|The City In Hell: Ascent|
|What: Several days ago, Jack Hawksmoor sacrificed himself to take out a demon that was possessing New York - and was dragged down to Hell. Obviously, there are those who won't let this situation stand. What they will find on the other side of the portal is a damned city, a demonic horde, and a very, very angry citywalker-in-a-cage.|
Lower Metropolis - Tribeca
The Triangle Below Canal Street is famous for its film festival and its unique housing. Most of the vacant industrial buildings were refitted into housing in the 1960s and become some of the quickest selling properties. New York Law School is also found here.
It's been a few days since Jack Hawksmoor sacrificed himself to dislodge a demon from his beloved city. Since then? It's been quiet. The situation with the plague has been dealt with, although there *are* still giant robot problems. Hopefully no Sentinels will show up, though.
The desecrated church stands silent and empty. No longer active as a church, nobody has cleaned up the mess the Hulk made...the pews, too heavy to remove when the place was abandoned, smashed. The chalice full of blood left on the altar by amateur hour Satanists has been overturned.
Opening a rift to hell in a church? It might be an idea that would offend, well, those who once worshiped here, but the best chances of success in finding the *right* hell, between Genevieve and Zachary's magic and Kilroy's tracking...it should be done here. In the place where he died. In the place where he was dragged to hell. In this trashed, desolate place, once a temple but no more, those willing to risk venturing into the realms of the damned gather.
Even though her mind is a bit bruised from the reaming given her earlier today by an evil psychic, Cir-El owes Jack to be here. She feels it actually might be better, having already faced her worst fear, she should be able to handle most anything.
Kilroy says, “He is in the custody of Toyko Future Bad. And there is another woman holding him captive. Anyone know about any arch nemesisises...esis....bad female people who hated him but have died in the past?" Kilroy showed up in Full Stone Armor this time, with the staff forged by Brynn with him. It seems...appropriate given that he wielded it in hell the last time he was there.”
Zach would be fashionably late, but instead he's early and looking around the place. "Ugh. Satanic cultists are always *so* gauche. Don't even clean up their goblets of blood." He sneers as he sees it, and the stain that it's made on stone and tile, but he doesn't dare clean it up magically. Not yet, anyway. One never knows how that might actually affect the efforts of...whatever it was he was called here to do. He has a vague idea, at least. "I mean, put up some curtains, maybe bring in some decent seating...this could be a nice place!" Everyone hates pews.
Genevieve Zavia walks into the church looking around at just why it's been abandoned. "Holy Ground. This will do it. If memory serves this is a blood spell." She frowns and looks at the floor. "Forgive me father for I have sinned." She pulls a knife out and cuts a spot on her arm. Getting down on the floor. She begins working on a rather odd sigal. It's all business for her. She is focused on the horrors of what are to come.
"I will be at the rift, just inside. I can't allow anything to escape. Even though this is holy ground, some things older and nastier might like to cause a big problem." She looks at Zach and senses the magic in him. "Does this look right to you?" She is trying her hardest to not look like a fool.
Now is the time to right what he felt was a wrong. Bruce walks into the area with Gene, Minoke(assuming whenever she gets here), and Volstagg who is in charge of carrying Jack's body. "Here is the church." stepping inside, "That is Kilroy and Zach. I remember you from last time." he glances at Cir. "This is Gene, he daughter Minoke, and my friend Volstagg. Gene is here to open up the portal that will lead us to hell. What say we go smash some demons?" and as Gene speaks to them he goes silent.
Loki follows the others, lurking in a corner in the form of a black cat, observing for now, not wanting to interrupt.
Volstagg walks in carrying Jack's body and he looks around, at the others, "This should be quite the expedition." he gives Kilroy a nod recognizing him at least. He then says, "Do we know which of the realms these demons hail from?"
Much has happened here, and Genevieve...and quite probably Zachary and anyone else sensitive...will be aware of it as she starts her spell. Amateur hour satanism, demonic possession into the very stones, but also love and sacrifice. Maybe it's still holy ground after all.
As Genevieve begins her ritual, a sense starts to settle over the place, a heavy sense. Fortunately, Moon Knight has distributed protection to those here who lack their own. A feeling of darkness and weight, but there's something else within it too. Infernal power, perhaps, wars with divine, but quietly...
Cir-El has placed her amulet under her poncho, out of sight, protected by the tough fabric, bey close to her where it will provide protection to her. She knows magic is a weakness, and so treasures any protection see can get. As sensitive as she is in hearing, she has no sense for magic, so she feels nothing of the supernatural forces gathering. She can only trust that things are going according to plan.
Kilroy isn't wearing an amulet. Because God Help Anything stupid enough to possess a master channeler against his will. He smiles grimly at the thought and waits, quite ready. He idly makes it lightly rain holy water where there are not people standing since it bothers him not to clean up the mess.
Zach gives a little wave to Bruce upon spotting him. Then his attention is drawn back to Genevieve. "Oh come on! Blood rituals are so last season." It's a gentle prod, more a little joke than anything, which he follows more quietly. "It looks about as right as someone slathering their blood on the floor of a desecrated church can look, yeah." Then everyone else is gathering, getting closer. He's sure he's seen some of them before, even if he hasn't been formally introduced to each and every one. "Probably the worst possible one," he answers Volstagg. "Isn't that how this always works? We won't get the hot, civilized demons. We'll get the ones that have a trillion teeth and want to eat our souls."
