the Defense Force most, but who felt the most contempt for them and the government that they worked under. If there was a single place in TFF where it was most dangerous to be an officer of the law it was Goldrow, where children learned early the craft of the rogue, assassin, and murderer. As the three of them passed through the crowd any conversation going on among residents of this area stopped as all eyes fell upon the officers, luckily their search didn’t take long before they found someone interested in helping them to leave as soon as possible.

    “Well well, the Defense Squads down in Goldrow and me without a welcome committee,” said a warrior with spiked hair and golden eyes. His mouth was set in a permanent smirk that irritated most whom he encountered. His fists were scarred and solid from years of abuse, making them powerful weapons of destruction. His name was Meteorain, and he was the most feared and respected street fighter that was still around in Goldenrow. He’d only been beaten in a true battle once, and that was by the right hand man of the governor, a masked warrior known as Red Death.

    “Met, long time no see,” said Sen with a whirl of her swords.

    “Sorry I don’t make it uptown to grace you lot with my presence too often,” said Met. “The vamps have been more active down here than anywhere else, been a whole lot of asses for me to kick.”

    “I never took you for a justice fighter Met,” said Crusader.

    “Neither did I,” said Met. “I’m not fighting them for justice, I’m fighting them because it’s fun. And if I’m lucky they may lead me to the Avenger.”

    “Sounds like a good time,” said Sen. “Anyway, I’m glad you’re here, we need your help.”

    “Need me to stop some jack ass from taking over the city?” asked Met with a glint in his eye.

    “Sort of,” said Crusader. “Someone armed Ray Captain and Warrior Squirrel with some pretty powerful tools, we need your help to find them.”

    “Meh, that doesn’t sound like much fun,” said Met. “But I guess it gets them out of my neighborhood, follow me.” Met led them through the lightly populated streets, making a b-line for Ray and WS’ hideaway, and old pub that had long since fallen to the decay of time. “Here we are.”

    “Looks about as impressive as I’d imagined it would,” mumbled Crusader.

    “Hail governor Trove,” murmured Sen as the group of them drew their weapons, or in Met’s case, wrapped his fists. “Be on your guard, they’ve got some powerful trinkets these days.”

    “Screw careful, nock and shoot!” said Met as he kicked in the door. No sooner than the door had left its hinges several charges of Alchemist fire went off, setting Met ablaze and forcing him to rapidly spin and writhe to extinguish the flames. Nevertheless the attention of the pair had been gathered, and they moved to defend their lair.

    “What the hell are you people doing?!” growled Ray as he drew his battle chain.

    “Ray, WS, come with us to the station for questioning and this’ll be easy, otherwise we’re going to have to drag you back and come back for your teeth,” said Ka’al.

    “I’d like to know how you’re going to drag anyone back guardsman,” said Ray, “We’re hardly alone.” As Ray said this numerous citizens armed with weapons of all make and quality appeared.

    “I doubt any of them are going to want to spend any time in the cell next to yours,” said Sen.

    “Or in the ground outside,” said Crusader as he drew his sword.

    “We ain’t scared of you guardsman!” yelled someone in the crowd.

    “You ain’t taking any of ours in! We aren’t interested in puppet police!” yelled another.

    Crusader turned, his eyes flaring up from within his helmet, granting him a ghastly appearance as he held up his sword to challenge anyone who would dare cross him. In spite of their initial skittish reaction at this display the crowd didn’t disperse, they didn’t back off, they only became angrier. Their yells became louder as they began to move more aggressively. “Any more ideas?” said Sen in a mixture of annoyance and amusement.

    “Everyone back the hell up,” roared Met as he extinguished the last of the flames. “By law they can’t use excessive force, even in self defense, the same isn’t true for me, and they’re helping me out, so back off!” The crowd fell silent, but was soon re-ignited by Ray.

    “The big bad Met, you can’t take all of us! And you certainly can’t take me!” he yelled.

    “I’ll smash your little head you stupid bastard!” roared Met without a moment’s thought. Things were getting tense, and the night was on the verge of arrival, meaning that there was someone else fast approaching to defuse the situation.

    The crowd’s anger became more and more apparent as they slowly began to advance on the defense force warriors, all the while Ray laughed and WS watched on in an uncomfortable silence. In that moment things became so tense that not a soul heard the loud howl that cut through the air, nor the roars and yips of a squad of creatures of the night. All at once, as the crowd was about to rush the defenders the leaders of the civilians were kicked back into the crowd, which suddenly recoiled in fear and awe at the speed of the five warriors that had just arrived.

    “Damn it Ray, I was hoping to go just one week without having to deal with you,” said the apparent leader of the group. She was a woman with ancient stony eyes; even in human form her mouth had a fierce quality to it. Her name was Wolf, and this was her pack.

    “Hey ease up fluffy, this isn’t your fight,” said Ray.

    “That’s where you’re wrong Ray,” said Wolf. “I may live outside the city’s laws, but as a favor to the Avenger I’m trying to make sure the Defense Force’s investigation runs as smoothly as possible. And that includes helping them to take you in.”

    “Screw that, if I have to take you out too I will! I got plenty of backup,” said Ray.

    “I’d be lying if I said anyone that would bother to back you up would concern me in the slightest,” said Wolf.

    “You don’t know them,” said Ray. “But you will…”

    “Gods it’s about time, I was getting sick of waiting for a good chance to make an entrance,” came a voice from the roof of the pub, one that belonged to a man that had apparently been there for some time, He was slender and had needle like teeth, but the tremendous blade upon his back implied that he was armed with significant skills. His outfit was made of tight silken robes, and his eyes, a pair of different sizes, were as blank as those of the dead. “Can we get this show on the road?”

    “Certainly,” said Ray. “Losers, this is Cutligula, just one of the warriors here to back me up!”
  9. Ender-Zero

    Ender-Zero Ruff Mercenary

    Jul 28, 2004
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    So Shogun this is a completely new start?

    Oops just noticed you said not to post here, sorry IR!
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  10. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 6: Flash Battle

    The man called Cutligula hopped down from the rooftop, landing next to Ray, but not glancing at the one that he was acting as a benefactor toward. Cutligula extended a hand and silently counted off the warriors that stood across from them. Sensing the chaos that would result from this battle the civilians scattered, hiding away in their homes in hopes of being spared any stray attacks that may result from this fight. Cutligula ended his count as he pointed to the final head. “Nine of them, and for now only three of us. Only one when you count anyone that’s worth a damn,” said Cutligula, starting out seeming to address Ray, but his last comment assuring everyone that he was speaking only to himself.

    “Well if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll bust your head open all on my own,” said Met, eagerly stepping forward.

    “Hey aren’t you forgetting something!” protested Ray, not choosing anyone in particular to voice his anger toward. “I’m here too, and me and WS’ll be damned if we’re going to be overlooked!”

    Wolf muttered something to one of her pack, a young girl who seemed smaller and more slender than the others, but there was a distinct air of a predator to her, one that let onlookers know she wasn’t to be ignored. Nevertheless no one could hear her instructions over Sen’s challenge as she drew her blades. “Ray if you really want to get your ass kicked before the interrogation then I’ll be glad to make you uglier than your mother did,” she said with a whirl of her blades and that mad grin fixed across her face.

    “I don’t know… I wouldn’t feel right beating up a girl…” said Ray sheepishly, retreating slightly.

    “What’s a matter Ray? Scared to be beaten and embarrassed by a woman?” said Crusader with a hint of a laugh in his voice.

    Ray growled audibly, then whirled his chain wildly, “Fine, bring it on!”

    “That’s the spirit!” said Sen as she rushed forward.

    Not to have his thunder stolen Met rushed forward, immediately locking in a battle of strength as his hands locked against Cutligulas and they attempted to overpower one another. Immediately Met overpowered Cutligula, bending his arms in an altogether unnatural manner as he attempted to force his opponent to the ground. Unfortunately Cutligula proved to be a far craftier grappler than Met had assumed. His arms popped as he twisted them himself, maneuvering himself into position to blast Met in the jaw with a hard stomp as he pushed himself free.

    As Sen closed Ray immediately tossed down a capsule that exploded in a blinding light. The Magelight bomb forced Sen to cover her eyes to avoid being blinded, allowing Ray to smash an end of his chain against her side, but Sen neither grunted nor crumbled, the use of such a tactic merely annoyed the seasoned warrior woman, and made her that much more eager to beat Ray to a bloody steaming pulp. She took a step back to reassess the situation, then, her feelings on the battle restored closed again in order to make Ray pay for landing the first blow.

    “Shouldn’t we step in?” asked Ka’al nervously as the battle became a pair of duels.

    “No need,” said Crusader. “We’ve got no interest in the one Met’s fighting, and Sen would only be annoyed if we tried to interfere with her body.

    “Not to mention that the squirrel isn’t fighting,” said Wolf.

    “Well, to be fair he’s never been as gung ho about the rule breaker life as Ray,” said Crusader.

    “A sign that he’s a tad brighter than that one,” said one of Wolf’s pack mates. He was as white as snow, and his eyes were sharp blue slits, his mouth had the same feral quality as all of the wolves in human form, but his was softer, and yet more bizarre, the mark of his magical attunement. His name was Overread, and he was the most magically gifted of the pack.

    “Not that that’s saying a whole lot,” said Wolf.

    Met and Cutligula circled for a moment, each sizing each other up briefly before Cutligula decided to give himself an edge in the conflict. He drew his massive blade and swung it high above his head, then brought it to a rest on his shoulder as a grin settled across his face. Met’s eyes twinkled and his mouth stretched to a mad grin, he rushed in immediately, then grabbed Cutligula’s free hand before he got a chance to swing his blade. Met immediately pulled Cutligula forward, forcing him off balance, then brought his own leg up and connected with a brutal kick to the face, staggering Cutligula even further. Before letting go Met had one more step to his attack, he turned sharply, anchoring his leg, then kicking out one of Cutligula’s with his free foot, his body bended sharply as he flung Cutligula forward, bringing him crashing to the ground. Met grinned and dashed back.

    “That combo, that’s from the Wrath of Heaven style…” said a dazed Cutligula as he stood.

    “My version, the Mental Universe,” said Met. “The Chain of Misery.” Cutligula nodded as he leapt up to a roof, Met followed, taking them both away from the area.

    Sen staggered slightly as Ray managed a hard kick to her chest, but she was unhurt. As Ray swung his chain again he managed to wrap it around Sen’s arm. Ray grinned at the sudden advantage, with all of his might he pulled at the chain, but to his surprise Sen didn’t move. She was a well verse warrior, experienced against all manner of weapons. No sooner than Ray had bound her arm, Sen shifted her weight low, keeping her legs planted, she dropped her sword then twisted her arm around, grabbing the chain herself, effectively making the a tug of war, and Sen had ever advantage she could ask for. She shifted her weight back at once, expertly switching her footing, pulling Ray forward before he could react. As Ray stumbled forward Sen delivered a hard kick to his ribs, but Ray gutted through it, grabbing her foot and whipping her around on the chain until she was down. Ray grinned as he watched Sen get back to her feet with a snarl, he was faring better than anyone had expected.

    “Arelin, now,” said Wolf.

    Ray turned with a cocked eyebrow as Wolf shouted the order. Ray knew the identities of every member of the pack, he’d given them a great deal of trouble in the past, and he knew Arelin, the youngest and only non-wolf member the best of them all. He had met the tigress first of the pack, and the two had gotten along quite well until Ray had stolen a piece of toast from the young girl, an offense she could never forgive, Arelin took her toast very seriously. Unfortunately for Ray, the meaning of this command didn’t click until it was too late.

    “Turn around,” came a voice that sounded like a mixed growl and soft feminine voice. Ray did as asked, only to be struck with a brutal blow to the side of the head from Arelin’s massive paw, knocking him out through sheer might. Arelin looked down at Ray for a moment in her mixed cat-human form before reverting fully to her human state. “Done boss.”

    “Good work Arelin. Sorry about interrupting Sen, but the Avenger was very specific in his request that I make sure there’s no way for Ray to escape, and with all of the mage gear he’s apparently packing now I couldn’t be sure if he had any other obnoxious toys to use,” said Wolf.

    “It’s not a problem,” said Sen. “Just a little disappointing is all.”

    “You’ll get him next time,” said Wolf. “Anyway Crusader, they’re all yours, unless the squirrel wants to make some trouble?”

    “No, I think that’ll due,” sighed Warrior Squirrel as he walked forward. “I’ve been wondering what was taking you so long to come for us this time.”

    “Alright then,” said Cru. “You don’t mind if we start things out by asking you some questions, if you cooperate we may let you go before we even reach the base uptown.”

    “That sounds perfectly fine by me,” said WS.

    “Alright then,” said Sen. “First question, who hired you.”

    “Well, I never met him personally, but Ray did a few times, he claimed that he was a vampire lord,” said WS.

    “Did Ray ever give you a name of any kind? Or some initials at least?” asked Ka’al.

    “Yeah, he said the guy’s name was Valex, Lord Artemis Valex,” said WS.
  11. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 7: Ring Masters

    Within the library’s infirmary Count Von Badguy was making a speedy recovery after his ordeal against WS and Ray. His strength had returned around two thirds of the way, his speed was fully restored, and soon enough he would be able to transform again. However, despite his recuperation the count didn’t seem to be in as good of humor as he usually was. Something weighed heavily on his mind and that was clear from the expression on his face. Unfortunately despite having many friends in Spamopolis there were few who he had ever been able to talk with about the subject of his personal thoughts, in fact there was only one person, Captain Extremus. Despite not being very good with such topics, the Captain needed more information, and until Crusader’s group returned the Count was the only place he could get it.

    “What weighs on your mind my friend?” asked Extremus as he entered the infirmary, his armor removed, his sword belt empty, making it clear this was a talk between two friends.

    “Did I tell you that I’ve been in correspondence with the general?” asked the count.

    “No,” answered Extremus, “I don’t see why that would bother you though.”

    “I’ve been exchanging letters with him since shortly before I arrived in the city,” said the Count. “He doesn’t like the way things are going, and from the ideas he’s been sending he isn’t going to help matters much either.”

    Savage’s eyes shifted, tightened, he’d never been in good standing with the General, and he didn’t like the direction this was going, “What do you mean?”

    “He can spare no troops to help conduct the investigation,” said the Count. “However, if it isn’t wrapped up two weeks from tomorrow, he’s going to strip you of your rank and place the city under a full lockdown.”

    “Who gave him the authority to do that? King Vaaz would never…” Extremus said, but was cut off.

    “King Vaaz is old, he’s approaching 70, and to humans that’s quite the advanced age. He’s also crippled by illness. Prince Ortega is scarcely old enough to hold a scepter, let alone to bear the responsibility it brings. Savage can do whatever he wants, but for the most part he’s content to let the governors maintain control in their regions. He sees this as a personal test for you,” said the Count.

    “He’d let something as petty as our rivalry put this entire city at risk?” mumbled Extremus.

    “He doesn’t have time like you do. Although he is a younger man you’ll still outlive him by over a decade. He needs to make certain you really are the best man to keep this city safe from the darkness,” said the Count. “And should you fall short, he’ll take a certain glee from running your name through the mud.”

    For a long moment no man said a word. One was a suspect in the greatest case Spamopolis had ever had, the other was facing the pressure of solving that case with no established leads in a horribly short time frame. “If the investigation fails, we’re both through,” said Extremus finally.

    “Then I suppose it’s rather important that it doesn’t fail,” said the Count.

    “We’re going to need more allies,” said Extremus. “Unfortunately that means we’re going to have to go behind the backs of many of my men.”

    “You’re talking about the wolves and Avenger,” said the Count, cracking a smile for the first time since the attack. “I think given the situation your force can set aside their differences with the legend and the pack.”

    “Let’s hope so,” said Extremus. “Regardless, I’d like to spare them the knowledge of the connections we hope to establish for as long as possible. I’m going to ask you to ask for help from the Wolves, hopefully I’ll be able to secure a meeting with the Avenger.”

    “It’s not as hard as you’d think,” said the Count. “You’ve already questioned his top associates.”

    ”The merchants?” asked Extremus.

    “Indeed,” said the Count. “Hang around them long enough, and you’re sure to meet him, although I suppose the same is true about this place. But he’s more of a regular at their ship.”

    “Those two make me nervous,” said Extremus. “They always seem like they’re planning something.”

    “Because they are,” said the Count. “Theirs is a delicate business, they have to be ready and able to fight anyone and anything. Just be sure not to anger them and you should be fine.”

    “Here’s hoping,” said Extremus as he turned for the door. “Hopefully I’ll see you when I return.”

    “Hopefully indeed,” said the Count. “Hopefully indeed.”


    Somewhere in Spamopolis:

    “I’m only going to ask you one more time you stupid blood sucking son of a bitch, when do I get my payoff?!” growled the beastly giant of a man as he slammed a gangly lesser vampire against the wall of the alleyway.

    “I told you already! The boss said that until you show that you’re worth the coin he’s not sending you a single copper,” said the vampire as he squirmed in the brute’s grip.