He hands Genevieve and Zack a single coin. "This will link you to Jack. Use it in your spell. It's a Ferryman's coin linked to his own."
Genevieve Zavia rolls her eyes, "I wasn't here last season." She continues working the sigil. It takes her a few moments but she does successfully finish it though. "Alright. Lets get a little messy." She quickly speaks over her cut arm. "Sano." The wound seals up. Then she closes her eyes. "Hold onto your backsides." She takes a deep breath. "Ego praecipio tibi ut aperias inferni porta!" Suddenly the rift opens, rising from the floor and creating a passage. It is crystal clear with only the faintest shimmer of violet. The other side though... Well... It looks like hell. What more can be said. "I will stay by the rift and keep as much away from the exit as possible."
Bruce Banner looks to Volstagg, "Just lay him here." he then fastens his amulet around his neck assuming it will adapt when he changes. "Not sure what realm Hell is considered other than where the wicked plays." he tells Vol before stepping towards Gene. A hand raises to touch her cheek, "No worries things will be alright. After this I owe you a grand date night." he grins resting his forehead to her own, "I love you." if she allows he kisses her lips before backing up. She hasn't seen his other form and now though he changes before her eyes in the Hulk.
Volstagg sets down the body where instructed to and he sraws his sword to be ready for what comes, "I dare say none of the demons i have ever met were civilized." He looks over at the transformation from Banenr to Hulk and blinks a couple time. "Most impressive."
Marc Spector had arrived early to the church, handing out silver amulets to arrivals who wished one, each with a curved line where part is recessed-- a very basic symbol of a crescent moon. He assures everyone that they are blessed with protection against possession and such for this journey, so no one should end up bringing back any passengers. He nods to the casters respectfully, and stands back while the rite is traced out on the floor. When Genevieve opens the portal, he's ready. He glances around, seeing everyone else in their armor or green skin or what-have-you; looks like they're all ready. "Let's go find Hawksmoor." He says, and steps through.
And...as those going through the portal step through, they will find themselves in a city. Twisted skyscrapers reach up towards a blood red sky, one that shows neither sun nor stars, nor...a problem, perhaps for Moon Knight, so much as the sliver of a moon. Demons and damned souls are what move through the street, the latter shuffling, heads down, as if their particular damnation is to be bound under the weight of the burdens of life or, well, after life. Demons move amongst them, herding them.
Ahead of the group, the streets open into a plaza beneath a spire that scratches against the sky. Signs mark the streets and neon glitters in the square...but all of them are in, well, Japanese.
Cir-El follows the man in white through the portal, she did not get his name last time they met, but he seems to be a competent warrior and some kind of mystic, as he provided the protection amulets. She looks around with a frown, this resembles a twisted version of Tokyo she thinks...from what she recalls seeing on TV, it is not a place she has personally been. She wonders who the big man with the red beard is, but she knows not to underestimate people. She is familiar with most of the others from last time. She looks around again, but more importantly, she listens. Her vision is no great shakes, but her hearing is as keen as any other Kryptonian. She does not like this place...
Kilroy is prepared to beat the crap out of anything with his Staff but holding off on the Rai stones. There are theological issues here, even if Veolus alone remembers ancient treaties from parentage not exactly acknowledging him. Kilroy also doesn't want to tip the loopholes in Mammon's contracts, but he can defend himself and do SOME things with no danger at all. Like use a staff to beat the crap out of something. "Tentacle Street. Tentacle Lane. Anatomically inappropriate Tentacle Circle. All Gods Suck. All Goods Suck a Tentacle. Lovely stuff." He points, "That a away I think. By the way, this ghost city is probably alive so avoid having buildings fall on you and the like."
"I'm...thinking I might just be most useful staying here. With the portal. You know." Zach clears his throat quietly as he watches, and furthermore listens, to everyone going through. Tentacles. Why did it have to be tentacles? Not that he has a particular problem with them, just...tentacles. And living buildings. "They did a surprisingly good job of Akihabara though," he adds, as if he feels he has to add something positive to the rest.
Genevieve Zavia gives a slightly weakened kiss to Bruce as she whispers back, "I love ya no matter what form your in. Get going in there big guy." She then turns her attention to Minoke. "Alright Remember stay outside this gateway. Do not go in for anything. I got the rope I will leave here for you." She quickly focuses and speaks out. "Imbuere sanctus attributum!" White light engulfs her daughter as well as the rope. "Pull me back if anything bad happens to me. You can see inside." She wraps the rope around herself and and passes through the portal. "Sancti tui clypeum!" Suddenly there is a shimmering field of violet guarding the rift.
Minoke Zavia watches as her mother Genevieve casts a spell on her. She feels warm... and... the spell has an interesting side-effect on Minoke. Her hair and clothing, normally a ruby-red color suddenly become white, and her eyes also change from glowing red to glowing white. "This... is such an odd sensation," she murmurs. "I feel as peaceful as an angel." She grabs the rope, wraps it around her wrist - then she focuses as she sends spills down into the floor, anchoring herself. She won't be moved by any means as the now holy-elemental android stands there, looking worried. On second thought, her back shimmers as she grows decorative wings out of her back, also white now, as she waits patiently.