    “That’s the WRONG ANSWER!” growled the giant as he lifted the vampire high into the air and then slammed his back across his knee, causing a vicious snap and terrified cry to emerge from the vampire.

    “You know Smashtar, Valex isn’t going to pay you any sooner if you keep breaking his toys,” said a slender girl who leaned against a wall next to the giant.

    “He’ll pay alright Slink,” said Smashtar. “He can’t win this city without fighters like us, if he wants Spamopolis he’s damn sure gonna pay, or I’ll smash him like I did this one!”

    “Sounds like a bit of a tall order big fella,” came a voice from above them. “It’s my understanding that vampire power levels are distinguished by the noble ranks that they achieve. Meaning that is Valex reached the status of Lord he must be damn powerful. What makes you think a half wit, a cat, and a gangly regenerator could take him?”

    “Who’s there? Show yourself coward, so I can show you just how I’ll break our employer!” said Smashtar.

    “There’s only one person it could be…” said Slink, “…knowing this town.”

    “You want to see me? Yeah… that’s not gonna work for me,” said the voice. There was a sound like a whistle as something cut through the air like a knife. Smashtar growled a cry of pain as a long band struck his eyes. He growled and staggered back as a black shape dropped into the alleyway and struck him with a rapid series of kicks, knocking Smashtar to the ground with a thud.

    The figure that had knocked him down showed only faintly in the light that managed to reach the alleyway, but by the style of his armor his identity was clear, it was the Avenger. “I’ve been watching you three for a while. For the life of me I can’t see why any vampire would ever want a gang of idiots like you in his employ, care to illuminate me on that the easy way before I haul you in and let the Town Guards figure it out using much less pleasant methods?”

    “You think a vampire is the ring master here?” muttered Smashtar as he struggled to his feet. “You’re as dumb as you look.”

    “What are you getting at?” demanded the Avenger.

    “Nothing you need to know,” said Slink, suddenly stepping forward before Smashtar could continue. “Opening your big mouth like that is the reason we still haven’t gotten paid yet.”

    “I’m going to give you one more chance to tell me what’s going on here, and then I’m going to make you tell me,” said the Avenger as he stepped forward.

    “Fat chance hero, maybe some other time,” said Slink as she threw down a series of capsules, which detonated, chocking the alleyway with smoke. Avenger easily cleared the area, but when he did Slink and Smashtar, his only leads, were gone.
  12. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 8: In the Flesh

    Extremus pulled the hefty traveler’s cloak close; he had never really like the docks. A lot of the stories you read about rebellions and evil plots started out in the docks. He was old enough to know that those things happened all over the place, but there was something to the atmosphere of the docks that made it seem a tad more likely to go down here. Maybe it didn’t help that it was dark out at the moment, but then again given his circumstances he couldn’t be choosy about his timing.

    Cyllieth and Firiath owned one of the smaller merchant vessels in the area, and most of the ship’s size wasn’t used for cargo. Knowing what they were carrying in there made Extremus that much more nervous about this. The pair of them were one of the more well known merchant teams in TFF and the surrounding lands, though this wasn’t because their wares were especially handy. They dealt in information, and they seemed to know a whole damn lot about anything going on in the underworld of any given city. This would seem surprising considering they weren’t criminals themselves, but knowing their employer made it all make a little more sense.

    The pair of them worked under the command of someone called the Broker. Who the Broker was and why he had his hand in as many pots as he did was a mystery to everyone but the man himself. One thing was for sure though, the man made incredible things. From living dummies to exploding dolls and just about anything else you could think of, if you needed something unusual or straight out of a dream the Broker was the man who could get it for you, for a price. As a result every criminal group in any area they turned up in was eager to have their favor, and by proxy the favor of their enigmatic benefactor.

    Extremus stepped into the light of their ship and into the cabin slowly, making his every move deliberate. “Ship’s closed for the night stranger,” said one of the girls, the halfling Firiath.

    “I know,” said Extremus as he drew the cloak back to reveal his identity. “I wanted to be able to talk to you without drawing the attention of your less desirable patrons.”

    “Captain, what brings you around here? Cyllieth, we have a guest!” said Firiath, calling back into the part of the cabin obscured by a cloth.

    “I’m coming give me a second,” said the elf, Cyllieth, as she emerged from the cabin. “Captain Extremus, this is unexpected.”

    “I’m looking for someone that you’re known to associate with,” said Extremus. “I believe a few of my men have asked you about him, but it occurs to me that you two are the only ones that can get me a meeting with him.”

    “Holy? Well, we might be able to get a meeting with him for you, but we’re never really sure when he’s going to come here,” said Firiath.

    “He usually only stops by when he needs something, usually stakes,” said Cyllieth.

    “That’s why I need to talk to him. I’ve been given a timeline, if I don’t bring down the head honcho vampire within two weeks I’m done, and the General takes over all operations in this city himself,” said Extremus.

    “Hmm, well, he’s not going to like that,” said Firiath.

    “I guess it’s a good thing then, that he’s been paying attention to your end of the investigation,” said Cyllieth.

    “What do you mean?” asked Extremus.

    “Sit down Captain,” said Firiath.

    “You may be here a while,” said Cyllieth.

    Extremus took a seat, “What’s going on?”

    “The Avenger’s been watching everyone he’s been able to connect with this case, criminals and crime fighters,” said Firiath.

    “In particular he’s been watching you, Count Von Badguy, and Ray Captain,” said Cyllieth.

    “He’s aware that you sent a group to recover Ray after his attack on the Count,” said Firiath.

    “He’s tracked down a few of the higher ups in the evil vampire’s group, but recently, in part of his investigation he learned that there may be more than vampires at work here,” said Cyllieth.

    “We didn’t tell you before, but he wants a meeting with you too,” said Firiath.

    “He wants your resources and needs the extra man power, he and the wolves can’t do this all alone,” said Cyllieth.

    “He also knows about the General’s timeline, Count Von Badguy’s been in closer contact with us than you’ve really pieced together,” said Firiath.

    “More importantly, he told the Count to send you here,” said Cyllieth.

    “What do you…” said Extremus softly as what they were saying became clearer.

    “What they mean Captain,” came a voice from outside as an armored figure with a cloth tied around his waist entered, “Is that you and I need to work together on this, or else we can’t get what we’re after.”

    “Captain this is…” started Cyllieth, but Extremus stopped her as he rose.

    “The Holy Avenger, out of the myths and into the flesh, we meet at last,” said Extremus.

    “The pleasure’s mine Captain,” said the Avenger. “You’ve done a lot of good for this city.”

    “People like to think you have too,” said Extremus. “Why the sudden interest in my help?”

    “I don’t want Savage in this city any more than you do,” said Avenger. “It’s hard enough for me to function as it is. Furthermore, like the ladies said, I need the help of your team.”

    “Mutual benefit, good enough I guess,” said Extremus. “Although I’m wondering why you haven’t tried to contact or join my force.”

    “The governor makes it hard to do good in this region,” said Avenger, “I can’t do what I need to do to get what I’m after if I’m on the force, not yet anyway.”

    “Then what if I told you that you either need to join up, stop your activities, or I’ll have to take you in?” asked Extremus.

    There was a hissing from the back room, Firiath and Cyllieth tensed as if there was about to be a battle, and had the Avenger not halted them with a motion of his hand, there very well could have been. “I don’t think that you’d carry through with that,” said the Avenger.

    “And why not?” asked Extremus.

    “Because you know that in order for all the good possible to be done in this city while Trove is the governor you need me. And none of the town guards, not even in the elite unit, would be able to come to enough of an agreement to take me in,” said the Avenger.

    “Fair enough,” said Extremus. “What all do you know about the main vampire in town?”

    “They call him Valex, we’ve taken out most of the nests, I’m still waiting on the Wolves to find the last one, the big one,” said the Avenger. “Once I’ve found that out, I’ll let you know so we can move in.”

    “So until then I just wait?” asked Extremus.

    “Not quite, there’s a trio you may want to investigate in town, their names are Slink, Smashtar, and Cutligula,” said Avenger. “They’re on loan to Valex, but they’re mainly employees of whoever’s pulling his strings. If you want to find the real root of the problems here, they’ll lead you to it.”

    “I get the feeling you already know where they’ll lead me,” said Extremus.

    “Maybe,” said the Avenger. “At any rate, your team should be returning to uptown about now. You may want to talk to them.”
  13. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 9: Blood for Health

    “Are things always this hectic in Spamopolis?” asked Ender as he looked at the stack of files that sat on each of the desks of the TFF defenders. He and Liv were still in the station despite most of the force being out on various assignments.

    “Usually if it’s not something it’s something else,” said Liv. “But there’s never a dull moment.”

    “Seems like that’s the truth everywhere I end up,” said Ender. “It’d be nice to get a break every once in a while.”

    “Well I’m sure things are going to slow down some eventually, probably after Extremus finds out where to find this big vampire and they go in and beat him,” said Liv.

    “I don’t know,” said Ender. “You’re talking about vampires like they’re easy.”

    “Nothing’s ever easy,” said one of two defenders that were still in the building, a tall man named Alchemist. The robes that covered his body weren’t quite black, but seemed to echo the night better than any material Ender had ever seen. His eyes looked as if he’d seen nothing but tragedy for his entire life, but he was strong, and that strength became apparent in his powerful and scarred hands. “Unfortunately, as the defenders of a city the size of this, that means everything tries to be as difficult as possible for us.”

    “Alchemist, I didn’t hear you come in, can I get you something to drink?” asked Liv, getting up to move toward the casks in the station.

    “Nothing thank you,” said Alchemist as he rested a rather cumbrous book on his desk. “I may need something a little later though.”

    “How’s the investigation going so far?” asked Ender.

    “Not sure yet,” said Alchemist. “The captain went to check out a lead on the Avenger. Cru, Sen, and Ka’al are still picking up those kids who attacked the library, Rosgwak and Dragn9 are patrolling down town, and HoW and Lia are chasing leads elsewhere. Once everyone gets back we’ll know if anyone made any progress.”

    “No other means of communication?” asked Ender.

    “We have them, but I’ve got a bit of research I need to do concerning something a little further down the road, so I’m not eager to use them at the moment,” said Alchemist as he opened the book.

    “Alright,” said Ender, not wanting to press the situation to the point of annoying the defender.

    “Hey Ender, come on, let’s go to check on the count,” said Liv suddenly.

    “Um, alright,” said Ender, not expecting the sudden display of excitement from the librarian who then proceeded to drag him out of the station and back toward the library. To their surprise they weren’t alone.

    “Hey you two, wait up,” came the voice of the healer of the defense force, Lady of Shalott. “If you’re going to the library we may as well go together.”

    The two waited for the second that it took for LoS to catch up, and then Liv eagerly welcomed her to their group, “Hey there LoS, long time no see, you figure something out for the count?”

    “Well you should stop by the station more often,” said LoS with a smile, “But I do think I may have found something that could help speed up his recovery a bit more.”

    “Speed it up?” asked Ender. “As far as I remembered vampires were good at that all on their own.”

    “They are, but mage light bombs do a number on vampires that can take months to heal fully,” said LoS. “And with things going the way that they have been we’ll need the Count at full strength asap.”

    “I see,” said Ender. “So how do you plan to heal him, good magics like that are extremely dangerous to the undead.”

    “I’m going to have to try something a bit, unconventional,” said LoS. “Come on, let’s keep walking.”

    “Unconventional in what way?” asked Ender.

    “Well, I had Alchy whip up a few things, but I’m going to try a ritual that hasn’t been attempted in a few hundred years,” said LoS. “Since most vampires that got hit by mage lights in that period have had it coming.”

    “What kind of ritual?” asked Ender.

    “A blood ritual,” answered LoS, seeming to choke slightly on that word.

    There was a long pause before Ender broke the silence, “Have you ever performed one of those before?”

    “No,” answered LoS. “But I’ve done all the research possible.”

    “Plus within the library I have a bit of sway with magics and the like,” said Liv.

    “Although we’re not sure if she’s got enough of one,” said LoS.

    “Well then it’s a good thing I’m here,” said Ender. “Back home a friend of mine, the one who summoned me here, was a respected member of the orc culture, so I picked up a thing or two about blood magic. Although it was never as dark as the vampires back home seemed to use.”

    “Well, good to know someone at least has some idea what’s going to happen,” said LoS.

    “Better than anything either of us has,” added Liv.

    “Let’s just hope the fact that the Count is good helps restrain anything nasty that may occur,” said Ender.

    “Why do you say that?” asked LoS.

    “Back home those who had blood magic used on them, even the most level headed of them, had a tendency to become stark raving mad for a short period afterwards. It made them more dangerous than a tiger,” said Ender.

    Again there was a brief pause, but Liv broke the silence this time, “Well then I’ll have to use my sway over magic to prevent that part.”

    “I guess that should work,” said Ender.

    “Well, good,” said LoS. “And plus, the library is filled with guardians.”

    “And one of those has got to be at least powerful enough to keep the Count back,” said Liv.

    “Hopefully,” said Ender doubtfully.

    “Way to give us a vote of confidence,” said LoS.

    “Heh, sorry,” said Ender. “But hell, this can’t be the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done.”

    “That’s a bit more like it,” said LoS.

    “Anyway, we better hurry, no telling how bored the Count must be by now all by himself,” said Liv.

    “Alright,” said Ender, “Let’s hurry it up, double time.”

    Ender and Liv both quickly bolted, leaving LoS, who was in no way geared to run, to slowly chase after them. “The glory of being a healer,” she muttered.

    “They are an eager bunch,” said Cutligula as he and a darker figure watched these events through a scrying pool.

    “Indeed, but we shall see just how powerful this defense force is against a more aggressive menace, soon enough,” said the figure in the shadows as his bright white teeth cut through the darkness.
  14. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 10: Shade Gathering

    Mid-day, First Church of Lotrinism, two figures hide among the rafters of the ancient building. Their presence is only known to each other, none of the numerous patrons of the church even suspect that they are being watched by two sets of highly trained eyes, eyes whose owners have a very clear mission. The first, a young male with platinum hair, swings his fingers forward as if his hand were walking, then nods his head slightly to the other…

    The second, a woman with raven hair, returns the nod and quickly, agilely, moves through the support beams and over to where the head of the church would deliver his sermon if there was a session occurring at the moment. This pair is uncertain in their mission, it’s their first time together in the field, and were that not already enough they only had six missions completed between them, and here they were attempting to eliminate a prominent member of the TFF Defense Force and escape the city before being caught. It was enough to make veterans nervous, and to two green rookies it was impossible.

    They were ninja, of the Hotohige Clan, one of the smaller sects that lived near the southernmost boarder of the land of TFF, just outside of Defense Force jurisdiction. The clan had recently fallen on hard times, they were nearly slaves, and this mission was the bidding of whoever the clan elder was reduced to following the every beck and call of. They didn’t know whom it was that their elder answered to, they only knew that they had no choice but to obey if they wanted to keep their clan alive, and so here in the church they awaited the day’s message, hoping that their target would show up. Unfortunately they were not alone in their watch.

    From somewhere somehow deeper in the rafters a figure stirs, long hair tied into a tight knot falls loose as she unravels her body and touches it down softly on the rafters, not a sound is made until she lets out a loud breath, alerting the other two of her presence. They turn to face the half elf; stunned that she was able to hide from their sight until now, and far more surprised when she nimbly began to charge them. The ninja attempt to prepare themselves, but as the male readies a knife a sudden painfully loud wave of force knocks him back, apparently from the lute that the woman carries, which looks suspiciously like a barbarian battle axe.

    “Kakashi!” says the woman as she tosses several shuriken at the half elf and catches the male, keeping him from a painful fall.

    “Sevi, that weapon… look out!” yells Kakashi as another wave is let loose and knocks them both painfully from the rafters. They stand in a hurry through their pain, ready to fight off all of their clergy, but to their surprise they are alone in the cathedral with this mad warrior woman.

    They look up to see the crazed woman falling after them, axe or lute or whatever it may have been poised to strike. The ninja dash away only to be blown back further by the force the weapon she carries creates as she catches herself with a wall of sound and slowly lowers herself to the ground. “Stop moving! It’s not a fight if you just run away!” cried the woman with an exasperated tone.

    “Who are you, what are you after?” demanded Kakashi. “Why are you getting in the way of our mission?!”

    “Huh? Mission? Oh, yeah! I’m supposed to stop you from killing Dragn9,” said the woman.

    “Well then we’ll just have to kill you too,” said Kakashi.

    “I don’t think that’ll happen if you keep running away,” said the woman.

    “You just caught us by surprise! We’ll beat you now for sure!” said Sevi.

    “I don’t think so, ninja are supposed to never be surprised, so if I did surprise you then you already failed which means…” said the woman, suddenly stopping and putting a finger on her chin as if to help her think. “I’m a better ninja than you are!”

    “Wha?” gasped Sevi.

    “That’s ridiculous! Just because we’re ninja doesn’t mean we can’t be surprised, we’re still people!” growled Kakashi.