The Hulk gives a grin to Gene and Minoke giving a thumbs up before passing through the portal with the others. A finger pulls a little at the amulet as it feels like a choker or dog collar in this form. Even if he could read these symbols as Bruce his Hulk half can't comprehend it so he moves along keeping his eyes watchful of everything.
Lokitty moves in closer, green eyes narrowing as he pads in on silent paws, taking up a position behind someone's leg.
Volstagg moves forward next to the Hulk. He looks around, "Be wary Friend Banner, demons are most renowned for their cunning and trickery. He adds, "And no matter how good somethign smells don't eat here." Trust Volstagg he has learned some things the hard way.
Marc Spector involuntarily shudders when he steps under the red vacant sky of the twisted city. He lets out a breath as he looks around. "Hoo..that feels off. 'S like the Oblivion only.. moreso." And this is why it's Marc at the wheel. Khonshu promised they wouldn't be cut off-- but no moon makes Moon Knight's style of fighting even more hazardous than normal. Now might be the time for a little more finesse. He chuckles as Kilroy steps in, though. "Charming..we'll keep an eye out." he glances over.. "So you can lead us to Hawksmoor?" just in case not, he's remembering something Khonshu said.. and something odd Moon Knight reported the day Jack disappeared. It may be impossible anyways being in literal -hell- as they are, but he tries to sense for another divine servant somewhere in this faux-Tokyo...besides the, what, three of them in the rescue party?
Michael Carpenter finds himself nearby - garbed in full armour and wearing Amoracchius, the giant broadsword, slung over his back. Walking down the street from his car, he stops and turns - frowning. "God preserve," he murmurs and starts around a corner... spotting Moon Knight not far ahead. His pace quickens to catch up, sending his white cloak billowing behind him.
And...another divine servant arrives, about when the demons and damned souls notice the intrusion. First of all, there's a portal OUT of hell. Second of all, there's living people. Both of these things attract some attention. It's not attention the party wants...demons and damned souls turning towards them. The damned souls, at least, aren't armed, and tend to move in a slow, zombie-like manner. The demons, however, are much faster. And have claws and fangs and horns and stuff. Fortunately, none of them are particularly powerful.
The magic and divinely sensitive will slowly come to a horrible realization. They aren't in a city demons built, of which there are surely some. The city itself, this twisted version of Tokyo, is in and of itself...a damned soul. Kilroy's warning might be apropos, although so far it appears to be using its residents to fight them.
In the square, though, there might be a glimpse of something. From the spire hangs a cage on a great chain, swinging slowly. Inside the cage there's a faint...glow. Something that doesn't belong here. But getting there will involve wading through the demonic hordes. Or, perhaps, jumping over them...
Chasing a horrible feeling - a deep sensation in his soul, and magnified by the almost tangible 'thrum' of power from the sword on his back - Michael ducks inside the building, and spots the portal. His face pale and drawn with tension, Michael murmurs a prayer and draws his sword, which flares to life. He breaks into a jog the moment he sees people on the other side, and calls out to one of them in particular:
Kilroy is strong as the Thing in the armor, and keeps a steady trickle of Holy Water streaming on the nigh unbreakable staff at all times as he sways a path through the souls and minor demons, leaving the others ever onward toward the spire. One of the Demons spots a flaw in the armor, and SCREAMS an unnaturally long and terrifying torment that manages to make the things that live in Hell back away from Kilroy in a circle about as wide as his staff as the screaming continues.
Kilroy moves at a moderate pace making sure to leave no one behind.
Well, that was unexpected, Zach thinks. And by 'unexpected', he of course means 'completely expected since before opening the portal'. Michael flings himself through the portal, and so Zatara decides to call out...in case Moon Knight misses it in all the hubbub. "Tentacle enthusiast incoming!!" It's so smooth and casual that one might even imagine that wasn't the first time he's said it. But he's ready, just in case any of this diabolical host should flow out from the portal. At least they don't appear to be getting too close to it. Not yet, anyway.
Cir-El notices the knight when he comes through the portal, well as he is hardly the strangest one present, it is not impossible she just overlooked him, but then again, perhaps he was a late arrival. Either way, we have a situation, "OK, I could carve a path directly to that cage and back, but it would tak a lot of power to do it the fast way, but first I need to know if that is Jack. Say, big man with the red beard are you as tough as you are large? If so, it might be a good time to play bowling for demons..."
Genevieve Zavia struggles as she feels the horrors building around her. She can sense what is coming. It's not exactly the highlight of her day as she gets ready. "You aren't getting through." A shadowy figure collects opposite of the field. "Turn around and go back. Tell any others like you to forget their escape plans." She quickly focuses and prepares a spell... "Sanctus... LUX!!" A beam of white hot light goes searing through her field and right into the shadow demon. "I Said GO!"
Minoke pulls up her 'anchor', moves to stand right at the barrier, her new metal wings spreading as a physical barrier, and sinks spikes down into the floor again to re-anchor herself. She focuses her energy as she lengthens her arms and sends a powerful punch at one of the damned trying to get out, sending him flying. Nothing as big as a person could get by the thousand-pound angel-shaped android who's anchored herself - any damned coming close gets punched. She's holding her secret weapon for now, hoping she won't have to use it. To her mother, she sends a message in an archaic machine code that probably only Jen could understand: <It communicates in Machine-Code.>
Glancing around this isn't a place he wants to be in nor wants to remember. Hulk scans the skies his green eyes becoming a tint of orange from the colors and reflections. A nod is given to Volstagg as he warns against eating things, not like he planned to come to hell for a meal. The screams are rather haunting as he walks near Kilroy as he blazes a trail yet there are so many. Leaping up into the air he goes a bit ahead into the horde knocking through souls and tossing demons here and there being wary of the buildings and as one topples threatening his group he is there quickly to brace it with his hands before lifting it using it like a big baseball bat knocking a few souls into the air and off into oblivion.