    “Well maybe you should find new jobs, because that was really easy,” said the woman. “I wonder where I go to buy new clothes since now I’m a ninja…”

    “How come she gets to be a ninja so easy?” said Sevi.

    “SHE’S NOT A NINJA!” Kakashi yelled.

    “Yeah, you’re right, I like pirates better,” said the woman.

    “Ooh, I like pirates too! But not as much as ninja,” said Sevi, smiling beneath her mask.

    “This is ridiculous,” muttered Kakashi.

    “So you guys can be ninja, and I’ll be a pirate, and we’ll make a new crew that’s made of both!” said the woman enthusiastically.

    “Yeah! Ninja and pirates! Then no one could stop us!” said Sevi with glee.

    “WE’RE NOT STARTING A CREW!” yelled Kakashi, ending the cheer of the women. “Now, you’ve already gotten in the way of our mission, which means now we have to fight, since we have a lot riding on this, okay?”

    “But I already surprised you, and ninja aren’t supposed to…” said the woman before Kakashi cut her off.

    “THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS!” he yelled.

    “By the way, what’s your name?” asked Sevi.

    “Oh yeah, I’m Oddrun!” said the warrior woman, Oddrun apparently, with a smile.

    “Hello Oddrun! I’m Sevi, and this is Kakashi!” said Sevi.

    “Enough of this talking! We have to fight now!” said Kakashi.

    “I think the time for that is long past,” came a voice from behind them. They all turned to behold an armored warrior with a band of cloth tied around his waist. “If a serious fight was going to come of this I think you already would have gotten it, but it seems that they have moved on from that idea.”

    “Who the hell are you?!” demanded Kakashi. “And why does everyone keep interrupting me!?”

    “In reverse order, because you seem to think that there’s a set way that these encounters go, which there isn’t, and more importantly, I am the Holy Avenger, defender of the defenseless, and the man who the three of you are about to start calling boss,” said the Avenger.

    “Why the hell would we want to do that?” asked Kakashi.

    “For you and the kunoichi, it’s because I’m after the same man who has a stranglehold on life in your village, and for the warrior woman, it’s because I hired her to stop you in the first place, and because she happens to be good friends with my other associates,” said the Avenger.

    “How do you know about the village?” asked Sevi.

    “I’ve been keeping tabs on the man running things in this area for a long time, and your village has come up several times. I just put two and two together,” said the Avenger.

    “Well then, what do you need from us?” asked Kakashi.

    “For now, follow me,” said the Avenger. “We have a lot of work to do and not a whole wonderful amount of time to do it in.”

    “Alright, we’ll follow, but I don’t trust fairy tale heroes,” said Kakashi.

    “I think that you’ll find life in Spamopolis is hardly a fairy tale,” said the Avenger. “And it’s rare that things can work out to where anyone lives happily ever after.”
  15. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 11: Internal Battles

    “Ray, how many times do we have to bring you down here before you stop being difficult and just cooperate?” sighed Extremus. The interrogations hadn’t been going very smoothly. Unfortunately Warrior Squirrel hadn’t known much about their employers, and at this point that was all that Extremus was really interested in. That left only Ray, who’d been interrogate enough times to have a high tolerance for every method they were able to think of to make him talk.

    “I’m never going to cooperate with you people, what makes you so special that you get to have all this authority over the city?” Ray growled.

    “We’re the police,” said Crusader before Extremus could. “Those that run this land give us that authority.”

    “Well they gave me some too,” muttered Ray.

    “What the hell does that mean?” demanded Extremus.

    “Cutligula’s got friends in high places, and so do I,” said Ray.

    “What you call a friend I call a puppet master,” said Cru. “Who the hell paid you to go after the Count?”

    “Cutligula’s boss,” said Ray.

    “And who is that?” asked Extremus.

    “How old do I look? Because you seem to be mistaking me for a toddler who tells you everything they can think of,” said Ray.

    “No, I look at you like you’re an idiot,” said Crusader. “And if you don’t tell me who paid you off I’m going to give you the mental capacity of a toddler.”

    “You don’t have the guts,” grinned Ray as Crusader exploded from his chair and grabbed Ray by the throat, pinning him against a wall.

    “I could break you ten thousand ways before anyone could stop me,” said Crusader. “You’re nothing compared to me, do you understand?”

    Ray didn’t try to speak, he simply smiled a cocky grin, knowing that for now at least, Crusader could do nothing more.

    “That’s enough Cru,” said Extremus who motioned for Ray to be set down. “If he doesn’t want to talk then we can export him, send him to Maximus Prison, see how long his bull shit lasts there.”

    Ray’s eyes went wide at the mention of Maximus. Rumored to have been built by the chief God Skyanide himself, it was the land’s only inescapable prison. From physical guards and mental torture wards on the walls, it not only held prisoners, it made them suffer irreparably for the duration of their stay until there was nothing left of the side of them that committed whatever crime caused them to get sent there in the first place.

    “Alright I’ll tell you what I know, but it isn’t much,” said Ray.

    “Well that’s more like it,” said Extremus.

    “Talk,” said Cru.

    “Cutligula talked a lot about his boss, he only ever said he had one, but the stuff he talked about, it seemed like he might have two,” said Ray. “The one that paid us was called Valex, but in messages he sent out to his boss he also mentioned Valex like he was someone else, and the way he talked about his other boss, they seemed real important.”

    “You don’t know who the other boss is though?” asked Extremus.

    “He never gave me any hints,” said Ray.

    “Where can we find Cutligula?” asked Extremus.

    “I don’t know, he always came to me,” said Ray.

    “Good enough, come on Cru, we need to talk,” said Extremus as he led Crusader out of the room.

    “What’s this about?” asked Crusader.

    “I had a meeting with the Avenger while you were out,” said Extremus.

    “Really now?” asked Crusader. “And you didn’t bring him in?”

    “It was on Firi and Cylli’s ship,” said Extremus, “I was alone, and I don’t want to tempt fate in that position.”

    “I see,” said Crusader with a hint of annoyance, but still accepting the answer. “What was this meeting about?”

    “He gave me three names that he wanted me to have the team look into,” said Extremus, “Cutligula was on that list.”

    “So he’s good at playing detective,” said Crusader. “I guess I there weren’t any laws on how I had to go about it I could round up information easily enough.”

    “It doesn’t matter how he got the information,” said Extremus. “He also told me that there was more going on than just vampires.”

    “Again, I imagine that wasn’t as hard to come by when he wasn’t restrained in how far to take his questioning,” said Crusader.

    “Cru, he wants to work with us on this,” said Extremus, “He’s hell bent on finishing off all of the vampires in the area, and by his success so far I’d say it’s well within his realm of ability. We need to find Cutligula and figure out who pulls his and Valex’s strings, because whoever that is, they’re our big problem here.”

    “Our biggest problem is that too damn many of the wannabe heroes in this city are breaking as many laws as they enforce,” said Crusader. “We can work with him to bring down this vampire, but after that, I’m taking him in.”

    “Cru this is bigger than some vampires, if he’s been telling me the truth then there may be some real trouble coming our way, and we’ll need someone like him with us in his favor,” said Extremus.

    “And if he’s lying then he’s giving himself an easy way to break the law and get away with it,” said Crusader. “If he really wants to do so much good then let him join the force, if not, then as far as I’m concerned he’s a criminal and needs to be brought it.”

    “He’s managed to avoid us for this long,” said Extremus. “I think he can continue if he so pleases.”

    “Let me just say captain, that with all due respect, that can be construed as aiding a fugitive from justice,” said Crusader. “If I bring him in, then you might want to be careful about remarks like that.”

    “If you can bring him in I’ll retire that day,” said Extremus.

    “Deal,” said Crusader. “You may not want to let your ego write notes your ass can’t fulfill.”

    “And you might want to keep in mind that I’m the captain for a damn good reason,” said Extremus. “You’ve got promise Crusader, but I’m still the top warrior in this city.”

    “Nothing lasts forever captain,” said Cru. “And I’ll surpass you long before you get a chance to retire or die or any other kind of cop out.”

    “We’ll see kid,” said Extremus. “Until then, be ready for a raid at any time.
  16. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 12: Moonlit Meetings

    Within the library it seemed as if night had never come. The lights within burned always, and made the interior of the building glow as bright as day. Strange it seemed, that this would be the safest place for a vampire to recover from a nearly fatal battle against a pair of heavily armed foes. But then again Count Von Badguy was no typical vampire, nor was this any typical lighting. The lights were drawn from Liv’s neigh infinite magic capacity while on these grounds, it was the same source that kept the library from staying destroyed when it was burned to the ground as it often was.