Loki shapeshifts back into himself and recoils. "Avskum." He mutters at the demons, watching as te others go to town on te horde. "Faen taaaaaaaa."
Yes would be the easy answer to Cir El's question. However Volstagg is an Asgardian, "None by question the strength nor stoutness of Volstagg, Lion of Asgard, ever the boon companion to Fundral and Hogun in the Warriors Three." To prove this point he barrels into the closest group of the lost souls his gut along with his blade sending them tumbling in all direction. Volstagg is about to brag more when he is hefted into the air then before he can even form the words to protect he goes flying into there ranks. The X-Men have the fastball special well we can call this the wrecking ball special as none of the lost souls in his path can stand before the grils of Volstagg and the might of Cir EL.
Marc braces himself when the horde charges, though he lets Kilroy, Bruce and Volstagg head things up. As for this place..he knows Jack said that the cities had minds. Why not souls? Is this some damned city mimicking current day Tokyo? Though that question may have to wait. That light in the square...
He's looking around, gauging the height and position of nearby buildings. Whatever it is, it ought to be looked into--but then he catches a wisp of that strange divine tie from earlier, and that settles it. "That's him; It's Jack." he states, pointing to the cage.
...And then someone calls out for Moon Knight, followed by a quip from Zatara that sets his eyes rolling behind his cowl. But.. "You?" he exclaims in surprise when he sees the champion barreling after them. "You're the one from the graveyard..?" he sounds not quite certain for some reason, but goes on; "If your god sent you here, then your timing is good; we're here on a rescue. There's an innocent man in that cage up there." he presses the silver amulet Kilroy demurred on Michael. "Perhaps you don't need it, but this will keep any of them out of your head-- so, coming?"
Leaping into such a...twisted, and 'other-worldly' place, amid the differing and maybe conflicting energies of those gathered, causes Michael's breath to catch in his throat. "Blood of the Sinless!" he exclaims, releasing one hand from the hilt of his broadsword to shield his eyes as he runs up beside Moon Knight. Michael nods crisply to the other 'white knight' and opens his mouth to say something more - but the poor soul in the cage across the square draws his attention. Michael's face initially contorts into an expression of pure horror - mouth aghast, eyes wide, eyebrows raised - until grim determination takes over.
"That one..." he mutters under his breath at the horde of demons approaching, pointing with the blade at the imprisoned soul of Jack Harksmoor. "Does not belong to you."
Lowering the visor of his helm, Michael banishes any other thoughts, questions or doubts regarding the the nature of this place, and the people around him... to focus on the threat at hand. As the Fist of God closes his other hand over the hilt of his sword once more, the light from the blade intensifies. White flames run along the blade almost like water - up Michael's arms, and over his armour - and he charges straight into them, several yards across from Volstagg.
"Jesu Dominae!" he shouts, and the nearest of the creatures fly outward. Burning.
And demons recoil. They had expected to find some amateur mage opening a portal. They did not expect...this. Volstagg knocking demons all over the place, the Hulk wading through them as if they were made of nothing more than straw. Spells and divine magic flying. Hell is being invaded...and the city itself almost seems to recoil. But the damned souls keep coming.
They keep coming, but The Hulk and Volstagg are blazing a clear trail to the cage. It hangs a bit above the ground, a bit higher than could be reached without leaping or, say, standing on the shoulders of one of the big guys.
And inside is a figure in chains. He looks up. Dark eyes fix right on the two big guys incoming...and the almost resigned expression on Jack Hawksmoor's face changes into a smile. He knew they would come for him. Well, he knew the green one would. Volstagg? That's a surprise. Cir-El, not so much. Moon Knight. Loki. Genevieve. Zachary. He doesn't see the little construct and he has no idea who the guy yelling in Latin and pointing a sword at him is.
But Cir-El, at least, can hear his voice, "Somebody smash this thing for me?" Presumably, he means the cage.
Cir-El, any Kryptonian, in fact, rarely cuts loose. Few people consider what a combination of more power than a locomotive and more speed than a bullet can mean. Whether it means tossing Volstagg forward into the crowd of demons like a cannonball, or herself following to barrel through the opening thus made faster than human eyes can follow, knocking demons and soulless about like tenpins. Cir-El gets about a hundred yards from the cage and launches herself into the air. She lands on the cage and grags the bars in her two hands, pulling them apart with all her vast strength...
The presence of not one, but two other ...THREE other pantheons makes this a much greyer area. That suits Kilroy just fine. The Hulk and Volstag and Cir-El will make Jack whole again. The mages will guard the portal. Jack has been find. That leaves only one thing.
The demon foolish enough to try and possess Kilroy is released. Half its former size it goes running for its proverbial life. Kilroy and Veolus are one on this and stand in place, slowly chanting a ritual casting of their own. The ground begins to shake, and a crack and peal of thunder sounds in the distance as the sky, red and unnatural as it is clouds somewhat...and Holy Water begins to rain down in torrents.
Oh well, nothing Zach needs to really do at the moment. He glances back to Loki, and if the sudden appearance surprised him, he hides it very well. "Oh. Hey Loki." Looks pretty straightforward.
"Good Girl Minoke! Keep em in line! We can do this!" Genevieve is shredding the the shadow demon with her holy light beams. She keeps her guard up. Looking around at the others trying to make their escape, she quickly blasts them. "No! You have lived your life and earned your place here. You are not permitted to leave!" Then MOAR DEMONS!! "Would you guys hurry up?! I got a gathering back here!!!" She shouts towards the group. "Lumen inspiratione sancti!!!" Suddenly a blast of holy light explodes out of her body. That drains her. Her shield continues to hold, for now.
Minoke Zavia just stands guardian, looking every bit an avenging angel, over sized metal fists punching at the damned trying to get through the portal. So far no demons are trying to rush the portal, but she is reviewing Scripture to quote to any demons that would try - that and a holy magitech beam should be useful.
The Hulk notices Cir leaping up towards the cage. He hunches down and flings himself upwards grabbing the bottom of it. It swings and he climbs up the other side to the top of it. Jumping up he lands on the top bringing both hands down harshly on it causing it to rattle and then again until it breaks apart. This send the trio tumbling down and he grabs Cir and Jack both turning himself so he lands on his back against the ground. Letting both go Jack and Cir perhaps will roll off him to the ground. Really he felt like taking Jack into a bear hug but they still have to get out. Though the voice of Gene can be heard in his ears. Leaping up to his feet he begins running knocking whatever is in the way out of it.
Loki looks at his hands and then at the demons, furrowing his brow. He takes a deep breath, shifting into his battle armor, complete with fancy helmet and throws his hands out, emitting a rather pathetic battle cry as he unloads green and gold magic in a massive wave, hopefully not bowling over all the heroes in the process.
Volstagg gets up a bit wobbly from his wrecking ball experience. he talks exactly nine steps and falls over again. It is more of a struggle too get to his feet. He stand there for the moment a but wobbly.
While the Fist of God is carving a swath through the demons and damned, the Fist of Khonshu instead pulls out his grapple and fires it far up the side of one of the gnarled buildings. He hopes he wont' regret this, but he doesn't mean to stay long...as soon as it's pulled him up, he detaches it and launches himself towards the square, his cloak snapping out to let him glide over the heads of the combatants below. As appealing as the thought may be, they can't take on the entire hosts of hell. The most important thing is to get Jack out, and ASAP.
Of course by the time he reaches the cage, he can only cling to the chain as Cir-El and Bruce have ripped it open and knocked it down handily. He drops to the ground next to them, a smirk behind his cowl as he greets, "Hey there, Hawksmoor. Hope you don't mind us cutting your vacation short, but I think your city misses you." he reaches down to pull Jack up, and if he's too entangled with chains to run he picks him up in a fireman carry and starts running through the open path Bruce is blazing. "We've got him, everyone out!"
Foregoing the use of the silver amulet offered him, Michael wades into the horde - carving a way between him and the cage. Demonic heads of myriad and hideous forms and faces fly above the shoulders of others as he brings the full force of Amoracchius to bear upon them. As those battered away by Cir-El's charge (to the cage) fly into the Fist of God's path, his sword slices them in twain. Pieces of demon fall about him, filling the air with an unholy stench as bodies blister and boil - melting into the desecrated ground.
"Blood of the Dragon, I abjure thee!" Michael yells with an overhead strike as he spots Moon Knight's leap upward to the cage and Hawksmoor.
"Blood of the Old Serpent, I abjure thee! Spawn of Perdition's Misbegotten Son, I ABJURE THEE!" With a roar, Michael stabs Amoracchius into the ground at his feet. White fire surges outward and upward, forming a burning barrier twenty feet or so about the Knight of the Cross, the cage itself, and anyone within its radius. Holy fire meets holy rain, and only serves to make the effect of the rain even stronger, but Michael remains kneeling, his chest heaving with exertion as he attempts to keep demons away from the cage... and himself on the ground beneath it.
Falling. But the Hulk, as the green monster planned, breaks it, and Jack rolls free of him, rolls into a crouch. Bare feet touching the city's substance. Problem is? He's dead. He has no access to the technology, so sophisticated it reaches towards that place where science and magic meet, entwine together to become one thing. Everything is chaos. As Genevieve falters, the demons around her renew their attack on both her and Zachary Zatara, trying to get out through the portal before it closes, threatening to push both spell casters back, threatening to make this invasion of hell exactly the reverse.
Moon Knight reaches for Jack's hand. Again, the city walker looks up. His friends, beleaguered, coming here to save him. It's all his responsibility. Not fault, no. Responsibility. There's a difference, but...no. "No, Moon Knight," he says, abruptly pulling himself free of the other. Dropping into a crouch, his hands on the twisted, hell bound street. He's dead, but he's also...angry. Angry in a deep, wrathful way, not in a sudden temper, but that particular deep anger that's sometimes called wrath. In a voice so quiet it might almost not be heard and yet almost as forceful as the Hulk. "STOP."
The demons keep coming, but the damned souls stop, as if frozen in their tracks. There's a sense of something snapping into place.
Cir-El knows how to punch a hole back to the gate. It will take a lot out of her though. She says, to the others, "I am point, Hulk widen the path I open. The rest of you behind us, we will be moving fast."