    As for the Count, he was of a rare few vampires who’d been born a bloodsucker, rather than needing to achieve death to reach unlife. Because his was a more pure strain of vampirism he was more naturally powerful than the typical run of the mill breed, and he was far more durable, explaining why he’d managed to survive Ray and WS’s assault. This also affected the way his titling worked; as he was easily as powerful as a vampire on the Elector level, however as a pure strain vampire he was far lower in the rankings.

    The count enjoyed it within the halls of the library despite his relative lack of interest in books. There was a homey feeling to it that allowed him a level of peace he couldn’t often find in the outside world. And there was a certain comfort knowing that chances were relatively nil that he would be attacked here. He heard the doors swing open as Liv and Ender both arrived inside the building, he welcomed them, “Well hello again my friends, I trust all is well?”

    “Yeah count, everything’s great!” said Liv with a smile as she sat down at her desk, all signs of fatigue from their run fading almost instantly.

    “We’ve brought a healer with us, she’s just a tad slower than us, she’s got an idea for helping to get you back in fighting form,” said Ender.

    “A healer you say? I’m not sure I follow, you are aware healing magic is detrimental to vampires…” said the Count.

    “Yeah but she thinks she’s found a way around that,” said Ender.

    “And what might that be?” asked the Count.

    “A blood ritual,” said Liv nonchalantly.

    There was a silence that gripped the room like frozen winter air. “A blood, ritual?” said the count after a long uncomfortable moment.

    “Yeah, what’s wrong?” asked Ender.

    “You’re aware of the inherent risk with such a procedure are you not?” asked the Count.

    “Well yeah, but we figure Liv is all-powerful here, so what’s the real risk?” said Ender.

    “When it comes to vampires, anything involving blood is made far more dangerous than it would be among less cursed groups,” said the Count.

    “Well me and Ender are tough, and LoS can hold you back with healing spells if it comes down to it, so I don’t see the problem,” said Liv.

    “I wish I could be so optimistic as you,” said the Count.

    “Well don’t worry, we can handle anything that’ll happen,” said Liv.

    “I hope you’re right,” said the Count.

    The door swung open now as LoS finally caught up, “Remind me never to get you two excited in a period of real danger,” she said.

    “Oh come on LoS, we wouldn’t leave you behind if there was trouble,” said Liv, to which LoS just shot her a funny look.

    “Anyway,” said LoS, “Is he ready?”

    “I suppose,” said the Count. “Although I don’t like this idea.”

    “Well, we’re going to need you back in full form soon,” said LoS, “And this is the only way to get you there quick.”

    “That may be,” said the Count. “But I still don’t like it.”

    “Let’s just try to get through it quickly then,” said LoS.

    “Do you have all the necessary components?” asked the Count.

    “I think so,” said LoS.

    “Well then, let’s begin…” said the Count through slightly clenched teeth. He alone knew what dangers this could truly bring forth, but in due time, all of TFF would know the danger…


    “So, Avenger,” said Kakashi as he and the armor clad warrior slid down a rooftop. “Where exactly are we going?”

    “We have a meeting to attend to,” said the Avenger.

    “Anyone in particular going to be there?” asked Kakashi.

    “A few,” said the Avenger, “One you may recognize.”

    The conversation stopped at that point until they reached an older, abandoned thread in the city. They entered through the back; within they found three men waiting for them, all members of the Defense Force.

    “Well now Avenger, you’ve been keeping us waiting,” said Dragn9.

    “Not without reason,” said the Avenger. “This is Kakashi, he’s part of my team.”

    “The one who was supposed to kill me?” asked Dragn. “That’s a shame, I thought he’d be a higher level.” This was in reference to Kakashi being a chunin of his village.

    “The fact that Trove wanted you dead first should be honor enough,” said Rosgwak. “I don’t think I’m even on his radar yet.”

    “You will be eventually,” said Ka’al, “I don’t think I’m even technically on his list of Defenders yet.”

    “Anyway,” said the Avenger. “We need to talk about the state of the investigation.”

    “Well with the progress you’ve helped us make we’re damn close to finishing the case and we’ve only lost a day toward the deadline,” said Dragn.

    “I was referring to the bigger one,” said the Avenger. “What are we going to do about Trove?”

    “We can’t do anything yet, his link to that village is tenuous at best, he could easily pass it off on someone else,” said Dragn.

    “We need to find a way to link him to the vampires,” said Rosgwak.

    “Meaning that we’re going to need to bring Valex in alive,” said the Avenger.

    “Easier said than done,” said Rosgwak.

    “When isn’t it?” asked Dragn sarcastically.

    “Meaning we need to plan,” said the Avenger.

    “Well then, let’s get to work…” said Dragn.
  17. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 13: The Other

    With most of the others off on their various duties through out the city there were currently only two members of the Spamopolis Defense Squad present within the team’s headquarters, Herald of Woe and Alchemist. For several months now this duo had been working secretly on a formula that they hadn’t spoken even the slightest word to the others about. The purpose of this formula wasn’t to grant power, not to turn lead to gold, not to cure a disease, but to prevent a monster from being loosed on the city of Spamopolis.

    This monster would be unlike anything that the city had ever encountered; it would not be a mindless hulk, nor a hungry animal. It would be a manifestation of the darkness that lived inside of the Herald. It would be as cunning as Mad Jake, but far more powerful than any foe that the TFFers had come across so far. It was called the Dark Phoenix, and it served as the primary reason that HoW wanted the Holy Avenger found and brought under the authority of the Defense Force. If it was I. R. Shogun that wore that armor, then there was a similar monster within him, and the city didn’t need a potential demon they knew nothing about.

    “Any luck in your research?” asked HoW.

    “Nothing yet,” said Alchemist. “It’s hard to find information on this manner of thing without letting Liv know too much.”

    “That’s another problem with this team,” said HoW. “Liv’s got nearly infinite power in that library, and she’s no slouch outside of it, we could use her around with us.”

    “She doesn’t have a badge, but she’s still on our side,” said Alchemist.

    “I’d prefer to have a little more knowledge on how that place of hers runs though,” said HoW.

    “That goes for both of us,” said Alchemist. “But the captain doesn’t want to force membership, and she’s never showed much of an interest in fighting crime outside of her thread.”

    “Well hopefully that will change,” said HoW, “There’s a hell of a lot in there that I want to see.”

    “Regardless we need to figure out something stronger to suppress that thing lurking in you,” said Alchemist. “I think we need to tell Dragn.”

    “And why is that?” asked HoW.

    “Between his arcana and my alchemy we may be able to combine them to form something strong enough to make there only be one voice in your head, more specifically your own,” said Alchemist.

    “I’m not sure I like that idea,” said HoW. “Dragn tends to spend too much time looking in a mirror to be very productive at crime fighting, let alone anything else.”

    “You’re afraid it’ll cut into his duties?” asked Alchemist.

    “Somewhat,” said HoW, “Or that he may see me as more of a test subject then a man in need.”

    “I believe that if history has taught us anything it’s that everyone receiving treatments is a test subject,” said Alchemist. “But at least with him you’d know the proctor.”

    “It would be nicer if I trusted the proctor than simply working with him,” said HoW.

    “Ultimately you don’t have a choice,” said Alchemist. “I need his help to help you, meaning you either let him help, or we see just how strong your will is compared to your other.”

    “And then wonder what else that type of awakening would pull out of the woodwork,” said HoW angrily.

    “You’re awful quick to assume that the Shogun boy will be the end of us all,” said Alchemist.

    “You get a unique perspective on these things when you have a monster inside you,” said HoW. “And I’ve done a little research on the Shogun clan, it seems that they’re no more fond of their dark sides than I am.”

    “How so?” asked Alchemist.

    “The Shoguns earned their reputation as warriors in the ages when the dark side of their people often took control of the body, turning them into a band of nearly unstoppable murderous savages,” said HoW. “They were more of a threat to most kingdoms than the Bad Lands and spirit mages combined. If not for the first man called Shogun they would have either destroyed all life or been completely wiped out.”

    “What’s so special about this man called Shogun?” asked Alchemist.

    “He was a master of the martial arts, so skilled that he could defeat the most ferocious warriors of the clan with a single blow,” said HoW. “He defeated all of them, and taught them discipline, he sealed away their demons and made them a force for good. In gratitude they took his name, and to this day practice the binding ritual he taught them to seal away the demons within their kin once they manifest.”

    “Then how do they know that they’re still a threat?” asked Alchemist.

    “A few years back one of them didn’t undergo the ritual,” said HoW. “He let the demons control him, and he became every bit as fierce and terrible as their ancestors. He was banished from the temple and wandered the land, killing and destroying everything that stood against him. Eventually he returned to the temple though, and what he found shocked everyone.”