She Turns to face the gate and starts forward, thrusting her hands before her with her fingers splayed wide like a star burst. Crimson light, in a contrasting color to the blood red glow of the skies, flares forth in a wide cone. The force effect pushes her backwards, slowing her down to scarcely a hundred miles an hour, but also knocks back anything that gets in her way with increasing force as it gets closer. She acts like a snow plow through a drift, throwings demons and zombies flying as she carves a path for the others to follow. When she reaches the gate, she is actually panting with the effort of forcing her way through so many monsters.
Kilroy collapses, exhausted. He can do no more at this point as even the stone armor is too much to lift him, but it has been enough. The sheer pain that the city felt was more than enough to compensate for...oh wait. He grins as he can hear voices, even poorly translated ones. He knows what is coming. He slowly begins to move back to the portal...chuckling.
Loki drops his arms to his sides, his magic ineffective. He pants just slightly, watching uselessly from the sidelines. Perhaps he isn't cut out to be the hero he had hoped he could be, after all.
Zach notes the attempted invasion force. Or fugitive force. Soon-to-be-hopeful-expatriate force? "Um." Well, it's not like there was much he could do either, especially as everyone else has done more than abundantly. "Loki. I know this great club in the Village. Want to blow this Popsicle stand? I'm pretty sure they have this wrapped up."
Genevieve Zavia quickly stands up. She is really messed up at the moment. Her body can't take much more. Using what magic she can she prepares herself. "No. You will not... get past... me." Her nose begins to bleed. "INGURGITO sanctus ignis!!!" In a last ditch action, Her and everything with in a 30 foot range explodes into a holy fire. Her whole body is burning at this particular moment but to her this is what she must do. Down to her knees she falls. She can do no more at this point but there are several deep fried demons who are getting out of dodge.
Minoke Zavia squeaks! "Mommy, no!" she cries out as she starts reeling Jen in, dragging her along the floor - not that she has much choice. She then focuses, turning herself. A white glow would start to form on her upper chest... then a pair of powerful beams would erupt from the angelic-looking android, expanding outward in a barrage of electrically-charged holy magic. It would be a cone effect, with the narrowest shadow, carefully calculated so that when it blasts by Jen, she would not be hit by it, but would be in its shadow. She then continues to start reeling her mother in by the rope she was given, preparing another blast. She already feels weaker than she did as that white glow is still visible on her upper chest. She continues to reel Gene in like a fish.
He runs towards Jen in haste knocking demons out of the way still blazing the trail. Hulk can see that Jen is being reigned in by Minoke and the blast . A loud roar escapes and he leaps into the horde by the portal knocking them around or at least what the blast didn't take down. One demon though is close to his side and the pair tumble with each other. And then somehting strange happens the Hulk shifts back into Bruce's bare form. Scratches now are given and the man cries out in pain. Does a demon have balls? If so Bruce keeps planting his foot there hoping someone might help him lest he be killed.
Volstagg loosks around. Looks like the party is leaving. Volstagg runs to towards the portal as well, "Get out if you can. I wil lhold them off. Just let me know when to jump trough. He then turns and starts to make a fighting retreat to keep some of the demons off their backs as they get out.
Marc Spector is surprised to say the least when Jack pulls away. He walks over, putting a hand on Jack's shoulder when he falls to a crouch. "Hey! We've got to get out of he now; your body's outside the portal, you can't -do- anything h--"
And Jack shouts.
And the souls obey him.
"What...did you..." but Marc shakes his head. Bruce has drawn ahead of them.. and apparently lost the Hulk form? He reaches down to tug on Jack's arm! "We've gotta move; Bruce is in trouble!" with his free hand he starts throwing crescent darts, the silver missiles striking at any demons who might come after the confusingly present scientist.
Kilroy limps towards the exit. He occasionally smacks a demon in the face as it rises its unconscious face up and glares at him.
Michael looks up.
A ring of bodies - demons and the damned - surrounds him, and he rises to his feet. Giving Moon Knight a wave of his arm, the Knight of the Cross turns around to face the portal and the infernal creatures attempting to get through. "Moon Knight!" he calls out, his voice sounding strained. "Grab the un-damned one, and let's go! I can..." he trails off as Hawksmoor shows some measure of control over the denizens of this hellish dimension. "Christ Preserve," he murmurs. "What have I leaped into?" He looks up again and waves one last time. "Come on! They need us at the gate!"
With that, the Knight breaks into a jog - that turns into a run - straight into the frey once more.
Oh. Well there's something. Naked Bruce versus demons. Zach had thought it was all pretty much finished, but with Loki's magic -- which was effective, even if he presumed it wasn't -- he didn't imagine much was really left. Still, Minoke's blocking the way, but hopefully the magic can get around her, even if she makes a better door than she does a window. "Leper snomed." The young magician pronounces, intent on a field physically repelling the hellish creatures from the portal.
Bruce. Crap. Bruce. Kilroy doesn't look very good. Marc is busy fighting demons. Genevieve is clearly done. Minoke has to guard the portal. He looks right at Michael, "Get the naked guy out."
He still hasn't moved from that crouch. BOTH of his eyes FLARE red. "Enough. This ends *now*." He doesn't even...he daren't...question how or why all of this is still working when he felt himself die, felt himself dragged down to hell. But it is, and furthermore, he's gone over his fight with her over and over again, over and over in the nearly twenty years since he had to kill her. He knows now what a mature city walker, one secure in his powers and self, one not regretting his lost humanity would do. And he does it. Enforcing his will on her, overpowering her...and stripping her of the one key factor, the truly scary thing - her ability to command her inhabitants. And then? He wraps her up until she's nothing but a little dot of city. He doesn't believe in *eternal* damnation, but she is *not* bothering him...or the living...again. There are only a few demons remaining...and as the cityscape starts to flicker and fade out, some of them make an even stronger effort to go for the portal...and some flee into the various intricacies of hell. The damned souls? They just run.
Jack looks up, eyes still red. "Run." It's PROBABLY aimed at his allies. He looks as if that took everything out of him, though...
Cir-El, even tired, is the most powerful person standing...probably. So She will stand at the edge of the gate and make sure the rest reach it. She will fire sunbursts at any demon who tries to make it past the magic guarding the portal, or any who trues to attack her allies. If any gets close to her, that is time for a physical strike, with the strength and speed of Krypton behind it. She hopes they do not take too long, using the Red Sun Bursts is disproportionately tiring, especially with no sunlight to recharge her power reserves...Once the others are to the portal, she will move through with speed, and possibly collapse on the far side for a while...
Kilroy saw this coming 30 minutes ago, and keeps loping to the portal, finally making it, though the demons congregated at the beginning are beginning to catch on and most of the ones who saw him trap the one that tried to possess him have been taken out so this whole new batch realizes he's basically a guy lugging around some non magically powered armor and while God like level strong, its all he can do to walk much less smack their faces.
Genevieve Zavia is suddenly swept up by The Brulk! She is hit hard and than she sees what is on him. Her body is weak. She is pushing herself at this point. "daemonum conversus in columbae!" With that she's out. The demons who were trying to make their great escape just got more then they bargained for. They are currently birds of a feather flocking together. In other words she turned them into pigeons.
Minoke Zavia turns to aim towards Bruce. She charges up again, preparing to fire another Magitech beam towards Bruce. She changes her mind and alters her tactics at the last moment. The glow fades from her chest and lights up on each of her fingers as she aims, and fires ten narrow magitech beams at the ten closest demons to Bruce's position. Then... a spear somehow flies through from one of the demons that survived the blasts. It imbeds into her, in a way that'd probably kill a normal person, but only a few inches. White... ooze... is starting to bleed from that wound - her arms are also 'bleeding' white ooze in several spots from demonic claw wounds. She is staggering - weakened from her exertions but steps back to allow people to leave, but will snipe any demon with a magitech blast that tries, not taking the time to pull the spear out as she continues to reel Jen in. She grits her teeth. The white ooze is slowing, but is all over the floor, a viscous blood. Minoke sinks to her knees, panting softly, continuing to single mindedly use that rope to reel Jen in.
Amoracchius cleaves three more of the demons around Michael in twain, as the Knight hears the words 'Get the naked guy out' directed at him. Turning about to look, he follows the given gesture to Banner's position and nods. Out goes an armored foot that catches a demon in the groin (not that it would necessarily do the same harm as a groin-shot on a human), and the creature's crotch burns into flame as soon as Michael's boot connects.
The force of the blow is enough to send the demon falling back into one of its cohorts.
As soon as the Knight reaches Banner's side, he crouches down - pointing his sword behind him, with its pommel resting upon the ground next to his foot. Something rushes the man from behind, skewering itself on the blade.
"Blessed Lord," Michael murmurs as he lifts Bruce into a 'fireman's carry', and stands up - even as the body of a demon slides off his blade, disemboweling it in the process. Grunting, the Knight sets his jaw grimly, and makes a dash for the portal.
Volstagg continues his fighting retreat. He is cutting down the demons but they keep coming. His blade starts to move slower and slower as claws start to find their mark on his body, scoring his flesh . Still the Lion stands roaring out a song of battle. As crazy as it sound if one were to get a look at his face you would think he was enjoying this. Despite that he is starting to falter even his Asgardian endurance has it's limits.
Marc Spector is startled at the solid, glowing eyes, yes... but then he's not one to talk about that kind of thing, is he? Even as the impression of the city coils in on itself and it's manifestation fades around them, he keeps his grip on Jack's arm and answers, "Same goes for you-- come -ON-!" and this time he bodily hauls Jack along if he has to, a crescent in his free hand to fend off any demons that might not be otherwise pidgeon-ified or disembowelled-- it's time to leave and then some.
Almost everyone's through the portal. Volstagg and Moon Knight will be in a moment...but Jack shakes his head. "Really. Run. *Trust me*." And a moment later? Moon Knight's holding...nothing but air. Where the heck did he go?
Without the citywalker's weight, though, it's much easier for him to safely get through the portal...which Zachary or Genevieve can easily close. And Kilroy, even through his exhaustion, will sense just the edges of Cheshire cat satisfaction from New York...but where *did* Jack go?
Marc Spector curses as Jack vanishes..but he sets his jaw and does what Jack said-- he trusts him, and exits the portal with the others. "We're done here." he tells the portal casters.
Kilroy is able to make it through the demon pigeons that, while harmless, manage to also sneak past the magicians into the portal. What harm can Demon Pigeons do you ask? See The Economy #242 coming out in Coughcoughcough. Kilroy, meanwhile, shoots three with a plasma pistol as they try to peck his eyes out with the demon little beady eyes...and steps out of the portal.