    “Go on,” said Alchemist.

    “A boy, no older than seven, manifested his demon,” said HoW. “Keep in mind that the rogue Shogun was the best of their warriors when his evil took over, and his power increased hundreds of times over when it came to the surface, making him one of the strongest warriors on the planet at the time. Well this boy, this seven year old boy, brought his monster forth.”

    “What happened?” asked Alchemist.

    “With a single move he killed the older Shogun and blasted him into oblivion,” said HoW. “The blast shook the earth, and that wasn’t even when the monster was fully at the surface. If that boys inner demon ever took over him, the results would be catastrophic.”

    “Why was his so powerful?” asked Alchemist.

    “Apparently he’s part of an elite bloodline in the Shogun clan called Kaisers, their potential for power is even further above normal people’s than usual, because they’re rumored to be direct descendants of the original Devil Bear, although it still takes them years to get beyond normal limits,” said HoW. “That boy isn’t supposed to have gotten into even the upper tier of human abilities.”

    “So he’s a Shogun among Shoguns eh?” said Alchemist.

    “If everything that they say about him is true yes,” said HoW.

    “That boy wouldn’t happen to be the same one rumored to be in our little city would he?” asked Alchemist.

    “I couldn’t find anything on his name, but records show he still hasn’t gone under the containment process, and is currently on the pilgrimage to the outside world all Shoguns are required to take to decide if they want to be teachers or warriors of the clan,” said HoW. “So there’s a damn good chance that it’s the same one.”

    “How powerful do you think that boy’s demon is compared to yours?” asked Alchemist.

    “No idea, but I’d honestly prefer if we never had to figure it out,” said HoW.

    “So what method would you prefer for bringing down the Avenger?” asked Alchemist.

    “I’d prefer to bring him in alive if we can suppress his dark side and mine,” said HoW, “But if it comes down to it, I’ll kill him myself.”
  18. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 14: Build Up

    A week had passed in Spamopolis since General Savage’s deadline was set, and in that time the Avenger had made good on his word to Captain Extremus to find the location of the lair of Lord Valex and what remained of his brood after the hunts by the Avenger and the wolves. They knew the location of the final vampire nest; they had the tools to end Valex’s stay in the city. It was interesting to note that his clan hadn’t made any moves since the deadline was laid, but it didn’t matter, after tonight they wouldn’t make any moves at all. However it seemed that there was a little different kind of unrest in the undead community in Spamopolis.

    “Have you seen the Count? He’s been acting really weird since we healed him a few days ago,” said Liv.

    “Well, it’s probably just the blood magic,” said LoS, “It’s supposed to make vampires act funny.”

    “Yeah but it’s more than that, he hasn’t been himself,” said Liv. “He’s been really irritable, and his eyes are different now.”

    “What do you mean?” asked LoS.

    “Well before they looked almost like mortal eyes, but they were very sad,” said Liv. “Now he looks angry, but like he’s holding something back.”

    “Hm, that’s strange,” said LoS.

    “Yeah, and he’s been really anxious to get out every night, like he can’t stand being in here,” said Liv.

    “Maybe we should ask him about it,” said LoS.

    “Maybe, but how do we ask him about something like this?” said Liv.

    “Good question,” said LoS. “Maybe I should talk to the captain about it tonight, the Count always talks to him about stuff he doesn’t talk to us about.”

    “Maybe, aren’t you guys doing that thing with Holy tonight?” asked Liv.

    “Yeah, and the Count is supposed to be working with us,” said LoS.

    “Sounds like it could be interesting,” said Liv.

    “And dangerous,” said LoS.

    “Well, between the captain and Crusader everything should turn out alright,” said Liv.

    “I hope you’re right,” said LoS.


    “Are you ready?” the Avenger asked the rag tag band he’d assembled.

    “Ready sir,” answered the five of them.

    “Tonight we journey into the heart of a dark plague on this city, one we intend to fully destroy, what makes you feel like you are ready?” the Avenger said as he stopped in front of a young swordsman with red hair.

    “I have trained my sword for my entire life, I am young but I am spirited, I am a warrior, I am strong,” said the swordsman.

    “Who are you warrior?” asked the Avenger.

    “I am Kenshin,” answered the swordsman.

    “And you, who are you and why are you ready?” asked the Avenger.

    “I am Kakashi of the Hotohige,” said Kakashi. “I am the brightest warrior of the village and the most skilled in the shadow arts. I have fought few battles but I have never lost any. My blades are perfectly accurate and my illusions are as if real.”

    “You, warrior, who are you, and what makes you think you are ready?” said the Avenger.

    “I am Kelmourne, wanderer and expert in multiple forms of hand to hand combat. I have beaten many men in many lands, though the vampires are strong I know no fear,” said a warrior with long unkempt blonde hair.

    “And you warrior, what have you to say?” asked the Avenger.

    “I am Sevi of the Hotohige, second brightest of the village and master of disguise. I am an expert in chain weapons and have fought and won many times. I can replicate many skills and abilities for a short time, I can use the vampires powers against them, I am ready,” said the kunoichi, pausing many times through out to think about what she wished to say.

    “And now you warrior, what makes you think you’re ready?” asked the Avenger.

    “Why did you call on me last?” said Oddrun.

    “It… really doesn’t matter, this is a preparation exercise,” said the Avenger.

    “I don’t like going last,” said Oddrun.

    “Well think of it as the best being last,” said the Avenger.

    “Then why did you put me first?” asked Kenshin.

    “You’re the newest member of the squad, I wanted everyone to know your name,” said the Avenger.

    “I haven’t been in this group much longer than him, why did Kakashi get to go before me?” asked Kelmourne.

    “It’s really not that big a deal…” said Kakashi.

    “Says number two!” said Sevi.

    “At least you didn’t have to go last,” said Oddrun.

    “Why does it matter who goes when, it’s just a preparation exercise,” said Kakashi.

    “But I don’t want to be last!” said Oddrun.

    “Enough,” said the Avenger sharply. “I’m very sorry Oddrun, next time I’ll be more considerate,” he said this patting her gently on the head.

    “Good, should I say why I’m ready?” asked Odd.

    “I think if you just pretend they put you last you’ll be more than ready,” said the Avenger.

    “Hmmm, that might work,” said Odd.

    “And the fact that you’re a tad insane may help,” muttered Kakashi.

    “What?” asked Oddrun.

    “Um, sorry, nothing,” said Kakashi.

    “So when do we move out?” asked Oddrun.

    “Tonight, just before dusk,” said the Avenger. “Happy hunting.”
  19. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 15: Arming Up

    Within the locker room of the Spamopolis Defense Squad the team strapped on their heaviest armor, prepared their mightiest weapons, and readied themselves for one of the most delicate missions that they’d ever embarked on. The Avenger and the Captain had agreed to meet outside the location of Valex’s nest at dusk, right as the bloodsuckers began to stir. This seemed like a foolish move at first, until one considered that the nest was deep within a series of caves, meaning that an attack during the day would simply wake the beasts from their sleep, rather than allowing a sneaky and easy series of kills. Instead they would wait until the vampires moved out, kill any sentries, and then lie in wait to kill the rest as they returned, full and tired from a busy evening.

    “So whose plan was this, exactly?” asked Crusader.

    “The pack mother of the wolves,” said Extremus.

    “Wolf came up with this alone?” asked Crusader.

    “As far as I know, surprised?” asked Extremus.

    “Hardly, she’s cunning, but I wasn’t expecting a vigilante like the Avenger to allow someone else to steal his thunder,” said Crusader.

    “If he was as flamboyant as you make him out to be I doubt he’d still be considered a myth by so many,” said Extremus.

    “Fair enough,” said Crusader.

    “And don’t forget, the only difference between the two of you is that badge,” said Extremus.

    “No, the only difference is that I let everyone know who I am, and I enforce all the laws,” said Crusader, “He hides behind myth and superstition, and chooses the laws he wants to enforce.”

    “You’re awful quick to forget what you were doing when I first found you,” said Extremus.

    “Maybe,” said Crusader, “But after tonight there’s no more holding back. I make the Avenger priority one, he either joins the force or goes to prison.”

    “Should be an interesting rivalry then,” said Extremus.

    “As long as Ender does as is required it’ll also be a short one,” said Crusader.

    “Ender’s not the only member of the force not likely to go along with the Avenger busting,” said Extremus.

    “No, but he is the only one I require that might not put duty over the appearance of good deeds,” said Crusader.

    “Seems like you’ve got all the bases covered,” said Extremus.