Cir-El sees that the last of the party are approaching and jumps through at an available space between members. She moves out of the way and lies gasping. She can not recall the last time she was so tired...
Well, even if he couldn't fulfill his supposed role at the beginning of this affair, he can at least do something related to end it. Zach snaps his fingers. "Latrop esolc." Once everyone's out, of course. But judging by the expression on Zatara's face, he's less than pleased at how all this went. "Marvelous," he comments. "This will be the last time I listen to that clown." His jaw set, lips pursed, he looks around to see who might need some healing.
Kilroy says, “Well....good for you Jack." He smiles as he hears the City Purr. He winks at the city.”
On the other side of the portal, the white fire around Michael Carpenter slowly fades until only the lambent glow of Amoracchius remains. The sword has already burned away any blood and ichor that had stuck to it.
Moving carefully, Michael lowers Banner - A.K.A. 'the naked guy' - to the ground, and quietly removes his cloak to drape over man's form, to preserve his modesty. Then, as exhaustion hits him, the Knight of the Cross settles down into a crouch, then a kneel - keeping one hand upon the hilt of his sword, and the other hand on Banner's shoulder.
Bruce Banner will presume he has been set down outside of the portal. He has scratches over his body. Oh they burn and hurt so bad as he trembles rapidly. Through it though he looks for Jen and Minoke crawling in their direction the color of his eyes are fire red. Hearing the prayer it doesn't stop him from trying to get to those he intends.
Marc Spector shakes his head to Zatara.. "He's not lost. He was trying not to slow us down, I think. I just don't know what--" he pauses, noticing Kilroy's glee. "You know something." he accuses.
Volstagg falls through the portal as lands on the stone floor of the church with a thump. he the n gets up and smiles, "Well done." He says with pride, "Who want to go celebrate our victory with a drink and telling the tale." he seems to have forgotten his exhaustion whit the prospect of celebration looming.
Kilroy says, “Can't you hear the city sing?”
And Jack vanished. Of course, he wasn't supposed to be damned, and once that was fixed, did he go on to his destiny? Of course, as exhausted as the group are, nobody's really paying any attention to Jack's body, which is still lying in front of the altar. Not breathing. Right?
But after a moment a rough, disused voice comes from that direction. "Clown? Ain't no clown...ugh."
Marc Spector raises his eyebrows at Kilroy. ".....I see he was rubbing off on you." he comments, then turns when he hears Jack's voice. "Hey..!"
Kilroy smiles at Jack, "Good show old chum. Now never the f*ck do that again. Seriously. If I am going to kill someone, they should be stealing pennies from widows and orphans. Or already dead like dear old dad. Or total jerks like Za...anyhoo, I'm tired. So I must go. We'll do lunch later. I imagine being tortured in hell makes you tired or something."
For a moment, Cir-El thinks she is hallucinating, she lifts her head with an effort and sees Jack is alive. She smiles slightly and slowly rises to her feet.
Minoke Zavia finishes reeling Jen out of the portal, holding her in her arms, rocking back and forth. She then nods to Michael, even as her temporary holy imbuement starts to fade, as her hair, eyes, and clothing slowly turn back to red. She then cradles her mother, letting her sleep - she's so tired - she used up well over half her energy and has lost some of her body mass. Not a whole lot but enough to make her already tired mind that much stupider as she slowly rises, blinking at the 'blood' on the floor. Carrying her mother, she slowly starts to head out, then stops. "Oh, hello, Mr. Hawksmoor."
Michael, content to leave his cloak with Banner for the time being, lifts his head and then reaches up with his hand to remove his helmet. Rising to his feet, he sheathes Amoracchius over his shoulder, and tucks the helm under his arm as he looks at Banner.
"Will you be alright?" he asks.
Slowly, Jack stands. "Thanks guys. I owe you all...more than I can pay right now. Or at the very least a round of drinks once everyone has recovered." Minoke can drink soda or something. "I need to...I kind of need to...clear my head." After that ordeal, it's not surprising. He hops up against the church wall, then flips out through a broken window. Not that he goes far...he ends up just sitting on the roof, staring out across the city. Jack Hawksmoor has a *lot* to think about.
Bruce Banner crawls a bit more getting to his feet with the cloak around him. He shuffles forward falling at Jen's side as Minoke holds onto her. "Gene?" a shaky hand touches her cheek. "Please wake up." tears are in his eyes as the flames are still in them. Indeed he is happy Jack is alright but he has another worry now.
Marc Spector finds he can sense Jack now....well. Khnoshu was right. And Marc thinks he has an idea now what sort of deity his own had been slyly referring to, if what happened in hell was any indication. It's reassuring at least to know where Jack is. He heads over to Michael. "..Well. I didn't expect to be seeing you next in hell, I've gotta say."
Explanations can wait for Michael, as he watches Banner move over to Genevieve and Minoke. Moving quietly, his face drawn with weariness now, he walks toward the building's exit... and stands guard, more or less. His eyes focus on Moon Knight nearby - the only person he knows, yet, in this group of strange folk and stranger powers - and he smiles tightly, nodding once.
"We did a good thing," he says - hopefully loud enough for Spector to hear - as if that fact were the only thing that matters. Perhaps it is, in some ways.