    “And as long as no one in the position to interferes it should move along nicely,” said Crusader.

    “Don’t worry, I may be a supporter of his for the most part, but I’m interested to see how this turns out,” said Extremus.

    “You’re not the only one I’m concerned about,” said Crusader. “Neither are his other supporters on the team.”

    “Elaborate please,” said Extremus.

    “The sudden appearance of a man thought to be a myth attracts a certain type of person,” said Crusader. “And our friend the Avenger has caught the attention of the worst of that lot. A witch hunter for the most part, he’s also fond of hunting legends to prove he’s the best there is at what he does.”

    “A name?” asked Extremus.

    “KAmOlUtT,” said Crusader. “Methias KAmOlUtT.”

    “Sounds familiar,” said Extremus.

    “He’s the biggest name in the witch hunting business,” said Crusader. “And he’s rather fond of the ‘Any means necessary’ policy.”

    “So he’s the greater of two evils then?” asked Extemus.

    “More or less,” said Crusader. “Anyway, what of the Count?”

    “You heard me and LoS talking?” asked Extremus.

    “I hear a lot of things,” said Crusader.

    “True I suppose. Apparently he’s been acting strangely, and she thinks it’s partly as a result of a blood ritual she performed,” said Extremus.

    “A blood ritual on a vampire, there’s a recipe for disaster,” said Crusader.

    “We’re hoping it’s not as bad as it seems,” said Extremus.

    “Like a rush of adrenaline?” said Crusader.

    “That’s the hope,” said Extremus.

    “Well, for all our sakes, I hope you’re right,” said Crusader. “Otherwise we’ll be in trouble. I don’t think anyone in this city or this land could stand alone against the Count.”

    “So far he’s never strayed from our side,” said Extremus. “So for now push that thought from your mind, we have work to do.”



    “I’m surprised my lord,” said Cutligula.

    “Valex has fulfilled his purpose, he’s no longer necessary to my work,” said a figure that stayed obscured in the shade.”

    “And the hunter?” asked Cutligula.

    “I can’t have the people of Spamopolis thinking that their police force is being supported by a vigilante,” said the figure. “A government sponsored hunter after a man like the Avenger will confirm that he is indeed a criminal, and needs to be stopped.”

    “Extremus won’t like a hunter poking around his city,” said Cutligula.

    “If Extremus wants to be next on the list then he can feel free to speak up about it,” said the figure, “Otherwise he’ll accept my decision on how to take care of things.”

    “And somehow you’re the least popular governor in the land, Master Trove,” said Cutligula sarcastically.

    “Let them hate, so long as they fear,” said Governor Trove. “And once I snuff out this Avenger, and take away their hope, how they shall fear.”

    “You are indeed one of the most interesting men of our times,” said Cutligula.

    “Why else would your master have been so easily subdued?” asked Trove.

    “His status as a fool certainly couldn’t have hurt your cause,” said Cutligula.

    “Indeed it didn’t,” said Trove. “Indeed it didn’t.
  20. I. R. Shogun

    I. R. Shogun Midnight Demon

    Jul 25, 2004
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    Chapter 16: Rendezvous

    Dusk seemed to fall earlier and earlier every day in Spamopolis. Of coarse this was outrageous, but somehow it seemed true, be it due to the days getting busier or some other means of sorcery was yet to be seen. Nevertheless the teams assembled upon the earliest inklings of the sun setting just outside of the system of caves that contained the final nest of the vampire clan. Defense Force noted the smaller group led by the Avenger with interest, although for a moment none of them said a word as they awaited the arrival of the wolf pack.

    Ultimately all eyes among the Defense Force were more focused on the Avenger himself than upon his team. He looked like those who had lived in Spamopolis their entire lives had imagined him, although they had all imagined him taller. Nevertheless he stood with a regal grace, his feet close together, connected at the heels, his hands loosely, comfortably at his sides, his golden armor managing to gleam even in the lack of light. He was too young to be the Avenger that had been a popular play and make believe character in their youth, but this warrior certainly appeared worthy to bear that mantle of a warrior who could beat an army with no sword.

    “Well he looks the part if nothing else,” said Senekha.

    “So you’re not going to have to peel him out of that armor and make him scream like a newborn?” asked Liadan with a smile.

    “If he fights the way that the Avenger is supposed to fight then no,” said Sen. “Although I’d still like to see what he looks like under there.”

    “Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” said Dragn. “I might get jealous.”

    “There’ll be no need for that,” said Sen with that ever present wild grin of hers, “Mages are more fun.”

    “Not to mention that Merlin never looked this good,” said Dragn with a smile of his own.

    Among the Avenger’s team they also spoke of the other group. “That’s Crusader?” said Kenshin in disbelief. “I heard he was an incredible sight, but man, he’s a giant!”

    “There’s a reason he’s the second in command of the defense force,” said Kakashi.

    “For the best and brightest in the city I’m not too impressed,” said Kelmourne.

    “Well I am, they look really tough!” said Oddrun with a wide smile. “Maybe we can fight them later!”

    “Only if the Avenger’s as crazy as a lot of people think he is,” said Kakashi.

    “You don’t have to be enemies to fight someone,” said Sevi.

    “Yeah we can just have matches with them!” said Odd.

    “Maybe,” said Kakashi, seeming to do so only to appease Odd.

    “I wouldn’t want to fight those two though,” said Sevi, pointing out Crusader and Herald of Woe. “They don’t look very nice.”

    All conversations came to a halt as Crusader finally stepped out of the Defense Force group and right into arms reach of the Avenger. His mammoth form dwarfed that of the outlaw warrior. The sight of these two locked in a tense stare-down was enough to send a wave of fear through most of the combatants on both sides who were uninterested in seeing this alliance of crime fighters come to an end before its first mission could be completed. Despite Crusader’s size and reputation the Avenger showed no signs of nervousness in his presence, instead seeming to grow more confident the closer that he came.

    “So, the Holy Avenger, we meet at last,” said Crusader, looking down at the second most heavily armored warrior present after himself.

    “Ironic that two who fight in the name of the gods wouldn’t be more familiar with each other,” said the Avenger.

    “I see your team is as rag-tag and inexperienced as they say you are,” said Crusader.

    “What some of us lack in experience we more than make up for in spirit and unity of purpose,” said the Avenger. “I trust all of my team with my life, how about you Crusader?”

    The Avenger took a risky gamble with this remark. He was playing on the often-cloudy unity of the Defense Force, and he was doing so in the face of their fiercest and most idealistic member. Luckily for the Avenger, Crusader was also the most levelheaded, “I trust them to put their duty before their pride, and they’ve never let me down. Although I admit the next goal I have in mind may not be a situation where they do so.”

    “And what might that be?” asked the Avenger, already knowing the answer.

    “Once these vampires are taken care of I’m coming for you, and I’m going to take you in by any means necessary,” said Crusader. “If those on your team haven’t already made the right choice by the time I bring you down they’ll have to either join the Defense Force, or join you in a cell.”

    “Then I suppose for my team’s own sake it’s a good thing you’ll never catch the Holy Avenger,” said the Avenger.

    “Never is a long time, especially for a human,” said Crusader, able to tell the Avenger’s race even through his mask.

    “A body is one thing, the Avenger is an ideal, a legend. You may capture this incarnation, but you can’t put me away for long before another takes up the mantle,” said the Avenger.

    “Then maybe that one will make the right choice,” said Crusader.

    “In time maybe we’ll know,” said the Avenger.

    “Maybe indeed,” said Crusader.

    “If this little pissing match is over, it’s about time to get things underway,” said Sen, who motioned to the approaching wolf pack when the eyes of the two warriors fell upon her.

    “Seems we got here just in time,” said Wolf as she took her human form. “Are you all ready?”

    “As ready as we’re going to get,” said Captain Extremus.

    “And the Count?” asked Wolf.

    “He’ll be joining us soon enough,” said Extremus.

    “We hope,” said Alchemist.

    “He’ll be here,” said Extremus, almost letting a hint of anger slip through.

    “Regardless,” said Crusader, “The plan doesn’t really hinge on his presence.”

    “I’d still like to know where he is,” said Wolf.

    “Well we’ll find out soon enough,” said the Avenger.

    “True enough,” said Extremus.

    “Then I take it now is when we take positions?” asked Wolf.

    “Certainly is,” said Extremus as he signaled for everyone to conceal themselves. The warriors all did as instructed, for in a moment the caves would empty out, leaving the lair of the vampires guarded by only a limited few of the bottom feeders of the brood. From there the warriors would set their trap and await the return of the clan, and the end of the vampire threat in Spamopolis. Unfortunately, with the death of one threat, there would rapidly come another.